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Convert SMLE to a take-down rifle?

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Category: Enfields
Forum Name: Enfield Gunsmithing
Forum Description: Submit any how-to's or other gunsmithing suggestions here.
Printed Date: June 06 2020 at 6:13am
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Topic: Convert SMLE to a take-down rifle?
Posted By: mfezi
Subject: Convert SMLE to a take-down rifle?
Date Posted: May 26 2011 at 6:40pm
Has anybody heard of or thought of converting a Lee Enfield to a take-down rifle?  My idea is to convert my sporterized No. 1 MkIII to a quick take-down rifle that can be stowed in a suitable case in small plane such as a Cessna 152 (2-seater, limited luggage space).  I remember reading of such a take-down project a few years ago but cannot remember the details.  I suppose the best route would be to somehow convert the butt-stock screw to quickly detachable format...any ideas? 

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: May 26 2011 at 9:36pm
IIRC there was a test of a "folding stock" model for paras.
I believe the stock bolt was shortened, but left permanent. Then there was a hinge & locking device fitted to the remainder of the stock. When folded only about 1 1/2" of stock remained in-line the rest pivoted 180 degrees against the body.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: mfezi
Date Posted: May 26 2011 at 9:42pm
Interesting, thanks Shamu. 
I seem to remember the take-down rifle being a Lee Speed sporter but the take-down mechanism wasn't described.  

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: May 26 2011 at 9:46pm
I don't know how well this would work, but I've thought of inletting a Q.D. fitting for a radio antenna into an old stock. Basically you'd push in against a spring, turn 90 degrees & pull to remove (not fold) the stock. Not quite a folder, but definitely a take down!
I think there was also an Arisaka folding carbine made with the hinged stock idea as well.

There have been a couple of conversions where Mossberg folding shotgun stocks from "Choate Machine & Tool" have been adapted to the Enfield butt socket.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: SW28fan
Date Posted: May 26 2011 at 9:56pm
First welcome to the forum.  I suppose it can be done but the cost may be prohibative.   The barrel and the receiver modifed to interupted screw thread but that is a lot of custom gunsmithing.  I suppose that it hasn't be done very often because of the  cost  which where I live would be two or three  times what an unmodified SMLE does.

Have a Nice Day
If already having a nice day please disregard

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: May 27 2011 at 1:37am
I'll bet!
Maybe that's why everyone went with a folding stock instead of a switch barrel?

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: mfezi
Date Posted: May 27 2011 at 1:59am
Thanks guys. Going the detachable barrel route wouldn't be worth it.  I like the idea of a sort of twist-off mechanism for the butt-stock. This project would be diy; not worth spending too much on the old SMLE. Keep 'em coming! Thanks!

Posted By: TRX
Date Posted: June 04 2011 at 11:31am
If you're just wanting something easier to transport, there's only one big screw holding the buttstock in place. All you need is a long screwdriver.

Posted By: Richard/SIA
Date Posted: June 09 2011 at 3:53pm
A telescoping stock bolt with suitable folding handle would not be hard to make.

Barrel can be converted to a lock-nut system, no interrupted thread required.

At over $3.00 a gallon for gas, I want it leaded, 100 octane, and my windshield washed!

Posted By: mfezi
Date Posted: June 09 2011 at 4:46pm
Hi Richard, both your suggestions sound feasible, care to elaborate?  Thanks!

Posted By: Richard/SIA
Date Posted: June 10 2011 at 4:16pm
Remove the barrel.
Turn the shoulder down on a lathe.
Extend the threads forward to provide threads for a lock-nut.
Fabricate a suitable lock-nut after determining how it will be cinched down in the field.
You will want a mark to confirm proper barrel location and head-space.
The extractor notch and a head-space gauge should work fine.

Telescoping stock bolt.
Remove the old stock bolt.
Turn a piece of hex stock to the old thread pitch and diameter.
Weld or braze a shoulder to take the place of the old stock bolt's head.
Obtain a piece of hex sleeve to fit over the remaining piece of threaded hex stock.
Cut a slot in the sleeve to clear a pin through the hex stock.
Bend an "L" shape handle to fit into the end of the hex sleeve.
Assemble the hex sleeve over the threaded hex, use a pressed cross pin,
Assemble the handle to the sleeve.
Extend the sleeve, use the handle to tighten or release the threaded hex bolt, fold the handle along the axis of the bolt for storage.
If it has been sized correctly it should all still be able to move in the stock.
Don't know how to run up a quick drawing and post it, hopefully my description makes sense.

There are other ways to do this, you could use round stock in a similar manner, it would just be more torque put directly on the locating pin.
You would probably want two pins for strength.

At over $3.00 a gallon for gas, I want it leaded, 100 octane, and my windshield washed!

Posted By: mfezi
Date Posted: June 11 2011 at 12:57am
Thank you Richard.  I'll probably attempt the telescoping stock bolt before playing with the barrel and headspace.  Thank you very much!

Posted By: Story
Date Posted: August 18 2011 at 1:17pm
The idea of a Quick Release buttstock was attempted after the Boer War, there are photos in Skennerton's book IIRC.

Posted By: mfezi
Date Posted: August 19 2011 at 1:56am
Interesting!  I wonder if the take-down sporter I heard about was converted from one of these experimental rifles...

Posted By: Rob
Date Posted: December 01 2011 at 9:38am

I have seen a folding stock for an enfield somewhere...but cant remember where?

 could you not mill a flat on the bottom of the barrel parrallell to the knox form on top and incorporate a wrench(homemade) into the folding stock?
So you screw the barrel on then tighten with wrench then clip it back into your folding stock?
...just saying..?

A true measure of a man is not how he act's when thing's are going well.But how he act's when things are going Bad.

Posted By: mfezi
Date Posted: December 01 2011 at 12:35pm
Hi Rob, I actually own a South African-made folding stock for the LE (very similar to the folding stock on our service rifle, the R4) but it is uncomfortable to shoot- the cheek bone gets a whack!  I would be looking at recreating a classic-type take-down rifle with looks similar to a Lee Speed. 

I would worry about the stock cracking/wearing after multiple take-down sessions if no other modifications were made.  The original idea came from a reference to a colonial era take-down LE sporter...I wish I could find that reference/article!

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: December 01 2011 at 9:56pm
It might have been on here.
There was a picture going round of a cut down rifle, rebarreled to 45-70 & fitted with a Choate Machine & tool folding shotgun stock. It was made by a friend of mine & I admit the darn thing terrified me. I had visions of my hair being ignited by the flash from the 16 1/4" BBL  while my shoulder was being dislocated by the 6 Lb 45-70!Censored

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

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