A old Lee-Enfield rifle - can anyone help please?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by abeaumont, Jan 15, 2008.

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  1. May I please ask if any of you can shed any light on the history or background of a Lee-Enfield rifle?

    The partner of one of my colleagues at work has just erturned from his annual month long trip to New Zealand where he does a bit of tree felling, hunting, and generally having a bit of quality man time with friends. While out there he bought himself a Lee-Enfield. Just walked into a gunshop and bought it. Extortionate price they are too out there. In our money it cost him all of £38. Sadly, of course, he has had to leave it out there, but it awaits his next trip later this year.

    The serial number, same on both bolt and frame, is a very low number - 1445. It has been "sporterised", as they say out there. I'll add some pictures, and we wonder if anyone can shed any light on it. What Mark or type is it, likely period of manufacture etc etc.

    Any ideas you might have about the history of this rifle will be very welcome.

    Kind regards to all.


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  2. ...and I forgot to add that the venison was very fine eating too!
     
  3. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    A trimmed No1 Mk111* produced between 1915 and 1945. If he looks on the wrist socket the other side from the safety catch he will find who and when it was made and if it was ever converted/upgraded from an earlier model. It has had the forened removed which could be restored and in some cases actually improve the acuraccy. The muzzle pushed down onto a spring which held the barrel in tension and away from the forend. this bit is often lost when sporterised and I have one which was done by Parker Hale in 45. I paid £90 for mine!
    If you can get the markings photographed or written down that will help, many rifles had similar serial numbers but different prefixes.
    edited to add: Nice Doe!
     
  4. Thanks ugly, much appreciated. The pictures the owner took are none too good, but I'll get him to contact the friend who is looking after it for him and try to get better pictures as you describe.

    You say a Number 1 Mark III*, please excuse my ignorance, but is that different to a Mark III? My knowledge of the SMLE is rather limited, and the last time I fired one was one Hythe Ranges about three years ago. Attracted quite a bit of attention from other users of the ranges I have to say!
     
  5. Thank you Blogg. Much appreciated.
     
  6. This might upload - a higher resolution, but a bit out of focus image of the marks as described by Ugly.
     

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  7. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Just saved and blew it up, its an Enfield but marked as Sht LE, which means to me it may be something out of the ordinary. Mine although post war are marked SMLE.
    the No1 Mk 111 was the definitive production version of 1907, wartime economies such as removing the mag cut off and omitting its groove from the milling proceedures, removal of the long range site and associated alterations to the wood work resulted in the Mk111*. You can tell if it was owned by particular countries from stampings, time to get the books out!
    I'll rephrase that it seems that some countries marked them this way normally. It would indicate pre 1919 production as the nomenclature changed from SMLE to rifle No1 Mk 3 or M3*. the normal Mk3 production was resumed after the war but mainly by BSA and Lithgow. It could also have many foreign or peddled parts on it, the receiver only being from Enfield, before the no.4 rifle there was no marking to indicate refurbished rifles only upgrades.
     
  8. The leaf sight at the back makes it a WW1 vintage, much of the woodwork has been cut away to make it lighter and look slightly more modern, the sort of weapon that could be use for hunting
     
  9. not quite :wink:

    he either had got himself a 'T' class licence (tourist), or a NZ mate bought it for him on his ticket.

    that a fallow from the blue mountains by any chance?????
    they do tend to be dark in colouring down there.
     
  10. its an smle No1 mk3

    [​IMG]

    its very hard to find any ex-mil bolt rifle in NZ thats in 'collectable' condition, almost all were chopped into 'sporters' as soon as they got into civvie hands, the idea is no point in carrying around extra weight like the baynet boss and fore end wood.
    one ploblem with a chop job is that it significantly raised the point of projectile impact, to cure this the rear sight ramp was filed away a bit to compensate.
     
  11. Fair comment - he did get himself a licence, that he simply renews each time he goes out there. Apparently about as difficult to get as blowing your nose.

    I'm not sure where in New Zealand he went, so cannot yet give you any further info about the deer, other than it made very fine eating. I'll find out, but it will take a couple of days.
     
  12. Isn't it nice to find a civilised Country with a sensible attitude towards firearms. Only a matter of time, I suppose, before some nutter buggers it up for them like ours did for us. A population of 3 odd Million against a population of 60 odd Million probably stacks the odds in their favour a bit.
     
  13. You can buy em live over the counter here in Belgium too. No licence required! My mate just brought a cracking SMLE for a 100 euros. :D