View Full Version : SMLE - Need Your Opinion

May 3, 2012, 01:14 AM
Hi all, so what's the opinion on this one:


Looking for a nice shooter, nothing collectable.

See any faults or does it pass muster?

Also, what do you think is a fair price?

Thanks so much!!!!


Mike Irwin
May 3, 2012, 06:16 AM
It's always tough to tell, but that looks to be in very good condition. I'd take a chance on it if I were in the market.

May 3, 2012, 06:43 AM
Objectively: It is a rifle that has been FTR'd at Ishapore (the strengthening screw through the foreend), with a mix of parts and what looks to be a new (or newer) barrel with other force matched parts.

Subjectively: It looks like it has all the makings of a great shooter.

May 3, 2012, 06:23 PM
looks like a good condition NO1. the bolt and receiver serials match and the proofs look alright to me. this is a very nice specimen and is probably worth $500+ in that condition and i would refrain from shooting. you can get others with less collectors value if all you want is a shooter.

May 4, 2012, 05:20 AM
this is a very nice specimen and is probably worth $500+ in that condition

$500.00 is a bit optimistic. It's an FTR gun with force matched parts.

May 4, 2012, 09:42 PM
Here's how the rifle reads:
1.The "D^D" on the left receiver ring is a post-WW1 Australian property mark, which means this '16 LSA was given to the Aussies after the war in reparation for Australian Lithgow rifles sent to the Brits and lost by them in combat.
2.The "MA/59"* on the left buttsocket and "FTR" on the right receiver ring are Aussie marks, usually found on a large group of rifles sold to the Indian government in the early 1960s.
3.The Tennessee Guns import mark makes this one of the rifles that came into the US mixed up with the 1980s dated Ishapores a few years back.
4.There are no Indian rebuild marks on this rifle, despite the fact that the forestock would have been an Indian replacement---BUT---the stocks on these were universally black from whatever the Indians did with them. Very, very black. The number of "bruised apple" marks on this one indicate collector "improvement" to the wood finish.
5.This improvement is also indicated by the LSA marked magazine cut-off and the fact that the Indian stock has been relieved to accept the cut-off.
The cut-off, if it had remained on the rifle prior to the MA/59 rebuild, would not have survived that rebuild.

It might shoot nicely---barrel looks new---but it is approaching my local maximum retail at $222.77
Still in the comfort zone, though.

*Might be '59, might be '58

James K
May 4, 2012, 09:54 PM
The buttstock was replaced with an Enfield one somewhere along the way. The cutoff was probably put on later; many U.S. collectors bought them and put them on to "complete" the rifle.

Still and all, it is a good looking rifle and while I think $500 would be too high, $250-300 would be a good deal.


May 5, 2012, 12:39 AM
I agree with krinko. After a second look, the majority of replacement parts are Aussie, the only exceptions being the foreend and the lower band which are Ishapore.

May 5, 2012, 08:17 AM
Looking for a nice shooter, nothing collectable.

This one fills that spot. Prices vary by region but in my AO it's a $250+/- rifle.

May 5, 2012, 11:35 PM
Agree, that is a nice #3.
One thing you may consider if you want a shooter would be an Ishapore. When searching GB, you need to peck in the word "Ishapore" in the seach box. Many sellers list them under Ishapore instead of SMLE or Lee Enfield. I do not know why.
I have seen quite a few Ishapores in near new condition for less than $300.

Gator Weiss
May 6, 2012, 11:15 AM
Online auctions tend to sell guns at higher than normal prices and you cant really inspect the gun unless you live close to the seller. They are convenient to shop with but there is a downside to the auctions.

There are many SMLE rifles in pawn shops, gun shops, and in the hands of private citizens who will sell them. 350.00 might be too much. You can find them for 250.00 and down sometimes and you can inspect the rifle physically before you buy it if you get it from a shop. If your favorite shop doesnt have one, talk to the manager. Often they will find things for you and help you get into the rifle you want.

I bought a good one for 100 bucks and I really like to shoot it. It is a definite keeper. Shoots a pretty good group and it is easy to clean and care for. The .303 Brit cartridge is good enough for hunting or for benchrest shooting. I have no complaints about the rifle or cartridge.

You will find these rifles in .303 for sale because .303 ammo is expensive or a challenge to find in the surplus ammo market. Much of the surplus has been shot up already. Handloaders and collectors will often hang on to these rifles. The factory load shooters might not want them and will sell them off. I saw one with a price tag on it in a pawn shop for 325.00 and it sold for 150 bucks because it sat there too long and an offer was made and accepted by the man behind the counter. There was a time when .303 ammo was plentiful and reasonably priced. That time is coming to an end / has come to an end. So some of these rifles will move back onto the market as you can well imagine. Take the time to haggle and wheel and deal. It is worth the effort.

A number of these rifles were converted to 7.62x51 for military purposes and they are getting hard to find because those do shoot a modern and readily obtainable cartridge and shooters tend to like the look and feel of this 10 shot rifle, so they keep hold of those. The .303 ammo costs more and is not loaded in the numbers that the 7.62x51 (.308 Winchester) cartrdige is loaded to.

The one I want is the Gibbs Summit Rifle - which is an Enfield converted to 45-70. When I finally buy one, I will have the chamber worked to the 45-90 cartrdige. They dont make these anymore, but there are a few that come on the market now and then.

Huey 22122
May 6, 2012, 01:39 PM
Damn, was it used in the Proof stamping school !!?.

appears to be made in GB but doesn't look to be an original WW1 or 2 rifle. has been reworked

I have 3 of the Mark 4s: one Longbranch, one Savage (US Property), one British, and one #3. had a .22 trainer #3 but let it go for a steal. it was in similar condition, no dings.

if you want a shooter, bar none this is the smoothest bold action cycling I have ever felt. you can cycle rounds from the shoulder; just amazing compared to that heavy lift of the Mauser actions.

that one shown is in very good shape. However, that little stenciling shows it to be an import, which detracts from collector value. unsure if legal to sand that out.

Fair price (from southeastern Va): I have not paid more than $200 for any of mine, but none are as clean as this one. Seller may think he has something special due to the condition. (Well, the market seems to think that).

Just checked last years Blue Book, and these in 100% condition can get up around $1200; but only if in original condition, which this is not.
if you just want a shooter, a beater, you could wait for one in lesser condition, but this one is really nice and I would not feel bad in the $350 range. Doubt you will once you have used it. but thats a personal financial choice. The Brits really got it right on bolt action with the SMLEs. WW1; allegedly, one German unit fell back from Brits behind cover complaining they were up against machine guns.

Let me know if you need a bayonet for it. Have a bunch.

Ammo, generally around $17-$20 per box of 20 on line.

May 7, 2012, 08:33 AM
Looks like whoever wanted this rifle paid just over $600 for it.

May 8, 2012, 08:48 AM
I keep seeing folks say ammo is hard to find, well, its tricky, but not hard if you have the time to wait! www.AMMOMAN.com just got in some. I picked up 200 rounds for $179, shipped to the door! I'm on the mailing list, so I get an update when more comes in!

edit; I have no affiliation with them, just passing the info on for those who want a good place to buy bulk ammo!

2nd edit;I went to bass pro yesterday, their "cheap" 303 was $23 for 20, and like $34 for thier hunting ammo!!!!