I'm thinking about getting a WW1/2 Enfield deac

#1
Hi all,


I'm thinking about getting a WW1/2 Enfield deac. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing but I'm willing to pay around £300 for something reasonable. It doesn't have to be the greatest rifle out there as I don't ever intend on firing it, but something historically accurate would be preferable over a mish-mash of re-assembled parts.

If any of you fellows with greater experience than I can offer some advice about where to look and what to watch out for I would be most obliged. I suppose the price at the moment will be artificially higher due to the WW1 centenary.

Thanks in advance.

DC
 
#2
Don't be tempted to postal order from World Wide arms, they can send out the worst stuff and you have to spend out sending it back, go to a gun shop that does de-act stuff and don't hand over a penny until you've inspected it throughout.
 
#3
I'm thinking about getting a WW1/2 Enfield deac.
SMLEs go for around £500 deactivated.

Try here to start with then Google "deactivated rifles uk" and fill your boots. A pukka seller will supply the proof house certificate and all the critical parts stamped with the proof mark from the deactivation. It wouldn't matter about the overall condition re: firing. It's never going to fire again, no matter what you do to it, as the barrel will have been reamed out to the diameter of the chamber, a bloody great slot cut down most of its length, the bolt face ground off, the firing pin cropped off and a hardened steel bar inserted across the chamber. Current spec might even go further and have a hardened steel rod welded into most of the length of the bore, too.

Well, you might get it to fire if you make sufficient repairs. Only once, though...
 
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#4
Get yourself one of these;




More genuine than a load of scrap iron.
It's never going to fire again, no matter what you do to it, as the barrel will have been reamed out to the diameter of the chamber, a bloody great slot cut down most of its length, the bolt face ground off, the firing pin cropped off and a hardened steel bar inserted across the chamber.
When small, used to play with my Dad's bring back.
Looking at getting one myself, to keep in the car. (especially after all the snow and ice we have had.8O)
 
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#5
Get yourself one of these;




More genuine than a load of scrap iron.


When small, used to play with my Dad's bring back.
Looking at getting one myself, to keep in the car. (especially after all the snow and ice we have had.8O)
He's clearly after an actual weapon so maybe he should aim more for one of these beasties...?

 
#6
He's clearly after an actual weapon so maybe he should aim more for one of these beasties...?
A bit of metal with a stick attached, a deactivated Lee, so yes.

That spike bayonet would be handy though, for ice and such.
 
#8
A bit of metal with a stick attached, a deactivated Lee, so yes.

That spike bayonet would be handy though, for ice and such.
I find my grandfathers 1907 pattern bayonet quite handy for scaring gobby teenagers that think the 6' fence around my yard is not a barrier but merely something they need to haul themselves over to take a shortcut.

It's as long as my arm and, boy, do I wish it was as long as something else!
 
#10
I found one but it might be a bit of a wreck, I've got some photos of it I can PM for those who are well informed. I'm planning to use it for educational stuff so it would be nice to have something accurate. I imagine that most rifles had mixed up numbers as time went on and upgrades were made so should all the matching woodwork etc really matter?
 
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#11
I found one for around £400 but it might be a bit of a wreck, I've got some photos of it I can PM for those who are well informed. I'm planning to use it for educational stuff so it would be nice to have something accurate. I imagine that most rifles had mixed up numbers as time went on and upgrades were made so should all the matching woodwork etc really matter?

Most de-act rifles will be a mish-mash of broken or scrap parts, and a lot of them are not really a representation of how the rifle would have looked in service. You might have picked up a good one (tragically, many, many really nice historic rifles have been de-acted), or you might have a bag of bits.

A decent "live" rifle will have all matching numbers, well-fitting woodwork and some sort of continuity of finish.

If you want to post some pictures, we can point out any glaring misfits. You can of course repair or refinish a de-act in the same way as you can restore a "live" rifle.

Is it a No1 or a No4?
 
#13
No 4, looks like all the bits are there but as aforesaid, I'm not an expert so would be most obliged if anyone can offer advice on whether it appears kosher. The numbers shown are 015854, 1943 a6, 23571.
 
#14
No 4, looks like all the bits are there but as aforesaid, I'm not an expert so would be most obliged if anyone can offer advice on whether it appears kosher. The numbers shown are 015854, 1943 a6, 23571.

The original rifle is a 1943 Maltby - the sybol in front of 1943 is a stylised "M" for Maltby. The receiver also has the circular inspection marks characteristic of a Maltby.

The action body has been heavily scrubbed and refinished, and the number (AC 23571) has been pinched from a different Fazakerley-made rifle (Maltby had numbers starting with 1, Fazakerley with 2 and BSA with 3; except for very early war rifles). A civvie gunsmith did that at some stage - that type of renumbering is not military practice.

Woodwork is early pattern (the right side has a section removed for the magazine cut-off that was a feature of the trials rifles), and would normally be found on a 1941/2 rifle.

Rearsight is BSA.

Not a bad looking rifle for a de-act, but it is essentially something built up out of random parts by whoever was turning out de-acts at the time.
 
#15
Thanks very much for the info, you certainly know your stuff. I had a hunch that it might be a mish-mash of bits. I'm not sure whether I should go for that, which is a bit cheaper, or one of the ones from Jaybe (Jaybe Militaria | Deactivated Rifles Pistols). It would be nice to get a WW1 one but they're another 100. I guess it would be a long term investment tho cos you can't make another one if it's original. WW1 and 2 stuff seems to have doubled in price over the last decade.
 
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#16
For years I wanted a deactivated firearm. Fwiw (and I know you want one) the sheer pointlessness of having one only struck me when it arrived. I am rubbish at comparisons but it is like having an old motorcycle which you can't ride. And the money - £500!!
I would strongly recommend seeing a modern deact before parting with money.
 
#17
For years I wanted a deactivated firearm. Fwiw (and I know you want one) the sheer pointlessness of having one only struck me when it arrived. I am rubbish at comparisons but it is like having an old motorcycle which you can't ride. And the money - £500!!
I would strongly recommend seeing a modern deact before parting with money.

I'm hoping to use mine for educational stuff so I guess it would make more sense to have one as accurate as possible rather than an odd assortment. Were rifles in WW1/2 sometimes made up from other parts or were the original serials generally kept together? I imagine they stayed together until at least WW2/post war after they'd been used and broken.
 
#18
Thanks very much for the info, you certainly know your stuff. I had a hunch that it might be a mish-mash of bits. I'm not sure whether I should go for that, which is a bit cheaper, or one of the ones from Jaybe (Jaybe Militaria | Deactivated Rifles Pistols). It would be nice to get a WW1 one but they're another 100. I guess it would be a long term investment tho cos you can't make another one if it's original. WW1 and 2 stuff seems to have doubled in price over the last decade.
I have an immaculate Mk3* that came from Jaybe - all numbered parts are from the same rifle (unless someone's been a bit naughty with the stamp set), well packaged, quick service, friendly and helpful manner on the 'phone. Competitively priced, sub-£500.
 
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#19
Unfortunately most of their matching number ones are 550-600. Seen some for 425 but don't think they're matching. May go for Jaybe, got a few days to think over which one.
 
#20
. Were rifles in WW1/2 sometimes made up from other parts or were the original serials generally kept together? I imagine they stayed together until at least WW2/post war after they'd been used and broken.

Millions of rifles did have to be repaired or rebuilt following combat damage. However, this was done in a very thorough military depot or civilian factory process (indeed, you will find rifles marked "FTR", which means "Factory thorough repair").

The numbered bolt would be kept with the numbered action body (because of the fitting of the bolt surfaces) and the barrel would be retained if it was still in good condition. Woodwork might be retained if the rifle was in reasonable overall shape, or only needed a small wood patch somewhere.

Any new or replacement parts would be correctly numbered to the rifle action body. Old parts were generally not reused or renumbered - that all happened long after they left military service. (After WW1, about 1/2 million No1s were broken up to create a stock of minor parts - bands, screws, etc).

In an FTR, which was a major factory rebuild, the rifle would often be reduced to just the action body - everything else including the bolt would be brand new.

The above is all British military practice. However millions of rifles ended up in foreign and Commonwealth service and then, at the end of their military service, ended up being sold as cheap surplus. At this point, owners and gunsmiths made free use of old parts, and this is where mixed or crudely renumbered numbers come from.

Most of the weapons from de-actors were in poor condition or bits when bought in, or are the leftover and discarded broken parts from the "live" gun trade. Hence they will usually just be the archetypical bag of bits.
 

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