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A "New" No.4 Mk2 Target Rifle

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britrifles View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 22 2022 at 10:23am
It sucks, but our CMP matches have no alibis.  I can see why, too many shooters and it would mess up the schedules pretty quick. 

Its surprising how much trouble primers can cause.  Numerous recorded cases of primers causing overpressure; particularly in hot weather.  So, don't substitute a LR primer for a magnum primer primer, unless your at the minimum charge in the load tables; otherwise, reduce charge by 2 grains.

The only load I use a "magnum" primer (CCI #34) is .30-06 loads in the M1, primarily because of the low load densities and for the reduced sensitivity to the floating firing pin tapping the primer as the bolt slams closed.  My loads are nowhere near max charge (I use a reduced charge of H4895 with a 125 grain bullet).  If any of you happen to have an M1, pull the bolt back on a chambered round that has been fed semi-automatically, you will see a nice little dent in the primer cup from the firing pin. 

   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2022 at 9:23am
In all the years of shooting lull bore I've had exactly two squib loads, one after the other!
It was a factory 7.62 with we assume, primer but no powder.

When I fired it I thought it was a misfire there was no sound except a "click" nor recoil either. When I opened the bolt there was a slightly smudged fired case, no bullet.
I did the old "dirty thumbnail trick" & its was black!
Pulled the bold & sure enough obstructed.
Dropped a cleaning rod in the muzzle to try pushing, or bashing it out & just the weight of the rod popped the round free.
It had exited the case & stuck just as the rifling started to engrave.
The next round was exactly the same.
I called "Alabi" & I returned the lot.
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 Strangely Brown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2022 at 8:05am
Geoff, that should have read, 300x CCI No.200 LR primers.

I don't think I've ever witnessed a proper hang fire other than somebody on the next lane to me firing some supposedly Pakastani Ordnance .303 which did retard for a fraction of a second. 

Decided to try some of the Remington primers again when my 200x Sierra Palma's turn up and keep the CCI for competitions.    
Mick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2022 at 7:55am
Mick, I assume you mean CCI #200, Large Rifle for the .308 Win.  #300 are Large Pistol primers.

At the Vintage Sniper Match last Sunday, we were using .30-06 Match ammo assembled with Lapua cases and 167 gr. Lapua Scenar match bullets, loaded by Creedmoor Sports on their high capacity machines.  Don't know what the primers were.  But, we had a hangfire; a good 2 to 3 seconds, happened to my shooting partner (two man team match).  He had just started to take the rifle off his shoulder when it fired, really surprised him (and me!).  We get 15 seconds to take the shot, so he was about to load another round.   

Needless to say, that shot went right over the target and cost us 10 points.  But, I shudder to think what might have happened if he had started to open the bolt.  You should really wait for 10 or more seconds on a dud, incase it goes off!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Strangely Brown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2022 at 6:21am
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

Also have had dud primers occasionally.

I would never have believed that dud or overpowered primers could cause so much trouble; the ammunition sourced for the Bisley 2019 NRA Imperial meeting was put together by the Lithuanian manufacturer GGG, who until then had enjoyed enormous success with their .308 target round. 
The bullet used was a 155gr Sierra MK and I believe the primers were also imported leaving GGG to produce the brass and assemble the components.

From the very start of the 2019 batch hitting the shelves in the range office stories started to emerge about broken primers on Swings, Paramount's and Musgrave's (from memory) some makes escaped the problem, Accuracy International amongst them although the target rifles they produced are fairly thin on the ground these days. 
It was believed that 20% of the primers were overpowered.  

Whilst bemoaning the fact I'm down to my last 300 CCI primers I conveniently forgot that I have about 300 Remington and 160 Winchester primers bought from a friend who emigrated to Nevada; the problem here is that I have had about 5 or 6 dud ones the majority of which were Remington, and I really don't want to waste time and energy loading substandard components. Having said that if the supply of CCI doesn't improve soon I may have to use them! 

Mick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scottz63 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2022 at 6:12am
In the tens of thousands of rounds I have shot, I have only had one squib. A factory load. Winchester white box 32ACP. It had enough power to eject the spent case and load the next round, but not enough for the round to clear the barrel. It did not sound right and also released a puff of smoke from the chamber. I stopped to check and sure enough I had a bullet lodged in the barrel. Could have been bad.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2022 at 5:32am
That's one thing that worries me, a squib launching a bullet in the barrel.  I've had this happen once in my M1, had to drive the bullet out with a cleaning rod.  Also have had dud primers occasionally.  Got to be very careful in rapid fire stages, to inspect the cartridge extracted and make sure the bullet is in the case before feeding another round.  

I've told this story before on this site, some years ago a friend brought me her revolver, it had three bullets lodged in the barrel.  They were reloads, not sure who did them, but thankfully she stopped shooting after the third time "nothing happened".  If the fourth bullet had powder in the case, it would have gone off like a grenade. I tried to drive them out with a bronze rod, would not budge.  Had to drill thru the lead core of the front two bullets first. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2022 at 4:20am
Originally posted by Strangely Brown Strangely Brown wrote:


Talking of these blowing up, I witnessed a barrel on an L1A1 (FAL) burst in 1967 during my two years boys' service, it absolutely shattered the wood fore end into hundreds of splinters, no idea why or how it happened though.   

A No4 'blowing up' in 2019.
Hand guard just vapourised

Believed to be a 'reloading error' and a squib round getting stuck in the barrel followed by a 'full power' round.

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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: November 21 2022 at 10:51pm
thats a nice looking rifle 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Strangely Brown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2022 at 4:44pm
Geoff, I'll have to post a picture of my range box and its contents at some stage, suffice to say it always has a short piece of towelling in it to cover the breech area in case of rain...which in the last few days has been pretty constant! 

The end of the .303 came in 1968 although both calibre's shot side by side until 1971 from memory, after that other changes occurred and a new round bull target emerged in 71 as well.
I was once shown a technical drawing dated 1958 of a proposed 7.62mm target rifle in Fultons, the designer was none other than Robin Fulton who was clearly ahead of his time.

Talking of these blowing up, I witnessed a barrel on an L1A1 (FAL) burst in 1967 during my two years boys' service, it absolutely shattered the wood fore end into hundreds of splinters, no idea why or how it happened though.   
Mick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2022 at 3:40pm
Mick, glad we have you here to help “fill in the gaps” during those years at Bisley.  My Dad stopped shooting just as the 7.62 conversions were coming out, and I started years after the TR class began.

Imagine if it was announced that the No. 1 and No, 4 rifles can’t be shot in the rain, or use bullets over 155 gr. in 1939!  Stop the war! Recall all the rifles! 

But, there is a shred of truth in what he says, although he has surely amplified the effect it has.  Grease, oil or other liquids, including water, will increase thrust loads on the bolt.  Proof cartridges are dipped in oil for this very reason.  For as long as I’ve been shooting service rifles (about 25 years now), I’ve kept the chamber cleaned, I tumble brass to remove traces of sizing lube.   I avoid shooting in the rain, mostly because it’s not fun.  If it starts raining, I keep the lid on the cartridge box closed and cover the breach when not shooting.  Just common sense really.  

It’s a rather silly thought that shooting .308 bullets over 155 gr will blow up a No. 4.  It’s a wonder that the billions of 174 gr bullets fired in the .303 did not blow up all those rifles? 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Strangely Brown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2022 at 3:22pm
Originally posted by The Armourer The Armourer wrote:

Sporting Rifle – March 2010. “Wet Weather Drill”

As an ardent collector, shooter and historian of Lee Enfield rifles I was very concerned, even alarmed, at the statements made by Mr Chris White in his article “Wet Weather Drill”.

Good grief!

I knew Chris White; in fact I shot the first CSR (civilian service rifle) match, alongside the army that took place some 23 years ago with Chris; this was after civilians were banished from army SR matches sometime in the 1960~70's.

Chris struck me as a nice guy and we chatted about techniques, sight setting on the rundowns etc, I was shooting my No.4 SR"a" and he was using a target rifle, probably a Swing or Musgrave, I should add the event happened very quickly after permission was given but there were no rules in place, and you could shoot whatever rifle you wanted to!  By the next year rules and classes were in place.  

Chris died a few years ago and I will confess to feeling quite sad when I heard the news of his demise, having left the army in 1974 this was my first big SR shoot since those far off days and for some of us on occasions like that you need a friendly face, Chris supplied that even though I had never met him before, I now make it a priority if I see a new bloke looking lost on the range to make sure he (or she) is ok and happy that they know the course of fire or whatever is about to happen.

The ignorance that abounded regarding the No.4, or indeed Enfield's in general at Bisley is actually quite staggering given it's the "home" rifle. I was once told that using bullet weights over 155gr could cause a breech explosion in a No.4, this was from a pistol shooter some 30 years ago at my local club. 

Still rather surprised at Chris's article! 

Mick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2022 at 11:12am
Mick, nice photo. I take it that's the Acuracy International rifle? Very nice!
I have some 155 grain SMK ogives for my L39A1. But don't get to shoot it as often as I'd like. 
There are two versions of the 155gr SMK ogive available; I believe one is specific to the Palma match specification. 
Looking forward to a range report with your new No4!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2022 at 11:09am
Originally posted by Strangely Brown Strangely Brown wrote:

My next outing with the No.4 will be when it dries out a bit, the last few weeks have been extremely wet over here and I now refuse to shoot in the rain!

You don't want to be doing that - Don't U know - No4 based rifles explode if fired in the rain.

Maybe you didn't see it but there was an article in Sporting Rifle magazine in 2010 which explained how dangerous No4 rifles are and how they are being asked to work beyond their design capabilities.

I, and several other 'worldwide contacts' wrote to the editor (and some of our letters were published) but basically the answer was everone is entitled to their own opinion and our staff writer is of the opinion that No4s are not safe to be used in wet weather, and unsafe in calibre 7.62.

Here is one of the letters I sent (at least this did get published)


FAO Mr P. Carr (Editor)

                                     

Dear Sir,

 

Sporting Rifle – March 2010. “Wet Weather Drill”

 

As an ardent collector, shooter and historian of Lee Enfield rifles I was very concerned, even alarmed, at the statements made by Mr Chris White in his article “Wet Weather Drill”.

 

The article started innocuously enough but then seemed to move to a serious ‘Enfield Bashing’ session, with unsubstantiated rumours and half-truths being quoted as fact.

 

I would like to break down the article into manageable sized ‘chunks’ and look at each statement individually:

 

a)      “…….. at worst a stretched action. Lee Enfield’s are notorious for this.”

 

Any rifle with water in the chamber, or using wet ammunition will have problems. It is not that the chamber pressure is higher than normal, but, the fact that the cartridge case can no longer grip the chamber wall, and therefore more force is passed back onto the bolt head / bolt. As the author states himself, his grandfather was at Passchendaele, where conditions were not ‘ideal’ and I am sure if Enfield’s ‘exploded’ when wet there would have been some reports of it happening.

Where is the evidence confirming “No4 Enfield’s are notorious for this” ?

 

Out of around 16 million Enfields manufactured, surely it would have been known if there was a ‘problem’.

 

I have spoken with the most Senior British Military Armourer at the Small Arms School at Warminster. He has trawled the military records and can not find a single report of a No4 action being affected in this way. He has offered to discuss Mr White's findings with him if he should care to find out the truth, as opposed to ‘internet rumours’.

Contact details provided if you require them.

 

b)      “A No4 shooting 7.62 ammunition is already doing a job beyond its design parameters”

 

Whose design parameters? As well as civilian shooters, the Military and the Police have used No4 actioned 7.62 rifles for many years. For example, the L39 (Military target rifle) was designed and built by RSAF (Royal Small Arms factory) Enfield, the Police ‘Enforcer’ Sniper rifle, The Enfield ‘Envoy’ and numerous other rifles were built by RSAF Enfield and Parker Hale, is Mr White suggesting that they knowingly built and sold rifles that were being asked to perform beyond their design parameters? I think the RSAF would have a little more knowledge on this subject than Mr White.

 

c)      “This coupled with questionable gunsmithing and significantly undersized bores when the rifle was converted from .303 ……”

 

Undoubtedly there have been some ‘home conversions’ of Enfield rifles but to lump together all conversions, as “questionable gunsmithing” is totally unreasonable. Official ‘conversions’ have been undertaken by Government agencies all around the world, again such notable names as RSAF, Parker Hale, and DCRA, - the list goes on.

The comment could be read as the fact that the 303 barrels were bored out and sleeved for 7.62 – this is not the case. “Conversion Kits” included the correct (newly made) barrel, breeching up washers, bolt head and extractor, there was no ‘questionable gunsmithing’ involved.

What evidence has Mr White to support his claims of “questionable gunsmithing” & “undersized bores” ?

 

d)      “….. stressing the action beyond this limit has a cumulative effect, which ultimately leads to failure …….”

 

Absolutely true of any metal part, on any rifle and is not a peculiarity of an Enfield rifle.

 

e)      “…. To cap it all, when the rifle passed into civilian hands it was subject to a deliberate overload at the proof house …..”

 

The implication here is that this is something unique to Military surplus / Enfield rifles, surely Mr White is aware that ANY firearm sold in the UK must be proofed with a “deliberately overloaded” proof round.

The military proof testing (STANAG) is even more severe than the civilian testing in that not only do they use a proof round 25% above service pressure, but they also use an ‘oiled’ round (to simulate wet cartridges) which would pick up on the alleged “action stretching”.

I quote from the specification:

 

“Each weapon and component considered vulnerable to the effects of a rapid change in pressure, for example barrels, breech blocks and bolts, will be tested by firing one dry round at a corrected minimum of 25% over pressure and one oiled round at a corrected minimum of 25% over pressure. 25% over pressure means 25% in excess of the Service Pressure (Pmax). The Service Pressure is defined as the mean pressure generated by the Service Cartridge at a temperature of 21°C. Such a high pressure proof is conducted with both the weapon and ammunition conditioned to an ambient temperature of 21°C.”

 

Any military firearm would be subject to this test, I again revert to the example of the Military L39 which is a 7.62 calibre ‘converted’ No4 action.

 

 

The shooting fraternity is under increasing pressure from Politicians and the non-shooting public, and ‘scare mongering’ reporting such as this article does our sport no good at all.

With the latest mandates from the UN to ban the civilian sales of military calibre weapons and ammunition (this includes 7.62), The international airlines (IATA) refusing to carry military calibre weapons, and the fact that in the UK 7.62 and .308 are seen as the same calibre (and many FAC’s show 308/7.62) we are looking at an uncertain future.

 

I am sure Mr White has researched his article and used information from qualified sources, this being the case, I see no reason why he should not be able to provide empirical evidence to support his article, If he cannot, then I would ask that an admission of error be published.

Yours faithfully

 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2022 at 10:46am
Sure wish I could help you Mick, I’d gladly give you some LR primers, but I suspect it would be difficult to ship to the UK from US (HazMat). 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Strangely Brown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2022 at 10:44am
I've just managed to find some 155gr Palma's over here; apart from a few Bergers there's absolutely nothing else on the shelves and worse still I'm down to my last 300 CCI primers!

On the plus side propellants are starting to appear again, most noticeably Swiss RS & Vihtavuori both of which I use because of the ease I could find them in the past.

My love affair with the 150gr SMK is because it was used historically during the early 1970's before the switch to heavier barrels and bullets. 
My next outing with the No.4 will be when it dries out a bit, the last few weeks have been extremely wet over here and I now refuse to shoot in the rain!
Mick
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