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The Lee Metfords.

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terrylee View Drop Down
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    Posted: April 03 2015 at 4:58am



     
From top to bottom & Left to Right:

Lee Metford Mk.I converted to Mk.I*,  Mk.II,  Mk.II*  & Cavalry Carbine Mk.I
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2015 at 11:16am
Excellent examples. A very nice grouping!!!


One more type of Lee Metford.



1893 Trials Carbine. 


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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: April 03 2015 at 3:08pm
beautiful , some day ....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote terrylee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2015 at 7:39am
Well done, Englishman!  A fantastic piece to have in a collection. Only about 100 ever made.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2015 at 8:41am
Thank you. I consider myself lucky to be the custodian of the trials carbine.

Serial No.5


One of 100 made.

Now check this out..............



Serial No.4. A work in progress. It shoots like a charm. I use it as a deer gun.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fross Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 08 2015 at 3:53pm
he!!o guys,

I have some questions about the Lee-Metford rifles.

- What's the difference between MK I and MK I*?
- Where can I find a 8 rounds magazine?
- What's the correct sling for LM rifles?
- Did the LM rifles have a cleaning rod?
- Is it a front sight cover on the picture below?



Thank you,
Francois


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 08 2015 at 8:21pm
The Lee Metford Mk.I was the first version of the rifle approved in 1888, introduced in 1889. It went to Mk.I* in 1891 and was made obscoleted in 1892 by the Mk.II. 
The latest dated Mk.I rifle that I have seen was dated 1910, Enfield marked, probably assembled at the factory from old inventory.

There were a couple of evolution changes that were made to the Mk.I. 

The Mk.I had a receiver mounted safety on the left hand side, not unlike that of later the SMLE. This feature was removed, the updated Mk.I rifles had the hole for the safety blanked off with a shaped plug, later production rifles simply never had the feature machined into the metal.

The big one was that the original version of the Mk.I came with Lewes sights. This was an odd system where the front sight was a block with a vertical slit in it.  To align the sights, the front sight block was set in a square notch in the rear sight cap so that a strip of light was visible either side of it. The tip of the slit in the front block was set on the target. If the eye saw three strips of light, the sights were aligned. Not a popular system and it was replaced quite quickly with a regular V shaped barley corn front sight and a V notch rear. Existing Mk.I rifles had the front block machined and a barleycorn insert pinned in place. Later production had a solid barley corn sight ramp, no insert.

With the sighting update the designation was changed to Mk.I*. Very few original Mk.I rifles survived without the change. 

Some rifles were not updates, they were new made as Mk.I*. They can be identified by the solid front sight ramp as opposed to one with a pinned insert in the front sight and no safety catch.

Other than that, the rifles were the pretty much the same.

The Lee Metfords did have a clearing rod when they left the factory. These were removed in service by a directive in 1899. Most were destroyed. So original rods are rarer than the rifles.

Where can you find an eight round mag? Scour the internet auctions. Email lots of gun stores. Attend gun shows. Do some networking with other collectors. No source as such, if you do find one, it will be a take off part stripped from a donor rifle. Not too many floating around on the market.

That is a front sight cover shown on the rifle. It slides forward and rotates out of the way to allow the sight to be used.

Lee Metfords would have an 1-3/8 inch wide leather sling. Later, a standard web one would be correct.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fross Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 08 2015 at 11:57pm
Wow. Thank you very much for your long answer. It helps a lot as I have litterature about Lee Enfields rifles but nothing about Lee Metfords. Thumbs Up

I've very recently won an auction on a MLM (Enfield 1891 MkI*) but it's an attic found and needs a total restoration.
No cleaning rod (but it seems normal), no sling, no magazine (Confused) and it lacks the little button on the front volley sight lever.
Otherwise, it's rusty but complete and came with the front sight cover.

The seller said that the rifling grooves are in a great shape, but I found this auction a couple of hours before its end and not a lot of time left to ask some additional questions. Just enough time to place a bid... and to win the auction.  Smile

So, I don't know if it still has its original Metford rifling or an Enfield one.

As you can imagine, MLM rifles are very scarce here and I don't know how this one ended its life in an attic in France. Was it still in service in 1914?



Francois


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2015 at 3:56am
Interesting project you have there Francois; best of luck finding the magazine!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2015 at 4:33am
I believe that the butt disc on this one is marked to The Tenth (Territorial) Battalion, The Manchester Regiment. They were in France in 1917.

Your rifle likely is Metford rifled. Count the grooves in the barrel. Metford rifling has seven shallow segmented grooves, it would look smooth and worn even when new. Enfield rifling has five square shoulder grooves. If the barrel had been updated and replaced with one with Enfield rifling, it will have EI* stamped on the top flat of the nocks form.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fross Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2015 at 6:40am
I know your source about the regimental marking : a post on gunboards forum Wink
Yes, it's the same MLM that moblotaire spoke about.

I will check the rifling and the eventual E1 mark as soon as the rifle will be at home.

Francois
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fross Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2015 at 8:42pm
Originally posted by englishman_ca englishman_ca wrote:

I believe that the butt disc on this one is marked to The Tenth (Territorial) Battalion, The Manchester Regiment. They were in France in 1917.



I've made some searches about this 10th battalion and found that from 1915 to beginning of 1917, it was stationned in Egypt and fought in Balkans, in Galipolli. Then :
"On the 6th March 1917 the battalion arrived in Marseille and proceeded towards the western front to Huppy, where they were re-equiped ( with SMLEs, Tin helmets and Gas masks)
"
Source : http://www.themanchesters.org/10th%20batt.htm

Before this re-equipment, MLM and MLE rifles were likely the standard armament of the battalion. Furthermore, the city where the seller lives in is close to Marseille.
So, we can suppose that this MLM has been "lost" (given, sold?) during april or may 1917 in Marseille area, laid in an attic and forsaken for nearly 100 years.

At least, it can be a plausible story. Tongue

Francois


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote terrylee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2015 at 11:04pm
So far as I'm aware the last front-line use of the Lee Metford Mk.I*s was during the Boer War.  Although they may well have been used in a support / training capacity during WW I, I very much doubt that any would have been used on active service. I suspect that the replaced rifles were Magazine Lee Enfields, probably upgraded to to charger-loading.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fross Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2015 at 11:41am
I received the MLM today. As expected, it's really dirty and rusty, but the rust is light and on surface only.
I got a confirmation from the seller that this MLM has been found in an attic in Marseille area, where the Manchester regiment 10th Territorial Battalion landed in April 1917 from Egypt.



I noticed that the knoxform doesn't show an "E" marking or something else. So far, it's blank but I need to totally remove the rust to be sure. It's a Metord barrel (shallow grooves) and it's in excellent shape and shining as a mirror.
Underneath, the barrel is dated '92 and has the marking A.BAKER 8. What does it mean?

The macaroon on the butt stock  :


Top of marking is erased, but I suppose that it's written 'Birmingham'.
On the butt stock, it noticed some 93 markings so I suppose that this stock is original to the rifle. 
Why 1900? Can '1900' be the marking of a general refurbishment in Birmingham?

Francois
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fross Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 28 2015 at 8:24pm
After restoration.
Not totally finished : still lacking the magazine and the handguard is under professional repair.



Francois


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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: May 28 2015 at 10:33pm
damn - one day soon , i need a lee metford in my collection , i just never seee them here - then of coarse will start the search of bayo/scabbard/cleaning kit/sling and so forth 

another search - an ongoing yearning - at this point in life a quest 
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