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  1. #11
    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    RobO

    I suspect that the demand for "original-configuration" rifles is driving a sizeable "de-sporterizing" movement. That there are at least three makers of No1 barrels on the planet is an interesting indicator

    I have "renovated" several No 1 and No 4 rifles in my time. One of the obvious indicators of this "movement" is the number of people offering "reproduction woodwork". Precision wood-machining is cheaper now than it has ever been for the small operator. Think through the operations to make something like the rear hand-guard "Spring" that clamps the rear hand-guard to the barrel.

    One such operation I talk with from time to time has, for the last few years, been quietly vacuuming up the "fiddly bits" that are screwed or riveted to the various timber components. The wood may be easy to duplicate (with the right gear and skills), some of those tiny screws and rivets would cost a fortune to make in penny packets, especially No1 series screws with their "Enfield-Special" threads. And every time some "enthusiast" removes a No1 outer band retaining screw without first carefully drilling out the staked out end of the screw, a new outer band will also be required.

    Anyone checked on the similar issues with Mauser and Arisakaicon buffs?
    Last edited by Bruce_in_Oz; 11-23-2021 at 01:05 AM.

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    A Collector's View - The SMLE Short Magazine Lee Enfield 1903-1989. It is 300 8.5x11 inch pages with 1,000+ photo’s, most in color, and each book is serial-numbered.  Covering the SMLE from 1903 to the end of production in India in 1989 it looks at how each model differs and manufacturer differences from a collecting point of view along with the major accessories that could be attached to the rifle. For the record this is not a moneymaker, I hope just to break even, eventually, at $80/book plus shipping.  In the USA shipping is $5.00 for media mail.  I will accept PayPal, Zelle, MO and good old checks (and cash if you want to stop by for a tour!).  CLICK BANNER to send me a PM for International pricing and shipping. Manufacturer of various vintage rifle scopes for the 1903 such as our M73G4 (reproduction of the Weaver 330C) and Malcolm 8X Gen II (Unertl reproduction). Several of our scopes are used in the CMP Vintage Sniper competition on top of 1903 rifles. Brian Dick ... BDL Ltd. - Specializing in British and Commonwealth weapons Chuck in Denver ... Buy-Sell-Trade .. Guns, Cars Motorcycles Your source for the finest in High Power Competition Gear. Here at T-bones Shipwrighting we specialise in vintage service rifle: re-barrelling, bedding, repairs, modifications and accurizing. We also provide importation services for firearms, parts and weapons, for both private or commercial businesses.
     

  4. #12
    Contributing Member mmppres's Avatar
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    Not sure why the parts are so crazy over your side of the pond. But for my side an me being a parts dealer. I have noticed prices climbing over the last few years. I feel partially due to no more imports. Lack of older gunsmith who know the product line. An i mean every type of military arm. seams every time I get asked to look at a gun smith estate lots of small parts are gone. Usually to the scrap yard. The younger generation has know clue what they are dealing with. Wood being burned as fire wood. I even have local yards on watch for parts. Was called by one as a fellow dropped off two 50gal drums of mixed spent brass along with 4 ammo cans of live ammo. Being a ffl dealer the yard owner wanted some ammo he could use. So we did some old fashion trading. But even my self has had to go to online buying to find a part for a restoration of a firearm. The days of parts piles an boxes at the guns shows under the tables are gone. I know as I attend a show every weekend none are there. I wish you all the luck as that stock set is wonderful.

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  6. #13
    Senior Member AD-4NA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce_in_Oz View Post
    RobO

    I suspect that the demand for "original-configuration" rifles is driving a sizeable "de-sporterizing" movement...Anyone checked on the similar issues with Mauser and Arisakaicon buffs?
    Yes it definitely is a craze right now, but setting aside craftsmanship and the special knowledge and workmanship that enfields specifically take to fiddle with, I see relatively few restorations done well percentage wise out in the general public. Now, before anyone hits me with that "such and such's weren't matching from the factory and armorers used whatever they could gets their hands to keep the logistics chain supplied" line, I mean combinations of parts that could not possibly exist in service. I noticed a lot of "restorations" that make no sense what they combined, including actually rare parts on common rifles they do not belong on. I have seen enough projects like these recently that the topic has been on my mind lately. I like projects and restorations and appreciate wanting to make everything right again and we're very lucky to have all of the vendors we do but some of the things out there are eye opening!


    On a similar or slightly off topic note I was even thinking about discussing a sticky or something for newcomers to Enfields and the hobby in general to be specifically aware regarding MkIII rifles and a warning to spend large amounts of money on those rifles wisely. (yeah right!)

    I feel that a majority or a large percentage of the MkIII rifles with volley sights that come up on the market today are clearly fake or questionable. Now I do not mean they were built with an intent to defraud, only that they were built up as a representative example or a restoration but many of them are built up on rifles that would not possibly still have volley sights or some other MkIII features, and then they get sold on down the line eventually as the full deal.
    Last edited by AD-4NA; 11-25-2021 at 03:39 AM.

  7. #14
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    In my opinion there are a lot of newcomers to the sport of vintage and service rifle shooting and to Lee Enfield “enthusiast” collecting. In my business we’d rebuild several no1s and no4s every month. We’ve done hundreds over the last several years most of them by me personally. There are more coming in than ever, and more in need or repair than ever.
    Today I bedded up 2 or 3 forends which we’d patched in the traditional method outlined on this forum by PL in articles years ago and still in a sticky.
    Lee Enfield shooting is healthily pursued here and around the world, and every newcomer thinks they can do it/fix it/ make it better themselves … if they just have the parts.
    So off they go to get the parts… oblivious to the fact that making it sing isn’t so much in the parts as in the fitting.


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  9. #15
    Contributing Member mmppres's Avatar
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    The same thing is being seen for Mauser an Springfields also M1icon grands

  10. #16
    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    And the wryly amusing part about the "fitting" of a No1 fore-end to the original "bedding"spec, is just an academic exercise these days.

    All that fiddling about inside the fore-end was to tune the rifle to standard Mk Vll ammo; a commodity in rapidly dwindling supply. So, it only really applies to purists who have an otherwise "pristine" and matching (apart from the nose-cap") sporter with, fingers crossed, a reasonable barrel.

    Finally, with the No1 rifle, they were essentially "hand -fitted". getting a barrel, body (receiver) bolt and bolt head to assemble such that left and right helical locking surfaces have the specified bearing / contact, the bolt head fits the bolt body without excessive "overturn" and teh whole bun-fight headspaces to PROPER spec, is a problem when using pre-loved parts of unknown provenance and ZERO access to the special gauges used to assess the components . It can be done, but, if you have a body that will NOT headspace correctly, it usually means that the locking surfaces are worn beyond tolerances (and the surface hardening is no longer in existence, to boot.

    Without the correct metrology, (a "Master" or "try" bolt), unobtanium exemplified, it is a bit tricky. Just to make it more interesting, unlike a No4, No1 rifles has ONE, count 'em, ONE standard bolt-head which was allowed to have a few thou variability in length, but were NOT marked for size. IF you ever find Lithgowicon-made No1 bolt heads with a letter code, they MAY be post WW2 production of incremental "longer" bolt heads introduced to squeeze the last bit of life out of the old warhorses, before the general distribution of the L1A1 rifle. If you have bolt heads with a letter"M" properly stamped on the "lug", that indicates "Mild steel", case-hardened, as opposed to the plain ones which were made from "malleable cast iron", which is just another variant carbon steel in the No1 series. Unless specifically approved by the Ordnance boffins, there were NO "alloy" steels to be used in the construction of No1 rifles. No4 s are a different beast, altogether.

    However, we persevere!

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  12. #17
    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce_in_Oz View Post
    Just to make it more interesting, unlike a No4, No1 rifles has ONE, count 'em, ONE standard bolt-head which was allowed to have a few thou variability in length, but were NOT marked for size.

    However, we persevere!
    My understanding is that the No1 rifle bolt heads were ALL made well oversize and had to be individually ground down to suit the rifle to which they were to be fitted.
    Internet 'law' says that some that were marked with an "S" were manufactured as 'spares' and were even more oversize to accomodate any wear.


    Gone back thru my files and Peter Laidlericon posted this on the old Joustericon forum:

    5th May 2008

    Spare bolt heads issued from the factory were actually oversize and marked with a small ‘S’….., but nobody can tell me by how much!
    Other Armourers of the period have told me, only yesterday over a frantic phone call, that this is incorrect but they WERE all to the longest specification. Whatever it is/was, there should be room to stone to size.

    And THIS is where Armourers were always taught DON’T OVER CHS. Or in this case, should that read don’t UNDER CHS. If your rifle closes on the .074” NO GO gauge, this is what you do. Go to the No1 bolt head drawer and select half a dozen bolt heads that don’t overturn by more than 10 degrees (later, 15 degrees was permitted to make best use of remaining spare parts stockpiles), the bolt face is not ringed sufficient to allow the escape of gas past the primer and the striker hole is not greater than .084” dia. Try them all until you get the best fit. If necessary machine or stone the bolt head square and true until it closes over the .064” gauge and doesn’t close over the .074” gauge. The point at which the bolt doesn’t close prior to the .050” limit is academic because so long as it doesn’t go/close, it’s passed the test.
    Now, how you shorten the bolt head it is up to you. You can machine it in a lathe if you like but some are quite hard, or surface grind but I was taught that the best way was to rub the face down on a sheet of ‘400’ wet and dry carborundum paper on a sheet of glass, just covered in slow running water. Go round and round with equal pressure, rotating the bolt head slightly every so often, taking a gnats knacker off at a time for several minutes and trying it again and again. Every so often, smear a smidgin of engineers blue on the rear of the .074” gauge and close the bolt head lightly against it to ensure a crisp round witness mark on the face of the bolt. This is the acid test of it being perfectly square to the bore. Be sure to remember these old Armourers technical words such as ‘gnats knacker’ meaning something too insignificant to be measured and ‘smidgin’, indicating a quantity equivalent to a gnats knacker.
    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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  14. #18
    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    The overall length of the bolt head determines striker protrusion. The "collar" on the striker is meant to strike the rear of the bolt head when dry -fired. This prevents the striker wedging into the striker hole and / or abrading the striker hole. The striker spring drives the striker forward by applying force to the back of that collar. The array of interacting safety features on these rifles is remarkable in its ingenuity.

    The forward part of the bolt head determines "headspace", in conjunction with the bolt lugs. It is shown with length specifications of .0.635" Accept, 0.632" REJECT. THREE THOUSANDTHS of an inch between pass and fail, at factory level.

    The striker hole in the bolt head is a long double taper.

    The "face" of the bolt head was to be case-hardened to depth of 0.01"

    And, in a further note from the 1921 drawing,: "For SPARES, qualify between 9deg and 13deg in advance of new component." Armourers had a special wrench that was used to make "not quite" fitting bolt heads conform to correct alignment by "working" the bolt head and body together, essentially, wearing them in.

    The thread is another weird Enfield Special; 20 TPI but approx (still looking) 90 degrees included angle, thus making it easier to "adjust" fit. If anyone has the drawing for Gauge No. 675, that will provide a definitive answer.

    Not entirely surprising that the No4 series made a few alterations in this area.

    All very 19th Century engineering made on quirky machines. BUT IT WORKED.
    Last edited by Bruce_in_Oz; 11-26-2021 at 05:20 PM.

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    Really Senior Member 5thBatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce_in_Oz View Post
    And every time some "enthusiast" removes a No1 outer band retaining screw without first carefully drilling out the staked out end of the screw, a new outer band will also be required
    I have never heard, read, been advised or seen it being adviced or needed to do this myself, i dont get what you're saying here!

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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    If you look at the screws that go through the sling swivels, you SHOULD see that the threaded end has a small hole drilled in the end.. As per the original spec, during assembly, this screw is to be "staked" ((Put om a suitable "rest / anvil" and whacked with a centre-punch to expand the threaded end and stop the screw from backing out.

    In actual service in a serious military organization, small arms are subject to regular inspections and examinations, even in storage. If it is required to inspect for rust on the barrel exterior, the fore-end MUST come off. On a No1, if you need to replace the butt, the fore-end MUST be removed first, because of the mature of the stock assembly components.. Thus, a service rifle could be detail-stripped ANNUALLY, just in armoury storage. Out in the wild, it could be more often.

    Because it is way beyond Zen to remove the fore-end and hand-guards intact without first removing the outer band and swivel, the staked-in screw must go. The specified way is to carefully DRILL OUT the end that has been expanded by staking to prevent damage to the outer band..The drill bit should be SMALLER than the minor diameter of the screw threads to prevent accidental damage to the thread in the band itself. This is especially important on Lithgowicon rifles with BRASS outer bands.

    These days we have LOCTITE and similar goodies; not so in the early 20th Century. It also slowed-down inquisitive Tommies and Diggers wishing to explore the inner workings of the bedding system.

    I have long used Loctite 290 to lock firearm screws AFTER they have been adjusted to the required settings: VERY useful stuff. Also handy if you service RF gear. set all the tuning slugs and trim pots to spec, then a tiny drop of 290 will stop them moving in "rough" environments. The BIG advantage of "staking" is that it is heat and solvent proof. Loctite? Not so much.

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