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10064 Views 16 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  thumbuster
Anybody else enjoy cracking a few rounds off with a Lee-Enfield? IMHO the fastest bolt action ever built.
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If only I could..... Picked up one that was supposed to be in 'very good' condition. My gunsmith was able to slip 3 .005 shims on top of a shell and close the bolt. and the lugs and facings are badly worn. But its a nice 'hanger'.

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has/does anyone out there ever heard anything good or bad about the enfields that have been made into .410 shotguns???
i'm thinking about getting one. (just to have it) but was wondering about the bore/barrel. any help or comments welcomed.
I have one that I got last year for 49.00
took 2 deer with it last season,son has claimed it for himself
we enjoy shooting it
i own two smle's. one's been converted into a sporter been cut down to 19" and another original. the action is amazingly smooth. others have said only the krag-jargensen are smoother but to me enfields are the smoothest. and the .303 is a potent round. i'm gonna take mine for moose this year and see how it does with 180 power points as these shoot the best in my rifles. enjoy it. it's a great old rifle
:?: Vic...
What was your moose hunt like? Get a shot? .303 performance?
I have a couple 303's is why I'm curious.
///olde 8) pharte///
i'm sure it would've worked well except i never saw a thing except a few partridge
Headspace was not a big deal in the Enfields, it seems. They headspaced on the rims, not the shoulder. The shoulders of the factory ammo is well back of the chamber shoulders.

Try to find some once-fired brass and neck size it. It will probably headspace well enough at the shoulder. We used to do this "trick" with all the $12.00 Smelly-Enfields all over the place in the early 1960s...most had bad headspace like yours.

i'll try that. still don't re load for it. i still want to try though
I have an old No4MK1 that I bought about 45 years ago. It had been sporterized and I had been invited to a Deer hunt in Jacksboro, Tx. I couldn't afford a deer rifle at the time so I picked up this old Enfield. It had been sitting in myl closet since then. Recently I sold my Remington 30-06 so I decided to give this gun another look as a possible deer rifle. I cleaned it up, took it to my gunsmith and had him look it over. Surprisingly it is in very good condition so I'll take her out to the range and see how she shoots. The receiver on this gun is marked U.S. Property. I was surprised to find that on a British made gun. Didn't know that the U.S used any of them. Is there a source to find the manufacture date based on the serial No. ?
if it is marked US Property it wasn't British made. It was made by Savage and given to the UK under the Lend Lease Act of 1941.

US PROPERTY mark ID’s this rifle as part of “Lend Lease”, “flaming bomb” US Ordnance stamp, large “S” for Savage, and model designation.

So it was that Savage Arms Corporation in Massachusetts got a contract to produce Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I* rifles. Savage produced over 1 million No 4 Mk I* rifles between 07/22/41 and 06/22/44. The exact number is in dispute, however, all sources do agree the total was far in excess of 1 million.

Most Savage rifles were produced with 2 groove barrels. However, a few 6 & 4 groove examples have been observed.

The * indicates a simplified bolt release feature. This feature was approved to expedite the manufacture of rifles. Instead of having to pull the bolt back and press a spring loaded release tab, the * rifles have a spot relieved in the action by a simple milling operation. In practice, the bolt is slid forward (under spring pressure) until the bolt head is aligned with the relieved spot. The operator can now push up the pivoting bolt head assembly. Once the bolt body & head assembly are aligned, the bolt can be withdrawn. Reverse the process to re-install the bolt.
Thanks for the history lesson. It all makes more sense now. My rifle is just as you described including the flaming bomb, the * and the bolt removal.
I don't have one now had a few in the past, I need a beat up sporter now, anybody got one to part with.
I've got four SMLE's. A Mark III no. 1 that has the magazine cutoff that slides over the magazine, a MkIV, a Jungle Carbine and one of those that was rechambered in India for the 7.62 x 51 round (.308). The Indian rifle shoots around corners and keyholes. The Jungle Carbine while nifty looking shoots almost as badly. The Mark IV shoots fine, but god it's an ugly beast and my MkIII shoots fine and is my favorite.

You can easily adjust the head space of a SMLE. If you remove the bolt you will notice that the bolt face is screwed into the bolt body. If you unscrew it it will come out, the firing pin will be sticking out of the bolt body. English armorers kept a box full off bolt faces and using a go/no go gauge they'd afix the proper bolt face. The trouble is that the bolts were removed during storage and you may not get the correct bolt, so your headspace can be way off, but it's easy to fix if you have the right parts.

I think the neatest SMLE is the Mark III that has the WWI volley sights. They'd get up each morning and send a magazine full of rounds over to the German trenches. They figured the bullets were going the right direction and they might hit something. Since it's cock on closing and easy to pull open, it was pretty easy to work the action, but you have to push it home pretty hard. The WWI Tommies were taught rapid fire with them and they could get them to cycle almost as rapidly as a machine gun. Fifty guys firing like this could put out a lot of lead.

Mark VII .303 round made in Dum Dum India had lead cores inside of a gliding metal jacket. Tommies would nip off the ends so the bullets would open up on impact inflicting a wicked wound. Thus dum dum bullets which were made illegal. You can't kill'em that way.

Sometimes you'll find a SMLE with around a foot of wrapped copper wire about half way to the front sight. Those rifles used to be almost free. Really ugly. I've heard two stories why this was done. One was the wire made a handhold to make it a better club upon which to mount the bayonet and the other that the wire made it stronger or easier to hold when shooting rifle grenades. Don't know which is true, maybe both? Now I'd kinda like to have one. I've seen these rifles painted green from the breech forward! Weird.

Most (I think) Mark IV rifles are painted black and not blued or parkerized. Cheaper I guess. I suppose you could removed the old paint with Jesso paint remover and repaint it with glossy black paint. The original paint looks pretty glossy to me, but flat back would look better. No matter how much you paint it however the MK IV SMLE has got to be one of the ugliest rifles ever made.

If you go to Britain and talk to an old soldier who shot one of these rifles he'll wax nostalgic if you tell him you own one. The average Brit can't you see. Poor bastards. Hope it never happens here.
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the wire wrap was to keep from blowing the hand guards off while launching grenades
banshee said:
the wire wrap was to keep from blowing the hand guards off while launching grenades
Thanks for the info Banshee. I'd heard something like that about 25 years ago, but had forgotten the details.
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