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SSA SMLE

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sac937 View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 29 2010 at 10:53am
I have a No. 1 Mk III* SMLE that was produced by SSA in 1917.  It is also marked with an "N" on the left side of the near the safety.  Does this mean it's a Navy  rifle?  It also has a cutoff but is marked with the *, isn't this unusual?  Anyway, at 50 yards the bullets go through a target sideways, so I assume that the barrel is worn out.  Since the barrel that is on the rifle is the orginial, should I leave it as is, or would it be worth replacing the barrel?  Not sure how rare this rifle is, so I wouldn't want to ruin it by replacing the barrel.  Any advise would be appreciated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 29 2010 at 2:51pm
Try a couple of different brands of ammo before giving up on the barrel. A barrel with bore size at the max acceptable measurements may keyhole when the ammo has bullets at the lower end of the acceptable limits but shoot other brands just fine.
 
Not certain but I think the Navy N is on the triggerguard.
 
 
PS
A build up of metal fouling may cause poor accuracy and perhaps keyholing.
I've cleaned up a few barrels that had looked to have no lands left but it turned out the grooves were just choked with fouling.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sac937 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 30 2010 at 11:30am
There does appear to be metal fouling near the muzzel.  I'll try that cleaning that, and if that doesn't work, diffrent ammo.   Thanks! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 30 2010 at 12:17pm
I have a 1917 BSA with "N" stamped on the Brass ID disk. It is Naval issue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 30 2010 at 12:56pm
My 1915 has an N stamped in the center of the triggerguard.
I've been told that some Enfields used in India had an N stamping but the N described would have been much larger than the one on my Enfield.
 
The N is stamped over a cluster of stamping that are hard to make out. One may be a very small BSA stacked rifles marking, which might mean it was refurbished there, though there are no FTR markings.
I suppose the Triggerguard might not be original to the rifle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 30 2010 at 1:00pm
Originally posted by sac937 sac937 wrote:

There does appear to be metal fouling near the muzzel.  I'll try that cleaning that, and if that doesn't work, diffrent ammo.   Thanks! 
I hope that does the trick, anything that affects the bullets passage  near the muzzle might cause keyholing.
If you can find a local smith that has an electronic cleaning outfit it could save a lot of time and effort. Cupro-nickel fouling is remarkably hard to remove.
PS
I just found a reference to pre MkIII rifles converted to SMLE standars that were taken up by the Navy and bear a Large N on the left hand side of what they called a Receiver Shoe, which probably means the action strap or butt socket.
 
Could be your rifle is a Naval issue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 30 2010 at 1:13pm

Key Holing also can be caused by insufficient twist in the barrel thus not stabilizing the projectile in flight. Damaged rifling can inhibit the twist as well.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sac937 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2010 at 7:44am

Not an expert on SMLE's but this does seem to be a strange rifle.  Would love to figure out it's history!  The N is on the left side of the butt socket, directly behind the safety spring.  It also appears to have the * lined through, and is equiped with the mag cut-off, and unit disc (blank) in the butt.  I didn't think the No. III*'s had these features? I understand the butt may have been replaced, but would they have gone through the hassle of machining out the mag cut-off?  Anyway, I think I'm going to slug the barrel, and replace if it comes out oversized.  Thanks for the advise!  Confused

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Huntermb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2010 at 8:06am
The * after the Mk III doesn't necessarily make it cutoff less as many of the straight Mk III's had the cut off and cut off screw removed and the * stamped on.  There were also some of the cut off less bodies that were converted back by having the slot milled in as well as a hole drilled for the screw.  The N definitely designates it as a naval contract.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2010 at 9:27am
I had almost forgotten .
Major Reynolds in investigating reports of extremely poor accuracy of some No.4 rifles found that some troops had been issued MkVIIIz machinegun ammo due to a shortage of MkVII ammo.
 
He found that a No.4 with a new barrel shot the Boat Tail bullets of the MkVIIz ammunition with good accuracy, but that an only slightly worn No.4 which he'd proved capable of two MOA when using MkVII ammo was found to keyhole at every shot when he tried MkVIIIz ammunition.
 
A lot of recently manufactured European .303 ammo uses a boat tail bullet. 1950's manufacture FN MG and LMG ammo also uses a Boat Tail bullet
 
Its been reported that Canadian Rangers are at this time issued only MkVIIIz ammunition of Canadian manufacture, along with a few rounds of softpoint hunting ammo for animal control.
 
Earlier I'd been told they were issued MkVIIz ammunition. But then again they are now being issued Pakistani manufacture No.4 rifles instead of Canadian Longbranch or British manufacture No.4 rifles.
 
Be sure the next ammo you try in this old rifle has flat based bullets. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Huntermb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2010 at 9:54am

The last rangers I talked to were only getting commercial softpoint ammo as there is no military 303 in the system anymore, hasn't been for a fair few years.  Our cadets haven't been able to get ammo for their 303 rifles for over 10 years.  Our local corp here has 5 mint Long Branch 303's in their lockup they can't shoot as the rangers are the only ones cleared to use non-military rounds in their weapons.  Scuttlebutt out of DND is that they are actually  considering issuing our war surplus C1A1's (semi auto FN FAL) to the Rangers because of ease of ammo etc.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yumastepside Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2010 at 10:24am
.........excuse my ignorance, but what does SSA stand for?   I have BSA's and an LSA but don't know what SSA is.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Huntermb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2010 at 10:51am
Stands for Standard Small Arms,  if I remember correctly they only did the no1 MkIII*'s.  They were part of the peddled scheme rifles (parts contracted from different manufacturers).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yumastepside Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2010 at 2:19pm
Thanks, where were they manufactured ?

               Roger
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sac937 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 01 2010 at 7:38am
SSA (Standard Small Arms) were made in Birmingham, and from what I understand, made is the right word, because they were assembled by Enfield.  There were about 250,000 made.  It also seems that the cutoffs were added at the request of the Navy to the No. III* rifles, and the * was then lined out, as it is in this rifle.  I've learned a lot about this rifle since I made my first post a few days ago!  It is also becomming a quest to save this barrel. Going to try and make my own electronic bore cleaner.  Anyone had any luck at this?
 
   Andy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Smokey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 01 2010 at 8:40am
Get some Sweet's 7.62 bore cleaner. I bought a #4Mk2 that appeared to have a corroded and pitted barrel that turned out to be nickel fouling. It took a while, but the Sweet's got it all out. Now the bore looks like new.
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