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Beartooth Regular
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Anybody know what diameters the bores run on these rifles? I have a WW2 SMLE Rifle. Looking at that 170 gr. LBT Bullet.

Got this rifle from the wife of a friend who passed away a number of years ago. Just picked up a box magazine for it as it had none.

Anybody have experience with cast in these rifles? Looks like it has seen little use. It has a flip up sight in the rear that has a thumb wheel for elevation. Also has a raised cheek piece on the stock that was added on. The guy who owned it was French and I believe he brought it over from Europe long ago. I don't think he ever used it.

Thanks


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A friend of mine had an old 2groove barrel on one that slugged to .313". It wouldn't shoot jacketed to save your soul. That bore looked like a mirror. He sold it a long time ago, but I bet that thing would shoot properly sized cast real nice. We were only varmint hunters in those days. Didn't want to waste time tinkering with lead.
 

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Dear Friend...The normal groove for the .303 British is .312", but there was a lot of variation. Best slug the bore and order a bullet a thosandth or two larger. These rifles have a long throat and work best with the heavier weight bullets. The long neck and somewhat thin brass works great for cast since the lube grooves are covered. Many of the various "Marks" have oversize rear chambers. The best thing to do is to let the bullet push into the grooves slightly on the first loads. this will align the hull and it will expand evenly on all sides. After that neck size. Any cast loads for the .30-40 Krag works good in these rifles. The best of all for cast was the Lee Metford with the metford type lands and grooves, but to find one with a nice barrel is next to impossible. The early cordite loads were a horror on barrels. It seems like the slower powders work best and the thin brass on the necks expand well to seal with lower pressure loads. If I rember correctly the military load was a 215 gr spitzer @ 2010 '/" and can be duplicated. The sights were battle sights and will need a new blade filed to zero at 100 yards. After that the marks on the sight work fairly well.
Best Regards, James
Check that rifle to see if it was drilled and tapped for a side mount. The sniper rifles ahd an added cheek rest!!! jcg

(Edited by James Gates at 6:23 pm on Mar. 10, 2001)
 

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Hi, Contender:
  Good question. Bores can run from .311 up to maybe .317. Lands should be .303 but I've seen some swallow a bullet put in the muzzle. The 5 groove barrel makes measuring a slug tricky, and you need a special V block to do it right. Marshall might have one. In general, those with the adjustable sight like you've got are tighter than those with the two legged peep (300 & 600 yards).

 Which model is it? Sounds like a No. 4 Mk.I, but there are quite a few variations. Look on the left side of the receiver and note if it's been overstamped with something like No 4 Mk 1/2 (F) FTR. Does the serial number on the bolt handle match the number on the receiver? Look for a number (0-3) on the bolt head.

Bye
Jack    
 

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Hi, Contender:
The original load was a 215 round nose with black powder at about 1800  fps. They went through several marks, including the infamous Mk.IV Dumdum (got one right here). Mr. Gates is refering to the Mk. VI, pre WWI. The Mk VII was used in WWI until the Lee-Enfields went out of service in the 50's or 60's. The Mk. VII has a 174 grain spitzer at 2460 fps. General Hatcher in his notebook tells how it outranged the original .30-06 load in WWI.

  A friend has a set of books on almost every .303 military
load ever made. Yes, the throats are long, and the cordite and corrosive powders did rot them out. I've got a Martini in .303, made by W.P. Pape, a semi-famous English gun maker, that has no trace of rifling left. Your gun is new enough to have missed that stuff, I hope.

Bye
Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys for the wealth of info! What a great group we have here.

I checked the numbers and stampings on it as follows:

It is a #4 MK I (T) stamped on the side of the left side of the receiver.

On the Receiver "Band" at the buttstock it's stamped "M 47 C" and "1944" underneath that is I would think the serial # "A37XXX" it matches the number on the bolt. Underneath the serial# is "TR". There are numbers and stampings at the muzzle too as follows:

".303   2.22" and "NP"  and "18.5 Tons"

"England" is stamped on the front of the receiver band at the chamber area.

There is a number"1" stamped on the bolt head. Also "M47C" again. (This number appears in a few places on the rifle also)

It has a type of flip up rear aperature sight with a detent click thumb screw for elevation. Graduated from "2" to "13",

It also has two mounts on the left side of the receiver for what looks like some type of scope mount. The stock is full length with lengthwise grooves on the handguard up to the mid barrel stock band. At the mid barrel band there are 2 brass buttons on each side of the band. The stock appears to be loose or free floating maybe. Barrel appears to be a 5 groove as near as I can tell. Barrel and chamber appears spotless and shiny with no pitting.

Overall condition appears very good with some stock dings but blueing intact with no rust. Some metal with minor dings and scratches.


I will have to maybe do a chamber/throat cast and slug the bore for size.

Sorry for the book but my interest is piqued.

Regards



:cool:

(Edited by Contender at 12:18 am on Mar. 11, 2001)


(Edited by Contender at 12:23 am on Mar. 11, 2001)
 

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Jack...His rifle sounds like a "Rifle No. 4 Mark 1 (T)" with that added cheekpiece and the two scope mount holes? What do you think? Did those have select barrels, etc? Regards, James
 

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Hi, Guys:
  I'm not a first class Lee-Enfield collector, but I know some. I asked one old boy about that overstamp on mine. It was like asking an old peacher about the Lord's Prayer. More about it later.

  Some quotes from "The Lee-Enfield Rifle" by Major E.G.B.
Reynolds follow. "On 12th February, 1942, the No. 4 Rifle, Mark I (T) was introduced as the new sniping equipment for the British Service, the rifle being fitted with the new No. 32 Mark I telescope sight."  "The rifle, with telescope fitted, was then submitted to its accuracy test, which was to place seven out of seven shots into a 5-in. circle at a range of 200 yards. When possible, rifles were also tested at 400 yards, when six out of seven had to go into a 10-in. circle. Every rifle was also correctly zeroed with both telescope and Mark I backsight, with which they were fitted for use in case of emergency."  "From 22nd September, 1942, the work of conversion was carried out by Messers. Holland & Holland, the well-known London gunsmiths." "To facilitate indentification, and to avoid incorrect assembly, each rifle was marked with the number of its telescope; this being stamped on the flat portion of the butt behind the cocking- piece. Eventually wooden cheek-pieces were fitted to the butts as further aids to the sniper."

   Looks like you've got a winner. It's too bad the scope's missing. I'd bet a box of Marshall's bullets that it's worth more than the rifle.

   Get a neck-sizing die, a box of Sierra 180 gr. # 2310 bullets and work up to 43 grains of 4320. Even money it shoots to the sights. Those accuracy test were done with wartime production ammo.  Sierras shot in the best of the best should cut groups to under a minute of angle, particulary if the legendary Major Fulton worked it over.

  Watch for a drastic change in elevation when you're working up loads. The action isn't rigid and some powders will move the group 6" at 100 yds with a 2 grain change and others won't. It all depends on your rifle as to what it likes. If you can't get Sierras to group, try some 165 gr. Nosler Partitions. Yes, they're .308 and no, I'm not kidding.

  As for factory loads, I've had good luck with 150 gr. Federals.


   Headspace was adjusted by fitting different sized bolt heads. Your #1 is the second shortest. My #3 is .641" long, bolt face to shoulder. The Lee-Enfield's chambers are grossly oversized so you could stuff in dirty ammo on the battlefield. Everybody gets a longer bolt head to tighten headspace and #3 heads are scarcer than hen teeth.

  The half-cock position locks the bolt, the trigger AND the left side safety. If you take the safety off for cleaning, be certain you've got the inside piece correctly threaded back onto the lever. It's mite tricky.

   Got to go now. I'll fill in the blanks later.

Bye
Jack    


(Edited by Jack Monteith at 11:53 am on Mar. 11, 2001)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks a lot Jack.

Yes there is a number stamped in the buttstock behind the cocking piece. It's four digits. I may have to inquire as to the existance of a scope for this rifle from where I got it.

I have a question about the cocking piece. It appears that you can manually pull back the firing pin plunger to a "half cock" and then to a "full cock" position. Is this what that is for? I'm also assuming the lever on the left side of the plunger is the safety catch.

Also found the serial number for the gun stamped into the underneath of the forend near the muzzle.


Thanks again guys!

Ray


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Nice find!!!   Great info too gentlemen.... many thanks!   What a great bunch here on the forum!  

Blessings to all!

Marshall
 

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Hi, Guys:
 I'll add information by editing the last post. That will work better when I fill in the blanks from Major Reynolds book. I just hit the high points last time.
Bye
Jack
 

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Hi, Contender:
 Typing this stuff out of Major Reynolds' book is taking too long and too much space in the forum.  I turned on email. Send me your P.O. address and I'll photocopy the pertinent pages and mail them to you.

Bye
Jack
 

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There is a website for the 303 Enfield, but I don't have a URL. Steve Redgewell started it and was an armorer in the Canadian Army as I recall. You may run a search and try to locate it. An e mail to him might get you more info that the Yanks can't supply. Good Luck.
 

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Another excellent source for information on the Lee-Enfield can be found at www.home.cgi.net/~asmle/index.html

This is the Alaska Enfield Headquarters. Contender, if you want to authentically scope this "T," this would likely be a best bet. It won't be serialed to the rifle but at least you could get the correct type. It won't be cheap however.

BTW, kudos on the find. It sounds like a pre-'80s import, when T's were quite rare. Yours was made at the Maltby factory.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Bill, for the added info.

I wouldn't be surprised if this guy brought it over himself back then. Although I'm not sure how long he had it.

Yes, I've seen the scopes for this rifle and the attending prices for them. From what I can see the rifle itself is supposed to go for &#36300 to &#36400. However, I'm not sure as to condition. One guy had one for sale that was fully complete and with all the accoutrements for about &#361300.

I'll probably just end up cleaning it up a bit and doing some casual shooting with it. Has a tight action and a great looking chamber and bore. Has a nice peep site on it. Will look into casting up some 180's for it.


Regards


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Greetings Fourm
Every now and then I come accross a web site that is really above the rest. Beartooth is one for example. Another one is Stephen Redgwell's web site on the 303 British. If you need to know anything on the 303, he is your man. Check it out.
<a href="http://www3.sympatico.ca/shooters/303Page.htm

" target="_blank">http://www3.sympatico.ca/shooters/303Page.htm

</a>
 

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I have a No.4 mk1 that is marked US property.
The bore is .307" and the two grooves are .317".

I shot it first 3 years ago and it was keyholing surplus with .310" bullets in a 6" group.

I shot a group again last week with some 1974 surplus with .3105" bullets: 1.8" verticle string.
 
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