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Help identifying mystery rifle #14274495 11/12/19
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Kota Online Content OP
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Need help identifying this old military rifle.
Need a magazine for it. Need to know what caliber/cartridge it shoots. Would love to shoot it
Somebody gave it to my dad 10 years ago for collateral on a $100 loan.

Can't get link to work to image gallery. It's in the image gallery under "old military rifle". I will try to link some pics to this thread.

https://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/galleries/14274465/old-military-rifle

Last edited by Kota; 11/12/19.

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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14274609 11/12/19
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plainsman456 Online Content
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Looks like a british rifle.

Caliber 303.

Try Sarco or numrich arms for a mag.

Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14274669 11/12/19
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woodmaster81 Offline
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It looks like an SMLE (Short Magazine Lee Enfield) that was sporterized sometime after WWII. Golden State Arms was a common importer of these guns but there were many others not to mention good old Buba. The original detachable 10 round magazine was removed and a closed 4-5 round magazine with non-opening floor plate was fitted. It would cost at least a couple times what the rifle is worth to change it back to the original magazine. Be happy with it as is. If the follower and spring is missing, good luck finding replacements as I have no idea what was used nor how the conversion was done. One might have to have a replacement fashioned to fit and that might be spendy.

Odds are it is 303 British due to sheer numbers and the various stampings. There is a small possibility it is in 308 Win though that would have been on the very tail end of this type of rifle's life. There is an even smaller possibility the rifle was bored out to a larger caliber based on the 303 cartridge. Having a chamber cast done to get measurements is the only sure way to know.

Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14274876 11/12/19
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Theo Gallus Offline
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Lee Enfield #4. As noted above, originally in .303 British. Numrich/Gun Parts Corp has 10 round magazines for about $40.


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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14274926 11/12/19
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Dons1 Online Content
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Hope there is more help on this, but its definitely an Enfield. My guess is that it is a No.1, from pics but the conclusive evidence is the stampings on the outside of the butt socket,

The No1 and the No4 have several parts differences and the magazine is one of them. Get a positive ID from a competent gunsmith who can also boresight the chamber area and bbl so you get the right magazine. The rimmed .303 Brit is a powerful cartridge ( with ballistics similar to a 30-40 Krag) and not hard to find.

IC-A

Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14275125 11/12/19
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Great info. Thank you. I will take it to my smith and see what he can do for me. I knew this was the right place to ask.


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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14275215 11/12/19
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Yep, it's similar to what I have which is also sporterized. Mine is a SMLE MK III.Mine has similar stamps on the barrel. The bolt area is a little different though. I know that there are different mags also.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee%E2%80%93Enfield

https://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=128

I wish I had a picture of the other side though.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by StoneCutter; 11/12/19.

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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14275661 11/12/19
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WTF Offline
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I beg to differ, it's a #1 mk3 (aka S, M, LE) not a #4, and uses a different magazine than the #4 series.
The barrel mounted rear sight has been removed and a receiver sight installed.
The assessment of a closed mag well with floorplate is a bit hasty as there is no pic of the OP's that shows the underside. I doubt that mod was made as the magazine release has not been removed.
The common thing was to replace the 10 round with aftermarket 5 round detachable mags.
I have several 5 rnd mags that are stamped "Santa Fe"
And, yes, it could be 7.62x51 if made in India as the 2A or 2A1, in which case the butt socket should be marked RFI (Rifle Factory Ishapore).
Some #1 mk3s were modified to a single shot 410 for guard use and the mag well was plugged with wood.
We dont know what the butt socket stamps say, that's where the rifle information will be found, not barrel stamps.

Last edited by WTF; 11/12/19.
Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: WTF] #14276112 11/12/19
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BC30cal Offline
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WTF & Kota;
Good evening to you both, I hope all is well in your respective worlds.

Here's a quick video on the differences between the SMLE and the No 4



The cocking piece on StoneCutter's SMLE is of the older style, but the charger guide on Kota's rifle certainly looks like an older SMLE type and not a No. 4.

It is, in my opinion anyway, never a bad thing to have a gunsmith look at the arm to make sure of what you've got. If for instance the barrel was rebored, then the original proof marks may still be on it. Weirder things have been known to happen.

Up here across the medicine line, I've run into a few wildcatted SMLE/No 4 rifles, one in .25-.303 that had been converted to a one piece stock - and it was the most gorgeous piece of bird's eye maple one could imagine too! cool Unfortunately the action was, while nice and smooth, still a Lee Enfield and as such somehow not my taste for a custom arm.

For sure and certain too, as WTF noted, the magazines are not exactly interchangeable. They can be modified to work by someone who has done it before or is patient or needs a new hobby perhaps, but for sure they're not all the same.

While we're talking about magazines, the feed lips on them are notoriously soft and when they're bent the arm will not feed for proverbial monkey spit. The feed lips again can be bent back into shape by someone who knows what they are doing, however there's at least one of those magazines sitting in my shop with a broken off lip, no doubt by someone who was either impatient or unknowing - or perhaps both I suppose?

Lastly as WTF noted, there's usually a maker's stamp along with the year of manufacture on the right side of the butt socket.

Hopefully that was somewhat useful to someone out there and good luck to you Kota with getting the grand old Lee Enfield up and running once again.

Dwayne


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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14276418 11/12/19
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WTF Offline
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Ha, about time you showed up.

Oh, regarding the bore...it should be 5 groove left hand twist. Dont know about the Ishapore 7.62x51 rifles, never bought one of them.

Last edited by WTF; 11/12/19.
IC-B

Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14277225 11/13/19
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BC30cal and WTF, thank you for all of your info. This is an interesting thread because I'm still learning about them. The rifle I have was originally my grandfather's gun that I inherited from my father. The thing sat on the gun rack my whole childhood and I never shot it until about a year ago. After my father passed away in 2016, I ended up with all of his guns. I never really knew much about this Enfield, other than it was an Enfield, which I'm totally ignorant about. My son and I researched it and figured out what it was exactly. When I grabbed it from Dad's house, I was missing the mag. After researching this thing, I figured out that there are many different magazines for these. It turns out that the original magazine somehow got mixed up in all of my gun stuff and it was at my house the whole time (for the past 33 years). I found it by accident when I was looking for something else.

Theo Gallus, thank you for the tip on Numrich Gun Parts. They're showing $22.00 for new aftermarket and $54.00 for used factory mags. I think I'll order one of each.


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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14277397 11/13/19
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Yeah, it's a No.1MkIII SMLE. You should be able to find a magazine for it. Note that issue magazines were 10 shot, and were meant to be left in the gun at all times. The rifle was reloaded with 5-round stripper clips, or of course one round at a time pushed down into the magazine from up top with the magazine left in the gun. That gizmo on top of the recever bridge is a clip guide for those stripper clips.

Value-wise, the guy who left it behind as collateral for a $100 loan got the better end of that deal I'm afraid. If the bore is decent (good luck with that) then put it into service as a beater/loaner/truck gun-- but only after checking headspace. Those things have a nasty tendency to be way out of whack in that regard.

.303 British chambering undoubtedly, but do yourself a favor and have a chamber cast made just to be sure, just in case Bubba dove further into the gun than what he did to the outside of it.

The bolt head is removable, just unscrew it. The Brits provided various length bolt heads to correct for headspace issues as they were aware of the gun's propensity to "loosen up". Those bolt heads used to be commonly found, but I haven't seen any for years now. Bolt is removed from the gun by plucking up the bolt head after the bolt has been pulled the whole way back. There are Youtube videos showing how it's done, I'm sure.

The code for where and when it was made is on the butt stock socket, RH side, obscured by the bolt handle. Lift the handle and take a close up pic of it and we can fill you in some more.

Last edited by gnoahhh; 11/13/19.

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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14277446 11/13/19
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gnoahhh, you were right about the ammo the other day. I was having a brain fart. I was actually shooting Rem Core-Lokt 180gr.

You're just a walking gun encyclopedia. wink


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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: gnoahhh] #14281987 11/15/19
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It is clearly an SMLE III. A fairly early one if the stampings you have shown are any guide - the HV SC stamping on the barrel indicates a rifle whose sights were originally calibrated for Mk VI and then recalibrated to Mk VII ammunition (ie from a 215 gn to a faster174 gn pointed bullet - hence High Velocity Short Cone) after that load was introduced, which would indicate originally WWI or even pre-WWi vintage. It looks like it was later overstamped again with a 42, which may have been a WWII refurb/reproof. Probably when the cocking piece was replaced too.

The magazine for an SMLE III is different from that for other models of Lee Enfield. The mags were also not really intended to be taken from the rifle, so you might need to do some minor fettling to make it work properly.

I'd get a gunsmith to check it over to make sure it is safe, and to confirm the bore and chambering, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't in .303.

Originally Posted by gnoahhh


The bolt head is removable, just unscrew it. The Brits provided various length bolt heads to correct for headspace issues as they were aware of the gun's propensity to "loosen up".


This is a widely-believed myth, at least in the US. The whole story about interchangeable boltheads applies only to the later No 4, and it has nothing to do with "correcting" some alleged propensity to "loosen up". Instead it was a production engineering development to allow a saving of time and labour in the production process. The idea was that rather than having a skilled worker fit up the barrel, so as to get headspace into spec., you would simply screw the barrel into place and then use the interchangeable boltheads to ensure that headspace was in spec., which could be done by a comparatively unskilled assembler and in much less time. It was only meant for the manufacture of new rifles, and really has nothing to do, as I said, with any "propensity to loosen up".

In any case, the SMLE III was not headspaced this way.

Quote
The code for where and when it was made is on the butt stock socket, RH side, obscured by the bolt handle. Lift the handle and take a close up pic of it and we can fill you in some more.


Yes, this.

Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14291953 11/18/19
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Got me looking at my .303. Given to me by my father as my first big game rifle. He called it a "carbine". He bought it from my uncle who got it from unknown source. Neither were gunsmiths, and didn't modify it to the best of my knowledge.

I did some looking, and it appears to be a No 5 Jungle Carbine. The serial numbers match the correct factory and years produced. However, the flash suppressor and the bayonet lug were removed. The receiver and the barrel both had metal removed to save weight. Barrel length is correct, as is the stock and rubber butt plate. Shot a lot of deer and elk in thick timber and it works great for those short range shots with open sights. Never paid much attention to it until now.

Need to get a magazine for it. Thanks for info on the suppliers. Good timing for me.


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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14292109 11/18/19
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WTF Offline
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Dan is absolutely correct. For those of us here in the US, the LEs can be confusing and both (#1 and #4) tend to get lumped in the same pile.
Just think of them as the differences between small ring and large ring mausers. Things will change as the models progress. The basic Lee design was in military use for 137 years,

Last edited by WTF; 11/19/19.
Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14690506 03/21/20
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If I get a replacement mag from Numrich, what would you think this rifle would be worth to sell.
Thanks; John


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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14690830 03/22/20
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dan_oz Offline
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Originally Posted by Kota
If I get a replacement mag from Numrich, what would you think this rifle would be worth to sell.
Thanks; John


Given that it has been cut down and the receiver has been drilled for a receiver sight, not much really. Enough to pay off the loan for which it was taken as collateral.

It would be worth seeing how it shoots though, because if it is still reasonably accurate it would make an effective truck rifle or loaner. The old SMLE has a pretty slick action and you can fire 10 rounds rapid pretty quickly. No flies on the .303 cartridge for pigs and deer, or defending your empire.

Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: Kota] #14693840 03/22/20
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Anybody got a magazine for this rifle SMLE #1 MK III they would be willing to sell for a decent price. I went to Numrich to purchase one, and they are shut down do to the Covid-19 virus. They have new ones listed for that model for 22 bucks, but can't order from them now.


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Re: Help identifying mystery rifle [Re: dan_oz] #14699632 03/24/20
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Originally Posted by dan_oz
Originally Posted by gnoahhh
The bolt head is removable, just unscrew it. The Brits provided various length bolt heads to correct for headspace issues as they were aware of the gun's propensity to "loosen up".

This is a widely-believed myth, at least in the US. The whole story about interchangeable boltheads applies only to the later No 4, and it has nothing to do with "correcting" some alleged propensity to "loosen up". Instead it was a production engineering development to allow a saving of time and labour in the production process. The idea was that rather than having a skilled worker fit up the barrel, so as to get headspace into spec., you would simply screw the barrel into place and then use the interchangeable boltheads to ensure that headspace was in spec., which could be done by a comparatively unskilled assembler and in much less time. It was only meant for the manufacture of new rifles, and really has nothing to do, as I said, with any "propensity to loosen up".
Is it true that you can use shims to tighten them up?


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