Rehab'ing An Enfield No. 4 Mark 2

Rehab'ing An Enfield No. 4 Mark 2

This is a discussion on Rehab'ing An Enfield No. 4 Mark 2 within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I've been running a thread on another forum about refinishing a stock set for a Enfield No. 4 MK 2 that has been languishing around ...

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Thread: Rehab'ing An Enfield No. 4 Mark 2

  1. #1
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    Rehab'ing An Enfield No. 4 Mark 2

    I've been running a thread on another forum about refinishing a stock set for a Enfield No. 4 MK 2 that has been languishing around here for years. Perhaps some folks here would enjoy seeing a mil surp rifle being put back together. This is just "cut and pasted" from the other forum. I can bring this thread back up and post more as the stock is finished up and installed.

    __________________________________________________ _


    One of the bonuses of going to Tulsa this past weekend was picking up the stock hardware and magazine so I can restock a No. 4 Mk 2.

    This rifle was obtained nearly 20 years ago from an individual for very little cash outlay. It had been "sporterized" by the removal of hand guards and other fittings and reshaping the fore stock. The magazine was missing. The last time it was fired was in 1998 when an English friend came for a visit and we did comparison shooting with it and my other British service rifles along side the L42 he brought over. Since cleaning it after shooting it last, I've not looked at it or even handled it except for packing and unpacking when we moved a few years back.

    I thought it was dated from 1958 but, upon inspecting it last night, found it is dated from 1957. I'm a '57 model so we're the same age.

    Prior to that occasion in 1998 I shot it perhaps one other time. It seems like it could be very accurate since it has a sparkling clean bore and didn't have the extra metal and wood hanging all over it. So far though, it has proved to be less accurate than my 1918 Enfield No. 1 MK III*, a rifle that is supposed to be prone to accuracy problems due to its heavy muzzle cap.

    Some years ago I obtained a complete, unissued stock set unique to the No 4 Mk 2. Now that I have the metal hardware I can put everything together. Last night I steamed out a couple of small dents in the wood. Unless someone has a better idea for a proper looking finish I'm just going to apply raw linseed oil to the wood without any stain. Raw linseed oil is slower drying than boiled linseed oil but gives a nice hue to the wood as it ages over time. Only a light sanding will be given to the spots that were steamed. Just enough sanding to make them blend with the surface texture of the wood surfaces. We're trying to achieve an "issue" appearance and not trying to go for the slick and shiny look.

    Thankfully for me, the butt stock provided in the stock set is marked "L" for long. Most Enfields have butt stocks that are too short to my way of thinking.

    The rifle has a well designed fully adjustable rear sight. I also have a proper Parker-Hale target sight I could install. I may play with the barrel channel and hand guards a bit and also experiment with placing card stock beneath the barrel to see if I can get it to shoot tighter groups. It might be fun to take to a high-power match just to "hoo-doodle" the AR 15 shooters.

    Some "before" photos are posted here. Later, some "after" photos will be posted.

    Here it is with the ugly cut-down stock, stained some orang-y color and polyurethaned, all slick and snotty.




    Look Ma, no import marks! The post-World War II produced No. 4 Mark 2's aren't so common over here anyway and ones not having import marks are even less so.


    This stock set is a sickly gray hue. When wiped with an alcohol damped cloth though it turns a lovely warm brown. I think the oil finish will be just right without any staining.


    I'm off to the store now to get some linseed oil. Raw linseed oil is sometimes tough to find. It is otherwise known as flaxseed oil and may be found in health food stores if unavailable elsewhere.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893


  2. #2
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    While I'm mixin' and matchin' my "tacti-cool camo paint schemes" I can give a sneak preview of the difference made by an application of the raw linseed oil. I just laid the hand guard out on my wife's black compost bin and allowed it to warm in the 91F sun then applied the oil.



    It's seen here just after I finished hand rubbing it using two fingers. No stain was used. The only place in town that I could locate raw linseed oil was on the health remedy shelf of the local Alco. As a health supplement it is known as flaxseed oil which is nothing more a refined food-grade raw linseed oil. Same thing. Stuff's great! One capsule, split across the end is enough to cover the hand guard including a healthy coat to its underside and makes a good applicator if one takes care not to squeeze it too hard. Leave it to lie in the sun for 15 minutes then wipe off all you can with a cloth.

    I'll allow it to cure overnight before applying a second coat.

    Compare the oiled rear hand guard with the unfinished front hand guard. The hue looks exactly the same as that on both my Krag Jorgensen from 1894 and Rock Island 1903 Springfield from 1913. Both still have their original stocks. I thought it looked a bit reddish for a proper Enfield stock. Most of the No 4 Mark 2 stocks found on internet examples of the rifles are quite blond. An internet search of several sites that give data the original stock finish used for Enfields including the No. 4 Mk 2 finds that the Brits used ... raw linseed oil.

    The steamed places where a couple of dents were raised have been sanded and the stock parts have been left to warm in the sun while I posted this so I'm going out to give the rest a coat.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    15 minutes after the first coat, most oil had soaked into the thirsty wood in the hot sun as evidenced by the whitish appearance behind the bottom of the wrist of the stock.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    24 Hours Later

    Here's the second coat after it had soaked in for about 15 minutes and just before I wiped off the excess. The morning after the second coat was applied, the wood was still tacky to the touch so we'll wait a few days until it hardens some more.




    The front handguard was of some different species of wood from the rest of the stock set. Probably should strip it off and attempt to stain it to match. I imagine that rifles in service were commonly seen with off color wood components so am going to leave it alone for now.


    Action area, barrel channel and all other interior areas were treated to an extra helping of oil to help seal the wood. These will just stay sticky/tacky for a while but will finally cure.


    Forgot to mention that before oiling, I relieved the stock a bit where the barrel rests out near the fore end tip in an effort to see if an accuracy improvement may be gained. If not, then I'll fix a slice of business card in place there to see if pressure helps accuracy.

    It is tempting to alternately sand and oil the stock which has a dab of interesting figure. One can achieve a really deep appearance and shiny finish with careful attention to sanding with fine grit paper. I've done sporter stocks like that and love the results. I have an exhibition grade black walnut classically styled sporter stock for an '03 Springfield that will be a knock-out when finished.

    I'm resisting the temptation to guild the lily so am trying to make this stock look arsenal original. Seems too dark to me but that is just the way the wood took the oil.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    That's the gist of the original post. I'll update this thread later after the 3rd coat is applied. The stock may not accept any more of the linseed oil than 3 coats.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Nice correct job.

    Flaxseed oil AKA pure cold pressed Linseed oil dries by oxidation/polymerization & not by solvent evaporation like lacquer or shellac.

    Raw Linssed "dries" much, much slower than Boiled Linseed or Linseed oil with added driers.

    Many gunstock "oil finishes" like "Linspeed" use a mix of Linseed oil, Tung oil, + driers to speed up the necessary multi-coat process for that reason.

    With true pure raw Linseed Oil - you should probably wait about a month before applying your final very light coat which should be well wiped off.

    Warning....pay mindful attention to how you dispose or store rags and paper towels used to wipe off & apply Linseed oil as they can easily spontaniously combust.

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    Very gorgeous. Thank you for the detailed write-up. This will be fun to watch the progress.


    The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins. ― The Journals of Kierkegaard

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    It looks like you are well on your way to a fine looking rifle. I like mil-surp rifles from the early-mid 20th century, often they are some of the best deals out there when it comes to quality, center-fire rifles.

    All then Enfields I have ever handled have had very slick, fast bolts, which are smoother than my K98.

    Good on you for taking the time to make that old war-horse back the way it should be.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    We're gonna retread this old thread from last year.

    It took 11 months but the No. 4 Mark 2 is finished. One thing about it, the raw linseed oil is certainly cured. It turned out a pretty nice rifle. I don't keep large quantities of loaded .303 ammunition on hand but have lots of cartridge cases and several hundred bullets of various styles including some 174 grain boat tail spitzer FMJ from the UK courtesy my Yorkshire friend. I can handload ammunition as required. I'm hoping to get it to the range in the next week or two for a session over the bench rest. Here it is all kitted out with its post-war green web sling and Mark 9 bayonet and scabbard. Also shown is some period 1952 Kynoch Mark VII ammunition. The rifle might actually make a good stand-in for duty if we had "the societal breakdown" that is commonly discussed on some firearms forums.

    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    bmcg, you do know how to pull on my heartstrings... nice to see the final product!

    I had a shot at a nice Enfield for a giveaway price about 8 years ago, but the scarcity of affordable .303 made me pass it up - dang! Now that I'm reloading I won't make that mistake again, but I'm afraid that ship has sailed. Nice, shootable British Enfields that haven't been cobbled up seem pretty rare these days.
    Smitty
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    Thanks Smitty;

    I do like the British service rifles and all the Enfield variations along with the .303 cartridge.

    You are right about reasonably priced, nice, shootable Enfields not being much available these days. The ones that seem to become available on the surplus market are rough and the cut-down "sporterized" ones that used to be commonly found at the pawn shops and local gun shops for $25-$50 are now priced out of the ball park. In my view they're still only worth $50 or less.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Wow!

    I'm going to go ahead a re-resurrect an old thread because, well... it deserves it.

    That right there is one beautiful restoration job on a classic military rifle.

    I salute you sir.
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    Beautiful. I'm still kicking myself for passing up a nice No. 4 Mk 1/2 I saw at a gun show earlier this year.

  14. #14
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    Excellent job on the Enfield.

    Great article too.

  15. #15
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    Thanks y'all!

    When I typed "In my view they're still only worth $50 or less" in the post above, I really meant: in my mind decent Enfields ought to still be had for $50 or less. They are worthwhile at 7 times the price if it's a good one. Lots to admire about the design, craftsmanship, and history associated with the rifle along with the ballistics of the .303 cartridge. I was just talking a few moments ago by telephone with my brother-in-law, who is my most frequent shooting partner. We were talking about loading .30-06 and then got off onto suitable bullets currently on the market that may be used in the .303. A cursory look at .303 component bullets pulled up on the internet shows some really good selections for the .303. I'm liking the looks of the Sierra 174 grain Matchking along with the somewhat less expensive Hornady version of the same bullet.

    I never got to shoot the rifle off the bench rest before taking one of our trips down on the border where we wile away the days shooting down a canyon from a rim from 100 yards to infinity. Well, 800 yards or so this time around. The No. 4 Mark 2 went along with a couple hundred rounds, a mixture of Kynoch Mark VII ball and some similar handoads. The rifle has an excellently designed rear sight, easily adjustable for proper zero at all ranges. The range finder had pegged some chosen rock targets at 354 (that's not 353 nor 355) yards. I'm always slightly skeptical of ranger finders' capabilities. The sights pretty well zeroed at that range though with the graduations provided. That's how I left it and I intend to get to the range and shoot it off the bench to see how high it shoots at 100 yards having been zeroed at the longer distance. Bread loaf and basketball sized rocks were no problem at the distance with the rifle from a solid rest, the accurate strikes being effectively seen from the large amount of white powdery clouds of dust raised on their surfaces. A number were knocked loose with a single shot, rolling down into the dry creek bed at the bottom. Hate to have to say this but it does make .223 shooting feel kind of piddly by comparison.

    Here's a photo of the No. 4 Mark 2 on the second morning of its inaugural shoot after having its rehab, along with the other rifles I chose to play with when we went a couple of weeks ago. The Enfield was a big hit too with my brother-in-law and our host, the ranch owner, a crusty old Marine who can still lay 'em in there with his favorite M1A. Extra credit for anyone who correctly names the other rifles in the photo with a bonus for a wild guess of what is the revolver lying there. Lots of fun 100 yard shooting was done with it.
    Last edited by bmcgilvray; April 17th, 2012 at 10:48 PM.
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    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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