View Full Version : are the no1mk3 and no4mk1 smle mags compatible?

November 9, 2008, 01:37 AM
having a no 4 mk 1 and a no 3, I was wondering if I could buy only one for purposes of having spares.... I have not as yet found much to indicate either way, and therefore submit the ? here - while I am at it, are any of the aftermarket offerings worth anything?

November 9, 2008, 02:02 AM
Both .303 calibre, I don't see any reason why they would change the magazine. As far as I know, the only changes were to the sights and other minor items.

November 9, 2008, 02:04 AM
while I am at it, are any of the aftermarket offerings worth anything?

Probably not seeing as how the magazine on the Enfields was never meant to be taken on and off. It just wasnt used that way. It was loaded via stripper clip.

November 9, 2008, 02:12 AM
yeah, I understand that they were not big on switching mags, but I want a few to put aside, as magazines are one of the most failure prone parts of the system....

T. O'Heir
November 9, 2008, 03:36 AM
"...are the No. 1 Mk III and No 4 Mk 1 SMLE mags compatible?..." Nope. A No. 1 mag has two locking lugs on the back. A No. 4 mag has one. If you grind off the lower lug on a No. 1 mag, it'll work in a No. 4, but it won't work in a No. 1 if you do. A No. 1 mag will not work in a No. 4 Rifle at all.
A No. 4 is not an SMLE either. It's a No. 4 Rifle. Only the No. 1 Mk whatever is an SMLE.
"...the only changes were..." The complete bolt, stock and its metal, bayonet mount, receiver, magazine and mag catch, as well as the sights are different.

James K
November 9, 2008, 08:49 PM
Some people have written that the magazines are interchangeable, but in my experience, and aside from the locking lugs on the back, there are enough dimensional differences that a No.4 magazine will have to be pounded into an SMLE Mk III, and then can't be removed. The British did not consider them interchangeable, and neither do I.

It is a good question why they did not design a common magazine but the fact is that by the time the No. 4 came along, the magazine was considered a part of the rifle and not to be removed. Spares were not issued.

The original British Lee rifles were issued with two fitted and tested magazines; the primary one was chained to the rifle so it wouldn't be lost. The other was carried in the soldier's pocket or "kit" and could be loaded as a spare in combat. But when the rifles were changed to charger (clip) loading, that system was done away with, and the single magazine was thereafter considered a part of the rifle.


November 10, 2008, 03:09 AM
cool, that is good to know- there is a magazine advertised in sportsmans guide, as fitting either no1 or no4- anyone got experience with this, and does it work, or is it BS?

November 18, 2008, 08:02 PM
I have inter changed mags from a SMLE and a no 4.but like all else you might have to tweek them.they do fit.but some might not.:rolleyes::confused:;)

November 19, 2008, 12:28 PM
The aftermarket SMLE & Enfield magazines I've seen weren't terribly impressive. You can still find mil-surp magazines for both models for sale at parts dealers & on the auction sites. Here's a site that lists magazines for the No.4, plus a bunch of other parts for SMLE/Enfilelds.


I've bought from them & they give good service.

James K
November 19, 2008, 10:56 PM
I don't doubt that it would be possible to make a magazine that would fit either rifle, and also that some magazines might swap, but I tried several No. 4 magazines in different No. 1 rifles and never got any that would really act as detachable magazines, as they had to be driven in and out. They might have worked if just left in but I didn't consider that to be "interchangeable."


Mike Irwin
November 21, 2008, 02:46 PM
The only reason the British made the magazine detachable was for the ability to quickly replace one that that was damaged or otherwise non functional.

In regular use, the only time it was to be dismounted from the rifle was during cleaning.