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cleaning recently acquired BSA No 1 Mk III

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dodge15 View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 29 2020 at 7:50pm
Looking for some advice or suggestions on how to thoroughly clean my new acquisition. I just picked up a ’14 BSA No 1 MK III. I want to field strip it and give it a good cleaning so I can see all the markings. It has the mag cutoff installed but no volley sights. I am not new to firearms but this is my first Enfield.

Today I took the front handguard off and decided to stop until I developed an action plan to tackle this. The exposed top area of the barrel looks as if it has been painted by hand and appears quite thick. Is this a factory finish or done possible during refurbishment? Should I try to remove this finish or leave it as is?

How should I proceed? Any suggestions and or advice is welcomed. Thanks.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 03 2020 at 1:35pm
When dealing with a 100+ year old rifle, that may have been through two world wars. In my opinion it's best to go carefully with the cleaning. You don't want to remove all the history. By all means get the barrel clean inside and the trigger and bolt properly cleaned and oiled etc. But from a collection point of view it's better not to strip off the original finish on the woodwork or metal; just maintain it gently with the proper substances.
Can you try and post some photos of the rifle.

Also, an important note! NEVER remove the butt stock bolt before the fore end wood. You will probably split the rear end of the fore end due to the stock bolt having a square end that sits in a locking plate in the back of the fore end.

If you are removing the fore end for inspection or cleaning; once the metal fittings are removed, the fore end should be pulled down from the rear end, not the muzzle end. Pulling down at the muzzle end will damage the recoil lug contact area.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 03 2020 at 2:18pm
The paint is normal rust proofing practice, keep it.
Please do not "clean the wood" with things that aren't actual wood cleaners! I've got to like Murphy's oil soap (a liquid wood cleaner) if you want to. RE oil all metal afterwards.

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A good 'gentle clean'


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 03 2020 at 8:38pm
you did the right thing starting on the forend , that would have been my immediate recommendation to prevent damage - others will help more on the proper cleaning as they have vast experience in that where mine is limited , but you started right - never ever remove the buttstock first with a mkIII 

as a 14 it would have had a set of volleys when first made , BSA didnt convert to mkIII* till late 15 early 16 IIRC , my 15 still has hers , and as a mkIII the cutoff is correct as well , it should also have the windage  adjustable rear sight , 

congrats on a nice find , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dodge15 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2020 at 6:47am
Thanks everyone one for the suggestions. I'm not going to mess with the wood other than a wipe down with a mild soap. I want to keep the original finish on the pieces, battle scars and all. This rifle has gone thru WW1 and god know what else. It has lots of character and I want to keep it that way.
That said, its the paint that was applied that bothers me. It obscures many of the gun's markings. I'm assuming it was done years later when it was reissued, correct? If so, why not remove it and have in look like it did when it was originally built? 

I'll try to get some photos and post them later. Thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2020 at 8:40am
Originally posted by dodge15 dodge15 wrote:

Thanks everyone one for the suggestions. I'm not going to mess with the wood other than a wipe down with a mild soap. I want to keep the original finish on the pieces, battle scars and all. This rifle has gone thru WW1 and god know what else. It has lots of character and I want to keep it that way.
That said, its the paint that was applied that bothers me. It obscures many of the gun's markings. I'm assuming it was done years later when it was reissued, correct? If so, why not remove it and have in look like it did when it was originally built? 

I'll try to get some photos and post them later. Thanks.



It could be officially sanctioned paint.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Whitjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2020 at 12:05pm
welcome to the forum!  Nice find!

What color is the painted area in question?  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dodge15 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2020 at 2:15pm
Quite a breadth of knowledge on the forum! Thanks for sharing this.



Originally posted by The Armourer The Armourer wrote:

Originally posted by dodge15 dodge15 wrote:

Thanks everyone one for the suggestions. I'm not going to mess with the wood other than a wipe down with a mild soap. I want to keep the original finish on the pieces, battle scars and all. This rifle has gone thru WW1 and god know what else. It has lots of character and I want to keep it that way.
That said, its the paint that was applied that bothers me. It obscures many of the gun's markings. I'm assuming it was done years later when it was reissued, correct? If so, why not remove it and have in look like it did when it was originally built? 

I'll try to get some photos and post them later. Thanks.



It could be officially sanctioned paint.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dodge15 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2020 at 2:16pm
It's a gray/ green shade.

Originally posted by Whitjr Whitjr wrote:

welcome to the forum!  Nice find!

What color is the painted area in question?  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2020 at 2:21pm
That sounds original to me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2020 at 3:04pm
Originally posted by dodge15 dodge15 wrote:

It's a gray/ green shade.

Originally posted by Whitjr Whitjr wrote:

welcome to the forum!  Nice find!

What color is the painted area in question?  




Its all part of its history and how it was in service, its your rifle to do with as you wish, but, for most of us it would not only devalue the rifle by removing its heritage but could even be considered sacriledge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dodge15 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2020 at 7:09pm
I appreciate everyone's input on my BSA. Everyone of you recommended leaving the paint alone. After careful consideration I'm going to follow that recommendation. I still think it looks awful but it has been there 80 years and it is part of the rifle's history. Most of the paint on the exposed metal is worn away anyhow and what is left I will leave alone. I can live with that.

The stock has dings, dents, and scars. The hand guards have repairs. I would never think of trying to repair them because like the scars I've accumulated over the years they tell a story. They belong there. I'm beginning to realize that the paint does as well. So it will remain.

Again, thanks to everyone for taking the time to offer their suggestions. I'm going to learn a lot from you guys! 
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