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  1. #1
    Contributing Member AT7WE2's Avatar
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    '42 BSA No4 Mk1 restoration project

    Hello,



    This is my first Lee Enfield and really my first "restoration" project. My son and I enjoy shooting and learning about old firearms, particularly WWII. This won't be a properly documented restoration thread since I didn't really take any "before" pictures. I've been working on the rifle off and on as time permits for several weeks. I believe I have the mechanical issues sorted out so now I'm moving on to the cosmetic issues - particularly the woodwork.

    I acquired this rifle from my brother-in-law when he decided he didn't have the time or interest in fixing it. When I took possession of the rifle, it had a sporterized fore-stock, crudely sanded butt-stock (I believe it is the original butt-stock), no magazine, mangled threads on the striker and no striker retaining screw. I have replaced the striker and striker retaining screw and purchased a replacement magazine.

    Here's a few pictures showing most of what I'm working with. Please chime in if you have any observations about the markings or anything else you notice. Like I said, I'm new to Lee Enfield Riflesicon so I'm trying to learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can.

    Thanks!
    AT7WE2


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    Really Senior Member Salt Flat's Avatar
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    AT7, I am working on a similar project (Longbranch). The fore stock seems to be the hard part to find. I had to do a splice job on a sported fore stock. Is your barrel original length? Keep us updated! Thanks! Salt Flat

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    Contributing Member AT7WE2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salt Flat View Post
    AT7, I am working on a similar project (Longbranch). The fore stock seems to be the hard part to find. I had to do a splice job on a sported fore stock. Is your barrel original length? Keep us updated! Thanks! Salt Flat
    Salt Flat - Thanks for the reply. Yes, my barrel is the original length. And yes, I have also found that the fore stock is the most difficult and expensive piece to acquire. Would be great if someone would start making nice repro's, preferably out of walnut. I managed to purchase a full-stock set from Apex at what looked like an excellent price based on what I've seen elsewhere. I had been checking Apex and several other online surplus parts vendors for weeks and everyone was out of stock. Then I checked Apex's site early one morning and they showed just 2 in stock - so I jumped on one immediately! That's the good news.

    The bad news is, in my haste to get the new (to me) stock on my rifle, I did not do any research on how Lee Enfield stocks work and fit. I had had some difficulty getting the action to seat in the fore stock so, after identifying a couple of interference points.....I broke out the Dremel tool and partially ground off the draws. This was several weeks ago and I have since figured out the error of my ways. So now, one of my top priorities is to fix my own "bubba-hack-job" and repair the draws. Fortunately, I didn't touch ANYTHING else with the Dremel and I have since put the Dremel back in the tool box where it belongs.

    I've watched every video I can find about repairing the draws, but I believe I may need some one-on-one input from members here. I will post some pictures of what I now have to work with as soon as I have a chance to get back out in the shop to work on my rifle.

    Thanks,
    AT7WE2

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    Member Agambard1990's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AT7WE2 View Post
    Salt Flat - Thanks for the reply. Yes, my barrel is the original length. And yes, I have also found that the fore stock is the most difficult and expensive piece to acquire. Would be great if someone would start making nice repro's, preferably out of walnut. I managed to purchase a full-stock set from Apex at what looked like an excellent price based on what I've seen elsewhere. I had been checking Apex and several other online surplus parts vendors for weeks and everyone was out of stock. Then I checked Apex's site early one morning and they showed just 2 in stock - so I jumped on one immediately! That's the good news.

    The bad news is, in my haste to get the new (to me) stock on my rifle, I did not do any research on how Lee Enfield stocks work and fit. I had had some difficulty getting the action to seat in the fore stock so, after identifying a couple of interference points.....I broke out the Dremel tool and partially ground off the draws. This was several weeks ago and I have since figured out the error of my ways. So now, one of my top priorities is to fix my own "bubba-hack-job" and repair the draws. Fortunately, I didn't touch ANYTHING else with the Dremel and I have since put the Dremel back in the tool box where it belongs.

    I've watched every video I can find about repairing the draws, but I believe I may need some one-on-one input from members here. I will post some pictures of what I now have to work with as soon as I have a chance to get back out in the shop to work on my rifle.

    Thanks,
    AT7WE2
    As someone who is new to Enfield restorations as well, I feel your pain. It is easy to make mistakes, but few things are irreversible if you take your time. I've learned my lesson the hard way a couple of times. Don't beat yourself up. I don't have any specific advice, just some words of motivation! Good luck!

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    Some one has started to make No1 MkIII ones they are advertised on usedguns here @$450 set. Do not know if they make the No.4 sets.

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    Member gc1054's Avatar
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    The draws repair is a common requirement on Enfield forends. Suggest using oak as the replacement material as well as referencing Peter Laidlericon's "Worn draws" article. It is a really good reference & if you're patient & have basic woodworking skills the job will turn out well. Lots of forum members have done this work so there is no lack of information & support available. And, if all else fails Brian at BDLicon can do the job for you and it will be perfect.

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    Contributing Member AT7WE2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agambard1990 View Post
    As someone who is new to Enfield restorations as well, I feel your pain. It is easy to make mistakes, but few things are irreversible if you take your time. I've learned my lesson the hard way a couple of times. Don't beat yourself up. I don't have any specific advice, just some words of motivation! Good luck!
    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I really enjoy tinkering on stuff like this, but I cringe at the thought of messing up a historic piece.

    ---------- Post added at 01:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:22 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by CINDERS View Post
    Some one has started to make No1 MkIII ones they are advertised on usedguns here @$450 set. Do not know if they make the No.4 sets.
    Cinders - I have seen those online. But I have not seen any reproduction No4 stocks - yet. I have seen a few original No4 Mk1 stocks go for about that price - OUCH!!

    AT7WE2

    ---------- Post added at 01:34 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:24 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by gc1054 View Post
    The draws repair is a common requirement on Enfield forends. Suggest using oak as the replacement material as well as referencing Peter Laidlericon's "Worn draws" article. It is a really good reference & if you're patient & have basic woodworking skills the job will turn out well. Lots of forum members have done this work so there is no lack of information & support available. And, if all else fails Brian at BDLicon can do the job for you and it will be perfect.
    gc1054 - thanks for mentioning Mr. Laidler's article. I've read his article and a couple of others. I've watched as many videos on the topic as I could find. At the end of the day though, I don't have the skills or the tools to pull that off. At this point, I am planning on "bedding" the action with an epoxy bedding compound. I'm not confident about this process either, but it at least *looks* like something I can do. That said, I'm still researching how to properly bed the action and do it in such a way as to achieve the correct pressure at all the correct points of contact. I'm still trying to figure that part out.

    As for having someone do it for me, I may have to contact Brian and see if that's a better option. Thanks for mentioning him!
    Last edited by AT7WE2; 05-05-2019 at 03:38 PM.

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    Really Senior Member englishman_ca's Avatar
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    Epoxy bedding is a popular way of 'acurising' a rifle. however, it was never a prescribed method in service.

    I spend a lot of time restoring Lee Enfields undoing what others have done to 'improve' the rifle, bedding is one of the things on which I spend an inordinate amount of time.

    Whenever I get a new-to-me project rifle to restore and I pull off the wood to check it out, unless it is an obvious regulated target rifle and I find epoxy bedding, the stock goes straight into the junk drawer for future use or trade.

    IF you know what you are doing, then good on you, we will look forward to seeing the results in your range report. If you are new to stocking up the Lee Enfield, then good luck, it will be trial and error for you to get any kind of accuracy out of it.

    I am not to trying to discourage you, quite the opposite, but I always try to use original period materials and techniques..

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    Contributing Member AT7WE2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by englishman_ca View Post
    Epoxy bedding is a popular way of 'acurising' a rifle. however, it was never a prescribed method in service.

    I spend a lot of time restoring Lee Enfields undoing what others have done to 'improve' the rifle, bedding is one of the things on which I spend an inordinate amount of time.

    Whenever I get a new-to-me project rifle to restore and I pull off the wood to check it out, unless it is an obvious regulated target rifle and I find epoxy bedding, the stock goes straight into the junk drawer for future use or trade.

    IF you know what you are doing, then good on you, we will look forward to seeing the results in your range report. If you are new to stocking up the Lee Enfield, then good luck, it will be trial and error for you to get any kind of accuracy out of it.

    I am not to trying to discourage you, quite the opposite, but I always try to use original period materials and techniques..
    I appreciate the reality check. I am not familiar with restocking the Lee Enfield which is why I took a Dremel tool to my replacement stock several weeks ago. I regret my impatience there. I have since learned a fair bit about how the rifle's action and stock interface and how they were designed to work. When I first realized what I had done, my initial intent was to address the issue by epoxy bedding the rifle. I now realize bedding a Lee Enfield takes skill, knowledge and patience. I absolutely understand a purist approach of using original materials and methods. That would be my first choice. However, I don't have the wood working tools or skills to cut out the damaged draws and replace them with new wood. As of this post, I have a forearm in need of new draws and probably some other fitting. I may set this one aside and try to find another unmolested forend and go from there (leaving the Dremel in the tool box!) or I may go ahead and try epoxy bedding it myself. Then again, with how busy my schedule has been lately, I might just give-in and send it off to a professional for repair and fitting - but that's a pretty expensive option.

  13. #10
    Really Senior Member englishman_ca's Avatar
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    No doubt, your fore end is repairable. Perhaps not something for a novice, but how does one get good at anything without practice?

    The draws can be patched with wood, the procedure is documented on a few places on the internet. Some good advice, and some not so good. But it is a simple concept to grasp. It sounds like that you have got it figured out already.

    If you dont have the skills or tools to do it, then just put the stock aside. Reflect on the lessons learnt and leave it for another day in the future. You might get into these Lee Enfields and have a go at repairing it later as your knowledge grows. Repairing the draws is nothing magic, but it does need sharp tools and patience, and practice.

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