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Target rifle setup

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FlyPiper907 View Drop Down
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    Posted: April 27 2021 at 6:57pm
Howdy all, 

Been awhile since I’ve been back here. Been doing some reading from roger Wadham’s “accurizing” book and had a couple of questions. Wadham suggests many issues stem from a summation of little factors. Though I have yet to shoot my Enfields (one is in Brian d**k’s shop and the other missing a main screw bushing) Wadham’s reading leads me to believe that the tighter the forestock fit (among other things) generally means the rifle will shoot better. I’ve looked through some of the milsurps.com readings too and, though they’re thorough in their writing, I’m having a hard time visualizing how I’d undertake any of these projects.

I’ve been told by many of you here that I first need to shoot my rifles to determine what (if anything) needs to be done. This is something I definitely intend on doing before posting further on this topic. I was just curious what your thoughts/suggestions are on the different techniques of turning one of these rifles into a “tack driver”. Do any of you have experience in projects like these? These rifles seem to have many quirks and I’m someone who likes having a plan. 

Thanks! 
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Goosic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2021 at 8:03pm
britrifles has done a fairly decent job on accurizing a couple of his Enfields and they consistently group very well. He might have more insight as to what he did. 

 I recently converted my No4Mk1* to 7.62x51mm NATO and have it bedded at the muzzle only and full floated back to the action. It is a MOA performer and can get sub MOA groups if you put in the effort.

As far as a tack driver goes? Not going to happen. Your asking  for tack driving capabilities from a rifle that is pretty much three quarters of a century old and when it left the assembly plant it was made at, if it was capable of grouping within a 4" square, it was deemed ready to go. They are good shooters and an excellent hunting rifle at short to medium ranges. Unfortunately, and it has been my experience only that,finding that one tack driving unicorn has still not come to fruition. 

That being said however.  If you have some extra cash on hand, you can find and buy a L39A1, or a L42A1, or the Envoy and Enforcer.  Those are all chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge and are extremely accurate as far as an Enfield rifle goes...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 5:26am
I also believe that the forend fit is critical, probably the most critical factor for accuracy, assuming you have a good barrel. 

But as Goosic said, you cannot expect the Lee Enfield to be a “tack driver” in the sense of modern firearms.  It is a service rifle designed in the 1800’s.  It has its limitations.  

Roger Widham’s book gives a good account of the accuracy of the No. 1 and No. 4 rifles as produced and practical instructions on how to maximize the inherent accuracy. 

My best shooting No. 4 is a DCRA 7.62 conversion.  It has the standard service weight barrel and the forend has a barrel bearing point at the middle band (sling swivel band) with 12 lbs of barrel up pressure.  The barrel is free floating forward the sling swivel band bearing.  There is also a glass bearing point at the chamber reinforce, the barrel is free floating between the chamber reinforce bearing and the sling swivel band bearing.  I did not do the work on this rifle, it was done by the DCRA Armourer back in the mid 1960’s for Service Rifle SR(b) competition shooting.  A number of these rifles were also assembled for the 1967 Palma Matches by the DCRA.

A standard No.4 with 3.5 to 4.5 lb pressure at the muzzle will also group well, but the middle band bearing will reduce POI shifting as the rifle heats up or humidity changes.  

I also have a Fulton’s built No. 4 for SR(b) competition with the barrel bearing mid way between the chamber reinforce and the sling swivel band and free floating forward of that.  It also shoots very well.  

Fit at the “draws” is also critical, you don’t want any fore/aft movement of the action in the forend, check this by removing the main screw and push/pull on the forend as you hold on to the butt stock. 

A badly worn/damaged forend can be repaired.  The traditional way is with hardwood inserts.  The easy way is with epoxy bedding compound.  I’ve repaired a forend with this way that was moving fore/aft about 1/8 inch, the draws were badly mangled, probably by someone not knowing how to properly remove the forend from the action.  The rifle now shoots very well.  Somewhere on this forum is a post on how I rebuilt the rifle and the resulting Target photos. 








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Zed View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 7:12am
FlyPiper, did you receive the spacer yet? 
Let me know 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FlyPiper907 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 12:15pm
Gents, 

My apologies, “tack driver” was merely a figure of speech, silly me! I’d be happy with anywhere from 1-2 MOA, just looking at options is all, there’s so many ways to tweak these rifles and it’s quite easy to get sidetracked. Still lots of reading to do on my end but I really do appreciate all the insight you guys provide. Zed, not quite yet. I won’t know until I’m back home in another two weeks - perks of the job! 

Cheers! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FlyPiper907 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 12:18pm
One more thing, 

I’m hearing a lot about these 7.62 conversions. Where are people finding these barrels and what else must be done for a true conversion? I imagine magazine and bolt head/extractor changes are needed. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 12:52pm
In my limited experience, I've found with my L-E's which I consider the bores to be decent, experimenting with bullet/powder selection can make a great difference on tightening up a group. I don't have the knowledge or skill to accurize mine, but I've found that on my scoped L-E's, with the round assigned to it from testing, 2-3" groups @ 100 yds are the norm. On a good day, a little better. Not so with open sites! I have Parker Hale aperture sites on a No4 and a No1 that I've just begun to wring out. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 1:24pm
A good fitting forend with standard bedding, a good barrel, scope, shot off the bench with handloads, a No. 4 should easily hold 2 MOA for 10 shots.  An exceptional rifle will hold 1 to 1.5 MOA, with occasional sub-MOA groups. 

On a good day, I can hold my No. 4 to within 2 MOA for 10 shots in prone position, unsupported, shooting with a sling and aperture sight.   That same rifle fitted with a scope has shot sub-MOA groups off the bench, but average is more like 1.25 MOA. 





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 1:47pm
Originally posted by FlyPiper907 FlyPiper907 wrote:

One more thing, 

I’m hearing a lot about these 7.62 conversions. Where are people finding these barrels and what else must be done for a true conversion? I imagine magazine and bolt head/extractor changes are needed. 
Alot of the original conversions were done at Enfield for the L39/42A1, Envoy and Enforcer rifles. The DCRA converted No4 rifles were done in Canada.  For me, I have used a few 2A1 Ishapore barrels for my conversions. That in itself includes having to re-index the barrel to the No4 reciever and customizing the bolthead by turning it down in a lathe to achieve the correct headspace and then re-hardening the face. The DCRA converted No4 used the original magazine and was there for loading single shot only for the slow fire competition. Magazines for the 2A1 can be modified and made to extract the spent cases. Time consuming and if you screw up there is no do overs. L42A1 magazines can be found but, some of the going prices are between $250.00 - $750.00 for just one magazine. I lucked out and found two L42A1 magazines at the low price of $500.00 (that was being sarcastic.) I was at the right place at the right time when the Canadian Arsenal No4 contoured 7.62mm barrel came up for sale. Total price including shipping came to $315.00. (An estate sale find. Never installed on a rifle and still had cosmoline in the chamber.) 
The bottomline here would be to stick to the original 303B chambered rifle.  It is not worth the hassle involved to have on converted.  Now, if you can find a DCRA converted No4 or a L39A1 for a respectable price, jump on it...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 2:55pm
I agree with Gossic.  Unless you have skills that he does, I would not attempt to do a conversion on your own.  I’ve removed and reinstalled a barrel, and I found that challenging enough, those barrels are really tight in the receiver.

I don’t think the 7.62 conversion with a standard service weight No. 4 barrel is inherently more accurate than the .303 either.  But with the free floating 4 lb barrel of the L39/L42, an improvement in accuracy was realized. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 3:30pm
FlyPiper907. 
You do what you are going to do with your Enfield but keep it as close to original as possible. They do not make em' any longer.  Parts are available fortunately for the most part but even those are become more obscure as of late. If you feel the want and need to accurize it, do it in moderation and keep in mind, it will only shoot as good as the person squeezing the trigger...🙂
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 3:49pm
Originally posted by Goosic Goosic wrote:

FlyPiper907. 
keep in mind, it will only shoot as good as the person squeezing the trigger...🙂

I completely agree with that.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FlyPiper907 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2021 at 5:41pm
Just what I needed to hear. I’ve been buying more parts for these things as of late. Probably as good a time as any to get some. Great advice. I’ll finish the read, get to shooting, and post my findings 👍
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2021 at 4:14am
I would recommend getting the rifle set up to the standard original fit. With barrel properly centred in the fore end and good contact at the recoil lugs and knox form; with the correct up pressure at the muzzle. This will get you to a state were you can find out the accuracy of the rifle in standard form.

If that's not accurate enough for you; then it will then become a project rifle and you can start with Roger's book, bedding the action etc.

I think using modern materials takes away something from the rifle. But that's just my opinion.
If I were to try and "bed" my 1929 SMLE, I would use the old methods for target rifles of that period, such as cork packing etc. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2021 at 5:52am
Zed. I use Felpro gasket material and wore out brass feeler gauges for "bedding" purposes. No permanent damage done to the wood...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2021 at 6:54am
Agree Goosic that Gasket material is a good quivalent of the old cork or card used. I was more concerned about the glass resin bedding. That's not really a reversible method. 
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