Rebuild

This page will go over past, current and future restoration projects, as well as items that I have found helpful in restorations.

One thing that  I must stress, is that  when doing any restoration work is to please go slowly. Also consider  that the rifle you are  working on, do your homework on the number and type. So please don’t varnish, no polyurethane, NO sandpaper. Sadly all you will succeed in doing is to remove its history, character and make it bloody hard to fix, as well as drastically reducing its value!

Handy tools, find an extra long handled flat head screw driver, that will be invaluable for removing the butt bolt. Get a decent screw driver set as there are a varying sizes of screws and there is nothing worse than burring or garking the screws. A good supply and  myriad of toothbrushes will also help in any restoration project. Also make a rifle cradle, it’s not that hard, i will try to post images and diagrams. Buy some cork boards, the cork will protect wood that you may place in a woodwork vice and a  piece of leather is another good idea. Acquire a bag of rags, you will need these!!!  Also plenty of plastic containers. A hint here, get yogurt containers, both small and large, the ones with good lids and the other small ones. Then get 48mm masking tape and a marker and note what from what rifle or action in the container. Its cheap, reusable and a good method so not to lose things…..it happens! Also purchase Penetrate and CRC, if you can, get the pump spray, get a good-sized one too, im not a big fan of the aerosol, I find the pump bottle more economical!

Also head on down to the local hardware store and get a length of plastic storm water pipe, say a meter and a half and two end caps. Glue one of the ends on, the other just use as a lid. This is what you use to soak the wood work in and “restore” it in. I use that for the bottom woods. Another good idea is a wallpaper tray. I have a bungy cord that fixes the pipe to the wall. You will only knock it over once to see the benefit of this advice! Then you will need a magic solution.

What I use is a combination of Raw Linseed Oil and turpentine. I will try to find some great photos that show the absorption and how well it penetrates. I also have some literature on the subject somewhere as well and post a little more later. I use a 50/50 mix and allow the woodwork to soak, I then vary the amount an application time. But often I will soak overnight and take the woodwork out the next morning. From there I wipe it down and let it rest.

Also get zip lock bags, they are cheap and good value. Put the screws in the bags and mark the bags with all the details. Again you wont truly understand the benefit of this practice till you find a small bag of screws that look important but have no idea where from!!!

Buy yourself decent bronze and bore brushes, there is another even a better trick for cleaning barrels,  Ralph’s Bore Cleaner. I’ve tried making my own, but to be honest the bore cleaner that Ralph makes is just stunning and the difference it makes will astound you. I have used one on several occasions and think its well worth it. Check the links page for details. It is stunning for removing fouling from a barrel and upgrading to lead projectiles :)

When using other commercial bore cleaners do me a favour either take the woods off or use some form of low adhesive masking tape around the wooden areas near the breach, mag well or nosecap. I’ve now been stung twice by so-called friendly cleaners,(Not Ralphs!!) I would hate you too to get the same dribble mark. I will post an image later to show you what I mean.

Also go online and get reference books, they are free and very helpful. I will see what links I can provide to aid there. Get good reference books, you will enjoy them and they will help you spot things that are not right. Even better they will help to see what is a good deals or project. One such book I highly recommend is “The Lee-Enfield” by Ian Skennerton, not cheap but so worth it.

Some of the projects that I will include will be a poor mans L42, a NZ marked No2Mk4 and a raft of SMLE’s, in various stages of repair. There will soon be a recently acquired No5 as well as a Lovells Pattern carbine. There is a Siamese contract rifle in need of wood work, and a Fulton’s regulated No4mk1/2 that had a SMLE rear sight soldered on and woods chopped to hell. And then a No3, a good old P14………So all things considered a weekend or twos work!!!!

What I hope to do is add some pics of completed projects and slowly update this page with ideas, projects or tips and then move onto others projects.

8 Responses to Rebuild

  1. jim redmond says:

    mark, just bought a no.4 mk1 from a huntingandfish store for what i consider as cheap, the wood has been cut down but the metal work is in perfect condition, not a hint of blue missing anwhere, has a slightly heavier barrel than the normal no.4 and is 5 groove, this bundook stick is very very accurate. have fitted an ATI stock and thinking of shortening the barrel by 75mm and fitting a parkerhale fore sight but before i procced with this i would like to know what “regulated by fulton” means, thats whats stamped on the receiver?

  2. Mark says:

    Hi Jim, PLEASE DONT chop the old girl! Well not just yet!, as she is something special, she has been through an “upgrade” by Fulton’s. Send me some pics and i will have a look at them and in the mean time write up a bit on Fulton’s and post it on the site. Do you have the woods still as i would be real keen to see the wood on it, esp around the trigger area, so if you can, could you flick me some pictures? But well done on the purchase, essentially you have bought an accurised or improved version of the venerable 303, Fultons made very accurate target rifles, ive a couple myself and the finish is something else, and yes they shoot well.

  3. Terry says:

    Hi Mark
    It was with great interest that I stumbled upon your most interesting website!
    I happen to have what I think are two MK1 MLE LEE ENFIELD 303. rifles, one dated 1901 & the other dated 1903 that were used in the Boer War in South Africa.
    All the firing mechanisms have been removed, the barrels look like they have been filled with lead and holes drilled into them as well.
    I am wanting to get advice as to what I can do to try and get them to some form of their former “glory” restored. Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.
    Being a South African, these rifles are of important historical and emotional importance and I need advice on the way forward.
    Thanks so much for your time and your interesting and informative website.
    Kind regards
    Terry

  4. Mark says:

    Terry,
    The rifles appear as if they have been well de-activated, and with the firing mechanism being removed it may be a little more permanent than you may have liked! The barrel sounds as it may have been welded and then drilled, most likely well beyond repair. I highly suggest you have a gunsmith to really have a look at the rifles.

    BUT, lets have another look at things, if the rifles are in good condition externally, why not tidy them up and spend some time and money on either displaying or adding appropriate other items such as bayonets, stripper clips, etc. Especially if the numbers match and the markings are all correct, the markings are what add to its history.

    Or your only other option is you could try and rebarrel the rifles ( not an easy task given the number suitable correct barrels in the market place!) and replace the parts missing in the firing mech. BUT again under the watchful eye of a gunsmith!

    Send me some pictures and lets have a look. Im sorry that this may not be what you want to hear!

  5. Terry says:

    Hi Mark
    Thanks so much for the reply.
    I am not too stressed about getting them firing again, its just a family “heirloom” that was almost thrown away. Not wanting to sell them either, just a really interesting exercise.
    I am just wanting to get as much history on them and I will give serious thought to the accessories. Where would one start though?
    Thanks again for your help

  6. Mark says:

    Terry,
    they are a great piece of history and obviously very important to you, so lets see what we can do.

    Send me images of the rifles, as many as you can ( the more the better), take decent ones though, if it take a weee while to work out how to do it thats ok, but send me images of the markings and also the wood, (in fact just everything!) that way i can see what needs attention and whats to be left well alone!

    Cheers

    Mark

  7. alex says:

    i am considering restoring my 1939 bsa no1 mkIII, but i don’t know where to start as i am not a specialist in repairing/restoration , any help on where i can get the parts or instructions?

  8. Mark says:

    Alex, when you say restoring has it been sporterised or is it in used condition, if its in a used condition but complete, i would honestly suggest leaving it that way and just giving the woods a good oil. Sanding back wood only removes value and history, otherwise send me some photos and lets see what we can do.

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