Lee-Enfield barrel wobble


March 4, 2012, 12:11 AM
So I just got my first Lee-Enfield No. 4 today. I've got to say, it really is a beauty; with such a slick bolt and nice handling characteristics, I don't know why I ever liked Mausers so much! Here's a picture of her:


It has a 1943 date, and I think it might be BSA, but I'm really not sure. It has no stampings on the wrist area.

Now my problem is that I've noticed my barrel has a noticeable wobble. If I push around the muzzle end, I can basically get it to move about a millimeter or two in any direction. This can't be normal, can it? I also noticed that there's some pitting at the front half of the barrel in the grooves, but none on the lands. Curiously the half of the barrel towards the chamber looks spotless.

So what should I do about this barrel wobble? Ignore it as a quirk of the Enfield rifle, buy a new handguard, or carefully apply a shim?

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March 4, 2012, 12:30 AM
shoot your rifle. the barrel is free floated within the handguard, and the wobble is normal.bedding the barrel causes verticle stringing of tour groups on the target.

March 4, 2012, 12:49 AM
if you're holding the fore end of the wood while you do this then it's a combination of the wood and barrel flexing. It's entirely normal as well. Anthing that long and slender is easily bent with the hands from a little pressure over the sort of distance that is in the gap at the end of the stock.

March 4, 2012, 01:34 AM
As mentioned above, it is probably the stock flexing, not the barrel.

March 4, 2012, 01:57 AM
Totaly normal in the things there.

March 4, 2012, 08:29 AM
Go to the LE section at surplusrifleforum.com. The stickies well tell you all about how the barrel floats and they importance of fitting the receiver and front trigger guard screw spacer.

With no marking on the wrist it sounds like a Fazakerely. Should have "No4 MkI" ep'd on the left side of the receiver.

March 4, 2012, 09:56 AM
that should be normal and expected. Just shoot the gun .

March 4, 2012, 10:21 AM
Well, I was holding the fore-end of the stock at the time, but even when I hold it below the sling loops/at the handguard and shake it a bit, I can hear the barrel rattling around a little. This seems exceptionally strange; does this improve accuracy somehow? No other military rifle I've ever used has done that.

With no marking on the wrist it sounds like a Fazakerely. Should have "No4 MkI" ep'd on the left side of the receiver.

Yeah, it does. It's a bit of a deep electropencil job, but I thought it looked a little too crude to be a stamp. It also has an "M47" and below it "1943" stamped onto the left wrist, and also what appears to be a serial number that's been mostly worn out/sanded off. It also has a "B" on the safety lever. Aside from proof marks I can't find anything else.

March 4, 2012, 01:23 PM
The only Enfield with a free floating barrel is the No.5 Jungle carbine, all other Enfield rifles are to have up pressure at the fore end tip.

The No.4 should have 2 to 7 pounds of up pressure at the fore end tip, if you push upward on the barrel with your thumb and quickly release it like snapping your fingers the barrel should "snap" back into position touching the fore end tip bedding point (E).



If you can insert a feeler gauge between the rear of the fore stock and the receiver ring you have wood shrinkage and the rear of the stock is no longer bedded properly. (area A above)


Shimming the forward area of the draws (area A) pushes the stock to the rear and into contact with the receiver ring. The rear shaded area does not have to be touching 100% "BUT" both sides need to be touching equally in order to center the barrel in the barrel channel of the stock.


Below is area A also called the draws because it "draws" the stock up tight to the receiver ring and these photos show the contact points or bedding points on the receiver and fore stock.






Before you do anything else "FIRST" oil the stock with "RAW" linseed oil mixed 50/50 with turpentine. Do "NOT" use BLO because it dries too fast and is thicker than "RAW" linseed oil and will not soak and penetrate deeply "INTO" the wood. Oil the entire fore stock inside and out let it soak for a few hours and then wipe all surface oil off the stock and let dry overnight. Repeat this procedure daily until the stock will no longer absorb any raw linseed oil. Oiling the stock may cause the wood to swell and tighten up the draws area and no bedding work may be needed.

After Dunkirk the Armourers no longer oiled the stocks and raw linseed oil was issued to the troops to oil their own rifles once per month. Oiling the stock with raw linseed oil keeps the wood hydrated and prevents wood shrinkage and bedding problems. Prior to Dunkirk once per year the Armourers would completely tear down the Enfield rifle and dip the stocks in a tank of hot raw linseed oil. During the war the Enfield rifles were only torn down for repairs as needed or if it ain't broke don't fix it.


Below, top photo 50 yards, a loose fore stock will string its shots vertically, bottom photo after oiling and shimming the draws area, 10 shots at 50 yards.


Your No.4 Enfield rifle MUST have up pressure at the fore end tip, the 2 to 7 pounds of up pressure was used to "tune" the Enfield rifle and control accuracy.

Any questions on how accurately a Enfield rifle will shoot when properly oiled and bedded. ;) (darn, two flyers) :rolleyes:


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