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Thread: Lee Enfield MK II "Target" .303 British

  1. #1
    Boolit Man bearmn56's Avatar
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    Lee Enfield MK II "Target" .303 British

    Just bought one of these rifles from a local gunshop. Condition is about 95% with a perfect bore. Five lands and grooves, left hand twist, and appears to be about a 1 in 10 twist. With some careful measurement of a slug driven into the bore, I was able to come up with a .313 groove diameter. (I rotate the slug between the the micrometer contact surfaces and loosen the thimble until resistance to rotation just disappears). Past experience with odd numbered lands and grooves suggests that , while not perfect, this method will give a useable reading for bore diameter. Also, pushing the slug completely thru the bore suggests that this particular bore is quite uniform. No tight or loose spots.

    It has a fold up/down target type rear sight with a small wheel in the peep that changes the peep aperature's size. It has windage and elevation knobs. It does not have a peep "battle sight".

    I have some Winchester brass and RCBS dies. Because of the "stretchiness" of these actions, I want to shoot cast bullets. (I have all of the hunting rifles that I need). Just want a fun gun to plink with.

    Anyway, has anyone had experience with getting decent (1-2") accuracy at 100 yards with this type of rifle? What loads, boolits, powder are best in the .303 British? I did notice the Sticky on this cartridge.....however, just want to see what others have come up with.

    Bearmn56
    Montana Territory

  2. #2
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    dromia's Avatar
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    "stretchiness" of these actions. ???

    I am assuming that it is a No4 MK2 that you have. These were the best made No4s and .313" doesn't sound wrong for groove diameter on one of theese, I'd size boolits to .315".

    These actions shoot full stoke .303" and 7.62 Nato no problem.

    The Enfield action was designed as weapons system around the .303" cartridge, when it was concieved and created hand loading and other calibres were never considered. It was made for the .303" and as such it became the best B/A battle rifle in the world.

    It has also shot 7.62 NATO rounds with great accuracy and safety after the rounds adoption as a military cartridge with many being coverted for Service "A" and "B" competitions.

    Two inch cast boolit groups should be easliy obtainable with good boolit fit.

    The Lyman 314299 is the reference of the shelf boolit but you will need to slug your bore and get a throat lead cast to know exactly will fit your rifle well.

    NOE are also running 314299 variant at present, don't know if its too late to get in on this or not.

    The reference article for this is Ed Harris's Cast Bullet Loads in Military Rifles stickied at the top on the page here:

    Cast Bullet Loads in Military Rifles


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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    The 160 grain Lee 312 unsized pushed by 6.4 grains of bull's-eye-equivalent gets me to the 2 minutes of angle mark even though it is enormously undersized in my 318 barrel...

    if I try to push it faster than that (1100 ft./s) though the accuracy drops off enormously.

    In the New Year I will be trying some bullets at .320, and maybe paper-patched Lyman 314299's at the same diameter.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I've been reloading for more than one Enfield for a few years now. I'm convinced that the case life situation is caused more by variations in chamber dimensions - not headspace - than by any stretchiness of the action. Since you are loading for one rifle, you can neck size and solve the problem. For most loads, I prefer not to segregatre cases for each rifle. I size cases so that there is the slightest resistance on closing the bolt on the tightest chambered rifle. With moderate loads case life is pretty good, even better in the tighter chambered rifle. I can't offer any suggestions for cast loads, but 3031 and 4895 have worked well with my moderate jacketed loads. I believe you'll find that a good Enfield is a joy to shoot.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    First off the rifle... I think Dromia had it right as ther eis no Enfield #2 Target. The rear sights should either be a flip up peep or a ladder adjustable peep. If you disassemble the rifle and find galss or plasticine bedding you may have a rifle that was tunned for target shooting. You might want to go to 303 British.com and see what you have and soak up some tips there.

    As to loads... Use as big a bullet as you can fit in the throat 315 minimum. Powders that have worked well for me have been 12.0 of Red dot and a 200 grian bullet of 10.0 of Unique. 16 grains of 2400 is a good one to try and for full power loads IMR 4895 will push a 200 grain bullet to 2000 fps with good accuracy.

    Accuracy willl be determined by your particular rifle and how it is or isn't bedded. A miliitary standard 303 will on average shoot into 2.5 " with irons at 100 yards and with proper bedding and a little tweaking you can almost cut those groups in half. My old match rifle with Parker hale peeps would shade an inch at 100 yards if I did my part. My faux sniper witha Lyman 330 scope would shoot 1 1/2" with good cast loads.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master doubs43's Avatar
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    When I was shooting a lot of Enfields, I used a 165 grain gas check bullet and 21.5 grains of AA-1680. It was a good and accurate load in the .303.

  7. #7
    Boolit Man bearmn56's Avatar
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    Seems I caused some confusion about what this rifle is. So, here is what is on the left side of the receiver:

    No 4 MK 2 (F)
    9/53 PF 364XXX

    The trigger pull according to my RCBS trigger pull gage is 5 1/2lbs. It is the military two stage.

    I found some 7.62 x 54R cast loads in my shop from a Type 44 Carbine project and pulled them down. The bullets were .314" and around 200gr. I put these bullets in .303 B new Win cases ahead of 12.0 gr Unique...large rifle primer. I shot these on my 25 yard range at my house. The smallest group was 9/16" and the largest a little under 1". I am out of bullets right now. However, I may have some more 7.62 x 54R cast bullet stuff buried in the shop. If I can find it, I will pull the bullets and do more loading..weather permitting.
    Bearmn56
    Montana Territory

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Bob S's Avatar
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    I'd be very, very surprised if the groove diameter is less than .314. I have the proper 108 degree vee anvil micrometer; if you send me a slug, I'd be happy to mike it for you.

    Resp'y,
    Bob S.
    USN Distinguished Marksman No. O-067

    It's REAL ... it's wood and steel!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Paper patch to .314, and watch the results.
    Simple, effective, and great case life.

  10. #10
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    "No 4 MK 2 (F)
    9/53 PF 364XXX"

    Yep, this is Rifle, Number 4 Mark 2 (Fazakerly)
    Manufactured September 1953, serial number PF364XXX.

    Fazakerly is one of the British armories. My own as-new Fazakerly #4 is marked almost the same, with date of manufacture being 1955 and the code for the Ulster (Irish) contract "UF" and serial number A22XXX.

    The Mark 2 Rifle has the trigger attached to the action body. Mark 1 rifles had the trigger as part of the floorplate/trigger-guard assembly, and of course, a Mark1/2 is a Mark 1 which has been modified to the Mark 2 trigger configuration.

    These post-war rifles clearly demonstrate the benefits of having ample time to build them RIGHT, as opposed to hurry-up wartime manufacturing.

    Wonderful rifles.
    Regards from BruceB in Nevada

    "The .30'06 is never a mistake." - Colonel Townsend Whelen

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Nora's Avatar
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    I've also got one that was made real close to yours. Mine is a 9/53 PF 362XXX. They defiantly are nice shooters. Using the same method as you did to find the bore size, mine came in at .312. It seems to like the NEI 316-165 sized to .314 with a GC over 12 gn of Unique. In my hands it will consistanly hover 2" @ 100 yrds. One of my uncles, same load, same rifle is a able to do sub MOA with it.

    Nora
    If you don't have the time to do it right, when are you going to find the time to fix it?

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I use the Lee-312-185-1R, it cast right at .314. I run through a .314 just to crimp the check. My favorite load is 20 grs. of IMR 4198 and a little tuft of dacron. Paper patch also does very well with close to full charges.

    I treat the cases as if they are rimless, headspace off the shoulder or neck size. I still stay away from full charges when shooting J words, things last longer and the last deer I shot didn't seem to know the difference.

    It sounds like your rifle had aftermarket rear sights.

    The No4 Mk 2 was introduced in 3/31/1949, mine was made in 9/49.

    Dave

  13. #13
    Boolit Man bearmn56's Avatar
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    The rear sight

    Some of the posters had questions about the sights on this rifle. The front is a blade. The rear appears to be a modified military sight, with what appears to be a Hadley (sp) disc allowing one to turn it to get different sized aperatures.
    In any case, I took some pictures as best I was able using a camera on my PC.
    Maybe others can shed some light on this rear sight.
    Bearmn56
    Montana Territory
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  14. #14
    Cast Boolits Founder/B.O.B.

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    I found some 7.62 x 54R cast loads in my shop from a Type 44 Carbine project and pulled them down. The bullets were .314" and around 200gr. I put these bullets in .303 B new Win cases ahead of 12.0 gr Unique...large rifle primer. I shot these on my 25 yard range at my house. The smallest group was 9/16" and the largest a little under 1". I am out of bullets right now. However, I may have some more 7.62 x 54R cast bullet stuff buried in the shop. If I can find it, I will pull the bullets and do more loading..weather permitting.
    Bearmn56
    I'd say you have a fine rifle and are well on your way to Enfield bliss, continue and please,, post pics of the gun too!
    Boolits= as God laid it into the soil,,grand old Galena,the Silver Stream graciously hand poured into molds for our consumption.

    Bullets= Machine made utilizing Full Length Gas Checks as to provide projectiles for the masses.

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  15. #15
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    This sight looks to me to be a Parker or Parker-Hale Model 4, and it significantly increases the value of your rifle.

    The Model 4 is intended to offer the target shooter a repeatable windage adjustment in the rear sight, without going to the considerably more-expensive Model 5C sight.

    I'd think that a Model 4 all by itself (no rifle) would sell for well over $100 at auction. The 5C such as I have on "Miz Liz" costs a good bit more, but really doesn't offer much more utility except to pure match-shooters.

    The Hadley-style eyepiece with graduated-size apertures sees wide use in target-shooting, as does the iris-style aperture that I have on my 5C sight.

    To see the various models, and to compare your sight with the illustrations and instructions, just google "parker hale sights".
    Regards from BruceB in Nevada

    "The .30'06 is never a mistake." - Colonel Townsend Whelen

  16. #16
    Boolit Man bearmn56's Avatar
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    Rifle Pics

    Ok....45NUT..I took some pictures of the rifle.....again with the relatively low resolution PC camera...PLUS....I am not a photographer... For what they are worth...
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  17. #17
    Cast Boolits Founder/B.O.B.

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    Looks like a winner. some rifles just have a built in cool. All the Enfields do for me.
    Boolits= as God laid it into the soil,,grand old Galena,the Silver Stream graciously hand poured into molds for our consumption.

    Bullets= Machine made utilizing Full Length Gas Checks as to provide projectiles for the masses.

    http://www.cafepress.com/castboolits

    castboolits@gmail.com

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Nora's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceB View Post
    This sight looks to me to be a Parker or Parker-Hale Model 4, and it significantly increases the value of your rifle.
    I'm going to respectfully disagree. The P-H 4 had the adjustment for the windage mounted to the sight it's self to move only the aperture http://www.rifleman.org.uk/PH_Service_sights.htm His has the windage adjusting the hole sight. It appears to me to be a very well modified original sight . In all respects, less the windage knob and large aperture, is identical to mine which is bone stock. To include the "F CR403" stamp on the top of the sight in picture #3.

    Nora
    Last edited by Nora; 12-13-2009 at 11:04 PM.
    If you don't have the time to do it right, when are you going to find the time to fix it?

  19. #19
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    dromia's Avatar
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    Nora is right it is not a standard AJ or AG Parker sight, its hard to see from the photos but the windage adjustment parts could be from a Parker Ross sight or bespoke.

    How much travel is there on the windage adjustment and does it have "clicks"?


    For fine firearms and shooting requisites visit my Web Site by clicking the link below:

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    I am drooling for that rifle. I have a Longbranch No4 Mk I with the ladder peep sights. It is so cool. Having a adjustment for windage would really be outstanding.

    I load a 311284 sized down to .308. Then I wrap it with computer paper in a cigarette roller and very wet. Dried overnight and lubed with a dab of JPW and sized .314 it is pretty neat to shoot and accurate to boot.

    I neck size only and open the case mouth prior to seating the boolit with the pair of long nosed pliers and then a Lee FCD. Works for me.


    Great rifles and we get to shoot a piece of history.
    Pax Nobiscum Dan (Crash) Corrigan

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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