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Lee-Metford Value-damaged barrel?

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ALVillalobos View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 26 2013 at 4:59am
I'm considering bidding on this 1894 Lee metford mkII -  Whats does the brain trust consider an upper limit in its "as is" condition?  Would it be worth it to re-barrel it?  I've been looking for a Long Lee, but this one caught my eye.
BTW this is listed on gunbroker- here's the blurb from the seller:
 
"This rifle has a slight bulge or loose area in the bore. I cant see it but a friend felt it when he cleaned the barrel for me. The action has the U and diamond of the South Africa Union Defense Force. It also has an extra serial number (a WR number) on the receiver. Action marked, "Enfield 1894" over "II." The regular rear sight is there but the rear Volley Sight is missing. The regular front sight is there. At one point there was a Parker Hale (or similar) target rear sight on this rifle but it is now gone. I do have a rear target sight by Parker Hale that will fit this rifle perfectly which is listed separately on Gun Broker."
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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 28 2013 at 6:31am
Early Lee Enfield and Lee metford rifles occasionally got bulged barrels due to excessive pressures when the Mk1 Cordite degraded in tropical climes.
Another possibility is Cupro-Nickel metal fouling in the leade which reduces diameter till the patch goes past the area of greatest heat of the discharge, usually the first ten inches of bullet travel. Higher heat in this area made metal fouling near solder itself to the steel.
Cupro-Nickel fouling can be removed by plugging the chamber and filling the bore to the muzzle with a strong copper solvent and letting it sit muzzle up for a day or so at a time.
A piece of rubber tubing should be stretched over the muzzle and the solvent level kept above the crown.
If solvent level drops to expose steel a chemical reaction at the interface of air and solvent can etch the bore surface leaving a tide line.
 
PS
Another cause of wide spots midway of the bore is the use of a steel cleaning rod pushed in from the muzzle. When the jag contacts the breech face the rod twangs and vibrates in the center striking the center of the bore and battering the lands.
This is one reason they went from cleaning rod to pull through.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote muffett.2008 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2013 at 6:42am
The sensation of loose from firm when cleaning, is more likely to be from fouling/roughness in the tighter parts.
 This is usually noticeable in front of the chamber and again near the muzzle. Proper cleaning will remove the fouling and the rod will move freely.
 A bulge in a barrel covers only a limited area and can be felt from the outside by running  fingers along the sides.
 Viewed from the inside it will look like a dark shadow with curved sides.
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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 28 2013 at 10:51am
If the possible damage is not discernable to the naked eye and only discovered by the feel of a tight patch then the rifle is most likely still shootable.
 
One thing I forgot to mention is bullet jacket damage from blowby gases if a bulge is fairly long. If theres an extended loose section of bore high pressure gas could overheat the bullet jacket to loosen the core and result in blow through. This is not that common with modern propellents but still can happen.
 
If you get the rifle determine exactly whats going on with the bore first off. Could be that a through cleaning, perhaps using the electric rod type mechanism would be all thats required.
A properly done lead lapping of the bore might be called for.
 
If worse came to worst.
I've occasionally heard of useable barrels being available, salvaged from deactivated rifles. I doubt a barrel would be easy to find, or cheap, but you never can tell.
 
If theres no external sign of a bulge and no cracks, then it should be safe with mild cast bullet loads at the very least.
I've seen the term "internal bulge" used in a Armorers manual.
 
The rifle looks solid enough and missing small parts may be findable.
 
I would not pay much for the rifle, little more than wallhanger price, unless I got the chance to throughly examine it first.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SW28fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2013 at 11:32am
Finding a used barrel is tough.  A custom barrel would be pricey  Krieger can do it but I would not be surprised if they wanted $500 to make one.  The last time I had a rifle rebarrelled  the gunsmith charged me $125.  It may still be worth getting as it is as "Representative example" considering the rarity of Long Lees in the U.S. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote muffett.2008 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2013 at 4:11pm
Probably wiser to give it a miss, that will leave the way open for me to bid.Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ALVillalobos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2013 at 12:30am
Thanks everyone for your input-- Right now (sat mar 2 0821) bidding is at $356  I'll see how it gets by the end on Sunday 6PM PST.
I'm still having trouble getting an idea of what a functional, but not great, Long Lee is worth.  Anyone?

Regards All,

AL in San Diego
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 303Guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2013 at 11:49am
A rifle like that wouldn't be all that common.  It'll be worth something, possibly more than what you'd like to pay.  

There is another cause of a loose spot in the bore and that is the barrel band.  The barrel band clamps the barrel firmly which reduces the expansion as the bullet passes through and thereby increases wear in that spot.  All I've heard about it is that it can be visible as a shiny ring in the bore.  Over time the bore may darken and hide that 'shiny' ring.  Does the 'loose' patch coincide with the barrel band?  If not, that's not the case.  A felt loose area in the bore would likely be so insignificant as to make no difference anyway.

Buy it if you can.  Guns like that go for a lot more than NZ$375 here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SW28fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2013 at 12:07pm
I'd buy it for that price in a heartbeat. 
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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: March 04 2013 at 4:42am
me too , if given the opportunity
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ALVillalobos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 04 2013 at 8:20am
AFTER AUCTION REPORT

Hi everyone,

Final sale price was $635.  I was in it up til 625, which was my upper limit, but  the other guy showed no sign of slowing down. 

I'll try to conserve my money and be patient- I'm looking at either an older 8mm Lebel or early Mauser or an early enfield, if anyone has any leads in the $400-600 range (more or less)

Thanks for all your inputs-- much appreciated and valued.

AL in san diego
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SW28fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 04 2013 at 10:21am
I got lucky with my Lebel. I was wandering the back tables at a gunshow and there was this 1886/93 Lebel with a $150 price tag.  The stock has stains and two patches but the bore was good.
 
The Lebel was the preferred rifle of the French Foreign Legion and I must report that since I have had it the Tureqs have not attacked Haltom City Texas once.Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ALVillalobos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 04 2013 at 10:44am
There's a nice looking Lebel right now on Gunbroker $230 right now with 14hr to go (reserve not met)
Any idea on an upper limit I should have in mind?
"1886 M93 Rifle. Manufactured in 1889 at the Tulle arsenal rifle is still in the original chambering hasn't had the N bore conversion of the 20's"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SW28fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 04 2013 at 11:31am
Hard to say  $600 would not shock me.
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