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Homebrew Scout Rifle

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by WastedDaze, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey

    Thought I'd show the monkeys how I came up with my Scout Rifle...

    Of course the idea of the Scout Rifle isn't new but Colonel Jeff Cooper clarified the concept back in the '80s. If you're not familiar with the Scout Rifle concept read this:
    Beware of the Man With One Gun – The Scout Rifle Concept | A Reasonable Life

    Back to the issue at hand, my DIY Scout Rifle...
    Back in the early '80s I purchased a No.4 Mk.1 Lee Enfield rifle. All original for $45. In a couple years I acquired about 3 or four more... One was a No.5 Mk.1 Carbine, aka Jungle Carbine. I really liked the Smooth fast action all the Enfields and especially liked the handiness of the smaller No.5

    I also read an article by either Jeff Cooper or Chuck Taylor back then extolling the virtues of the No.5. Notwithstanding it's so called "wandering zero". Which I may add, has been hard to verify or duplicate. The writer of the article comments that the No.5 is as near perfect to the Scout Rifle concept as a rifle could be except for the caliber. Preference being .308/7.62 NATO.

    Well time marches on and a young man's fancy turns to cars and girls. The guns got sold... but not forgotten. Last year I picked up a 1964 Ishapore 2A rifle. This is the Indian version of the No.1 Mk.3 Lee Enfield updated to 7.62 NATO. No, they aren't rechambered No1 Mk3 riles made for .303 British but new manufactured (in 1964) rifles in 7.62.
    BTW, the British built the factory in 1904 and started making the No1 Mk3 rifles in 1909. In 1948 India was given it's independence and the factory came under Indian control but there were still a few British that stayed on.

    This 2A had been hauled around a lot but fired very little. There's a lot of handling and rack wear but the bore is in excellent. The barrel, action and front wood had matching numbers but the bolt, mag and buttstock didn't... This is not uncommon for service rifles... Head space is in spec.

    Taking my cue from Golden State Arms of Pasadena.Cal. who converted a lot mil surp No1 Mk3s and No4s into "Jungle Carbines" back in the '50s I turned this 2A into a Junglefied Carbine / Scout Rifle.

    The wood stock, fore and aft, was carefully removed along with the front and rear sights. Barrel was cut to 18.7". Same length as the No5. The muzzle was crowned with a No5 flash hider / front sight pinned on.
    The fore stock was cut to the No5 length and shape... I carved a couple extra notches to match the notch for the rear sight ears. A No4 hand guard was shortened and shaped to fit. Buttstock was left original.

    Now the No1 Mk3 rifles had the rear sight mounted on the barrel but I like a receiver mounted sight like the on the No4 & No5... Actually the No1 Mk5 had the first receiver sights back in the '20s.
    Back again to copy GSA conversions which had the charging bridge notched where a flip peep sight from a No4 was installed.
    Since I wanted to be able to use the charging bridge with charging clips I didn't notch it. Instead I filed the top of the charging bridge flat then drilled and taped it to mount my homebrew rear sight... I first made a sight blank out of balsa wood. Bore sighted at 25 yds. Transfered the wood pattern and made a proof of concept sight from aluminum... At 100 yds I was shooting about 1" low with windage right on. Excellent!
    Used this info to make two more sights from steel. One steel sight has an aperture .093" the other is threaded to take Williams screw in apertures.

    I cleaned all the gunk off the wood the Indians put on and rubbed in a mixture of BLO, bees wax, turpentine. All the metal (barrel, action, etc...) was degreased and painted with a ceramic based high temp low gloss black paint and baked at 400*F for an hour.

    The rifle went from almost 10 lbs to 7lbs 4 oz.

    I think it came out pretty well.
    And it shoots good too.


    First sight. Aluminum.

    Testing the aluminum sight on unfinished rifle.

    Second sight. Steel with .093 aperture.

    Third sight. With Williams Twilight aperture.

    For ruggedness and simplicity I prefer the first steel sight. That's what's on the rifle now but I have the Williams aperture sight handy just in case.

    After photos. Rifle finished.

    Range report? You judge....
    I shot this 10 round group (1 mag) after I had been shooting at a steel plate just out of sight to my right. About 5 sec per shot at 100 yds off the plastic folding table in the other photos. Part of the time the target was almost obscured by fog.
    Ammo was 2012 CBC M80 Ball 7.62 NATO headstamp.

    All told I have $350 into the rifle.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  2. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    Nice. Nothing wrong with a battle ready bolt carbine.
  3. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey++

    My father had quite the collection of Enfields, SMLEs, Jungle carbines, German Mausers and such. I kept only a few of the rifles he left and sold off the rest. Of those I kept was a Garand and an M1917 (P17) Enfield. Love those old WWII and before rifles.

    Some years ago I picked up one of those Spanish FR8 bolt action carbines chambered in 7.62 Nato (18 " bbl). Sights are crude but you could certainly kill a deer with it at 100 or 150 yards.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
    Witch Doctor 01 and chelloveck like this.
  4. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    A very nice looking rifle!!!!
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Good work. Do you have a scope in mind? (Cooper would approve.)
    chelloveck likes this.
  6. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+ Founding Member

    If only I had bought two when they were imported last century.;)
    The old "won't hold zero" was a reason not to move on any mod.

    Nice job thanks.
  7. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey

    No plans for a scope... That's where I depart from Coopers concept. The added weight, bulk and fragility out weighs the advantage of the scope in my opinion. A good peep sight on a decent rifle with proper training should allow you to hit what the Scout Rifle is designed for.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  8. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    I concur. I tried the whole Scout rifle thing for over a year...and I ended up tossing the scope and hunting with irons. If I WAS going to do it over again, I would put a high rise regular scope on it I could see my sights under, or put a forward mounted red dot/holo of some kind. There are only a handful of "scout" scopes on the market, and I never handled one that was worth the effort to mount it.
  9. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey


    Plus, there's an appeal where form meets function that make certain rifles look beautiful. Why destroy that with a scope?
    Scopes belong on a long range rifle used for specific occasions. Not on a 400 yd every day carry rifle...

    Now if you have poor eyesight then I could see a red dot or such as mentioned.
    I'm loosing my near sight vision, I noticed this when I turned 50 yo. That's the beauty of a peep, the rear aperture helps you focus on the front sight by the "pin hole lens" effect.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  10. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    You know, I was told that a red dot or scout scope would make me get shots on target quicker...never saw any evidence of that.
  11. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    @WastedDaze Your project turned out very nice! I have to say, I think you did a fantastic job. And I agree, given the right rifle designed to be accurate, iron sights are the way to go for a scout rifle.

    I have a 1891/59 carbine I like very much, which fires the 7.62x54R round.
    DSC00010.JPG DSC00011.JPG DSC00012.JPG DSC00013.JPG DSC00088.JPG
    I wouldn't put a scope on this rifle, it's far better suited for its intended role, and it is very accurate.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  12. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey

    Agree again...
    I think the fastest acquiring sight system is the HK style. Where the front post is surrounded by a round hood that perfectly centers in the rear peep when you look through it. Line up the two circles and what ever the front post is on will be destroyed. Iron sights are the fastest acquiring sights period.

    And powerful too!

    Thank you!
    BTW, I'm no expert either.... I just know what works... for me.

    If you guys like this then I'll have to post my other "Scout Rifle" I built when I have time.
    By far these two bolt action rifles are my favorite rifles even compared to my ARs & FALs.
    I wouldn't feel under gunned using either one to put meat on the table or defend the homestead.

    Stay tuned.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2015
    Yard Dart and Brokor like this.
  13. Legion489

    Legion489 Shining the Light of Truth

    The Spanish FR8 and other .308/7.62x51 NATO rifles are actually 7.62 CETME, same case, but lighter bullet and much less pressure. They WILL develop excessive headspace if fired with .308 Win or NATO ammo.
  14. WastedDaze

    WastedDaze Monkey

    I think you mean the FR7 which is a converted small ring Mauser based on the 1893 model. Repeated use of 7.62 NATO ammo will damage the rifle and possibly blow up and kill you...

    The FR8 on the other hand is a converted large ring Mauser rifle chambered for 7.62 NATO. The FR8 is based on the larger 1898 Mauser design the same as the K98 short rifles the Germans used in WWII. I have K98 sporterized in 30-06. The action can handle the 7.62 NATO without breaking a sweat.
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