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New No.4 barrels from criterion

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RayR View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RayR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: New No.4 barrels from criterion
    Posted: May 17 2015 at 5:42am
I just found out that Criterion is making new barrels for the #4 Lee Enfield. There is information about this barrel on their web site.
 
It is a 4140/50 chrome-moly barrel with button rifled 5 groves of constant depth with a 1-10 left hand twist, bayonet lugs and is 0.1" short chambered in .303 British. The crown is similar to the original military crown. They have finished their field trials and expect to have the new barrels ready in June of 2015.
 
My 1948 #4 Mk I has a South African barrel that was installed ~1959-1960. It is pretty much shot out. You can't count the groves. They are worn out on one side to the point you can't tell the land from the groove. Surprisingly, it still shoots reasonably well. I intend to shoot my remaining 400 rounds of surplus ammo in this barrel before putting on one of the new criterion barrels. I anticipate being ready for the barrel installation before December.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ikesdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2015 at 9:47am
Talk on another forum was that the grooves measure .314.
Not good for .312 bullets
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2015 at 9:59am
Even the originals sometimes ran up to .316, I think upset is going to take care of that?
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ikesdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2015 at 11:16am
Yes, you are correct, but at $350 I would expect a bit tighter bore.
I know that they make quality barrels as I have one on an 03, which cost much less.
Too iffy for me to count on upset at that price.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W.R.Buchanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 19 2015 at 11:43am
$350 is a bit stiff especially when their Springfield barrels are more Like $180.  It is also pretty to justify spending $350 for a barrel for a $200 gun.  I think you'd be better off just finding a good $200 gun.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 19 2015 at 11:58am
Once the barrels have been on the market a bit I expect the price would go down some because there is a demand for them. I personally have no problem paying that for a barrel since it is quite likely that the No 4's I will be assembling will outlive me. Of course the expense is being done with the intention that I won't ever sell them, so that makes a bit of a difference too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 19 2015 at 11:59am
I must admit its a big jump from $180 to $350. Any idea why so big a difference?
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ikesdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 19 2015 at 2:30pm
Originally posted by W.R.Buchanan W.R.Buchanan wrote:

$350 is a bit stiff especially when their Springfield barrels are more Like $180.  It is also pretty to justify spending $350 for a barrel for a $200 gun.  I think you'd be better off just finding a good $200 gun.
 
Randy
 
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Many were awaiting the announcement of production of these........the balloon popped when the price was announced.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W.R.Buchanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 19 2015 at 3:35pm
Probably a run done in a smaller quantity than say for Springfields or AR's.
 
Also that price may not be what they actually sell for on the Midway Site or from Brownells who will get  a quantity discount and pass some of it on to their customers.
 
I would have top ask them directly exactly what the bore and groove dimensions were on these barrels as for that kind of money anything other than .303/.313 would not be acceptable.  That's a .303 bore with .005 deep grooves  It has to be able to shoot .312 dia bullets or else it is pointless.
 
I still have to remark that I think you'd be better off hunting around for a rifle with a good barrel on it.  Both the ones I bought for $200 each had perfect barrels, and before I'd spend $350 on a barrel I'd be looking for a better $200 complete gun.
 
I have handled probably 2 dozen Enfield rifles in the last year. Mostly #4's since I really don't care that much for #1's   There were none that I couldn't make into good shooters, and none were more than $250 asking price.
 
Sometimes you just have to shop around a little more.
 
Randy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 19 2015 at 5:57pm
Randy, in some areas (like here) the shopping around is very limited. You are fortunate to see so many rifles at such prices. Around here the No 4's start at $400 for rifles with mediocre bores and beat up timber. Geography does make a huge difference.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W.R.Buchanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 20 2015 at 9:56am
Bear: I agree that geography does make a difference but,,,I would bet there are 5 times the guns available for sale in South Dakota than there is here. One thing I know for sure is that there is no shortage of guns laying around in the US.  Keeping an eye out for Estate Sales, especially in your neck of the woods, and developing relationships with both gun guys in your area and any gun or hardware stores or other places that sell guns.
Also the asking prices for the guns I bought were  considerably more than I paid.  I negotiated and also played the good guy card as often as possible.
 
 I'm in Ojai CA near Ventura.  All of the guns I have seen were in Simi, where I bought my first one, Ventura and at the shooting ranges I frequent.  Most were owned by shooters just like me and varied in condition from really nice to complete dogs like both the ones I bought. Both of mine looked like he!! but had good bores.
 
My PH sporter came out of an Estate sale where a guy bought all the guns and sold them thru a Military Surplus and Survival Gear store with an FFL in Ventura.  I ended up with 3 guns from that lot and the most I paid for any (a pretty nice Springfield Sporter) was $300, asking price $475 and it sat for 6 months, until I made an offer.   I paid $200 for the PH Enfield and $185 for another Springfield 03A3 that had been rechambered to .30 #1 Ackley Short Magnum which took me 3 months to figure out. These purchases spanned 6 months. All these guns looked like he!! but had good bores,  I bought the Springfields to refinish and resell and I'll make a few bucks on both, but I doubt I'll sell them around here. Probably put them up at Castboolits and export them to other states.
 
I'm not talking about Cabela's, Bass Pro, or other big box type stores.  The small places are where you find them.
 
I do pretty well at finding what I want.  Knowing what you are looking for and more properly what you are looking "at " is the key to success.  I look down the barrel first if it ain't nice I don't waste time looking at the exterior unless it is something special and I can fix it.  My PH Enfield LB had a good barrel but it had been cut by PH when the gun was repurposed.  I knew I was going to bore it to 35.303 before I bought it.
 
Randy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote CriterionBarrels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2015 at 12:09pm

I would like to address two issues that have come up throughout the course of this discussion. The first is regarding the introductory MSRP offered for the Lee Enfield No.4 barrels.

There is a reason it’s tough to find a barrel manufacturer that produces replacement barrels for the Lee Enfield. As many of you who have been patiently waiting for these barrels are aware, this has been a particularly challenging project. This is due in part to the additional milling work required to successfully replicate the front sight and bayonet lug (The upcoming No.1 SMLE barrels will likely have a lower price point due to the removal of these two features).

During the original production period of the No.4 Lee Enfield millions of these rifles were manufactured and distributed throughout the world. Armorers had the luxury of sitting on buckets of parts machined to looser wartime tolerances, which allowed them to mix and match components that they could select for each rifle build. In this day and age, the average gunsmith or shooter will not have the luxury of switching and swapping these parts and components (especially as surplus component availability continues to diminish). It took a significant amount of time and effort to track down the tooling required to replicate these dimensions, and a fair amount of time and effort to design a barrel intended for use on receivers of varying tolerances.

The difference in economies of scale between producing millions of barrels and a few hundred barrels in the No.4 pattern is also significant. Barrels manufactured in smaller quantities are commonly more expensive than barrels produced in larger quantities. We are currently distributing these barrels through a network of smaller dealers with lower volume requirements. If a larger distributor begins to place orders for thousands of these barrels on an annual basis, the overall cost of production will decrease, along with the associated MSRP.

The second issue in discussion is that of the bore and groove diameter of the Lee Enfield No.4 barrels. Our bore and groove diameters on .303 British rifles are set to SAAMI spec. The bore configuration for our Lee Enfield No.4 is the same is that for our existing P14 line of barrels, of which we have experienced zero complaints regarding poor accuracy with .311 & .312 diameter bullets.

In order to ensure these barrels fit our performance criteria, we made a point to distribute a number of different No.4 prototype barrels to dealers and shooters across the world to field test the new model. One shooter even won a New Zealand national match with her barrel. You can find more information about the results here:

http://criterionbarrels.com/prototype-criterion-lee-enfield-barrel-wins-nzsra-national-match

It seems as though what we have here is a solution in search of a problem. All of our current accuracy testing has met with a positive response with a wide variety of different ammunition types. If future test results determine there is a noticeable improvement in accuracy with a slightly tighter bore, then we will make a point to pursue some changes in the overall product design.

It is our goal to continually improve upon our match-grade barrels, offering higher levels of accuracy at a lower price point. If you folks have any input you’d like to send our way, feel free to shoot me an email at contact@criterionbarrels.com

-Josh

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W.R.Buchanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2015 at 3:44pm
Josh:  what you describe is exactly what I experience everyday in my machine shop.
 
Economy of scale is one problem for sure, but making something that satisfies the needs and wants of the most people is where the real challenge is.
 
In my 35 years of owning a machine shop, developing products and dealing with people that invariably seem to want something slightly different than what you already make, what I have found is that you make something and put it out there.  And if it satisfies a significant number of people's needs,,, then it will be a hit. 
 
You guys make barrels,,, and from what I've seen they are pretty good barrels.  You probably know a lot more about barrels than the vast majority of your customers,,, so I would run with that.
 
 Your sales reports will tell you if you need to make more, or stop where you're at.
 
Randy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 23 2015 at 1:26pm
Thanks for the detailed response. Its appreciated.
I had wondered about the machining work involved & it makes perfect sense.

I think what we're seeing, to a large extent is a conflict between "Book learnin" & practical, demonstrated experience. Lets not forget that, theoretically bumble bees are incapable of flight.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W.R.Buchanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2015 at 12:44pm
I watched a Youtube video recently that explained why Bumble Bees can fly, and they do it exactly like Flying Saucers do, which was news to me but made perfect sense after you saw the whole thing. It has nothing to do with aerodynamics and everything to do with medium mass displacement. IE:  You displace whatever media you are traversing by creating a bubble around you. Inside the bubble gravity is nil.
Has nothing to do with barrels .
 
Randy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2015 at 4:22pm
Randy, it may not have to do with barrels but it does show that once something is explained how it makes sense. In this case, Josh taking the time to explain makes sense of cost and everything. So, in a roundabout way, it does apply. Thumbs Up
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