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Homer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2020 at 5:49pm
No I think the OP’s question was what constitutes a matching Enfield. But for the record, the 1919 Lithgow was originally numbered from the factory, action, bolt, barrel, sight, nosecap and forwood. Definitely not the magazine and possibly the butt at state/unit level. Much later in WW2 barrels and sights weren’t numbered. But if all these numbers aren’t matching on a 1919 Lithgow that’s presumed to be original, it’s not matching. However, if the rifles been through a repair or a refurb of some kind, it may not have had the same parts numbered. For example, if it had undergone a refurb early post WW2 and marked on the butt R over MA over month/45/46/47, very possibly only the bolt and action will match. Barrels, sights, nosecaps and wood were left blank. Those that have a deeper understanding of the Australian service lee Enfield will have a better idea determining what’s correct and what’s not.
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BJ72 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BJ72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2020 at 5:53pm
Honkytonk

Since your rifle was originally made by Lithgow (That's in Australia folks) I'll give you a bit of a summary in relation to their serial number markings.

Production was never disrupted by bombing or the like in either world war. The enemy never got close enough to Lithgow. With the help of our American friends (and a few others) we chased them off Clap

Early Lithgow made SMLE rifles were serial numbered throughout. The serial number was applied to the bolt, receiver, barrel, underside of the forend, nose cap, under the rear sight and in some in very early rifles, the rear sight base and the rear stock. The bayonet was also serial numbered to the rifle.

This changed in WW2 and by the end of the war the serial number was only applied to the bolt, receiver, underside of forend and and the nose cap. They also stopped putting serial numbers on the bayonets, That's for new rifles as they left the factory.

In the mid to late 40's, Lithgow also ran a refurbishment program where rifles were rebuilt. These refurbished rifles normally only had the serial number applied to the bolt and receiver. The rest of the components were unnumbered. They will be marked on the butt with the year and date they were rebuilt, such as R over MA 11/45 for a rifle rebuilt in November 1945.

Then from around 1950 on, Lithgow ran their FTR (factory thorough refurbished) program. These rifles were totally rebuilt and brought up to new rifles specs. Serial number application seems to vary a bit with these. They will always have matching bolts and receivers. The nose cap and the underside of the forend is usually numbered as well. Some had the serial number on the barrel and others didn't. These rifles are stamped FTR on the receiver. The year they went through FTR is also stamped on the left side of the receiver just above the trigger guard. Example, MA/50 for a rifle refurbished in 1950.

You will also find English SMLE rifles that went through both rebuild processed in Australia as a lot of English rifles ended up in Australian hands during both wars.

If you have an early Lithgow SMLE, it may well have ended up in English hands and may have been rebuilt by the English at some point. At the outbreak of WW1, Australia sent any rifles we could spare to England to assist.

All early Lithgow rifles were completely made and assembled at Lithgow. During WW2 production of components took place at various feeder factories and the components will be stamped accordingly. WA- Wellington feeder factory, BA - Bathurst feeder factory, FA - Forbes feeder factory, SLAZ - Slazenger wood workd etc.

By the end of WW2 production and assembly of the SMLE had been moved from Lithgow to the Orange (name of the town) rifle factory. Despite the fact the rifles were assembled in a totally different location, for some reason we still refer to them as Lithgow rifles. Probably because they were still stamped MA Lithgow. At the end of WW2, refurbishment and FTR of the SMLE took place back at Lithgow.

Magazines were never serial numbered on any Lithgow made SMLE's.

Soo...., to answer your original question, when do you consider a Lithgow SMLE all matching? It depends on when it was made or refurbished.

For me, the main thing for a rifle we intend to shoot is a matching bolt and receiver. If they don't match, we then need to start looking at the locking lug bearing surfaces to make sure they are both bearing evenly.

Hopefully that might help you understand your rifles history a bit better.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BJ72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2020 at 5:58pm
Looks like Homer and I were replying at the same time Big smile
My idea of gun control is hitting what I aim at and nothing else.
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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: January 27 2020 at 5:12pm
looks like you both chimed in perfectly , and answered the OP questions far better than i could have , 

i get that an "original rifle" might vary from one period to the next and that markings were not always in all places as noted , i have a BSA that is all matching - not force matched after refurb , its not marked in every location that one of my longbranch all matchings are , thats why i suggested an ausie that collects lithgows respond , i dont own a lithgow - never found the right one that tripped my trigger and opened my wallet , 
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