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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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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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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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