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SMLE Magazine Variations and Dates of Introduction

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Category: Enfields
Forum Name: Enfield Rifles
Forum Description: Anything that has to do with the great Enfield rifles!
Printed Date: February 27 2021 at 4:03pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.01 -

Topic: SMLE Magazine Variations and Dates of Introduction
Posted By: WilliamS
Subject: SMLE Magazine Variations and Dates of Introduction
Date Posted: November 23 2020 at 3:40pm
Does anyone know what dates each of the magazine variants were introduced? I assume this is in the LoC but I do not have a copy of the List. A pointer to a good source for the LoC would be appreciated as well or in lieu of dates for each magazine. I have 4th Variation, 3rd from 2nd, 3rd from 1st, and hopefully soon a 2nd Variation, and a mess of early rifles to rebuild. I'd like to pair the right style magazine with the right rifle. Thanks in advance.

Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: November 23 2020 at 10:13pm
the bible would be your best investment - "the lee enfield story" is a hard bound by ian skennerton , a bit pricey but well worth the cost to an LE collector 

second choice would be skennertons  series of soft bound 'small arms identification series' , for the SMLE you want no 1 , it identifies all the bits with their various variations very well , 

third choice would be strattons series , these were intended as pocket references and have a vast amount of the research done presenteed in quick reference form , 

none of these are absolute , they are the best we have to date , there have been reviseed notations over the years of the internet collecting experience but by no means diminishing any of these they are what we have these days till someone takes on the task of improving on them , 

Posted By: WilliamS
Date Posted: November 23 2020 at 10:27pm
Thanks! I actually have all three of those, and although I had missed it on the first pass through, I was able to find the date for the No2 Case which is linked to the MkI* upgrade (March 27 1906). The No3 and No4 case are given as introduced with the 1910 change to MkVII ammunition, but unfortunately I can't find any definitive information as to when that was actually implemented. Circumstantial evidence and replies I've gotten on other boards indicate that there are British-made rifles that were sighted for MkVI ammunition as late as 1913, which would have to have No2 cases, and still no idea when the No4 case actually entered production. I would suspect that if No2 cases were still needed as late as 1913 that most if not all of the MkVII sighted rifles to that point had No3 cases - but I have no solid evidence one way or another. The actual approval of the rifle changes to match the MkVII ammunition wasn't given until October 1 1911, it looks like.

Posted By: Bear43
Date Posted: November 24 2020 at 7:03am
You always see a mix of things from the time of approval of change to actual implementation. A prime example is just the Mk III to Mk III* changeover. Some manufacturers changed earlier and some later so even though the Mk III* change was approved in 1915 you see them manufactured into 1916 as they used up stocks of parts. It's never a definitive change-over at x date. Makes it interesting and a bit confusing at times.

Posted By: The Armourer
Date Posted: November 24 2020 at 7:46am
Originally posted by Bear43 Bear43 wrote:

Makes it interesting and a bit confusing at times.

Two very similar words with very different meanings, both commonly used when talking about Lee Enfield changes'.

Meaning it is immediately obsolete and use of it should stop. Disposed off.

Meaning it stayed in service but if it continued to work it stayed in use until it broke. At that point it would be scrapped or disposed of.

The Mk3 / Mk3* was a progressive implentation of the 'new' features and there was no specific cut-off date for their introduction.
Some or all of the Mk3 features could be found on Mk3* for many years - probably until the manufacturer had to replace their tooling.

For example, the windage rear sight on the Mk3 would remain in use until the rifle went into the Armourers workshop (for some reason) and it would then have the rear sight pinned. It would no go into the workshop simply because the rear sight needed pinning.

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