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Sporting Lee-Enfields and Custom calibre conversions

Well Ugly suggested 45-70, I think we looked at this before. Pressurewise I would think we want to keep under 40,000 Psi but it's going to depend on the system etc. I can't see the Lee action "blowing up" completely, the locking lugs aren't going to shear off, I should think if it was overdone, cracks would start to develop where the sides of the action meet the barrel socket.

I'll just go and look up 35 Whelen.
Wiki gives 49000 or 45000CUP. 35 Whelen goes to 52 so perhaps a bit much.

That said, 308 Win goes to 62,000 and I never heard of a 7.62 No.4 conversion blowing up so perhaps not much of an issue.

The problem with 35 Whelen would be the extra 6mm COL but as everything would be handloaded perhaps this wouldn't be such an issue. A 303/350 cartridge would be the obvious solution albeit restricting ammunition options to handloads.

45-70? COL 2.550 in compares with 303 COL of 3.075 in No probs there.

www.chuckhawks.com/45-70Govt.htm suggests that the basic 45-70 round is 21000 cup. 40000CUP would launch a 350gr bulllet at 1900 fps whereas if we went to 50000CUP we get a 350grainer at 2200fps. Ouch! Should work within the pressures though.


I suppose making new receivers isnt out of the question or using AIA ones but then they arent conversions and why wildcat an obsolete round for that?
That said I have some sheets for .303/22 and .303/25 which I was dabbling in about 15 years ago before t'internet!
As for blowing actions I suspect that had the NZNRA not been leathermans over the 20 ton proofing rule we would only just be seeing new rifles on the mound!


Possibly the AIA one as its seems heavier and has been reported as having a larger profile to allow scope rails.
ugly said:
Possibly the AIA one as its seems heavier and has been reported as having a larger profile to allow scope rails.
Well, yes, but I was thinking of real ones! If starting with just a receiver it might make sense to use a No.4 MK2 if one could be found as the trigger arrangement is slightly improved but I wondered if it had any lightening cuts compared to the No.4 Mk1.? Also, which of the various No4 Mk1 / Mk 1 (*) manufacturers made the chunkiest receivers? I doubt there's much difference between them really though.
No, there is no difference on the amount of material in the receiver on the original ones.

Long Branch apparently had the best steel, so that is probably the way to go.

By the way, the original Remington-Lee rifles were chambered in 45/70 (as well as 43 Mauser), so there is precedence for that one.

The AIA receivers are much chunkier, but use a recessed bolt face and a plunger ejector, and come in 308 and 7.62 x 39 flavours. This gives you a fair range of cartridges that will work without modification to the bolt face.

I nearly had an Envoy converted to 260 Remington (6.5 mm-08), but when I looked closely at the rifle I realised that it was a botch job that would have needed a whole new forend (which are now more or less made of unobtainium), so I bought a 7.62 x 39 AIA.


stoatman said:
Well, that article sucks...
Possibly but its better than the non existant explanation that they had before and also doesnt go on about how the Yanks saved us in both wars by designing our rifles and making them for us!
It's not a custom caliber but it is a sporter. I bought it at an auction because it was going cheep and, well, I didn't have one, now I do.

However, I don't know anything about it so maybe someone here could enlighten me a bit. It looks like it was made by BSA as a sporter and not converted. The bolt has a dust cover and the safety is bolt mounted. Any ideas as to date of manufacture would be appreciated



Sorry about the image size - can't remeber how to make them smaller!

BTW Gibbs were making a line of 45-70 Enfield rifles and carbines.
Yours looks like a commercial sporting Lee Speed but I'm not the expert here. The expert will see you later!

The Gibbs conversions of standard No.4s seem to attract some mixed reviews. Doubt many have made it over this side of the pond.


I'll have a look through the catalogues tonight, pics are a bit large so I'll copy them and view later if thats ok. Please remember that use of military butts etc is only indicative of lower grade rifle. Rifles were made up for the trade and direct sales graded from almost military configuration as the cheapest and the highest and most expensive grade with custom furniture, bone inserts and express sights etc. I'll look at home tonight as I dont have the catalogues here. Provided I'm not wankered by the time I get off the train that is!

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