Lee enfield help


December 24, 2012, 10:35 PM
I have a sporterized lee enfield no 5 (real jungle carbine) that someone added a synthetic stock after blueing the metal. It's quite an accurate rifle.

The problem I am having started several years ago and I am unable to figure it out.

When unloaded the action is smooth as butter. Sometimes when extracting a fired round the action is much harder. I have cleaned and lubed the bolt and receiver. Tried different mags. and ammo. I tried a different bolt head too and those bugggers are not interchangable. I have checked for burrs and everything seems to be fine.

It makes no difference if I work the bolt fast or slow. It's not a rough, gritty feel, just tripple the force to eject the spent shell. It does the same with dummy rounds or live rounds too.

Merry Christmas to all.

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December 24, 2012, 11:25 PM
Sounds like something in the chamber sticking.


December 25, 2012, 12:12 AM
The chamber is fine. The brass comes out normally but there is quite a bit of force to pull the bolt back. The brass isn't sticking in the chamber at all. This gun used to be slick as all get out. It feels like something is binding. I'm really thinking it's the bolt head as I did change it out for a number 1. I'm pretty sure I sold the zero along with a spare bolt. It only "binds" with live ammo, empty brass or dummies. When it's empty it's as slick as butter.

December 25, 2012, 12:49 AM
Considering that there is no sticking unless you're physically ejecting a casing, I'm inclined to believe that the chamber may need a little bit of polishing. You said you changed your "0" bolt head to a "1", I'm assuming you did that to bring it into spec with a SAAMI no-go gauge. This could also be part of the issue. The .303 enfields are notorious for not being within SAAMI specs, the original British specs were quite a bit more generous, to allow for mud, debris and ammo manufacture irregularities. It may very well be that the ammo you are shooting has casings that aren't quite to SAAMI specs either.
Keep in mind that the chamber might benefit from a bit of polishing, even if it's not readily apparent. Anyway, just some food for thought. Good luck.

December 25, 2012, 12:52 AM
Oh and just to add something - I read somewhere that different ammo manufacturers tend to play fast and loose with the thickness of the rim on .303 casings. Have you tried multiple brands of ammo?

Jim K
December 25, 2012, 08:49 PM
That rifle depends for ejection on the fired case being held between the extractor and the inside wall of the receiver; the friction against the receiver (not the ejector screw) tips the case out of the receiver. I wonder if the new bolt head has an extra heavy extractor spring or an out of spec extractor so the case is being pressed too hard against the receiver when it is bieng extracted.

To check this out, try holding the case in as you pull the bolt back. If that causes the bolt to bind so it won't come back further, the above is probably the problem.


December 25, 2012, 08:59 PM
Good catch Jim K. You're probably right. The OP should've kept that #0 size bolt head. A little birdie told me recently that Criterion has been developing a mil-spec barrel for the #4 and #5 enfields. Should be ready for sale in Feb. That #0 bolt head would come in handy in case of a barrel replacement.

December 25, 2012, 09:55 PM
I think Jim K might be on to something about the extractor spring being too stiff. I pretty much narrowed it down to the new bolt head during the process of elimination.

I will try his sugguestions tomorrow.

thanks for everyones sugguestions.

Jim K
December 26, 2012, 01:05 PM
So many extractor springs broke on the Indian 2A rifles that several companies started making repros, and many are way out of spec, either too weak or too strong. Plus many were sold for use in the No.4/5. There are some differences among No. 1, No. 4/5 and 2A extractors and springs, so if the wrong one was used that could be the problem.


December 26, 2012, 01:29 PM
I just switched complete bolt heads and the problem is solved, sort of. Either the extractor spring is too stiff or the ejector is off. Like Jim K said I strongly suspect the spring. That's the good news. The bad new is the defective bolt head will not fit my other rifle. I have a box of parts that has 2 new bolt heads minus the spring, screw and extractor, but if I dig deep enough I may find what I need.

It's going to be a long day trying to find the parts. Hunting season ends here the end of the month so I'ts not a big deal, however I would appreciate a relaible source for a couple of extractor springs.

Again, I appreciate everyones help.

Still Shooting
December 28, 2012, 06:17 PM
Here are a couple of sources for #4 and #5 extractor springs:



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