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TheOldPro

Old .303 British Enfield Question

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Back in the 1950's, you could buy a surplus .303 British Enfield for $7.50 around here. I think every boy in my class bought one, including me. I kept mine until 1972, and then sold it due to the fact I couldn't hit a 3 acre lake from 200 yards away with it. My then brother-in-law also bought one at the same time I did, and I have recently come into possession of it. Here's the question: when I look down the bore, I know it has a rust build-up....how bad, I don't yet know, as I haven't tried to clean it at all. If one were to clean out the visible rust, would you trust it enough to actually fire a round through it? It hasn't been fired in over 50 years. I wouldn't mind tying it to a post for the first shot if I thought the barrel wouldn't rupture. I really don't want to destroy the gun, but if it could in any way be made shootable, I wouldn't mind pulling it out every now and then to do a little close-range target practice. I am assuming one can still get .303 ammo for it. Momma didn't raise no fool, regardless of what my acquaintances say, thus the purpose of this inquiry. What do you think?

 

OP

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I too had one of those shot out .303 , but I could kill a deer at 50 or so yards . I traded it and some cash for a .243 and welcomed in a whole new world of hunting . I could actually shoot over 50 yards . I'd clean it real good before I tried to shoot it . Have it checked by a gunsmith before you shoot it if your unsure .

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I too had one of those shot out .303 , but I could kill a deer at 50 or so yards . I traded it and some cash for a .243 and welcomed in a whole new world of hunting ..

We had a very similar experience, then. Mine was good to about 75 yards, but past that I suspect the bullet started tumbling and no telling where it went. In those days, my target was an anti-freeze jug hung from the side of an oak tree across a gravel road (I know, I know) in the pasture 75 yards away. If I backed up much more, I missed the tree, and it was a big oak tree. My next gun was also a .243, the one that I still have and use today. I got $30 for the .303, and paid $50 for the .243 in 1972. I thought it was the best deal I had ever made.

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If it isn't deeply pitted, I'd shoot it.

The pitting remains to be seen. I plan on cleaning it the best I can, tying it to my corral fence post, and firing it from as far away as I can get from it. If the gun remains intact, after a couple more shots I will check the bore again for pits.

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If you have an old tire (off the rim) you can stick the but inside and prop the front of the gun on the other side....might be easier than trying it to a fence post.

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Never thought of that, and I do happen to have an old tire laying around. I still have to find some .303 shells somewhere before I can try it out, tho'. When I get everything together, I'll give a report, if there's anything left to report on.

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I have a 303 which I really enjoy shooting. Ammo readily available thru Pri Parizan and other manufactures, I also reload for mine. If I do my part; mine shoots fairly accurate. Hopefully I will get a chance to use it on some South Texas hawgs in the future

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Hopefully I will get a chance to use it on some South Texas hawgs in the future

What type and weight bullet will you be shooting in the .303 for the hogs?

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Jerry, rust in the bore won't compromise the safety of the gun, tho you might want to get someone to check the headspace on general principles. I've known of a lot of people who got very good accuracy from old rifles using cast boolits after cleaning the rust out using a bronze brush wrapped with a few strands of bronze wool, NOT steel wool. A process known as fire lapping can be useful after the bore cleaning. This is done by rolling several cast boolits firmly in fine valve grinding compound, then loading and shooting them. Doesn't take but a few shots. Let me advise that for cast to be effective, both for lapping and further shooting they must be of proper size, .001-.002 over groove size. This means you will have to slug the bore after the cleaning process to get it right. Don't know if you cast or know someone who does, but if you want to persue the idea PM me and I'll send my phone #, always available to tell lies, I mean exchange factual info about guns and shooting. Archie

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Don't know if you cast or know someone who does, but if you want to persue the idea PM me and I'll send my phone #...

No, I don't cast, at least not bullets. Even people who have observed me fishing will tell you I can't cast. I would likely get a backlash with the bullet if I tried. I will probably just go with cleaning the bore the best I can, and if I can find any of the brass wool I'll incorporate that, too. Sounds like something I could do. I do sincerely appreciate the offer, though, and may take you up on it later on if I get brave with this project. Besides, I looked up the term "lies" in the dictionary, and must say I was shocked at the definition, and definitely want no part of it at this point. Maybe later, tho'.

 

Jerry

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If you have an old Enfield with a rusty barrel, you can almost bet the chamber will need some attention as well. These old rifles need a pretty clean chamber to function properly. Luckily, it is easy to access. I cleaned mine with a cleaning brush attached to one section of cleaning rod and spun it in a cordless drill. Worked great!

 

Also check the trigger to see if it has been modified or filed on. There were a lot of hack jobs done on these to try to improve the sorry trigger and many are now unsafe.

 

Here's a pic of my sporterized No.5 I paid $50 for about 10-12 years ago at a gun show. The Krylon camo finish is mine. I just can't bear an ugly plain wood stock on a gun. Better painted than plain.

 

post-18822-0-51311800-1470144700_thumb.jpg

 

 

Ammo is still pretty plentiful as surplus and new mfg. Midway has quite a good selection of bullets available if you reload. Everything from heavy jacketed and FMJ's to inexpensive hard cast lead in size's from .308 to .313.

 

Hmmmmm, I may have to dust off my .303 and let her resume some truck gun duty. :biggrin:

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.... I cleaned mine with a cleaning brush attached to one section of cleaning rod and spun it in a cordless drill. Worked great!

 

Also check the trigger to see if it has been modified or filed on.

 

 

 

Ammo is still pretty plentiful as surplus and new mfg. Midway has quite a good selection of bullets available if you reload.

 

Your idea with the cleaning rod in a drill is about what I had in mind, along with Archie's suggestion about the bronze wool along with it. As to the trigger being modified, I doubt it, knowing the person who owned it pretty well. As to ammo, for the time being that's what I will probably do, order from Midway if Cabela's doesn't carry it. I thought I had some .303 cases laying around, and have considered reloading for it, but I must have gotten rid of them for some reason, or I just can't find them. My reloading desk doesn't look exactly like Bob's, you understand. I like the looks of your finished gun, too. Looks aesthetically better than the old yellow wood they came with.

 

OP

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While my wife was in the hospital today having a port put in, I slipped off to Academy in Temple, and surprise!!!....they had .303 ammo in TMC (I suppose the same as FMJ) and Remington CorLok, it being in the180 gr. variety. I tried to call the hospital to get them to stop the procedure so I could afford a couple of boxes of it, but it was too late. I passed on it today, but when we go back to the hospital Thursday I'm going to spring for at least one box of it, and then get on eBay and find the reloading dies I will need to keep that box going for a long time. I have the primers and powder already, but I will need to hit Midway, I suppose, to get the bullets. This will come after I ascertain whether the gun is in fact shootable.

 

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO RELOAD .303's:

 

Will a 30-30 shell holder work with the .303, or is it a breed of its own?

Any other nuances about loading the .303 that I should be aware of?

 

OP

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Get a set of Lee dies come with shell holder .

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