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I've always understood Canadian clubs, (I think), had or obtained somehow a number of No. 4 Enfield rifles converted to 7.62x51 NATO, (.308'ish). They must do fine with that round, however, I'd like to get opinions on how generally, over time, they performed and remained a safe conversion. DCRA was I believe, Dominion of Canada Rifle Association. Thanks for comments. New look to the forums is nice; could't find search to work with this subject.
 

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"Search community" is right under the image of that AK-47 right above your post. It'll give you the option to search this forum or all forums.

In answer to your question, the DCRA No 4's are fine to shoot in 7.62MM. I have one and shoot it semi-regularly. My handloads are kept to the old NATO standard. Since I cannot find any 147 grain bullets, I shoot 150's and keep velocities to 2700FPS. My loads books list load tables for both 7.62mm and 308 Winchester. I never load to 308 Win specs.

Some DCRA No 4's were converted by Canadian Arsenals Limited (CAL) and marked with a "C" within a circle. Mine, a 1950 Long Branch has a CAL produced barrel, but converted by a Canadian gunsmith for forces shooting. It is fitted with a Twin Zero rearsight and Globe front sight.

If you have an opportunity to buy one (and it's not too expensive) grab it. They are beautiful rifles. As a side note, CAL produced 7.62mm barrels do not have bayonet lugs. Attached is a pic of my rifle, along with a 200-yard target

Welcome to the world of Enfields!
 

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On another website some time ago there was a very heated discussion regarding an article written by a mysterious "Mr. White" in a British NRA publication. The article stated that Lee Enfield rifles (No.4 marks and RFI built 2A/2A1 rifles) converted to 7.62 x 51mm NATO were poorly made, had sub-standard metallurgy and were therefore liable to explode on firing (particularly if cartridges had been wet by rain) and therefore were inherently dangerous, and that use of those rifles would be banned on NRA ranges from a certain date. I'm paraphrasing here. Unfortunately the links I had to the discussions no longer work. I remember that letters were sent to the editor of the NRA publication and after some period of time a retraction (of sorts) was printed.

Here in Australia on 18 June 2012 the National Rifle Association of Australia (NRAA) issued a Safety Alert for Users of Modified Military Rifles. This was at about the same time that the NRA retraction (of sorts) was issued:

"Users of certain Military Actions designed for military ammunition (specifically the Lee Enfield actions including the No.4 MkI and MkII and Mauser M93 through to M96), which have been converted to use the 7.62 x 51mm cartridge, are advised that the use of SAAMI specification .308 Winchester ammunition, whether Factory produced or handloaded, may produce pressures well above the design limit of the Actions. This may lead to safety issues. Accordingly, the NRAA advises that the use of ammunition which produces pressures higher than 47,000 psi CUP in these modified military actions is NOT permitted. Handloaded or Factory ammunition which complies with these pressures may be used".

A copy of the full NRAA document is attached. This is just provided for information, not rehash old fights.
 

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On another website some time ago there was a very heated discussion regarding an article written by a mysterious "Mr. White" in a British NRA publication. The article stated that Lee Enfield rifles (No.4 marks and RFI built 2A/2A1 rifles) converted to 7.62 x 51mm NATO were poorly made, had sub-standard metallurgy and were therefore liable to explode on firing (particularly if cartridges had been wet by rain) and therefore were inherently dangerous, and that use of those rifles would be banned on NRA ranges from a certain date. I'm paraphrasing here. Unfortunately the links I had to the discussions no longer work. I remember that letters were sent to the editor of the NRA publication and after some period of time a retraction (of sorts) was printed.
Whilst the 'gist' of the post is correct the details are a little muddled.

For clarity (and accuracy) there are three seperate 'stories' and in no case were any retractions issued.

1) A UK Shooting magazine published an article saying that Lee Enfields were dangerous to use when wet (303 or 7.62) and would 'explode' I wrote a response the the article asking for a retraction, or, supporting eveidence to be provided, and asked on the forums for any members to write in themselves (with a good response from all over the world).

My letter was as follows :

Dear Sir,

Sporting Rifle – March 2010. “Wet Weather Drill”
As an ardent collector, shooter and historian of Lee Enfield rifles I was very concerned, even alarmed, at the statements made by Mr Chris White in his article “Wet Weather Drill”.

The article started innocuously enough but then seemed to move to a serious ‘Enfield Bashing’ session, with unsubstantiated rumours and half-truths being quoted as fact.

I would like to break down the article into manageable sized ‘chunks’ and look at each statement individually:

“…….. at worst a stretched action. Lee Enfield’s are notorious for this.”

Any rifle with water in the chamber, or using wet ammunition will have problems. It is not that the chamber pressure is higher than normal, but, the fact that the cartridge case can no longer grip the chamber wall, and therefore more force is passed back onto the bolt head / bolt. As the author states himself, his grandfather was at Passchendaele, where conditions were not ‘ideal’ and I am sure if Enfield’s ‘exploded’ when wet there would have been some reports of it happening.
Where is the evidence confirming “No4 Enfield’s are notorious for this” ?

Out of around 16 million Enfields manufactured, surely it would have been known if there was a ‘problem’.

I have spoken with the most Senior British Military Armourer at the Small Arms School at Warminster. He has trawled the military records and can not find a single report of a No4 action being affected in this way. He has offered to discuss Mr White's findings with him if he should care to find out the truth, as opposed to ‘internet rumours’.
Contact details provided if you require them.

“A No4 shooting 7.62 ammunition is already doing a job beyond its design parameters”

Whose design parameters? As well as civilian shooters, the Military and the Police have used No4 actioned 7.62 rifles for many years. For example, the L39 (Military target rifle) was designed and built by RSAF (Royal Small Arms factory) Enfield, the Police ‘Enforcer’ Sniper rifle, The Enfield ‘Envoy’ and numerous other rifles were built by RSAF Enfield and Parker Hale, is Mr White suggesting that they knowingly built and sold rifles that were being asked to perform beyond their design parameters? I think the RSAF would have a little more knowledge on this subject than Mr White.

“This coupled with questionable gunsmithing and significantly undersized bores when the rifle was converted from .303 ……”

Undoubtedly there have been some ‘home conversions’ of Enfield rifles but to lump together all conversions, as “questionable gunsmithing” is totally unreasonable. Official ‘conversions’ have been undertaken by Government agencies all around the world, again such notable names as RSAF, Parker Hale, and DCRA, - the list goes on.
The comment could be read as the fact that the 303 barrels were bored out and sleeved for 7.62 – this is not the case. “Conversion Kits” included the correct (newly made) barrel, breeching up washers, bolt head and extractor, there was no ‘questionable gunsmithing’ involved.
What evidence has Mr White to support his claims of “questionable gunsmithing” & “undersized bores” ?

“….. stressing the action beyond this limit has a cumulative effect, which ultimately leads to failure …….”

Absolutely true of any metal part, on any rifle and is not a peculiarity of an Enfield rifle.

“…. To cap it all, when the rifle passed into civilian hands it was subject to a deliberate overload at the proof house …..”

The implication here is that this is something unique to Military surplus / Enfield rifles, surely Mr White is aware that ANY firearm sold in the UK must be proofed with a “deliberately overloaded” proof round.
The military proof testing (STANAG) is even more severe than the civilian testing in that not only do they use a proof round 25% above service pressure, but they also use an ‘oiled’ round (to simulate wet cartridges) which would pick up on the alleged “action stretching”.
I quote from the specification:

“Each weapon and component considered vulnerable to the effects of a rapid change in pressure, for example barrels, breech blocks and bolts, will be tested by firing one dry round at a corrected minimum of 25% over pressure and one oiled round at a corrected minimum of 25% over pressure. 25% over pressure means 25% in excess of the Service Pressure (Pmax). The Service Pressure is defined as the mean pressure generated by the Service Cartridge at a temperature of 21°C. Such a high pressure proof is conducted with both the weapon and ammunition conditioned to an ambient temperature of 21°C.”

Any military firearm would be subject to this test, I again revert to the example of the Military L39 which is a 7.62 calibre ‘converted’ No4 action.


The shooting fraternity is under increasing pressure from Politicians and the non-shooting public, and ‘scare mongering’ reporting such as this article does our sport no good at all.
With the latest mandates from the UN to ban the civilian sales of military calibre weapons and ammunition (this includes 7.62), The international airlines (IATA) refusing to carry military calibre weapons, and the fact that in the UK 7.62 and .308 are seen as the same calibre (and many FAC’s show 308/7.62) we are looking at an uncertain future.

I am sure Mr White has researched his article and used information from qualified sources, this being the case, I see no reason why he should not be able to provide empirical evidence to support his article, If he cannot, then I would ask that an admission of error be published.

Yours faithfully

................................................................................................................................................

The next magazine issue ;

Mr White responded by saying "well the MOD and NRA have banned the use of 7.62 Lee Enfields".

Again my response to the magazine editor :

Dear Sir
In the letter pages of the April issue, Mr Chris White issued a “Riposte” in response to the several letters concerning his article “Wet Weather Drill” (March issue).

Yet again Mr. White is perpetuating internet rumours and myths without taking the trouble to actually investigate and substantiate his comments.

His two main arguments seem to revolve around :
“…. The MOD placing an embargo on cadets shooting No4’s ….”
“… the NRA issued Safety warning ….”

Having investigated both of these statements it is now clear that they are both gross misinterpretations of fact, so what is the actual truth behind them ?

The rumour of the Mod ‘banning’ the use of No4 Lee Enfield’s has come about as a result of a cadet being injured by an “Exploding” rifle.
The facts are as follows :
“The Board of Enquiry after the event found out what happened and it was this. The rifles that were 'live' were taken onto the firing point and a couple of other 'live - serviceable' rifles were at the back of the firing point together with a few DP rifles, used for what is called 'background activity' One of the rifles on the firing point wouldn't fire so the instructor stood behind the firer took it off him, cleared it and shouted to one of the Cadet NCO's at the rear.... 'bring me another rifle over.....' which he did.

What neither of them did was to check that the 'new' rifle was serviceable....., and in this case, it wasn't because it had a big hole through the barrel, top to bottom. BUT, the BOLT was serviceable, unlike the bolt in the rifle that had failed to fire, The first round it fired resulted in the accident where the Cadet lost a couple of fingers.

The Board of Enquiry established that prior to the actual shooting, half the group had sat around in a circle and started to clean the rifles and bolts while the other half had filled some Bren magazines and cleaned/oiled the Bren guns. Then they changed over and the Bren filling half finished off cleaning and oiling the rifles and assembled them.

Unfortunately, due to 'lack of adult supervision', a DP bolt with a welded up bolt face and therefore no striker protrusion was placed into a service rifle. This rifle wouldn't fire. But because of this, a DP rifle went onto the firing point with a serviceable bolt and fired”.

As you can see the failure was not due to the rifle, but due to a massive failure of safety rules and supervision.

“.. the NRA Safety warning …” Indeed the NRA did issue such a warning, but (unlike Mr White) have actually undertaken investigations and have now withdrawn the warning. The comments now published in the ‘Journal’ say :

“After further consideration of all factors influencing safety of these conversions and consultation with the Birmingham Proof Master, the following advice must be adhered to in respect of the use of Enfield No 4 conversions:




• Conversions retaining their original Enfield barrel or a replacement barrel as manufactured by RSAF Enfield are safe to use with commercial CIP approved ammunition, which complies with a MAWP of 4150 bar, loaded with any weight of bullet, providing they carry a valid proof mark, and are still in the same condition as when submitted for proof.


• Conversions fitted with any other make of barrel, (such as Ferlach, Maddco, Krieger etc) should be checked by a competent gunsmith to determine the throat diameter of the chamber/barrel fitted before use.


• Conversions, where the throat diameter is less than the CIP specification of 0.311” but not smaller than 0.3085” must not be used with ammunition which exceeds 3650 Bar MAWP when fired in a SAAMI/CIP pressure barrel.


• Conversions which have been checked and found to comply with Rule 150 may safely be used with any ammunition supplied by the NRA including the 155 grain Radway Green Cartridge, 155 grain RUAG Cartridge or any other commercial CIP Approved cartridges loaded with bullets of any weight provided that the ammunition pressure does not exceed 3650 Bar when measured in a CIP standard barrel”.



Surely it is now time to put this argument “to bed” and for Mr White to stand up and admit he has been proliferating unsubstantiated rumours.



Yours faithfully



....................................................................................................................................................................

The story of the NRA banning Enfield No4 7.62 conversions was true (to an extent) in that there were two problems :

1) Bisley issue the ammunition in competitions to ensure a 'level playing field' (thats fair !) but the ammunition was not the same as the rifles had been designed for, or proof tested for, they were issuing 'hot sniper' ammunition, when the rifle had been designed for 'standard 144-155 grain NATO ammuniton.

2) 'Gunsmith specials' (home builds) were being used that had very, very tight leade, throat and barrels which resulted in a huge increase in chamber pressures (but no rifle was ever shown to have presented any danger to the user, and definitely no rifle ever 'exploded').

A huge argument developed across the shooting 'industry' with eventually the NRA taking advice from the UK Proof house and eventually a new announcement was made explaining which rifles could be used.

This is the NRA announcement :

NRA Safety Notice re No 4 7.62mm Conversions
This is the current stance of the NRA safety warning which first appeared in the Summer NRA Journal:
Safety Notice
Enfield No 4 Rifle Conversions to 7.62mm

A safety warning concerning the use of Enfield No 4 Rifle actions converted to 7.62mm was published in the Summer 2010 Journal.

After further consideration of all factors influencing safety of these conversions and consultation with the Birmingham Proof Master, the following advice must be adhered to in respect of the use of Enfield No 4 conversions:

• Owners of Enfield No 4 actioned rifles converted to 7.62mm currently proofed to 19 tons per square inch are strongly advised to have them re-proofed to the current CIP standard (requiring a minimum mean proof pressure of 5190 bar) which allows the use of CIP approved ammunition with a Maximum Average Working Pressure (MAWP) of 4150 Bar.
• Conversions retaining their original Enfield barrel or a replacement barrel as manufactured by RSAF Enfield are safe to use with commercial CIP approved ammunition, which complies with a MAWP of 4150 bar, loaded with any weight of bullet, providing they carry a valid proof mark, and are still in the same condition as when submitted for proof.
• Conversions fitted with any other make of barrel (such as Ferlach, Maddco, Krieger etc) should be checked by a competent gunsmith to determine the throat diameter of the chamber/barrel fitted before use.
• Conversions where the throat diameter is less than the CIP specification of 0.311” but not smaller than 0.3085” must not be used with ammunition which exceeds 3650 Bar MAWP when fired in a SAAMI/CIP pressure barrel.
• Conversions which have been checked and found to comply with Rule 150 may safely be used with any ammunition supplied by the NRA including the 155 grain Radway Green Cartridge, 155 grain RUAG Cartridge or any other commercial CIP Approved cartridges loaded with bullets of any weight provided that the ammunition pressure does not exceed 3650 Bar when measured in a CIP standard barrel.
• Owners of Enfield No 4 actioned rifles converted to 7.62mm who are uncertain as to the proof status of the rifle should have it checked by a competent gunsmith.
• Owners of Enfield No 4 actioned rifles in any calibre are strongly advised not to use them in wet weather or without removing all traces of oil from action and chamber prior to shooting.
• Enfield No 4 rifles which are fitted with a barrel which has a throat diameter less than 0.3085” must not be used on Bisley Ranges.
• Ammunition loaded with bullets of any weight which are of greater diameter than the throat diameter of the barrel must not under any circumstances be used on Bisley Ranges in any rifle or barrel of any manufacture.




.......................................................................................................................

Hopefully it can be seen & understood why certain actions were taken, and, how even the 'experts' perceive the Lee Enfield.
We have enough problems with Politicians being 'anti-gun' without our own associations, magazines, and brother-shooters attacking us.

Good shooting to one & all !
 

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+1 on smle addict, my 7.62 No.4 is still going strong with appropriate handloads. It is on at least it's second 7.62 mm barrel, having originally had a .303 barrel of course.

In Australia the approved handloads for military actions are based on the Australian Defence Industries loading data, the military small arms factory which made both 7.62 x 51 (tabulated in 1991 as their F4 loading) and also made .308 Winchester ammunition. The availability of original 144 gr FMJ bullets is just about finished so most users would substitute a 150 gr projectile. The tabulation compares the significant pressure differences comparing the military ADI case (just this page is given below) and the Winchester sporting case (which I don't use since they are too thin and light).

Ability to get your No.4 proofed ended sometime after about the mid 1990's, but we can still "soldier on" with our 7.62's.
 

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The L42A1 sniper rifles were “7.62 conversions“ that I suspect were subjected to more rounds than would needed to expose any safety issues.
My 1970 example still soldiers on with surplus and reloads. Shooting a 500 meter match this weekend.
 

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I can only add that I own 2 #4 rifles in 7.62 and had a third which I sold on because I was overstocked on 7.62mm #4s at the time (I wish I had kept it). After lots of 7.62 rounds down range the rifles are still in one piece and so am I. I shoot mostly Portuguese FNM 7.62mm ball because I bought thousands of rounds when it was cheap and it is pretty accurate stuff in the #4s.
 

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A bit off topic, but these would be perfect for a 7.26mm No.4 rifle, should I ever find one.
Three years ago I picked up 35 boxes of 7.62mm 144gn FMJ cartridges from a deceased estate for A$5 per box.
I got twenty-five boxes of Ammunition Factory Footscray (AFF) 1888 - 1988 Centenarry Issue cartridges and ten boxes of AFF Palma Match (Palma Trophy) Issue cartridges, 700 rounds in all. I put one box through my .308 F-Class rifle with good groups. It is good thick walled brass but Berdan primed.

3774143
3774144
3774145
3774146
3774148
 

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Yeah I know Bindi2, but I just had to find out how it shot so I used 20 rounds. The comment about the ammo being perfect for a No.4 7.62 rifle was very much tongue in cheek 😉. A "respected dealer" had already bought the .303 and 7.62mm target rifles from the estate for less than A$100 each. The grandkids found the AFF ammo locked in a shed cupboard six months later. The family were faced with surrendering the ammo to Victoria Police and they were uneasy about having to answer questions as to why they had ammo in their possession well past the time allowed for disposal after the death of licence holder. They phoned me and offered to give them to me just to not have the worry of disposing of them. I offered a much higher sum per box but they wouldn't accept more than the price that I paid. It wasn't until they dropped off the 35 boxes of "really old ammo" that I found out what they actually were.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you all so very much for all the information. I'm still digesting it and will for some time to come. Also compiling it so I don't loose it. Really appreciate everyone.....again. Merry Christmas, Dennis
 

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Muff I took fright at the small pin. Nor did I want to loose my No4 in the crack test and they wouldn't let me use reloaded ammo. So I went pistol shooting for competition as a side line to my vermin
control programme. I can tell you the education went up quite a few notches vermin reloading then heaps more when I went pistol shooting then out the roof for F open.. When cheese and kisses wants something no argument no discussion it happens I don't want her digging into my vice of shooting . I am not that dumb she dosent know I just don't want any grief.
 
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