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Thread: Lee-Enfield Bolt Difficulty

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  1. #1
    Member 303 Gunner's Avatar
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    Lee-Enfield Bolt Difficulty

    Hi guys, I recently picked up via the internet a No1 MkVI that had been fitted with a BSA No4 bolt matched to its A suffix serial number. I'm pleased with the rifle, but I'm not sure how the seller managed to get the bolt into the gun. The bolt head stops screwing in a couple degrees off from where it should unless you force it, then it just barely lines up. I've tried several of my spare bolt heads with the bolt body as well and they all do the same.

    Obviously, I'd rather not change out the bolt body, as it is fitted to the rifle, but I'm at a loss as to how to solve this problem. I've attached a couple photos as well.
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    I suppose you're here for a variety of opinions, so while we wait for the experts to wade in I'll offer mine: whoever fitted the bolthead decided to optimize the "over-turn" and therefore the "primary" extractor travel as per your description. Fitting was always "selective" on these from what I have read, meaning you kept trying until you found one that fitted. You could do that yourself if you have a selection of bolt heads to try or can get access to a box of them somewhere.

    IIRC removing material from the front face of the bolt body was a no-no, so your "correct" approach would be to chuck the bolthead in a lathe and remove what they call a "gnat's knacker" (sp?) of metal from the shoulder on the bolt head.

    If you wanted to bend the rules a bit you could put some coarse grinding compound on the mating surfaces and work them against each other until you get a bit more play.

    Before doing all that though, you might want to make sure the bolthead threads are moderately lubricated with a heavy oil or grease. That might make all the difference.

    My 2˘
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    This small amount of bolt head under turn is very common when fitting bolts. Its been noted in previous posts that armourers had a "bolt head spanner" usually made up during their apprenticeship that was used to work the bolt head until it just aligned with the bolt rib (best) or over turn by a degree or two (good).

    As noted above if you have access to a lathe you could skim cut the rear face of the bolt head but your's is pretty close already so you might try the method below.

    For lack of a "real" bolt head tool I clamp the stripped bolt body between boards in the vice and then use a small & padded open-end wrench (sized to fit the bolt head) to work the stripped bolt head back and forth until it aligns. Note that this takes a reasonable amount of effort when tightening & loosening so don't be hesitant to lean on the wrench a bit (but not with lug nut force!). After a good number of tight/loose cycles the bolt head will align.

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    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    Just an observation, but I see it's a Maltby bolt head, you don't see too many of those.

    Certainly only needing a gnats knackers worth of adjustment, it's vertually there.

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    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc1054 View Post
    This small amount of bolt head under turn is very common when fitting bolts. Its been noted in previous posts that armourers had a "bolt head spanner" usually made up during their apprenticeship that was used to work the bolt head until it just aligned with the bolt rib (best) or over turn by a degree or two (good).
    .

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    Mine are not the best, but they are not too bad. I can think of lots of Enfields I'd rather have but instead of constantly striving for more, sometimes it's good to be satisfied with what one has...

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    I'd lap it with a little valve grinding compound as Surpmil says above until it comes up with zero overturn. The spec for overturn is no more than 1/8". It won't take much so don't overdo it. The big question: Is the rest of the bolt assembly fitted properly and gauge in spec.? Be sure and read Peter Laidlericon's article here on fitting bolt assemblies and make sure before you do anything.

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    Thanks so much for all the responses! I will definitely check that the bolt body itself is fitted properly. You gentlemen, as always, are a great help!

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    Bolthead is M47C to me eyes
    "Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport if only the deer had guns." W. S. Gilbert.

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    Alan,

    Yep....that's one type of spanner for bolt head tweaking

    gc
    Last edited by gc1054; 02-11-2019 at 07:03 AM.

  17. #10
    Contributing Member David TS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surpmil View Post
    Bolthead is M47C to me eyes
    That's what it looked like to me too, i.e. BSA?


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