Accurizing/Bedding Sporter SMLE - Suggestions Please

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  • Accurizing/Bedding Sporter SMLE - Suggestions Please

    While I understand that the SMLE tends to shoot better with up pressure at the muzzle, I am curious as to what works for a sporter?

    I've a sporter SMLE that I'm restocking with older Fajen wood, putting proper draws in as well as installing a new ebony on the fore-end tip. The Fajen butt stock has had the comb taken down and the checkpiece carved a bit more period correct.

    The rifle's had a ramp front sight installed, and the standard rear was removed when I purchased it. My plan is to install an express sight (perhaps a NECG 2 leaf), effectively making it into a poor man's reasonable copy of a Lee Speed.

    Has anyone have experience with bedding the receiver and knox form - and will that make a difference? Suggestions?


  • #2
    I have a MKIII that I have on my list of things to do for turning into a kind of scout rifle. I purchased the hard copy of this book, and it has a lot of tips and tricks on what to do to make your SMLE more accurate.

    Have a look, you can also get a PDF if you don't want the hardcopy book.

    A lot of it is over my head at the moment, but it looks really good to me.

    Hope this helps, Cheers



    • Guest's Avatar
      Guest commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, Broomy ... I've a copy of the book - and really a very nicely done book it is too. It's pretty dedicated to stock SMLEs, hence the trolling around on various forums as to what's been done with sporters.

    • Varmtr
      Varmtr commented
      Editing a comment
      Broomy is on the mark, this is a bloody good book. I'm currently using it as a guide for a No4 Mk1 in 6mm/303 build but I'm going a bit further eg 6061T6 alloy stock, sleeved bolt, speed lock, huber concepts trigger etc. I'm using the principles in the book but with modern materials and also being adjustable / tune able.

  • #3
    Photo of the project so far ...


    • Guest's Avatar
      Guest commented
      Editing a comment
      That looks pretty darn good.

  • #4
    Thanks ... I've a ways to go with it, but I know what I want it to look like when it's finished. I'm likely going to have it re-blued and the barrel crowned as well - I might as well given how far it's come!


    • #5
      From Beaton Firearms in Australia - Facebook does have it's uses!

      "They both like a little up pressure, but it's more important to regulate on the No.4. When they have full wood and bands you need to play around with this.

      Regardless, your rifle is sporterised. Bed the rifle just around the front of the action, where the front action screw is. Don't bed the barrel initially - only do that if you can't get it to shoot. Check to make sure the recoil face in the back of the forestock contacts the action correctly and there is no movement. Make sure not to change the relationship between the floor plate and action or you will have feeding issues. Make sure the butt stock is tight and the screw square BEFORE working in the Foreend.

      After this, if you can't get it to shoot, bed the first 1/2" of the Knox."


      • Guest's Avatar
        Guest commented
        Editing a comment
        I have an old 303/25 sportco sporter, based off a number 4, for reference for you, it's only mated/"bedded" to the stock for about 2 inches in front of the action, shoots like a dream for an old girl with open sights. The lads at sportco certainly knew what they were doing.

    • #6
      I have bedded a few smles the barrel knox and the front of the action is all I bed I have read were some blokes bed the trigger guard but I have never tried it


      • #7
        I butcherd one of those old #4`s and it shoots like a dream with 180 grain projectiles [one hole five shoit group at 50 meters off a bench and more than once too ] .
        I bedded the rear stock with devcon just screwed it in and let the mix set its tight as.
        It does have issues with the feeding but only with hollow points / that may have been the previous owners mods who BTW was a top Aussie competitive shooter ] but the floor plate has been enlarged with extra meat all around.
        The front wood has a rear band that screws in with acouple of socket heads to hold it tight and that got a coat of Devcon as well to fit it to the metal facing before screwing it down.
        I doubt it will come apart any more as I did bed the first length of a cartridge on the knox form as well.
        I reused the top wood but it will try to move forward under recoil so the front barrel band gets a mod or two so its one piece and holds the top wood back.
        Triggers are so so and in the end I think a good polish and leave as is might be a good thing.
        For a quick point and shoot scrub shooter its probably one of the best yet.
        Theres lots of other finish things like polishing the firing pin and trigger jobs too.
        For looks its nothing and resembles a Ruger Gunsite Scout run over by a truck but I am dam shure it shoots as well or better.
        You need to have a special desire to do a project like this or else just .......................well just because.
        It`s a work in progress.

        Its just wicked evil mean and nasty and I do need to give it a BLACK finish
        Attached Files
        Don’t poke the snake, walk around it and come back later with a double-barrelled shotgun and blow its [email protected]#!ing head off!.

        Australia in future, the outcome is the same, a bloody dictatorship run on the whims of a very few ego-centric pathological elitists.


        • #8
          I wish it was as easy as some of the posts here indicate. There have been a lot of sporter jobs that just got lucky.
          The rifle in any form might shoot moa with one ammo and not hold 4" with another. The basics of bedding a foreend are:
          Have at least 80% surface contact of the back of the foreend to the front of the butt socket.
          Along the sides of the receiver from no more than 1" in front of the trigger guard along the sides of the magazine well to the receiver ring, and (except for the front trigger guard screw lug) 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock bed the receiver ring.
          The draws (the parts in a Lithgow foreend with the copper recoil plates fitted) must have contact for full length of the rear surface of the sear lugs. This contact must be even in size and weight on both sides.
          It is favourable if the underside of the rear of the receiver, the two flat spots between the butt socket and the draws, has 100% contact as well

          The hard part is getting all these surfaces and the angles involved right at the same time. The old method of wood removal is a very long and drawn out process, particularly when you then have to take the knox form and the rest of the barrel into account. Standard bedding would have the above, plus the knox bedded, then the barrel for an inch either side of the inner band, then for at least the last four inches to the muzzle. The big test... the foreend without the trigger guard and the inner band screw fitted, must have between four and seven pounds of upward pressure on the barrel at the muzzle.

          Target rifle (heavy barrel) bedding was achieved with many different techniques from similar to standard bedding to bedding the action and fully floating the barrel.
          For a sporter, (assuming a standard barrel) I would suggest getting the correct contact at the rear of the foreend and the recoil surfaces. This needs to be very firm fit. Any movement here will break your foreend eventually. From there remove wood from the foreend at the other bedding points under the receiver sides and receiver ring to allow for a stable amount of bedding material (not sure which is the best available, I don't use the stuff). Once the receiver is bedded to the action, make sure the foreend is clear of the barrel and go test fire. Be prepared to experiment with a few loads. If the barrel is good and the bolt matched, 2moa should be achievable. If you can't get it, go on and bed the barrel knox and try again. If still no good, bed an inch either side of the inner band and install the inner band.
          You could start with the knox and inner band area bedded if you like.You might find a .002" shim on the inner band bedding could improve it too.

          There are other things to take into account, like the trigger guard. It should have contact for most of it's length, but not heavily. The front trigger guard screw bush should be set to only allow about .004" crush on the foreend. The front trigger guard screw should do nothing to prevent the foreend moving under recoil, depending on it rather than the contact fit at the butt socket and draws will break your foreend.

          Sorry about the jumbled nature of the post... adding bits as I think of them and devour pizza slices.
          Here's a pic that shows standard bedding contact on a foreend.. ignore the comments, the arrows point to barrel bedding areas

          Click image for larger version

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          And now a few of an aluminium bedding block I made. The result with a floated H barrel was sub MOA.

          Click image for larger version

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          • fishphillott
            fishphillott commented
            Editing a comment
            Wow Tech that thumbhole SMLE at least I think a No 1 looks different
            Bet that raised some eyebrows

          • Guest's Avatar
            Guest commented
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            Originally posted by Techsupport" post=29869
            And now a few of an aluminium bedding block I made. The result with a floated H barrel was sub MOA.
            Mate that looks impressive but we would be interested in seeing the groups :P
            Attached Files

        • #9
          I've been playing with a stock stain which apparently was used on period rifles. It's 1/2 gum turps - 1/2 BLO with powdered alkanet mixed in. It shows a nice red hue on walnut. It seems that the trick is to work the stain in, as opposed to just "painting and wiping".


          • #10
            Only group pic I can find for it was from '07 during original development. It put 6 rounds into about an inch and a half at 100m. In this session the bedding under the knox failed and I re did it with another product before finishing it to the condition it was in for the pic above. Finished and with better handloads it shot an inch hot cold or in between

            Click image for larger version

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            • Jester308
              Jester308 commented
              Editing a comment
              It'll be good to see the final stock when it's all finished up mate.