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 Classic inspired sporter 3 year project finished! 
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Location: seattle
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016
Posts: 180
I picked up a sporterized No.4 MK1 years ago. The stock was chopped down, and the barrel shortened, but the metal of the receiver and the barrel was in excellent shape. I have a soft spot for Lee Enfields, can't really say why, but years ago I poured a lot of money into an L42a1 replica that looked great when I was done. I decided to do something a little more budget friendly this time around, so I took inspiration from the Parker Hale and Santa Fe sporters that I imagine were plentiful in the 40's and 50's.

The most difficult part of pulling this off was the scope mount- most of the aftermarket mounts I've seen are ugly as sin, and put the scope way too high above the bore. Parker Hale had a solution for this, and they produced a set of mounts that consisted of a rear base that replaced the rear sight, and a front base that was drilled and tapped to the receiver ring. I knew of these mounts, but they are incredibly scarce these days. I finally located a set in stock from a shop in England. As a bonus, he also had some original Parker Hale rings, which is good because the dovetail of the P.H. mounts is an oddball european size.

This is the site if any of you want to see what he has:
You will have to place your order over the phone- some UK gun law makes it illegal to sell gun parts online, according to the shop owner.

Once I received the bases and rings, I headed to what used to be my favorite gunsmith to have them installed. I also wanted a sporter style ramp front sight installed, but I was having a very hard time sourcing the parts.

Anyway. The 'smith I took the rifle to sat on it for over a year. Almost 2 years, in fact. I checked in every few months to ask if they'd made any progress, and the answer was always no. It was clear that they were eager to jump on work that was more interesting and/or more profitable, but they should have just told me they weren't interested rather than keeping my rifle for almost 2 years. Needless to say, I will never take any work to them again. I finally went down and asked for my rifle back. It took them 20-30 minutes to find the scope bases. Ridiculous.

So. I found another gunsmith, an older gentleman who was willing to take on unusual projects.

When I bought the rifle, the buttstock was so short my nose was practically crammed into the cocking piece of the bolt. I did a little reseach and leaned that Lee Enfields were issued with buttstocks in 3 different lengths. I lucked out and found a NOS beechwood stock in the longest length. I would have happily gone with a nice monte carlo stock had I been able to find one, but I had no luck. I had to figure out some kind of cheekpiece. Wll, the brits already solved that problem for the No.4T sniper rifle, and I found a reproduction cheekpiece from Sarco or Apex or Numrich (can't recall which at this point).

When the action came back from the gunsmith, I went to work trying to spruce up my mismatched stock pieces. I stripped the shiny varnish off the forend and sanded all the parts to 320. I applied 3 coats of boiled linseed oil, working the final coat in with fine steel wool to smooth things out. It;s obvious that the pieces are not from the same tree, but I think it came out very nice just the same.

Last thing was the optic. I went with a vintage Weaver k2.5 with the german post reticle. I think it works very well with the overall look of the rifle.

So what have I ended up with? A hodgepodge of parts that would have never been found together on a rifle 'in the wild'. As I said at the beginning, I was creating something inspired by classic sporters, not trying to build an exact replica, and I think it came out great. I really dig it.

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Sun Sep 03, 2023 5:25 pm
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Location: Renton, WA
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Real Name: Steve
Very cool. I generally hate sporterized milsurp rifles, but you took an "ugly duckling" that would always be at the bottom of the desirability list and turned it into something fun and interesting.

Nice work, that looks great. thumbsup


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Sun Sep 03, 2023 5:33 pm
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Location: Cathlamet
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016
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A front sight with ears would give it that faux L42 look..maybe a p14/17 sight for fun. Those weaver scopes are a pain to find in working condition with that reticle. Good save of a sporter into something more practical.

Sun Sep 03, 2023 7:24 pm
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