No.4 bedding

Okay, Enfield anoraks:

Last night I obtained my Long Branch No.4 MkI*from the resident Frenchman. It is from 1950, yet has a five-groove left-handed barrel, and MkII wood which I assume must have been added later.

It also has a very nice Singer sight with the smaller battle aperture.

But, there is one problem: bedding pressure.

The bedding is so light at the muzzle that it comes free when the rifle is held vertically.

So, just before going to bed last night, I decided I would shim it with a bit of plastic on each side of the receiver just behind the sear lugs. This brought the bedding pressure up to around 1200 g (three pounds).

Obviously I would rather like to get it up to the six pounds specification.

Does anybody have the armourers instructions for how to do this properly? I would like to keep it "in the spirit of" rather than shimming it with plastic.

Luckily the barrel lies nice and central, so it really is only an issue of shimming the forend around the back of the receiver to get the correct pressure.

Yes, I've got the Canadian first line maintenace manual in pdf. It has instructions on how to ready rifles for competition including bedding procedures.

PM me your email address and I'll send it to you.

Thanks very much for that. Very useful and interesting.

Annoyingly, it doesn't say how to adjust the muzzle pressure (I guess that's a second-line thing), but I get the impression from looking at several diagrams that I have done it wrong and should have acted on the draws (which I initially tried but which failed since I'm not sure that the sear lugs are actually bearing on the bottom of the draws... maybe just more shim there?)
I re-bed or adjust quite a lot of No4s.

First make sure the forend is ok for the rifle - ie if its a Mk2 forend on a Mk1* rifle, has the rear been filled and reinforced to replicate Mk1 wood?

If the wood is replacement, then its likely it hasn't been fitted well. First thing to do is dust all of the inside of the forend with talcum powder, and wipe over the metal with an oily rag. Reassemble and screw everything up tight.

Dissemble the rifle. You should be able to see at a glance where the problem is. Some possibilities:

1. The king screw sleeve is too long, and the action is not bedding correctly. This is revealed if there are no oil marks under the chamber and around the ledges inside the forend. Quick check is to repeat the talcum powder test but without the bushing included. You may find that the barrel down-pressure suddenly re-appears, in which case its simply a case of shortening the bushing to fit.

2. The receiver appears bedded, but there is not a central bedding surface under the chamber. In this case, you have gently scrape away the receiver bedding surfaces from front to rear until you have removed enough to allow the chamber to make firm contact with the forend. Re-check whats happening up at the muzzle end - this will often give you the required down-pressure.

3. You have good fitting all around the receiver and under the chamber, but no barrel down-pressure. In this case, you have to removed the receiver bedding surfaces as in (2), but in such a way that you "tilt" the whole barrel receiver group downwards. If necessary scrape out from under the chamber and the forward bearing surfaces. This process actually tightens the bearing on the recoil lugs and the butt socket, because of the angle they make with the forend. This is far better than shimming, because you can also even up the butt socket bearing left-to-right.

You should only scrape away the surfaces in small increments, and repeat the talcum powder/ oily metal test after every adjustment. As I guide, I assemble/dissemble a No4 at least 10-15 times when fitting a forend, and up to 30 times when working on a No1.

Hard to explain all this without demonstrating it, but I guess you get the idea!
Thanks very much.

No, the wood has not been filled to replicate Mark one wood -- it has been left as Mark two.

Is this a problem? Interestingly, this is in fact the second rifle that I have owned with wood this way -- the previous one was a 1944 BSA which had an odd, badly stamped five pointed star on the top of the chamber, indicating a possible Indonesian refurbishment with some extremely blonde Beech.

On the current one, the side to side bedding appears to be very good; only the muzzle pressure appears to be duff.

Okay, a totally idiotic question now: what is the best tool to scrape the wood with?
If its a "W inside a star" on the knox form, then its probable that is a Weedon inspection mark - Weedon being the depot where all UKs war reserve rifles were stored up until the 1980s.

I use sets of hobby woodworking chisels. For the little ledges and flat areas, I just use a small square-tip chisel to scrape away the surfaces. For the chamber seating, I use one of my fingers wrapped in fine emery paper. I do have some Enfield barrel channel rasps, etc, but its usually sufficient to wrap emery cloth around something of the correct diameter.

Mk2 wood on a Mk1/1* may cause the rifle to shoot badly: the two "cheeks" of the Mk2 forend are drawn in by the bolt at the rear, but they have nothing to support them - on a Mk2 rifle there is the trigger boss brazed to the butt socket in between the two cheeks. A Mk1 forend of course has solid wood in the gap. There is quite a shock through the wood on firing, and it will move if there is any leeway (hence why forends can split if the draws are even a little indented).
so i should ideally fill the gap in the stock then?

Failing that, how easy is it to get a new stock set?
You can either fill the gap and properly convert the wood to Mk1, or it'd probably be easier to change the forend for something more appropriate.

Which country are you in?
I'm in the Netherlands.

Well, after an evening of scraping, things are not looking too bad. Muzzle pressure is 5 pounds, but only on a short section of the reinforce, so this will have to be sanded a little, which may result in a little more material being scraped away from around the receiver and reinforce to get the pressure back up.

I actually had to remove enough material that I had to sand the rear handguard to get it to fit again!

The plan for tonight is to fill the gap with a bit of beech. once this is done I will work on the final flourishes of getting it in contact properly at the muzzle.

By the way, the King screw bushing is missing...

In my humble opinion, this rifle came into Germany as metalwork and some sausage eater just screwed a forend onto it and then nicely finished the stock to make it look good. Well, that's Sherlock Stoat's supposition in any case...

Changing the forend for something more appropriate is definitely an option -- where can I find such woodwork in good condition?
Apologies for hi-jacking the thread slightly,I have a 1924 SMLE No1 MkV which I bought as a barrel and receiver(matching numbers). I need to find the correct wood but once I do is the process 4(T) describes the same for an SMLE as a No4?.

Oh and does anyone happen to have any No1 MkV specific parts surplus to requirements?.

spasticus said:
Apologies for hi-jacking the thread slightly,I have a 1924 SMLE No1 MkV which I bought as a barrel and receiver(matching numbers). I need to find the correct wood but once I do is the process 4(T) describes the same for an SMLE as a No4?.

Oh and does anyone happen to have any No1 MkV specific parts surplus to requirements?.

Extremely unlikely that you will find any original parts for a No1 MkV, although something crops up on eBay about once a year or so. There is a company run by a couple of dealers in UK who manufacture reproduction No1 MkV parts - including forends - but these are expensive.


If you go to any of the big militaria fairs in Europe, you will find No4 wood sets. there are at least four Belgian/ Dutch dealers who regularly bring this stuff to the UK militaria fairs at Beltring and Detling.

This guy has a lot of kit:
Wow, what a palaver fitting a stock is! I haven't even got round to filling the back end yet!

I find it very, very hard to believe that this procedure was done at the factory or by unit armourers.

I suspect that, provided the contact was adequate and the muzzle pressure within 2-7 pounds (irrespective of whether it contact the full length of the bearing) they would pass the accuracy test anyway and be accepted for service.

I would gladly like to be corrected though!
A useful tool for stock bedding can be made from a stack of washers bolted to a length of studding, which is then bent to an "S " shape and then fitted to a file handle. (I will see if I can find a picture/diagram)

Most washers are punched, and have one face slightly larger than the other. If this large face is sharpened by rubbing on an India stone you get what is the equivalent of a curved multiblade razor. Produces a nice curved finish in the forend...

I usually use Agraglas "gel" for glass bedding. You get all the bits you need in the box (flock filler, release agent etc) and it has never gone wrong for me.
Right, I've shot it now.

150gn Speer .311 Spitzer soft-point

37gn N130 - strung vertically, about 7 inches @ 100m
38gn N130 - didn't string (warm bbl maybe?), but did shoot around 6" @100m.

Once next month rolls around, I'll be calling Mr. AMS Militaria to see if he can pick me out a nice matching Mk.I wood set in good condition & pop it in the post with some other random bits (extractor is a bit worn on the bottom corner, so that & its spring, as well as a king screw bushing).

Other interesting thing is that it doesn't like to eject Remington brass (which has a slight groove by the flange) but is OK with Privi, which doesn't (as it shouldn't).

I did polish the left-wall of the receiver cos it was rough as a Southampton whore and made retracting the bolt difficult with an empty case on it.
stoatman said:
I did polish the left-wall of the receiver cos it was rough as a Southampton whore and made retracting the bolt difficult with an empty case on it.
Actually, you need to leave it rough - its actually friction between case and wall that ejects the rounds. The ejector screw is only there to deal with unfired (full-length) rounds.
Hmmmm... I guess I shall have to experiment to find the right compromise. maybe a little pass with some rough emery cloth away from the point that was giving me problems.

I only polished it a little (not enough to remove the bluing) but I can't understate how much friction there was. It was problematic to the point of having distinct difficulty retracting the bolt!
Stock arrived from AMS Militaria, and it was a total dog, beyond restauration. Not impressed. Two patches at the rear end, and a split rear-left-top emanating from under one of the patches.

Sent it back, he says he'll try to dig me out a shootable one, but this is getting to be an expensive business at almost EUR20 each way... Grrrrr.
Right. New woodwork has arrived, it's much better.

But... when one screws it onto the metal, the bbl wants to lie to the right in the bbl channel. The wood is straight, and without tension can be centred (by pushinng the rear part to the left), but the tension always pulls the bbl to the right (at the muzzle).

Solutions appear to be:

- centering dowels as per the Canuck comp rifles (there's quite a lot of left-to-right clearance at the rear)
- taking material off of the right draw so that the draws pull more to the left (both draws have good contact at the moment).
- combination of the above.

I would very much like 4T's qualified opinion on this.
Don't do the dowelling - thats just to give some lateral support to the receiver when theres a bit of space. If you use a dowel to correct the barrel alignment, it'll go to rat poo when you try to get a group out of it.

The usual culprit is one of the draws being a bit high and causing the receiver to twist. If your barrel lies to the right, then its the right draw that needs easing off. Go verrry slowly, and keep dusting with talcum powder to see where the contact is. I use a normal flat file to take wood off but leave the surface flat.

You should be able to see where the receiver is springing, but just keep an eye on one or two other common culprits: the cut-off boss sometimes pushes the receiver across, if the forend is new and unfitted. Likewise, the handguard retaining ring, the bolthead release catch and either of the receiver rear sidewalls can be pinching and causing the receiver to twist.

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