Thread: British 303
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Old March 28, 2012, 08:09 AM   #4
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Join Date: September 27, 2004
Posts: 4,811
A small correction if I may. The way British rifles were identified was changed so there is no "#4 S.M.L.E." rifle.

The original way of identifying was to have a descriptive name, such as M.L.E, (Magazine Lee-Enfield), or S.M.L.E. Short Magazine Lee Enfield. (the rifle was shorter,not the magazine.

This was changed to a [NUMBER] denoting an actual version, a [mark] meaning a revision to the basic model, & a [* asterisk, or star] meaning a minor update, not quite big enough of a change to be a full [mark] change.

The change happened at the time the older S.M.L.E. was being upgraded to the then new #4 model so the old S.M.L.E. became the Rifle No1 Mk III (or III*) depending on the fittings.

You have a #4 mk1 that has been turned into a sporting rifle by removing, cutting down & shortening/lightening the wood & metal. It has no collector value because of this but may be a very nice hunting rifle. Caliber should be .303 British, but check as some sporters were changed to different calibers. Have the smith check headspacing as well, this is changed with different bolt heads on the #4 & if the head has been swapped (or even the bolt) the headspace could be off. You have the simplified "L type flip rear sight that was set up for 300/500 yards with the original sights & bore, but you'll need to see where your zero is with the changes.

Your rifle seems to have been "scrubbed" (all the original markings removed) during factory rework at some time as there is usually a bunch of stuff stamped onto the right side of the butt socket. Yours has just "England" (an import mark) on the left hand side.
Allan Quatermain: “Automatic rifles. Who in God's name has automatic rifles”?

Elderly Hunter: “That's dashed unsporting. Probably Belgium.”

Last edited by wogpotter; March 28, 2012 at 08:24 AM.
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