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Thread: My Shrunken Wood... need advice on No 4 Enfield.

  1. #1
    Member Cordite's Avatar
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    My Shrunken Wood... need advice on No 4 Enfield.

    Lee Enfield No 4 shoots 2" vertical and 6"-8" horizontal spread at 100 metres with military ladder diopter sight, HXP BT FMJs. Seems to me a stock problem.... since of course I'm a crack shot (-:

    On examination of the patient, the barrel fore-end touches against the left/bottom of the fore-end of the stock whereas it should be free floating there (as it is centre barrel bedded, but it is not even resting fully into the fibreglass centre bedding pillar). Further back, only the left one of the twin recoil lugs is in firm touch with the stock, from checking with some sprinkled flour. The rear transverse steel bar is 1 millimetre ahead off of the wrist band, leading me to conclude there has been some serios stock shrinkage.

    The woodwork is varnished, don't know since when.

    My tentative plan is to strip the varnish off chemically, then soak the stock in linseed oil + wood resin turps (keeping it smelling like a forest!), partly because the gun will look better that way but I also hope some of the shrinkage / warping is reversible by a good penetrating oil concoction, but is that hoping for too much? How much shrinkage is reversible?
    Should I just focus on doing a general fibreglass bedding job and forget about trying to reverse shrinkage/warping? What do others do in this situation?

  2. #2
    Member Marty Henry's Avatar
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    Is it a 2groove savage or longbranch, they usually dont shoot boattail well at all. Have you tried mil surp mk 7 or other flat based bullets they may be better.
    Obviously someone has had a 22 with it as glass bedding definitely was not done in factory. From memory the average lee was good for 4 moa, outstanding ones would do 2 or better and sub par 6, all were accepted as it was a battle rifle after all.
    Tertle on this forum is a bit of a wizz on lee enfields so may be worth contacting.
    Put up a few photos inc some of the groups and a few may be able to offer suggestions some helpful some humorous.

  3. #3
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    have a no4mk1* (longbranch) myself and it never tolerated 150gn srounds -sprays em like a mad womens shit.
    switch to 180gn and theyll happily trundle down the tube and onto the target(if my minds on the job)
    old bloke I spoke to years ago at a deerstalkers shoot reckons it was all to do with the 2 lands/grooves stabilising the heavier round better.
    180gnsoftnose are a tad hard on std 1/4"steel plate or hares possums etc inside 100yds so be warned if you want to eat it,think before touching the trigger(not the steel ya dolt)
    as said above Tertle is ya man on ye old .303 ,he certainly helped me out.

  4. #4
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    One of the reasons .303's don't like 150 grain bullets is the throats are shot out from using Cordite the longer 180-215 grain bullets fit the throat better and have a longer bearing surface
    to grab the oversizes grooves, first get the barrel slugged to find the groove diameter you could be wasting your time bedding it if the barrel is over .313" which a lot of them are.

  5. #5
    Member tiroatedson's Avatar
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    Shrunken wood huh....haven't got that problem ....yet


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Maca49 likes this.

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    tergo-strip is the best for removing varnish. then lightly sand it and removed any dents using a wet cloth and a clothes iron. holding the bare wood over steam will cause loose grains to stand on end which you can then sand off.
    ive tried linseed in the past but now prefer birchwood casey tru-oil.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiroatedson View Post
    Shrunken wood huh....haven't got that problem ....yet


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    dunno after this long being married the only time i get a hard on is to wash between the folds
    Paddy79 likes this.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiroatedson View Post
    Shrunken wood huh....haven't got that problem ....yet


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    Was going to suggest a little blue pill

  9. #9
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    Sounds like it's got more going on than a case of the shrinking wood. Sounds like it needs to be properly fitted up and the stock put back to rights so you can work up a load that it suits. I've had several of the center bedded jobs and none of them shot any better (or worse) than a properly bedded milspec rifle. Dunno about the cord wear idea either, I've had brand new ones that didn't like 150gr BT pills but shot fine with heavier flat base.

  10. #10
    Member Cordite's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. No quick answers then, except of course for the mention of little blue make-wife-happy pills.

    I don't think my particular two-groove has probs handling the HXP boat tails, at least going by the absence of keyholing which is described on another forum as the failure mode of two-grooves when fed with HXP.

    As far as I understand it re the problem with boat tailed bullets is that they do not obturate as well into worn grooves as do original .303 flat-bottomed spitzers. I believe the S&B .303 FMJ ammo is boat tailed which, if true, might be a lost opportunity to cater for worn Enfields (someone please correct me on this, I could not confirm it either way on the net).

    Think I'll just get on with stripping the varnish and getting some oil deep into the wood. But obviously it is not widely known to be a miracle cure for bedding issues. For that we must turn to the little blue pills...

  11. #11
    Member Marty Henry's Avatar
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    Flat base seems to be the ticket, I was told that on startup the flat base makes the bullet expand as it jumps to the rifling, with boat tails the shape makes them shrink and set up erratically, couple that with varying degrees of throat erosion and a wide selection of bore diameters and you can see why copying the style of the mk VII ammo makes sense.

  12. #12
    Member Cordite's Avatar
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    Add the aluminium / wood cored tip to the wish list. Made the bullet tumble after a few inches penetration so less need for soft point. But before we vilify the Empire it must be said that all spitzers tend to tumble on impact as they're inherently tail-heavy - the Mk VII extremely so of course. The light tip was ostensibly designed for accuracy but it's beyond my understanding exactly how the more rearward centre of gravity makes a Mk VII more accurate, but that it does so seems to be the general consensus.

    Flat vs boat tail makes no real difference to ballistic coefficient at normal hunting distances and you are moving centre of gravity forward by having a boat tail. If you were reloading, a flat-bottom 180grain spitzer with plastic tip and hollow point is probably the closest you'd get to a Mk VII, at least as far as rearward centre of gravity goes. If reloading for a very worn .303 maybe paper patching .308 spitzers may be a desperate but workable way to go.

  13. #13
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    from my understanding the .303s have ALWAYS preferred one weight of projectile over another...... just as all cartridge/twist rates have a sweet spot.
    some 303s prefer the 180s as its closer to what they were BUILT/DESIGNED to use where as others handle the 150s or indeed even 123grn (7.62x39mm projectiles) as twist rate is different.
    grab a box of factory 180s first up and see what happens....the $40 it cost could be a lot less than the tinkering and may well end up fixing what isnt broken to begin with.
    kotuku likes this.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Duck View Post
    from my understanding the .303s have ALWAYS preferred one weight of projectile over another...... just as all cartridge/twist rates have a sweet spot.
    some 303s prefer the 180s as its closer to what they were BUILT/DESIGNED to use where as others handle the 150s or indeed even 123grn (7.62x39mm projectiles) as twist rate is different.
    grab a box of factory 180s first up and see what happens....the $40 it cost could be a lot less than the tinkering and may well end up fixing what isnt broken to begin with.
    I think youre pretty well on the money there Mickey ,in the first instance at least.as i said in my old sheila those 180gn loads certainly level anything they hitand dso it with a hell of a whack.
    mention of the 7.62x39-my norincoB/A loves the 125gn rounds but is a bitch with the 123g for some reason.the spray is nowhere near as bad as the .303 though.

  15. #15
    Member Cordite's Avatar
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    @kotuku and @Mickey Duck,

    Yes, no point being in denial that the No 4 is just no 1200-metre sniper's dream but a more rough tool, a semi-auto bolt action at best.

    In the book dealing with WW1 snipers, "Sniping in France" (creepy title - sounds like a holiday memoir!), the author points out that main factor was age of barrel. Over 600 shots the SMLE's accuracy deteriorated. I guess fibreglass bedding would not help that.

    Meanwhile, it is fun to tinker and dream of what may never become reality and to play with different kinds of ammo. The groups will get smaller, but there has to be a point of diminishing returns, and it's not at 0.5 MOA.

 

 

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