Light barrel 7.62x51 Enfields in mil config

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by stoatman, Feb 18, 2009.

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  1. No-one picked up on this on the other thread, but I think it is deserving of its own:

    Years back at Bisley I came across a chap with a 6-groove 308 barrelled L8-type rifle, who swore it shot straight.

    The Canadians also did one for target shooting, I don't know how it performed. I assume OK.

    The "real" L8 rifles were, however, mince.

    Why the supposed difference?
     
  2. No one has done the trials to prove the theory, but many of us believe that its down to barrel harmonics. The .303 No4 barrel is a masterpiece of design, in that all that it takes to make this mass-produced rifle shoot to around 1 moa is simple bedding - the barrel free-floats less for the slight "down" pressure at the muzzle end.

    For some reason, identical profile barrels but in 7.62mm/.308 do not behave in the same way - muzzle damping does not help. Completely free-floating the barrel also does not work - unusual, given that most barrels work best this way.

    The Candian DCRA rifles solved the problem by centre-bedding; this seems to do the trick, and presumably finds a "sweet spot" on the barrel that provides the right damping. My DCRA shoots about 1/2 to 1 moa with standard RG 144 gn ball. Its so good that I can realistically use it against modern target rifles (although that might be down to the old biffs I shoot against...).

    [​IMG]
     
  3. I think that the L8 programme would have worked once they made a simple bedding change, but it was really axed because of the stupid patent-stealing dispute that Enfield and Sterling fought, and because - as usual - HMG didn't want to spend any money.

    When the L8s were abandoned, it was assumed that the c.250,000 .303 No4s in war reserve would suffice in an Emergency (although no provision was made to maintain a stock of ammunition - which is why HXP had to be bought for cadet use). Nowadays they have solved the problem of reserve rifles once and for all - by not having any....
     
  4. I'm assuming the bottom one is the Canadian DCRA?
     
  5. So it's not worth buying one unless one is prepared to spend the time and money centre bedding it to Canadian specs, the official army manual for which is actually online.

    It's a bit of a moot point anyway, since I am 99% certain that I will be buying Croque Monsieur's 1951(?) Long Branch off of him, and it would be pointless to spend far more money on an L8- type rifle that will probably shoot miserably.

    I also subscribe to the barrel harmonics theory, and it would be interesting to see whether an unaltered L8 shot straight with cast bullets at around 1500 fps.
     
  6. From top:

    Full Sterling conversion.

    There does not seem to be any information out there about how many rifles were built by Sterling for military trials or commercial samples. This rifle appears to be in "service condition", ie the Suncorite finish "looks" like a contemporary service No4, as opposed to one of the conversions done by later civvie owners using one of the Sterling conversion kits. Bore condition is mint (as is another Sterling I have), but the shooting varies from about 2 to about 5 moa and is highly sensitive to ammunition batch.

    Charnwood bitsa

    These Charnwoods use a barrel with bayonet lugs, so probably from the same Belgian manufacturer that Sterling used. The Charnwoods don't use the Sterling ejector conversion, so I assume they were not made up from complete Sterling kits. My experience is that the Charnwoods often don't have the receiver milling necessary for the Enfield magazine to work effectively (the ejector is a tab on the magazine lip), and usually have to use a Sterling magazine. The Charnwoods shoot just as the Sterlings do.

    Candian DCRA-type

    This rifle is full DCRA pattern, but does not have a DCRA serial number. If its not an official DCRA, then its one built to the same competition spec. It has the Canadian 7.62mm barrel that lacks bayonet lugs. The forend has a bedding block between the internal lightening cuts. The rifle shoots very well with any sort of 7.62mm/.308.
     
  7. I know of two L8's in our club, and looking back at some of the score cards you can see why at least one member has relagated his to a "collectable piece" and now shoots with a Shultz & Larsen in the HBSA matches, I haven't seen him shoot his L8 with LERA for a couple of years now.
     
  8. Why even bother with a NATO 7.62mm conversion at all?
    I saw one today for sale and told the vendor what I thought of his Indian POS!
    I now own a Mk4 No.1 & 2 in.303.
    While neither is museum quality they both shoot well.
    Ammunition is no problem what so ever, either new or surplus.
    If it isn't broke, why fix it?