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Wandering zero in the No. 5 Mk. 1

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rico567 View Drop Down
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    Posted: October 13 2014 at 5:46am
Page 112 in this month's American Rifleman has a rather nice piece on the "Jungle Carbine." In it, it is stated as fact that this rifle suffers from a "wandering zero" due to metal removed in the manufacturing process to lighten the piece. I would like input from the expert opinion on this board as to some idea of the accuracy I might expect from my No. 5 Mk. 1. The best I've ever seen is about 8" at 100 yards, whether I'm firing military surplus or reloads.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2014 at 7:20am
I'm getting about 5" @ 100yds.

Incidentally the whole "wandering zero" thing is pretty undefined at best. I recently went checking on exactly what the symptoms of a No5 with a "wandering zero" were. No one knew. There was no definitive answer to what exactly comprised the problem & very few had even experienced something they could attribute to "wandering zero", so I'm inclined to think its more urban myth than reality.
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 rico567 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2014 at 8:03am
This is good to hear. I'm going to proceed on the basis that it's an urban myth, and try some things that have worked for me in the past. In particular, since this rifle has an aftermarket stock, I'm going to relieve the barrel channel in the stock back to where it widens out into the chamber so that the barrel will free-float. I've done glass bedding, but from the looks of the SMLE action, this will prove sketchy at best.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2014 at 8:44am
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 Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2014 at 9:00am
What I found was that its a 3 stage process to get the best from a No5.

Stage one: Fix what "Bubba did before you got it". In my case it was trying to not have the barrel bedded fore, aft & middle. & absolutely not glass bedding off center & canted!Censored

I ended up having to replace the wood & start over with a sporter stock.

Stage two: find out where its not bedding "right". In my case there wasn't enough tension at the rear of the action to pull the metal up into the wood to lock it in place. That was a combination of adding a little depth to the rear upper part of the stock where it bears on the bottom of the action & adding a couple of fillets to the front bedding face of the area to push back into the butt socket.

This changed the angle of the front of the bedding so I added a shim to the lower area where the trigger guard mounts to the "King" screw & reworking so the sleeve applied a limited crush to the fit.

Step 3: The front of the receiver & the breech of the barrel. That took 3 shims to get "right" one for the lower front wood-to metal fit & 2 more to bed the first 1" of the barrel at the bottom center ONLY.
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 sells101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2014 at 1:22pm
I read an article awhile back by an actual ww2 british armour  , if I can find it again I will post the website, in short he said some had it and they never did find a fix for the problem.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sells101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2014 at 1:38pm
The sporter I have will shoot about 3in at 100yd but only if I let the barrel get completely cold between shots. That's with a 2x7 scope on it. That's the only way I can any consistency, even if I take 5 minutes between shots they will spread out to atleast a 6in pattern. Does that sound like the stock might need to be reworked. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2014 at 2:56pm
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

I'm getting about 5" @ 100yds.

Incidentally the whole "wandering zero" thing is pretty undefined at best. I recently went checking on exactly what the symptoms of a No5 with a "wandering zero" were. No one knew. There was no definitive answer to what exactly comprised the problem & very few had even experienced something they could attribute to "wandering zero", so I'm inclined to think its more urban myth than reality.


Peter Laidler on milsurps was a commonwealth armorer during these times and has written some interesting articles on the matter. Might be worth logging in over there and checking it out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zonda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 27 2014 at 9:42pm
Its really a load of rubbish-i have been using my No. 5 with a scope for hunting here in New Zealand for more than 40 years and have never had any sign of a "wandering zero". Why a No. 5? Never felt the need to change and its always a good debating point on a rainy day in the hut. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 28 2014 at 6:02am
It did happen. Go over to Milsurps.com and talk to the armorer's that dealt with the No 5 in Malaya and such. In particular read Peter Laidler's article on the subject. From what I have gathered on the topic is that it was seen in a relatively small number of rifles, but it was seen. There were a multitude of reasons but they would fix the weapon and then put them back into service or if the issue could not be rectified the rifle was stripped for parts. It seems that anytime the wandering zero was noted there was something wrong with the weapon causing it. The reason we don't see it today is because the rifles that showed signs of the wandering zero were either fixed or stripped for parts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 28 2014 at 9:20am
Makes perfect sense to me.
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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 28 2014 at 2:30pm
i trust peters comments here , but ill be honest , ive always suspected the same kind of troop rejection that we experienced switching from the M1903 to the garand and carbine , then again when the m14 was replaced by the m16 , 

not to belittle a real problem ....would love to see more proof before actually joining in on the bash 
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