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An unusual Ishapore Enfield

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450 Fuller View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 07 2022 at 12:54pm
While a new member, I have been studying the comments of some of the
membership. Believe I am at the right place with knowledgeable folks.

My Lee Enfield is chambered in 7.62, and appears to be an Ishapore 2A1,
but I could be in error. The reason is the lack of some markings and yet
the serial numbers are matching excepting the magazine. Magazine S.No. is different.

The SN is 56198, with an A above the -1-stamped. Stratton was not helpful in this case. Serial number is the same -stamped at bolt,action, and forend cap. These numbers are the ONLY apparent numbers excepting the cross banner staffs just forward of the action serial number, and placed about 1.24 inches out on the barrel.
Bore is in excellent condition.Wood is serviceable and appears original.
I have shot this rifle with moderate handloaded cartridges, using jacketed and lead bullets. Reviewing comments from senior members here, I think I will refrain from using bullets heavier than 150 grains.

I am reluctant to mention the price paid for this rifle about 20 years ago.
However, I think WMD Bell mentions in his African book "Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter" how he or a fellow hunter ended up in the outback without ammunition for his rifle. He bought an Enfield rifle that had a headspace issue, and escaping cartridge gas singed the shooter every time the rifle was fired at large animals including elephants. Solid metal-cased military bullets were cheap and available-so he continued to use it for awhile.
He had paid one (1) British pound for the rifle. My purchase experience was similar but without the headspace problem. Many thanks-in advance.
(pictures not available due to a digital camera issue.)

Lt Col HRM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 07 2022 at 4:37pm
150 Gr is the "correct" weight for a 7.62mm, no problem.
Headspace is a little different issue. Thre is one & only one right way to check it, with a set of headspace gauges by someone who know how to use them. But you can do some observing which may set your mind at rest.
If in doubt have a knowledgeable smith WITH LEE ENFIELD EXPERIENCE check it for real.
take 3 or 4 fired cases.
Carefully compare them to unfired ones.
If you have micrometers or calipers use them.
a "slight" blowing out of cases, possibly slightly asymmetrical, about 3/8" forward of the extractor groove is fine.
A "slight" blowing out of shape of the shoulder & neck is fine.
("slight" means barely visible)
Anything more is cause for concern & at least get it checked!

"stuff blowing back at your face" is definite cause for concern, don't mess about it, get it to a smith.

There is a gas vent port on the left upper side of the receiver ring, if "stuff" is coming out of there its a problem. the usual "field expedient" test is some thin cardboard rubber banded to cover it. A little smoke smudge is fine. Shredded, burnt to a crisp or holes blown in it is not.

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 450 Fuller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 07 2022 at 5:13pm
Thanks, Shamu.

This Lee Enfield has no noticeable headspace or blowback issues as yet.
It also has one of the best two stage triggers I have encountered. I still may
get the headspace checked as a safety margin measure. It is at least a 50-60
yr old rifle with an unknown history.

It is reasonably accurate, and has the earlier MK III sight, not an aperture type.

That and the lack of marking as typical 2A1 Ishapore have me wondering as to the
model and if it possibly is a conversion variant. At approximately $40 US-it is almost like Bell's 1 pound rifle- used 303 African Enfield.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 07 2022 at 6:04pm
Something to consider when loading your own ammo for the 2A 7.62.  This rifle was made to shoot 7.62 NATO spec ammunition. 

Military 7.62 ball cartridge cases are generally thicker than most .308 commercial cases above the case head as they were designed to also be used in machine guns which typically had larger chambers for reliable feeding.  Headspace of the rifle chamber in the 2A rifle may also be longer than .308 commercial specs.  So be careful shooting handloads using .308 commercial brass that is full length sized until you get the headspace checked.  I would not load to .308 max velocities for the 2A1 rifle, you should be fine loading to .308 minimum velocities contained in reloading manuals. The strength of the 2A1 action is debatable, the British found the No. 1 action unsuitable for conversion to 7.62 NATO. 

It is useful to get a cartridge case headspace comparator tool (such as the one made by Hornady) so you can adjust your sizing die to size cases appropriate to the chamber dimensions, you only need to bump the shoulder back by a few thousands of an inch and not back to .308 minimums. 

I don’t think you have to limit bullets to 150 gr.  Appropriate powder charge weights with a 168 or 175 gr jacketed bullet is fine.  My No. 4 Long Branch 7.62 prefers the 168/174 grain bullets over the 147/150 gr bullet. 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 450 Fuller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 07 2022 at 7:43pm
Good advice on reloading for the 7.62 mm. Military Machine gun ball ammunition, as used in the M-60 sees a hard life, as well as in semi-auto sturm gewehr battle rifles. Military primer crimping and thick cases
hold up better over time, though cases require preparation. So far, I have been successful with brass neck sizing only for this rifle- as it is the only 7.62/308 cal weapon that I own.
This allows the case to partially fire-form to the rifle's chamber and could extend brass life through minimum work hardening.

Correct in that the British did find that the No. 1 action was questionable.
The Ishapore arsenal apparently re-hardened and re-proof tested the 2A rifles, but they are still none too strong, again pointing to judicious handloading.
An oiled cartridge might not be the best test.

More rifles that I have are stronger in 30-06 including a Garand and other early Model 70s
up to the 375 H&H.

The Garand, 03-A3 Springfields, Pattern 17, and Mausers were a bit stronger actions, IMHO.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2022 at 3:43am
Neck sizing is the way to go.  With light loads, you should get 5 or more reloads before you begin to feel resistance to locking the bolt, at which point will have to bump the shoulder back with a full length die. 

I’ve been using Canadian 7.62  1959-1962 Dominion Arsenal brass for loading my No. 4 conversion.  40 grains of Varget with 168 Sierra MatchKing.  Shoots great, very accurate out to 600 yards. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Enfield trader Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2022 at 8:32pm
Correct in that the British did find that the No. 1 action was questionable. 
The Ishapore arsenal apparently re-hardened and re-proof tested the 2A rifles …”

Do you have a reference to this statement? I have not hear that but have heard the false statements that the Indians used “better” steel for the 2A/A1 rifles. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 450 Fuller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 09 2022 at 2:11am
In the Feb 2022 earlier thread:"Ishapore 2A1 bolt head question":
: See our members quote and comment on Skennerton's Book "The Lee-Enfield Story:
"The RSAF Enfield concluded in the late 50s early 60's that the NO 1 rifle was unsuitable for conversion to 7.62 due to limitations in strength and stiffness of the action".
This thread also discusses at length the measures taken by Ishapore to the 2A1: steel, proof tests, and the parts of the rifle subjected to further treatment.
A most interesting series -recommended reading.
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