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Thread: Bullets tumble upon exit from barrel.

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    Member ZT1995's Avatar
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    Bullets tumble upon exit from barrel.

    Greetings all, first post and I am new to Lee-Enfields so please be kind 😁 I recently purchased a No. 4 Mk 1/2 and had my first range session yesterday. I fired a total of 60 rounds of PPU 174gr FMJ BT at 50 yards. I am by no means an excellent marksman, but only about 30 rounds landed on the torso-sized paper. Those that did make it onto the target appear to be tumbling as the holes are in the shape of the profile of the bullet. Iím looking for advice for what my next step should be. From what Iíve gathered reading other threads, my options are:
    1. Try to find production ammo that uses flat-based bullets. I have read other posts suggesting this could work better with the 2-groove rifling in my barrel.
    2. Re-crown the barrel (which doesnít look terrible to my amateur eye).
    3. Load my own ammo (which I was hoping to not have to do, but would be open to starting).
    4. Re-barrel the rifle, which seems like it would cost more than I paid for the rifle itself ($400).

    Any and all advice is welcome, thank you!
    Last edited by ZT1995; 05-23-2020 at 09:13 AM.

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    Go the top right corner of the web site and type in the "Search Milsurps.Com" box, something like "bullet tumbling" and check the results.

    There's a ton of excellent old threads, many about Enfields, that you may find helpful.



    Example: Bullet tumbling

    Regards,
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    Contributing Member Atticus Thraxx's Avatar
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    And if I could add to Badgers advice, learn to reload. Besides the economic advantage over buying retail, you also control the quality. Absorbing all this site and others have as far as advice, tips, precautions and what have you will take shave off the initial apprehension. But I so enjoy the process and it's one of those things that you'll see the effort you put in will have results, and equally true when you try and hurry or cut corners or just don't pay enough attention, those are learning moments too. Hopefully without causality. Learning to reload just opens up a whole other dimension to the sport,.

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    Do the poor mans muzzle gauge get a loaded round stand the rifle on its butt with the bolt open preferably removed then put the pointy end of the projectile into the muzzle and see how far it enters the bore if it leaves about 1/8" - 3/16" of bullet showing before touching the brass neck then the muzzle is not to bad.
    You would then look to see if it has cord wear from the pull thru cord wearing out one side of the muzzle causing the gas to vent first from that side before the bullet has exited the barrel.

    If the projectile drops right in and the barrel crown is touching the case neck your done and dusted new NOS barrel, lothar walther or criterion barrel time, the rifle may also have excessive throat wear and if the projectile starts in the bore crooked it aint coming out straight either which ever way you look at it tumbling projectiles at 50 yards I'd say your barrel is stooofed...

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    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Also try the search word "Keyholing"

    Example :

    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=66628&page=1
    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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    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Two groove barrels are just as good as any other.

    Flat base bullets might solve the problem.

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    Really Senior Member GeeRam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CINDERS View Post
    which ever way you look at it tumbling projectiles at 50 yards I'd say your barrel is stooofed...
    Does seem the more likely scenario in the circumstances.....given using PPU ammo, which is the best available commercial ammo, other than finding some genuine milsurp Mk.VII which is not easy......and the fact that it was a $400 rifle, which in this day and age, is somewhat cheap for a No.4?

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    Really Senior Member RobD's Avatar
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    Keyholing is normally a sign of a shot-out barrel.
    Could you ask the seller to take it back on the basis that it doesn't do what it is meant to do,namely shoot properly?
    Next time, I could suggest: either ask to try it at the range before buying, or ask to see a 100 meter target which the rifle has shot.
    The fixes for this problem are either flat based bullets [virtually unobtainable] or cast over-sized bullets [for dedicated reloaders].
    Sorry about this.
    Rob

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    Thread Starter
    Bummer, I was hoping for some better news. I guess for now I will try to hunt down some flat-based ammo and hope for better results. If I donít have any success there I will look into Criterion or Lothar Walther for a new barrel. Thanks to everyone for the advice!

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    So, if you are confident that your aiming and holding was reasonably consistent, 40% of your rounds were not hitting a target about what, 20 inches wide at 50 yards? That's more like a shotgun than a rifle.

    Keyholing at 50 yards - that ain't right.

    You've visually inspected the bore and it appears to have decent rifling and be straight with no bulges etc.?

    A Mk1/2 is a post-war refurb, so likely to be a half decent barrel...

    Have someone who you know is a very good shot put some rounds through it and see what result they get with that ammo, and have some flat base .303 ammo on hand for that person to try as well?

    If that person gets similar results you will need to investigate the condition further and some of us can help with that.
    Last edited by Surpmil; 05-23-2020 at 04:38 PM.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

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