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Crown over VR, Enfield, 1888 NO.1 MKIII*

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Mackattack64 View Drop Down
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Joined: January 09 2023
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    Posted: January 17 2023 at 11:49am
I have an unusual firearm here. It is, what I believe, may be a possible first serial number run, Crown over VR, 1888 Lee Enfield  No1. MKIII*. Serial number 5533, with no letter prefix (with matching serial numbers on the receiver, barrel, bolt, and nose cap). And yes, there were upgrades, such as the bolt head. I believe that this may have been a testing rifle, upgraded and marked over the first years of production. And marked I, then II, then III, then III*, after upgrades came. The rifling is barely existent (been shot out, or cosmoline destroyed it). The unusual rudimentary buttstock bolt looks like maybe an early production. The rifle appears to have been in British service, and marked on the barrel and receiver what appears to be Crown over GRI, then an Ishapore marking after. Maybe made at R.S.A.F. In UK, then shipped out to Ishapore?
Let me tell you how I found this firearm. I found a long old wooden box in a closet at an estate sale. I pulled it out, opened the box and found this firearm wrapped in an old dirty white wool blanket (falling apart). When I unrolled the blanket, I see that the gun is wrapped in brown paper. I began to unwrap the paper (brittle), and realized real quick that it was stuck to the gun by what looked like cosmoline, that was pretty stiff in places. After all of my collecting years, I could recognize what firearm it was. I brought one of the inheritors in and showed it to her. She had no idea how it got there, or what it was. I made an offer, and she accepted. Oh my, when I got this thing home, I started by using a plastic scrapper  to remove the cosmoline and paper. This stuff had been brushed onto the whole outside of the gun; stock included. It was a mess. After some work, I was able to get the stock off. I removed as much of this stuff as I could off of the metal, and decided to give it a kerosine bath. Even after that, I still had a hard time getting down to the metal in spots. As I did, I started noticing a black paint that was peeling off of the metal. The kerosine would not remove it. I had to painstakingly remove this peeling paint with dental picks; it came off pretty easy. So finally, after many hours of detailed cleaning, I was able to get all of the paint off. I would have liked  to leave the paint, being a believer in keeping it original. But, it was a flaking mess. Maybe broke down after years of the cosmoline?Then for the stock, I cleaned as much of the gunk off by wiping it down with a cloth soaked with WD-40, and scraping with a plastic scraper. Then washed it in warm water and dawn, rinsing and drying it off quickly. Then, I used Formby’s stripper, and did that process 3 times before I got all the gunk off of it. All washing and drying after each application. I was able to partly preserve the buttstock stamp marking. After the stock cleaning, I simply used Kiwi Brown shoe polish paste on the wood. Does an excellent job. Cleaned all stock metal down to metal as well. As a note, I believe the flaky paint was Suncorite, since kerosine wouldn’t remove it. 
The bolt was the only thing that I couldn’t disassemble, since it requires a special tool to remove the firing pin. But, I was able to clean it by soaking many times in kerosine, letting drain until came out clean, and then spaying thoroughly with oil, and letting drain clean. 
After all of the hours of work, I re-assembled the gun. As I did, I made note, and took pictures of, the markings I found on the gun.  I’m providing pictures here. 
Somebody mentioned that they believe it is a Khyber Pass gun. Their markings are much different, with spelling mistakes, etc. 
So, look, analyze, compare, and surmise. Let me know what you think. Thanks. 

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