back to article Brit gun nut builds working sniper rifle at home out of scrap metal

We here on the El Reg gun sensation desk considered getting Gaz to make an unimportant part or accessory for his Lee Enfield out of 3D printed plastic, or in some other fashion involve a computer, which would probably have led to excited writeups in the world's media about Brit GUN NUT 3D PRINTS working SNIPER RIFLE in SHED, …

  1. graeme leggett Silver badge

    That's the way to build a gun properly

    And how's your "mad minute"?

    1. AndyC

      Re: That's the way to build a gun properly

      That made me laugh.

      For anyone that doesn't know, the 'mad minute' is 15 aimed rounds in 1 minute.

      Doable and very very good fun!

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      CR324

      Isn't that the type of button-cell battery it requires?

  2. Vociferous

    Scrap metal?

    He cleaned up a working but dirty (very slightly rusty) receiver and trigger assembly, had a store-bought barrel attached and tested by a professional gunsmith, and bought a ready-made new wooden stock for it.

    That's a fun wood-shop project, not "building a sniper rifle from scrap metal".

    1. pepper

      Re: Scrap metal?

      Indeed, scrap metal would have led me to believe the author when on a metal-casting binge and decided to smith it into a replica weapon!

      Nice job nonetheless, must have been very satisfying!

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Scrap metal?

        If you take it as meaning 'metal that would otherwise have gone to the scrap dealer' then I'd say it's scrap metal.

        Same way that a written off car is scrap metal, unless someone with some skills buys it, fixes it, and re-registers it correctly. So yes, semantics, but I can accept it ;-)

        Steven R

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Scrap metal?

          Agreed, a fine bit of metal destined for the smelter was salvaged into a fine work of art. The veracity of it being a sniper rifle will be determined at the range.

          To the author, you have a hunting season to take it to the range and improve your group to minute of angle with handloads. Two minutes of angle is acceptable for a service rifle but sniper rifles have a higher standard.

          Edit: I take it back; assuming iron sights you're right on. I'd love to see the results with proper telescopic or laser sights.

          It seems a fine piece. Carry on.

          1. Grease Monkey

            Re: Scrap metal?

            I've built a car before. Sure a lot of the parts; engine, transmission, uprights, rack, column, brakes, etc. were from the scrap yard, but the chassis and suspension components were home built from steel tube and plate.

            The two problems with your title:

            Scrap metal - scrap metal is unusable junk. The metal in this case was salvageable or perfectly usable second hand parts.

            Built - Nope assembled from parts. To say you "built" a machine to me means you actually fabricated significant parts or at least did some serious work in making those parts fit. Assembly - sticking stuff together that was intended to go together. Building - fabrication or at least serious adaptation.

            So "Brit GUN NUT assembled WORKING SNIPER RIFLE at home out of spare parts." FIFY.

            1. Graham Dawson

              Re: Scrap metal?

              No, scrap metal is metal going for scrap. It can be perfectly useable but no longer useful - like the old cast iron radiators we used to scrap all the time when I was a builder. They worked. They didn't work well, so they were scrapped. That made them scrap metal, even though they were fully functional.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Scrap metal?

                like the old cast iron radiators we used to scrap all the time when I was a builder

                And now they are worth a small fortune....now doubt in a pile next to the Belfast sinks everyone got rid of.

            2. Kiwi
              IT Angle

              Re: Scrap metal? @ Grease Monkey

              Built - Nope assembled from parts. To say you "built" a machine to me means you actually fabricated significant parts or at least did some serious work in making those parts fit. Assembly - sticking stuff together that was intended to go together. Building - fabrication or at least serious adaptation.

              You mean like where the writer talks about doing serious fettling and so on to get things to fit? :) Sure, it is largely assembled, but he did resort to hand-tools to re-shape stock materials.

              As to the scrap.. As a former metal finisher, and previously a worker in a foundary and other related parts of that factory, and also time in a few other places where engineering skills (including various metal working skills that would put my metalwork teachers to shame) were required - and with a few "significantly repaired" cars and complete bike rebuilds behind me, I add my vote to those saying "it's scrap". In farming, a weed is "an unwanted plant". A rose is a weed if it's not wanted in that area, as is cabbage or tulips or whatever. Much the same for for metal.

              A friend of mine got a new never-used stainless sink and benchtop a few years back for the price of the scrap metal (and a little extra - had to be nice). Perfectly functional, hours spent making it, beautifully done, and it was scrap. Because the builder gave the wrong dimensions, so the maker put it out for scrap. I brought it and friends of his built a bench to suit. It's not scrap now, but if I hadn't been there at the right time to see it being loaded on the scrap truck (and had a friend needed some kitchen improvements), it would've been melted down shortly afterwards.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scrap metal?

      The backyard gunsmiths of the Philippines, and elsewhere I'm sure, actually do make guns from bits of scrap metal. Revolver, from scratch, two weeks, $100 retail.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: Scrap metal?

        Yes. Artisan gunsmiths in Afghanistan can and do build AK47's from scratch. Imports and salvaged guns fetch better prices, but there are perfectly usable and completely home-made AK47's for sale there.

    3. Halfmad

      Re: Scrap metal?

      The Reg are taking tips from the latest edition of the "Daily Mail - how to create headlines" manual.

  3. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

    Not an entirely accurate headline - at home and scrap metal?

  4. tkioz
    Thumb Up

    Better title needed.

    Bit of a misleading title, but still a very nifty little bit of work.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Better title needed.

      You are missing an important rule in journalism: Never let facts stand in the way of an alarmist headline. Indeed, the Reg missed an opportunity to call hysterically:

      SCRAP METAL SHOULD BE BANNED!!!!!

      THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!

      as the Daily Wail might have done

  5. Ejit

    You did vary your certificate...

    didn't you?

    The article didn't mention (or I missed it) that the rusty receiver wot you found in the shed is just as much a Firearm as defined by the 1968 Act as the finished article.

    Section 1 (b) Firearms Act 1968 as amended ..."any component part of such a lethal or prohibited weapon;"

    Would hate to think that people are strolling around with bits of firearms thinking that the Act doesn't apply to them 'cause the whole weapon is not there.

    1. gazthejourno

      Re: You did vary your certificate...

      Read the bootnotes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You did vary your certificate...

        Curious how painful the paperwork was. Assuming from the bootnote the receiver was with the RFD until you'd completed the rifle and transferred it to your ticket? I'm guessing that would be less complicated than trying to build & proof it on your own FAC. But congrats, and now you just have to resist upgrading it :p

  6. DUNCAN E.

    If you want hardcore manufacture of vintage firearms

    https://www.youtube.com/user/mark3smle/videos

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I am not a huge gun nut but this chap's channel is fascinating.

      1. jason 7

        Further interesting reading here -

        http://www.theboxotruth.com/educational-zone-28-refinishing-a-us-savage-enfield-mk1-4-smle/

        http://www.theboxotruth.com/educational-zone-32-refinishing-an-old-rifle/

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dirty gun porn!

    now where's the like button?

  8. Goobertee

    Agree and agree

    First, I agree that the headline made me think he was melting down soup cans and railroad track to cast pieces for a gun. The title was more exciting than the article.

    The actual effort was a noble work of restoration. Regrettably, such efforts, reported accurately, are remarkably dull and boring. Scrape this. Cover this rusty area with oil and rub with a coarse rag until it's shiny. Make this fit. When it doesn't fit, take it apart, do something to it, and try again. Repeat. Then do something else that has to be done that will similarly test your commitment to finish the project. Try to keep your emotions under control so parts being manipulated don't suddenly take flight across the shop.

    My Ford Model T came to me from various sources in quantities of rusty pieces that had to be disassembled, cleaned, and fit together again. That your rifle came out functioning at 3 minutes of dispersion--and feeding from the magazine on top of that--reflects well on your attention to detail. I would bet you learned a great deal, in addition to developing quantities of patience.

    Well done.

  9. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Nice job.

    A surprising source for many ex-British WW2 small arms in good nick is Israel, which used a hodge-podge of European and American weaponry for many years. Wartime issue revolvers, rifles and parts often turn up on US dealers' websites, some not having been released from the Israeli reserve stocks until the late Eighties. They usually have a Star of David marking added to the standard British markings and have usually been well maintained. A common source of bad furniture, as I suspect the author stumbled on, is India. Whilst they used to make good parts at the factory in Ishapore, they also had a habit of selling on even parts that failed proof testing and these have also turned up on websites. Buying parts from eBay is not something I would recommend.

    Happy shooting!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scrubbed Clean...

    ...not the rifle but the metadata on the photos, if not...oh dear!

  11. HKmk23

    Nice job, shame about the repercussions.....

    Nice restoration, shame about your location I would think the police helicopter is just about overhead and what passes for a SWAT team over there is hiding in the bushes in your garden about now.

  12. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    Meh.

    Sorry, but while its an interesting article, its about as much work as upgrading a ruger 10/22 in to a tactical rig. You didn't really do any of the hard work.

    But since you live in a country where its difficult to own a gun, my hat is off to you.

    I hope you enjoy your rifle and think about upgrading the barrel and taking the receiver to a proper gun smith to see if they can further tune your rifle.

    And yes, a 3 MOA gun is not a sniper rifle.

    1. gazthejourno

      Re: Meh.

      Oh, agreed - the real work was done by the gunsmith, who fabricated a thin bushing to get the barrel to time correctly, and headspacing it with a big tray of bolt heads and a set of go/no go gauges.

      Mind you, given the space available there wasn't time to write about setting up the sights (ever tried to do that when the rearsight isn't true? Damn that axis pin - might have been bent as well as peened), the weeks of patient work it took to bed the thing properly, and my Heath Robinson solution to correcting the offset zero.

      3MOA - worth bearing in mind factory reject standard for the No.4 was 4MOA. In addition, the bedding on this one could be a lot better and the barrel's an all-but-shot-out 1955 Mk.2 unit. With some proper attention I know I could easily add a minute to the accuracy, but for now it's fun and it's mine.

      I don't have the money for an as-new original stock No.4 barrel (~£600+) and I certainly don't have the money to order a custom barrel, bearing in mind the condition of the receiver it's going onto. I'll keep that money for my target rifle!

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        Re: Meh.

        @Gaz,

        Don't get me wrong.

        Most of the fun is in doing the build.

        My point was that while you're at 3 MOA, its not a sniper rifle. AK-47s are considered good if they are 3 MOAs. Sniper rifles? That's sub .5 MOA or less.

        The issue is that the title of the article is a bit off. (Not built from 'scrap' and not a sniper rifle.)

        You could work on bedding, but with a barrel that has a lot of throat erosion, I don't think it would help much. (Unless you want to practice learning how to do the bedding.)

        Sorry to hear that a new barrel is ~600 GBP. That's a lot for a ~$300 (USD) rifle.

        BTW, you may want to invest in a 'cheap' scope. (Although mounting it would be a challenge. ;-)

  13. PNGuinn Silver badge
    Happy

    Memories...

    That brings back memories of a year in the school cadets in the mid '60s!

    Thoroughly enjoyed the article.

    Firing off a .22 in the school range after school once a week.

    Learning to strip, clean and put back together a .303, together with learning the names of all the bits. Carrying 'em on parade on a friday afternoon ...

    A beautiful piece of engineering they were, but mighty heavy for 13 year old to lug around.

    How times have changed - I remember lugging a .303 around the local forest one Saturday morning - no adults - just us lads.

    Strange, almost emotional feeling ... maybe I'm starting to get old....

    1. Diogenes

      Re: Memories...

      Even betterer - doing rifle drill ....

      the rest on your arms reversed and the Queen Anne's Salute with the three-o and our favourite bit of "combined drill movement " the self explanatory "from a rabble to a rabble --- parade".

  14. earl grey Silver badge
    Pint

    well done

    have one....

  15. veeguy

    I found my SMLE #4 propping open a door at a bait shop in Sheboygan Wisconsin (USA). I got to talking with the owner and ended up buying it for $100.-. This was around 1985. It's now a wall hanger, but I have fired it over the years. I often wonder what story it could tell about its journey in getting to that basement bait shop!

  16. Steve 114

    A 'Venus' pencil, muzzle-loaded over a .303 blank, worked well, the white plastic end acting as compressible wadding. Penetrated 4 inches into a Somerset tree at 20 yards.

    1. cortland

      In 1963 some of my colleagues in green decided to make shooting blanks on manoeuvers more fun by tying the end of a cleaning rod into the flash suppressors of their M-14's with alumin[i]um wire from a box of C-rations. Full auto, for a while, then the wire broke and the cleaning rod tip got stuck into a tree somewhere. As far as I know, nobody was wounded or killed thereby -- but some got angry after a vehicle accident and apparently managed flesh wounds with pine needles down the bore. The exercise (look up Swift Strike 3) was suspended a day or so to let tempers cool.

      http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1891&dat=19630713&id=s_IhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=YdUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=1200,1509914

      Fun days,eh?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    6" grouping @200?

    pfft.

    Amateur. It was 1" (or more accurately, "measurable with a 2p piece") in my day.

    Nice job, though.

  18. qwertyuiop
    WTF?

    Funny sizes?

    There are clearly a number of El Reg readers out there who know a great deal about firearms so I wonder if one of them could answer a question that has always puzzled me: why are gun calibres (almost) always such odd sizes?

    For example, in this article we're dealing with .303"; why that "odd" 3/1000 of an inch? Wouldn't .3 be just as good - and surely easier to make? I can just about go for .45, but .44? Or .22? Why are standard NATO round 7.62mm or 5.56mm? Wouldn't 7.5mm or evn 8mm and 5.5mm or 6mm be easier to manufacture.

    Please - no flamey answers, it's a genuine question.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Funny sizes?

      Apparently 7mm would be the ultimate calibre. Whenever a group of specialists sit down to work out the best round for a general infantry weapon they come back to 7mm.

      But as Ian V Hogg states "nobody ever gets a 7mm round as a result of it!"

      Too many vested interests and politics basically.

      However, it doesn't really matter. After WW2 they poured over masses of infantry reports and injury details and found that in a combat situation you are more likely to get hit by random flak/shrapnel than a aimed bullet over 50m+ range.

      So all that's important is to be able to spray as much random lead down range as possible in the hope that something gets hit or keeps their head down. Hence the move to smaller rounds that are easier to carry but don't have the 2000m+ ranges. If it will still hurt at up to 300m it will do.

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Funny sizes?

        "Apparently 7mm would be the ultimate calibre. Whenever a group of specialists sit down to work out the best round for a general infantry weapon they come back to 7mm"

        <snip>

        7 mil rounds have been around for ages, I recall using a Remington 7 mil in the eighties, I also used the French FR F1 which was 7.5, the Belgian FAL and British SLR which were 7.72, the AK 47 7.62 short up to the Stoner 50 mil (12.7 in French) and the lovely FAMAS in 5.56.

        As to the other person asking about why Calibers are so strange, it is to do with the conversion twixt metric and non metric so 5.56 comes out as .223. Now a bullet such as a 7.62 (.308)is not actually 7.62, it is generally 7.8 or 7.82 which is as it happens .308. The caliber refers to caliber of the barrel at the start of the rifling and is an internal measurement. It all gets a bit confusing and the US have used some wonderful calibers over the years.

        I recently had reason to fire an MP7 which is 4.6 caliber, a Magpul FMG9 (wierd stuff) and by my side I have an automatic pistol which is 7.65 in caliber and preferred weapon to agents who have lots of 0s and a 7 in their name.

        1. qwertyuiop

          Re: Funny sizes?

          Really sorry if I'm being even more stupid than usual, but I still don't understand.

          I appreciate that the conversion factor could result in some funny sizes in a different set of units, but if you're European (other than British) you work in metric by definition so why would you choose 7.62mm rather than 7mm or 8mm? Similarly, if you're a Brit or a Yank, you probably work in inches so why would you choose .203 or .303?

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Funny sizes?

            "you probably work in inches so why would you choose .203 or .303?"

            If you look up the measurements of a .303 round, you'll note that the round is .54 at the rim, .46 at the base, and .34 just before the crimping to put the (.31) bullet in. The round is 2.2" long in total.

            So it does extensively use imperial measurements. .303 seems to have come from measuring the bore size in 1880, which seems to have allowed a 0.01" gap on either side of the barrel, possibly to allow for black powder fouling the rifle. (The .303 originally started with gunpowder as a propellent, before using "smokeless" guncotton and then cordite in British Army use, and pretty much everything imaginable in commercial production since 1880!)

          2. asdf Silver badge

            my 2 cents

            Truly the only thing I remember/know about 7mm was remembering in the hunter safety class materials how they had just about the longest accidental kill range (ie. shoot up in air randomly) of any major common hunting rifle. Don't remember exactly but want to say it was 5 miles or something ridiculous like that.

        2. jason 7

          Re: Funny sizes?

          "7 mil rounds have been around for ages"

          Indeed, but you'll never find it in a general mass produced infantry weapon on today's battlefield.

          Even the quite sexy Enfeld EM-2 was in 7mm but that was experimental.

          1. graeme leggett Silver badge

            Re: Funny sizes?

            I believe technically the EM-2 reached troop testing and got a "proper" service name for a while.

            I did watch someone poring over the construction and firing it on a youtube channel (might have been "Forgotten Weapons" as mentioned above)

            1. Bloakey1

              Re: Funny sizes?

              "I believe technically the EM-2 reached troop testing and got a "proper" service name for a while."

              <snip>

              It did get there, was tested and found to be a good weapon. The US however decided at the time that 7.62 / 30 Cal was the way to go and that all nations should adopt it.

              I used one of the early weapons that derived a lot of its features from the EM2. That weapon was the FAMAS and it was great to fire both on the range and in combat and it was second to none in its day for grenade delivery out to 400 metres (AP) and anti tank (actually vehicle) out to 100 meters.

              Have fired various similar weapon (Tavor, AUG) since but none as good as the FAMAS. It has recently got a new life in its role as preferred infantry weapon on the FELIN platform.

              1. asdf Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Funny sizes?

                LOL can't resist. The FAMAS is a good weapon. I know with my COD experience that its fire rate is amazing even if its recoil is a bit high. In CS GO though its not as impressive.

        3. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Funny sizes?

          7.65/.32ACP would be a round that may leave a target shaken but not stirred, the hole at the end of the barrel doesn't look too bad but the crappy little cartridge and it's small load of propellant makes it more dangerous at any appreciable distance if the pistol is thrown rather than fired,

          I had a Mauser 1934 hammerless some years ago, reasonably accurate for what it was but what my Great Granddad would have called a dog gun for scaring away the dog packs in India.

      2. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Funny sizes?

        >So all that's important is to be able to spray as much random lead down range as possible in the hope that something gets hit or keeps their head down.

        Often the keeps head down is the most important thing for many roles (not everyone gets to be Rambo). My dad was medievac in Vietnam and if they actually hit enemy soldiers they often had to fly back under fire to pick them up. He did things like use a Thompson machine gun but loaded with a certain percentage of tracer rounds to match that of a M60 firing one every 5 just to keep heads down while they picked up the wounded. He said he was also a real big fan of grenade launcher with smoke.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          Re: asdf Re: Funny sizes?

          "....My dad was medievac in Vietnam and if they actually hit enemy soldiers they often had to fly back under fire to pick them up.....He said he was also a real big fan of grenade launcher with smoke." They also used to drop a lot of CS tear gas around jungle landing zones as it was 'non-lethal' and therefore did not contravene the Red Cross markings. Around pick-up zones they used more tear gas than napalm as it could also be dropped closer to friendly troops. Of course it wouldn't have made such a good line for the movies - "I love the smell of tear gas in the morning...."

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: asdf Funny sizes?

            Yeah now you mention it I remember him talking about them using lots of tear gas as well and how he got used to it so it didn't bother him near as much as when he first got gassed.

    2. ScottAS2

      Re: Funny sizes?

      The metric sizes being odd is quite simple: they're just the (largely pre-existing) Imperial calibres expressed in millimetres: 7.62mm is 0.3in and 12.7mm is 0.5in, for example.

      As to why the original Imperial measurements were so, I have as much idea as you, although I suspect the same "we've always done it this way" is in play.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Funny sizes?

        Pure speculation on my part - the original vendor lock-in?

        In other words, was there a time when the company that supplied the rifles also supplied the ammo? If that was the case, it would not have been in their interests to make the ammo the same size as a competitor's ammo. And once the funny size was widely used, it would tend to self-perpetuate.

        It isn't just rifles. Another example is railway track guages. And what about the size of what is now a standard (UK) housebrick?

        Edit - I've just realized there's also a battlefield reason for funny sizes. You don't want the opposition using your own ammo against you, if they capture some! So each army using its own size that's different to any potential enemy army at the time that the rifle bore is adopted, makes perfect sense. Even better if the size is sufficiently similar that some stupid soldier tries using captured ammo and blows himself up with it.

        1. graeme leggett Silver badge

          Re: Funny sizes?

          Oh and on the subject of different sides having different ammo.

          Due to the British Army accepting a rimless cartridge for their (British-built) tank and armoured car machine guns (the BESA - an adaption of a Czech design) while still retaining a rimmed .303 for infantry, they could use the German 7.92 ammunition.

          And with both sides putting 9mm Parabellum in sub-machine guns and pistols, there was plenty of scope for reuse there.

    3. Desk Jockey

      Re: Funny sizes?

      Short story is that many of these calibers were invented over 100 years ago. Heck anything that is .50 or even .456 can arguably be traced back to the old British muskets. There was no sensible reason for making rifles use those calibers (way too big), but the gun inventors were used to it and arguably it gave them some leeway as manufacturing techniques were not as precise as they are now obviously. As for using old rounds like the Russian 7.62? Well they like it and see no reason to change. The Yanks love their .45 despite it being older than anyone alive and don't you dare suggest taking it away from them! So many people use the old calibers, it is just easier to keep using them.

      5.56 rounds are a relatively recent invention and were a compromise between the big fat rounds and the smaller sub-machine gun like rounds. It was meant to be a suitable round that everyone could use hence it is known as the standard NATO round. New stuff 5.7, 4.6 etc are the recent attempts by gun makers to make something new, but has not gained a lot of traction.

      A few weeks ago an old army officer told me about dodging a .50 round (I reckon it was actually .456) fired at him in Northern Ireland by a chap using a Martini Henry. Google search will tell you this is a Boer war era rifle and actually a predecessor to the Lee Enfield mentioned in the article. Despite being an old relic, the troops were pretty respectful of that round, it was pretty accurate and went a bloody long way down range. Anyway the chap got back circa 400 rounds of .303 courtesy of several GPMGs. The Garda probably had to mop out what was left of him.

  19. Nash

    any scrap mister!?

    i came on here expecting to see a rifle that had been built from old washing machine parts that had been pinched from peoples front gardens by an overly friendly if somewhat intimidating irish man whose preferred method of transport is the Transit Van.............instead i am greeted by what appears to be a completely false NO SCRAP METAL USED WHAT SO EVER article, showing a rifle being built from every piece of correct equipment. i feel cheated.

  20. Uffish

    UK laws

    Very happy to see that someone can legally home-build and use a rifle in the UK. As noted in a comment above a lot of the Daily Mail style articles in the press, tv etc give the impression that all potentially dangerous activities must be forbidden rather than regulated.

    As for El Reg's headlines - the more extravegant they are the better they are.

  21. elmerf

    Re: Meh.

    Congrats on putting one back together ... and dealing with the legalities!

    I was taught to shoot a rifle with a No.8, and went on to shoot a No.4 MkII on the 1000 yard range at Bisley ... definitely a fun experience for a youngster.

    After I moved to the USA, I was amazed to find that in the mid 1990's, Gov.UK dumped a load of 1955 still-new-in-cosmoline No.4 MkII rifles to buyers in the States ... they were selling for $300 at the time.

    That led to a trip back to Birmingham, the old gun district, and the Alfred J. Parker's Armory Works to pick up a classic Twin Zero sight, and to meet the wonderful old Miss Parker.

    The article definitely makes me feel my age.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @ elmerf Re: Meh.

      In the US we have the CMP.

      They are pretty much out of their M1s for sale.

      You can go to a couple gun warehouses that buy historical rifles in bulk.

      There you could find guns like a 6.5x55mm Swede that's been converted in to a target rifle.

      The nice thing about the US is that you can buy a receiver (requires a FFL holder) then purchase barrels, stocks, sights/scopes etc ... and have a very nice, accurate rifle.

      Of course no one mentions that most IT guys who are 'firearm enthusiasts' have more money and time than girlfriends and do go out and buy expensive guns. ;-) Guns and IT seem to go together.

  22. SysDBA

    Don't you El Reg guys think you're being a BIT sensationalist with this article title? I don't see any evidence of this individual being in ANY way a "gun nut" plus you could NEVER describe the Enfield as a "sniper rifle" (it was never made to be such a firearm).

    As others have said, someone found an old receiver and built it up into a functioning rifle. If anything, it's an example of imagination and technical competence.

    Get over yourselves Reg-Girls.

    1. Joe User

      A "gun nut"?

      In my country, he would be referred to as a "patriot".

  23. Frosted Flake

    Why is this guy a nut. I only clicked in to find that out. And here we have a rebuilt Enfield. One of the most ordinary firearms in the World. Let's be clear, a top feed, 5 round bolt rifle without so much as a detachable magazine. I mean its got NOTHING that would appeal to an enthusiast except its history. BRITISH history.

    What Makes This Guy A Nut?

    I think more is being said about the author than about the subject. I think he is afraid of guns. Let me be clearer, I think he is afraid of defending his own safety. Possibly because of the noise. I think it is fortunate I don't have to depend on him, for anything.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Ten round detachable magazine, ordinarily fed with 5 round charger clips. Given, the magazine was attached to early rifles with a small length of chain because the generals of the time had a similar amount of faith in their troops not losing detachable parts than I have in my users, but hey. They stopped doing that on the earlier models about 50 years before this particular one was produced.

      You don't know much about firearms, do you?

      1. gazthejourno

        Wot Peter2 said. I'm obviously so terrified of guns that I'd never dream of building my own... oh, wait.

        What a clueless blowhard.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Frosted Flake

      > I think he is afraid of defending his own safety.

      I think, to overgeneralise massively, and away from military uses, American gun nuts see guns as tools of defence and personal safety - to be used against large lumps of wildlife and ultimately people if necessary; British gun nuts see guns as tools of sport - to be used against paper targets, inanimate objects and perhaps small furry/flappy creatures.

      I've paid more attention to the subject since my son started becoming a bit of a regular at Bisley, and I think the whole attitude divide can be summed up by the fact that, more often than not, on the right-hand side of the pond we shoot at circles, whereas on the left-hand side they shoot at silhouettes.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        @AC Re: @ Frosted Flake

        > I think he is afraid of defending his own safety.

        I think, to overgeneralise massively, and away from military uses, American gun nuts see guns as tools of defence and personal safety - to be used against large lumps of wildlife and ultimately people if necessary; British gun nuts see guns as tools of sport - to be used against paper targets, inanimate objects and perhaps small furry/flappy creatures.

        -=-

        Now that's just plain wrong.

        There are many variations on what constitutes an 'Amerikan' gun nut.

        In terms of choice of targets... there happens to be a wider variety of game in the US.

        In terms of guns of choice, it depends on where you live. Each state has its own laws concerning what guns a person may own, and what guns can be used for hunting.

        You could also classify a gun nut by the number and types of guns owned too.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Go

          Re: IMG Re: @AC @ Frosted Flake

          ".....In terms of choice of targets... there happens to be a wider variety of game in the US....." Indeed. The two sons, both college students, of one of my friends in Louisiana spent their summer working as part-time pest controllers. That didn't entail spraying cockroaches with Raid, but going out on farms and shooting the large numbers of wild pigs that are destroying crops in their area (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29747529). Much more fun than flipping burgers! Ironically, both of them used the same type semi-auto Bushmaster AR-15s as used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook school massacre, which kind of destroys the idea ARs have no purpose other than as 'urban assault rifles'.

    3. chris 48

      I haven't down voted you, but just in case you're getting confused by all your downvotes they are not because Reg readers hate freedom, self-defence or permissive gun ownership rules (though I'm sure some do have their doubts).

      They are because you have failed to notice that the title's deliberately hysterical tone is a pastiche of the hysterical articles in the press about the horrors of 3D printed guns.

    4. Bloakey1

      "Why is this guy a nut. I only clicked in to find that out. And here we have a rebuilt Enfield. One of the most ordinary firearms in the World. Let's be clear, a top feed, 5 round bolt rifle without so much as a detachable magazine. I mean its got NOTHING that would appeal to an enthusiast except its history. BRITISH history"

      <snip>

      Errrr, no, are you thinking of the US Springfield? The Lee Enfield had five or ten round mags.

  24. zen1

    Lee Enfield

    everybody can argue the virtues of each caliber and their respective country's politics and standpoint on weapons ownership, but the fact of the matter is, the guy did an amazing job restoring a very important piece of history, as well as one beautiful rifle. I'd give my right arm to be able to add one to my collection, but sadly I need that appendage as it holds my trigger finger.

    I don't know what the qualifications are to be designated a sniper rifle, but if I recollect, it's generally considered starting at 300 meters and continuing out to almost 2000 m. 0 to 300 meters would be categorized infantry rifle class.

    Sure, we can argue details all day long, the fact is the guy did a great job

  25. John D Salt

    Oh, stuff the title

    Who cares about the misleading title? Erroneous headlines are the very bedrock of British journalism.

    Splendid artilce on a lovely weapon, The man has considerably greater patience than I -- I'd have rubbed the rust off with vinegar in the first instance.

  26. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Scary shit

    Now, I could lecture you all on repercussions owning guns has on society but I think I would end up using nasty words ... so I'll leave the work to Jim:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP3HJVp3n9c

    1. zen1

      Re: Scary shit

      I've been working on getting my weapons safety officer certification and in my studies I've come to one indisputable conclusion about gun safety: There are no such things as accidents. You either take the proper precautions and respect the fact that any weapon is dangerous if not used properly, carefully or responsibly.

      For example, a person accidently shoots themselves while cleaning their weapon - Not accidental. they didn't clear their weapon first.

      Accidental discharge due to dropping a loaded weapon - Not accidental Why was a round in the chamber, why didn't they maintain control of the weapon? Why wasn't the safety engaged?

      I could cite dozens of examples of irresponsible gun owners and criminals, but there's no need. However, I fail to see why a properly licensed or responsible and qualified adult can't own a weapon.

      Just my 2 cents

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Scary shit

        <snip>

        "For example, a person accidently shoots themselves while cleaning their weapon - Not accidental. they didn't clear their weapon first.

        Accidental discharge due to dropping a loaded weapon - Not accidental Why was a round in the chamber, why didn't they maintain control of the weapon? Why wasn't the safety engaged?"

        <snip>

        The British army used to have a term called accidental discharge, however nowadays it is called a negligent discharge for obvious reason.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crap, scrap, whatever...

    ... but does it qualify for "IN A CAVE, WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS" meme?

    No cave, and a specific box of scraps... well I guess not qualified. What's your opinion?

  28. cnorris517

    Ok first off a nomenclature bit.

    Calibre refers to the diameter of the projectile (bullet), not length, weight, type or anything else. Sometimes the calibre becomes synonymous with the cartridge but not always. For example .308 is actually .308 winchester and uses a .308 diameter bullet but there are plenty of cartridges that use .308 projectiles eg .30 carbine.

    The cartridge is the brass (usually) case in which the propellant is housed and which the projectile is inserted. To add to the confusion the bullet, powder and case once assembled along with the primer are collectively known as a cartridge, bullet or round. Most people use these terms interchangeably.

    Anyway back to the point... The story I was told, which makes sense to me at least, is that a lot of the calibres date back to a time when accurate measurement was performed using something little more accurate than a stick. As these calibres evolved from the original low-ish pressure lead ball, which was a bit more tolerant to dimensional differences, to higher pressure jacketed rounds, which really aren't, it became necessary to improve the accuracy of measurement and standardise each calibre.

    I have no idea how many "standards" there were/are but the result was/is a selection of common diameter measurements that most cartridges and therefore barrels and projectiles are based off of. If a manufacturer of any of the above wanted to produce a new product (eg a new cartridge) in a new size then it required bullet, barrel and cartridge design whereas using a common calibre allowed them to use off the shelf barrels and bullet heads for their new cartridge.

    There were/are exceptions to this. Some more modern projectiles use a new fangled thing called physics to calculate the required parameters for a desired outcome. This results in some fairly weird numbers too. for example the .408 cheytac dates, I think, from the late 90s. Even this though is still caught up a bit in the past as it uses a cartridge case from the older 505 Gibbs.

    Then there is the wow factor/bigger is better tendency. This breaks down into three sub-categories

    a) Some of the larger cases exist (i believe) purely because a particular number (bigger usually) sounds better. 700 Nitro Express being one of them.

    b) Some obscure cartridges were designed purely for a specific purpose, normally military ie body armor defeating (FN 5.7) or a desire to be quieter than usual (300 BLK) but sometimes record breaking (22 Eargesplitten Loudenboomer) - Arguably this falls into the section above I know

    So the short answer is

    Sometimes it's the legacy of older less accurate measurements being standardised using modern techniques or a change in measuring standard (inch/mm to inner to outer bore)

    Sometimes it's the result of research to find the optimal dimensions for a desired end result

    Sometimes it's a marketing exercise

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      I blame the empire!

      Because it was large, made things up as it went along and invented the Imperial measurement system to annoy the French. A possible explanation for how various 'calibres' evolved went like this..

      Back in the day guns were sized based on projectile weight, so 12-pounder, 17-pounder etc. So weight of shot defined barrel diameter. Then along came muskets and a need to standardise ammunition. So they derived from the gauge system used in shotguns still, ie a 12 gauge has a bore size of 1/12lb of lead formed into a sphere. Some old rifle/pistol calibres then got based on that, or dividing up an ounce of lead.

      That kind of fits with tradition, but not sure how plausible it would be. It's a way to standardise calibres or ammunition manufacturing, but by that point in history it have been just as easy to work from measurement or gauges. I still envy our colonial cousin's ability to experiment with wildcat rounds though. Subject to state laws, BATF regs etc etc..

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: I blame the empire!

        Hah. You'd think, but how heavy was a french 36 pounder cannon ball? The answer is 39 pounds, 11 and a half ounces. In generally accepted English pounds before standardisation in 1824 of course. No idea what that is in modern (1876) Imperial, but I'd assume that it's going to be different.

        Muskets were actually hand manufactured everywhere to different sets of measurements and it was reasonably common to get your own set of moulds to pour lead into to make bullets for your weapon that would fit. ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      nomenclature...

      Calibre is not as simple as just bullet diameter...

      a .303 Lee Enfield round, has a larger diameter than a .308 Winchester round:

      .303 - Bullet diameter 7.92 mm (0.312 in*)

      (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.303_British )

      .308 - Bullet diameter 0.308 in (7.8 mm)

      (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.308_Winchester )

      *others may say 0.311 inch diameter

      Calibre (in terms of barrels) is either:

      The distance across the diameter of the barrel from the lands to the lands

      or

      The distance across the barrel from the grooves to the grooves.

      - This does vary, "lands" are the innermost part of the barrel's rifling, in between the grooves - and when the diameter is determined on the grooves, then its the outermost part of the barrel's rifling - which is usually a different diameter - i'm not sure how polygonal rifling affects that.....

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sniper rifle"

    .30cal bolt action with scope. Known in the States as a basic hunting rifle.

  30. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    British gun nuts?

    Are we exchanging the Montana mountain bunker complex for a secluded cottage out on a moor somewhere?

    (If so, watch out for werewolves! Movies say the moors are full of em'!)

  31. Marty McFly

    <Shrug>

    Over here in the states we simply buy surplus WWII rifles direct from the government. Look up the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Pick up M1 Garands all day long.

  32. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Nice work

    Congrats, but note to Clickbait Desk at El Reg: 3 MOA is no sniper rifle.

  33. Alan Edwards

    Brings back memories...

    I was taught to shoot on Lee-Enfields back in my air cadet days, .22 and .303. We were lucky, our unit had an indoor range on site so I got quite a lot of time on the .22s.

    I got pretty good, but that was 30 years ago.

    The SLR was introduced in 1955? I got to fire those too, and I thought they were bang up-to-date in the '80s. Heh.

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