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Leather Sling for Lee Enfield SMLE Mk III

26 posts in this topic

I just acquired a leather sling for my 1915 Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield made SMLE Mk III. It bears the imprint "HGR 1916", which I understand means Hepburn, Gail & Ross. The sling is light brown, 1 1/4 inches wide, and about 1/4 inch thick, and has the two thick leather bands, the fixed one having two rivets and the slider having one. The leather lacing is totally intact and it fits extremely well to the rifle.

The sling looks as if it emerged from a time capsule and still has good flexibility. Does anyone know if someone might have reproduced something like it? It does not have the flexibility of, for example, a new leather belt but it seems to have survived these 93 years quite nicely, so the thought of a reproduction came to mind.

By the way, the rifle works excellently and exhibits dead-on accuracy at 100 yards.

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I just acquired a leather sling for my 1915 Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield made SMLE Mk III. It bears the imprint "HGR 1916", which I understand means Hepburn, Gail & Ross. The sling is light brown, 1 1/4 inches wide, and about 1/4 inch thick, and has the two thick leather bands, the fixed one having two rivets and the slider having one. The leather lacing is totally intact and it fits extremely well to the rifle.

The sling looks as if it emerged from a time capsule and still has good flexibility. Does anyone know if someone might have reproduced something like it? It does not have the flexibility of, for example, a new leather belt but it seems to have survived these 93 years quite nicely, so the thought of a reproduction came to mind.

By the way, the rifle works excellently and exhibits dead-on accuracy at 100 yards.

There are reproduction leather slings of this type - with markings available from several vendors in the US. They show up on Ebay all the time - somtimes marked as repro -sometimes not.

HERE is one such vendor - although this one has a different manufacturer mark, I have seen others.

I have seen very well preseved leather goods that are undoubtedly genuine however I think you are correct to be a little suspicious

Chris

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I can't comment on your particular sling, of course, but I can confirm that "repro" slings with this maker mark and date are being made and are sometimes sold as genuine.

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post-45356-1239280846.jpgpost-45356-1239280846.jpg

I can't comment on your particular sling, of course, but I can confirm that "repro" slings with this maker mark and date are being made and are sometimes sold as genuine.

Do you, or does anyone else, know what to look for to determine authenticity? I think I have attached a photo showing the underside of the sling where one can see the rivets for the two bands and the HGR 1916 imprint. It does not look "new" but I assume determined people can "age" such items.

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I can't comment on your particular sling, of course, but I can confirm that "repro" slings with this maker mark and date are being made and are sometimes sold as genuine.

I apparently uploaded the same image twice - live and learn.

I have now included a photo of the entire rifle, complete with the HGR sling and Enfield-made bayonet.

post-45356-1239281214.jpg

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I apparently uploaded the same image twice - live and learn.

I have now included a photo of the entire rifle, complete with the HGR sling and Enfield-made bayonet.

Looks to be in good honest shape. It is hard to see from the picture but is the receiver milled for the magazine cut-off (and is it installed?) It doesn't look like it?

Chris

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Looks to be in good honest shape. It is hard to see from the picture but is the receiver milled for the magazine cut-off (and is it installed?) It doesn't look like it?

Chris

The rifle does not have the magazine cut-off, although it probably did when it emerged from the Enfield factory in 1915. It does have the FTR stamp on the butt socket, so who knows what it went through during that process? It does not have volley sights or the identity disc, and the cocking piece is the somewhat later rectangular, three-grooved version, not the round, button-like piece. However, all the serial numbers match.

I have attached a photo of the butt socket which has, from top to bottom, the Crown, GR, Enfield, 1915, Sht L E, III, and, at the bottom, in the lightest stamping, FTR.

post-45356-1239284775.jpg

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I had thought the sling markings would be very small and at the leather tie end of the sling. Cheers,Paul.

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I had thought the sling markings would be very small and at the leather tie end of the sling. Cheers,Paul.

The markings are, indeed, very small, but not located at the leather tie end. Rather, you can find them on the smooth, finished side of the sling near the two leather bands. I attached a somewhat fuzzy photo which shows the size of the stamping. It does read HGR 1916.

post-45356-1239291290.jpg

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Away from home for a bit but will try and send a picture of my one sometime. HGR19 I think. Cheers, Paul.

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post-14843-1240239700.jpg

Thanks for the informative photo. The lettering - font and size - looks the same on my sling, but not the location, obviously.

For what it is worth, the sling has absorbed Lexol leather condition as greedily as I do Single Malt on the weekends.

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Hello! You 'can get more information about the type of markings? I've had a marked HGR19 (no dots between the letters with only two digits for the year)

30 A - Cinghia pelle N1 MKIII 1910 (cd.3) (ABY)  .5.jpg

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HGR is Hepburn Gale & Ross manufacturer of many period leather goods and perhaps one of the best of the period.

The number is part of the date.

Dave

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Thank you Dave!

And 'correct marking with no points and only two digits for the year?

I can not understand whether it is original or reproduction

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Tappo,

It seems to me that there are two basic approaches to a dilemma such as this.

One possible solution is to have someone, who has handled many genuine war-time Enfield slings, do a visual/tactile comparison with your sling.

This will provide a subjective opinion.

A  second possible solution is to perform a scientific analysis of your sling, either alone or preferably in company with known genuine and reproduction examples.  This will provide an objective opinion.

The scientific analysis reduces to whether a 100 year-old piece of leather & rivets can be differentiated from those of a 100 day-old example.  Did tanneries use chemicals (e.g. aluminium or chromium salts) 100 yrs ago that are not used now (or vice versa) ?

Is the composition of the rivets (brass = copper + zinc) similar to that used then versus now ?

Non-destructive techniques (X-ray fluorescence spectrometry; diffuse reflectance infra-red spectrometry) may provide answers.

Radio-carbon dating (destructive, but only small sample needed) may also give a definitive answer (think Shroud of Turin, Vinland map etc) if 100 yrs-old can be distinguished from 100 days-old organic material; I don't know what the error bars might be on such a dating.

If you know an obliging Archaeology Dept at the local university,..................

Regards,

JMB

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Reproductions are being sold with spurious HGR 1916 marks on them. (see one source here) so one other approach would be to look at the markings on the repro versions and compare.

I would guess that 1919 would NOT be a date stamped on a repro sling (people would want a wartime date) so FWIW I would suggest yours is probably genuine.

Chris

 

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Thanks to everyone for the answers.

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Hi

It looks good to me the leather has a decent patina and age related unfaked wear, it is straight cut, is not edge creased or edge shaved. I can't see the keeper or slide, but if its rivetted they should be copper hose and washers which are tin coated and set correctly, most modern repros use just usually copper as it's far cheaper to do that way and the leather is usaully of poor quality. 

regards

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ID: 20   Posted (edited)

Thankyou Dave... More photo :rolleyes:

 

DSCN3941.thumb.JPG.4bb28138869505066ca3bb377d2c0e76.JPGDSCN3942.thumb.JPG.4b55232d65571ef6000dd3489e1f0645.JPGDSCN3940.thumb.JPG.d7c25443de134201f3e568d2b0ec6449.JPGDSCN3939.thumb.JPG.08fbedc11cbeb4cfd09de314855c3fcd.JPG

 

1d7275e23425457fadacd3bede44e417_r.jpg.f8f5380bca8f118e9ac556f2562adca9.jpgbfb1cd475ddc485aa9cbfebd4bb27b32_r.jpg.d8b6502a694bf8f4f12d593c776d37f6.jpgebf57d5b1b3f4467bd968ad05f187b3e_r.jpg.19e7dca37a2fde90271b033b60457edc.jpg

Edited by tappo

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Tappo

its definitely original and not an aged repro and a nice addition to the smle. As you can clearly see the copper of the rivet showing through the tin where it's been set.

The copper rivets are cheap to buy but to get them tinned is an expensive process which is why the reproductions are usually plain copper.

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Thank you for the confirmation! :D

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At a distance it looks too new but close up I think it is old and original but has been kept in remarkable condition. Great find.

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ID: 24   Posted (edited)

I would still take advantage of your experience, have you ever seen leather sling with rivets like these?7.thumb.jpg.36a973a7181395cae980f16e32bcfad2.jpg3.thumb.jpg.9abb3454ed1e116514350751866c3c68.jpg2.thumb.jpg.0db2349382f34db39e0f6f755bae262a.jpg6.thumb.jpg.fd09274d691e821ec185bb450707b0af.jpg1.thumb.jpg.9584d281ec95d5a0c690236cc9d73844.jpg4.thumb.jpg.b36c00b9374d0c43d35af6eb417e1ee6.jpg5.thumb.jpg.e8e06fe288a294bdc4c12d2f1771774e.jpg

Edited by tappo

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ID: 25   Posted (edited)

Do the rivets on the inside of the loops end with washer and are domed over as per the photos of the 'hose rivets' in post 20, or do they have two 'legs' which have been opened out?  The rivets on the black sling's loops look from the top to be the bifurcated type which are unlikely to be original.  It is possible the loops have been replaced at some time if they are of that pattern.

Edited by T8HANTS

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