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Lee Enfield MLE MK1? - Found in Dad's Attic

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mrdibbles View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mrdibbles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 09 2011 at 4:53am
Here are some additional pictures.  As you'll see there are no indications that this would have taken a cleaning rod.  No indention in the bottom of the stock and no hole in the bayonet lug.  Additionally on the left side of the receiver there aren't any markings at all.  Still having trouble identifying this as an MLE or a Lee-Metford so your help there is much appreciated.  Seems likely to be a commercial model... thanks for everything guys Big smile
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 09 2011 at 5:16pm
My FIRST thought was a "Long" Lee..maybe a transitional model?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jc5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2011 at 3:14am
It is definitely a "Long Lee" (a generic, informal term for the the Magazine Lee Metford and Magazine Lee Enfield rifles that predated the 1902 SMLE (Short, Magazine Lee Enfield...where "short" refers to the length of the rifle not the magazine).

It is definitely a commercial model....meaning it was purposely built for private sale (not for the British Government). However  it was built by the same people (BSA), on the same machinery, to the same specifications as the rifles that were made for government contracts. The only difference is that it has commercial markings instead of government markings. The fit, finish, and performance on these commercial models did not suffer in comparison to the military models---if anything, it was better. Customers had all sorts of options to choose from, such as special nickel steel, custom sights, type of rifling, special bedding, high grade wood. 

Although many of these commercial models saw service in various corners of the world, most of them did not get dragged through 4 years of Flanders mud and barbed wire, so they often appear on today's collector market in better condition than their surplus brethren. Too often, however, they are not recognized as commercial models, and the sporter versions are often confused with "bubbas" (hard to believe but true).

There were some minor differences between the government and commercial models (a story I am working hard to tell), mainly because BSA did not have to chance their commercial models every single time the War Office asked for some minor change to the service pattern. You will sometimes find things on trade patterns that had been removed from service rifles some years previously.  (This does not make them transitional models, just commercial variants.) This makes dating and identifying these commercial rifles a real b**ch....er, I mean, lots of fun! You can say it was built on the MLE MkI* service pattern, but it's not really correct to call it that. It would be like calling a Colt AR-15 Sporter an M-16.

...
Thanks for the additional pics! Can you also please post pics of the following:
1)  the top-rear flat part of the action (where the bolt slides in)? (You need to lift up the bolt handle to see).
2) Can you please post a pic of the LEFT side of the action, where the barrel meets the receiver). We need to see the stamps there.

Maybe we can learn more about this rifle with those pics.

Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jc5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2011 at 4:23am
Originally posted by Jc5 Jc5 wrote:


You can say it was built on the MLE MkI* service pattern, but it's not really correct to call it that. It would be like calling a Colt AR-15 Sporter an M-16.

 Just to follow up, since you said you were "having trouble identifying this as an MLE or a Lee-Metford"... Keeping in mind what I said above, if you needed to describe it, you could say "It's a BSA commercial model of the Magazine Lee Enfield Mark I*."  The (*) is pronounced "star." And BSA stands for Birmingham Small Arms, the company in Small Heath, Birmingham, England that made these rifles for the British Government, and for private sale.

On these rifles, "Enfield" versus "Metford" refers to the type of rifling. Enfield rifling has 5 grooves. Metford rifling has 7 grooves and is much shallower (people often look at Metford rifling and assume it is "shot out" but it ain't so---it was designed this way).  Most (not all!) rifles with Enfield-pattern rifling have the letter "E" stamped on top of the barrel knox. Don't rely on this though, just look down the bore and count the grooves.

Let's those additional pics & maybe we can learn more about your rifle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote olskool Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2011 at 7:31am
on the winchester you had to mean 38-40 not 38-80
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mrdibbles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2011 at 8:10am
yes... that was a typo.  The Winchester is a 38-40 without a doubt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mrdibbles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2011 at 12:25pm
Thank you for all the replies... I'll add some additional photos tomorrow.  Thanks guys!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2011 at 12:42pm
Not all Enfields had 5 grooves
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2011 at 2:44pm
Originally posted by hoadie hoadie wrote:

Not all Enfields had 5 grooves
Hoadie
True of the No.4 rifles, which had anything from two to six grooves, but the older Lee Enfield and SMLE had five groove bores only so far as I've heard.
The Two Groove and Six groove bores would not be considered Enfield Pattern rifling, only five groove bores with lands the same width as the grooves would be considered Enfield Pattern.
 
Some modern Sniper and Long Range Target rifle barrels use a very similar rifling, with added features such as radiused corners or raked groove walls to reduce blowby. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mrdibbles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2011 at 10:21am
Additonal photos... also... got word from Ian Skennerton that he thinks this is a Commercial MLE MK1*.  No idea on date but his identification seems in line with other's ideas. 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beerhunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2011 at 7:47pm
I'd agree that it is a BSA Commercial.  My reasoning is the civilian pre-1954 Birmingham Proof marks plus the lack lack of Government marks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jc5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2011 at 4:17am
Thanks for the additional pics! Can you also please post pics of the following:
1)  the top-rear flat part of the action (where the bolt slides in)? (You need to lift up the bolt handle to see).

Also, are there any markings beneath the top handguard? From one of your pictures in the first batch it looks like you removed it at some point? A pic of that location, or at least a description will be very useful.

...

Also, to the forum moderator: what is up with all this "Pending Approval" stuff in order to post? None of the other Lee Enfield forums on the Web require this much hassle just to have a simple discussion. The delay is a pain, and is discouraging to someone who posts a lot of the other forums but would like to contribute more to this one.
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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: September 12 2011 at 9:09am
im in agreement long MLM mkII*/MLE of mkI [depending on bbl rifleing] variety and commercial version BSA  , 1895-end of MLM/start of MLE , CLLM/CLLE conversions 1907,
there is a diference in location of the handguard rivets - early ones were farther apart - later ones were pushed forward and closer together [front half of the guard] yours looks to be later version ,   
 
nice find , bolt cover is often missing - nice bit to have , these were later fitted with charger bridge to make the CLLM/CLLE , nice to see that not done as well from my humble point of view ,
 
takes the P1888 bayonet ,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jc5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2011 at 11:10am
Originally posted by A square 10 A square 10 wrote:

im in agreement long MLM mkII*/MLE of mkI [depending on bbl rifleing] variety and commercial version BSA  , 1895-end of MLM/start of MLE , CLLM/CLLE conversions 1907,
there is a diference in location of the handguard rivets - early ones were farther apart - later ones were pushed forward and closer together [front half of the guard] yours looks to be later version ,   

The original poster's rifle cannot be the MLM MkII*/MLE MkI pattern because it has no provision in the fore-end or nosecap for the clearing rod. It is a commercial BSA rifle of the MLE MkI* pattern, as has been noted several times already.

Also, be cautious when trying to apply military service dates to commercial rifles. Official military changes (e.g., "adopted in 1895,"or "made obsolete in 1902" etc) have very little relevance for commercial models made for private sale. BSA offered a .303 carbine years before the British military adopted one, and they continued making Lee Metfords (and Martinis for that matter) for years after they had been "replaced" in British service.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2011 at 11:12am
Jc5: I'm not a moderator..but I can shed some light.
We've had a few problems with individuals recently.The ONLY way to preserve the integrity of the forum, is thus.
Personally-I'm in agreement with it.(I'm sure you would be as well, if you had've experienced the problems we had.
Please be patient..its in ALL our best interests.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2011 at 1:04pm
Jc5, I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but hoadie is correct, we have had many issues with spam from China this year. the post approval is only required for new members. I have loosened up the requirements today. Up to 10 posts requires admin approval.

Eric
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