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Thread: Need help with SMLE

  1. #1
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    Need help with SMLE

    Hi
    I recently aquired a 1941 Lithgow Mk III* that was very crudely mangled into a 'sporter'. I'd like to give her back her dignity and put her in military fashion.

    Can someone tell me how the inner band should be attached to the barrel and where exactly it goes in relation to the rear sight base? Currently the inner band is missing and since it currently has a hacked #4 lower stock 'fitted' with duct tape to the barrel, I don't have a point of reference.

    Also, where is the best place to get all the stock and fittings?

    Much appreciate some help.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Bah, humbug ! Frogfeatures's Avatar
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    PM Tertle and Private Joker on here
    Both are SMLE gurus.

    Ps, try Dogmatix as well
    nowool likes this.
    He nui to ngaromanga, he iti to putanga.

    You depart with mighty boasts, but you come back having done little.
    Sounds like a typical hunting trip !

  3. #3
    Member Kimber 7mm-08's Avatar
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    The barrel band goes forward of the rear sight base. Remove the foresight and slide the barrel band on. The smle stock has the location of the band identified via an inlet in the stock to the rear of the middle band.
    Cordite and nowool like this.

  4. #4
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    Post up photos of bubba's 303.

    It might not be worth the money and effort to restore.

    Is the barrel full length, good condition and not drilled and tapped? What about sight's?
    nowool likes this.

  5. #5
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    The foresight block is retained with a tiny little pin, drift out to the left and if that doesn't work try the right - the pins get rusted in place haha. A bit of penetrating oil and warming it might help. A starting punch will help to get it moving, you will likely destroy a pin punch if you go straight to that. The block then taps off over the muzzle and the foresight key should be able to stay on the barrel.

    The little collar is actually very slightly tapered to match the barrel (or should be), make sure it goes on the right way around (easiest way is slid it up the barrel, mark the barrel with whiteboard marker then try the other way around).

    One thing to check apart from general mangling, is if the barrel has a tweak it's probably not worth any effort. A lot of them get tweaked as they were a lightweight tube.
    nowool likes this.

  6. #6
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    Wow. i learned more from members posts than scouring the internet! thanks!
    I'll admit its not the best candidate for refurbishment, but i can gain experience and knowledge by doing the work on this one. Eventually I'll find a better example and I can swap the furniture and turn this one back into a better version of a sporter. I have a soft spot for historical arms and if i can put them back in condition I always try.

    at least its numbers matching with no rust and the inside of the barrel has good rifleing with only a few small pits. the sights are complete. I haven't decided what to do with the Parker Hale scope
    mount.
    my first step is cleaning the parts and barrel and then reblue while i'm waiting to find all the stock pieces.

    here are some pics
    Attached Images Attached Images     

  7. #7
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    Test Fired DP Lithgow barrel

    after i removed the parker hale scope mount base i found the dreaded "DP" stamped on the barrel underneath. i dug around trying to find a set of 303 chamber gauges to buy but all i found were out of stock. so i went to option 2:

    drove down to the local 'test paddock', loaded a round; tied the trusty string; moved back 20 meters and pulled! gun fired and brass looks ok. did that 3 more times. all brass within specs except for neck expansion (out not up). no pushed out primers or shiny rings. I put on my safety glasses and covid face shield and fired first from the hip and then 2 more times from the shoulder. gun shot to point of aim at 30 meters and no excess gas. I did notice that the extracting the brass is quite 'draggy' feeling. i tried it with unfired rounds and it feels the same. don't know if this is normal or something to fix.

    so why is the barrel marked DP? the serial numbers aren't crossed out (like the DP norm). only DP marks are on the top of the barrel and a very lightly pen engraved dp on the bolt.

    After shooting i cleaned out the barrel with BoreTech Eliminator (great stuff) and the bore is shiny and about 7-8 out of ten with very minor pitting.

    My two questions now are; since the charger base and chamber were drilled for the scope mount base, does removing it weaken the action? Second is why if it shoots good is the Lithgow barrel marked DP?

    Any insights appreciated.
    Last edited by nowool; 22-07-2021 at 12:13 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimber 7mm-08 View Post
    The barrel band goes forward of the rear sight base. Remove the foresight and slide the barrel band on. The smle stock has the location of the band identified via an inlet in the stock to the rear of the middle band.
    thanks for the tips. i acquired a barrel band and i've ordered two sight bases with pins just in case i mess this up!

  9. #9
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    Those drilled holes unless stupidly large on the chamber end have no effect on the safety.
    Main lug on the bolt and side of the action the important bit

  10. #10
    Member Kimber 7mm-08's Avatar
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    @nowool Drill Purpose could be for any number of factors. It could be as simple as the storeman needed the another rifle for non-firing rifle drills (marching, etc), right the way through to an identified critical fault somewhere in the rifle. Personally I wouldn't not fire a DP marked rifle, as I treat 'DP' to mean condemned. Others may have a different view of course.

  11. #11
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    so ASSUMABLY the dreaded DP (learnt something new today)was on rifle BEFORE it had scope mount fitted...MAYBE it couldve had crap headspace and a longer bolt head was found by the gunny who fitted bases and thus restored it to OK to use....
    good on you for restoring an old girl.

  12. #12
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    pretty sure there was 303 guages on trademe last week.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Duck View Post
    pretty sure there was 303 guages on trademe last week.
    yes there were

  14. #14
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    There have been instances of rifles being pulled from the grease and marked DP without pushing the grease out of the barrels. It's the military, 'need 20 more DP rifles'. Armourer: 'check'.
    Tertle, Micky Duck and Cordite like this.

  15. #15
    Member Cordite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimber 7mm-08 View Post
    The barrel band goes forward of the rear sight base. Remove the foresight and slide the barrel band on. The smle stock has the location of the band identified via an inlet in the stock to the rear of the middle band.
    And remember, the barrel band is conical so put it on the right way. Really annoying to notice you got it wrong after you've replaced the front sight base... but I don't know anyone who'd admit they ever did that... )o:<
    "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." Groucho Marx

 

 

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