Thoughts on a British .303 Enfield


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loose noose
February 26, 2016, 08:52 PM
Recently encountered a very clean British Enfield, in fact it is too clean, believe it was made around 1950, the bore is very sharp with no pitting etc. in the lands and grooves, the muzzle looks like it has been crowned very professionally. The stock and metal increments are very clean no visible rust or dings. The elderly man told me he is a collector and decided to get rid of some of his collection that he very rarely shoots any more. It is a No.4 MK2 (F), with the brass butt plate with the trap door hole for the cleaning rod (note I didn't check to see if it had cleaning rod). The stock on the right side has the number 65 inscribed on it. He is asking $230.00 with 2 boxes of Sellier & Bellot 150 grain rounds.

I have no idea of the British .303 Enfield, other than I've been told they are inherently inaccurate, and they won't shoot a .308 caliber bullet worth a darn. I do cast bullets up to .311, but have never done anything beyond cast for .310 for a 30-30 I used in CAS shooting.

Any info on the value, or desirability of this firearm would be greatly appreciated. Note I didn't see any English markings on the rifle, but I wasn't really looking for any markings other than I described. Thanks in advance for any info.

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justin22885
February 26, 2016, 09:08 PM
.311 bullets should work fine for it, i like the enfields action, im just not fond of the .303 caliber for the same reasons i dislike 7.62x54R

HisStigness
February 26, 2016, 09:30 PM
Does it have the full military stock or has it been sporterized? If it is super clean it might be possible that it was reblued. Pictures would be a lot of help. For $230 I'd probably take a chance on it. If it turns out to not be worth much, at least you own the fastest bolt action ever made and probably a pretty good shooter too.

Steel Horse Rider
February 26, 2016, 09:46 PM
I would jump all over it. If it has not been "sporterized" it is an even better deal. I have 5 Enfields that were purchased in various states of completeness but they all shoot very nicely. Reloading is easy and you DO NOT use .308 bullets. The recoil is not bad and the action is very easy to work. I enjoy mine and would quickly buy another one if I could find more in decent condition just because.......

Curator
February 26, 2016, 09:55 PM
The No.4Mk2 Lee Enfield was the last of the line and very well made. Few saw any kind of hard use and most have really good, tight bores and headspace, making them excellent shooters. This model has the trigger hung from the rear action "socket" instead of off the trigger guard for a more consistent trigger pull. If it has the original wood, you are getting it for about half of what they usually sell for.The Sellier & Bellot ammo is OK for shooting as long as you don't epect to reload the cases

Robert
February 26, 2016, 09:56 PM
For that price I'd grab it. Though there never was a cleaning rod that I know of, just the trap door for the pull through. 303 is a great round, easy to shoot and pretty accurate, but if you are loading from chargers, strippers, make sure the cases are properly staggered or you'll get rim lock.

loose noose
February 26, 2016, 10:08 PM
It is a full stocked military type rifle, definitely not sporterized. I do wonder what the 65 on the right side of the stock is for. Reckon I'll get a hold of the gentleman tomorrow and make the purchase, he doesn't live that far from me. Once I've got it I'll post some pictures.

Thanks for all the replies, guess I'm going to have to cast some .311 bullets for it. BTW what is wrong with the Sellier & Bellot brass?

DeepSouth
February 26, 2016, 10:19 PM
For what it's worth I have one that will easily put 5 shots in a single hole (that can be covered by a Nickel) at 100 yards shooting Remington core-lokt. I do understand those results are not typical.
My dad bought it for $30 years ago in a pawn shop, he gave it to me and couldn't believe how it shot after I scoped it. He did cut the stock off (barrel end) a little ways back, but it is the original stock.

Sovblocgunfan
February 26, 2016, 10:26 PM
Buy the rifle! That's a good deal and you should be into an outstanding shooter.

Many years ago you could find these in the wrap-some of them never used.

rcmodel
February 26, 2016, 10:43 PM
IMO: For $230?

The ammo is $30+ a box.

And you can strip it for parts and sell most of them on eBay for $500 if it turns out to be a bad one.

rc

Radagast
February 26, 2016, 11:06 PM
An unmolested No.4 MK II will go for $1000 US over here. A lot of the 1950s guns were never issued, sold off as surplus 50 years later, still in the grease. It's quite possible the only rounds through that gun were fired by the current owner.

I would buy it.

Radagast
February 26, 2016, 11:08 PM
Info on serial ranges:
http://www.enfield-rifles.com/irish-contract-enfield_topic5620.html

lysanderxiii
February 27, 2016, 06:11 AM
Back in the mid to late 1980s many brand new unfired surplus No. 4, Mk2 rifles were imported. This is probably one of them.

They are not "inherently inaccurate", like any military rifle, some are better than others, and some are very accurate right out of the box.

GBExpat
February 27, 2016, 06:36 AM
Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! Buy it!

:D

... I have no idea of the British .303 Enfield, other than I've been told they are inherently inaccurate, ... Whoever told you that is ignorant, stupid or a liar.

... and they won't shoot a .308 caliber bullet worth a darn. ...Yeah, dang it, my 8mm Mauser has that same problem. :rolleyes:

That sounds like a great deal.

... I do wonder what the 65 on the right side of the stock is for. ...

If it is painted on, especially, it is probably just a Rack Number.

bang_bang
February 27, 2016, 06:40 AM
I bought mine not too long ago for $175. The previous owner refinished the stock and didn't do a bad job of it either. Nice and smooth, very clean looking with the faded metal to contrast I think. I found some ammo online for about $15/box new for FMJ and SP and bought about 6 boxes. Got a few boxes of military ball from a friend for $20 a box of 48. I scrubbed the bore and removed a ton of fouling, pretty deep rifling was hiding underneath. It's still one of the most popular reloading calibers in the US and there is plenty of information and supplies to do so. I would jump all over it for $230.

Candyman87
February 27, 2016, 09:57 AM
Any enfield under $250 in decent shape I'd buy. Sounds like you got yourself a pretty good deal.

I picked mine up for $125 or so a while back. Sporterized. Missing the flip up rear sight. A couple bucks and I had a good shooter for under $200. The guy gave me a good deal because he could only find $40/box Federal ammo that was "too expensive to shoot"

At the end of the day you can get PPU ammo for $17-18 a box. Not too bad if you ask me and good brass for reloading.

tark
February 27, 2016, 10:14 AM
If you haven't bought it yet....quick....tell me where it is so I can! Sounds like a great deal. RC, I don't know where you get $30 a box for ammo! In the Gander Mountain near me they Have Remington 180 Gr Factory ammo for 19.95 a box. PPU for even less.

Loose noose, you don't have to cast anything for that rifle, .311 dia jacked bullets are readily available in the proper weight range. The cartridge is easy to load with common rifle powders. Last #4 Mk 1 I owned would put surplus ammo into a couple of inches at 100. The #4s are generally more accurate than the #1 Mk3s because of better sights and a longer sighting radius.

GRAB THAT GUN!

DPris
February 27, 2016, 10:33 AM
If unaltered military form, buy the thing!
Mine will do 2 inches at 100 yards with factory ammunition.
As far as I'm concerned, that model is the apex of the Enfield series & well worth that price.
Denis

loose noose
February 27, 2016, 02:58 PM
Well I went down there this morning, and bought the rifle for $230.00 along with the 2 boxes of Sellier & Bellot ammo. Took it home and cleaned it up a bit before I took it out and shot it. (one box of the described ammo). Shot it off hand, has a really decent trigger pull once I got used to it, at 50 yards. Nothing to brag about had a 3"X4" group right about where I was aiming, with 10 rounds. Note they spread out but I do believe it was me. Next time I'll take the bench, and see how they perform. Plan on reloading for it as soon as I get the dies and the bullets. Below are several of the pictures that turned out.

I don't know what is going on here but I have a "security token" preventing me from exhibiting the photos here I'll try at a different time and see what the problem is. The rifle is fairly heavy and the recoil is very light, probably just the commercial ammo and 150 grain bullet. I do like the rifle though.

loose noose
February 27, 2016, 04:17 PM
I'll try it again, BTW the serial numbers on the bolt and the receiver match also.

218978

218979

218980

218981

jim in Anchorage
February 27, 2016, 04:22 PM
I had no idea they were still making .303 Enfields in 1950. Did the English run out of new ideas?

mcduck
February 27, 2016, 04:38 PM
Many of the No 4 Mk II's imported were in near new condition. The practical accuracy is generally very good. They are not benchrest guns, but I doubt you would miss a shot in the field due to the gun.

loose noose
February 27, 2016, 04:40 PM
Here is the other photo showing the number on the right side of the stock #65.

I too was unaware of the date of the last of the .303 British Enfields, I thought everybody made semi-autos at least back then.

218982

DPris
February 27, 2016, 04:57 PM
Mine's a 1955.
Near mint when I got it.
Denis

Ignition Override
February 27, 2016, 06:46 PM
Very good example and excellent price, especially with a matching bolt.

With the excellent aperture sight (unknown on most milsurp rifles), smooth bolt and recoil much less than my former Yugo Mauser, buy it before one of his friends/family members offers him more!:)

People who say inherently Inaccurate (what range?) could be confusing the #4s with some of the #5 "Jungle Carbines", although my #5s' groups are about as tight as with the #4s from 100 yards. All five bores are in identical, good condition.

Sistema1927
February 27, 2016, 06:50 PM
You did well.

GBExpat
February 27, 2016, 07:01 PM
Here is the other photo showing the number on the right side of the stock #65. ...Ayup, almost certainly a Rack Number.

loose noose
February 27, 2016, 08:02 PM
I thank ya all for the nice comments, you guys do end up costing me a lot of money you know. Although I do believe this one was well worth it. Ordered the dies and bullets just a little while ago.

Capybara
February 28, 2016, 12:23 AM
"Did well" is an understatement, that rifle is worth close to double what you paid for it. Nice score.

1911 guy
February 28, 2016, 01:31 AM
I bought one years ago (probably 20 years) that had seen better days but the bore was good and headspace checked good. I pieced together a sporter for my Dad who wanted to go deer hunting again. Had the local (at the time, I've moved several times since) school do the smithing and it looks nice.

As for being accurate or not, my bet is yours will be. It hasn't been rode hard and put away wet, it was made at a time of very good manufacturing for the Enfields and you're going to handload for it. I'll bet you a dollar it comes in under 3 MOA within 300 yards.

eastbank
February 28, 2016, 05:38 AM
here are my latest enfields bought, bring them up to 13 rifles and one converted to .410, they were the first milsurps i bought in 1960 for 12.00 and i still love them. eastbank.

C.R.
February 28, 2016, 07:48 AM
I picked up an Enfeild .303 a few years back it is in "Stock" condition, a friend and I took her out shooting,and as I recall it had the kick of an angry mule. I think we shot up one box of 20 rounds and I dont think I have shot it after that. Not a fun plinking gun at all

Kaeto
February 28, 2016, 10:37 AM
A couple of years ago I got an Enfield No 4 Mk 1 and really got lucky as all numbers ( Serial, Bolt, Magazine, and wood ) match. It's a BSA ( Birmingham Small Arms ) made in 1942.

http://i1156.photobucket.com/albums/p565/kaeto3/DCP_0189_zps1966cd00.jpg


http://i1156.photobucket.com/albums/p565/kaeto3/DCP_0190_zps4d2b7079.jpg


I need to take some newer pics of it.

loose noose
February 28, 2016, 11:54 AM
Eastbank, Very nice collection of British Enfields, and excellent price too I might add. I can remember going into the old LGS and seeing those in a big old pickle barrel for little or nothing. At the time I thought who would want such an ugly piece of caca, strange how peoples minds change over the years.

CR, the recoil was relatively mild, however I was just shooting 150 grain Sellier & Bellot factory rounds, perhaps the recoil might be a bit more stout once my dies get here and I start reloading the 174 grain bullets that I ordered. The reason I only shot the 20 round box, is I'm going to want to chronograph the other factory rounds to see what kind of velocity, and shooting off a bench accuracy I'll achieve, using my hand loads.

GBExpat
February 28, 2016, 12:20 PM
IIRC, the MkVII Ball ammo (standard 174gr military load) is usually listed as running at 2440fps MV.

aka108
February 28, 2016, 05:17 PM
I enjoy the Enfields. Bought two of the in the wrap No.4's just after they came off the boat and the price was 90 bucks each. Wish I had bought more. Both are very nice shooters. Also bought a Lithgow No.1 made in 1941. Bolt and receiver are matching number. The wood is all stamped 42. I think, based on the mfg date being 1941 that this rifle was probably well use and went thru a rebuild as it appeared new in condition and the barrel is very sharp. It cost more that 90 bucks.

Capybara
February 28, 2016, 06:24 PM
I guess "kick of an angry mule" is all relative. I consider both of my Enfields, a No5 MK1 and a No4 MK1 to have relatively mild recoil. To me, any of my Mosins and both of my Mausers (Turkish and Yugo M48A) have considerably more perceived recoil. .303 British I consider a medium to mild load, just a bit more oomph than 6.5mm, depending on bullet weight. All of those guys who shoot .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua and .50 BMG are laughing at both us right now ;-)

loose noose
February 29, 2016, 10:52 AM
Went to the local gun show yesterday and picked up a copy of "Do Everything Manual" for the British .303. Also while I was there picked up 40 rounds for my 30-40Krag for $30.00.

Anyway getting back to the nature of the post, I don't believe I'm going to have problem maintaining that rifle now as far as disassembly, and repair as needed, that manual is pretty straight forward.:D

GBExpat
February 29, 2016, 01:09 PM
Just be sure to carefully follow the steps on dis-/re-assembly. The N4s can be a bit tricky for first-timers.

Oh ... and if you come across what looks like pieces of varnished fabric bits stuck in the receiver inletting area, leave them alone ... they are armourer "bedding". ;)

loose noose
February 29, 2016, 02:30 PM
Thanks GBExpat, I'll definitely keep that in mind.

Vern Humphrey
February 29, 2016, 03:54 PM
This rifle probably came from Northern Ireland. A large number of unfired No. 4 MKIIs were sold still in the original wrappers back in the early '90s. Originally, they were offered for no more than a used No. 1 MKIII -- I wish I had bought two, and kept one in the wrapper.

lysanderxiii
February 29, 2016, 04:36 PM
If you bought several at the same time there was a good chance of getting consecutive serial numbers.

Vern Humphrey
February 29, 2016, 04:51 PM
Don't remind me of that!

<sob> <sob>

Das Capitolin
February 29, 2016, 05:04 PM
For the original cost you quoted, you got away unscathed. I'm selling my Lee-Enfield No4 MK1 Rifle (http://www.armslist.com/posts/5192848/reno-nevada-antiques-for-sale-trade--lee-enfield-no4-mk1-rifle) for considerably more, and although it's older it's also in excellent condition with a 2+ barrel. These are shooters, and deserve to be enjoyed. Mine has been a safe queen for far too long.

eastbank
February 29, 2016, 05:18 PM
several years ago a large gun shop had a fire and hundreds of boxs of bullets got wet and damp and some of the bullets became discolored from being wet. and two friends and i bought over 100 boxes at 2.00 a box,in the mix were boxes of .311-312 dia bullets and we are still shooting them in our .303 british-7.62x54R russian-7.7 japanese rifles. we keep the velocity at about 2200-2300 fps. eastbank.

Vern Humphrey
February 29, 2016, 09:42 PM
If nothing else, you can shoot cast bullets. The Lyman 200 grain 314299 is a great bullet, and can be driven to around 2,000 fps with a gas check -- just about duplicating the original ballistics of the .303.

Ignition Override
March 1, 2016, 12:19 AM
Some Enfields with 2-groove bores do really lousy with modern BT (boat tail) bullets. These bullets have less metal-to-metal contact with the bore. My problem was that almost all modern .303 has BT bullets.:( Kind of ironic.

Mine had a decent bore, but all the BT bullets made nasty 'keyhole' gashes in the target at 50 yrds. No clean hole, only gashes.

Traded that very good-looking Longbranch #4/Mk.1 plus $25 for a worn, dinged #4/Mk. 1 with the 4-groove bore (and all numbers match), which shoots correctly. Luckily the trade was done with a local guy (in '11 or so) at the
Southaven MS gun show, who only judged the guns by their appearance.:)

C.R.: You are sure that the Enfield with the strong recoil was a standard #4, and not a short #5 "Jungle Carbine"? My "Jungles" have a recoil a bit stronger than my Yugo 8mm Mauser.

dh1633pm
March 1, 2016, 06:39 AM
I have a No 4 MK2. It looked to be unfired when I got it. I bought for exactly that reason, the knowledge that they were not used much. It was mostly a social program after WWII to keep returning veterans busy.

loose noose
March 1, 2016, 10:33 AM
Ignition, my rifle definitely has the 4 lands and grooves, and they are nice and sharp, hoping to get my dies and bullets before the weekend. I did get the 174 grain Boat tail bullets from Sierra in the .311 diameter, I've got several different powders that are supposed to work with the .303, and a couple different primers. So here's hoping.

WardenWolf
March 1, 2016, 10:41 AM
Nice-looking rifle. While I'm not a fan of Enfields due to their appearance and relatively weak action, you definitely got a nice one.

Slamfire
March 1, 2016, 11:54 AM
Well I went down there this morning, and bought the rifle for $230.00 along with the 2 boxes of Sellier & Bellot ammo. Took it home and cleaned it up a bit before I took it out and shot it. (one box of the described ammo). Shot it off hand, has a really decent trigger pull once I got used to it, at 50 yards. Nothing to brag about had a 3"X4" group right about where I was aiming, with 10 rounds. Note they spread out but I do believe it was me. Next time I'll take the bench, and see how they perform. Plan on reloading for it as soon as I get the dies and the bullets. Below are several of the pictures that turned out.

You got a deal!! That is about what those cost when they came into the country in the mid 90's. The MKII were the best built of the No 4's and it shows in the lack of tool marks and tight fitting. Of the No 4 MK1's, the Long Branch show the best fit and finish, and yet, their chambers look like they were cut with wood rasps. The MKII's have nice clear cut rifling, a nice smooth tapered throat. Simply the best of the bunch.

I shot mine, I did not conduct extensive load development , and what loads did work, I used WC852 powder, which is a surplus powder. I think IMR 4064 or equivalent is the best powder to start, Varget if you have it. The 303 Brit was not a high pressure round by today's standards, the pressure was kept in the low 40 K psia range. I think the upper limit was 45,000 psia, but with this action, lower is better than higher. While the action is relatively weak, I would not say that about the round. Any round pushing a 174 grain bullet 2500-2550 fps is a powerful round. The 303 Brit has wacked everything on the earth, every mammal specie, and every race of human. Lot of unsatisfied customers. :what: The World War One sniper, Herbert McBride made comments on the ability of the round to put round holes in square heads. Compared to modern service rounds, like the 7.62 X 39, 5.56 Nato, the 303 Brit is a cannon.

I shot Greek ball through my MkII and this are the velocities I got:

No. 4 MkII mfgr 12/53

174 Greek Ball ammo mfgr 1970

9-May-92 T ≈ 70 F

Ave Vel =2488
Std Dev = 12
ES = 27
Low = 2473
High = 2500
N = 5


174 grain Greek Ball HXP 70

8 Feb 2012 T = 50 F

Ave Vel =2423
Std Dev = 14
ES = 53
High = 2456
Low = 2403
N = 14


180 grain Winchester Silvertip Factory Ammunition

8 Feb 2012 T = 50 F

Ave Vel =2297
Std Dev = 14
ES = 46
High = 2319
Low = 2273
N = 10


That Winchester factory ammunition is positively anemic, but then, they are selling ammunition to the world. The US does not have proof laws such as the European countries. I know for Germany and Britain, and probably all the others, you have to submit the rifle to a proof house prior to a private sale. If the rifle does not pass inspection, gaging, and final proof testing, you can't sell it. Final proof testing is conducted with a lubricated case and a proof round about 20-30% over standard pressures. The lube is there to ensure the locking mechanism is fully loaded, which makes the proof test technically valid. If the case was dry and the chamber was dry, then the case will take load, reducing the load on the bolt, but stretching the case. Incidentally, according to pre 1968 German proof law, the proof house destroyed the whole gun if it failed proof compliance. Then the law was changed, no doubt to the regret of the Proof House workers who probably had fun destroying expensive rifles, after a buttplate screw fell out!. Now, only the defective part is made inoperable. But, the point is, European ammunition manufacturers know that the weapons in European civilian hands are 100% up to snuff, and they can produce ammunition that would blow the relics in American hands, to pieces.

Which explains why Winchester produces such anemic ammunition, Americans have a lot of rusted out, worn out, out of spec, military weapons in their hands.

Case stretch is a continual issue with Lee Enfields as rear locking actions stretch much more than front locking action. Basically, lets say steel compresses about 0.001" per inch (SWAG). And the locking lugs are four inches behind the bolt head, then that four inch spread will compress the bolt 0.004" when the rifle is fired. That distance, plus the headspace in the rifle, means that rear locking mechanisms are hell on the case. The case gets stretched 0.004" just due to bolt compression alone. Dry cases in dry chambers will be stretched so much in Lee Enfields that cases will separate in as little as two to three reloads. Some people have tried to compensate for the headspace, that is remove the headspace, by adding O rings ahead of the rim. I think that was a poor solution. The best solution is what Parashooter did in his Lee Enfield, lubing the cases:

Cases and Enfields and lube - Oh my!
http://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=11182

As long as cartridge pressures are less than or equal to service requirements, the action won't be damaged. Over pressure loads are easy to figure out in the Lee Enfield, the bolt gets very hard to open, because it bows. Load down to the point where bolt lift is effortless and everything will be fine, your cartridges will last forever, and the mechanism will be fine.

mgmorden
March 1, 2016, 12:03 PM
Nothing wrong with .303. Serves well for target shooting or hunting.

I've actually got an uncle that still hunts with an old chopped down SMLE No4 Mk1. He's 100% disabled (bad car accident about 25 years ago left him barely able to walk) and on a fixed income so it's all he can afford. He still manages to tag a couple deer every season with it. It's not nearly as pretty as the other rifles around here but the deer are just as dead ;).

Cooldill
March 1, 2016, 02:12 PM
Keep in mind Enfields are still used in military service by the Canadian Rangers and many other Commonwealth areas.

They are the longest continually serving combat rifles in history. Fantastic guns, even today. I wouldn't feel unarmed with one in a fight. Very fast and quick to reload.

WardenWolf
March 1, 2016, 02:18 PM
Keep in mind Enfields are still used in military service by the Canadian Rangers and many other Commonwealth areas.

They are the longest continually serving combat rifles in history. Fantastic guns, even today. I wouldn't feel unarmed with one in a fight. Very fast and quick to reload.
Actually that honor goes to the Mosin Nagant (1891), which Finland still has in limited use. The Enfield has enough significant variants that you can't exactly date by the original design, either, whereas the Mosin's changes are all on the front end with no alterations to the action itself.

loose noose
March 1, 2016, 03:30 PM
Slamfire, I thank ya kindly for the information on the Enfield rifle. The longer I stayed tuned in here, the more I'm beginning to learn about this rifle. I never load to max on my military type firearms, and do a full length resizing on all the cases, before trimming them. I generally chronograph my loads from the bench, while developing a load also.

boom boom
March 1, 2016, 06:12 PM
Neck sizing for that Enfield is the generally accepted way to preserve your cases as many, but not all, have generous chambers. Cast boolit loads with neck sizing is even better. Good luck with your Mk. 4 No. 2, but Lee-Enfields have a way of multiplying.

Slamfire
March 1, 2016, 07:47 PM
Slamfire, I thank ya kindly for the information on the Enfield rifle. The longer I stayed tuned in here, the more I'm beginning to learn about this rifle. I never load to max on my military type firearms, and do a full length resizing on all the cases, before trimming them. I generally chronograph my loads from the bench, while developing a load also.

For this rifle, I do recommend lubricating the fireformed cases and neck sizing, or partial neck sizing. The basic problem I found between my various Lee Enfields is that the shoulder to base distance is chaotic. Shoulders typically get blown way far forward which, in a dry case in a dry chamber situation, really stretch the sidewall. Plus, shoulder shape varies. I have Lee Enfields that produce rounded shoulders, my Mark II's give a slope. Not putting a great deal of stress on the case by lubing, at least when fire forming, is the best way to go in my opinion. Fireforming lubed cases has is becoming a standard practice with the Bench Rest crowd:

Fireforming

http://benchrest.com/showthread.php?53679-FEEDBACK-FROM-THE-TUNNEL-IN-WEST-TEXAS-

Once in a while, a real jewel of information comes along that really makes a difference. Such is the case with this little known secret of fireforming.

In his recently published book, "Extreme Rifle Accuracy" Mike Ratigan reveals his procedure for fireforming. By the way, if you have not obtained a copy of Mike's book, I strongly urge you to do so as soon as possible.

Beginning on page 114, under 'Fire Forming Secrets' Mike explains why it is so important to lubricate the case the first time it is fired. I not only lubricate the case but also fire the first time with only 20 grains of N133, H322, 8208, Benchmark or whatever I'm using. This insures that the case slides back firmly against the bolt face thereby preventing stretching the case wall in the critical web area.

This is very important. Why? It prevents the cases from tightening up in the chamber prematurely. A properly fireformed case, sized with a good die that fits the chamber, goes in and out of the rifle like butter and lasts almost forever.

Questions? Let's talk about it.

Not that you will get bench rest accuracy out of a Lee Enfield, the typical Lee Enfield was a 3-4 MOA rifle. Your barrel is a five groove and one of the better ones, might do around 3 MOA. Also, look up information on the bedding of these things if your accuracy with good bullets is poor. I have restored the bedding on a Lithgow, Savage, and a MKII. Ensuring that the action lugs were securely bedded, by using epoxy glue (might have been Marine Tex) around the fore end lug recess in the Lithgow and No 4 MK1 Savage really improved their accuracy. The best they would go was 8 MOA, then properly bedded, the groups became 4 MOA for the Lithgow and 3 MOA for the Savage. Tinkering with the MKII and bedding that action did nothing in terms of accuracy improvement. It was a 3 MOA plus rifle and that is all that it would do.

Jim Watson
March 1, 2016, 07:54 PM
It is a shame that so many military rifles are doomed to a life hunkered down over a 100 yard benchrest. Doesn't matter if it is a Long Lee Enfield or a M4gery, that is not what they are FOR, and trying to get 21st century target rifle performance out of them is just going to lead to frustration.


"A smart uniform to wear, a fast aeroplane to fly, and Germans to shoot at. What more can a young man ask for?"
RAF Commandant.

Slamfire
March 1, 2016, 08:45 PM
It is a shame that so many military rifles are doomed to a life hunkered down over a 100 yard benchrest. Doesn't matter if it is a Long Lee Enfield or a M4gery, that is not what they are FOR, and trying to get 21st century target rifle performance out of them is just going to lead to frustration.

Jim: Try to find a range where every firing point is not covered up with a bench. It is hard to find one where you can lay down on your shooting mat and shoot standing, sitting, or prone with a sling. By the way, the CMP range at Talladega, you can move the benches out of the way and shoot prone with a sling!

They have electronic targets, digital readouts, running water, bathrooms! This place is a shooter's paradise!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4661%20Club%20house_zpszhrpczm5.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/SlamFire/media/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4661%20Club%20house_zpszhrpczm5.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4657%20John%20Garand_zpscyzrjwxs.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/SlamFire/media/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4657%20John%20Garand_zpscyzrjwxs.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4662_zpsaiutd0e6.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/SlamFire/media/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4662_zpsaiutd0e6.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4665_zpsvljxdguc.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/SlamFire/media/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4665_zpsvljxdguc.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4660%20600%20yard%20range_zpsfhwyza7g.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/SlamFire/media/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4660%20600%20yard%20range_zpsfhwyza7g.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4659_zpsj2j1n6q0.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/SlamFire/media/Misc/CMP%20%20Talladega/DSCF4659_zpsj2j1n6q0.jpg.html)

I have gone hunting with a Lee Enfield, saw nothing and shot nothing. I would love to take the thing Boar Hunting with a sword bayonet on a No 1 MKIII! To have a big piggy charge and to accept his charge with a bayonet, that would be a hoot!

Shanghai McCoy
March 2, 2016, 10:12 AM
Slamfire,
You have a unique personal definition of the term "hoot"... :scrutiny:
;) :)

Cooldill
March 2, 2016, 10:16 AM
Actually that honor goes to the Mosin Nagant (1891), which Finland still has in limited use. The Enfield has enough significant variants that you can't exactly date by the original design, either, whereas the Mosin's changes are all on the front end with no alterations to the action itself.
But not in it's original form. The Finns are currently using a rifle with sometimes very old, even 19th century, Mosin Nagant M1891 receivers, but the gun is heavily modified and modernized.

WelshShooter
March 2, 2016, 10:20 AM
It is a shame that so many military rifles are doomed to a life hunkered down over a 100 yard benchrest. Doesn't matter if it is a Long Lee Enfield or a M4gery, that is not what they are FOR, and trying to get 21st century target rifle performance out of them is just going to lead to frustration.


"A smart uniform to wear, a fast aeroplane to fly, and Germans to shoot at. What more can a young man ask for?"
RAF Commandant.
Heh, speak for yourself. Fortunately I get to shoot on military ranges every now and then and they have reactive Fig11 targets out to 2km or so. I've taken the ol' Enfield No4Mk1 out to 900m which is really fun!

Cooldill
March 2, 2016, 10:21 AM
It is a shame that so many military rifles are doomed to a life hunkered down over a 100 yard benchrest. Doesn't matter if it is a Long Lee Enfield or a M4gery, that is not what they are FOR, and trying to get 21st century target rifle performance out of them is just going to lead to frustration.


"A smart uniform to wear, a fast aeroplane to fly, and Germans to shoot at. What more can a young man ask for?"
RAF Commandant.
Jim, you are so right.

They are battle weapons. I shoot them like they are, too. Nothing much more fun than running around the creek, firing offhand at targets while reloading with stripper clips from original ammo pouches. It really gives you a better feel for the way these guns were used. Same goes for guns like my G3 clone. A bench rest shooter I am not! But some love it, more power to 'em. :)

T.R.
March 2, 2016, 04:10 PM
This rifle is fairly common with hunters in rural parts of Canada and has been so for a few generations. This cartridge has what it takes to down big game.

TR

loose noose
March 2, 2016, 08:52 PM
Slamfire , now that is definitely a range, mine is desert as far as the eye can see, I do have my own portable bench, have my ground pad available, and have always been interested in the ballistics of different rounds, especially the military. I've also got quite an assortment of steel targets. Now Jim as far as getting to the point of shooting the gun as was intended, well I plan on doing just that as soon as I develop a load it likes, and shooting from a bench definitely saves on the Chronograph machine. :D:D:D

Gordon
March 3, 2016, 02:49 PM
New brass cased Boxer primed and ready to hunt $14 a box and common enough.
http://www.sgammo.com/product/303-british-ammo/20-round-box-303-british-180-grain-soft-point-prvi-partizan-ammunition-pp39

loose noose
March 3, 2016, 05:15 PM
Thanks Gordon, I did try them but I must have screwed up something as it didn't go thru, that is an amazing price on loaded ammo, I'll try again here shortly.

Gordon my order just went thru, must have been a glitch in the computer or something, I've never been much of a computer wiz.

AlexanderA
March 3, 2016, 06:38 PM
There are 2 holes in the buttstock, accessible through the door in the buttplate. The larger hole is for the brass (or plastic) oiler and the twine pull-through. The smaller hole is for the brass weight on the end of the pull-through. There is a specific way of wrapping the pull-through so that everything fits properly.

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the OP's rifle may have an incorrect magazine. Look at the grooves on the side of the magazine. Magazines for the No. 1 Mk. III have grooves that go all the way to the bottom, while those for the No. 4 have grooves that stop slightly short of the bottom. A No. 1 magazine can be made to work in a No. 4, but requires modifications.

The ammo chargers (clips) for the Enfield are a whole subject for study in themselves. The most practical chargers for use are the Mk. IV's (they have an elongated hole on the spring end). Avoid the Italian-made Mk. III's (with the round hole on the spring end). They are really too stiff for easy loading.

A myriad of companies made chargers. Some people collect chargers by manufacturer. (For example, the "BP" marking stands for "British Pens.")

loose noose
March 3, 2016, 07:11 PM
Alexander, ya had me wondering as the serial number on the magazine doesn't even come close to the number on the receiver and the bolt. However the grooves only go down to just above the base of the magazine. The magazine slips in without any problems at all and feeds the cartridges really well. Haven't been able to find any stripper clips for it yet, but then again I just recently ordered some additional ammo in order to get some brass to reload. See above. Hope to get some stripper clips for it as well in the near future.

AlexanderA
March 5, 2016, 01:46 AM
If you need new (or newish) original magazines for the No. 4 Enfield, I've found that the best source for them is Marstar Canada. They're pricey, though. With postage, they run about $80 US each. You can sometimes find them on ebay for a tad less.

loose noose
March 5, 2016, 10:14 PM
Alexander I do believe I'll pass on that, would like to get some stripper clips though.

I forget who mentioned that Sellier & Bellot ammo is junk, well ya got that right. I finally got my dies and bullets this morning and set up the RCBS dies, knocked out the primers no problem, sized the casings etc. then it came time to insert the primers, I could not get a CCI large rifle primer inserted in those cases. About gave up on them, and then I tried a Winchester Large Rifle Magnum primer and low and behold, they went in, but really had to force them. Never saw such a pain in the butt. BTW I did clean and swage the primer pockets.

DougW
March 6, 2016, 10:06 AM
S&B brass is not good for reloading. My experience is the case head will separate once relaoded (I only neck size), and the primer pockets are a bit shallow.

AlexanderA
March 6, 2016, 02:17 PM
Try to get some of the 1970's vintage Greek surplus .303 ammo (HXP headstamp). This is noncorrosive and has standard Boxer primers. A lot of people swear by that for reloading.

It's even better if you can get it on stripper clips for the same price. The clips themselves have been going for up to $3 each.

loose noose
March 6, 2016, 07:45 PM
Alexander, Where might I find some of those Greek rounds and stripper clips?

AlexanderA
March 6, 2016, 10:22 PM
Alexander, Where might I find some of those Greek rounds and stripper clips?

Cheaper Than Dirt blew out a whole bunch of this a year and a half ago for 45 cents a round (including shipping). People are currently reselling it on Gun Broker for anywhere between 60 cents and $1 a round.

BCRider
March 7, 2016, 02:48 PM
Keep in mind Enfields are still used in military service by the Canadian Rangers and many other Commonwealth areas.

This too is coming to an end. Contracts have been let for replacements due to a lack of parts to service the old Lee Enfields. Not sure when the switch over date will be but it's not long to go if it hasn't been started already.

Getting back to the bullet size for a moment...... The classic sizes are .311 to .312 for jacketed bullets and .313 for cast bullets. Running with a .311 cast may or may not result in your optimum accuracy from that barrel.

Probably the best way to be sure is to slug the bore and base your cast bullet size off the results.

loose noose
March 7, 2016, 09:29 PM
I thank ya BC Rider, I plan on shooting those S&B reloads that I did the other day, and some other ammo that I ordered (PMU) as soon as it gets in. I've got some pure lead from my muzzle loaders, so as soon as I shoot some of that other ammo, I'll definitely check the bore diameter. Like I mentioned before it looks like it is pretty much up to snuff, with the lands and grooves looking to be nice and sharp, as well as the crown looking like it is brand new. Makes me wonder if it hasn't been replaced, I'll have to get ahold of that elderly gentleman I bought it from and pick his brain. He has a vast collection of older/military rifles.

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