Bedding the Parker-Hale

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This article is part of a long treatise on Managing the Enfield and is also applicable to full stocked military match style rifles.

It is perfectly possible to clean a muzzle loading Enfield type of rifle thoroughly without ever taking the barrel out of the wood. Do this and you will always have the same point of impact with the same load.

What if rain or, even worse, foul cleaning water should get between the stock and the barrel? We have all seen the horrible rust that can found on some originals there. With this system you will have complete peace of mind. Simply apply a layer of WATER PUMP GREASE to all the concealed metal leaving a good surplus to work into all the crevices such as the edges of the stock and under the fore-end cap. Water cannot get in and even if it does it cannot touch the metal. Do not use any old grease, make sure it is Water Pump Grease which is designed to protect metal in the presence of lots of high pressure hot water. The stock should be well proofed against the weather by the liberal use of linseed oil and wax polish both inside and out which will prevent water soaking into the wood and swelling or distorting it. This comment applies even more especially to original arms. Finally, always use a flash shield under the nipple in order to prevent the escape of hot gases from marring the finish and working fouling down the side of the stock channel forward of the nipple or around the tang.

Using this system on the author’s Naval Enfield meant that only once in the past twenty years has the barrel been out of the wood and that just to check that all was well – it was!

When dealing with original Enfield rifles, it will usually be found that the fit of wood to metal does not need adjustment but there is one tip that should be followed. When finally re-assembling the barrel to the stock, replace the tang screw only loosely. Put the barrel bands into position but before tightening them, bump the butt on the floor to set the barrel firmly back into its place in the wood. Then tighten the bands and finally screw home the tang screw but NOT TOO HARD. Do not swing on the screw driver, the tang screw should be merely “nipped up” to position. Over-tighten it and there will be a stress on the rear end of the barrel. These comments about the tang screw also apply to the Parker-Hales.