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SMLE synthetic stock

06 Feb 2016
@ 08:31 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Hi guys, I just want to go over a particular job that a customer has brought into question.

Rifle is an SMLE No.1 Mk III (has the open V sight on the barrel).

The stock has been replaced with a Champion brand synthetic stock and has been stabilized. It is about to be bedded. The customer did really well to pick up on this critical point.

Issue- on the underside of this stock, there are no flats to bed the trigger bow to.

The SMLE does not have a normal rear action screw to hold the stock in place. Instead it has a cross pin in the wrist strap which traps the fore stock in place.

If the fore stock is not properly trapped and held by the trigger bow and cross pin, accuracy will be abysmal. So, after the bedding the rifle, the fit must be checked to ensure that the forestock is actually trapped in place and not flopping around at the rear. If there is any slack, the underside rear flats should be bedded (should realistically bed regardless).

Again, this stock does not have these flats so some planning is required. Having spare kits on hand is certainly useful for such unexpected challenges. Failing this, the area could perhaps built up by splitting off some of the stabilizer kit for this second job- however to do this, your measurements must be exact so as to not upset the mix ratio. The stabilizer (and plasticine) can then be used to create the flat undersides. The same can be done with the bedding compound but again, the mix ratio is important. I have seen guys try to split out packs in half with inaccurate scales resulting in weak mixes or in the worst case, a tar like setting.

Champion stock, view from the underside showing the missing flats.

Below is the top view of my rifle (no underside photo sorry). Nevertheless, you can still see that the stock is solid all the way through. The underside is bedded.

Now if you will excuse me, there is a 240lb boar in Riley's bedroom wanting his morning pig nuts (his theme song "I like pig nuts and I cannot lie, you other pets can't deny").....


06 Feb 2016
@ 08:54 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: SMLE synthetic stock
Sorry, have made a few edits to the above post as I have mulled things over more.
06 Feb 2016
@ 09:06 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: SMLE synthetic stock
And more correspondence:

You should not need to bed more than a couple of inches into the barrel channel however that bottom flat is the key factor.

I remember some of the first stocks for these were glass over foam while later ones were plastic. Assuming this one is plastic, please make sure the burn prep results in a cadbury flake like appearance- very course with no smooth areas left at all. You need max purchase so the compound does not break if you have to beat the two apart afterwards due to the angle of the wrist strap.

When you do your trial fits, keep that rolling movement / removal in mind. As you know, the action rolls away from the stock rather than dropping away. It will try to trap the recoil lug in place. You can even make fake bedding with plasticine to see how the plasticine is effected as you remove the stock from the action. But if you do this, make sure the plasticine residues are completely removed afterwards. Best to do this after your dremel work, do the trial fit with fake plasticine bedding, then degrease again, fit your dams and do the burn prep (hope that makes sense).
07 Feb 2016
@ 01:49 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: SMLE synthetic stock
For those who are not following but are interested:

Below, I am cleaning my rifle at the hut with field kit after an evening hunt in the rain. You can see the wrist strap and hopefully (just) see the cross pin / screw which holds the trigger bow and stock in place located at the bottom of the strap (butt socket is I believe the correct term). This makes the Lee a different animal to work with in comparison to actions which feature two vertical action screws.

07 Feb 2016
@ 06:11 am (GMT)

Gerry Moriarty

Re: SMLE synthetic stock
Sir shoots a lot. Your parody on pig nuts was not lost on me. I'm thinking of bedding an 03. [b]
09 Feb 2016
@ 06:21 am (GMT)


Re: SMLE synthetic stock
Thanks Nathan - I am eagerly awaiting my delivery of some more compound so I can do a separate mix to fill these areas, have used the time to key up the fill areas (per you diagram above) with a hot wire and plan out the rest of the job as best I can. I had heard some not so great reports about these stocks prior to getting into this and I can now see why - still, it is going to make for an interesting challenge! I will keep you posted on progress via this thread.
09 Feb 2016
@ 06:23 am (GMT)

Peter Lavelle

Re: SMLE synthetic stock
Oh and the pig nuts joke wasn't lost on me either ;o)
09 Feb 2016
@ 06:52 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: SMLE synthetic stock
thanks you for sharing Nathan i might have to look at bedding my 303's at some stage.
has anyone had a play around with a lee enfield in a one piece stock you occasionally see these that someone has made?

i hope for your sake Nathan the wrestling lamb doesn't tag in the boar next time.

also try the Cadbury twirl they're like the flake but with chocolate on the outside so far less messy.


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