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Thread: Fitting stock onto SMLE

  1. #1
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    Fitting stock onto SMLE

    Looking for any good tips/pages on fitting the forestock and stuff to the SMLE. Understand that it should be floated at the receiver and Iíve a NOS and repro stock to choose from. However the repro doesnít have the cutout for the lock plate unlike the NOS. Yeah Iíve an awesome gunsmith if I screw it up. But this is a learning opportunity for me too.

    @Cordite please chime in with your expertise too.

  2. #2
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    Hi @Trigger, I take it you have a No 1 Mk III SMLE? But a New Old Stock points more to a LE No 4.

    Those venerable, ugly war horses are getting popular again, can't for my life think why that might be...

    Go for the new old stock is what I'd do, but your woodworking skills may be supreme compared to mine. BTW, who makes the repro stocks, without a trigger guard/magazine plate cutout?

    No right answers re bedding, multitude of ways to do it, but I assume you want to just set it up milspec.

    First read this entertaining article: Chasing Lee Enfield Accuracy - All About Enfields

    One aspect important to understand is that the "draws" below the receiver are NOT "recoil lugs". Consider that the receiver is after all 100% connected to the wrist and through the wrist to the butt stock. The draws are there to connect with the forestock in its function as an elaborate barrel harmonics-dampener, specifically the middle ring contact and the front end spring plunger up-pressure point (both devices absent in the No 4 rifles, which just have simple front end up pressure contact). For that reason, as long as the receiver/draws/forestock are well connected you can safely leave an air gap between the wrist metal and the rear of the forend wood, which also helps disassembly and reassembly.

    I would use bedding compound to bed the draws, the receiver and the knox form, good diagrams in the link above.

    Peter Laidler (THE authority on how to set the LE up milspec) wrote interesting article on how to set the trigger and this is a crucial article if you want to take on the repro stock without the base plate cutout. The trigger plate has a cylindrical spacer above it at front, through which passes the main screw. That spacer sets the space in the front. In reassembly, the trigger guard/plate is first attached with the screw at the rifle wrist, and then swung up and tightened with the main screw. That last tightening of the main screw should slightly compress the front end wood above the trigger. Just. And if it is set right, you will also have a nice two-stage trigger pull, can't describe it as well as you'd instantly just "get it" from dry firing a well set up LE.

    Article in two parts here:
    Article One, the trigger pull off, by Peter Laidler


    Article Two, the trigger pull off, by Peter Laidler


    Index of Captain Peter Laidler's articles here

    You can appreciate why in the No 4 Mk 2 upgrade they just hung the trigger from the steel and got away from this system which can be affected by shrinkage and expansion of the wood, but it is what it is. It is satisfying to get the trigger pull to work 'right'.

    I did improve one of my LE triggers by adding an over-travel stop. Tied a cable tie around the back of the trigger guard, with the little lock block facing forward. I clipped small bits of the free end until I just had a crisp pull off of the trigger and no/negligible trigger over travel. A dab of epoxy steel made it go nowhere, but it will come off at a snip if I ever sell a rifle to a purist. I guarantee you, if he is a collector who likes to shoot his collectibles he will leave it on, knowing he can just remove it if he ever needs to.

    Have fun!
    Last edited by Cordite; 27-04-2019 at 03:48 PM.
    Micky Duck, 40mm and Trigger like this.

  3. #3
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    Hi @Cordite, thanks for the links. I'm unsporterising a BSA 1918 SHTLE III* and compared to the several No 4s I have done, the SMLE is the trickiest.

    Oh lets not bring up my woodwork skills, they aren't worth mentioning.

    I've attached the both stocks and the only difference between them is from the perspective shown. The NOS is a BSA 1956 with the cutout, everything else is the same/similar with the repro. I note the original sported stock has a metal insert in the cutout.

    Name:  SMLE STOCK 01.jpeg
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  4. #4
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    I'd try sinking the barrel and receiver into either stock and see which looks the straightest or most centred. If there is a big difference, that will help you decide which. A nice quandry to have by the way. Or which one matches your shoulder stock the best?

    In the Boer War, troops found their MLE's shoulder stocks screws would work themselves loose, but troops were not issued with a sufficiently long screwdriver to tighten them, that's why we have that rear cutout+insert. Prevents the shoulder stock bolt from unscrewing - notice how two sides of that bolt's tip are flattened. So we always remove the front stock BEFORE trying to unscrew the shoulder stock, or some damage might occur. I'd sacrifice the insert from the sporter and transplant it to your BSA stock.
    Last edited by Cordite; 27-04-2019 at 09:37 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Yeah its a nice quandary to have and a job for tomorrow I think. The repro is a beautiful walnut whereas the NOS is beech. Although both are complete sets.

    The SMLE was originally in beech and its been a mish and a half getting the beech furniture. Naturally it will be my preference to install the beech but will see what happens. Will update tomorrow or so.
    Cordite likes this.

  6. #6
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    If it isn't centered in the stock the draws are the culprit. If it has too much or too little upward pressure at the muzzle the king screw and trigger guard are the culprits. Once the thing is in the wood, then the trigger pull needs to be sorted - that's a topic in itself. BLO-mineral turps 50/50 is a good substitute for the old linseed oil brew they used on the wood, get hold of a 250ml chemical bottle from payless and mix the two into that - less is best as it absorbs oxygen and loses it's drying abilities.

    The stock bolt keeper - the metal bit isn't an essential BUT you need some form of strengthener in the back of the stock to stop the sides of the draws popping out. There should be a brass threaded rod going all the way through the factory one. The repro probably won't. Best option is a piece of threaded brass rod the right size, drill a tapping drill sized hole through the stock in the right place (this is pesky), cut the end of the brass rod as a cutting edge and wind it through then cut of flush and acid black the ends. No more problem... If you go to a No4 stock bolt retaining washer you can probably cut the end off the No1 stock bolt and do away with the keeper plate - but you must have a reinforcing of some sort stopping the arse of the foreend spreading it's legs...
    Cordite likes this.

  7. #7
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    For strengthening rod, a coarse threaded wood screw leaves least evidence and the thread guarantees good engagement with the wood. Drill guide hole through, polyurethane (gorilla) glue into hole (or epoxy, both adhere to wood and metal) and onto the screw, cut/file off ends flush, unlike the "Ishapore" fore-end steel screw which retains its head.

    Does look better with a coarse threaded brass screw, even quite decorative the little brass ends, but brass screws are harder to come by. M-10 don't stock them.

    You can blue the steel screw ends next time you have a bottle of touch up bluing.

    Great strong way to repair any areas of split wood btw - not just for prevention.

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    Yeah the repro stock doesn't have the brass threaded rod but the receiver and barrel sits perfectly in it. The NOS is literally drop-in ready but needs the rear-end shaved for a clean fit with the wrist band. Yeah so choices to make. Probably leaning towards the NOS since its less intrusive work involved.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trigger View Post
    Looking for any good tips/pages on fitting the forestock and stuff to the SMLE. Understand that it should be floated at the receiver and I’ve a NOS and repro stock to choose from. However the repro doesn’t have the cutout for the lock plate unlike the NOS. Yeah I’ve an awesome gunsmith if I screw it up. But this is a learning opportunity for me too.

    @Cordite please chime in with your expertise too.
    Mate PM TERTLE ON THIS FORUM -HES A WALKING ENCYCLOPAEDIA on the .303 and i say that from actually meeting and talking with him
    he runs the allabout enfield site too.

 

 

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