SMLE #4. Mk 1 Project
Well, this project has taken a lot longer than I had thought it would. Here is some background:
I decided that having some rifles that are accurate, reliable, and sturdy, would be a good thing. I decided that I would pick and purchase 4 of these rifles, and prep them for future need; along with any accompanying gear and ammo. Since I already reload (with a lot of supervision by JRS) I decided that I could pick any caliber I wanted.
I ended up choosing the SMLE #4, Mk. 1 rile as the basis of my project due to the Iron Sights that are available. Believe me when I say, I looked at everything out there.
Now that the decision was made, I started trolling around on Gunbroker and Gunsamerica for likely rifles. I determined that my highest price was going to be $160 per rifle. I ended up paying $165, $110, $122, and $134 for the rifles. Transfer fees for the first rifle were horrible! $55! The rest were transferred by a friend at $0. Favor owed.
I had to purchase two barrels at $48.99 each. I also had to purchase two rear sights, and assorted small parts to complete the rifles.
All of that is done now. I am working on the stocks, and small things now to complete the project.
So, now we are at today....I have really nice Butt stocks, I have really nice hand guards, and really nice forestocks: But the forestocks have been bleached nearly white! Bad match with the rest. I hate modified parts.
So, I tried to sand one and then stain....Bad...spotty and not at all matching.
Then, I tried to treat one with pre-stain....Bad....Did not take any stain.
Then, I tried to use the nasty, pasty, chemical stripper. Bad....Just bad,,,,,.
So, having no other method available to me, and having determined that the fore-stocks had been bleached and not treated in any other manner, I determined that I needed to remove the original oil and cosmoline before anything else would work.
So, off to the store to get the el-cheapo aluminum pans like you use for a holiday turkey....Found a size that would work (18" x 12"). Bought two at $8.99, went home, filled with water, and proceeded to boil the four fore-stocks for three hours (weighted down by 6-1lb lead bars).
The after effect is that the chorine bleach has been leached out, along with a lot of oil and soot, and crap. The wood has darkened to a nice dark brown color, and there is no warping thus far....Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
During the boiling process, I used 1/2 a paper towel every ten minutes or so to mop up the oil floating on the top of the water. Picks it up pretty well.
So, I am now baking the fore-stocks in the oven at 170 Degrees F. to promote the "hydro-expiration process" at a some what controlled rate. Keeping fingers crossed; This has worked for me in the past, but has also had disastrous results in some cases.
Look for the next post tomorrow!
The first fore stock is not taking the stain as well as I had hoped. The next one will get a pre-stain treatment. We will see how that works.
rebuilding Enfields no.4
my rifle was FTR'd so no collector item. the handguard was replaced with a commerical hunting forearm ( which i keep for hunting) but I wanted the original look also so I got a stock set from springfield sporters,Pa ten years ago
some folks use oven cleaner to bleach out the wood I tried it once and i did not like the way it dried out the wood. I have used bleach before, but this time I took my time and used sun lamp and newspaper till all the oil seeped out, I think it took a week or so then lightly steel wooled the surface. what you choose to use is your concern, but I chose to go original british military so I went with linseed oil, I then boiled it myself as commerical boiled linseed oil is not the same ( I didn't know why but thats what I was told) and applied numerous coats till i got the desired color then covered with bees wax ( hobby craft stores carry it) and waxed the surface
yes my no.4 had a single peep rear sight, so i replaced mine with a ladder sight, much more accurate
since you mention reloading, I reload for both my 7.7 jap and 303 Enfields, they use the same powder and projectiles and primers, I have some used boxer brass, but i have been buying 303 brass from graf & sons, lately midway has had a sale on blemish 7.7/303 projectiles in various configurations like FMJ or ballistic tip, round nose or semi jacketed hunting rounds.or you could go unblemished
I use IMR 3031 powder