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Platinum Bullet Member
1,013 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, folks.

I received the recoil plates from Hoosier Gun Works a few days ago and I now have a few questions before actually installing them.

First, no screws were included. Does anybody know the proper length of the needed screws?

Second, what's the best route to take for installation? As some of you might recall from my other thread, there's already some compression in the wood. Should I just remove the wood as deep as what's currently compressed and then install the plates?

Finally, what sort of fit am I looking for? Should the contacting portion of the receiver fit snugly against the plates?

Any other help/suggestions would be appreciated. This Lithgow is rather nice and I don't want to bugger-up the stock by incorrectly installing the plates.


~ Greg ~

1,737 Posts
Copper recoil pads and bedding


Before you do any repairs I would ask yourself WHY the damage occurred to the lug areas of the fore stock, the damaged to the wood is the “effect” of the problem but it is NOT the “cause” of the problem.

Four things come to mind as the cause for this type of damage:

1. Wood shrinkage
2. Loose king screw
3. Improperly sized king screw bushing
4. All of the above

The attached photo # 1 shows the mounted copper recoil blocks on an Australian Lithgow and also steel doweled stock bolt keeper at the bottom. Please note the steel doweled stock bolt keeper was fitted so the two dowels contacted the front recoil lugs of the receiver and the base or rear of the steel doweled stock bolt keeper contacted receiver socket.

The steel doweled stock bolt keeper was done away with to speed up production, BUT the steel dowels contacting the receiver lugs would withstand the recoil forces much better than wood.

Please forgive the No.4 photo below but the bedding principals are the same, attachment # 2 shows the contact points of the steel doweled stock bolt keeper (red arrows). Now remember this, wood “shrinks” but the steel doweled stock bolt keeper “would not shrink”. The wood in the draws areas “must” be a tight fit between point “A” and point “B” or bedding shifts and damage will occur.

Also note the recoil lugs are at a sharper angle than the receiver socket angle, this wedges the rear of the fore stock “tighter” as it is moves upward toward the bottom of the receiver.

Note: the tips or ends of the steel doweled stock bolt keeper were filed to fit the draws area for a proper length for stock bedding. (wood shrinks, steel doesn’t)

When the fore stock wood shrinks the rear of the fore stock moves upward toward the bottom of the receiver, this in turn reduces up pressure on the barrel and the whole fore stock ends up loose and the lug areas are then damaged. (this “caused” your damaged wood)

Attachment # 3, if you can insert a feeler gauge between the fore stock and the receiver socket you need to tighten the draws area.

Attachment # 4, repairs to the draws lug area by Armourer (glued and pined)

The brass flat head wood screws should be at least twice the thickness of the copper shim blocks. (wood shop 101)

The following is from Jim Sweets “Competitive Rifle Shooting” in my manual sticky.

Reading and research is the key to “knowing your Enfield Rifle” this book was written by an Australian shooting Champion who won the Queens Prize several times. I paid over $50.00 to get this book to the United States and it is NOT being downloaded and read by the people who need it the most. RTFM

Fine points of Orthodox Bedding

By A.S. Perrin

After years of experiments and making fore-ends by Hand, Mr. A. S. Perrin of Cambooya, Queensland, has a well-earned reputation as a bedder of match-winning rifles. This was well demonstrated in his groups at the V.R.A 1956 meeting, for he lost one point only (a 12 O’clock inner at 300 yards dues to a high group) in elevation in the process of winning the Queen’s Prize—a good effort for a 61 years old shooter. Mr. Perrin, as a result of experiments, believes that “on the wood” bedding is superior to floating methods and has kindly revealed the methods he adopts to ensure success – for this I know, keen rifleman owe him their gratitude.


1) Remove the copper plates from a suitable fore-end and by bluing the butt socket –applying the fore-end and tapping its muzzle end. Check the fit. It need not touch all over, but scrape to ensure a good bearing on both sides.
2) Fit one copper plate and adjust to a nice neat fit with a good marking on the plate, by either cutting down or inserting metal shims behind the plate. Remove this plate and fit the other in a similar manner.
3) Remove the collar and count the number of turns of the front trigger guard screw necessary to bring the barrel into contact with the forend at both the muzzle end and at the middle band. If pressure of the barrel on the fore-end is about 8 Lbs. it is then O.K. to blue the barrel and body – but first ensure that the barrel and the fore-end are in alignment without side pressure.
4) Now take a blue impression, being sure to only screw up to the position just determined with the front trigger-guard screw, still leave the collar out. Continue with these impressions and scraping until there is a good bearing along the narrow ledge on each side of the magazine, extending for a distance of about 1 ½” to the rear of the front triggerguard screw hole and also a good bearing from the copper plates back to heel of fore-end.
The middle portion of the narrow ledge will bear later on, but it will not matter if it does not. As these four bearing are made it may be necessary to cut down at the reinforce seating and to tighten the front trigger-guard screw a trifle –but be sure to remove only the minimum amount of wood from the reinforce seating.
5) Make sure that the wood is free from the portion of the action into which the barrel screws, also no contact of the three ledges in this vicinity, j ) square point of body on right hand side, jj ) front of iron work of main screw hold, jjj ) circular part of body just ahead of this and no contact of the tapered portion of barrel in front of reinforce.
6) Now that reinforce and body are well fitting, relive all bearing marks from the reinforce to the inner band hole, and again relive from 1” the other side of the middle band to 3 ½” from the muzzle. A good bearing is obtained at these area left – middle band 2” and muzzle 3 ½” and then a ¼” strip is removed (a mere scraping) at 6 o’clock at these two areas, the actual bearing strips (at 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock) are 2” x ¼” and 3 ½” x ¼” respectively. These bearing points become wider as the rifle is used.
7) It may be necessary to ease a little at the reinforce to ensure that these three bearing points touch simultaneously—middle band—reinforce—front body bearing.
8) Do not screw the front trigger guard screw more than one third of a turn after the middle band bearing takes place and then cut a collar to suit this, making sure that the screw stops when tight at the exact position arrived at before in respect to the middle band bearing.
9) At this point two thirds of pressure should be needed to pull fore-end from barrel at muzzle compared with needed pressure to pull away at middle-band (using spring balance).
10) Test shooting to check pressures—See 13 also
a) Reinforce pressure to light—rifle drops after about 5 shots, dropping excessively if middle band pressure excessive:
b) Reinforce pressure too heavy—shots go high at first the suddenly drop below original elevation.

11) To increase reinforce pressure—ease body bearing a little or take up front guard screw about 1/8 turn (caution if bedding is tight) ½ turn would start to lift fore-end off at the middle band—further tightening and the fore-end will ultimately leave the muzzle).
The reinforce pressure is decreased by careful scraping of wood at this bearing.
These changing pressures will deflect the shots sideways as well if the reinforce bed or body bedding is not evenly distributed.
12) Packing: The handguard should lie flat on the fore-end and slide in and out of the nose cap neatly. Now scrape out wood to the thickness of the cork to be used and use 1 ½” x ¾” at the middle band and 3” x ¾” at the muzzle. The cork should be tight enough to permit two woods to be squeezed together by hand. Screw up taking steps to prevent sling swivel jamming (then card between band and wood – or file swivel) the two woods should not be together. A metal band near the muzzle over night helps the cork to mould to shape. After cork has set, dismantle rifle, clean all portions of barrel and wood and rub in a little powdered graphite.
13) Test shooting: Marks made during firing will show where bearing is excessive and check for either excessive or insufficient bearing at muzzle, middle band, reinforce, body. If packing is binding on the barrel from roughness, rust or lack of graphite, erratic shooting will result.
14) Warning: Be sure the springs on the rear guard are not pushing on the fore-end to lessen the pressure on the barrel.
15) Conclusions: To bed a rifle correctly, the reinforce bearing must have the right pressure to control the bed as the rifle heats up; it is very necessary to have a good body fit to give the reinforce bearing a stable bedding.

369 Posts
I'm no expert, I've done it exactly once. My thoughts for what they're worth.
Second, what's the best route to take for installation?
The slow and steady one.
Should I just remove the wood as deep as what's currently compressed and then install the plates?
Is the forearm a tight fit on the action now or does it fall off as soon as the screws are removed ? Tight is what you want.
I would (slowly) remove only an amount of wood slightly less than the width of the recoil plates.
Then its a matter of try to fit the forearm with the blocks in place, remove a very small amount of wood, try to fit the forearm with the blocks in place, remove a very small amount of wood, ad nauseum until it fits (tightly).
The blocks need to be the same angle as the rear part of the receiver they butt up against.
Screw isn't a major issue (I don't think) as long as it fits the hole in the blocks and isn't too long. I'll measure a couple up later when I get home from work and post the measurements.

2,756 Posts
The key to a successfull recoil block job is as said above- slow and steady. I've done a few pics of three foreends together. One with recoil blocks, one without recoil blocks and one with the blocks removed so you can see how much and where the wood needs to come from. I meant to measure a screw while I had the stuff out, but if you just get ordinary woodscrews who's heads fit into the countersink in the block and about 3/8 inch long will be fine.

The best tool for the job is a small woodchisel, but it must be razor sharp. By gradually pareing of the wood parrallel with the surface you can pretty much maintain the angle. You will need to widen both sides a little as well as cut below the bottom surface as seen in the pics. As you are going, frequently try a block to make sure you aren't too wide or too deep, and to see the two surfaces are parrallel. When you get close to done, you must ensure the angle is identical to the angle of the back surface of the foreend. I use a vernier caliper to check this as in the pics below. The mating surfaces on the receiver are parrallel- not tapered at all.

When finished, ensure the copper blocks are just below the top of the surface behind them, and flat accross their faces from one side to the other. Take one block out and put the foreend on the rifle. If it isn't a firm fit that leaves a mark on the copper block, you will need to make a packer/ shim for behind the block. I use shim brass. Once one side is firm, take the block off and fit the other one the same way untill it is also firm. Put the first side back on and re-fit the foreend. One sure way of knowing if they are even is if the barrell sits into the chanel in the centre (providing of course that the foreend isn't warped) I have needed to adjust shimming to centre a barrel myself- trust me, it won't shoot for shit if it isn't centred.

I think I've covered most of it..... I'll get back daily in case you need more info.

Lastly, short of cutting the back off the foreend, it would be difficult to bugger it up completely. Lets face it- we aren't Lithgow trained armourers, but modern science has given us alternatives in case of error. In the factory they just chucked a stuffed foreend in the fire and grabbed another. We can use thin shim to correct minor discrepancies, and in worse case senario, use a bedding compound to re-establish the area for another go. It is a good feeling to succeede with this job- enjoy doing it!

...and don't be concerned with what caused the "damage". No amount of kingscrew tension can stop it- the foreend must be tight in the "draws". Lithgow put the blocks in the foreend because the wood is too soft- without them it will compress and it will become loose- end of story


Platinum Bullet Member
1,013 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all of the detailed info, folks. I'll be giving it a go this weekend and will report back with any additional questions and hopefully positive results. :)


~ Greg ~
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