Inline FabricationBallisti-CastLee PrecisionTitan Reloading
MidSouth Shooters SupplyStainLess Steel MediaGraf & SonsRotoMetals2
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Lee Enfield rebarrel or conversion

  1. #1
    Boolit Master cheese1566's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Black Hills, South Dakota
    Posts
    1,370

    Lee Enfield rebarrel or conversion

    I have a sporterized Lee Enfield No.1 Mk III. I am unsure of what actual caliber it is since it was bought for $20 at a garage sale about 15 years ago. It is missing the safety, but I can order them through Springfield Sporters pretty cheap.
    I was just at a gunshop and saw a Lee Enfield conversion in .45-70. The barrel was stamped Navy Arms (?). The bolt looked like it had little modification and a new flat magazine follower.
    This started me thinking in maybe doing a redo with the old sporter tucked in the corner. Maybe in a "common" caliber that is easy to find boxer brass for.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,955
    Iffen it were me,
    I would build it to milspec status.
    .303 Brit, furniture, barrel, all the goodies. I would bed the forearm, put on reciever sights and have a ball!
    They are a sweet rifle.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master cheese1566's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Black Hills, South Dakota
    Posts
    1,370
    The only thing not modified on the gun now is the bolt and the receiver if you count that too. The barrel had the sight pins and front sight keyway filled in and poorly filed. I am not sure of the top of the reciever where the barrel fits has been filed\ground down too. It looks shallow compared to my Ishapore 2A whan side by side. That made me wonder about someone doing a "caliber conversion" with a reamer. I guess I can do a chamber cast. At this point, I would order a Lee Enfield No 4 from Southern Ohio Gun for $199 before I would restore this one to arsenal.

    Since it is already sporterized, I would think of something different. I see the Gibbs' site has old info on the 45-70 frontiers they did. I also found another article on why the 45-70 is appealing for a conversion in a 303 Enfield. I also found a company doing conversion (even in 7.62x39 with AK mags) but won't drop $500 for one.

    Just would maybe like to fiind a supplier of barrels.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man TRX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Central Arkansas
    Posts
    97
    The Gibbs/Navy Arms conversions were remarkably simple - they just opened up the receiver ring for the larger rim while rebarrelling, and used their custom magazine.

    The magazines are available for $80-ish online. Navy Arms surplus barrels are about the same at Sarco. They aren't cut for extractor clearance, so they'll fit either a Mk1 or Mk4 receiver.

    I borrowed a .45-70 gun earlier this year and inspected it thoroughly, alongside my .303 for comparison. The magic of the .45-70 is all in the magazine. Basically, it holds the cartridges right at the base and lets them tilt up so they will feed into the breech. You could carve and bend a standard magazine to fit, but it would save a lot of time to have a Gibbs magazine on hand to use as a pattern.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Castlegar, B.C., Canada
    Posts
    3,706
    I had a Siamese Mauser converted to .47-70 and it was a nice rifle. A Lee Enfield conversion would be similar.

    However, if it were me getting the gun converted now, I would be looking at .444 Marlin. I think the conversion would be a little easier and since I have several .44 moulds, an obvious choice for me.

    Just another option to think about.

    Longbow

  6. #6
    Moderator

    JeffinNZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    6,677
    Longbow has a very good point with the .444 Marlin. Keeps the bolt face the same and reduces the work that needs to be done. JD Jones of SSK, the Hand Cannon people, has a range of .444 based wildcats that would do well.
    Cheers from New Zealand

    Thermal underwear style guru.
    "Exclusive international distributor of Jeff Brown Hunt Club clothing."
    Supplier to the rich(?) and infamous.

    Jeff.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5,529
    Quote Originally Posted by cheese1566 View Post
    The only thing not modified on the gun now is the bolt and the receiver if you count that too. The barrel had the sight pins and front sight keyway filled in and poorly filed. I am not sure of the top of the reciever where the barrel fits has been filed\ground down too. It looks shallow compared to my Ishapore 2A whan side by side. That made me wonder about someone doing a "caliber conversion" with a reamer. I guess I can do a chamber cast. At this point, I would order a Lee Enfield No 4 from Southern Ohio Gun for $199 before I would restore this one to arsenal.

    Since it is already sporterized, I would think of something different. I see the Gibbs' site has old info on the 45-70 frontiers they did. I also found another article on why the 45-70 is appealing for a conversion in a 303 Enfield. I also found a company doing conversion (even in 7.62x39 with AK mags) but won't drop $500 for one.

    Just would maybe like to fiind a supplier of barrels.
    I'd make sure they didn't file the flat down too much before going further.
    They all have a flat and some look a bit wider than others.

    Theres the .45 ACP conversions to consider. You can install those barrels yourself and it has a torque collar to tighten it up or remove the barrel without a action wrench and vise setup. Getting the old barrel off would be a different matter.

    I've read that theres some work to be done on the inside surfces of the action body to allow proper feeding of the .45/70 but not sure if that was the No.1 or No.4 action.

    .444 sounds like the better large bore to go with.

    Some 7.62X39 conversions have been done by simply setting the barrel back and using the forwards portion of the original .303 chamber as a 7.62X39 chamber.

  8. #8
    Another very easy and practical conversion for the Lee action is to rebarrel to 30/40 Krag. Nothing needs to be changed at all and you get the full plethora of .30 calibre bullets and moulds to choose from. I built a nice little sporter like this from a No.1 Lee, removed the charger clip, rebarreled and restocked into a British style Lee sporter and added a receiver sight and front ramp. Makes a light, handy, and practical rifle. One of my favorite converted Lee's is barreled up in 256 Mannlicher (6.5X53R). Easy to form cases and very effective on light game. If you are looking for a bigger bore with a minimum of fuss you can rebarrel to the .375-2", 40-72 WCF, 38-72 WCF or the wildcat 35-303. You could also rebarrel to 405 WCF or 35 WCF, but in the No. 1 Lee action that is pushing their pressure limits. I built a 405 on a No. 4 action once that worked OK, but I'd shy away from one on a No. 1.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master nanuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    3,044
    Ah...

    a .375/303 long neck.. What a dream!

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    126
    I see from your website that you have a lathe. Here's a few suggestions:

    Cut the chamber area off the barrel and sleeve it so you can re-thread it and fit it back to the action. I bore the sleeve .001" smaller than I turn the barrel, freeze the barrel and heat up the sleeve. They fit together easily, and once they come to the same temperature, a small nuclear device won't separate them. (Regardless, I still tack the sleeve under the stock line) I used a boring bar to cut the chamber for .32 H&R mag. The little bugger shoots .32 H&R mag, .32 S&W Long, .32 S&W short, and .32 ACP. The extractor needs to be fitted a little to grip the smaller case rim. The extractor pulls the empty out of the chamber, and it falls straight down into the action. If you remove the guts from a magazine, the empties fall into the mag box. Just pull the mag and dump the empties into your pocket. Since you already have a lathe, your net cost for the project is $0.00. I'm asuming you have a chunk of CR you can use for the sleeve. Incidently, the little bugger shoots one holers at 25 meters. While the bore size is about right for .32 pistol, the twist rate is probably all wrong. At any rate, it works really well. I imagine you could do the same in 7.62X39 if you had a reamer.

    A benchrest shooter friend of mine gave me a few "shot out" .22 benchrest barrels that I used for .223 conversions on the #4 Mk1 actions. I have made a few conversions for friends in .357 mag and .44 mag and 444 marlin too. The mag can be turned into a three shot single stack for the 444 with some spacers on the inside on the sides and front.
    Last edited by ricksplace; 04-10-2011 at 09:09 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    NZ
    Posts
    8
    if you do order a replacement 303B barrel - note that the No4 and No1 barrels are not interchangeable!!!

  12. #12
    Moderator




    goodsteel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    5,564
    If you have a lathe then all you need to do is buy a cheap barrel blank, (you can get most of the common sizes from midwayusa for $89.95) and you just thread it to your action. The British enfield is just about the easiest rifle to rebarrel in the world. But if you get away from the original shoulder angle, length or diameter of the 303B cartridge you will have to get the dremel tool after the action, and get ready to learn a lot about bending sheet metal as you dink with the magazine. I wildcatted a #4MK1 this summer and went through all of this. If you get stuck shoot me a PM. The one thing I can say, is that if you are doing the chambering and you use the cheap blanks from midway, you can get out of a project like this for very little money and whole lot of time. Its fun, you should go for it!
    Tim Malcolm

    When you burn the candle at both ends, you might as well light it in the middle and get it overwith!

    Acts 1:26 "And they cast lots"

    Cast boolits are the most effective projectile ever devised by man.
    Observe:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...e-in-the-world

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Arizona Desert Country
    Posts
    1,359
    I only recently ordered a new barrel blank from a guy I found on the GunBroker auction site.

    After scouring the internet in search of the best deal possible, I took a chance of contacting this guy via his email address. I was hoping that the prices he was charging on that auction site were set to cover all the fees associated with using these auction sites.

    I guess I assumed correctly this time because he turned out to be a pretty down to earth type of gunsmith with more than just a few barrel blanks for sale. I'm in no position to quote prices but, he did turn out to be the "Price-Haggling" type of gentleman I had hoped.

    I picked up a 30 caliber barrel blank recently and I'll be using it to re-barrel my No.4 Mk1.

    I wanted to go to a true 30 caliber so I can use any one of my 30 caliber bullet molds. I only had one bullet mold that I could use in the original bore of this particular rifle. I figured it was about time I quit procrastinating about this re-barreling project and got to it. I'm not getting any younger.

    Even though I have the flu right now, life is still good. When folks ask me what I got for Christmas this year, I can tell them I got the flu and I got a new barrel blank for my old Enfield.

    Ho, Ho, Ho everybody. Merry Christmas.

    HollowPoint

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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