Got the Lee-Enfield bug...need some basic help.


PDA






default
April 4, 2006, 11:56 PM
Okay, I have a Mosin-Nagant M38, and it was easy to get the background information to purchase. I knew when I bought it that I eventually had to get a Mauser or a Lee-Enfield as well, preferably both. So at the moment I'm Enfield-crazy. However, it seems that Lee-Enfield, like Mauser, is a somewhat more complicated subject than Mosin-Nagant. I've been all over here, surplusrifle.com, etc., and what I'm looking for is a basic way to put some order to the random facts floating around my head.

I want: A Lee-Enfield No. I Mk. III, although I would consider a No.4 Mk.I. It must be in reasonably shootable conditon, with a matching bolt and receiver. It must be in .303, not .308 or .410. It would be great if it was British, but I'm totally open to Canadian, US, or Australian-made Enfields. Or Indian, for that matter, although it seems that many Indian rifles were chambered in .308. See, it's a confusing subject. What matching numbers should I look for, what are any tell-tale signs of dangerous wear, questionable headspace, etc, and what (very broadly speaking) should I expect to pay for a decent shooter that's not a basket case?

Safety and more-or-less correct military appearance, even if re-arsenaled, are higher priorities than accuracy, as this will be a range blaster, not a hunting or competition rifle. A little historical significance would be neat, but again, not a high priority.

From what I've read, it seems that a Lithgow Arsenal No.I Mk. III might be the ticket, but that may just be because there was a bunch of those on the market recently. I'll happily defer to those with more experience. Thanks for any replies!

If you enjoyed reading about "Got the Lee-Enfield bug...need some basic help." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
kentucky_smith
April 5, 2006, 12:00 AM
Savage Enfield from Sog are nice:



http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=37379&d=1142993866


$160ish from Aimsurplus and you've got the whole lend-lease history behind them. Good sights, great wood. I prefer the #4 Mk1 for the peep sight (esp. if you can get one of the adjustable ones, but that's just me.

dawgtraxx
April 5, 2006, 12:01 AM
try here

http://www.gunboards.com/forums/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=44

very good info on enfields

kentucky_smith
April 5, 2006, 12:02 AM
Be careful, next thing you know, this might happen:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=37792&d=1143740026

rbernie
April 5, 2006, 12:04 AM
I want: A Lee-Enfield No. I Mk. III, although I would consider a No.4 Mk.I. I'd recommend starting with the No4Mk1 for a shooter, simply because the sights are so much better on the No4 that it's simply more fun to use. However, I'll readily agree that a WWI No1Mk3 just has a certain panache... :D

What matching numbers should I look for, what are any tell-tale signs of dangerous wear, questionable headspace, etc, and what (very broadly speaking) should I expect to pay for a decent shooter that's not a basket case?From my limited experience, things like bolts and such were not serial numbered on Enfields the way they were on Mausers and the like. However, each manufacturer would stamp their mark on the parts - you should be able to spot a FrankenEnfield by looking for matching marks on the bolt heads, barrels, and receivers.

Headspace is something that you simply have to have gauged with proper tools - you cannot check it out yourself.

You should be able to get into a decent Enfield for well under $200. Look for the usual issues that you'd catch with any MilSurp - pitting or frosting of the barrel, crown damage, missing/loose screws, soft spots in the furniture, etc.

Edited to add:

http://enfieldrifles.profusehost.net/ is my favorite Enfield site of all time. Section 1 contains everything that you need to know to be able to identify who made a given Enfield, who inspected it, who bought it, and so forth. Very cool site.

dawgtraxx
April 5, 2006, 12:08 AM
they are great rifles
here is mine 1945 no1 mk 3

sorry lousy pics

From my limited experience, things like bolts and such were not serial numbered on Enfields the way they were on Mausers and the like. However, each manufacturer would stamp their mark on the parts - you should be able to spot a FrankenEnfield by looking for matching marks on the bolt heads, barrels, and receivers.

the bolt on mine matches the serial number on the receiver, i know very little about these also, except that i really like them, not sure if it was stamped when originally assembled

John G
April 5, 2006, 12:12 AM
I second the advice of making your first Lee Enfield a #4. The peep sights are superior to the #1.

My first was a #1 mk3, and I love it, but I also love my #4...and my Jungle Carbine...:D

dawgtraxx
April 5, 2006, 12:14 AM
rbernie...great site, thanks

default
April 5, 2006, 12:40 AM
Wow, thanks for all the quick replies. As I've been looking over Lee-Enfields, I did notice that the sights on the No.4 were a little more sophisticated than those on the No. 1. But the No. 1 does have that look... Anyhow, thanks again for the pics, links, advice, information, and encouragement!

Crosshair
April 5, 2006, 02:43 AM
Sorry, but if you come across a 2A or 2A1 in 308. BUY IT!!! They are becoming harder to find and more expencive. I am happy that I got mine for "only" $200. Finish is a little worn, but the barrel is perfet.:cool:

cracked butt
April 5, 2006, 07:36 AM
The most common rifles I've seen around as of late have been no4s (mostly Maltbys from what I've seen) for around $125-150 and savage no 4s for around $170-200.

ball3006
April 5, 2006, 12:33 PM
have serial numbers on the bolts as have others I have seen. Some of the suppliers still have Enfields. They are like Mosin Nagants, you can never be satisfied with just one........chris3

Gun Wielding Maniac
April 5, 2006, 01:12 PM
Another advantage of the No.4 Mark 1 and 2 Lee-Enfields over the No.1 Mark 3's are that the bolt heads can be changed out as the headspace increases with ordinary wear. Say for example you start with a bolt head marked 0. Well, 2000 rounds later, headspace will have increased. Ordinarily, this would mean you'd have to turn back the barrel a notch. With the No.4, you simply install a No.1 bolt head. And 2 and finally 3. If you pick up a No.4 Lee-Enfield be sure that the bolt head is not a 3... as this means that you are close to the point where the barrel may have to be replaced or turned back.

BTW, dont hesitate to pick up a No.4 Mark 2 if you get the chance! The triggers on these rifles are much better then the Mark 1's. The triggers are pinned to the receiver rather then to the triggerguard, so are less prone to changing as the wood swells and contracts.

Good luck.

m39fan
April 5, 2006, 01:30 PM
Actually, bolt heads on both can be changed out. The trick is that 1) the ones for No.1 MkIII's weren't marked as to size so you have to get out the micrometer and 2) they are harder to find.

Get any of them - No.1 Mk.III, No.4 Mk.1, No.4 Mk.2, 2A, 2A1 - they're all great and won't be around forever.

Take Care,
Mike

Sactown
April 5, 2006, 03:58 PM
Everytime that damn Galipoli move comes on I wanna get a No.1.

Sactown
April 5, 2006, 03:59 PM
Everytime that damn Galipoli move comes on I wanna get a No.1.

Sactown
April 5, 2006, 03:59 PM
Everytime that damn Galipoli movie comes on I wanna get a No.1.

Sactown
April 5, 2006, 03:59 PM
Everytime that damn Galipoli movie comes on I wanna get a No.1.

Sactown
April 5, 2006, 03:59 PM
Everytime that damn Galipoli movie comes on I wanna get a No.1.

alamo
April 5, 2006, 05:19 PM
Everytime that damn Galipoli movie comes on I wanna get a No.1.

You can say that again! :)


I got a No.4 Mk.1 recently from AIM that I really like. It's next in line for a full disassembly and cleaning.

I'd also like to get a No.1 MkIII like you. AIM had some last year, they said it was the last shipment but you never know.

cracked butt
April 5, 2006, 08:43 PM
Its a little different than a regular SMLE, but I picked up a really nice ishapore wirewrap No1 a few weeks ago. The rifle was in really good condition with the exception of the crappy black paint they used instead of blueing.

DougW
April 5, 2006, 10:21 PM
The bolt head on a #1 can be removed and changed, but there is not a set standard for length dimensions on them. Each bolt head on a #1 was ground to give its matched rifle the proper head space. The #4's and #5's are numbered as stated, but you should also use a caliper to verify the length. And, some #4 bolt heads may have a letter "A" stampped on them, which means that bolt head is a non-standard. Could be length or thread dimensions.

#4 is easier to shoot more accurately than the #1. Both are great weapons.

Bolts were always numbered to the reciever by all manufacturers of #4's and #5's. The lack of a number means the bolt was replaced during FTR or field maintanence. But, since the head space is determined by the bolt head, miss matched bolts are not a safety issue, usually.

I have recently acquired a mk2, but I cannot tell any difference in the pull or let off of the trigger to the mk1. I have 2 mk1's with great triggers, and a couple that are "not so good".

ANY Enfield will be a great shooter. Ammo can be had from Wolf if all else fails, and it is supposed to be reloadable.

The pic is my all matching not FTR'ed Savage #4mk1 from South Africa (Lend Lease) and my Longbranch (well used and FTR'ed).

default
April 5, 2006, 11:46 PM
Great, thanks for all the info. I'm starting to get a handle on the subject. Thanks again for the replies!

Crosshair
April 6, 2006, 02:57 AM
The" Reciever stretching over time", thing is a myth. You would need very poor metallurgy for that to happen. The SMLE action does spring more than front locking designs, resulting in poor brass life, around 5 reloads per case.

david_the_greek
April 7, 2006, 02:52 AM
used to have two #4mk2s. one is sadly gone and i'm afraid to open the other because its still in original grease. so very hard to resist urge....

Firehand
April 7, 2006, 12:09 PM
On reloading, get a neck-sizing die. Sizes the neck only, doesn't touch the body or shoulder, can make a real difference in case life.

Only bad thing about that is you should only use those cases in the rifle they were fired in as may not fit well into another's chamber.

If you enjoyed reading about "Got the Lee-Enfield bug...need some basic help." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!