Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Smell of Cordite

Guest post by Cro

Back in my high school literature days  I remember reading about “the smell of cordite”  and wondering what is cordite?  The main character in the Dayof the Jackal book even ate a piece of cordite to make himself seem older and sick when getting through security.  I had been reloading pistol back then and could not think of any piece from a cartridge that you could eat.  I always imagined all metallic cartridges as having powder inside.  I happened to pick up an excellent No4 Mk 2 Fazakerly.  That’s right I said Mk2.  It’s a 1950 example of the final refinement of the Enfield rifle. 

This particular example is in very good condition with very little wear on the metal and wood.  Those familiar with the Enfield No 1 Mk 3 can see that the major difference is the rear sight is moved to the rear of the receiver.  The particular rear sight on this model has a large aperture battle sight and a flip up ladder sight for long range. 

The particular rear sight has a smaller aperture for the long range, and a screw adjusted ladder that is regulated by audible clicks.  In my opinion this is far superior to sights like the 1903 that has no means to measure your rear sight height except by eyeballing it.  Granted the NM 1903 competitors often had a micrometer to adjust their rear sight height, but I have a hard enough time remembering my range gear as it is.  I guess I am just spoiled by being used to click sights like the M1.  My Savage Enfield has a simple flip sight with only a 300, or a 600 meter option.  Not exactly the best sight for marksmanship, but a great sight to mass produce for a weapon starved Britain.  The front sight is a simple drift adjustment.

The rifle did away with the Enfield knife bayonet and went with a spike/blade bayonet that did not have a handle.  Kind of a useless bayo in my opinion as I follow old Teddy Roosevelt’s opinion that the bayonet should double as a knife.  I would personally hate to carry an extra piece of kit that could only serve a second purpose as a tent peg. 

I had 3 types of 303 on hand.  Privi, Wolf, and Surplus 1952 Kynoch.

The Wolf is packaged the same as the Prvi, and even has Prvi head stamp on the rounds. So I guess it’s an example of buying brand name.  The Prvi was 174Gr FMJBT, and the Wolf was 150Gr Soft Point.  

But on to the Cordite.  The Kynoch is an old surplus round I picked up a few years ago on the cheap.  I pulled the pullets and dug the cordite out of the case to find it filled with 36.2 grains of the spaghetti like propellant.  The sticks are packed very tight inside the case and would only come out after much persuasion.  I wonder how they measured and loaded the stuff in the brass case.  It seems like it would be much more difficult than standard powder shaped propellant.    The bullet is a flat based FMJ projectile of 175gr.  The neck sealant was a black tar like sealant that did not want to let the bullet go.

So on to the Range Report.  I took the ole’ Brit to my local range to see how this piece shoots.  The 200 and 300 yd ranges were closed for maintenance that day so I was relegated to the 100yd test.  I started with the Brit surplus.  All the rounds went bang, although not always right away.  Some of the rounds had slight hang-fires, not terrible, but I could feel the firing pin strike and then feel the discharge as a separate action.  This was not the norm.  I was actually surprised by the accuracy of the surplus rounds.  The best 5 shot group I got was 3.5 “  not great, but not bad considering my rest was not the most stable.  The Privi and Wolf had the same accuracy.

This is not the best group, but typical of what I saw that day.  One thing I liked about this rifle was that all the ammo was zeroed with at least 2 clicks up on the rear sight.  Its often annoying when your Mil Surp shoots 7 inches high at the lowest setting.

Overall I Liked this rifle.  The bolt is easy to operate, but the trigger has a bit to be desired. It had some creep and did not break clean.  I was happy with the accuracy, and I think with the proper loads this rifle has good potential.  Of all my Enfields I would pick this one as my favorite.  

On a side note I stopped at a local gun show on my way to the range and found a gem of a rifle for a price that would be silly to pass up.  Stay tuned for that review, but here is a teaser.  

(Don't give away the surprise if you know what it is!  I'll be "out of the office" for a while, but rest assured, there'll be new content when I get back!  And thanks again to Cro for sharing some of his cool stuff with us.)