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Irish Lee Enfield's

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cruisedub View Drop Down
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    Posted: July 22 2011 at 12:43pm
Trying to do some research on Irish Lee Enfield's . Anyone got one , if so when  , where did you buy it . Serial numbers and any other details / pictures gladly appreciated .These rifles may be marked with an import mark showing they were imported by Century International Arms , Canada .    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 26 2011 at 12:17am
What in particular are you wanting to know? This subject comes up a lot, so doing a search on this site as well as milsurps.com and surplusrifleforum.com as well will yield you a lot of results.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2011 at 9:23am
the first "IRISH RIFLE" that leaps to mind is the no4 mk2 made under contract by FAZ in serial range PF309348-359747 , there were a number of contracts in the mk2 rifles and thats why the serial range is important , my mk2 is a burma contract rifle , while its net legend has made it desireable , the few irish i have seen were not as nice as my burma rifle ,

they look 'like' this -



then there were the RIC 'royal irish constabulary' carbines , these were conversions of earlier MLM & MLE rifles , fitted for the P88 bayo , see "the lee enfeild story" by skennerton ,
- dont have one of those to show because i foolishly turned the one and only ive ever been offered down , still kick myself for that stupid move , money was tight and i over-thought the issues ,

as a side note - there were rifles commonly associated with the irish that you might be refering to , these are the SMLE mkI*** rifles , its thought the serials fell into two prefix , i dont have my referance materials handy so i will refrain from any "quotes" at this point ,

but mine is one of these , its prefixed "ER53xx" with original serial canceled #36xxx , dated 1905

it looks like the middle one -



and a couple details are the bayo boss/nose piece , charger bolt head , and rear sight -




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2011 at 9:51pm
I can add to the Mk I*** info... The serial number prefixes of those rifles are ER, CR, and G. That's what has been proven. The ER rifles tend to remain in Mk I*** specs, the CR rifles tend to have a lot of Mk III parts added while the G rifles that have been noted were converted to Grenade Firing but otherwise retain the Mk I*** specs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 28 2011 at 12:58am
Check out "FF" (Fianna Fail) #1 Mk III rifles as well they are another "Irish Enfield" lot that had the FF Oglich na Eireinn stamp on them.

http://forums.thecmp.org/showthread.php?t=34901

The most popular "Irish Contract" #4 Mk 2's actually never made it to Ireland, even though they were contracted for it. IIRC it was a non-payment issue rather than a political decision. The so called "Irish Contract" rifles are 1954 Fazackerly-made ones in the serial range PF309348 to PF 359347.Most were never delivered and put in storage until sold as surplus. Most of the surplus went to Century in Canada for about $10~$ 15 a popConfused  & were sold off piecemeal over time. FIRESTARTER on here has one which I've seen & fired.

Note: A Square 10 & I have differing serial number ranges (
PF309348-359747) for these. It depends where you look what the list of numbers is.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cruisedub Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2011 at 7:24am
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

Check out "FF" (Fianna Fail) #1 Mk III rifles as well they are another "Irish Enfield" lot that had the FF Oglich na Eireinn stamp on them.

http://forums.thecmp.org/showthread.php?t=34901

The most popular "Irish Contract" #4 Mk 2's actually never made it to Ireland, even though they were contracted for it. IIRC it was a non-payment issue rather than a political decision. The so called "Irish Contract" rifles are 1954 Fazackerly-made ones in the serial range PF309348 to PF 359347.Most were never delivered and put in storage until sold as surplus. Most of the surplus went to Century in Canada for about $10~$ 15 a popConfused  & were sold off piecemeal over time. FIRESTARTER on here has one which I've seen & fired.

Note: A Square 10 & I have differing serial number ranges (
PF309348-359747) for these. It depends where you look what the list of numbers is.

Thanks for the information guys , sorry for the delay in replying to your posts. The information I have been able to gather indicates that almost 50,000 Lee enfield rifles were sold as surplus by the Irish Government in batches between 1990 and 1997 . they were sold to Century International Arms  The usual story about them not being delivered to the Irish Government for various reasons is just not true . Another very reliable source tells me that a very small number of rifles in sniper configuration were still in Irish Army stores post 2000 .  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2011 at 10:41pm
Can you quote a source on the "Irish Contract" #4 Mk2 rifles being held in stores in Ireland? It goes against everything we've ever heard!

Lots of Lee-Enfields were sold to Ireland, there is no doubt about that,but that specific lot (1954 Fazackerly #4Mk2 rifles with serial numbers  PF309348 to PF 359347 (or PF309348-359747)is a special case.) #1 MkIII's were definitely in service in Ireland & IIRC the Republic of Eire as well, as were some #4 Mk 1's that I've found reference to. Maybe these are the ones you're thinking of?
Some info I've dredged up that might explain the differences between Lee-Enfields sold to & from Ireland & the Republic of Eire, as opposed to the '54 Faz #4 "Irish Contract" lot of rifles.

"When I was in the FCA and trained on the .303. I saw brand new .303s both wrapped and unwrapped in the armoury in Griffith barracks. I also believe after the FCA transitioned to the FN, that many older .303s were dumped in the Irish sea but the 'new' and cleaner rifles sold onto the market."

Also:
"
,I can safely that I never saw a .303 dated earlier than the 1950s when I was in the FCA. Some were actually 'new' out of the wrapping and dated 1953. They were all No.4 rifles. The ones you refer to must be No.IIIs and were probably issued to the army in the 1940s until replaced by the No.4s probably in the 50s."

and finally:
"
or the FN SLR was starting to debut and Army decided to upgrade totally to the FN.

ASFIK they were sold to the US in the late 1980s early 1990s,or when the FN went to the FCA.They were sold to Century Arms in Canada for the US and Canada markets.Those that I have seen are pristine never fired rifles ,and some smart buyers still have them in their "sleeping bags".Be lucky now if you could get one for around $400 plus.Alot of US collectors have twigged the FF stamp value.

 Now this gets interesting!

"Irish Contract "Blondes" dated 1950 - 1955 with the PF serial number where sold to Century Arms in the us for £10 punts a rifle I believe!"

If you check the dates the "Irish Contract" lot  was all 1954 so the 50~55 date range is way too loose to be useful as a guide.


My best guess as to what really happened? Someone confused the 2 "Irelands" & then mixed up the "FF #1's" with the #4 MK1's and added a dash of patriotism & a smidgin of #4Mk2 folklore & came up with a confused report that is still being debated.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cruisedub Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2011 at 2:13am
The information I have came as a result of a freedom of information request to the Department Of Defense , What follows is the information i received from them .
 The Lee Enfield rifles were sold in the following batches , 5,889 rifles in1991 , 20,000 in 1993 , 8000 in 1994 , 16,000 in 1996/7 . 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2011 at 5:19am
AARGGGGH!Angry

Sorry I just posted all this (including the math) & got flung off for having "Insufficient permissions to post". Maybe the mods are Irish?Big smile

Here's something interesting. If you total up the quantities from your import list & match them against the serial number ranges quoted the answer is darn near the same, depending on which set of serial numbers you go with. Either 49999, or 5399 were made & 49889 were sold, really close to 50,000 rifles in total at both ends of the equation! The dates also fit within the "sometime in the late 80's to early 90's" time frame quoted above as well.

What would really nail the possible differences down would be a list of model numbers, or better still serial numbers for the CAI imported rifles. I know there is one under construction for the "RAF Contract" '55 UF ones, & another for the #5 carbines, but nothing I know of on the "Irish Contract" '54 ones. If there were one & all the returned serials in the range matched the serials for the '54 PF ones (PF309348-359747) & had a CAI import stamp you'd have proof positive that (might) lay another internet myth to rest.

Maybe you just started an Internet project of note!Confused

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PhilCressman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 08 2012 at 10:58pm
Yes, I picked up one from Century many years ago.  Cleaned grease but never fired!
Matching number on mag  PF 337339  

Serial number not stamped but looks like an  dot matrix pin gun marking  1/55 PF337339

Bayonet that came with rifle is marked D54

Model number  4MK2 (F)

Very light/blond wood stocking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scpanish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2014 at 8:57pm
I just bought one of these, unfired, bore stuffed with cosmoline, pretty much perfect.  Wood is very plain, looks like beech.

CAI St Alb VT import stamp.

No4 MK2 (F)
1/55 PF339375

All numbers matching.
I know this is an old posting but this info may be of interest.
Steve
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 03 2014 at 4:37am
The '55 No4Mk2's were probably an RAF contract, not Irish. Most of the Irish contract were '54 PF ones (PF309348-359747.
Nothing to worry about though they were probably the nicest Enfields ever made & the Irish contract was just a bit of paper the rifles were no different from any other.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scpanish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 03 2014 at 8:23am
Thanks, I didn't even know about any of these contracts but was just researching the rifle after my purchase.  And it is an incredibly nice specimen, which is why I bought it.  

But - in spite of the 1/55 date the serial # is smack in the middle of the listed "Irish Contract" range, and it is marked as a CAI import, so from what I was reading last night, it would seem to match the hypothesis that this range of production was sold to CAI, whether or not the contract was originally destined for Ireland.

I am presuming that production serial numbers were linear with date, but maybe not.  And it is indeed strange that military bolt actions (non-sniper) were even being produced this late!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 03 2014 at 3:51pm
shamu , i understand there may be slightly different serial ranges , im going by those in strattons book vol 2 of the no4 & 5 IIRC , its not as new as some others but has been respected over the years , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 04 2014 at 5:54am
There's been a lot of discussion about what was actually the "Irish Contract". The batch I quoted was from a listing of serial numbers by year & is thought of as the "classic" Irish Contract. I've seen other lists, all slightly different. Then to confuse the issue some include any rifle (theoretically) that was in Irish service (on either side, North or South) & chuck in the "FF" rifles for good luck!Evil Smile

The end of the "classic" Irish Contract, did run over into '55 a little bit, so with a Jan '55 date its possible you did get one.
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