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 Post subject: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:43 pm 
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Mil-Surp Owner
Mil-Surp Owner

Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:54 pm
Posts: 14
Location: NE Wisconsin
Age: 62
Hello, and thanks for including me, my first post:

I am considering buying a "Smellie". The idea would be a rugged SHTF/prepper gun, that would be simple enough to operate if I pass it to a trusted family member. I am somewhat unfamiliar with the Mark (1,2,3,4) designations, and other than the internet, the only place I could likely get one is Dunham's Sports. I am not looking for a collector, but a reliable rifle that I could clean up into something shootable and presentable. Any major pitfalls to look out for? I will most likely buy a sealed tin of ammo to store, and shoot reloads for the range, possibly hard cast lead.

Any and all input welcome,
Thanks, Irondog


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:59 pm 
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Benefactor
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:44 pm
Posts: 5446
Location: Meno Falls Wi
Age: 66
You are in WI , the largest gun show in the state is at the Fond du Lac fair grounds on Jan 21-22. lots of No. 1 SMLE s or the No.4. Last show had about 9 Jungle carbines (No. 5). I would get a No.4 easy to find at around $300 - 400. The last show was really heavy with surplus rifles.
see last show :
viewtopic.php?f=87&t=146870&hilit=+fond+du+Lac+gun+show

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=142326&hilit=+fond+du+Lac+gun+show

Why .303, just as easy is a carbine Mosin or regular Mosin.

No tins of .303 just boxes, and surplus is getting hard to find. Mosin 7.62x 54r comes in tins and is also found at the Fond du lac show. This is mostly private sales so cash & carry: no one knows about your Enfield. It's worth a 3 hour drive one way. I use to drive down from Shawano Menominee Indian reservation.
The .303 ammo hord :idea: :arrow: :arrow: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=142949&hilit=+.303+ammo+sale

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Last edited by 72 usmc on Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:00 am 
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Mil-Surp Owner
Mil-Surp Owner

Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:28 pm
Posts: 66
Location: NJ
Age: 40
Most reliable, accurate, and cheapest go for a mismatched No4 Mk1*. Just make sure headspace is good. Even if isn't they are easy enough to fix. You should pay less than $150

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:12 am 
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Benefactor
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:44 pm
Posts: 5446
Location: Meno Falls Wi
Age: 66
I will be the first 10 people in line and have all my headspace gauges with me at the show on Sat. morning. You can use my gauge if you find a rifle. Where are you in WI. You can PM me if you are in driving range. I have lots of Enfields when Fleet & Farm stores sold them for $99 bucks. None are for sale, but I know how to find a winner. Barrel condition, matching bolt, and headspace: if its all good :arrow: :arrow: You got a great accurate rifle where ammo can be had at Dunhams or Fleet & Farm.
Now the most accurate is the K31, but ammo is a pain to find in country stores.

Now a mosin, I never found one that did not headspace most can be had at $200 or less. Enfields I'd say $200 at WI shows. Fond Du Lac is fair prices , but no real steals. Best deals are found in the first hour, otherwise prices are at book. But an Enfield can be had at $300 easy.
Detroit is also at the show and has lots of Enfields-- his speciality and he generally brings some to sell. He will be walking around with a rifle on his shoulder.

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Don't pick a fight with an old Marine. If he is too old to fight, he'll just shoot you.


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:28 am 
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Mil-Surp Owner
Mil-Surp Owner

Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:54 pm
Posts: 14
Location: NE Wisconsin
Age: 62
Thanks for the replies. The Mosins I've handled don't group very well, but I like the cartridge. I'm in Wrightstown, just south of Green Bay. Thanks for the tip on Fondy, I will check it out. :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:41 am 
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Match Winner
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:50 pm
Posts: 452
Location: Maine
Age: 57
The SMLE is a great gun lots of history and very interesting. However a for a "rugged prepper" gun, with plentiful relatively low cost ammo, you are going to be better off with a Mosin-Nagant 7.62x54R or a new Savage 110 series or AXIS in .308, or even an SKS or AR.

If you are dead set on an Enfield, (I have a couple too), do some research, and your homework, before you buy. Study the differences in the No.4 And the No.1 MK3, (like the sights for instance) Look around at ammo price and availability as well. Check gunbroker for prices and parts availability.

Then head to the gunshow as advised, looking for the things others have already pointed out, particularly headspace and barrel condition, as those are common issues. I'd also take 72 usmc up on his offer, he knows his stuff. :thumb: .

A K-31 is not a bad alternative, although ammo is about the same issue as with the Enfield. The thing you have to remember though, is those Enfields were "rode hard and put up wet" throughout the British Empire for nearly 70 years. They fought alot of wars and got a lot of use.

The K-31s never left a neutral country, and were babied by their individual soldier caretakers. As far as the Mosins, most only fought one war, were refurbished and put in storage, so like the K-31s, are most all, in pretty decent shape.

reloading? You can pick up Lee Loader in .303, 7.62x54, or .308 for a bolt gun gun for about $40 and you're good to go for equipment. Add a mold and sizer for bullets, and you're more self sufficient.

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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:18 am 
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Mil-Surp Owner
Mil-Surp Owner

Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:54 pm
Posts: 14
Location: NE Wisconsin
Age: 62
Thanks TNGhost, Iv'e got a raft of guns that could foot the bill, AK,AR,You name it. I had a lot of fun with a SMLE in high school, it belonged to an older neighbor. I hauled a lot of game home with the lead cast bullets we loaded for it.(legal and otherwise) He passed while I was in the Marine Corps, and I lost track of his family. And hell, that's 40 years ago, so these guns are that much older I suppose. I can always just have an occasional plinker. :think:


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:14 am 
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Benefactor
Benefactor

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:44 pm
Posts: 5446
Location: Meno Falls Wi
Age: 66
At Fond du Lac there is always a line to get in. By 10:00 they some times meet the building capacity and it becomes a one out , then 1in from the line show. The entire fair grounds is parked full, people park out on the main road. Its a huge building and takes about 1-1.5 hours to see all the tables. On Sat, it's nuts at 10:00-14:00; difficult to walk down the isles and see stuff due to so many people. However, the last show in Oct was a normal crowd- I would say light. So you never know. Best deals are at 0800 when the door opens. Most line up at 0700. I get my stuff, generally good deals in the first 30 min. Within an hour any grossly under marked rifles or miss identified sleepers are grabbed. Then its a fair market price. Of late at the show, the high priced stuff sits due to less fun money cash. Buyers want a deal. Semper Fi

Timbuktu should also be there if he rides with me. Generally 4-5 forum members are at the show on Sat.

With an Enfield I always test a rifle with a FIELD reject gauge. I want one that passes, not some worn out junk for my buck. If it passes a FIELD gauge its good to go. On the #4 and #5 the bolt heads are from 0-3, just up the the bolt head and you can tighten up headspace :clap: :lol: :lol: :doh: . Well maybe, other factors apply. Read up on a search of "Enfield headspace and bolt timing". It is best to just have a matching bolt and the rifle generally will headspace. Not all the time, but most of the time.
Lots of opinions of headspace: :think: viewtopic.php?f=21&t=44109&hilit=enfield+tips&start=15

If you are a Jar head, :handgestures-salute: you most likely know this stuff. But here is my check list in this old post:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=144064&hilit=+buying+first+rifle

I was a 2141, 2142, 2151 loved those LVT P 5s and M48A3s. Iron dog, Did you have the M14 in boot?

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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:01 am 
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Mil-Surp Psychosis
Mil-Surp Psychosis

Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:22 pm
Posts: 2664
Location: Tennessee
Age: 63
If you get a Enfield of any model that doesn't group well with factory or milsurp ammunition you can handload using the Hornady .312 bullets and almost certainly vastly improve the rifle's accuracy.

With a well used Enfield the major bore problem is erosion of the throat. If the throat is good the rifle should shoot respectable groups. Undersized bullets are fairly common with milsurp .303 and oversized bores are common as well. The Hornady .312 bullets in 150 gr and 175 grain were specifically designed for use in the 7.7 Japanese rifles that often had the same problems. The bullets bump up well and the Secant Ogive is designed to minimize any canting of the bullet when chambers and/or throats are worn over sized.

These bullets also work remarkably well with the Mosin Nagant rifles.

These days if one intends a milsurp rifle as a SHTF weapon a good stockpile of taylor made handloads and a good supply of components ( a mould and gas check/lubing dies for cast boolits would be prudent) is the best option. Most milsurp ammo is just too old to trust if stored for many more years than its already seen in storage.
If your rifle digests modern manufacture ammunition such as the milspec Privi Partizan you can depend on that ammo to last for many years. I would not trust the Russian made .303 ammo. I've heard too many sob stories about it over the years.

An auxillary chamber to allow firing of .32 pistol cartridges for small game hunting would be a good addition. The bullets of the .32 S&W long are a good fit for most .303 bores, .32 ACP bullets are usually too small in diameter for good accuracy.

A 2A Indian rifle in 7.62 NATO is a good choice so long as you don't over amp it with the very hot long range target or Special Ball loads. it should handle standard pressure (48,000 CUP) M80 Ball loads with no problems. There will be plenty of fresh surplus 7.62 NATO ammo around for the foreseeable future.


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:15 pm 
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Benefactor
Benefactor

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:44 pm
Posts: 5446
Location: Meno Falls Wi
Age: 66
You can get one of each a Long Branch from Canada, A Savage from the US and the British Fazakerly F, Maltby M, and BSA. In our area Fleet and Farm dumped tons of #4 mostly Savages at $199 so lots are on the market in WI. They ranged from excellent to poor condition and came in a Century box from F&F, Century import marked on the barrel. The most were around 2007-2010. see this ancient post, almost an archaeological relic:
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=36583&hilit=+fleet+farm+enfields
Then around 2010 the Turked Enfields appeared at Fleet and farm:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=96977&hilit=+fleet+farm+enfields

Here is some of the concerns if its out of headspace, easier to buy one that has good headspace :thumb: =D>
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=89400&hilit=+fleet+farm+enfields

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Don't pick a fight with an old Marine. If he is too old to fight, he'll just shoot you.


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:45 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:39 pm
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Location: MD
Age: 60
Don't depend on sealed WW2 ammo. Most of it is past its prime & unreliable. Its also corrosive & you need to clean appropriately & immediately.
Check for matching serial numbers for a shooter it really is important.
For ammo I suggest modern "Prvi Partizan" (in the blue & white box) way more dependable than old milsurp.

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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:34 pm 
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Benefactor
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:44 pm
Posts: 5446
Location: Meno Falls Wi
Age: 66
And if you want a sexy old brunet; then think SMLE, nothing better than a WW I SMLE. A fun collectable, but as as survival gun :snooty: .
More apiece of history to fire and cherish. Then think about looking for matching and a decent bore of course; but also matching wood color with an intact stock disc and cartouches. A stock with patina. Look at the chamber for darkness, pitting, or out-of-round oversize chamber that would be hard on brass and extraction of brass. Gauge the muzzle. These old gals must be headspaced. Look the bolt over and check for smooth as butter action and possible over rotation of the bolt head. If you like a Lithgow be sure the cooper recoil plates are in the stock. Watch out for import marked JJCO, John Jovino Lithgow put together parts rifles. They look newish, but are recent 1960s reassembled rifles from parts-- they are missing recoil plates causing the stock to crack. A good number of these JJco Lithgow SMLEs do not headspace.

Its nice to find an old gal with the volley sight intact and the cut off plate present. And a windage adjustable early sight is also a plus. So for a truck rifle get a No.4, or my favorite :idea: :arrow: a Jungle carbine No.5 -- like a sexy red head. A hoot to shoot. But for true history, then you search out a nice SMLE. It has that classic look. :wink:

So what you need are two Enfields :thumb: , a nice WW I SMLE for owning a piece of history and a No. 4 for a shooter/truck /barn rifle. :dance: :dance:

Hazardous to your pocket book view with caution:
viewtopic.php?f=120&t=127161
And "Prvi Partizan" is around at a lot of stores- always sure fire ammo. Buy on line and keep 500 rounds for a stash. Buy one Enfield, shoot it, and you will have infected yourself with the Enfield bug. You will end up collecting a SMLE, a No.4, and a #5 -nothing sexier looking than a Jungle carbine. All must haves :shhh:

The Number 4
viewtopic.php?f=120&t=127021
viewtopic.php?f=120&t=127350

see Enfield stickies here: lots of info: viewforum.php?f=120

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Don't pick a fight with an old Marine. If he is too old to fight, he'll just shoot you.


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:22 pm 
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There is, of course, the "Goobermint sporter." The No5!
:shock:
Image

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What's an "Irish Contract"?
"Ah, fer sure Oi'll kneecap 'im for you sor. But it'll be runnin' yourself a 12 pack of Guinness & a sack of tatties!"


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:45 pm 
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Mil-Surp Museum Curator
Mil-Surp Museum Curator

Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:29 pm
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Location: Missouri
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If you're not looking for a historically correct rifle, maybe you could find one of the Gibbs "Jungle Carbines" they made up several years ago, I think they also made a similar carbine out of the Ishapore .7.62Nato Enfield. Or, buy one that's already been "Bubba'd" and make your own.


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 Post subject: Re: 303 British SMLE
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:45 pm 
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Mil-Surp Owner
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Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:54 pm
Posts: 14
Location: NE Wisconsin
Age: 62
Wow! Thanks for all the info guys! I'll have to see how it goes. I will keep you updated. 8-)


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