A friend of mine just aquired a bubbarized milsurp rifle.At first glance it a ppeared to be a .303 british but on futher inspection the bolt appeared different and the metal band around the butt stock had made in the U.S.A. stamped on it. Is it possible that this rifle had been rebarreled for 7.62 nato? The magazine still appeared to be the same as on all other enfields chamberd for .303. I have the rifle in my care as of right now I didn't want my friend to try to chamber somthing in the rifle that shouldn't be and hurt himself or someone else. Also the bore appears to be in crappy shape I'm gonna give it a good scrubbing.What my main question is if it is a conversion is it safe to fire and are there any other ways to find out what it is actually chamber for?:banghead:
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March 24, 2008, 01:18 AM
Sounds like a american made SMLE to me. You could check if a spent 308 case will fit in the thing but my guess would be its still a .303
March 24, 2008, 01:27 AM
I checcked to see if one of my spent .308's would chamber after I posted the question.(it wouldn't fit) So am I safe in assuming that it is .303? And are these rifles safe to fire with modern ammo?
March 24, 2008, 03:00 AM
The only safe route is to take a chamber cast, then check headspace. Sometimes folks do silly things to these old warhorses. If there are problems, they can usually be rectified inexpensively if found before the fragmentation stage.
Different bolt heads can resolve headspace issues, but if someone has reamed out the chamber, you really want to know that before you light off any cartridge that seems to fit.
March 24, 2008, 03:09 AM
Savage made quite a few 303 Lee Enfield rifles during WWII. Before the USA entered the war, the US built Lee Enfields were stamped US Property to comply with the Lend Lease rules. After Pearl this wasn't necessary.
Many Savage built Lee Enfields were sold to Canada. Quite a few were sold off after the War and some never even been issued. One way to tell a Savage is the notch for bolt removal is up near the front of the receiver. To remove the bolt you slide it back about an inch and there a slot out of the slide runner that allows the bolt extractor to lift up up. Then the bolt is free to slide all the way out. The British made Lee Enfield had a different method to allow the bolt extractor to lift up. The bolt had to be drawn all the back and there's a release button to press down that allows the extractor to lift up for bolt removal. Other than that there pretty close. Some of the Made in USA Savage are not stamped US Property but are stamped "England". That must of fooled them at the time.
Whether or not it's safe to shoot is a decisiom you'll have to make after you scrub it clean and are better able to tell. If in doubt, take it to a reliable gunsmith for his opinion.
March 24, 2008, 11:57 AM
FWIW here's one of mine, a No. 4 made by Savage, with the typical stampings referred to by wraco:
The first thing I would do is figure out exactly what I am working with. When you describe the rifle, there are a few confusing statements. The first was "made in the USA" on the "metal band around the butt stock". The #1's and #4's design utilizes a 2 piece stock set with a butt socket for the butt stock to attach to. This "metal band" is behind the action. Anything that is marked here with a "made in" would not be normal at all.
If on the reciever in front of the charging bridge and the barrel knox has " US PROPERTY" stampped on it would be a Savage made rifle. There were never any #1mkIII style rifles made in the US. The Ishapore factory in India made the 2A and 2A1 versions of the #1mk3 in .308. Some post war #4mk1's and mk2"s were converted to .308. Otherwise, it is probably a .303 (the bullet is actually .311).
To ID the rifle, a good way is to look at the rear sight. If it is mounted behind the charging bridge, then it would most likely be a #4 or #5 rifle. If the rear sight is mounted to the barrel in front of the barrel knox, then it is a #1 rifle.
Another confusing statement is that a ".308 case would cot fit" doesn't exactly describe the problem. If you could be more specific, it could be helpful. Also, look on both sides of the butt socket and post the numbers and letters there, if any.