Challenge For A Gunsmith
Q: I just bought a Lithgow No.2 MK 4 rifle in .22 Long Rifle that I
enjoy shooting more than its big brother a No.1 MK III in .303. My
questions are: Is it legal to convert a .303 to .22 LR? On Youtube
an American company called "RockNLoad" converted a Savage No.4
MK 1 .303 to .22 LR. It shot very well and they called it a No.4 MK II.
What paperwork and parts would I need to do have such a
conversion done? What would the rifle be called? What would the
rifle be licensed as? Where would I find a gunsmith to do the job?
I am fully aware that this project would cost a lot and require a fair
bit of gunsmithing.
A: I think that the Lithgow No. 2 MK 4 rifle you have in .22 LR may be a
single shot. As to whether or not it is legal to carry out such a conversion
is a question for the Firearms Registry in your state. They will tell you
what paperwork is required and any other questions you have about licensing,
as the category would have to be changed. I don't know of any gunsmith
who would tackle this job. You are right when you said it would take a fair bit
of gunsmithing - in fact a helluva lot. It would be a very costly exercise costing
maybe $2,000 or more. For one thing you'd need a complete new bolthead with
offset firing pin. If a bolthead is not readily available, the gunsmith would have
to make one from scratch, adding to the cost. A new barrel (or sleeving the
original barrel) would cost about $600. It would be a lot cheaper to buy an
original rifle, even if it cost $2000 but they appear on the USED GUNS website
fairly regularly for about $1200. So that's your best bet. As well as being made
at Lithgow, they were made in Canada and England. I believe BSA made 2500
for the British Navy and altered the Lee Enfield magazine to house a BSA .22
magazine. But before you do anything, contact your Firearms Registry to find
out what the rules are regarding such a conversion.
Below is a video of a smallbore service rifle match where many used
military rifles that were arsenal converted to .22LR.