New Enfield owner with some questions

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Silver, May 28, 2008.

  1. Silver

    Silver G&G Newbie

    Hello all!

    This is my first post here, here is my story:

    After much deliberation, I finally decided to go out and purchase my first firearm, a No1 MkIII SMLE, dated 1942. I liked it so much, I (much more quickly) decided to get a No4 Mk1, also 1942. Both are in fairly good condition (I think, anyways, I'm still a bit new to this), and the No1 fires quite well (I haven't had a chance to fire the No4 Yet, but I plan to soon.

    So, that said, as a new Enfield owner and a new firearm owner, I have many questions, and I thought that I might ask at a couple of online forums to get (at the very least) a few experienced opinions. If you'll bear with me, I'd be very appreciative of any advice and wisdom that any of you Enfield fans care to share.


    1. While both of my rifles are in fairly good condition, especially mechanically, the stocks have taken some abuse over the years. I've come into possession of a second No4 stock set, and between the two sets I'd like to get one as dent free as possible, clean, even colored, and as close to new/parade condition as possible. The other No4 and No1 stock sets I'd like to clean up as much as possible, but maintain most of the markings and some (perhaps not all...) of the "charachter" they've picked up. Does anyone have preferred stock cleaning/reconditioning techniques thay'd like to share?

    2. When I bought my No1 the clerk at the store sold me a bottle of Hoppes No9 Solvent, cleaning rags and a cleaning rod, and gave me a brief rundown on how to clean the rifle. That seems to be working fairly well for me so far, but I have a suspicion that there are other (perhaps more intensive?) cleaning procedures that need to be taken less often, but still occasionally. What cleaning techniques do you use when you fire your rifles?

    3. A frield of mine also recently purchased a No4, and a few weeks back we went out to shoot a little bit. I noted about 10-20% of his attempts to fire would not fire the first time through, and sometimes not at all. We were using some old (mfg. 1964) Pakastani ammo, and at first I thought it was that, but I had my No1 along, and tried them in that, and they all fired fine. Moreover, I have fired off hundreds of rounds of the Pakastani stuff in my No1, and probably only ever had one or two cartridges not fire the first time. Does anyone know what is causing my friends rifle to not fire properly that 10-20% of the time? is it a headspace issue? if so, how would we fix it? Also, what is the best way to check for headspace, and how would I do it?

    4. What is the best/cheapest (online?) place to purchase .303 ammo?

    5. My No4 came with a spike bayonet. Unfortunately, the inside and outside of the scabbard seem to be attached only via some frayed metal wire, clearly very improvised. Do anyone have some pictures of how the two different pieces of the scabbard attach, so I might be able to work out something better? Or would it be cheaper to just get a new scabbard? If so, where might I find one?

    6. On the topic of Bayonets, are there any places to get reasonably priced bayonets for the No1 MkIII? Come to think of it, what *is* reasonably priced for one of there?

    7. I've seen that the butt stocks come in several different lengths, and I was hoping someone could tell me about them. I'm quite tall (6'4") with very long arms. What is the appropriate size, and where might I find one in that size?

    That's all I have for the moment right now, but I'm sure I'll have some more questions within a few days. Thanks for reading through this far, and if you can help me out with any of my questions, I'd be very thankful.

  2. Welcome to the site. To answer a few of your questions:

    The cleaning process you described is basically all you need to clean the rifle on a regular basis. More intrusive cleaning would include disassembling the bolt, and cleaning that. For this you need a bolt removal tool. This leads me to a possible answer to another question.

    Your friend's rifle is 60+ years old. It's possible that the bolt hasn't been disassembled and cleaned in a long time, if at all. The spring may be gummed up with cosmoline, dirt, you name it. I suggest that he may try taking the bolt apart, and giving it a good cleaning. It could also be a combination of this and the ammo. I've never shot the Pakistani stuff, so I don't have a frame of reference to start from.

    I don't really have much to say about stock care. I like to keep mine with as much character as possible. I just give them a good cleaning with a rag soaked in hot soapy water. I also use furniture polish on them, but lightly.

    I have a No. 9 blade bayonet for my No 4 Mk I, so I'm not too familiar with the spike ones. From what I've seen, it's not much different other than the shape. I'm not sure what you mean by inside, and outside scabbard. The scabbard should be metal. The scabbard is attached to the web belt by a bayonet frog. Some are web material, and some are leather. They have a loop that the scabbard goes through, with a hole in it that the button looking thing on the scabbard goes through to hold it in the frog. I too am looking for a bayonet for my No. 1 Mk III. I have seen them anywhere from $45 to $90 dollars. I think the average price from what I've seen is about $70.

    Buttstocks came in three sizes. Short(-1/2 inch), Normal, and Long(+1/2 inch). They are marked S for short, L for long, and normal are unmarked. I don't have a lead on where to get different sizes, but Numrich Arms is a good place for rifle parts. The website is Welcome to Numrich Gun Parts Corp..

    I suggest getting the North Cape Publications books, British Enfield Rifles Vol 1 and 2. They have a lot of info, which is where I got the limited info that I have.

    That's about all I have. I hope this helped. Good luck with the rifles. I'm sure somebody with more information is sure to chime in. Everyone on this site is very willing to help and share info.

  3. ggordon

    ggordon G&G Newbie

    Hi, welcome to the site. I recently gave an overview of restoring the wood -- please see the thread entitled "refinishing No. 4 MkI". It's about number 17 down from the top of the enfield forum. You'll see my contribution that says GGORDON.

    If you have any questions please let me know. I didn't discuss dent removal there so I'll do that here: after separating the wood from the metal and cleaning the wood with acetone, the dents can largely be removed or improved by steaming them out.

    Saturate a soft cotton rag with water and place it over the dent. Then apply a hot iron (as used to iron clothes). Use only the very tip of the iron and don't contact the wood directly--contact only the rag. The steam will penetrate the wood and expand the dent. It might take several applications and you'll have to re-wet the rag. As long as you see steam or bubbles and hear hissing, the wood is in no danger. Once these tell-tale signs stop -- stop applying heat or you'll scorch the wood.

    The steam technique works well for most dents but will not work for gouges where the wood is missing -- only where it is compressed.

    Good luck.
  4. SwedeSteve

    SwedeSteve Freedom Zealot Forum Contributor

    Welcome to G&G !! While I love my No 1, Mk III to death, I am a newbie when it comes to Enfields. So I will let the experts advise you here. Again, welcome Silver!
  5. K.H.

    K.H. G&G Newbie

    Well there are a couple of thoughts on this - one though is that you should not refinish a rifles furniture if there is nothing wrong with it. All that dark colour and all those little dings and whatnot are the history and story of the rifle itself; once you remove that and clean it off you really have a rifle that looks nice but doesn't necessarily maintain it's character and charm as a Military rifle. Then there is a different thought which says as it's your rifle, do as you please. Personally I would opt for the first school of thought - but if you really insist here is what I recommend.

    Use only #0000 steel wool ( never sand paper! ) ... use some mineral turpentine on a clean rag - take a cap at a time on the rag so it is damp and run it across the furniture and leave it for no more than 10 seconds. Take another clean dry rag and rub off the spirits ... do this initially so you can see what effect it is having. You will find that with a few goings over with the minerals that the colour will lighten and still look natural - it may take more than that. If you find you need to be more vigorous then do the same thing but this time rub the #0000 WITH the grain of the wood ( never across!).

    This is a method of reversal I have used to great success on a walnut stock I own ... it is not necessary to strip a stock and refinish it, using this method you retain the character of the rifle but lighten it.

    Hope this helped you out a bit.

  6. kiwi6

    kiwi6 Guest

    Welcome Silver. yep I also have 2 Enfield 303's both #1 Mk3*, One a BSA which I have been working on and an Australian Lithgrow.
    Some Dam nice people here with a ton of knowledge and willing to share.
  7. Iron_Colonel

    Iron_Colonel G&G Enthusiast

    I can add a little about the Pakistani ammo. Someone mentioned earlier about cleaning out the bolt, thats a good place to start. But I have shot probly twice as much Pakistani surplus ammo through my Enfield than factory loaded ammo easy. It punches it right on out there, and darn accurate for old milsurp ammo.

    I don't think I have ever had an instance where any of the Pakistani stuff didn't fire. But I have had a few click-bangs here and there. So if it shot out of yours, then its probly the bolt in the other gun. Just keep an eye out for ammo deals. Try thesportsmansguide or cheaperthandirt. Amongst all of the other places you can buy ammo. They aren't too terribly priced. I bought 320 rds from TSG for a pretty good price. It was the Pakistani stuff and if I remember right it was just under $70 minus shipping. Not too bad I guess.

    Probly the easiest way to find any ammo on line, just google military surplus ammo. It yielded a lot of results for me. Might have to do some searching for the best deal. Or is always an option. Just depends on who's selling it. I bought some Turk Mauser ammo for my Turk Mauser for a pretty good price. So good luck hunting that down. Hope that might help some.
  8. Dutch

    Dutch G&G Evangelist

    I have never had the issue with failure to fire in an Enfield, but I did have a Mauser 24/47 that would not always set the primer off first try. I ordered a new spring for the firing pin and it solved the problem. If cleaning doesn't work, that may be an option for you.
    I have also never taken the bolt apart on an Enfield to see what replacing a spring takes, but It has to come apart somehow!
  9. wolfe548

    wolfe548 G&G Newbie

    Caution about shooting P.O.F. or any surplus ammunition. you will want to run hot water or a water based cleaner through your barrel and wipe your bolt face off. Your bolt head will unscrew off where your extractor is located and you can wipe firing pin down also. This should be done soon after shooting . Then follow up with with your regular cleaning. Modern Hoppes will not dissolve the salts from ammo.Welcome to the boards. Once in while you will want to use a good copper remover maybe KG-12 as it is water based.
  10. WW2Junkie

    WW2Junkie Guest

    I have a problem bolt on one of my Enfields. I've decided to completely take it apart and clean everything. Problem is, you need a spanner wrench to reach inside the bolt to unscrew the keeper. Looks easy enough. Will need to order or make a spanner first.
  11. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  12. big boomer

    big boomer G&G Enthusiast

    Don't know if this will help anyone but I thought I would pass it along. I have heard that if you do have a headspace problem with an Enfield they would switch the bolt, there were 5 different sizes if a 1 was to much headspace they would replace it with a 2 but I have no idea if these bolts are available anymore but its nice to know anyway. My friend just got a no 1 mark III and its real nice no pits in bore or on out side made in 42 or 43 I don't remember which but nice.
  13. It would be interesting to know where your Enfields were made. I assume the No. 1 is either Lithgow (Australia) or Ishapore (India), since it was made in 1942. What are the markings on them? I wouldn't change the wood unless I could get some from the same factory unless it is in very bad condition. I would also just clean the wood, not sand. I use a washing soda solution on the wood to clean it then oil it after it dries, with boiled linseed oil. When I have a gummed up bolt, I simply soak the whole bolt in Varsol for a few days, then oiled it lightly. So far that has done the trick. Beware, Enfields are very addictive!