I’ll bet you thought about fixing up your old Lee Enfield, but figured it was too expensive. Maybe you didn’t
know where to find any accessories. Don’t put it off any longer! I had an old, five groove Long Branch that was
in desperate need of repair. Most of it was cosmetic, but some parts had to be replaced – including the barrel. But
I didn’t want another 303 British. It would be reborn as a 30-303.
This is what happened.
I bought a No 4 Lee Enfield for $50 at a local gun show – and probably paid too much! The rifle had already been sporterized
and was in rough shape. ‘Hacked up’ would be a better description. Nevertheless, I had a soft spot for No 4s,
so I took it home.
I should have taken a few pictures
of it that first day. The metal needed re-bluing. Someone used a file and a hacksaw on the trigger guard and action. The
trigger was filed to make it a single stage pull. There were grinding marks on the barrel in a few places, and the wood had
been cut back. It took three months, but the trigger, trigger guard, rear sight and fore stock were replaced. There was
no way that this rifle could be fully restored, but I did the best I could.
I shot it for about 15 years as a 303 British. The first modification from the original was rechambering
it to 303 Epps. The Epps was a good cartridge, but the rifle still needed work, and the air force was keeping me busy travelling.
As a result, it found its way to the back of the gun safe and stayed there for longer than I care to admit. In 2015, I decided
to rebarrel it. At the same time, I figured the metal should be Cerakoted to restore the rifle’s dignity. I sent it
to John Rempel, owner of JR Gunsmithing, where it would become a 30-303.
It took about a year to finish because John was injured in a car accident, but within a few days of its return,
I had it at the range. No one noticed anything unusual. Two guys remarked it was nice to see someone shooting “an old
303”. I let them in on the secret and they left impressed. The following were some of the questions and comments.
It must be expensive to rebarrel.
It is the same price and time in the shop as any other rebarreling.
Was it worth the bother? Those two-piece stocks aren’t any good.
Is that old wives tale still floating around? The No 4T was a sniper rifle! Yes, it
was worth it!
The reloading equipment is custom,
No. You use standard 303 British dies
with one inexpensive modification.
cases will be time consuming.
No. You just resize
the case like any other cartridge. One pass and you’re done.
bother fixing it up?
a classic, full wood rifle that will be more accurate and live another 100 years!