Thursday, June 04, 2009

Enfield magazine feed lip tuning

EDIT: The images are not working, I'm looking for the originals...

Just short of the chamber, you can see two tabs poking in. Those are the Enfield magazine forward feed lips, and if they are not properly adjusted, your Enfield will jam with failures to feed, and failures to strip. Sometimes on the last round, sometimes on every round, and sometimes every other round!

The fact that the magazine is detachable is a bit misleading. Nowadays, a detachable box magazine is so you can reload quickly. Such is NOT the case with the Enfield magazine. Each magazine must be "tuned" for each Enfield, which is why it has a serial number on it.

NOTE: I cannot find the original pictures, and do not have the 303 Enfield anymore. So I've recreated the important pictures with my Ishapore Enfield. The concepts are exactly the same, though the mag looks a little different.

This is how an incorrectly tuned magazine looks. Note the right front feed lip, and how it is contacting the bullet.

A look from the rear shows why this is a problem; the rim of the cartridge is not sitting high enough for the bolt to catch it.

NOTE: This pic is a recreation of the original, I'm simulating the untuned magazine by holding the cartridge down. Pretend my finger isn't pushing down on the base of the cartridge.

The result is this below. The bolt slides over the cartridge, and loads nothing.

Another failure in feed lip adjustments can cause rounds to nose-dive into the feedramp, and stick.

Or, rounds will skip up after escaping the front feed lip, and get caught on the top of the chamber.

The issue here is twofold; first is the amount of bend on the feed lip, second is the amount of front/back tilt on the feed lip.

Here is a properly adjusted feed lip.

What you can see here is that the rim of the cartridge on the last round, still protrudes above the rear of the magazine, so it will catch the bolt on loading.

What you can't see here, is the angle of the lip that allows the bullet to slide up the feed ramp, into the chamber. You just have to test different angles with trial and error to determine the best tilt for that.

Tilt is pictured below, and will affect the ability of the bullet to slide up the feed ramp properly, and into the chamber.

Bend is pictured below, and will affect the ability of the rear of the round to stick up above the magazine, so the bolt can catch it.

Note that the left and right side are completely separate sides, and must be set up separately!

It is possible to feed properly from the left side, and not the right side!

Make changes to each side independently, and test each side independently!

When making your adjustments, focus on one problem at a time. Adjust bend until every round sticks up high enough for the bolt to catch the rim. Once this is not a problem, adjust tilt to make sure every round feeds.

Here is an example of a properly adjusted feed lip.

Note how strange it looks. It's barely touching the bullet, and it looks like the bullet might pop right out.

Despite the appearances, the round is secure, and feeds reliably, so if your trial-and-error method isn't getting you anywhere, try making some radical adjustments. You may be surprised what angles work.

Keeping the right feed lip angle in mind, look at how different the left feed lip is in relation to the bullet.

It doesn't matter how odd it looks, as long as it raises the rear of cartridge up, and feeds into the chamber without getting stuck.

Note that since the contact between the feed lips and the bullet is so important, changing the bullet type will change the feeding.

Switching the bullet type in my properly tuned magazine will result in failures.

These hunting rounds won't even stay in the magazine!

Hunting cartridges loaded in the left side nose-dive every time.

You may be better off getting two magazines for your different types of rounds, so you can swap to a magazine tuned for the hunting cartridges when you take your Enfield out to get some game.

You could also just spend the night before going through the same feed lip tuning process for the different rounds, and then tuning it back when you return from your hunting trip.

Keep your magazines tuned and happy, and your Enfield won't let you down.


pdb said...

I never had a feeding issue with my Enfields, but this is great info, and good pics too!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. Your explanation and photos (especially) helped solved what was a very vexing feed problem with No.4 Mk1*.

The rifle was in incredible condition when I bought it, with a mirror bore and 100% bluing. I thought maybe it was unfired.

So it made absolutely no sense that it fed so badly.

I took out the mag and noted it was unserialized, and maybe was new as the lips were folded flat.

I fixed by looking at your pictures and now it feeds 10 rounds without a hitch.

I'll bring it out to the range this weekend and test it under fire.

Thanks again,

Doug in the PNW

Anonymous said...

What do you use to bend the lips? Pliers?

Fletch said...

Yep. Needle-nosed pliers will give you the reach you need to tilt the lips without running into side of the magazine.

Anonymous said...

I have a No. 4 Mk1 and was having problems with my Pro Mag magazine feeding the rounds, but after reading your post and a little tuning
it seems to have fixed the problem.


Anonymous said...

Does the same hold true for a 7.62 Ishapore ? Only feeds from the right side. Bolt just rides over the left side rounds. Great info for my other enfields!

Fletch said...

It sounds like a similar problem. I'm not sure what the Ishy mags look like, but if they've got the same kind of feed lips, it would certainly be worth a shot!

Please let us know if it works.

Fletch said...

I actually picked up an Ishapore recently, and it has problems feeding (two mismatched magazines), so I'll be testing this method with my own magazines.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I had one Enfield no4 mk1 that I ended up selling because I didnt have this information. I bought another about 5 years ago hoping for better feeds and while it was better, it still jammed every 3 rounds or so. I will use your information to tune the magazine so I can finally enjoy my beautful rifle. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial and THANKS. I just got a No4 Mk 1 with a mismatched mag and the feed was all messed up. After about a minute of tuning it's so much better.

Unknown said...

Do you still have to do the up down up down up with the rims when loading or does this solve the problem of catching rims too?

Fletch said...

This will not eliminate the problem of rimlock. The rim of the round must still be forward of the rim of the cartridge below it, and behind the rim of the catridge above it.

Unknown said...

I just wanted to thank you for your web site:

I had taken my Enfield magazine apart and when I put it back together it would not feed correctly. Your website and a lot of patience really helped.


Anonymous said...

wow what a superb site !
Bought another Enfield yesterday and tried the mag and it would not feed - bullets tipping up and across.

I read this site and got my little flat pliers and gently made small adjustments to make the lips look like the picks - in 5 mins I had the mag feeding all 10 perfectly

The guy probably sold me the rifle cheap thinking it wouldn't work and he has a bad conscience - now I have the best feeding enfield I have ever had

THANK YOU !!!!!!

Unknown said...

Thank you for this tutorial. My uncle gave me his 1943 No4. Mk1* Longbranch for my first hunting rifle. I tried feeding a magazine full of rounds but it would not load any. I used it a little loading 1 round at a time. After a while I stopped using it because of the feeding issue. I stumbled upon your website and now I can load a full magazine if I run the action quickly. Sometimes the last round will not ride up the ramp correctly. I have 2 questions. Do you think this magazine still needs adjusting or do you think I should leave good enough alone? and Does the speed of the action matter or should the rounds load correctly at any speed?

Fletch said...

Baby Harley,

Firearms actions are usually meant to be worked vigorously. Many manually operated firearms can jam if the actions are worked slowly, so speed should be the best way to operate them.

If the last round is not loading consistently, but all the rest load just fine, you should be able to fix the issue with further feed lip adjustment. It kind of sucks to have to go from mostly working to not working, and work your way back and hope the last round feeds, but I experienced the same issue while testing different feed lip adjustments. so keep in mind that this issue can probably still be resolved with feed lip adjustments.

If, however, you've really exhausted all your feed lip options and the last one is what isn't feeding, you might consider replacing the spring.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! This is exactly what I was looking for and didn't even know it.

TimoTheoDoro said...

Unable to get to the range since acquiring my first SMLE, I bought 10 dummy rounds to practice loading and cycling the famously smooth, fast, and reliable Lee action. When rounds 5 through 8 kept sporadically jumping out of the magazine upon opening the bolt and then jamming upon closing, I assumed that the issue was with the dummy rounds and that real rounds would feed and cycle as intended. With the help of this article, all 10 dummy rounds now consistently feed and cycle through the action. The author has saved me from the inevitable confusion and frustration that would have awaited me when I finally got to the range. Thank You!

Unknown said...

I appreciate the info given, but apparently the pictures that accompanied the article no longer work. Would you be able to repost the associated pictures again. I acquired an Ishy 2A 7.62 some years ago in cosmo and only recently cleaned it up and took it out to shoot. I am having terrible feeding issues. Mainly, looking from the top, the left side is being skipped over by the bolt and being bent and bound up in the chamber or when it does catch, it pushes the round up and over to the right catching the tip onto the edge of the chamber. Thank you so much for your time and information thus far.

Fletch said...

Nathan, thanks for the update, I'm looking for the original images so I can post them again.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the quick reply. I appreciate your efforts. I had the opportunity to shoot a jungle carbine version many years ago and loved the action. I was really looking forward to the same experience with this rifle and would prefer not to have to get rid of it for what seems like a fixable issue. Good luck in your search.

Anonymous said...

Any word on the pictures for this? Just got a #1 w/ missing mag. Promags are on the way. I'm guessing I'm going to need to go through this on each of them.

Unknown said...


I just wanted to leave an update here in hopes it may help others and make you aware that I was able to fix my issue.

I finally just broke down and purchased one of the post manufacture 2A 7.62 magazines from Numrich Gun Parts. $60 was a little hard to swallow at first, but it has helped fix my problem.

The new magazine works flawlessly.So upon inspection, I noticed that the new magazine allowed the rear of the cartridge to ride higher in the receiver, thus allowing the bolt to push the cartridge from the rear versus skimming it and jamming like the old.

First thing I did on the old magazine was bend the rear tab on the FOLLOWER itself inward to allow the rear of the follower to ride higher in the receiver. This solved most of it, but I did have to bend the rear left MAGAZINE LIP open just a tad as well in order for the follower to sit as high as the working magazine.

My front magazine feed lips were pretty well aligned on the old unit, but I did have to bend the left side one out a little. This was to stop the left side aligned cartridges from loading too far right from the chamber and getting hung up.

All said and done, I now have two working magazines. I try not to look at it as if I had to pay 60 for a new magazine, but instead...I paid 60 for gunsmith work to fix the original and for his time, he gave me another working magazine on the house.

Sorry so long, but I hope this may help someone else.

Lindsay Wilson said...

Just a bump - I'd also really like to see the photos in this article since I'm having trouble with feeding reliably as well!

Anonymous said...

The pictures in this article are not coming up. Maybe you hit your limit? Can you please fix them? I'm having a feed issue in my No4 Mk1. Thanks.

Fletch said...

I really can't find the original pictures, so I've recreated the important ones with my Ishapore Enfield magazine.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I apologize for the delay.

libertymen said...

I bought an Ishapore 2a and its in good shape.It did feed poorly.The bolt slid over the bullets. BOth sides.
PANIC ensued.I then found your article and presto-all better.
I do notice that the very rear wall of the magazine on these appears to be too high.IF the rear wall were dropped a little, then you could make the bullet ride higher easier.The problem is in the rear corners. You can bend the lips but the corner limits you.I think.Thanks a bunch for this info.

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