Showing posts with label Lee Enfield No. 1 Mk. III. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lee Enfield No. 1 Mk. III. Show all posts

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Just Some Lees

Back in the olden days, Great Britain had a firearms industry and produced the redoubtable Lee Enfield. I used to train on them when I was a kid, from about the age of 12 up, and shot alright, "marksman" and all of that.

 1917 my friend

Of course you can't buy them in the UK now because they're far too dangerous, but you can in Texas and I did, some 10 years ago, a No. 4 Mk. 1 from the Gold Nugget pawn. I think it cost around $200 and I've had a lot of fun shooting it, in a nostalgic kind of way. It seems a heavy beast now, though I didn't notice all those years ago.

 note Chesterton's St. Francis, which is awesome

But a #4 wasn't enough, apparently. Suburban Bushwacker persuaded me to go out and get a "project Lee," idea being to turn it into... something. So I did, a 1917 BSA SMLE for 100 bucks at Ray's in Dallas. The metal was painted black, probably due to a parade square refit in the 1950s, the forestock had been chopped, badly, but the serials matched and the bore was bright. So I got the gun.

history in the stamps

Some months later I'd stripped and reblued the metal, along with its cacophany of stampings, neat history if you want to go down the Lee rabbit hole, and replaced the forestock while keeping the butt. Why? Because I liked the Edwardian aesthetics; elegant, though not helpful with optics because the buttstock's too low to achieve cheek weld with a scope. Wasn't designed for it, you see.

Speaking of which, after inletting the receiver/barrel I spent a vast amount of time shaping and polishing the wood (Boyd's walnut -- cheap, semi inlet). No kidding, if you decide to do this be prepared to be patient. It's perhaps worth it because you can create a thing of beauty, a good in itself. But remember, people charge a lot of money for a good wood finish for a very good reason.

Regardless, the rifle's done well enough despite it's, ahem, makeshift scope mount and's shot a bobcat, an auodad(!) and various varmints. No pigs though, annoyingly. I look at it and reflect; over a hundred years old and still going strong, maybe stronger even than it ever was.

 typical trigger scene

Well, you can't have too much of a good thing, so I went out and bought another Lee, an old sporterized #4, with a view to turning it into a scout rifle, Cooper style. And hey, it's got the components, 10 round magazine, bolt action, BUIS, tried and true rugged, etc. 

Have I done anything with it? No, I haven't, shamefacedly. But when I do... it'll be along the lines of shortening the barrel, a new front site, a forward mounted optic and new wood, obviously. I say wood instead of plastic because this is a Lee.

look, put the safety on, so-called "LSP"

And Lees are all about wood and steel.

Shoot straight,


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Clean Up That Mess.

One of the things I like to do on Thursday after saying Mass is clean guns on the porch. It's relaxing and you know what they say, "A clean gun is a happy gun." As opposed to a gopping, miserable piece of non-working liability.

With that in mind, I snaked out my old SMLE Mk.III sporter and felt good about it. That rifle's proved itself handy in the field and at the range and I'm proud of an amateur 'smithing project that went right.

Speaking of guns, I just read The Red Circle by Brandon Webb, in which Webb describes his time in the SEALs and, especially, his work as a SEAL sniper. It's an easy read and when I put it down I thought, "LSP, this guy's forgotten more about shooting than you're likely to ever know."

Humbling and at the same time an incitement to learn more. Excellence in all things, not least shooting, being the catchphrase.

Mind how you wave that saber.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Alright There, Ye Guns

In a big effort to cheat the stereotype, I went for a shoot; nothing fancy, just an AR, a sporter Lee and a .45. I was curious to see if I was still able to use a gun and hit anything smaller than a barn door, like the silhouette of a green terrorist.

Typical Texas Range

Sure enough, the green "terr" took a beating, mostly with the AR, and I was pleased to see decent off-hand groups at 30, 50 and 75 yards. Not so good at 100, annoyingly, and I had to compensate a bit for an ironic tendency to shoot left. Some sort of trigger issue, probably -- don't pull left, LSP! The Lee shot well for an ancient rifle that I'd porch project 'smithed; it was especially good to note that the $50 2nd hand Burris Fullfield scope hadn't drifted. Well done Burris, well done Lee.

Shoot straight,


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lee Enfield Rising

So, LSP, what's up with the Lee Enfields? I hear you ask in that bated breath kind of way. I'll tell you, not much, that is until today. Here's the backstory.

After more sanding than I care to mention, I'd refinished and restocked a 1917 Mk. III. Being a cheapskate, I put an ATI rail over the action to mount an optic. Being a double cheapskate, I bought a second-hand Burris Fullfield for fifty bucks and put it on the rail. After 60 rounds or so the scope wouldn't adjust for windage and I thought it was broken, like the Church of England but less expensive. The scope lived on my mantlepiece for a year, looking outwardly sleek and deadly, but inwardly I knew it was dead. Until the other day that is, when I decided to drag it off its perch and give it a second chance in life.

I looked at the windage dial, which was absurdly adjusted full right. I winded it back to a place that intuitively felt right, maybe 150 clicks left, not that I was counting, and as I did, I noticed the reticle moving left. Windage worked, obviously. I boresighted, using a King James Bible as a rest, and sure enough, my instinct was right, the scope was pretty much on. Result. 


Took the rifle to the range this morning and it shot well enough, achieving 1- 3" groups at 100 yards from the bench, using 180 grain Privy Partizan, which had an easy time of slicing through steel turkey. Not bad for a firearm that's almost 100 years old and certainly good enough for minute of hog. 

Shoot on,


Monday, May 13, 2013

Ancient & Modern

New Skool, Old Skool

I bit the not so proverbial bullet and went out for a well needed shoot; just a bit of ranging about with one of the Lees and an AR. I say "just" as though it wasn't any great deal. Not so fast; with the cost of ammo being Homeland Security IRS pricey, you've got to make every shot count, before you go broke. Like the economy.

Bore Sight!

And the question in my shooter's mind was, "Is the cheap 2nd hand Burris Fullfield, 50 buck wonder, scope broken?" Would it dial in? Last time I tried I wasn't so sure.

Getting there

It did OK. I bore-sighted the old-skool way by peering  at the target with the bolt out, then gazing like a Chaldee through the scope. Were both sight pictures the same? Adjust accordingly. After things were appx. sorted out at 25 yards I moved out to 50 and called EndEx when the rounds were impacting 1" above the X Ring.

Rule Britannia, DIY

Good result. A $150 rifle, with 1917 history, that I'd refinished and restocked myself coming in as a contender in the "kill the evil hog at 100 yards" stakes. Or whatever. To be honest, I think I'll lose the scope and get a 'smith to fit iron (express) sights. 2 folding leaf would be neat and not too expensive. Authentic(ish) too.

.303 Brit

Shot off a couple of mags of 5.56 afterwards to clear the head. Did best off-hand, oddly. Pathetically inaccurate kneeling and prone. Must have lost concentration in the later evolutions.

Go home and eat ribs

A good and well needed days shooting over, I headed for home and BBQ Country Style Ribs. Result. 

Shoot straight and remember, there'll always be an England, until, of course, that there's not.

God bless,


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Truck Full of Guns

Headed off to the range on Monday with a truck full of guns; an AR, a bolt .22 and the newly fixed up Lee Enfield. GWB brought some Ruger action to the party with a 10/22 and a Mini.

It was mostly about the AR and the Mini, starting off at 30 and 50 yards to get the hang of things then moving out to 100. Two very different rifles. I like the wood and steel of the Mini, which makes it more of a "ranch gun" but I also like the Milspec patriotism of the AR. It's argued that the AR is is the more accurate carbine and I think the best group of the day came from it, but in our hands the difference was pretty negligible. I'd say the Mini's  front sight post is better than the AR's because it's thinner but on the other hand, it's easier to fix optics to the AR. Maybe Santa will task his elves to sort me out for an Eotech or the mighty Trijicon...

At 100 yards we took it in turns to go for head shots/center mass. Ten rounds to each in our own time, several times. GWB claims that his nickname in the Service was "Head Shot." I find that unlikely for several reasons.

A tale of two empires

The Lee shot well but the scope had wandered off zero, so we spent some time getting it back in the X Ring and it still wasn't quite right by the end of the day. This might be the Holy Spirit telling me to purchase a Leupold Rifleman; maybe, I'll give the used Burris Fullfield another chance when time and ammo permit. Still, the gun was "hog accurate."

Moral of the story?

Don't be a slacker, get out and shoot.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sandman - Fixing up a Lee

If you see a sportered Lee Enfield No. 1 Mk. III, with a decent bore, matching serials and good looking BSA stamp (1917), all for the price of a cheap pair of shoes... well, you buy it, of course. Then you stare at it for awhile and like a child fascinated by the workings of a watch, take it apart.

tools of the trade
The metal was covered with a thick coat of baked on black paint from a 1951 refurb and the wood was covered in some kind of badly applied finish; I'd guess gloopily applied linseed oil. After removing the paint  with a mixture of K3 Stripper, Aircraft Remover, a plastic scraper and fine grade steel wool, I turned my attention to the wood.

First you strip off the old finish. I used K3 and it's easy to use, in a noxious kind of way. Brush on the stripper and let it work its chemical magic for around 10 minutes. Then scrape off the finish with a flexible plastic scraper. Use gloves, work with the grain, don't gouge the wood. Repeat, then repeat again, this time using steel wool. After several goes the old finish is off. Clean the wood with mineral spirits and enjoy the look of the thing; you'll have a glimpse of how it'll appear when it's refinished. Then...

You sand, and sand, and sand, and sand.

in between sanding -- use a tack cloth

I started with 180 grit and worked up through 600. Use a sanding block or your work will be uneven (some suggest a rectangular rubber eraser -- I used an old dish sponge I'd cut down to size). Be careful around stampings and sharp lines. Clean the wood between sandings with a tack cloth.

Some time later the wood will done. Clean it off with mineral spirits and congratulate yourself on the sheer patience of the thing; the stock is now ready for finishing.

Don't attempt this if you are an impatient, nervous, erratic person who doesn't like sanding. 

Also, don't lose sight of your Lenten rule, whatever that may be.