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#26 angie999

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 05:57 PM

QUOTE (TonyE @ Nov 13 2005, 05:40 PM)
If this was the case than they must have been from Territiorial or Reserve stock as all regular army rifles had been converted to Mark VII by 1914.

However, it is more likely that the rifles were long Lee-Enfields from Teritorial Force stores.


There is a photo of some of them in Lynn Macdonald's "1914" taken right after this particular action, which shows them quite clearly with SMLEs.

#27 Doug Johnson

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 09:10 PM

Hi,

The London Scottish were Territorials and Messines was the first ever action by a Territorial unit. They were issued with brand new Mk1s at the begining of the war when they started their war preparations. Their training was scheduled to last several months but actually took only one month after which they could drill with the best of the regulars but had not fired a single round! The failure of the converted Mk1s was spectacular and most were dumped on the battlefield. The SMLEs were picked up from the battlefield as were discarded German rifles. Before they went back into action a few days later they had raided the field hospitals and were almost fully equipped with SMLEs.

Doug

#28 Heatseeker

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 01:50 AM

QUOTE (TonyE @ Nov 13 2005, 05:40 PM)
All the Lee Enfield series up to and including the Mark III had a cut-off fitted so that the rifle might be used as a single loader whislst keeping a full magazine of 10 rounds in reserve.

The Mark III* dispensed with the cut-off, volley sights and various other minor alterations to simplify production.

If the rifles in question were having trouble feeding Mark VII (pointed) rounds  they also could have been Mark IIIs, as the Mark III was introduced in 1907 for Mark VI (round-nosed) ammo, but the Mark VII round was not in service until 1910.

If this was the case than they must have been from Territiorial or Reserve stock as all regular army rifles had been converted to Mark VII by 1914.

However, it is more likely that the rifles were long Lee-Enfields from Teritorial Force stores.


In my collection I have a 1913 manufactured BSA No1 MkIII that retains the magazine cutoff and volleys and, significantly, is still sighted and proved for MkVI ammunition.

Although the numbered components of the rifle completely match, it came with a Type 4 magazine with number 3 follower, which was made for MkVII ammunition and will not feed the "round nose" MkVI.

Apparently the action needs some modification for MkVII "short cone" ammo to feed properly, which, naturally, I won't be doing.

The stock disc dispels the mystery as to why a rifle manufactured in 1913 was sighted and proved for MkVI ammunition - it was issued to the 1/5th Gurkha Rifles in April 1914, who were part of the Indian Army, and who, like the Australians and some British territorial units, still made use of the MkVI ammo.

I believe Australia manufactured MkVI rifles until at leasT 1916 at Lithgow.

My rifle was imported direct from Turkey, and Among the batch was another BSA sighted for MkVI ammo with Australian ownership markings which was obviously one of the thousands of rifles Australia sent to Britain at the start of the Great War.

The rifle had been issued to the 24th Punjabis, which were one of the units lost to the Turks in Mesopotamia. The fact it was sighted for MkVI ammo probably dictated it was issued to a unit with compatible weapons - in this case the Indian Army.

Needless to say, I'm on the lookout for an earlier Type 3 magazine to make this treasure complete.

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#29 Gordon Caldecott

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 02:45 PM

Guys, these last few posts are absolutely fascinating, you’ve blown me away. Thanks very much!!!!!


The more I learn about the Great War, the deeper I become enthralled by it!!!!

#30 GRUMPY

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 04:24 PM

Please is there any visual difference to distinguish between Lee-Metfords and Long Lees such as would show up in, for example, photos of groups of soldiers?

#31 PetrolPigeon

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 05:28 PM

QUOTE (langleybaston1418 @ Dec 13 2005, 04:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Please is there any visual difference to distinguish between Lee-Metfords and Long Lees such as would show up in, for example, photos of groups of soldiers?

Perhaps those that can spot the differences could identify rifles in pictures in some of the published literature, thus we could all learn more.

As a one time RN user of the .303 LE for both shooting and drill I would like to thank the originator of this most fascinating topic for his continued and interesting input. I never realised that such a variety existed other than there being long and short versions.

IMHO the .303 LE was a much better drill rifle than the SLR (as we used to call it aka FLN I think). I didn't care much for the SLR as a target rifle either particularly as at my first time with one on the butts and supposed to be firing single rounds in our own time I was surprised on squeezing the trigger to have several rounds loose off and being unprepared drifting off target a bit. This was followed by a kick in the ribs and some swearing from a nearby GI.

These particular SLRs had a modification so that only single rounds could be fired with each trigger squeeze, unfortunately this had not been done correctly to the rifle I was using as was quickly demonstrated when the said GI had a go. He apologised profusely after that.

Once did something we knew as silent drill, this in front of a large crowd at an Air Day. A GI blew a whistle and we all marched off in formation, split into four going for opposite corners of the parade ground, turning, crossing, going through all the standard LE drill movements including fixing bayonets on the march (the only guy to drop his bayonet was one of the GIs who had had a pier-head-jump into the ranks replacing a chap who had gone sick) and after about twenty mins's of orderless drill we formed a square with four lines facing oiutwards to ripple fire two rounds each as a finale.

From being intrested in the South Africa campaigns (Zulu and Boer) as well as WW1 I was aware of both the Martini-Henry and Lee-Metford. I must pay more visits to Fort Nelson and the Explosion Museum and have a harder look and ask some question.

Once again, many thanks for your effort and tom those who have provided amplification.

#32 TonyE

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 08:04 PM

Very little visual difference between the Lee Metford and Lee Enfield. The essential difference is inthe rifling of the barrel, the Metford rifling being more suitable to the black powder loads of the Powder Ball Mark I and II, whereas the Enfield rifling was adopted for the Cordite loaded ball Mark I and subsequent Marks.

Both Metford and Enfield rifles appeared in various Marks, charger loading and non-charger loading. Different marks had foresight protectors or not and it is too complex to post in its entirety.

There must have been very few, if any, Lee Metfords left by 1914, but where Enfields (or Metfords) are concerned, never say never.

There were 320,000 Magazine Lee Enfields in the service in 1914, 220,000 on issue to the Territorial Force and 100,000 in store. The figures for the SMLE were 335,000 with troops and 140,000 in store, but these also had to equip the Special Reserve. The actual War Reserve was 75,000 SMLEs, but these were used up by the end of 1914.

Regards
TonyE

#33 Joe Sweeney

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 01:13 AM

QUOTE (TonyE @ Dec 13 2005, 08:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Very little visual difference between the Lee Metford and Lee Enfield.


There must have been very few, if any, Lee Metfords left by 1914, but where Enfields (or Metfords) are concerned, never say never.

There were 320,000 Magazine Lee Enfields in the service in 1914, 220,000 on issue to the Territorial Force and 100,000 in store. The figures for the SMLE were 335,000 with troops and 140,000 in store, but these also had to equip the Special Reserve. The actual War Reserve was 75,000 SMLEs, but these were used up by the end of 1914.

Regards
TonyE


I thought that one visual way to tell MLM from MLE was the bayonet attachment. The MLM being slightly longer and more pronounced--although differentiating in a photo could be difficult.

A report written on 30 August lists 130000 MLMs available. These were of the non charger variety and of course sighted for Mk VI ammunition.

The report later goes on to state that 150000 MLM1 and 50000 MLMII were on hand by the fall with another 32000 MLMI from India and 25000 MLMII from colonial troops expected. These would be used for training.


Joe Sweeney

#34 GRUMPY

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 03:51 PM

Thanks to all for replies on visual difference lee-Metford to Long Lee.

What, if at all, is the chance of any British regular infantry in India still using Lee-Metford in 1903-1904, please?

#35 Joe Sweeney

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 04:24 PM

LB14/18,

This is only guess work,

I would think the likelihood of the Lee Metford still being carried by a regular battalion in India would be somewhat likely.

More Likely for units that have been stationed there a while than those newly rotated in.

Joe Sweeney

Edited by Joe Sweeney, 14 December 2005 - 04:25 PM.


#36 GRUMPY

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 04:48 PM

Yes, Joe, that is my opinion, too. I was intrigued to reflect that Frank Richards, 2 RWF, enlisted Wales 1901, could have trained on the Long Lee, went to India next year, might have had to change to Lee-Metford, then convert to SMLE, all in space of about 6 years. AND they were issued with old Sniders firing buckshot for guard duty at night.

Edited by langleybaston1418, 14 December 2005 - 04:48 PM.


#37 Gunner Bailey

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 10:00 PM

The SMLE Mk III is still going strong. At the weekend I saw some on sale in France. Refurished for hunting though still looking like 90 year old rifles. Loads of patina and very smooth bolt actions . A snip at 800€. Wild boars - keep your head down.

My father qualified as a marksman in WW2 and loved the Lee Enfield. Shooting at 600 - 1000 yards was his favourite past-time.

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#38 gew98

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 11:27 PM

Apparently the action needs some modification for MkVII "short cone" ammo to feed properly, which, naturally, I won't be doing.

To be concise - No.The cone or better known as the 'forcing cone' is the amount of freebore ( taper ) from the case mouth in the chamber to the start of the actual rifling. The MkVI ball hard a larger ( longer ) forcing cone simply because the MkVI bullet was longer and for most of it's length the actual diameter designed to grip the rifling. The MkVII bullet could suffer accuracy problems most likely with the extended freebore of bullet until it enganged the rifling . This little detail is known to generally make or break accuracy. In benchrest shooting "soft loading" is common. That is loading a bullet into a cartridge case and leaving it extending beyond the Maximum OAL of the cartridge. Thus when loaded the bullet will contact and start to seat in the rifling with no upset from a 'run' before it impacts the rifling. This does induce pressure spikes , but the trade off is a considerably less deformed and cleaner started bullet for better accuracy.
Anyhow wiht the Mk VII bullet having less bearing surface than the MkVI and a higher velocity it was found that by decreasing the amount of freebore ( forcing cone length ) before the bullet met the rifling accuracy would be improved significantly. Oddly enough however the germans went the opposite route and their standard 7,92 rifles had 2 1/2 caliber long forcing cones ( freebore ) in their service rifles to alleiviate ammo quality problems , increase bore life and as well as difficulties with the environments like mud , etc etc.
My 1911 Enfield made SMLE is in as original made trim ( museum quality ) with all the pre 1916 bells and whistles and is small cone High velocity MkVII ammo comliant. Also the butt disc is marked to the King's Royal Rifles Corps.
The SAA ball used was loaded with cordite which burns hotter than standard flake or tube nitrocellulose based powders. This generally caused bores in the british service rifles to have a much shortened life , as well accuracy could be lost within a couple hundred rounds form the erosion caused by the hot cordite . "CORD WORN" is a brit armorer's term referring to a bore that has particular wear characteristics that generally made it innacurate for further use.
From friends in australia that shoot alot of surplus cordite fodder and compare it to flake/tube powder loaded fodder they have noted that barrels fired extensively with cordite tend not to be accurate with anything other than cordite loaded SAA.

Edited by gew98, 16 December 2005 - 08:57 PM.


#39 Chief_Chum

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 01:34 AM

Hi,

A good way to tell the difference visually is by looking at the slings.

The Metford had sling swivels in a different place to the Long Lees. On LLs (and on SMLEs) the slings were fixed half way down the barrel and on the butt, as you would expect, but the Metford slings were fixed at the muzzle, on the same screw as the piling swivel, and just in front of the magazine. This is the easiest way to distinguish them in photographs (see photo of 3/Sk Maxim section below). The Metfords also had a groove in the woodwork along the barrel for the fingers to grip which disappeared on the LLs. I don't think that the Metfords had safety catches originally either but you need to be pretty close to see that kind of detail...

Cheers,

Taff

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#40 GRUMPY

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 11:54 AM

Thanks Taff: really useful, will let you know if this cracks it!

#41 Chief_Chum

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 05:10 PM

My pleasure!

#42 squirrel

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 05:12 PM

This is an absolutely superb thread; loads of info from some very knowledgable contributors. Thank you.

#43 TonyE

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 05:21 PM

Joe Sweeney

"A report written on 30 August lists 130000 MLMs available. These were of the non charger variety and of course sighted for Mk VI ammunition.

The report later goes on to state that 150000 MLM1 and 50000 MLMII were on hand by the fall with another 32000 MLMI from India and 25000 MLMII from colonial troops expected. These would be used for training."


Interesting figures. My numbers came from History of Ministry of Munitions and various files at the NA.
Do you have a copy or reference to the report as I would very much like to see it.

Many thanks

TonyE

#44 Devils Own

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 12:05 AM

QUOTE (Gunner Bailey @ Dec 15 2005, 10:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The SMLE Mk III is still going strong. At the weekend I saw some on sale in France. Refurished for hunting though still looking like 90 year old rifles. Loads of patina and very smooth bolt actions . A snip at 800€. Wild boars - keep your head down.

Hi Gunner

Some of those French refurbs have had the receiver altered to take .303 Sporting (whatever that is) because, for some reason, they don't require a licence to use these modified SMLEs.

Steve

#45 Joe Sweeney

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 12:29 AM

QUOTE (TonyE @ Dec 16 2005, 05:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Joe Sweeney

"A report written on 30 August lists 130000 MLMs available. These were of the non charger variety and of course sighted for Mk VI ammunition.

The report later goes on to state that 150000 MLM1 and 50000 MLMII were on hand by the fall with another 32000 MLMI from India and 25000 MLMII from colonial troops expected. These would be used for training."
Interesting figures. My numbers came from History of Ministry of Munitions and various files at the NA.
Do you have a copy or reference to the report as I would very much like to see it.

Many thanks

TonyE



Tony,

The report is WO 32/4870 and is a compelation of reports, minutes etc and concerns arming the New Forces, all the info dates from 1914 with issueing projections into 1915.

Joe Sweeney

My main interest is not in arms but I could not resist copying this one.

The pages are actually bigger than my scanner, but I'll see what I can turn into .pdf files

Edited by Joe Sweeney, 17 December 2005 - 12:59 AM.


#46 TonyE

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 10:09 AM

Many thanks Joe. I will look forward to receiving whatever you can do, but if too much of a problem don't worry. Now I have the ref. I can go to the NA myself.
Thanks again.
Tony

#47 24225978

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 11:20 AM

QUOTE (big jar of wasps @ Aug 27 2005, 12:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Lee-Enfield No. 4 Series Rifles

In need of a sniper rifle chambered for the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, the British government approved the L42A1 Rifle in August 1970. The L42A1 rifles are essentially 7.62mm conversions of No. 4 “T-Model” rifles with shorter and wider fore-ends and shorter handguards. The L42A1 rifles use magazines which are similar to those of the L8 rifles. The L42A1 rifle remained in service until 1992.

I used to use one of these.

Is my memory right? The L42 had a 'floating' barrel that was specially made for accuracy. I seem to recall someone saying that it was 'cold rolled' or something similar.

I also got to use the Enforcer, police version in later life.

Great thread biggrin.gif

#48 Deleted_memorialscrolls.co.uk_*

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 11:35 AM

QUOTE (desert wasp @ Sep 20 2005, 10:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
corkhead100,

Thought you might be interested to know, that I was recently offered a WW2 Lee Enfield, for £175.

Gordon.


Does anyone know any good places to buy authentic WWII weapons. I would love to get hold of one of these for my wall (wife permitting) in the lounge. eBay don't allow the sale of weapons quite rightly and I'm not sure where I could get hold of one.

#49 Bombadier

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 01:10 PM

QUOTE (memorialscrolls.co.uk @ Dec 17 2005, 11:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone know any good places to buy authentic WWII weapons. I would love to get hold of one of these for my wall (wife permitting) in the lounge. eBay don't allow the sale of weapons quite rightly and I'm not sure where I could get hold of one.


If you google for deactivated arms, you will come up with a list of dealers offering the most amazing things for sale, including some which wouldn't fit in your lounge, let alone on the wall.

Nigel

#50 Simon R

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 01:23 PM

A question: if a SMLE mk III is stamped 1918 on butt-stock but has Ishapore post independence mark above it (and on rest of rifle), does it mean that the action was made 1918 (presumably at.... BSA?) but the rifle was only assembled in Bengal in 1953?