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bsparker83 View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 30 2019 at 6:16pm
Ten years ago my neighbor spotting a gentlemen taking an old rifle to a community cleanup/trash day. He was about to put it in the dumpster when my neighbor asked if he could have it. Not knowing what it was, but having a tendency to hoard things, my neighbor set it in his garage until this past week when he handed it to me because I "like guns and hunt".

Turns out it's an 1918 SMLE no1 MkIII* manufactured in the Enfield Royal Small Arms Factory (if I'm reading the marking correctly). All matching serial numbers and wood fits tight with no visible exterior rust. One of the "ears" on the top handpiece is cracked but other than that in pretty good condition.

So, is it safe to shoot? Other than checking headspace, what else should I check? Or should I just drop the $120 to have the gunsmith take it apart and inspect it (a little nervous about disassembly since it appears all original)?







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hoadie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2019 at 4:56am
Needs a bath. Clean it up, then take another look.
Loose wimmen tightened here
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pukka Bundook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2019 at 6:39am
It looks a very promising piece BsP.
 
I wouldn't take it apart until you have looked that part up if you are unfamiliar with Enfields, as damage can be done to the forestock  with incorrect methods of removal.
Clean up the bore and breech and see how it looks.  I think it is a very nice rifle and worth care and time in any cleaning.
The wood just needs a rub down with some linseed oil and bulled up with a rag.
 
Again, very promising rifle!
 
Richard.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2019 at 7:04am
Totally agree! Give the bore a good cleaning, remove the bolt and magazine and clean as best you can. Take your time. Once clean, I would put in a few snap caps to check for cycling/firing/ejection and safety function. Then I would give a vigorous rub and cleaning of the wood with the above mentioned linseed oil. If the rifle functions mechanically with the snap caps, then I guess it's up to you if you feel comfortable firing it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2019 at 9:07am
There should be serial numbers in several places. Check they match.
Receiver butt socket, rear face of bolt handle, end of nosecap, magazine bottom (possibly).
This is at least an individuation it all fitted once before, if they don't thats time to have a smith who knows Enfields (not all do), check it out.
The bore looks a bit grim, but a thorough clean may be al thats needed.
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: October 01 2019 at 3:59pm
pretty nice find and pass along , you won here from what i can see , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2019 at 4:08am
This looks like a very original rifle in need of a little TLC.
If the numbers match; as mentioned in the first post; then I would concentrate on cleaning the barrel to get a better idea of the condition. Then check the headspace and if OK; put a few rounds through it. I would not remove the woodwork before testing it. If she shoot's well; sometimes it's better not to disturb the wood. Just Linseed oil treatment to nourish it and that's it. Keep the originality and patina.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stanforth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2019 at 7:03am
You mention spending 120 with a gunsmith. I suggest that you check the gun and then shoot it. If you allow a gunsmith who isn't expert on Enfields get at it and remove to woodwork you could be spoiling a nice rifle. Zed is right... LEAVE THE WOODWORK ALONE apart from a wipe down with Linseed oil. If it isn't acqurate then by all means strip it but only after checking on the appropriate order of doing it.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2019 at 3:37pm
what everyone is getting at here is that there is a procedure for removing the stock components - you never remove the buttstock first , you will break the forearm , 

the stock and metal bits have aged into a comfortable place , if you remove them you may not get them back into place so well , just wipe down the outside for now , make sure all the mechanical parts are clean and working well , clean the bore and inspect for any signs of a deactivation - generally a hole through the receiver that could be hidden by the stock parts , you can fix the cracked finger of the handguard later - just handle it gently for now , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bsparker83 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2019 at 5:17pm
Originally posted by A square 10 A square 10 wrote:

what everyone is getting at here is that there is a procedure for removing the stock components - you never remove the buttstock first , you will break the forearm , 

the stock and metal bits have aged into a comfortable place , if you remove them you may not get them back into place so well , just wipe down the outside for now , make sure all the mechanical parts are clean and working well , clean the bore and inspect for any signs of a deactivation - generally a hole through the receiver that could be hidden by the stock parts , you can fix the cracked finger of the handguard later - just handle it gently for now , 


So I've been hesitant to respond because of all the advise to leave the wood in place...you know how you start with one screw and then you realize you've spent an hour working on something. Based on the level of junk and bore quality I was rather concerned about what was under the wood. Yesterday afternoon I checked a few things, read some and started disassembling before I knew it the Enfield was disassembled.

You mentioned a hole in the receiver, there is a hole present but I believe that is intentional. See final photo. Hole lines up just behind the rim of the cartridge.

My biggest concern was cracking the forearm. Leaving the butt stock intact and slowly removing everything else, all wood piece easily slide out of place. Now as to the fit getting them back together, we'll find out soon. In the process I discovered the inner band screw spring was missing, as well as the rear nose cap screw (and nut). I've order a replacement and should be here soon.

I gave the internals a good scrub, a lot of junk built up. Glad I did. Just finished scrubbing the wood with linseed oil. Barrel under the wood has very minor pitting on the exterior in one section (about 1" in length). Hoping for the best as it goes back together.








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Zed View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2019 at 4:24am
Well I understand the urge to take things apart! and seeing as it's a 101 years old; it'll probably give you more confidence when shooting it; knowing there's not a big rusty hole under the barrel.
Looks like the wood has cleaned up nicely. Don't over do it though.
The small hole in the receiver is original; it will vent the gases away from the shooter if a cartridge splits at the rim. Case head seperation can occur when reloading and reusing the cartridge case multiple times. Generally you will see a stress ring appear just up from the rim. If you scrap the case when this appears, you can avoid the issue.
If using new factory ammo then should not be an issue. 174 gr PPU is good stuff and the cases do reload well.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2019 at 6:38am
A couple of things.
The hole in the receiver that would indicate a DP is intentionally HUGE (about 1/2" Dia or so) & vertical all the way through.The gas vent is fine.
You are actually missing 3 fingers on the handguards not one. Both handguards had fingers on both sides that met in the middle of the rear sight base. Its no biggie though a lot of them were intentionally removed before they broke off.


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 Pukka Bundook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2019 at 6:39am
The rust is nothing to worry about.
Looks like you took a good bit of finish off the wood though.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bsparker83 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2019 at 6:52am
I didn't know that about the "fingers". Makes a little more sense that way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bsparker83 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2019 at 6:56am
A little bit more than planned might have come off in the rub. I didn't sand or use anything abrasive, however. The lighting might also make it look more dramatic, but I certainly didn't want to remove too much of the darkness from it. A photo with a little more controlled light. I love the age and patina.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2019 at 7:00am
Might be the lighting in the picture, but it looks a lot lighter colour than the original pics.
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