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SMLE query on double serial numbers

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Category: Enfields
Forum Name: Enfield Rifles
Forum Description: Anything that has to do with the great Enfield rifles!
URL: http://www.enfield-rifles.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=11636
Printed Date: October 20 2021 at 8:57am
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Topic: SMLE query on double serial numbers
Posted By: TwoFourThree
Subject: SMLE query on double serial numbers
Date Posted: September 06 2021 at 10:56pm
Acquired a No 1 Mk 3* recently that has two, four digit serial numbers on the receiver ring. It is a 1942 Lithgow. The lower number matches the bolt and nosecap, although the nosecap has had its original number overstamped at some point.
The rifle has a H barrel, is full wood, and is in range rifle configuration.

Neither number is correct for a '42 Lithgow. Can anybody offer a credible explanation for the meaning of the double serial numbers ?

Photo below.





Replies:
Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: September 07 2021 at 8:45pm
noy uncommon but i dont have references on hand at the moment to help explain it in detail , im sure someone who does will jump in here , 


Posted By: Homer
Date Posted: September 08 2021 at 4:05am
replacement action of an earlier rifle possibly. 


Posted By: SGonger
Date Posted: September 10 2021 at 10:12am
Howdy y’all;A couple of more photo’s with the rear upper hand-guard removed & from the opposite side might be helpful for those here........if possible.
Cheer’s today. 


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Anyone seen the Tardis Box anywhere? 🤨


Posted By: BJ72
Date Posted: September 10 2021 at 10:33pm
I'd be leaning to agree with Homer. There's plenty of examples out other of Lithgow rebuilding rifles on new actions and applying the original rifle serial number. We refer to them as replacement rifles. I have one in my collection. It's marked as being refurbished in November 1945 (R MA 11/45) but it was built on a new 1945 receiver with a pre 1918 serial number applied. My rifle is like most rifles refurbished at Lithgow in the late 40's. The serial number is applied to the bolt and action only and all other components are unnumbered. In your case the bottom number will be your rifles serial number and the top number could be a unit or rack number. It was common for early Australian SMLE's to have the unit or rack number stamped on the receiver above the serial number. The only reason I say, could, is I'm not sure why they would still be applying them by 1942 or later. I thought that practice had stopped by then but I could be wrong. Perhaps they just copied both numbers off the old receiver. Other examples of replacement receivers I've seen didn't have a unit or rack number applied. For example I've seen a 1945 Lithgow receiver with an A prefix serial number. The practice of building replacement rifles seems to have been quite common at Lithgow.


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My idea of gun control is hitting what I aim at and nothing else.


Posted By: Homer
Date Posted: September 11 2021 at 1:35am
Originally posted by BJ72 BJ72 wrote:

I'd be leaning to agree with Homer. There's plenty of examples out other of Lithgow rebuilding rifles on new actions and applying the original rifle serial number. We refer to them as replacement rifles. I have one in my collection. It's marked as being refurbished in November 1945 (R MA 11/45) but it was built on a new 1945 receiver with a pre 1918 serial number applied. My rifle is like most rifles refurbished at Lithgow in the late 40's. The serial number is applied to the bolt and action only and all other components are unnumbered. In your case the bottom number will be your rifles serial number and the top number could be a unit or rack number. It was common for early Australian SMLE's to have the unit or rack number stamped on the receiver above the serial number. The only reason I say, could, is I'm not sure why they would still be applying them by 1942 or later. I thought that practice had stopped by then but I could be wrong. Perhaps they just copied both numbers off the old receiver. Other examples of replacement receivers I've seen didn't have a unit or rack number applied. For example I've seen a 1945 Lithgow receiver with an A prefix serial number. The practice of building replacement rifles seems to have been quite common at Lithgow.

All correct. I only said possibly because we can't see the rest of the rifle to give it context. I’d say the double numbering is as you say, it was applied because it was on the previous action. Don’t think I’ve seen it before either.


Posted By: BJ72
Date Posted: September 11 2021 at 2:41am
Yes, as Homer says, more pictures please TwoForThree. Lets see the rest of your fine rifle Thumbs Up


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My idea of gun control is hitting what I aim at and nothing else.


Posted By: TwoFourThree
Date Posted: September 11 2021 at 6:38pm
Thanks BJ72.
  My other SMLE is a '44 Lithgow with an A prefix serial number. Butt and forewood and nosecap are serial number marked and matching. Both are range rifles with 50's H Barrels fitted.
Neither have Assembly numbers on their receivers.

I am intending to use the 'front end' wood off the '42 to  'restore' a cut back .22 conversion (not original manufacturer).



Posted By: TwoFourThree
Date Posted: September 12 2021 at 10:04pm
As requested, more photos.






Aperture sight is a MUES. Sling is new, unissued. Fitted just before photo taken.



Posted By: BJ72
Date Posted: September 13 2021 at 5:12pm
Nice rifle Thumbs Up While we might all chase those elusive all matching original rifles, these old range rifles are almost a collector category all of their own. A nice piece of history you can still take out and put to use.


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My idea of gun control is hitting what I aim at and nothing else.



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