Enfield Headspace and Bolt Face?


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Leatherneck
August 30, 2004, 03:33 PM
I'm degreasing an Enfield No. 4/MK 1 rifle, and I noticed that the threaded bolt face--or head--turns in about 15 degrees beyond the normal operating position when the bolt is removed. Does this indicate excessive wear/use in and of itself?

BTW, I think the Enfield idea of easily replacable bolt faces is ingenious.

I reckon I'll get a headspace check before shooting it, assuming I'm successful in removing the twelve pounds of cosmoline left after initial cleaning! :D

TC
TFL Survivor

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Rapidrob
August 30, 2004, 06:26 PM
The fact that you can rotate the bolt face is normal. The real sad fact is that alot of the Enfields comming in do have excessive head space. Not much you can do either. You culd have the barrel set back. It plays hell on your brass too. Years ago you could get a bolt head spacing kit. No more.
Rapidrob.
GMCM(SW)ret.

dfariswheel
August 30, 2004, 07:54 PM
If the head space is off, the easiest fix is the British Army fix: A different bolt head.

The bolt heads are numbered 1, 2, and 3. Many parts houses like Gun Parts carry the different heads.

No4Mk1
August 30, 2004, 09:30 PM
Like dfariswheel said, the easy solution for excessive headspace is a different bolt head. The bolt head turning that extra 15 degrees or so is quite normal and nothing to worry about.

nemesis
August 30, 2004, 09:41 PM
I noticed that the threaded bolt face--or head--turns in about 15 degrees beyond the normal operating position when the bolt is removed.

Normal.

The bolt heads are numbered 1, 2, and 3.

Something way back in my memory says there are 4 bolt-heads designated 0, 1, 2 and 3.

swingset
August 31, 2004, 05:39 AM
correct nemesis...there are 4 bolt heads to the No4 rifle. #0 was the shortest, #1 was .003" longer than #0, #2 and #3 were each .003" longer than the next lower number.

Rapidrob
August 31, 2004, 12:00 PM
Hey, thanks guys. Years ago when I bought my first MK4, the head space was just fine. When I bought a MK1, the cases would strach and fail. I put it away back in '69 and haven't fired it since. Since the bolt heads are .003 larger, what, short of a go/no go gauge could I use to find the one needed? Could I just measure the strech mark? A cast of the chamber? Makes me want to go out and shoot these rifles again!
Rapidrob.

Dienekes
September 1, 2004, 12:02 AM
You might want to look at the ".303 Page" where there is a good article on .303 British headspacing. Lots of good info there.

Essentially what the writer says is that headspace is sort of relative. The case is probably going to stretch, yes. Doubtful that it will create a problem, especially if it is decent brass on first firing. He recommends subsequent neck sizing only and trimming as necessary, and of course those cases will have to be fired thereafter in that same rifle. I tried his approach with good Greek HXP-73 ball ammo brass and got eight firings on my test batch before I lost a case.

I don't know what my headspace is on some of my Lee-Enfields, but I expect that it is pretty darned generous. But I have never lost a good quality military or commercial case on first firing, and with neck sizing only they hold up well.

The Lee-Enfields are "different" rifles, but make darned good, practical utility pieces. I have a #4 Mk. 1 with a "zytel" stock that does just about everything a .308 will do. If I had to hit something at 400 yards or knock over a moose it would do just fine.

No4Mk1
September 1, 2004, 10:51 AM
The page Dienekes is referring to is (I think) at:

http://www.303british.com

Click on "Reloading Talk" about halfway down the page.

Rapidrob, the 303 Brit headspaces on the rim, so you need a good headspace guage that will measure the bolt-head / chamber gap. IMHO, with the Enfield all you need is a field guage. If you find a bolt-head that won't close on the field guage you are good to go. The military field guage was 0.074 (IIRC) but most commercial field guages are 0.070. You can find one here:

http://www.midwayusa.com/rewriteaproduct/399820

Hope that all helps!!!

Rapidrob
September 1, 2004, 11:50 AM
Thanks guys. I'll check out Midway USA and .303.com. Us old farts need all the help we can get!
Rapidrob.

Leatherneck
September 2, 2004, 06:37 AM
Thanks much for the good info guys...I didn't mean to post and run; I had to go on TDY unexpectedly.

TC
TFL Survivor

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