Monday, September 21, 2015

Starting on the Enfields. First up: The Lithgow.

Busy with a ton of errands today, but in between, I'm starting on the first of the three new Enfields today.

I chose this one to start, since it's the only one not requiring wood repair at first glance.
This one is the Australian #1MK3*, produced at the Lithgow plant in 1941.
It has a nice uniform gray parkerizing, and the bolt serial matches the receiver. It's the only one of the three that does.
The wood is solid, just showing the usual dents, dings, nicks and chips that you'd expect of an old military rifle. I had to lightly buff a layer of fuzzy mold off of the butt, but that's not uncommon in this humid area. The only stock marking is this stamp, indicating the the right was refurbished (R) and the Lithgow arsenal (MA) in July of 1947.
It was probably put though a post-war repair program and put in war storage afterwards like so many others were.

Not a lot is heard about Australia's participation in World War Two, but they fought in both Europe and the Pacific from 1939 to 1945, with almost a million Australians serving. In so doing, they had 27,073 killed and 23,477 wounded. Their troops were a major part of the forces fighting the Germans and Italians in the North African campaign, and they made up a large percentage of the ground forces fighting the Japanese in the South Pacific. This rifle probably saw some of that action, and it might have seen more in Korea between 1950 and 1953, but we'll never know.

I'm currently trying to get it's dark bore clean now. I've already spent half an hour brushing out dried cosmoline, old powder and other dirt, and a sack of spider eggs (!!!). I swear my cleaning patches just turn black when brought within two feet of this rifle; it's a bloody mess in there. But the rifling is still strong enough to unscrew my brushes, so that's a positive sign. I'll be working on it throughout the day in between soaks in bore cleaner, and when I get a bit more time, the stock is going to get buffed down and rubbed with a few coats of linseed oil. I think she'll clean up nice with enough elbow grease, but she's in the best shape of the three by far, so I kind of hate to think what I've got waiting for me with the other two.

Oh--and new handguards for these things...not easy to find OR cheap. The few sellers who have one want more than I paid for complete Enfields like this one back in the late 80's. Ah well...if parts were easy to find cheap, it wouldn't be fun looking or feel like a win when you find them now, would it?

10 comments:

  1. Good day for that job. I'm thinking its a reload day when I get home from my own errands.

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  2. My Dad served in the Pacific Theater during WWII, and he had lots of great stories about the Aussies he met.

    To his dying day, he loved the Australians.

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  3. i think some Aussies were involved in the New Guinea campaign. Not 100% sure. I do know they were and are very brave, loyal fighters.

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  4. It's great to see Americans taking an interest in these rifles from down here in New Zealand. Like all Commonwealth countries, NZ troops carried this rifle through both world wars.
    There was a lot of them around in NZ upon a time with most having the forestock cut back and used for hunting. My first rifle was one of these which I saved for and brought at 16 years. I loved it.
    The rear locking bolt makes for a very fast, smooth action. In theory this design should limit accuracy but the rifle is very accurate and pleasant to shoot. I guess they got something right somewhere.
    The older military ammo had a compound in the primer which was corrosive to the barrel if not cleaned regularly so I would advise anyone looking at one to check for this.
    Great post and I hope you enjoy these rifles.
    Regards,
    Garry Oats

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  5. Nice looking for it's age!

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  6. Nice looking for it's age!

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  7. I am waiting to see it once your work your magic

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  8. Not trying to teach grannie to suck eggs, but Springfield Sporters probably has the wood you need at a fair price.

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    1. They were one of the first places I checked. No joy.

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  9. Nice. I like the Lithgows.

    I've found that Blue Wonder Bore Cleaner gel is really good at getting gunk out of bores. Pour it in, let it sit and then patch away the crud.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/444070/blue-wonder-gun-cleaner-and-bore-cleaning-solvent-4-oz-tube?cm_vc=ProductFinding

    I've found its gotten gunk out of rifle bores that I didn't even know was there.

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