Enfield- Bad Lugs and Unsafe rifle?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by BVZ24, May 28, 2021.

  1. BVZ24

    BVZ24 Member

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    I'm fairly new to surplus collecting and have an interest in the older Long Lee Enfield MLE. They are fairly hard to come by, and until I can find a decent one at the right price, I decided to go for an importer's Ethiopian Lee as a placeholder until I can find a better one. What I ended up receiving is in poor shape, but complete. A quick inspection revealed the bolt locking lugs have a highly irregular surface compared to the bolt from a Mk 3. The irregular angle appears to have cut a groove on the receiver locking surface in the same shape. Is this a symptom that the lug has failed or is about to fail? Is this lug something that would immediately make the rest of this rifle not worth repairing?
    IMG_20210528_141326~2.jpg
    I also had concerns with the barrel. The majority of the barrel has dark, but strong rifling but the last 8 inches including the muzzle are heavily rusted, so much that the rifling can not be distinguished. Is this barrel salvageable to the point that it can be fired safely, but not accurately? I expect poor accuracy due to the crown damage.
    The buttstock is also missing a chunk from the wrist area. The piece missing leads me to believe that the stock is not inlet far enough into the Enfield's stock ring.
    Everything else appears to be complete. Most parts have some amount of pitting, but are still functional. The safety, cocking piece and trigger operate.

    Did I win or lose? Is this rifle salvageable or is it a wall hanger?

    I will post more pictures if requested.
     
  2. gobsauce

    gobsauce Member

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    Definitely need more pictures. Bore, stock, give us a picture of the rifle as a whole to get a better idea of what it looks like.
     
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  3. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Ah ... bit by a Royal Tiger, eh? Been there, done that, got bit.

    Personally I wouldn't shoot a rifle with a bolt that looked like that, I would try to replace it, but I've never had one that looked that bad, even my Ethiopian Carcano. Though your barrel does sound like mine was when I first got it from Royal Tiger. I did everything I thought I could to resuscitate that barrel and was never able to get it past shooting keyholes, so that rifle got retired as a "parts" gun. Fortunately, I've got five Carcanos and they all use mostly the same parts.

    BTW, one of my Carcanos is a wall-hanger - no shame there; it's serving a useful purpose:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
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  4. BVZ24

    BVZ24 Member

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    Here are some additional pictures. Let me know if I need more or better.

    I also noticed that my bolt face does not close straight with the extractor attached, and it wobbles on close with the extractor out, which seems to me like a headspace issue.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. BVZ24

    BVZ24 Member

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    Those of you who have worked with RTI before, what are my chances if I contact customer service? Do they typically exchange for a rifle in better condition?
     
  6. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Is this one of what they classify as a "C-grade" rifle? Note they state for these rifles: "These firearms are not eligible for exchange or return. They are sold as is!"
    IMO they make it pretty clear that you're on your own, but I wouldn't blame you for trying. In my case I didn't, so I have no insight to offer. Instead, I just looked on it as a "project" and resolved myself to accept the best-case outcome of my own efforts.
     
  7. BVZ24

    BVZ24 Member

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    They called it fair/good.
    The policy says they will send a label for exchange due to dangerous defect (locking lugs?) Or I could pay shipping for cosmetic issue exchanges.
    The project path is where I believe I'm heading. Assuming the receiver's lugs are sound, I have been able to find sources for bolt bodies and bolt faces.
    I might just take a shot at learning hand lapping to see what happens to the bore.
     
  8. tark

    tark Member

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    Whether or not you "won or lost" depends on how much you paid for the rifle. It looks to me to be in pretty bad shape. Pushing a bullet through that bore, jacketed or lead, is going to leave a lot of metal fouling.
     
  9. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Woof! Good Lord that bore is a mess. The last time I saw a tunnel that rough Indy was running for his life:

    C9637BD1-30F6-4F3C-B442-E4336BB52BDB.jpeg

    Sad to say, but I think the numbers may have added up to total a “wall hanger” future for that rifle.

    No personal experience with Royal Tiger, but enough people have had so-so experiences with them that I never will buy from them.

    https://www.bbb.org/us/fl/melbourne/profile/overstock-merchandise/royal-tiger-imports-inc-0733-90251581/complaints

    Stay safe.
     
  10. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Wow. That barrel gives new meaning to the term "sewer pipe."
     
  11. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    Seen pics of goats jumping/urinating/defecating/ on piles of rifles stacked in an open warehouse in africa. Been there prolly before before ww2.
     
  12. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Oh, but doesn't goat urine clean out those corrosive powder deposits? :rofl:
     
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  13. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    That rifle is past it day of shooting. Check with RTI to see if they will exchange it. If they do, be prepared to get another rifle of the same quality or less.
     
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  14. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    Oof. That looks rough.
     
  15. tark

    tark Member

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    Cat urine works much better.
     
  16. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Maybe, but Uli found goats:
     
  17. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    The wear pattern on the lugs is bad. If this wear is where the lugs seat against the receiver, this is very, very bad.

    [​IMG]

    From this picture I would say that the bearing surface is worn and deformed. This is very dangerous as this sort of wear exposes case head. Good action design supports, as much as possible, the case head. There are limitations in how deep a cartridge can be seated, an extractor groove is highly desirable, as extraction is highly desirable. So there is always a bit of unsupported case head hanging out of the chamber. But when too much of the case head is unsupported, a case head rupture is likely, and dangerous.


    [​IMG]

    I think the best you can do is find a good condition bolt that will drop in, and the headspace adjusted, somehow. Later Lee Enfields, the headspace was adjusted by swapping bolt heads. Yours, is much older.
     
  18. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    My opinion having owned plenty of SMLE’s but never an MLE. That looks rough to me my friend. Clean it up the best you can bore wise and see how that looks after some work. A headspace gauge will be needed. I always read that the headspace on those rifles were generous to begin with for fouling purposes. When I used to fix up the SMLE’ I had a bunch of different size bolt faces that were numbered from the factory 1 thru 4 from what I remember. That is how proper headspace was achieved.
     
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  19. Nature Boy
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    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    Could you use Pabst Blue Ribbon as a substitute? ;)
     
  20. wbm

    wbm Member

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    NEVER! Pabst will corrode the bore! Why not just sacrifice a chicken and be done with it!
     
  21. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Well the cat urine would definitely taste better!
     
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