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  1. #1
    Member RWL's Avatar
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    Test firing rifle

    When you acquire a rifle that's new to you, other than checking headspace, what precautions do you take when firing it at the range the first time? I know from reading that there are receivers that have been reworked from parts that should have been disposed of, e.g. drill rifles or ones that have been in a fire. I will be using a public range although often this outdoor range has no other visitors. In the video sticky, the gunsmith holds it in his hands with the opening of the breech facing away from his body and fires. The ideal probably would be to attach it to an old tire, sandbag it and pull the trigger with a string while hiding behind a tree, but that option isn't available. In my case, it's a Britishicon Enfield. Since these headspace on the rim, I was able to make a 0.074 gage and the bolt wouldn't close on it, so I know the headspace is within specs.


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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    If you have fears of even firing the rifle, then I wouldn't. A gunsmith will do all that. If it's ratty enough to warrant a fear it's going to high order when shot, maybe it shouldn't be...
    Regards, Jim

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    One tip which I do when I am an RO, especially when people are firing black powder pistols and rifles, is to wear a pair of clear goggles/glasses type which do not restrict your vision through telescopes or open sights, but one thing is for sure, after guns have fired I often have to clean the black spatter off the glasses and I am standing behind them at about 3 feet

    So in short my advice would be if you know nothing about this rifle previously and noone can vouch for it, let a "qualified" person who knows the Enfield look at it and take his advice, but my tip would always be protect your eyes regardless!!
    Last edited by Gil Boyd; 05-22-2018 at 01:59 PM.
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    It does not hurt to pull it down to see whats going on underneath the metal work like condition of the draws also is the collar fitted to the front of the trigger guard.
    You can then give it the RLO/Turps treatment, once I had a 303 that I took the shops word all was good until I fired it and found the case jammed in the chamber due to a rusted divot in the chamber wall which the brass on the side of the case expanded into and stopped it ejecting only after bashing the handle on a strainer post did it come out and all was revealed. so a bore scoping would not hurt either. (All peace of mind stuff........!)
    Re-barreled it we then got broken into it was stolen along with a 1200 series Parker Hale 22/250 yep thems the breaks..........
    Last edited by CINDERS; 05-23-2018 at 04:12 AM.

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    Thanks. I have had it out of the wood since it (SMLE No.1 Mk.III) is a sporter rescue. I didn't spot anything obviously amiss. No severe rust. As a sporterized rifle, presumably it was fired by a previous owner. I always wear glasses when shooting. With the occasional comments about rifles marked DP or which had been through a fire being refurbished by unscrupulous or unknowing and resold had me wondering how those of you in the gunsmithing trade or frequent buyers of used milsurps did to protect yourselves when test firing an unknown rifle for the first time.

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    Really Senior Member Sunray's Avatar
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    "...drill rifles or ones that have been in a fire..." DP rifles were DP'd for assorted reasons. Not all of which were the thing being unserviceable. A rifle that has been in a fire is 100% unsafe. Moreso if the wood had been burned.
    Otherwise, it's not a bad idea to slug the barrel after checking the headspace. Enfields can have barrels that are .311" to .315" and be ok. There are cast .314" bullets, but none bigger. Commercial jacketed are .311" or .312" only.
    You really need a set of proper gauges and not just a home made Field. The Field is the max gauge. It doesn't check the minimum. You can rent headspace gauges if it's a one time thing.
    Spelling and Grammar count!

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    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    I would echo getting her gunsmith checked and by someone who really knows Enfield's.

    If you have any doubts get her checked out.

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    Better safe than sorry!!
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    I would have thought that with all the people here firing old rifles that there would have been some examples of test setups that work. I've made a few inquiries elsewhere and combined a few suggestions to come up with a test rig that others may wish to copy or improve on. I screwed a 4x4 block to one end of a 1x6 plank as my test bed. I then screwed a layer of carpet on top of that to protect the finish of any milsurps I test. I took an approximately 16" - 18" wide strip of carpet about 4.5 ft long and wrapped it around the receiver and barrel and held that together with strapping tape. Although I tried to wrap this as tightly as I could, the rifle can still be slid in and out of the tube, so I can use this again without unwrapping the carpet. There are 4 wraps of carpet in this tube. I used masking tape to strap the rifle in its carpet guard tube to the test bed and tied the traditional string around the trigger and stood behind a block wall. Someone who works on guns says he has a test setup at home that consists of a piece of drain pipe set at an angle into soft ground. With the barrel inserted into this and wrapped with carpet or towels he has no significant sound when he fires. I had a 2" piece of Schedule 40 pipe but this cracked with the first shot, probably from the bullet glancing off the side, so I discarded the pipe and just shot directly into the bank across from the wall at my place.

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    Contributing Member enfield303t's Avatar
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    Some good advise however one should always wear eye protection when on a firing line, even as a observer. There can be numerous things that can go wrong so why take any chance.

    I had a incident two weeks ago, took a fall and hit the concrete floor at the local club. Hurt my knee big time, upper left rib cage big time but what saved my arse was I was wearing protective glasses that appear to have save my right eye as they had a deep mark across them where the muzzle/front sight would have hit my eye. I was lucky.
    Why use a 50 pound bomb when a 500 pound bomb will do?

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