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Thread: .303 Lee Enfield accuracy article.

  1. #61
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Multigunner has mentioned the extractor spring breaking, especially when single feeding so that the extractor has to climb the rim.
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

  2. #62
    Boolit Master

    Hamish's Avatar
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    This has got to be a somewhat common problem. I am experiencing failure to pick up the last cartridge in the magazine. Intermittent failure to pick up on the last two. Spring tension?
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

    Last of the original Group Buy Honcho's.

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  3. #63
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish View Post
    This has got to be a somewhat common problem. I am experiencing failure to pick up the last cartridge in the magazine. Intermittent failure to pick up on the last two. Spring tension?
    Could be. The regulations for musketry of 1915 stated that troops should leave only five rounds in a magazine until readying to go into action, then they would top up the mag. This was to reduce strain on the magazine springs.

    Mass production of springs was still as much art as science in those days, and to some extent well into WW2.
    Improving the quality of magazine springs became much more important when relatively high capacity detachable magazines were developed for auto loader rifles.
    I think this is the main reason the Garand design proved more reliable than other pre WW2 autoloaders. The Garand did not rely on conventional magazine springs. The BAR on the otherhand was plagued by defective magazines. The BREN Gun and some other contemporay designs got around the problem of weak mag springs by letting gravity assist the feed.

    I've left Enfield mags loaded for many years and found no noticable loss of spring strength, but while one mag may have a top quality spring another manufactured on the same day next up in line might as easily have a spring that would lose its strength in short order.

  4. #64
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    My rifles are fussy as to which magazine I use. The mags are not interchangeable. But usually it is the first round that doesn't feed - if the magazine goes in at all. No4's not so much. Those mags are much better (the ones I have anyway).
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

  5. #65
    Boolit Buddy
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    have you got the correct magazine follower and case for the bullet your are using?

    Remember that there are magazine followers and cases meant for round nosed bullets and others for the spitzers.

    As for two piece stocks being the problem with precision on target ............................................ ahhh perhaps some one should tell Blaser this and Saur too.

    As for floated barrels well I am convinced that the free floated barrel has been sold to shooters as it's cheaper to produce. In fact one could probably train a chimp to hog out the barrel channel of stocks. Whereas fitting a properly bedded barrel channel takes time and skill.

    The strange thing is my most precise and tightly grouping rifle has a carefully hand bedded Barrel. It came from the maker that way.

    I also note everyone seem to hold bench rest up as the holy grail. When in fact it's about as much use as comparing an every day car to a F1 car. Sure the F1 is fast and corners but it's hardly any use for everyday driving. How many people want to lug around a 17lb rifle for hunting?

    To my mind they might as well mount them to concrete stanchions like an artillery piece.

  6. #66
    Boolit Buddy 303british.com's Avatar
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    I stay out of these discussions because they can get pretty heated. Because this is a cast bullet site, Lee Enfield shooters here should be doing much better than their jacketed compadres, out to 600 yd anyway.

    1. When I first joined the service, a quick look at the rifle plans told me that the original barrel was 0.3143, if one believed that they could measure that accurately years ago.

    2. Almost all the LE rifles civilians shoot are used surplus, with throats that have opened up a tad (some, a lot).

    3. No commercial manufacturer makes a bullet of the correct diameter.

    These three things make it difficult to group very well. There's no doubt that a Lee Enfield, or any other battle rifle for that matter, is not inherently accurate. Fighting with stock bedding however, should be the last place cast bullet shooters should be messing with.

    My solution:

    - Make sure that your trigger is functioning properly.

    - Slug your bore and use a properly sized bullet.

    - Practice.

    Do this and your groups will shrink. It's not a glamourous solution. It doesn't eat up many words in a magazine article. It does work however.
    Safe Shooting!
    Steve Redgwell
    www.303british.com

    Excerpt from Cold Iron by Rudyard Kipling

    Gold is for the mistress - silver for the maid -
    Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.
    "Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
    "But Iron - Cold Iron - is master of them all."

  7. #67
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ahhh Steve yep they could measure that accurately after all Whitworth proved it was possible in the muzzle loading era. Air gauging I believe is not a new idea.

    Meanwhile I hope your well. You little books on the 303 and loading for the 303 Epps are still most useful. I have #8 of your book "The Accurate Lee Enfield" and it's starting to get a bit dog eared after being loaned out a few times to club members. After the last one spilt tea on it have decided no longer to let others borrow it.

  8. #68
    Boolit Buddy 303british.com's Avatar
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    I'm glad to hear that the book is getting used.
    Safe Shooting!
    Steve Redgwell
    www.303british.com

    Excerpt from Cold Iron by Rudyard Kipling

    Gold is for the mistress - silver for the maid -
    Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.
    "Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
    "But Iron - Cold Iron - is master of them all."

  9. #69
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish View Post
    This has got to be a somewhat common problem. I am experiencing failure to pick up the last cartridge in the magazine. Intermittent failure to pick up on the last two. Spring tension?
    It's common because people don't load them correctly.With any control round feed action you simply click the rear of the case into the mag and push the bolt home,easy.A new mag spring will fix the lat one not feeding. Pat

  10. #70
    Boolit Buddy bullbarrel033's Avatar
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    Great Solution!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 303british.com View Post
    I stay out of these discussions because they can get pretty heated. Because this is a cast bullet site, Lee Enfield shooters here should be doing much better than their jacketed compadres, out to 600 yd anyway.

    1. When I first joined the service, a quick look at the rifle plans told me that the original barrel was 0.3143, if one believed that they could measure that accurately years ago.

    2. Almost all the LE rifles civilians shoot are used surplus, with throats that have opened up a tad (some, a lot).

    3. No commercial manufacturer makes a bullet of the correct diameter.

    These three things make it difficult to group very well. There's no doubt that a Lee Enfield, or any other battle rifle for that matter, is not inherently accurate. Fighting with stock bedding however, should be the last place cast bullet shooters should be messing with.

    My solution:

    - Make sure that your trigger is functioning properly.

    - Slug your bore and use a properly sized bullet.

    - Practice.

    Do this and your groups will shrink. It's not a glamourous solution. It doesn't eat up many words in a magazine article. It does work however.
    Your solution is all i can do in the AS ISSUED rifle class i shoot in. Thank god cast bullets are allowed!! Great fun!!!
    THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN HIT THE CENTRE OF THE TARGET IS WITH A CENTREFIRE!!!

  11. #71
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    I am convinced that the free floated barrel has been sold to shooters as it's cheaper to produce. In fact one could probably train a chimp to hog out the barrel channel of stocks.
    Yup. Even this chimp can do a barrel channel. Bedding the action right was also done by this chimp using epoxy and sawdust - another cheat. But a well bedded, free floated Lee Enfield can shoot very well - especially when it is fitted with a No.4 barrel with a tight chamber.

    Whereas fitting a properly bedded barrel channel takes time and skill.
    Exactly. And make no mistake, I do not have that skill. It also takes a very good piece of wood - another skill master gun makers have, selecting good wood. Bedding the full fore-end length requires an even upward pressure the full length of the barrel channel so as to not allow the barrel to vibrate out of contact anywhere along it's length. Hence the cork packing used in SMLE's and No.4's. Now I have a No.4 that was crudely 'bedded' with a piece of rag under the Knox form. It was accurate but sensitive to hand grip. I redid that one properly with my epoxy trick and that shifted the POI quite a bit but accuracy seems very good. Scary, actually. Unfortunately it's hopeless with cast because the barrel is rough from rust. Hopeless at usable velocities anyway. And since this is about cast, I've given up on that rifle. However, I have another two-groove that I'm going to try with cast. That one has a mint bore. I'm betting it's gonna be pretty accurate!
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

  12. #72
    Boolit Master
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    Benchrest is the holy grail to prove accuracy. The rifle does not have to weight 17 lbs. It can weigh 7 lbs. There is no reason that you cannot test any rifle on a bench rest.
    Lee Enfields do not get used for this purpose in competition because of design features. Because of this and the traditional leaning of Lee Enfield owners, rebarreling of Lee Enfields with premium grade competition quality barrels does not often happen. I think there would be a lot learned with high quality barrels and tight benchrest chambers on a LE but that is not the way it works with these rifles. I for one would like to see an original British ordinance format drawing of the chamber. That is a chamber drawing that is completely dimensioned and toleranced.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    have you got the correct magazine follower and case for the bullet your are using?

    Remember that there are magazine followers and cases meant for round nosed bullets and others for the spitzers.

    As for two piece stocks being the problem with precision on target ............................................ ahhh perhaps some one should tell Blaser this and Saur too.

    As for floated barrels well I am convinced that the free floated barrel has been sold to shooters as it's cheaper to produce. In fact one could probably train a chimp to hog out the barrel channel of stocks. Whereas fitting a properly bedded barrel channel takes time and skill.

    The strange thing is my most precise and tightly grouping rifle has a carefully hand bedded Barrel. It came from the maker that way.

    I also note everyone seem to hold bench rest up as the holy grail. When in fact it's about as much use as comparing an every day car to a F1 car. Sure the F1 is fast and corners but it's hardly any use for everyday driving. How many people want to lug around a 17lb rifle for hunting?

    To my mind they might as well mount them to concrete stanchions like an artillery piece.
    EDG

  13. #73
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Triggers on the Lee Enfield are not the most 'target shooting' friendly. The long and heavy striker can't be conducive to peak accuracy either. I'd like to fit a faster lock time firing mechanism to one of mine. I have a simple plan for it too. One day ....
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

  14. #74
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    I think there would be a lot learned with high quality barrels and tight benchrest chambers on a LE but that is not the way it works with these rifles. I for one would like to see an original British ordinance format drawing of the chamber. That is a chamber drawing that is completely dimensioned and toleranced.
    Heres a link to a site with free downloads of the SAID drawings for the SMLE rifles, with British ordnance chamber drawing with dimensions.

    http://www.euroarms.net/EFD/SMLE_MANUALI.htm

    My 1915 SMLE has a barrel that slugs exactly .311 Major diameter (which actually means it is undersized according to British military specs for a .303 which give a major of .313 as minimum), and is a two MOA or less shooter, also the only Enfield I've shot with that handles Winchester sporting ammo with consistently very good accuracy. Chamber seems to be fairly tight as well.
    Theres no visible signs of wear to the lands, but you can tell that the grooves are not cut as deeply as most Enfield bores. I figure this is why the bore handles ammo loaded with modern powders better than it would handle cordite.
    The smaller Major diameter and grooves that I calculate as .004 in depth means little or no bump up is required to fill out the grooves.

  15. #75
    Boolit Master
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    Multigunner
    Thanks for posting the Lee-Enfied data. There is a lot of interesting data there including the details of the rimfire bolt head for the SMLE .22RF rifles.
    I have seen the drawing of the .303 chamber before. The problem is, it is not toleranced. Some day I hope to find a toleranced engineering drawing for the .303 chamber.
    However the adjacent bore section view was new to me. I was able to zoom it up 200% and read that the bore is supposed to be .303 on the button and the grooves are to be .005 to .008 deep. This gives a groove diameter of .313 to .319 without accounting for tolerance in the bore diameter. I am sure they probably tried to hold the bore diameter to -.000+.002 or so knowing the capability of the reaming process. This would possible permit a worst case groove diameter of .322 which is encroaching on our old 7,92mm Teutonic friend. (the last two sentences are a mere educated guess on my part)
    I have always considered the 5 groove barrels some of the best lead bullet barrels if they are lapped uniform end to end. However one of the larger groove diameter barrels might not allow seating of groove diameter bullets with the .3409 chamber neck unless neck turned brass is used or the chamber neck is reamed for clearance.
    Last edited by EDG; 07-18-2012 at 09:35 PM.
    EDG

  16. #76
    Boolit Buddy bullbarrel033's Avatar
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    Lyman #314299

    Yippee! Its on the way form Ebay! I will be shooting this out to 300m from my FTR No.4 SMLE. (Service rifle comp.) I have not yet properly slugged the barrel, but i know a .300"' slug will not go into the muzzle, so i think i will shoot it as cast to start off. Any tips??

    Edit: Gave up on the Lyman #314299, couldnt seat it to so that the nose sat in the rifling, causing the gascheck base to sit back in the powder compartmant. Also it struggled to drop .313"! Wentback to my trusty Lee C312-155SP (#90385) and it drops between .313-.314". The gascheck/base sits in the case neck too! Most Lee moulds i have had drop on the large/sweet side of the nominal size. Think it will shoot just as good as the Lyman anyway.
    Last edited by bullbarrel033; 01-19-2013 at 03:31 AM.
    THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN HIT THE CENTRE OF THE TARGET IS WITH A CENTREFIRE!!!

  17. #77
    Boolit Master Avenger442's Avatar
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    Here are a couple of photos of my Dad's sporterized Lee Enfield that he gave to me because he didn't need it where he was going. It was his favorite deer gun, the only one I ever knew he used. I have been able to get decent accuracy at the range with it. Have the usual case stretch near the head on cases. Will start loading cast bullets for it one day.
    Last edited by Avenger442; 03-05-2019 at 03:07 PM.

  18. #78
    Boolit Master taco650's Avatar
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    16 gr of Longshot under a 224gr 314 boolit at 50 yards.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	CB in 303.jpg 
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    From this rifle:

    With this boolit:


    Any questions?

  19. #79
    Boolit Master


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    I was having a problem with my No.4 Mk1* not picking up cartridges in the magazine. The further down in the magazine you got the worse the problem became and the final round hardly ever was picked up. I found a company by the name of BRP Corp. http://brpguns.com/ that sells new magazine springs, followers, and rivets or the complete assembly. I ordered the assembly and put it in my magazine and problem solved. If you are having a problem with your Enfield magazine you might consider contacting BRP for a new spring.

    Ken

  20. #80
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Just been re-reading this sticky, seeing as I am thinking of shooting cast in one of my Lee Enfields. Something I haven't mentioned is my 1902 LEI* fitted with a new No4 barrel shot a consistent 1.25 MOA ten shot group at both 100m and 200m with carefully hand loaded 150gr Hornady spire points. It has a heavy hand made fore-end and is fully bedded under the action (and sides) and Knox form. The trigger guard piece is also bedded fully so that it pulls the fore-end rearward and the curve evens out along its length as the main screw is tightened down, giving even pressure along the length of the bedded action. This rifle once produced a similar size group with heavy cast boolits I had made. Oh yes, it is scoped.
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check