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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:30 pm 
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Hi all, I have a grasp on an awful lot of surplus from different parts of the world, but every time I start looking into Enfields, it turns into confusing jibberish for me. I'm not sure what it is, unless it's all the low numbers and then mk variations, etc.

Well now I at least have a jumping off point - I got a deal on a rifle in a package deal, so I need to jump in and get both feet wet. Is there literally a "Enfields for Dummies" site?

When I got mine it was called "Enfield SMLE III "Australia" 303"

It doesn't actually have any chamber markings, and when I google "Enfield Australia" I see references to rifles being chambered in other cartridges. So I'm lost right off the bat with even the caliber.

The "Australia" is stamped into the bottom of the stock.

The rear stock is beautiful and in perfect condition. Could I get this back to a military configuration by replacing the front stock and handguard? Or has it gone beyond that? Anything else you can tell me about this rifle specifically in addition to a starting point for learning about Enfields?

Thanks for looking.


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Last edited by khigh on Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:01 pm 
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Hi khigh

what markings are on the rifle?

Something like this on the wrist of the rifle.
If manufactured at LAF then markings would look similar
to this. There are some variations over time.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:43 pm 
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Other than the stock being Bubba'd and coated in plastic, the rifle is in intact. Australia being stamped in the wood was for export to other Commonwealth countries and the world.
All of the Martini Cadet rifles were also stamped in the receivers where they were made.
It was kind of like "Made in the USA".
Your rifle is well made and should be a very good shooter. Finding original wood can be a trial.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:50 pm 
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It looks like you need a forestock, front handguard, middle barrel band with sling swivel, nosecap with stacking swivel and rear sight protector.
From what I could see of the markings it definitely is a Lithgow but I cant read the year. The barrel doesn't look cut down.
It's marked 303 which is the standard .303 British round. For a good shooter the condition of the bore and muzzle is important.

The shiny finish is not military and would have to be knocked down or removed to match the wood your replacing.
Also you need to clean the rust off that magazine. - Bill

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:07 am 
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It can be done.

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Al

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:10 am 
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I can help you with the markings & maybe explain the number/letter confusion a little.

Early on the British used an "alphabet soup" naming convention.
MLE & was "Magazine Lee Enfield".
CLLE was "Charger Loading Lee Enfield".
SMLE (sometimes stamped as ShtLE) was "Short Magazine Lee Enfield".
& so on.
Then the system was changed :shock:

The new system was a 3 tier definition of the variant.
Rifle No(x) was the base model for the series.
Mark (y) was a sub variant, a big change, but basically the same product, but improved.
* (star) was a minor upgrade within the No & Mark ( little stuff like better sights & so on.

So the "old" SMLE/ ShtLE was renamed as the:
Rifle No1 MkIII (or MkIII*) if it had a few revisions. (windage pinned or removed on the rear sight, magazine cutoff removed) & so on.

Just to confuse the "dreaded fuzzy-wuzzies" the word "Rifle" wasn't used so the gun would be known as a No1MkIII The troop, being typical Brit squaddies immediately renamed it as "The Smellie", or "Old Smellie"

This is probably one of the better "Enfields for dummies" sites:
http://www.allaboutenfields.co.nz/

& this is a great home port for other sites:
http://www.enfieldresource.com/

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:36 pm 
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Have you range tested the rifle as is?
I'd be interested in hearing about its accuracy in the sporterized form.

A similar sporter belonging to a friend didn't group well with the barrel band screwed down tight. I put a plastic washer under the band so it instead gave some upwards pressure on the barrel and it then grouped very nicely.

I later bought that sporter which came with the original numbered nose cap and bands and then obtained a NOS fore end and serviceable handguards to restore it. It turned out rather nicely.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:08 pm 
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Oops - I had one where the text showed up, but wound up posting another. I'll post a closeup of the markings.

Thanks for the info. Sounds like a bit of work cost, and possibly money for hard to find items to fix it up. I'm pretty good at refinishing wood to even military original, but the bolt and receiver numbers don't match, I'm going to have to reblue the magazine, etc. I think I might do better to enjoy it for what it is - a shooter with some history behind it, and an introduction to Enfield that I can move forward from.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:52 pm 
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Quote:
but the bolt and receiver numbers don't match

That's not good. Not necessarily horrible, but not good.

Bolts were individually finish fitted to receivers for several things. A non-matching bolt should be checked by a smith for things like headspace, locking lug engagement & head over clocking.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:17 pm 
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Khigh,

Anything can be repaired or restored if you throw enough time and money at it.

You have a classic hunting rifle. Sporter Lee Enfields probably have put more meat on the table than any other rifle here in Canada.

Pretty well every hunt camp has a sporter Lee Enfield or two around as loaners. As somebody was reminiscing the other day about times past. "Every red blooded Canadian boy had a sporter Lee Enfield, a Cooey 22 and would ask Santa for a Ross". That is the era from which your sporter comes.

I restore older Lee Enfields. I used to regard every sporter as a prospective candidate for restoration. Over time and many, many, Enfields later my mind has changed and now I think that perhaps not every sporter needs to be restored. There are millions of Lee Enfields out there. A military one will not be hard to find, but some are now 'collectable', and are no longer to be found at bargain prices as army surplus.

Take your smle out and shoot it. It will probably shoot pretty good if the bore has been kept clean.
It will no doubt be joined by another Lee Enfield shortly. Once you have one, like a VW Beetle, you will see them everywhere. And like chips, you can't have just one.

They are good solid guns and get the job done. A lot of history behind them.

The fun part of the hobby for me is the hunt for the parts to fix. I can gather the parts as I go until one day, I have everything I need and can finish the project. And then find another with which to do it all again.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:56 am 
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As for 'Enfields for dummies', I can dig what you are saying. It had me puzzling at times. Here is a Readers Digest version of Lee Enfield history. This is all over the net, many web sites have good info. Some have a lot of folk law and myth and plain B.S.

Jump back in time to 1880s. Britain was looking for a repeating breech loader and held a competition where gun makers would submit a design. James Paris Lee, a scottish born Canadian immigrant who moved to the United States, came up with a design of a bolt action with a detachable box magazine. Pretty simple concept looking at it now, but it was Lee who put a patent on it.

The Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield, London, saw merit in the design and tweaked it a bit and fitted a barrel that had segmented ovalute rifling. The rifling design was invented by William Metford, it had no sharp edges on the rifling grooves, it was smooth, helped reduce fouling and aid cleaning when using black powder. Metford was famous within the target shooting fraternity for accurate barrels. The Lee action mated to the Metford barrel arrived as the Lee Metford in 1888.

This is my area of interest and expertise. The Lee Metfords.

As with all previous rifles and muskets of the British Army, there was a long version for the infantry, and a shorter lighter version for the cavalry.

As bravado and bluster by the Brits, and as announcement to the rest of the world it was on the cutting edge of the arms race, the rifle was introduced as the Magazine Rifle Mk.I.

It went into production in 1889 and the name was modified.
The rifle is known as Magazine Lee Metford Mk.I. or MLM. Nicknamed a long Lee Metford.
The carbine is known as Lee Metford Carbine Mk.I or LMC. Nicknamed a Metford cavalry carbine.

Improvements came with the Mk.II Lee Metford, and again with the Mk.II*.

With the introduction of smokeless propellant, a new barrel was developed with rifling designed at the Enfield factory. Lee action, Enfield barrel. Hello Lee Enfield rifle in 1896.

Again a long version for infantry, short version for cavalry.

Magazine Lee Enfield Mk.I or MLE. Nicknamed Long Lee Enfield
Lee Enfield carbine Mk.I or LEC.

In 1903 a new rifle was introduced that was shorter than the long rifle and longer than the carbine. It was in fact exactly half the difference in length. This new shortened rifle was introduced as the Short Magazine Lee Enfield Mk.I or Sht.LE. Its role was to universally replace the long rifle and carbine, to be used by both cavalry and infantry.

It went through a number of changes and went through the Mk. designation with each major model change. Some were conversions of the long rifle to current spec which meant cutting them down and refitting to Sht.LE specs. The Mk.VI was the last of the Sht.LE series.

The Sht.LE was also known as the SMLE, the two terms are interchangeable.

Then in 1924, some bright spark behind a desk thought it would be good to redesignate all the weapons in the British Empire. So for Lee Enfields, the Sht.LE Mk.III (smle Mk.III) became the No.1 Mk.III.

The No.4 was basically the SMLE Mk.VI.
No.4 T was the sniper version.

The No.5 was a new lightweight rifle the term coined by gun dealers as the 'Jungle Carbine'

So I have left out tons of information and many details. Have fun researching, its all readily available.

My advice is buy Skennerton's The Lee Enfield Story. Great book and will tell you everything you could ever ask about Lee enfields. Pictures too!
Figure out which era of Lee Enfields interest you. You have more than a hundred years of history to browse. No big deal then to talk about your No.4 Mk.2 or your No.5 Mk.1

Eyeballing it is not difficult to tell a MLE from a SMLE at a distance.
No.1 rifle is generally WWI, No.4 rifle generally is WWII.

Me, I love the long Lees and carbines. :? Savy?


Last edited by englishman_ca on Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:48 pm 
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Afternoon.

I'll not repeat anything that has already been said aside from the fact that you can restore the rifle as you have it to it's original military configuration. If, like me, you enjoy such a task then this rifle is good for you.

What I will add is a great place to find the parts you need. Springfield sporters has thousands of parts for hundreds of rifles in stock. You will find original British parts for everything you need save for the wood. If you want to restore it with original wood you'll spend a couple of months searching and will shell out $300-$400 for an original British set.

HOWEVER if, again like me, you're less worried about 100% authenticity and more wanting a project then you can also order the stock set from Springfield Sporters. They will require cleaning and refinishing (and most likely some DP paint removal) however they will get you back into original configuration. The reason it will not be 100% authentic is the stock you will order will be an Indian made stock instead of a British one. It will have a screw that goes through the stock right in front of the magazine well sometimes referred to as an Ishy (or Ishapore) screw. This was done to reinforce the wood in that part of the stock.

For about $120-$150 you can get your rifle back into its original configuration. Let me know if you need help, I've done 3-4 rifles and a dozen stock sets. Tiki also has a great reference article on how to re-apply the finish of choice, boiled linseed oil.

Here is a link to the No1. Mk3 section of Springfield Sporter's website:

http://www.ssporters.com/enfield-no-1-s/133.htm


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