No5 Jungle carbine Wandering zero.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by ugly, Feb 22, 2007.

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  1. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Regarding the venerable Rifle No5 do any armourers especially old boys have any evidence regarding the wandering zero or is it another US Internet myth?
  2. I asked an armourer and an old sweat about this last summer and was reliably informed it was nonsense. I cannot however speak from personal experience.
  3. Fultons claim it's true, the reasoning being that it's not possible to get enough upwards pressure at the muzzle to pressure bed it. I'm not convinced myself. My No.4 sporter has short woodwork, is free floated and shoots fine. It is properly bedded mind.
  4. "Wandering zero" was indeed mentioned in field reports, and was extensively investigated by RSAF Enfield and SASC (according to Maj EGB Reynolds, a member of the Small Arms Inspectorate during and after WW2, and author of the definitive "The Lee Enfield Rifle"). After lots of indeterminate results, the No5 was declared "unfixable" and withdrawn from service shortly thereafter.

    A few grains of actual historical fact have been wildly distorted by the shooting community rumour mill – with much of the rubbish coming out of the US “milsurp” collectors.

    HOWEVER, no verifiable veterans' account can be found which mentions the problem. By contrast, the rifle was very popular indeed with the troops (Reynolds reports this as well) and had extensive Service support for it to be adopted as standard rifle to replace the No4 - a very sensible choice, given how light and handy the weapon is. Polls of current owners have so far failed to find any real example of the phenomena. I've tested about 40x No5s, and currently own seven of them – all can take a “wandering zero” test of 100 rounds rapid without any movement of MPI.

    “Wandering zero” as a phenomena actually does exist and is common in many types of rifle. Enfield rifles are very sensitive to stocking-up, the interaction between wood forend and receiver/barrel. If part of the barrel is touching wood where it should not, then this affects the fall of shot and can change as the wood and metal expand with the heat of firing. No1 rifles (SMLEs) are by far the worst offenders, since they have a very elaborate bedding system (due to the way the rifle was developed). No4 rifles had a simplified system whereby the barrel was free-floated between chamber and front of the forend. The No5 is actually supposed to have a free-floating barrel forward of the chamber – in fact many owners and gunsmiths do not realise this and bugger it up by assuming its supposed to be like the No4.

    QED!!! Fultons need to read EGB Reynolds' book.... LOL....

    I think there were two sides to the No5 “zero” story:

    (a) No5s were made by BSA, a commercial gunsmith, and Fazakerley, a WW2-established Royal Ordnance factory. When you look at large numbers of No5s, it is apparent that some of the Fazakerley No5s were often badly stocked up (by 1945, Fazakerley was already suffering the poor labour relations that eventually forced its closure) with the sort of “touching points” liable to cause MPI tracking off when warming up - but just like any other Enfield with a stock problem;

    (b) Small-arms procurement decisions are highly political. In 1945-55 UK was still demobilising and having its defence budget slashed. The No5 was hugely popular amongst the field army and there was serious support for it to replace the No4 as standard rifle (an eminently sensible move). Having painted themselves into a corner on the issue, there was no way the War Office was going to be able to approve funding to build another c.200,000 rifles (the rough requirement for reserve at the time) whilst they had c.5 million No4s on hand plus millions of spare parts. I think that the SASC were simply steered into producing a report which allowed the No5 to be withdrawn and declared obsolete. Exactly the same thing happened with many other UK small arms projects, where a good piece of kit was deliberately smeared and then axed in order to comply with a political decision.


    Edited to add gratuitous picture of No5s.....
  5. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Thanks that seems to make sense, mind if I use this?
  6. I am of the opinion that Fulton's are largely trading on the reputation of their grandfathers. I'm far from convinced by the standard of their work.
  7. So you're saying it's the SASC's fault for lying?

    I can believe that. After all the Sh*t & Shovel Corps came up with that brilliant bedtime blockbuster about how SA80A2 is the bestest rifle in the whole world...

    Although I have only fired one No5, it showed no hint of a wandering zero.
  8. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Talking of Urban myths read JIMP's last posts at the bottom of this page!LI Reunited
    I hope he doesnt bite as his memories are his alone and I hate to rain on his parade but this sort of myth shouldnt be allowed to continue. 7.62 Nato isnt standard ammo only the bullet is but not the case!
    I had similar battles when I was in but then I had to shut up and nod to the Sgt as I was crow!
  9. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Well if the shoite and shovel corps say its no good on the range then you can be guaranteed that its a great battle rifle!
  10. Maj EGB Reynolds:

    "The method of stocking up was as follows:

    (a) The fore end fitted tightly at the rear between the sear lugs and the butt socket of the body. After the rifle had been fired...

    (description of the receiver bedding)

    (d) There was a clearance of not less than .04 in. at the muzzle end, and the barrel was free from any influence by the forend forward of the reinforce. The hand-guard was also clear of the barrel."
  11. I remember hearing the same rubbish back in the day.
  12. Spoke to my dad about the rifle. He says he never had any problems with it and quite liked it. He used it in 'anger' in Eritrea during the early 50s.
  13. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Credit to JimP he thanked me for putting him right and doing away with another myth.
  14. A good friend who is a gunsmith can get quite irate on the subject of Fulton's. Irate, as in "They sold that?!".

    Fortunately, being a smallbore enthusiast, I don't have to deal with them...
  15. It has been suggested that the "lightening cuts" made to the receiver body and the barrel could have caused the problem - anyone got an opinion on this?