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

#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!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#3
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!
 
#5
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!
 
#6
Thank you Blogg. Much appreciated.
 
#7
This might upload - a higher resolution, but a bit out of focus image of the marks as described by Ugly.
 

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ugly

LE
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#9
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.
 
#10
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
 
#11
abeaumont said:
Just walked into a gunshop and bought it.
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.
 
#12
its an smle No1 mk3



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.
 
#13
DrStealth said:
abeaumont said:
Just walked into a gunshop and bought it.
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.
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.
 
#14
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.
 
#15
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
 
#16
Right, anyone suggest a type of black-nasty strong enough to bear the weight of a few SMLE's taped to the bottom of my motor?
 
#17
Passed-over_Loggie said:
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.
we have already had our 'nutter' i'm afraid.

the Aramoana massacre of 1990.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramoana_massacre

NZ firearms owners got thier knee jerk reaction because of it, the gov and police threw up some badly concieved legislation making 'military style semi autos' now required on a special collecters licence, (called an 'E' class) making all semi autos 'with a military style pistol grip and a magazine capacity of more than 7 rounds' having to be registered to thier owners names.
so you have to register your semi AK and get a special licence but not for your mini 14.............. hmmmm.
and even though David Gray used a bruno .22 bolt action for most of the 12 murders.

in the old days before the 1983 arms act all firearm serial numbers had to be registered against the owners licence, this was to prevent 'straw man' purchasing, were a legal (but dodgy) bloke who has acquired a licence buys firearms for people not entitled to one.

after arms act 1983 this fire arm registration system was ditched and the owners required to record the details of weapons transfers himself.
the police said it was costing too much time to administer and that all this info had not once led to any prosecution.

thanks to this, since then firearms have started to trickle down to the criminal element.

after Aramoana in 1990 'military style semi auto' owners had to register them on a special licence ('E') with a large hefty fee and the same security requirments of pistol owners.

only around 8500 'Military style semi-autos' were declared, despite tens of thousands of semi AKs, SLRs , AR15s FALs, G3s ect ect being sold over the previous years.

NZ firearms laws are not perfect, the NZ sporting shooters assn has been campaining for years for workable legislation.

http://www.ssanz.org.nz/

to own and shoot pistols in NZ, one has to join a pistol club, you spend an amount of time on probation (while the rest of the club members check you out) before you get your 'B' class (pistol) licence. this is on top of the normal police check.

http://www.pistolnz.org.nz/

personaly (as a NZ firearms owner and having spent most of my life working in the gun trade) I belive the pistol owners requirments for a licence should be applied to ALL firearms owners in NZ, who must have to join a club and be vetted by thier peers, before being allowed to acquire a licence, and all firearms to be registered against the owners names to stop straw man puchasing.
 
#18
If you have a larger and clearer image of the one numbered 00064, which shows the right hand side of the buttstock socket, it will tell you much about this rifle. The Royal Cypher-Crown appears to be similar to that used by Standard Small Arms. who manufactured SMLE III* in Birmingham from 1916 to 1918.
 
#20
DrStealth said:
abeaumont said:
Just walked into a gunshop and bought it.
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.
I haven't yet found out the exact location of the spot where the deer was shot, but it was on North Island.

Many, many thanks to all who have helped. The remarkably low serial number remains unexplained if the rifle is indeed a 1917 model, as the III* seems to have gone into production in late 1915. Odd.

By the way, it isn't one of those Kashmiri copies.... It is still in one piece after firing full load ammunition!

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