There are two types of Lee-Enfields out there. There are the pristine or refurbished, fully wooded, original-as-they-come investments. And then there are the sporters. These chopped and changed pieces of history make excellent first time hunter’s tools, or the basis of many a project.
We’re going to take a quick look at how to remove and replace (or upgrade) the furniture on your 303, and talk about some of the interesting things you’ll find along the way. Whether you’re building an awesome wildcat, such as a 25-303 or even a 40-303, or just beautifying grandad’s old hunter, I hope the steps in this article are helpful for your project.
Remove the floor metal
Remove the butt plate or pad
Unscrew the butt stock
Select a stock to replace or upgrade your current furniture
There’s a chance you’re doing a straight swap for reproduction or original SMLE furniture. This could be because you’re replacing a broken stock, or restoring the rifle to its as-issued condition. Firstly, good luck finding furniture for a No 1 Mk iii. I’ve tried. You may as well keep your sporter and buy a whole specimen, because that’s the kind of money you’re looking at shelling out.
On the other hand, you could be looking to upgrade your old beater to something more functional. You do get synthetic Monte Carlo stocks that will lighten your rifle and bring your eye better in-line with a scope, but plastic just doesn’t feel right for these fine old beasts.
I’ve decided my project 303 needs a hardwood solution, and the Boyds laminate Field Design stock got the nod. With the customisation options available, you can create a unique firearm that not only performs better, but is a joy to look at every time you take it out of the safe.
We’ll have a review of the stock itself coming soon, and a detailed write up of the stock upgrade and other improvements to this rifle. In the meantime, below are some steps to take when fitting your new stock.
Fit and finish
Different iterations of the SMLE will have varying parts that need to be accommodated. There is so much variance in tolerances from arsenal to arsenal, that you’ll be glad if your stock manufacturer has left this last step for you to do yourself.