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feeding problems

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Category: Enfields
Forum Name: Enfield Gunsmithing
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Printed Date: July 31 2021 at 3:35pm
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Topic: feeding problems
Posted By: sheephrdr
Subject: feeding problems
Date Posted: October 22 2012 at 8:02pm
just wondering if anybody would be able to help me with my mk3.. last year it fired, fed, cycled and ejected smoothly, after hunting season i cleaned it ( i thought well).. ive had it out to the range a couple times it fires fine still but is very hard on feeding , the rim of the cartridge seems to be jamming on the underside of the fireing pin while feeding ( too steep of on angle into feeding ramp?, i can force it but it actualy bends the cartridge when i do so. ive tried tweeking the magazine as some have suggested with no luck (mabye not enough).. im not sure if as the bolt head grabs the cartridge from the magazine if  the rim is meant to sit under the fireing pin while engageing or flush. if i single load it works fine ... any thoughts would be helpfull as ive been playing around with this for a while and dont want to take to gunsmith to avoid the cost..

Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: October 23 2012 at 2:00am
is the magazine properly seated ?

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: October 23 2012 at 2:23am
The contact feeding from the magazine should be just the bottom 1/8" or so of the bolt grabbing the top 1/8" or so of the base of the round. If you're contacting the firing pin something is very wrong. Could the rear lips be messed up allowing the case to jump up way to early perhaps?

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: sheephrdr
Date Posted: October 23 2012 at 9:24am
shamu ya its about an 1/8th ...but the rim gets stuck under the firing pin, and the angle of the ammunition seems to steep.. it goes up the ramp and in but the firing pin doesnt rertract until the last inch of the action.. kina hard to explain.. i assume the mag is seated it clicks when put in and cant pull out.

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: October 23 2012 at 10:09pm
"the firing pin doesnt rertract until the last inch of the action."
This is the source of your problem. The firing pin should not be protruding from the bolt face!
Either you have something broken, or incorrectly assembled, or the cocking piece at the rear of the bolt is in the wrong notch of the bolt body.
Correct assembly of the bolt & cocking piece has the cocking piece's lug in the rearmost of the 2 possible positions with the cocking piece itself vertical in relation to the action, like this:
If this is the problem you can correct the issue by pulling the cocking piece to the rear & turning it to the correct orientation. However I don't think the rifle will actually fire if its assembled incorrectly!

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Zed
Date Posted: October 24 2012 at 2:41am
I had a problem when I had forgotten to reset the cocking piece of the bolt after storing it in the fully in (fired) position. Setting back to half cock and the feed was fine, luckily I realised almost immediately, but it could be dangerous if forcing the cartridge in to the chamber with the firing pin fully out. 

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!

Posted By: sheephrdr
Date Posted: October 24 2012 at 8:59am
hmmm i tried half cocking it but the action wont work while half cocked... so shamu your saying the pin shouldnt protrude from the bolt face? the cocking piece is aligned correctly but like i said the pin doesnt retract until you feel resistance from the spring in the action and your pushing the bolt down and to the right . thanks for all your help btw gunsmithing is a 6 week wait so if i cant get this figured out she might be a single shot 303 this hunting season.

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: October 24 2012 at 10:14pm
These pics are of a No4, but your SMLE should be essentially the same action. My apologies for "War & Peace" in this post, but the details are important.
Correct, the pin should usually be slightly below flush with the bolt face.
I'm guessing something is reassembled incorrectly after the tear down & cleaning, but its a slow process figuring out what exactly. Can you post some pics of the bolt, cocking piece & action both cocked & uncocked, so we can see the problem maybe?
"the pin doesnt retract until you feel resistance from the spring in the action and your pushing the bolt down and to the right ."
The only time the pin should protrude  is with the bolt fully closed & locked & the trigger pulled. Guessing here, but it sounds like the pin is damaged, the bolt cam burred, or the firing pin assembled with not enough of the screw in the cocking piece threads. Is there a locking screw at the rear, overlapping the back end of the pin & preventing it from turning (unscrewing)?
Did you unscrew the firing pin when cleaning? That would possibly change the protrusion amount.
Is this the exact same bolt head as before?
Look at the bottom inside surface of the cocking piece, right where it engages the "W"-shaped slot in the bolt body. How does the lug look? How about the slot's camming surfaces?
Here's how the sequence should work & a couple of tests to help determine the exact problem (maybe).
Starting with the bolt closed & locked after firing (trigger pulled):
As you raise the bolt handle the pin on the bottom of the cocking piece is slid over the cam under the bolt body, retracting the firing pin. (You should see the cocking piece move slightly rearwards as you lift the handle.)
As the bolt is pulled to the rear the fired case is extracted & ejected. (at this point the cocking piece should be extended about 1/8" rearwards from the bolt bodie's rear face.)
As the bolt is pushed forward the bottom of the bolt body catches the top of the next round sitting in the feed lips of the magazine. (The bolt face should have no firing pin protrusion at this point.)
Continuing forward the round is stripped from the magazine & slid into the feed ramp.
Riding up the ramp the bullet tip enters the chamber, guiding the rest of the round into the breech.
When the bolt is about 1" short of closing the rim slides upwards under the extractor claw. (It should be 95% raised & well past the firing pin hole at this point.)
The cocking piece's extension (under the bolt body) should contact the sear (the flat "lever" in the square cut at the bottom of the bolt tunnel in the receiver) of the trigger mechanism at this point & you should feel the first resistance to spring tension as it is held from going any further foreward. (Cock on closing is happening.)
Spring resistance continues as the bolt is slid home the last 1" & rotated down to lock the action in firing position.
You should have about 1"of the rear of the striker showing at the rear of the bolt body.
As you apply the safety lever the cocking piece should go back a further small distance (1/8" or so) as the safety catch (hidden inside the receiver) pushes the striker & cocking piece out of engagment with the sear.
Applying the safety should lock the bolt, disengage the sear & trigger & isolate the striker from the trigger mechanism. Pulling the trigger (after double checking for safe operatiion & no live round anywhere near the gun) should do absolutely nothing at all. Releasing the safety after pulling the trigger should NOT allow the cocking piece/striker to "fire"
Disengaging the safety should allow the cocking piece to slide forward the same 1/8" or so that engaging it did.
Pulling the trigger with the safety off should let the striker & cocking piece slam forward, normally firing the round. This is the only point at which the firing pin should be protruding from the bolt face, & you shouldn't see iot as the action is closed & locked!
Now we're right back where we started the cycle.
Try this. Do the cycle (you don't even need a round except to check the chambering) step-by-step, comparing it with the steps above & let us know how it is matching, or differing, in your gun at each step.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Zed
Date Posted: October 25 2012 at 1:50am
That is a very clear and precise way to check the operation Shamu. It would be worth pegging that the top of this gunsmithing section.

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!

Posted By: Canuck
Date Posted: October 25 2012 at 2:04am
Zed, I totally agree and Shamu, great explanation! This should be pegged at the top of this section for sure.

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: October 25 2012 at 5:16am
Your wish is my command, Effendi!Big smile
Here is a drawing of the bolt & its components. its much better for showing the relationship of the parts than my picture is. Where several part numbers are listed it's because there are multiple versions of the part, such as different numbered (length) bolt heads. Where different drawings show the same part those are versions of the part.
2: Bolt body.
3 & 4: Cocking piece (2 versions)
5: Locking screw for striker (firing pin)
6: Striker spring (mainspring)
7: Striker/firing pin.
8~11: Bolt heads (come in different numbers & lengths).
12: Extractor claw.
13: Extractor spring.
14: Extractor spring holding screw.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: October 25 2012 at 5:35am
Here is the bolt shown assembled, looking up from below. This is a No 4 bolt, but the #1 (SMLE) is functionally very similar, but differs in some details such as the bolt head shape.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: sheephrdr
Date Posted: October 25 2012 at 8:44am
i think i may have found the problem, with your great help i realize the striker lock screw is missing, and i can turn the stricker in when bolt head is removed. check out photos and tell me what you think. it must have falen out or mabye was never there

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: October 25 2012 at 9:53pm
Glad to be able to help.
First the good news, you've found the problem, the missing screw. Replacing it is a screw-in $2.00 partClap
Just be sure you get the right one as there are more than one type. Specify you want a "Striker retaining screw 0.144" Dia. X 37tpi for a No1 Mk3 rifle" You need to be this accurate because the no4 rifle used a different screw thread & if you get one for a No4 it won't fit the No3 striker's threads.
Now the bad news, actually not to horrible.Dead
You need to screw the striker back in so that it doesn't protrude except when uncocked, & then secure it with the above screw, that's the easy part. The head of the securing screw binds up against the semi-circular cut in the back of the striker, which should end up pretty much flush with the rear of the cocking piece.
But the amount it sticks out when in the "fired" position is very precise a minimum of 1.02mm (0.040") & a maximum of 1.27mm (0.050"). You  should really use a special gauge to measure this, but if you don't have one you need to borrow one to measure it. You could use the depth gauge part of a caliper, but the actual gauge will be better.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: sheephrdr
Date Posted: October 26 2012 at 9:11am
i bought another bolt including screw for 35 bucks, but atleast i have some other spare parts. the shop turned in the striker for me and put the screw on my bolt(in better shape) didnt charge me for any of the gunsmithing.. also bought a stripper clip... everything feeds and ejects properly now:) ill double check the striker in fired positions protrusion, i assume they set it right but ill check it  with a caliper ive got a digital one i can use. ill have to take it out and fire it before the season starts ..
thanks again to you all for all your help..
btw kina funny the first guy at the gunshop i talked to told me there isnt supposed to be a screw in the cocking piece, (which was missing from the first bolt they tried to sell me and had the same problem as mine hehe) i argued with him and he directed me to a more compotent employee

Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: October 29 2012 at 10:46pm
"...... also bought a stripper clip... ...."
AHHHHHHH , the wrath bof hoadie shall be upon you , its a "CHARGER" lad ,
gl;ad to see this has worked out so nicely for you , i was fearfull it might be more costly

Posted By: Dux-R-Us
Date Posted: December 30 2012 at 10:52pm
An easy fix for me.
I also have occasional trouble with magazine feeding in my No4 Mk I.  I bought a "modern" aftermarket magazine from Midway for about USD $20 and feeding is perfect.  

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: December 31 2012 at 2:17am
Did you ever get the original working properly?

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Dux-R-Us
Date Posted: January 01 2013 at 7:12am
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

Did you ever get the original working properly?
Sort of, I think.  At least a year ago I adjusted the flanges of the magazine a bit.
The problem is intermittent it seems.  The problem is usually with the first round.  After the first round is fed (sometimes with aid of my finger), the rest seem to be okay. 
Usually at the range I load a single round at a time. 
I need to experiment some more with different bullets and lenghts.  It has been a long while since I have toyed with it.
Next time I am at the range I will take some photos of mis-feeds.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

Posted By: daboone
Date Posted: February 05 2013 at 12:43am
I'm a new member as well as a new Lee Enfield owner I've been a small time collector and shooter of mil-surplus rifles for a long time. Got my first M1 carbine in about 1972 

I like to jump in here on this feeding problems thread.
My new rifle is a No5Mk1 9/1946 ROF(F). It has cleaned up very nicely. (no bubbaing, just cleaning). It is surprisingly accurate with my reloads. (314299 WW over 18.4g of 2400 in Rem cases with CCI#200 and COL of 2.930)
The original magazine did not feed cases at all. The spring seems weak and the magazine box appears to be bent not allowing the follower to glide the cartridges up correctly.
I ordered a new No4 magazine from Springfield Sporters. It appears to be new unissued and was covered in cosmoline. After a serious US cleaning it replaced it's predecessor. Now I have a new feeding problem. To get the cartridge to present to the bolt for insertion I need to bump the base of the magazine with a sturdy thump via the palm of my hand.

Suggestions please! Will a new spring fix it?

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: February 05 2013 at 3:02am
It is going to depend a little on how the cases are currently sitting. If the case rim is tight up against the curved rear feed lips then no, it won't make any difference. If they're sitting a little low then yes it might.
Heres a couple of pics of my magazine which feeds fine to give you a comparison.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: llaszloboehm
Date Posted: February 09 2013 at 5:46pm
my both Enfields would not feed round nose cartridges with the shortened hunters conversion magazines and rounds which were a bit short. I´ve purchased a new remake magazine at Midways, and my Long Branch would feed any round now properly. My Parker Hale would not work with the new magazine at all, but it feeds spitzer rounds quite well with the original, but I am still not satisfied.

Posted By: daboone
Date Posted: February 09 2013 at 10:57pm
Gentlemen I very much appreciate the responses and especially the photos. I found that the magazines requires and auxiliary spring which one of the photos shows the lip hanging over the edge. I've ordered 2 to these springs.
The photos help me adjust to lips on both my magazine so they feed much better now.

Thank you for taking the time and energy to post your responses to a newbie Lee Enfield owner. This rifle is very exciting and a real joy to shoot. It is due to my reduced loads of 2400 and the 314299 cast bullet pretty easy on my old shoulder (think blood thinners) but doing a fine job on targets. The REPORT however is astounding!

Again Thank You!

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: February 10 2013 at 12:18am
The spring is a bit of a mystery in all honesty.
Years back I had one break at the "U" bend, so I tried shooting without it & it worked perfectly! Over time I've heard many reasons for the spring, but none of them seemed really convincing to me. It won't hurt & it does make the magazine "correct" so no harm done.
The Enfield mag with the "tab" type front lips is pretty sensitive to bullet shape & seating depth. If you look at the "up the nose shot" of my mag from eartlier you can see that just the left (upper) round is contacting the front, the right,( lower) bullet is clear by about 1/8".
The trick is to mark the feed ramp with something that wears easily, like engineers blue, smoke smudge or sharpie dye & feed a few rounds. There should be a distinct  "^-shape" scraped out of the mark starting about 2/3 of the way down the ramp. If you have a good feeding rifle take a look at the ramp, you may actually have a shiny polished "^" to compare. Now you can (carefully ) mess with the feel lips in very small steps to get the "^" from your particular bullet configuration. Its really about presentation to the ramp, not looking the same in the magazine.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: daboone
Date Posted: February 11 2013 at 6:44am
So the Lyman mold 314299 bullet seating to the top of the top lube groove there is also about 3/16 inch between the tip and the magazine.
After several tweaking adjustments it's now feeding flawlessly.

This No5 is way to much fun to play with and shoot.

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: February 11 2013 at 9:25pm
Excellent news!

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: 5thBatt
Date Posted: August 10 2013 at 7:29am
The auxiliary spring is important as it helps maintain the angle of the follower by giving it a smooth hard surface to slide up on, as the rifle is fired, the rounds in the mag will fly forward impacting the front of the magazine & if there is only the soft metal of the mag case to absorb the impact over a period of time small dents will appear in the front wall which will eventually cause the rounds to snag & hold up the follower, plus any contact of the point of a round being in contact with the rough interior of the case will also produce drag which will also cause the follower to hang-up.
The auxiliary spring is made of spring steel & therefor eliminates these problems & if it was not important & served no purpose, it would not be there.

"the master has spoken" if he's the master, then I'm Dr Who.

Posted By: Gary303
Date Posted: April 15 2015 at 12:49pm
I had this same problem what I did was to pull the extractor spring out And reduced the tension by squeezing it down with a pair of needle nose pliers I only had to squeeze it down a little and after doing that no more loading issues, before it was very had to load a round hope this helps

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