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M.L.E.S.HT M.K1 cut-away chamber

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Gys View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 12 2020 at 10:37am
Good day to all.

I have this cut-away chamber barrel with chamber dimensions, but have no idea about who made it where it came from. can someone maybe identify some of it for me? I would greatly appreciate any help. It is in very good condition and would like to know more about it.

Thank you.


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The Armourer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2020 at 11:41pm
Very interesting and a great 'talking point' but I'm sorry I have no idea of the answer to your questions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2020 at 4:05am
Could it possible be a job done by an apprentice Armorer as part of their training?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2020 at 7:01am
They stamped the chamber dimensions on it, a training aid?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Whitjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2020 at 9:25am
can’t help with identification, however, welcome to the forum from North Carolina, USA!

I’m guessing here:  a “absolutely correct” measuring tool for ammo manufacturing?

With so many stamps on it, you’d think one of them would have been a date!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2020 at 1:52pm
It's from a MLE barrel so I will make an assumption and say it was made before 1900.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paddyofurniture Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2020 at 3:20pm
Cartridge testing gauge?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2020 at 12:00am
Originally posted by paddyofurniture paddyofurniture wrote:

Cartridge testing gauge?


I don't think so.

A chamber is always going to be oversized compared to a cartridge, and if it went in easily, or was difficult to enter how would the 'fail' be recognised ?

Surely a cartridge gauge would be Go / No go and would slide into a 'tube' rather than 'half-a-tube'. The stamped dimensions would not be needed, it either fits or it doesn't.

I'm of a mind that it was an apprentice 'test piece'.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2020 at 3:57am
Makes sense a test piece. You've got machining, finishing, measuring and hand stamping all on the same piece.
A nice piece for any collector; I like it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2020 at 6:20pm
The stamped marking says M.L.E. S.ht.M.k.1. A wee bit off the official designation S.M.L.E. Mk.1. or Sht.LE Mk.I

The stub of barrel has had the top half of the barrel reiforce removed taking the nocks form flat and any marked information with it. But I can still identify it as a Sht.LE barrel as opposed to a MLE unit because of the extractor ramp at the breech face. The MLE ramp was at a steeper angle, so I can peg this one as SMLE. So if it is from a Mk.1, it will be circa 1903 to 1907.

Pretty neat item. My guess is that it is a display item or training aid for an armourers' school. Possibly made by an apprentice, yes, it is typical of the kind of training projects that they find for apprentices to do.

BSA factory inspector view marking suggests the original maker of the barrel..

J2 is something to do with barrel batch or a control number. I have seen it repeated on other rifles. Actual meaning unknown to me, it might even be just a sub-contractor's initials.

The barrel does have a double broad arrow mark quite evident. That denotes sold out of British service. Not sure as to how that would fit in with the story other than to suggest that the display piece was cut from a surplus barrel. But it is one of only few clues and worth considering, but it might well have little significance if any.  SoS might rule out that it was made by an apprentice in British service. Maybe at a South African school? Just throwing ideas out there. If it did at one time have any kind of govt acceptance marking, it probably was lost along with the piece of barrel that was the sectioned half over the chamber.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WilliamS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 22 2020 at 9:49pm
The 1913 handbook i just acquired repeatedly refers to ShtLE rifles as MLE, Short rifles so I would not be surprised if this dates to around that timeframe?  The sold out of service mark is a bit odd, unless it was possibly sold and marked after conversion?
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