Safety catch on the bolt
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Thread: Safety catch on the bolt

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Default Safety catch on the bolt

    Hi all,
    What was the idea of the safety catch located on the bolt on early Short Lee Enfield (and Lee Metfords I presume).
    I can’t quite see how it works as it can only be applied when the rifle isn’t cocked and if it isn’t cocked what’s the point of having the safety. Is it possible that my rifle is faulty and it should be available when the rifle is cocked?
    The safety on the later rifles is obvious and sensible, both locking the trigger and the action, cocked or otherwise.
    Personally I never use a safety but often use the half cock function on a Lee Enfield being careful not to let the audible ‘click’ occur when I move it to full cock just before shooting if the target is close.
    al
    ps I note my 1901 Lee Enfield has a single stage trigger and a slightly different bend on the bolt handle. Is this how they came or has someone tampered with the rifle?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    The trigger function on all the 'Lee' rifles (up to, but not including the No.4 Mk.2) depends a lot on the way the individual rifle was constructed and the physical relationship of the often hand-fitted 'firing mechanism parts' in the assembled rifles.

    From personal experience, I can tell you that a single stage trigger can come about because the relative position of the sear and the two humps on the trigger have changed.

    What can do this? One of the easiest ways to explain how this can happen is stock shrinkage. It doesn't take much of a change at all to lose that first stage.

    I lost the first stage of the trigger on a 1917-built BSA that I own when I found I had to shorten the King Screw Bushing by a few thousandths of an inch to tighten the receiver back up in the original-to-the-rifle-but-slightly-shrunken stock.

    Using a file to remove just a tiny amount of metal from the front 'hump' on the trigger, restored the first stage to the trigger in this rifle.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Scone, NSW. Australia
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    Correction Ronbo, early triggers for MLM Mk.II and II* and MLE Mk. I and I* were ball and socket and single stage, as opposed to the later trigger and sear you are referring to.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Ontario's Near North, near Algonquin Park.
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    The cocking piece mounted safety appeared in 1894 for use on the cavalry carbine. It should be free moving, very positive, lock everything up, yet be able to be taken off with a light flick of the thumb with the rifle cocked or uncocked.

    If you cannot apply the bolt mounted safety when cocked, then there is something wrong.

    Try pulling the cocking piece back just a touch more at the cocked position and see if you can engage the lever.

    Is the bolt the original matching serial numbered one to the rifle?

    The bolt is a tuned system, and hand fitted to each rifle. Something would appear to be out of adjustment here.

    And yes, the bolt handle on the long Lee is slightly different shape to that on the Sht.LE versions. Sht.LE version is straighter.

    The half cock was never intended for use as a safety, and was never taught in service to be used as such. Its intent was purely as an automatic device to catch the sear should it ever slip off the face of the cocking piece bent, thus preventing an accidental discharge.

    The concern is not with taking it off half cock on a chambered round, it is with the actions to get there. Not everybody is competent enough to do it safely.

    Chamber a round. Grasp the cocking piece and pull the trigger. And POINTING THE MUZZLE IN A SAFE DIRECTION, let the cocking piece go forward under control by the grasping hand until it reaches half cock.
    Tip: If you have a war expedient slab sided cocking piece without the grasping grooves. Don't be eating ribs or Kentucky Fried Chicken whilst you are doing this.

    And oh yeah, there are some cocking pieces improved by Bubba where the half bent is removed and filed into a secondary bent for use on the range to reduce lock time. The millisecond reduced lock time makes a difference in Bubba's shooting techiniques.
    Just saying that not every half cock is equal or fully functional.
    Last edited by Englishman_ca; 06-27-2020 at 09:08 AM. Reason: speling
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  6. #5
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    Thanks for the correction. The oldest Enfield I own is a 1916 Lithgow.

    I was going from cutaway pictures I have seen of the Remington-Lee, which used the V-shaped sear and the 'humpy' trigger.

    I find it interesting that the British would adopt the excellently-designed Lee rifle, bollix things up by changing the trigger mechanism, and finally get it right (back to its original design) some 20 years later..
    Last edited by Ronbo6; 06-27-2020 at 07:35 PM.

  7. #6
    Join Date
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    Ronbo6. Twenty eight years of development and design changes with the Lee Metford/Enfield rifle before your 1916 Lithy was made.

    Your collection is missing an interesting period of the evolution. It needs a few additions to round it out
    Last edited by Englishman_ca; 06-27-2020 at 11:25 AM. Reason: ;)
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  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    The bolt mounted safety on my 1899 CLLE isnít a flick of the thumb but not impossible. Itís quite stiff and very secure.

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