SMLE help


November 17, 2009, 12:08 AM
Ok, the SO likes to shoot my Enfield (It's a MKIII made in 1917). The way the action works and the overall appearance is what is important to her. However I am getting worried about the supply of inexpensive .303 ammo, and would like to know if anyone has chambered it in the 7.62/.308 round? I would feel better about getting her one of her own if I knew that popular ammo would be easily available.

Not at all interested in a jungle carbine type set up. It must have the full length wood, blade sights, and be as similar to a WWI or WWII rifle as possible. (and can't be made in India)

Are there any recommended gunsmiths that could re-barrel a surplus one? I don't know if the bolt face could be easily modified to make this work or not.

She got a very favorable impression from reading "Boston's Gun Bible" by Boston T. Party, before demanding she shoot mine. And now she wanting one really badly as a SHTF rifle to back up her semi-autos.


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November 17, 2009, 12:55 AM
Ishapore 2A

Edit: Just saw your no-India qualifier. But it's still worth a look.

November 17, 2009, 04:35 AM
I agree, at least check out the Ishapore 2A even though it violates your non-Indian policy. They were made specifically for 7.62x51.

Wolf makes .303 British in their Gold line. Last I saw it was going for about $12 per 20 rounds. I know it's not a great price compared to the surplus stuff, but I plan on falling back to Wolf once my surplus runs out.

John Parker
November 17, 2009, 06:55 AM
Why can't it be made in India? Those were made on British equipment by British-trained Indians at what used to be the Rifle Factory-Ishapore. I've had one for years, shoot it regularly, and it's wonderful. Ugly as sin, but a good, serviceable rifle.

November 17, 2009, 07:25 AM
There's nothing wrong with an Ishy. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find any Enfield that you don't have to re-chamber or import to get a 7.62.

There was a company in Australia that made new 7.62 Enfields, but good luck finding one in the USA. Maybe if you import it through Canada on a Form 5 or 6 or whatever that is.

November 17, 2009, 10:06 AM
Thanks, I have seen the India produced rifles, and was hoping for an example not made there. (It's a long story, but she works daily with folks from over there, and will not buy anything remotely associated with them.) I will try to find an Austrailian. Any conversion advice? I know that by the time we purchase a stock gun, and then convert it the cost will be quite high for the rifle. But since it will be a shooter, and not an investment or for sale later, we are not worried about it's cost exceeding it's value.

Help is appreciated.

November 17, 2009, 10:32 AM
I have a local shop that sells Egyptian .303 for $20 a box of 48. It was made in 1909 but it shoots great. I think Prvi Partizan still makes .303. Why not get into reloading? For me, part of the romance of my Lithgow No1 Mk III* is the fact that it is chambered in .303.

November 17, 2009, 10:45 AM
I have an L39A1 rifle. This is a 308 target rifle built on the No 4 action.

It does not feed as reliably as a 303 chambered No. 4.

If I push a 168 much over 2400 fps I get a sprung bolt.

I do not think the conversion was that successful or more 303's would have been converted to 308.

Leave SMLE's, No 4's, and No 5's in 303 Brit and all will be well.

Andrew Wyatt
November 17, 2009, 12:02 PM
The best thing to do is start reloading.

November 17, 2009, 12:24 PM
Do not rechamber your Enfield to .308, not a safe idea. Either get an Ishapore 2A/A1 or reload. I have done both and am very happy.

November 17, 2009, 03:29 PM
I agree with everyone else. Don't convert a 303. Prvi or S&B .303 ammo is still less than a box of .308 at Walmart. Sure, you have to go online for the best deals on .303. So do that, or handload.

November 17, 2009, 07:57 PM
No. 1 Mk III actions ARE NOT safe for any conversion to .308/7.62. The Aussies proved this with several attempts to convert No. 1s, all of which resulted in severely stretched or cracked actions after only a few rounds.

The Indians, who never received the machinery and tooling to manufacture the No. 4 actions, solved this problem by making new No. 1 Mk III receivers made out of a nickel-vanadium steel alloy receiver which had much greater tensile strength than the original carbon steel based receivers.

I would suggest that your SO get over her prejudice, and that you take a second look at an Ishapore made 2A1 rifle. That's as close as you're going to get to an affordable .308 alternative to a No. 1 Mk III in .303.

I have had several and have found them to be quite accurate shooters.

The British converted some No. 4 rifles to .308 (the L8) as the receiver is much stronger and beefier, but, thus far, none have been released to the American market and probably never will, given the current wave of anti-gun sentiment both here and in the U.K.

November 17, 2009, 10:52 PM
+1 on the get over it. It's a rifle. And a very nice, well made, awesome piece of awesome at that. Who cares who made it?

Also reloading is cheap, easy, and fun. I reload for my Enfields (.303 flavor) and also buy Privi. I've all but given up on finding surplus. Plus, if you buy Privi, you get to shoot it then keep the brass to reload.

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