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Remembered Today:

My first enfield


Lammy
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Would like to share my first SMLE mkIII* dated 1915 complete with bayonet and sling.

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I think the bayonet is fairly rare it is missing the clearance hole.

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Fantastic rifle, congratulations - decent examples, not assembled from random parts, are becoming very rare in the UK - and old spec deactivation to boot.

A couple of minor observations. 1915 date puts it amongst the first of the cut-off omitted Mk III*'s. Also it's been a target rifle post military service, set up by Messrs A J Parker - that accounts for the extra front band holding the front handguard in place - the handuard will have been lined with cork strips to improve bedding. The nose cap has also been machined slightly to prevent direct contact with the muzzle of the barrel.  Cocking piece is of the later type but originals are readily available. Its later life as a target rifle probably accounts for the outstanding condition. 

Pete

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Well done! If 'NN' then Northamtonshire regiment. The bayonet looks like it might a 'WILKINSON / PALL MALL'. The clearance hole order was issued January 1916, so, yes, one that got thrugh the system without haveing been adapted. It could well have been made preJanuary 1916, and only inspected / issued March that year.

Julian

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Thank you both. I am very pleased with it myself. So 5th Northamptonshire's good to know.

Just had another look at the bayonet. It is just plain Wilkinson. But still with a nice unblemished blade, and for some reason the blade is sharp. Not one I would like to keep out of the scabbard.

Edited by Lammy
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Very nice

The barrel is a commercial BSA barrel (the original being no doubt being replaced when it was set up as a target rifle) the crown on the barrel muzzle is also different from the usual domed crown on service rifles - assume this is also part of the target set up although it is not something I recall seeing quite like this before.

It looks like your rear trigger guard screw is missing? That is easy to replace and I would to avoid potential accidental damage to the triggerguard if it slips out and gets caught/banged which could put a lot of pressure on the front screw and bend the guard (If you have trouble tracking one down I can probably dig one out for you)

Chris

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There are 2 crowns one with 15 stamped underneath. If we are talking about the same crown? Im an amateur, when it comes to rifles. Thank you , for the info. The trigger guard screw , I have managed to find one for £4.50 online. Thank you for the offer though.

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Sorry -

7 minutes ago, Lammy said:

There are 2 crowns one with 15 stamped underneath. If we are talking about the same crown? Im an amateur, when it comes to rifles. Thank you , for the info. The trigger guard screw , I have managed to find one for £4.50 online. Thank you for the offer though.

Sorry after I posted that I thought I should have been clearer!

The muzzle of the barrel is on your rifle is cut straight/flat -- it is usually domed in shape (I'll see if I have a picture) -- this is referred to as the crown of the barrel:

Yours is unusual (I assume related to to the target set up) on service rifles they are rounded like this

MkIforesight.jpg.ccc2d547ec8721b985fc68e0b5311a91.jpg

 

This picture below was taken to demonstrate damage to the crown (possibly cord wear) or possibly a blow but you see the curve of the barrel end at the muzzle

damage.jpg.3c1be180d6b3c61c459d0c443905733b.jpg

Compared to yours where the barrel is cut of flat/straight

20220909_102827.jpg.1b050ac1eb06185831bb70930cc4bb97.jpg

 

Edited by 4thGordons
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11 minutes ago, Lammy said:

There are 2 crowns one with 15 stamped underneath. If we are talking about the same crown? Im an amateur, when it comes to rifles. Thank you , for the info. The trigger guard screw , I have managed to find one for £4.50 online. Thank you for the offer though.

Excellent

One thing - when you are putting it in - make sure you have a well fitting screwdriver - the slot on the screw is very thin and it is very easy to B&*gger it up with too much force (you can even break the head) and super easy to damage the slot  -- don't ask me how I know this!

Chris

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59 minutes ago, 4thGordons said:

Sorry -

Sorry after I posted that I thought I should have been clearer!

The muzzle of the barrel is on your rifle is cut straight/flat -- it is usually domed in shape (I'll see if I have a picture) -- this is referred to as the crown of the barrel:

Yours is unusual (I assume related to to the target set up) on service rifles they are rounded like this

MkIforesight.jpg.ccc2d547ec8721b985fc68e0b5311a91.jpg

 

This picture below was taken to demonstrate damage to the crown (possibly cord wear) or possibly a blow but you see the curve of the barrel end at the muzzle

damage.jpg.3c1be180d6b3c61c459d0c443905733b.jpg

Compared to yours where the barrel is cut of flat/straight

20220909_102827.jpg.1b050ac1eb06185831bb70930cc4bb97.jpg

 

Ah yes I can clearly see the difference now. Thank you. Im guessing this detracts in collecting terms.?

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3 hours ago, Lammy said:

Ah yes I can clearly see the difference now. Thank you. Im guessing this detracts in collecting terms.?

It means it is different than a standard service rifle - but so is the rebarrelling and the additional band on the front (part of the target bedding/accurizing) but I am not sure that has much impact on collectability as a deact?  The up side of this later use is the excellent condition of the rifle which is not always the case with service rifles.

At 100+ years rifles that remain original and unmodified in any way are very much the exception so I would not concern yourself with it and enjoy your rifle - which looks excellent with your mannequin.

Chris

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4 hours ago, Lammy said:

Ah yes I can clearly see the difference now. Thank you. Im guessing this detracts in collecting terms.?

It’s a trade off but I think a small price to pay for a rifle that retains so much originality and in such outstanding condition. As a display piece I’d remove the extra band and plug/fill the holes, add a piling swivel, and possibly replace the cocking piece - you’ll need a special (not expensive) tool for the latter.
Another minor observation - the transverse nose cap screw is oversize and projects slightly, suggesting the rifle may have been fitted with a Galilean type optical sight at some point - coincidentally, so does the Mk 1 example that Chris has posted. Standard size screws are readily available on eBay and inexpensive.

Or you could just leave it as it came and it’s still a fabulous rifle.

Pete

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5 hours ago, 4thGordons said:

Sorry -

Sorry after I posted that I thought I should have been clearer!

The muzzle of the barrel is on your rifle is cut straight/flat -- it is usually domed in shape (I'll see if I have a picture) -- this is referred to as the crown of the barrel:

Yours is unusual (I assume related to to the target set up) on service rifles they are rounded like this

MkIforesight.jpg.ccc2d547ec8721b985fc68e0b5311a91.jpg

 

This picture below was taken to demonstrate damage to the crown (possibly cord wear) or possibly a blow but you see the curve of the barrel end at the muzzle

damage.jpg.3c1be180d6b3c61c459d0c443905733b.jpg

Compared to yours where the barrel is cut of flat/straight

20220909_102827.jpg.1b050ac1eb06185831bb70930cc4bb97.jpg

 

The receiver appears to be marked ‘regulated by fultons’ they were at Bisley and IIRC fitted heavier barrels when they did their accurizing work.

 

looks a nice rifle, in reasonable condition, that had a long service life and then a long life as some ones pride and joy target rifle, I would be very happy with that, it looks nice. 
 

the different barrel won’t detract collectibility tbh. The main thing is it’s old spec deac so can be cock and dry fired, and field stripped!

Edited by MrEd
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1 hour ago, Pete_C said:

It’s a trade off but I think a small price to pay for a rifle that retains so much originality and in such outstanding condition. As a display piece I’d remove the extra band and plug/fill the holes, add a piling swivel, and possibly replace the cocking piece - you’ll need a special (not expensive) tool for the latter.
Another minor observation - the transverse nose cap screw is oversize and projects slightly, suggesting the rifle may have been fitted with a Galilean type optical sight at some point - coincidentally, so does the Mk 1 example that Chris has posted. Standard size screws are readily available on eBay and inexpensive.

Or you could just leave it as it came and it’s still a fabulous rifle.

Pete

The larger oversized screw is a later version often found on post WWI refits and WWII vintage rifles - it has a much bigger head and thicker slot than on the original ones where it is countersunk and fits flush. I am not sure when it was introduced off the top of my head - I can check later.

I wouldn't worry about the cocking piece myself (esp on a MkIII*) it was introduced as a manufacturing expedient/simplification and is 100% interchangeable functionally with the earlier "top hat" style piece so I wouldn't concern myself with that. Fitting a piling swivel would be a nice touch.

I do agree however that the trade off in appearance and condition (esp on a deact) vs "originality" is well worth it here (and all the mods are part and parcel of the rifle.

Cheers

Chris

Edited by 4thGordons
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2 hours ago, 4thGordons said:

The larger oversized screw is a later version often found on post WWI refits and WWII vintage rifles - it has a much bigger head and thicker slot than on the original ones where it is countersunk and fits flush. I am not sure when it was introduced off the top of my head - I can check later.

I wouldn't worry about the cocking piece myself (esp on a MkIII*) it was introduced as a manufacturing expedient/simplification and is 100% interchangeable functionally with the earlier "top hat" style piece so I wouldn't concern myself with that. Fitting a piling swivel would be a nice touch.

I do agree however that the trade off in appearance and condition (esp on a deact) vs "originality" is well worth it here (and all the mods are part and parcel of the rifle.

Cheers

Chris

Chris, I was under the impression that the larger head screw with the wide slot was a wartime introduction to enable the screw to be removed in the field using the rim of a 303 cartridge (or a coin) to enable the fitting of the ‘Flanders Flap’ type muzzle cover - can’t find any written reference to back this up though. The longer screw fitted to this rifle looks like it could be for a Galilean type sight like the Martin example shown here - a standard screw should never project out through the side of the nose cap.
Regarding the cocking piece I thought the SMLE simplified variant had a flat top rather than the No 4 rifle type arched top on this rifle, but again, struggling to find a reference for this.

Cheers,

Pete

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25 minutes ago, Pete_C said:

Chris, I was under the impression that the larger head screw with the wide slot was a wartime introduction to enable the screw to be removed in the field using the rim of a 303 cartridge (or a coin) to enable the fitting of the ‘Flanders Flap’ type muzzle cover - can’t find any written reference to back this up though. The longer screw fitted to this rifle looks like it could be for a Galilean type sight like the Martin example shown here - a standard screw should never project out through the side of the nose cap.
Regarding the cocking piece I thought the SMLE simplified variant had a flat top rather than the No 4 rifle type arched top on this rifle, but again, struggling to find a reference for this.

Cheers,

Pete

 

I think you are correct that the larger headed screw was wartime -- but I didn't want to claim that without sources but I KNEW it was on lots of my later rifles.

Stratton says introduced with the MkIII* (p101) but offers not source -- but that would make it correct for the WWI (also indicates use of a coin or cartridge case for removal)

I hadn't noticed the overhang so you are probably correct.

On the cocking piece I thought the same until very recently when a thread on here (I can't find it now)but I and @5thBattwere involved IIRC, and it showed that cocking pieces of this design were fitted on a number of wartime ENFIELD and NRF/SSA rifles there were several examples.  I'll look for the thread.  

Most of the WWI slab sided cocking pieced DO have a flat top as you describe. There are later Indian ones that have just one very wide groove (fitted on 2A and 2A1 rifles but show up on earlier rifles too now)

I'll have a look for the thread

Chris

 

HERE IS THE THREAD! 

 

I linked to my post with pics but the discussion starts earlier.

Edited by 4thGordons
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19 hours ago, 4thGordons said:

Excellent

One thing - when you are putting it in - make sure you have a well fitting screwdriver - the slot on the screw is very thin and it is very easy to B&*gger it up with too much force (you can even break the head) and super easy to damage the slot  -- don't ask me how I know this!

Chris

Be sure to undo the front trigger guard screw first before putting in the rear trigger guard screw, this should always be done especially before undoing the rear screw

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11 hours ago, 4thGordons said:

On the cocking piece I thought the same until very recently when a thread on here (I can't find it now)but I and @5thBattwere involved IIRC, and it showed that cocking pieces of this design were fitted on a number of wartime ENFIELD and NRF/SSA rifles there were several examples.  I'll look for the thread.  

 

HERE IS THE THREAD!

 

I linked to my post with pics but the discussion starts earlier.

Yes, I think you’re right Chris - that’s pretty convincing evidence. I’d also add that, contrary to my own thoughts, many years ago I stayed in a farmhouse B&B in the Ypres Salient - the family had assembled their own private museum of relics they’d dug up over many decades. In amongst dozens of relic SMLE’s there was one example with a “No 4” style cocking piece, which I very implausibly dismissed as a relic of the 1940 campaign in the region.

Lammy, don’t touch that cocking piece, it’s fine -  but the sling should - strictly speaking - be fitted the other way round with the brass tabs facing the rifle.

All the best,

Pete

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's always such a pity to see a nice old rifle like this with its heart chopped out and rendered unusable. I guess that's down to the previous owner and not you, but I can't fathom why someone would do this to such a rifle.

And if you've only just acquired it, whoever sold it to you did so illegally. They should have chopped it up even more before selling it, and then registered it with the Home Office.

 

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Bought at auction in the uk. Had no idea to what spec it was deactivated to. But it strips and dry fires.

Edited by Lammy
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15 hours ago, Lammy said:

This flanders flap just arrived. More pictures to follow.20220928_131216.jpg.708d4605a94e263911666f0ffa80508f.jpg

That’s pretty cool, got more photos? Including of it on. 
 

real or repro?

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