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Great War Rifles


Steve1871
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Thank you very much. Great info for me.A big help. Always like to learnūüėä

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Continuing the theme of converted earlier rifles:

 

Here's a multiple conversion - an ShtLE I that became and Indian Pattern MkI** in 1917 and then further converted to a .410 musket in 1940.

410a.jpg.267309ab161acb3c8189b0c4f2169f2b.jpg

 

410b.jpg.d3d1aaa7123fffb9952852b814484347.jpg

 

This is a Sparkbrook 1896 MLE MkI cut down to ShtLE length to "Range Rifle" format (once the ShtLE became the rifle for military target matches)

RR1.jpg.6f23b59a594a3d90b971d45b08c4dee3.jpg

 

RR2.jpg.6c6c380de6f3597c14aa670cd480d745.jpg

 

This is an 1894 Metford II converted in 1912 to a 22 Short Rifle MkII (Naval)

22SRIIb1.jpg.46f5d93dca9b241b97f0b429883b91af.jpg

 

22SRIIb2.jpg.0fc00b161ef08297228a1de395647870.jpg

 

 

And this is a 1901 LSA Metford converted to a 22 Short Rifle MkII

22SRIIa1.jpg.06eb84de56789d100658cddca5fc0450.jpg

 

22SRIIa2.jpg.81c5eea2ed459c4ab08506b10abe39ff.jpg

Edited by 4thGordons
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Hey Chris, you keep rolling out a TREASURE TROVE here!

 

So the first one , 

SHTLE 1, prewar converted in part to Mk 3 (smle) for the war, actual use, early war, mostly away from France, but combat none the less, then converted post war to .410 shotgun for police

 

Sparbrook MLE Mk 1 converted to range rifle is strange to me. Looks to have the barrel shortened, a range or target rifle, usually keeps a long barrel for better accuracy. I am guessing it original barrel with .22 barrel liner

 

I love the old Metford, guessing the Metford 2 stood for the .22 conversion. They all look great! Have you taken the .22 conversions to the range? They must be really accurate 

 

All of these rifles would look great in my collection, but sadly, I will just have to DREAM it so. Thanks again

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16 minutes ago, Steve1871 said:

Sparbrook MLE Mk 1 converted to range rifle is strange to me. Looks to have the barrel shortened, a range or target rifle, usually keeps a long barrel for better accuracy. I am guessing it original barrel with .22 barrel liner

 

 

 

No - it is in .303

I think the designation Skennerton uses is MLE, Shortened Rifle Club Pattern (Aust)

 

I believe the story is that Official Rifle Club Matches" had to be shot with the standard Service Rifle which after the ShtLE became standard meant the rifle had to have a 25.2" barrel - and a good number of rifle club MLE/MLM rifles were cut down to meet this standard so they could continue to be used in the official matches.

So not really a military conversion -- however, large numbers were turned in (and used for home defence roles) in Australia in WWII.

 

The .22 versions are indeed fun and with the heavy barrel are more accurate than I am! It is quite entertaining to take the .22 conversions (esp the .22 Martini-Henry conversion) to the range and everyone expects a roar of thunder and a cloud of smoke and are surprised by the little .22 "crak!"

Chris

 

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That is a super line up there, thanks again for sharing

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On 06/06/2021 at 16:27, 4thGordons said:

Broad Arrow gives HS D as an example for Hampshire Depot I believe, I’ll check.

Chris

 

 

Edit: It does:

 

p124 Country designations HS or HTS for Hampshire (county of)

p126 Regimental abbr. HTS for Hampshire (regiment)

P132 D- "Depot (after a county or area designation eg HS for Hampshire)..."

 

(Broad Arrow Mk2 - second ed. Skennerton 2020)

 

I'll take your word for it but it is NOT in any of the Instructions for Armourers up to 1912/1916 which all use HTS. I don't have access to a later version though.

 

Julian

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13 hours ago, trajan said:

 

I'll take your word for it but it is NOT in any of the Instructions for Armourers up to 1912/1916 which all use HTS. I don't have access to a later version though.

 

Julian

Just to put your mind at ease:

p132

CJM_0055.jpg.a7bd028979acc86edce8bc25cbd7dece.jpg

 

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Thanks - BUT, is that from Skennerton? Or from an official army (HMSO, etc.) document?  'D' for depot I have no problem with - that is in all the copies of the 'Instructions' that I have seen at the end of a unit identifier sequence. But Hampshire is shown consistently in all of these 'Intructions' as HTS - unless I have overlooked a column somewhere!

 

My research into German unit marks has thrown up some off ones that don't fit the bill, but these are almost always on late war weapons, and the last German equivalent of the GB 'Instructions' was issued in 1909. Some of these 'odd' German marks have been interpreted by other commentators but when there is no documentary proof then I always stress in my own comments on these that it is a reasonable guess / interpretation.

 

Pedantic, I know, but this is why I'd like to know in this case if 'HS' for Hampshire is Skennerton's interpretation of the mark or is it based on some official source. Having said that I have no idea, frankly, what else it might be!:blink:

 

Julian

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It's from Skennerton as you say so a secondary source and I agree a primary source would be preferable.

However it does seem that much of what is contained in Skennerton's works are transcriptions of and collation of numerous official sources.....even if the citations for  those sources is somewhat inconsistent.  As far as I can see no source for the HS is provided.

 

I would speculate that HTS might be used for the regiment (The Hampshire Regiment) whereas HS for the county/region? although the number of situations in which this would be an important distinction would seem to me to be quite limited.

 

The fact that the example used in the book is the precise one we are discussing might suggest a simple coincidence or perhaps that the Depot was of sufficient scale that it is one of the more frequently seen examples?

 

 Chris

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Rifle #4

6/11/21 Friday

 

Lee Enfield No.1

BSA & M Co.

1906

 

No conversion or upgrades, no Asterisk after the number 1. Forgot I had this. Nice original dust cover

Was told saw very limited use very early in theaters away from the Western Front as well as with a lot of “ K- 1 “ training battalions 

Also saw use in last Boer War

 

The rifle overall is in such good shape, the only thing besides a good oiling ,BCDC950E-F11B-4D7A-8ADC-F32B9713A6F4.jpeg.43916516ce5e46036a7c63956d32af99.jpeg I was thinking of try clean the stock by the receiver where it got dark. But now, I am thinking, The soldiers who used this rifle took such good. care of it, the darker part of stock by receiver, not that bad, only adds character to it where all the Cordite built up. If only this rifle could speak

 

Two thing’s I wonder about, the Magazine is different from your average No1 Mk3 and others, came with the rifle. The magazine is correct, yes? And on the stock, markings look simple, but, on bottom is a 1. But above that is another 1 or Roman 2?  And what is the M &  D on top?

 

hope not too many photos, just try show details, few photos out focus, sorry

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I have a query and pardon me for jumping in on this thread. 

I have recently acquired a 1906 mk1*  ** with   BSA & Co Sparkbrook on the right wrist (left wrist blank). 

My question is haw many years would guns have been so marked. 

Apologies I've not acquired any detailed literature yet. 

Thanks

                 

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That's a pretty complicated question I think @mrC60

 

The MkI*** were modifications rather than newly produced rifles (basically bringing the MkI * up to MkIII standard.

 

So are you asking how many MkIs did Sparkbrook complete and over how many years)? or how many of those were later converted to MkI*** status  ?

 

The former is easier to answer than the latter I think

Sparkbrook produced MkIs from 1903-1906 (producing 14, 640 rifles) according to Skennerton.

So I believe you will find Sparkbrook rifles marked 1903/04/05/06 (4 years)

 

The MkI*** conversion was authorised in 1914(land service) and 1915(naval service) but I do not know how many were so modified nor for how long the process took.  The numbers may be available in the Ministry of Munitions files but I don't believe they are reproduced in any of the standard reference works. (Skennerton/Stratton etc)

 

Does your rifle have a new serial number (CR ER or GR prefixed?) many of the surviving rifles in the US come from rifles supplied by Britain, to the Irish Free state in the 20s which have these new serial numbers added.

 

Chris

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My rifle is Q4555 and number matching. The barrel is stamped HV and has a matching number stamped and dated 1914. The right wrist has the two additional stars rather obviously added. There are more efd stamps than I can count. It has a large screw through the lower hand guard and the flat rounded off the top of the front of the breach. (let me know if you need photos) 

My question was how many were stamped BSA & Co Sparkbrook as I believe the sparkbrook works was acquired by bsa in the year 1906.

Thanks for your help. 

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1 hour ago, mrC60 said:

. It has a large screw through the lower hand guard and the flat rounded off the top of the front of the breach. (let me know if you need photos) 

 

I'd like to see some pics! (overall of the rifle and then the above two features I'm struggling to visualize what you are describing.

Is the screw through the fore-end ? (rather than the handguards)

 

A transverse screw through the fore-end is usually a sign of Indian use (hence the nickname "ishapore screw") but screws/bolts through the fore-end were also used on GF rifles and a number of MkI*** were used in this role. Is there any sign that the stock has been wrapped with wire?

 

Chris

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DSC_1870.JPG

DSC_1867.JPG

DSC_1866.JPG

DSC_1865.JPG

And apologies for hijacking this thread.

Front volley sight stamped Les2

Edited by mrC60
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Have not seen BAS & Co.  SparkBrook stamp on wrist before, may be common, just never seen

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2 hours ago, mrC60 said:

My rifle is Q4555 and number matching. The barrel is stamped HV and has a matching number stamped and dated 1914. The right wrist has the two additional stars rather obviously added. There are more efd stamps than I can count. It has a large screw through the lower hand guard and the flat rounded off the top of the front of the breach. (let me know if you need photos) 

My question was how many were stamped BSA & Co Sparkbrook as I believe the sparkbrook works was acquired by bsa in the year 1906.

Thanks for your help. 

As you said BSA took over 1906 & from what i know & what i have seen is BSA Sparkbrook marked rifle dated 1906 & 1907 are the only known years. 

The additional ** making it a Mk1*** was simply the addition of a U notch rear & a blade front sight replacing the old Barleycorn sights to bring the rifles sighting up to date with the MkIII

Edited by 5thBatt
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Forgot to add this pic of wrist for Rifle #3 above

BA6385D1-165E-4D4A-B191-497A82D930E1.jpeg

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Some more to compare to @Steve1871 MLE

 

1896 Enfield MkI (note this example has had its barrel shortened slightly and been recrowned, a previous owner used it for target matches)

CJM_0063.JPG.29a1be5a2ca3daa6344a6a53880a07d4.JPG

 

CJM_0062.JPG.590306893c9a8249fe1b9ce393ca0176.JPG

CJM_0064.JPG.a97673f15e376d7725426790dbd4fcdc.JPG

 

1899 Enfield MLE MkI*

CJM_0057.JPG.94c866be614636fa1dbb94c20a079bee.JPG

 

CJM_0056.JPG.27a18aecdf886ea9898bab1608cea082.JPG

CJM_0058.JPG.c419778a439b3d492f6580df33914eed.JPG

 

1901 BSA MLE MkI*

CJM_0060.JPG.85aea879b2361aed9c21929f8988e7b9.JPG

 

CJM_0059.JPG.40a3eaafbeda65072a62bb104dc2f8c6.JPG

CJM_0061.JPG.b24381bd325efcddf9e6805953b7eca8.JPG

 

1902 Enfield MLE1* Con'd 1910 CLLE


CLLE2.jpg.35b0d6c1ff421cc4382bdcb08fc261ef.jpg

 

CLLE1.jpg.94026a69a1e94524b1594721cc3b0a65.jpgCLLE3.jpg.6f453d00c7f9e3422e0ae1a711bdca79.jpg

 

A very battered (but quite uncommon) India Pattern CLLE (note retains original rear sight and non-adjustable foresight so no protector blades) Converted 191? from a 1902 BSA MLE I*

CLLEIP2.jpg.83fbd9c6f9c497c93c1b3bf53f313e45.jpg

 

CLLEIP1.jpg.9c0855e592103739a28f1b64b5ccecd9.jpgCLLEIP3.jpg.5483825fb120c29cbbcd64834974e819.jpg

 

Edited by 4thGordons
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Thanks again for more of your early treasures there Chris!

 

Few questions, My No 1***   1904 has stock disk w/unit.  But my No.1     1906 does not. Was there no actual regulation on when to add stock disk, or by division/ army or something?

 

My last rifle (#4) the magazine seems odd in that it has a raised (lip?) or rear top and extra pieces attached to top front. I not home to compare to others, was this a scarce EARLY VARIATION  magazine?

 

 I have a CLLE back home, but what is the difference in British and Indian CLLE??

 

 

Finally, if not asking too much. When were Cleaning rods withdrawn on these early Enfield,   For a collector, if rifle still has cleaning rod guide in stock ( not plugged) It would still be right to add it back

 

Thanks again

Steve

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56 minutes ago, Steve1871 said:

Thanks again for more of your early treasures there Chris!

 

Few questions, My No 1***   1904 has stock disk w/unit.  But my No.1     1906 does not. Was there no actual regulation on when to add stock disk, or by division/ army or something?

 

Others are better qualified to answer this than I. There were instructions to armourers as to HOW to mark discs (a booklet called Instructions to Armourers which was updated periodically)  but I don't know where the instructions TO mark discs are to be found. Usually this marking seems to have been done at the Battalion level (or Depot etc if a unit like the RE).

Perhaps Trajan or someone else could answer this. Clearly there are sufficient blank discs on early rifles to suggest it was not entirely universal.

 

Quote

My last rifle (#4) the magazine seems odd in that it has a raised (lip?) or rear top and extra pieces attached to top front. I not home to compare to others, was this a scarce EARLY VARIATION  magazine?

 

There is a number stamped on the back (spine) of the magazine indicating which shell it is - yours is a No3 . This indicates it is an earlier pattern of magazine case (a 1 or 2) that has been remanufactured to suit the MkVII round with its pointed bullet and a spring clip rivetted to the spine. This is correct for a MkI*** (sights updated to use the MkVII round)

 

Quote

 

 I have a CLLE back home, but what is the difference in British and Indian CLLE??

 

The Indian version retains its original rear sight (not the absence of the prominent adjuster wheels) and foresight block (whereas UK versions had a new block with a moveable blade on the foresight - hence the need for the foresight protector wings- absent on the IP)

 

 

Quote

 

 

Finally, if not asking too much. When were Cleaning rods withdrawn on these early Enfield,   For a collector, if rifle still has cleaning rod guide in stock ( not plugged) It would still be right to add it back

 

Clearing rods (officially that is what they were called in British service - not cleaning rods) were discontinued in  May 1899 and ordered removed from rifles in service also.

So any rifle after 1899 should not have one.

Any rifle with any signs of service use / FTR etc after 1899 should not have one, as it would have been removed.

However if you had a pre 1899 rifle with no signs of later work or use then you could (if you could find one!) I suppose put one back -- they were not, as far as I know numbered like Mauser rods often are however they are hard to find... so it would be difficult to add one back

If you were able to find one would it be "right" to add it back.......? hmmm opinions will differ! if it had a clearing rod in it probably shouldn't appear in the GW rifles thread! :)

 

Having said that if I could find one - I think I might put it in my 1896 with the recrown as this is obviously not a standard service rifle (the muzzle shortening means there is not enough barrel left for a P1888 bayonet muzzle ring !

 

 

Quote

Thanks again

Steve

 

Chris

Edited by 4thGordons
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As always, you are a big help there Chris, Thanks

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Rifle #5

6/17/21

 

CLLE. 1*
Vickers.  V.S.M.

1909

 

¬†Sure many of you have one ‚ÄėCross the Pond there. They are still nice rifles. Do any of you shoot yours?? I have a clearing rod in mine, told that was struck off, but kept there till I find if this is some correct, Early clearing rod. I have no idea. In pretty good shape.

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