SMLE & Lee Enfield Bolt Heads

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by delta8672, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. delta8672

    delta8672 New Member

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    Greetings!

    Would anyone please tell me how many types of Bolt Heads exist for the SMLE and Lee Enfield Rifles?

    I thought the No.1 and No.2 Rifles took the same type Bolt Heads while the No. 4 & 5 took the same type Heads.

    Have some No. 2A Heads which will not work with a No.1 MK III Bolt as the Heads will not screw far enough into the Bolt to align with the Bolt's Guide.
    Alignment is necessary in order to insert the Bolt into the Action.

    Any help will be much appreciated.

    BlueSkies! Q
  2. Edward Horton

    Edward Horton New Member

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    Your problem is simple, the threads in the bolt body are indexed to start at a given point within a plus or minus, the same applies to the bolt head. If the bolt is to the plus side of tolerances and the bolt head is on the plus side the bolt head under rotates and falls short of lining up. If the bolt body in on the minus side and bolt head is on the minus side the bolt head will over rotate or go to far past the locking lug. The problem is like the three bears, this porridge is too hot, this porridge is too cold and this bolt head is just right.

    You could have 10 bolt heads and 1 bolt body and you will be lucky if 2 or 3 bolt heads line up with the long locking lug on the bolt. BUT for starters you want a bolt head that almost lines up but falls short of lining up, you then work the bolt head back and forth “seating” the bolt head until it lines up for a “good tight fit”.

    [​IMG]

    If the bolt head over rotates past the 20 degree mark the threads will be taking the brunt of the force when the cartridge is fired instead of the two mating surfaces of the bolt body and bolt head.

    [​IMG]
  3. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    If I'm not mistaken the 2A is in a different caliber. No1MkIII are in .303 unless converted outside of the arsenals. the 2A is a .308 nato. So different headspacing applies. Also you have a rimmed cartridge vs and rimless. The 2A is of different manufacturing specification than the No1 No4 and No5's. The No4 and 5's had different length (numbered 1-4) bolt heads to make up for excessive head space.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  4. Laufer

    Laufer New Member

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    Would it be ok to ask here about the numbers on bolt heads, or in the groove at the bottom and learning reloading?
    Am new to milsurps and still a (middle-aged) novice with guns. Mostly blast bricks and juice jugs out to 100 feet.

    My LE #4 has a '3' in the bolt groove, and the "J. Carbine" has a '1' on the bolt head. Am gradually buying some reloading gear, but am in no hurry (have a good chunk of surplus ammo).

    1) With matching bolt/action in both rifles, would both possibly allow my new Prvi .303 ammo to be reloaded several times with reduced powder loads? Just trying to anticipate in advance.

    2) Will let a friend look at the 300 cases of once-used Greek, HXP and S & B brass.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  5. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    Well on your No4 you have one more bolt head to go before you have a head spacing issue but unless you shoot thousands of rounds and never clean you'll never advance past 3. On your jungle 1 bolt heads is about all you'll see. I've been reloading for about 10 years and the best advice I can give you on reloading the 303 in two seperate guns with 2 different headspaces and still wanting to keep the longevity of the brass is to keep the brass seperate for each gun. Your No4 will streach the brass differently than the no 5 jungle. You then will have fire formed brass for each gun. When you reload, only resize the neck of the brass. Don't full length resize your brass every time, that will shorten the life of it. PEVI brass is OK for reloading. You'll get some split heads and necks after about the second set of reloads. If possible try to find some winchester or hornady brass. Its more expensive but in the long run its better stuff. If you buy brass only, full length size the first time then every time afterwards neck size only and keep it seperate for each gun. If you buy loaded ammo, shoot it in each respecitve gun keep it seperate then neck size only.
  6. Laufer

    Laufer New Member

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    Helix:
    Thanks very much. Will follow your advice.
    Being in the planning stage, :eek:I believed some British guy's remarks when he claimed that he reloaded Prvi cases about seven times, but maybe he has the tightest headspace or an earlier model rifle (?). Or is grossly exaggerating and has a bias against US-made ammo.

    Luckily only bought 200 rds. of Prvi, but will next buy Winchester or Hornady etc in a few months if the necks have stronger brass.
    Don't even have a press or primers etc and will read a good bit about the process first.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  7. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    If you need any help at all, PM me. I'll be happy to help. The neck sizing takes some strength so get a press that can handle some stank. You'll be happy in the long run. Military brass is not the easiest to size. I use Hodgdon BLC2 and Alliant Reloader 7 for powder. both get about the same accuracy and velocities.
    Pevi will be a good start and he may have neck sized only too which will prolong the life of any brass. I have Pevi Brass for 7.5MAS. Its a little more ridged and brittle than the winchester stuff but its good stuff to learn on. Just remember to neck size it only since you already fired it in each respective gun.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  8. delta8672

    delta8672 New Member

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    Greetings!

    I'm Back! - The SMLE No.1 MK. III Bolt has rust on/in its internal threads. Have tried a brass brush in a drill with Kroil with no success.

    Would like to try to chase the threads with Kroil and a correct size and thread machine bolt.

    Does anyone know the correct thread specification for the threads of the SMLE No.1 MK. III Bolt and Bolt Head?

    Thanks&BlueSkies! Q
  9. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    I knew off the top of my head at one time but I don't want to tell you wrong. I wrote it down in my notes some were. I see if I can find the info. Another option is to chase the treads on a lathe. (if you have access to one. don't pay someone it would cost more than the die) The TPI can be figured out with a thread gauge.
  10. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    7/16 X14 BSW (British Standard Whitworth) This is not SAE. The thread pitch is 55 degrees as opposed the 60 degree SAE. Glad I checked I knew there was a catch.
    Try Naval Jelly, you can get it at autozone. It eats rust away and loosens the thick stuff.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  11. delta8672

    delta8672 New Member

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    Thanks Helix FR!

    Do not have access to Whitworth goodies anymore, at least not since I gave up old British cars. Do still have some Whitworth tools.

    So, shall try the Naval Jelly , which is a good suggestion. That, possibly with a steel brush, should do the job.

    BlueSkies! Q
  12. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    if you have a dremel the have a small wire wheel attachment. You may have to trim it down a little to get it to fit but it should make quick work of it. I have a place to buy whitworth size tap and dies but the 7/16 X14 is not listed. They have a 7/16X12 and 20. They were in the 30 dollar range which is hardly worth it.
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