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Thread: Ishapore SMLE MKIII* - What's the Prognosis?

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    Member deadwood83's Avatar
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    Ishapore SMLE MKIII* - What's the Prognosis?

    Let me preface:

    I have had this rifle for about seven years, during which time it has had about 60 rounds of PPU through it.

    I have never accuracy tested it, merely shot at steel gongs (24"x24") out to 300yds.



    On a whim, I decided to get a borescope and see what it up, since it will be useful for my other milsurps from other countries.

    First thing to note: the camera turns everything bluish with the LEDs.

    Just with my ole failing MK1 eyeball, the bore looks dark, but I can see what looks like very strong rifling; so I stuck the camera inside and found this.

    Right before the crown (you can see the inner crown/bore)

    Going backwards from muzzle to chamber

    I have no idea what the bits sticking above the lands are. I would guess dust or fibers from a bore mop after failing to remove copper?

    Chamber

    Throat


    Apologies, the pictures arent great, but they are the limit of my dirt cheap USB borescope.

    The rifle is all numbers matching in same font, appears to be Ishapore refit in 40 and again in 41 (left side) Forend is missing numbers, but sight leaf, bolt, barrel (sort of?), nosecap, and action are all matching. THe Magazine is force matched with a straight line through the old serial. Not sure if the rifle started in Ishapore since the left hand side of the receiver is marked 'Enfield Rifleicon MKIII 3332 U.K. or something similar. Very hard to read.

    Anyway, the barrel is part of the refit because on the underside of the chamber there is a different serial stamped in. Is this barrel worth using, or is it scrap? There are NOS MK3 barrels out there for under $200USD so if I can extend the rifle's life, I might hit up BDLicon and see what he can do.

    I'm just not sure how this looks compared to your average FR rifle or if its even worth shooting. And what the heck are those things going across the lands?!


    I know I will need to scrub the bore and chamber more, but would greatly appreciate any input folks can provide. Thanks! Yes, I believe that is still some grease in the rails and extractor groove.
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    Contributing Member NORTHOF60's Avatar
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    How many times did you hit and miss the 24" x 24" steel plate?
    Some do, some don't; some will, some won't; I might ...

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    I think the bore just needs copper out and a newish bore brush. Lots of elbow grease...I'd love to see the actual shade of the bore though. I'll bet there's nothing wrong. The pic of the crown doesn't show much rifling though.
    Regards, Jim

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    Member deadwood83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NORTHOF60 View Post
    How many times did you hit and miss the 24" x 24" steel plate?
    Honestly couldn't tell you. According to my log book I got this one back in 2014 and I believe the range with steel closed in 2016 so that is stretching my memory quite a bit. I think if it were a really low percent I would have remembered it.

    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    I think the bore just needs copper out and a newish bore brush. Lots of elbow grease...I'd love to see the actual shade of the bore though. I'll bet there's nothing wrong. The pic of the crown doesn't show much rifling though.
    Yeah the rough 'bullet test' shows it is not 100% gone but maybe 50-70% worn per the EnfieldAccurising youtube channel.


    I need to play with the borescope more to see if I can adjust the white balance at all because I also want to know the coloration. I rolled the dice on an RTI No4 "Original Condition" goat herder's stick from Ethiopia; which might be the better rifle for any rebarrel/parts swap depending on condition since I really like the light patina on the SMLE.


    One funny bit. When the rifle was FR'ed either the first (or second time? that 40 is interesting to me) the pitting on the rear socket was clearly present because RFI put the asterisk above the lettering (just visible below the safety screw).


    Sadly the original markings were scrubbed at time of FR (I think?) like many Ishapore rifles I have seen.


    This mark I am having a difficult time finding more examples of. Right below the import marker on the left side of the receiver. Not sure if it is original to the rifle. I think it says "NO.1MKIII .303B U.K."


    Either way, I'll pick up some copper defouler and new bore brush as well as figure out a good steam pipe (for rust conversion) since there are minor spots of surface corrosion I have been pausing by just oiling them while it sits. I'll work on the white balance and re-scope the bore after copper removal.

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    It it hits what you're aiming at, I wouldn't worry what it looks like. If the muzzle is the only worn part, counter bore it.

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    After cleaning, and adjusting white balance, I believe I have no cause for concern. The bits bridging the lands are just pittinggoing all the way across. Is the bore as pretty as the exterior? No, not really. Cleaning brought back some shine so there is some smooth metal in there.

    The white balance is adjusted on my display to show neutral while under the influence of f.lux; meaning my display color balance is severely impacted to have a white point of about 2500K as I type this due to being some hours past sunset.

    I DO have a rifle with a rather rotten bore, my Budapest -> Czechicon -> Steyr M95 Stutzen. For reference, it is below.

    I don't think the M95 has a single square mm of smooth, white metal in the bore but it does seem to have a decent amount of rifling all the way to the muzzle.

    White balance is better because i tuned that during mid-day.

    Well, now I can focus on the wood of the enfield. I'll find some natural turpentine and RLO for cleaning it up. It still oozes preservative oils when it gets warm and does indeed smell of cosmolene instead of the UKicon preservative grease. Smells exactly like my Norinco SKS and my Brother's hex Mosin.

    I rolled the dice on an ethiopian K98icon and No4 Mk1 from RTI. Took screenshots of the webpages, made printed PDFs of the webpages, and paid by credit card so here's hoping I don't get taken for a ride. This morning I augmented my swiss collection by giving the K31s an older sibling. A 1918 G11 from Simpsons. I really like dealing with those folks. This will be my third rifle mfg'ed in 1918 which is also the date of my maternal grandfather's birth, so that's cool (to me). He served in the Pacific as a Sea Bee, the Swede was in the north, the M95 in central Europe. So my 1918 global collection is just missing a South American Mauser and something from Africa built around then. (Musket maybe?) Idk, some of my collection criteria is a bit odd lol.


    Thanks again for everybody's input. Once I have everything all clean and get some time off work I'll see how the SMLE shoots on paper (though I am a little scared to learn hahahaha)

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    Member deadwood83's Avatar
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    Today, on "This Old Wood"

    Well, the forestock is not looking promising. I see substantial work ahead. I see enough work ahead, that I ordered a set from Prestigious Wood Stocks to use for shooting.

    Also, this poor thing needs a really good boiling/steaming as you will see later.

    First up, a brief overview. I think it's rather pretty. Nowhere near pristine, it's definitely lived a hard life. Right side of the socket is scrubbed, which seems to be common from Ishapore FR rifles from what reading I can find.


    There is evidence of an armorer's work, though there are no markings on the wood except for an 'M' at the base of the butt, and an 'X' under the forestock.


    Sadly, that armorer was long gone when the wood started to degrade. It looks like maybe... beech? I'm thinking either that or meranti (Phillipines Mahogany)


    The draws are..... gone. There was a thick black goo where they should be and I think it's a mix of grease and pulped wood. The fit was so loose that the forestock just lifted straight off with the rifle in my lap. No tapping, no wiggling, just loose release.


    I'm not sure if my woodworking is good enough to properly save this one. So it will get some RLO and each piece will be individually wrapped for storage until a time when I decide to either have an expert perform accurate arsenal repairs, or just kept with the rifle for posterity. I may elect to do the armorer repairs myself after I get some practice doing the same to my M95; which will happen after I practice doweling and clamping spare timber.

    I elected to go with prestigious wood stocks instead of period pieces, because if I ruin those it's not as big of a deal.

    Next up... metal.

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    Member deadwood83's Avatar
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    Pre-Boil/Steam

    There is minor pitting.... everywhere. Small amounts of active corrosion which need to be neutralized. Lots of broad arrows.

    It's a boy!


    Bottom of Knox shows a number which does not match the upper stamped barrel serial nor the receiver serial. Faint parking of "__40." not sure if the barrel was put on in 40 or 41 since the socket has both sequences 'after' the FR.


    The bolt was force-matched to the rifle likely at the same time as one of the FRs. Bolt seems to be on the long end of acceptable over-rotation. The extractor is crazy sharp. I will need to dress that gently or replace. Some pitting is evident around the primer region, in-line with the condition of the bore. Bolt lugs remove an even amount of marker when engaged with a case fired in this rifle.

    Striker protrusion measures at exactly .0455" but is slightly under-diameter at .067" compared to spec .076". Not sure how vital that is.

    I am too cheap to buy headspace gauges for a single rifle, so I made my own. 3d printed the 'base' of a case and rim after measuring and CAD'ing a fired case, leaving slightly undersized holes (1.4mm) around the periphery of the rim. I then cut off bits of TIG welding rod, heated slightly in boiling water, inserted into the holes, then finished by grinding until each one measured .074" from flush with 'front' of 'rim' to 'rear' of 'rim.' The bolt would not close with reasonable force. It's a one-time use tool, but it basically held three steel 'pins' each measuring .074" spaced evenly around the periphery of the chamber face perpendicular to the bolt face so I'm calling it good.



    The trigger has a whooooooole lot of side-to-side play. Examination and experimentation shows to the right side (from the butt) is either overbored or wallowed out. This would make sense from a wear perspective considering that a right-handed shooter is likely to put leftward pressure on the trigger during the pull. It's pretty bad, and you can feel the trigger start to self-adjust and then sort of gently slot into place on the ribs during the first stage of pull. Both sides of the guard are warped front to back across the magwell. I'm not sure what sort of soft jaws will be strong enough to straighten but soft enough to not damage it.


    The mag is all 'lined out' and force matched to the rifle, but it is 'lined out' with.... ones?

  12. #9
    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    That has to be one of the nicest Indian MKIII's I've seen. Not sure what all the fuss is about. Wipe it down, oil it and enjoy it. It isn't a new rifle and never will be one again.

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    I'd get onto the split at the back of the forewood that would be a starting point seeing as its an RFI you could look at using a No.4 tie plate as I have seen MKIII's sporting the said plate others may chime about doing that along with repairing the split, also another hairline split going up the forestock near the trigger guard collar front may be nothing but always worth investigating.
    PL has stated when making things right ensure you use aircraft grade epoxy when working with the woods.

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