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Why is my ammo tumbling?

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Enfields4Us View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 03 2013 at 1:56am
he!!o. New to the forum here. We have 4 Enfields, from vintage 1916 to 1935. We picked up some "Cheap" ammo at a local gun store. When we fired it, the bullet made an imprint on the paper. It actually looks like it was tumbling, for the actual shape of the bullet can be seen. Is this the gun (the Enfield is new to us) or the ammo? I have attached a photo. It did not do this on every shot, but out of the whole box, there were a few.

thanks!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Target Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2013 at 4:33pm
Did this happen with all 4 guns or just one? If it happened with all 4 guns then I am inclined to believe it was the ammunition having a seriously undersized bullet. If it only happened in one rifle then the barrel is just worn out. So far so that the bullet doesn't properly engage the rifling and the bullet just leaves the gun un-stabilized and decides it wants to see the world at a different angle as it travels towards the target.

Key-holing is the word.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Enfields4Us Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2013 at 9:44pm
We only used that ammo on that one gun. I did some research and it seems like the ammo I used, which was "Hotshot" made in Serbia, is a "hot" load, a little stronger than it should be. Something like that. Does that make any sense? I am not a gunsmith, but the rifleing looked pretty normal compared to the other 3 rifles we have. I guess the only thing to do is get some of the stuff I had been using, and see if it still does it. Is this something dangerous? Or just a strange annoyance?
 
thanks!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2013 at 10:21pm
This may be an absolutely classic case of some Lee-Enfields hating boat-tail bullets!Censored
 
Is the rifle in question a 2-groove bore? Were the bullets the 174 or 180 grain ones?
 
Let me do a quick explaination. Some worn 2-groove bores absolutely hate boat tails & so they exit tumbling violently. The classic symptom is a sideways bullet impring at even close distances (25 Yds or so) with horrible accuracy. Unfortunately the 174 & 180 Gr bulllets from this ammo are boat-tail, but the 150 gr ones are flat base!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2013 at 10:30pm
More detailed stuff here!
 

Boat tail bullets & Lee-Enfield bores.

If you have a 2-groove bore (you can tell by looking down it from the breech end) you might have a problem. Not you must, but you might. If you have a 4, 5, or 6, groove bore don't worry about it. The problem seems to be made up of 2 parts. Manufacturing tolerances, some bores are bigger (wider) than others. Wear from use can erode the inside of the bore to make it wider & less defined. This is more obvious & pronounced with 2-groove bores because there are less "edges" so they wear faster. The problem is worse with the 2-groove bores, but its a combination of makers errors & use combined so its an indivdual rifle's preferences thing. It would be nice if you could have a blanket definition, but the only way to tell for sure is to test yours & see.

How to tell? Simple, fire a couple of shots at a large paper target at 25 yds. If the bullets go through sideways (Keyholing) & scattered everywhere your rifle doesn't like boat-tail bullets. The dislike is that blatant, you'll know instantly, trust me!

Why aren't boat tails better in the Lee Enfield?

Because its a really old design, flat base, round nose & even un-jacketed hard lead rounds & black powder propellants were part of the early development in the 1890's & all development ended in about 1943, even though manufacture continued for a while into 1955.

FWIW boat tails only actually do anything at distances beyond about 300 yds or so. Under 300 flat fase & BT are about the same in terms of performance out to 300yds or so. All a boat-tail does is reduce drag slightly.

 

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Enfields4Us Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2013 at 11:16pm
Hmm, actually I think they were 174 grain (for some reason I was thinking 147, but that seems wrong)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Enfields4Us Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2013 at 11:19pm
Was there a particular time frame for the 2-grooves? This is a 1935 Enfield, and our other ones, from 1916-1918 have no problems. Ill have to check the grooves when I get home. I was shooting at 50 yards. Oh, and not ALL the shots did this...most, but not all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 303Guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2013 at 12:31am
My two-groove likes the PRVI Partisan 'boat tail' 180gr.  It has a shorter nose than the imprint from your bullet.  Yours has a long tapering ogive by the look of it.  I wouldn't expect such a bullet to work in the Brit.  And being cheap ammo, I'd wonder if they used 308 bullets?  But why would they when they make the cheap .310 bullets in Serbia in the first place.  Ah - .310 is the diameter of those PRVI Partisans.  I have several 303's with bores in the .313 range.  That's bore diameter!  I only plan to use cast, paper patch bullets in those.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2013 at 12:56am
IIRC most of the 2-groove ones were WW2 timeframe it was a wartime expediency deal. If its a No4 Mk1* there's a good chance it's a 2-groove.
Can you measure the bullet diameter at home with a caliper, or better still, a micrometer?
Has the bore been slugged for internal dimensions, some go way way out to 0.314", & that's another possibility.
Try a bullet test at the muzzle as well. It's possibly a cord worn (oval) muzzle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Enfields4Us Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2013 at 2:17am
Hmm.. So you think that cheap Serbian ammo might actually have a .308 bullet instead? That makes the most sense now...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote muffett.2008 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2013 at 4:44am
If it is a 1935 Enfield, it will not be two groove, unless rebarreled with one(unlikely in service)
 The bore on these rifles is .311, with a varience +/- 1 thou. if a bit worn, or on the larger size, a .310 round will be a bloody loose fit.
 The rifle should perform, even with the old throat erosion, if the last few inches of the bore are good.
 However, keyholing becomes a factor if there is muzzle erosion, excessively worn barrel, low muzzle velocity(caused by the two forementioned conditions or poor ammunition or soft reloads) or excessively hard jackets and throat erosion(not allowing sufficient bump to create a good seal)
 I'd suggest trying some milsurp ammo to check, if the barrel is cactus you will need to replace it or if it has matching serial numbers and you are a collector, it becomes a safe queen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2013 at 6:17am
Do yourself a favor, measure before panicking!Wink I've had some of the Prvi ammo & its good stuff. Igmann/Hotshot was Prvi until recently & they have some good brass, (PPU, or nny headstamped) don't let just the price fool you it might be good stuff.
Its a good idea to try a box of another brand with flat base bullets, just to get a working load for you. You mention having just bought it, can you use that (& the keyholed targets) as "leverage" for a free, or discounted box of a different brand from the shop? Even some old MilSurp would give you a comparison.
I hate to ask this but how filthy is the bore? I've seen some horrible "shot out" bores that were just impacted with huge amounts of crud. Regular cleaning was nowhere near enough they darn near needed roto-rooter. Real deep cleaning has fixed up several of them for me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Enfields4Us Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2013 at 7:10am

Could this be causing the key-holing (tumbling). It looks like the crown here is a little out of round.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Canuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2013 at 7:40am
THAT would do it I would think! That muzzle needs to be re-crowned or counter-bored if the out of roundness goes too deep.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SW28fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2013 at 8:16am
I have read that the five groove barrels can become unfriendly to boatails if a lot of cordite loaded ammo has been fired through them. If the barrel was oversized to start with it does not help. If you can find it try some Sellier & Belloit FMJ they are loaded with a 180 grain flat base.  If you reload there are a number of flat based bullets in the 174-180 grain range.  My if all else fails load is the Hornady 174 gr round nosed pushed to about 2000 fps. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote muffett.2008 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2013 at 4:53pm
You have another problem there beside the muzzle, the forewood is not seated correctly, there should be 3/16th to a 1/4 inch of barrel protruding out from the noescap.
 If the forewood is loose and not seated tightly in the draws, this rifle will scatter rounds worse than a shot out barrel on a M60 GPMG.
 Give us a full side view of the rifle and one showing the line at the wrist on the forewood side.
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