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ConD II* rifles safe to shoot?

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Homer2 View Drop Down
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    Posted: January 29 2012 at 11:09pm
I recently acquired two MkI ConD II* rifles that were sproterized.  One is built on a 1896 Enfield II action, the other is unmarked, so is apparently a new MkI receiver used in the ConD II production. 

Neither rifle has a HV marked barrel.  Would they be safe for use with standard .303?  The other situation is that both are D.P. marked.  I normally wouldn't consider shooting a Drill Purpose rifle, but wanted to know if theoretically they would be safe to shoot.

1896 Enfield ConD II*
http://s180.photobucket.com/albums/x116/Homer_067/MkI%201896%20Enfield%20ConD%20II/

1905 ConD II*
http://s180.photobucket.com/albums/x116/Homer_067/MkI%201905%20ConD%20II/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 29 2012 at 11:37pm
I would have a Competent Gunsmith check it out first….
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Homer2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 29 2012 at 11:56pm
Definitely will get a gunsmith, but in general, were the ConD II rifles meant to shoot with HV standard .303 ammo? 
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LE Owner View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2012 at 2:56am
If they have the SMLE MkI type barrel it is probably a reverse taper lapped bore.
If intended for MkVI and earlier ammunition types its likely proofed at 16 LT rather than 18.5.
MkVII ammunition probably would not be very accurate in this type of barrel.
 
As to safety I don't think you'll find anyone here who would stick their neck out by proclaiming any rifle they haven't examined to be safe to shoot.
 
The DP marking may have only been put there due to age and obselecsene but we can't know that for sure.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2012 at 9:06am
Originally posted by LE Owner LE Owner wrote:

 
As to safety I don't think you'll find anyone here who would stick their neck out by proclaiming any rifle they haven't examined to be safe to shoot.
 
 
 
 
 
I concur
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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: January 31 2012 at 2:49am
me too , and as a personal rule of thumb i do not think about shooting DP rifles , if they wear the early bits of the 1906 adoption i think they would be a wonderful addition to a collection even if unfireable , some of the earlier 1903 adotion of Cond II rifles were upgraded to II* but IMHO their age alone might hold me back even if not DP marked , just me sayin ,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 31 2012 at 4:32am
A Square 10 A close friend has one, Gunsmith gave it a clean bill of health, however when he shoots it , he uses light handloads for safety
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 31 2012 at 5:01am
OK I admit it I don't know. I'm a shooter, not a collector.
Whats ConD II & ConD II* ?
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 A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 31 2012 at 7:34am
Cond II = conversion of Lee Metford mkII & II* , and Lee Enfeild mkI & I* rifles to mkI SMLE[1903]
 
Cond II* = conversion of same and Cond II to mkI* SMLE[1906]
 
there is a whole series of these Cond I , II , II* , II** , II*** [ a further conversion of the conversions this was a  sight change for the navy] Cond IV [upgrade to mkIII] and these are not found all that common and advanced collector items from my understanding , there is also a I** IP conversion special to India to mkIII stnds ,  
 
as an aside some of these were converted to trainers - i have a Cond II that is 22 cal
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 31 2012 at 9:42pm
Thanks, I didn't know that.Hug
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 Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 31 2012 at 10:48pm
I'm with Shamu thanks A square 10 I was not aware of that as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Homer2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2012 at 12:58am
I know there is no sensible person who would say anything is safe to fire without having it checked out. I'm not really looking for someone to justify any decision, especially with a DP rifle.  I was more looking for someone with knowledge of ConD II* rifles to see if they shoot them.  The rifles I like to collect I like to shoot generally.  I have a few (ha!) Mosins, some of which are older than the oldest ConD II I just picked up.  I have no problem shooting antique Mosins, so I was wondering if anyone shoots antique Enfields that don't have barrels marked for MkVII ammo.  I believe many of the upgrades for MkVII ammo had to do with the sights rather than anything else.

These are rather uncommon rifles, but the condition is a problem.  I wanted to get a feeling for them before I invest a lot of money to restore some or all of them.  I believe I may keep the 1896 Enfield for restoration at minimum.  Each sporter cost $150, and with the cost of the missing parts, I'm looking at a total cost of $500-600 each for a restored gun.  Would anyone think that these would be worth $600, even DP marked?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2012 at 4:46am
Originally posted by Homer2 Homer2 wrote:

I know there is no sensible person who would say anything is safe to fire without having it checked out. I'm not really looking for someone to justify any decision, especially with a DP rifle.  I was more looking for someone with knowledge of ConD II* rifles to see if they shoot them.  The rifles I like to collect I like to shoot generally.  I have a few (ha!) Mosins, some of which are older than the oldest ConD II I just picked up.  I have no problem shooting antique Mosins, so I was wondering if anyone shoots antique Enfields that don't have barrels marked for MkVII ammo.  I believe many of the upgrades for MkVII ammo had to do with the sights rather than anything else.

These are rather uncommon rifles, but the condition is a problem.  I wanted to get a feeling for them before I invest a lot of money to restore some or all of them.  I believe I may keep the 1896 Enfield for restoration at minimum.  Each sporter cost $150, and with the cost of the missing parts, I'm looking at a total cost of $500-600 each for a restored gun.  Would anyone think that these would be worth $600, even DP marked?


 
The bore and throat of a earlier barrel are not inherently unsafe for MkVII ammunition, so long as the action is up to snuff.
The SMLE MkI type barrel has a slightly looser throat (for the older 215 gr RN bullet) and usually the reverse taper lapped bore I mentioned, both of which would work to reduce operating pressure if anything.
A replacement barrel without the reverse taper was authorized by 1917, but how many actually got rebarreled is anyones guess.
 
I can't comment on prices, I've never seen one of these offered for sale.
 
I usually end up with more invested in a rifle than its worth, with a few happy exceptions.
Sometimes you just feel you have to put something right regardless of whether its good business sense.
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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: February 01 2012 at 8:03am
i cannot tell you if its shootable , i shoot some of my old ones but the ones i question i do not just because i treasure my body bits and life , i do not find the inner need to shoot all of them ,
 
i cannot tell you what to do in terms of spending , cannot coment on value except to me , with all correct bits i would put $5-600 in one of these ,
 
having said that - the correct bits are not easy to find so it will require a great deal of dedication and it will be a labor of love as moch as an investment untill you find a buyer if thats what you are after ,
 
one option would be to sell one 'project' to someone with that dedication , and use the funds to start your 'project' , JMHO but i think its worth it ,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alan de Enfield Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2012 at 6:27pm
It has to be your choice but - would you put $500-$600 in a gun thats just a wall-hanger ?
 
With DP on it (for me) its always a non-shooter.
Yes some were DP'd because they were obsolete but mainly (the majority ?) were DP'd because they were out of specification and were deemed to be unsafe to shoot.
 
The three parts that would render a gun 'unsafe' are Bolt, barrel and action. Of these the bolt and the barrel are easily replaceable so it is generally the action which has either stretched / warped or the locking lugs that have worn thru' the hardening - once this has happened there is nothing that can be done to rectify it.
 
Even Peter Laidler who has the experience and the equipment to 'gauge' the rifle will not un-DP a rifle.
 
Does your gun-smith have the knowledge, experience, metalurgical testing equipment and skill to tell you your rifle is safe to shoot ?
 
For me there are enough good rifles out there without risking life and limb on an unknown.
 
Your life, your choice.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Homer2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2012 at 9:37pm
I find that most gunsmiths these days have less knowledge of these rifles than I do.  I'm not sure I really trust someone just because they have the title 'gunsmith' and can scope a remchesterby.  I always ask what experience they have with the model.  No one in my area has much experience with really early Enfields.

Thanks for the replies.  I'm not firing DP rifles at any rate. 


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