No5 Mk1 “Jungle Carbine”

I have been after a No5 for some time now. I’m not sure if it was due to its rather usual shape and profile, or its reputation of being a rifle that lets you know you’ve fired it. The No5 is certainly unique and a break from the traditional style and shape of the earlier No1’s, the No3 or that of the later No4’s.

The No5 was intended to be lighter in weight, have a reduction in overall lenght,and to be far more compact rifle. When compared to that of its cousin, the No4, it certainly met that criteria. The No5 was also a rifle well suited to the jungle environment. Its action and ability to work in trying conditions was well documented and the reduction in weight a blessing to the soldier carrying the carbine. The No5 whilst being produced 1945 did see use in WWII, even being issued to paratrooper units.

But it was this attempt to reduce the weight of the rifle that may have inevitably lead to its questionable reliability. This mainly centered around the inability of the rifle to hold its zero. Or the famous “Wandering Zero”.

As a result, the No5 in fact saw the shortest length of service for a British service rifle . This may be in part due to the wandering zero, but may also be attributed to the focus on the newer and prevailing self-loading rifles and semi automatic firearms of the time.

A while back I was fortunate enough to stumble onto what was to be my first No5. Whilst a little on the scratched side and missing the odd piece, she still remained very appealing. I emailed the owner whom I knew and trusted and simply asked “is it worthwhile a restoration job?”.

“Definitely!” was the reply.

I received a few pictures and the only real issue was the flash hider had been removed. There were a few scratchs around where the forward barrel band had been and the top wood was missing.

So here are a few photos after a day of tinkering with the woods alone.

Very faint but there!

The numbers on the Mag, Bolt and Receiver all matched, but what really topped it of was that the woodwork did as well. I noticed this upon closer inspection, I could tell that there was some numbering as seen in the left photo that showed something. I lightly worked on it till I could see a clearer defined set of markings. This is as far as I will go for now. This is also why you never use sand paper, it’s going to take time for the wood to accept the “magic solution” and to be honest im not going to push my luck any further in fear of lightening the surrounding woods and just fading it all into the back ground.

As you can see the butt just soaked it up and the resulting colour that has come back is just wonderful. The scratching around the front barrel band will take a bit longer, but that will just be accomplished over time with lighter and lighter solutions. But again gently gently. Today all I did was clean up the bore a tad and just let the wood accept the oils. The bottom picture shows todays results. With restoration you just need to remember its a slow process but worth it. It may sound odd but its sort of handy to have a couple of projects on the go, that way you don’t rush any one job.

So now I need to source the correct barrel band and flash hider.

Now here’s a trick for new players. Some companies out there have made “conversion” kits for the NO4’s to resemble a No5, these entailed a new butt, modified top and bottom woods, again normally from excess no4 stocks. But they had to make the flash hider to fit the No4 barrel, which has a different size muzzle where the hider was attached. So, ALWAYS check and measure the muzzle diameter before ordering and make sure you get the correct flash hider. it’s a long way to sort stuff out when the supplier is half way around the world.

ALSO shop around, No5’s were painted black so don’t rush out and get the flash as new blued hider, it’s going to stick out like the proverbials.
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more photos to come……

Update, the old girl is going to spend some time with Rod Woods, and even better still, I have aquired another one……and shes nice 🙂
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2nd Update, My buddy and I went down to the range and got the old girl so hot that oil was coming out of the woods! The barrel so hot you could cook an egg on it! My shoulder was a tad tender, but boy what fun! Huns head at 50m with 10 rounds rapid, a few times…. like iIsaid FUN.