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Unmarked Lee Speed

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SteelFlint View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 06 2018 at 11:31pm
Hey Gang,

Hoping to draw upon the combined knowledge on this board for yet another identification job lol.  I recently picked up the below Lee Speed - or perhaps Frankenrifle - and am new to Lees (former black rifle enthusiast, haven't picked up my AR since).  There are no markings that I can find, and looks like the wrist has been engraved over.  I am really keen on any history or insights that can be shared on this one.

I finally got around to tearing this down this eve and have the following pics to share below - I've magnified the proof marks where I could.  There are no other stampings nor insignias that I can locate; and certainly no serial number anywhere.  Any and all help appreciated!  Thx!




Top of the receiver:


Looks like I'm missing some components on the left.  Can anyone identify and suggest replacement options?  Assume the rifle is still safe to fire...


Interesting front sight post:


Rear express sight:


Close up of some engravings:


Ribbed trigger:


Inside the fore grip:


Bolt handle:


Bottom of receiver:



I'll try and get a better shot of the bolt stampings:


Only piece left is the dustcover, which I have yet to disassemble.  Perhaps the answer is underneath there... but must wait till after work tomorrow!

Super big thanks to all assistance!

Cheers.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2018 at 1:21pm
The 'missing components' on the left hand side of the receiver are the rear long range volley sight arm and its spring. The fore arm wood is inlet for the arm in its stowed position.

The screw holes are often used to mount an aftermarket peep sight. eg Parker No.9 sight. 

The fact that the fore end has the volley inletting, and also has blanking pieces in the barrel channel just in front of the barrel reinforce where the military hand guard clips once would fit, suggest to me that this was at some time, a full length military fore stock that has been reworked for the sporter. I dont think that it is likely to be a genuine Lee Speed sporter item either.

So far, from what I can see, the rear sight assembly and butt stock seem to be the only factory sporter components, the rest are ex-military. The barrel has had material removed from the nock's form flat. Often in service, markings are put there . Can't tell if the barrel is ex-military or not (I'm thinking not) Are there ANY markings on the barrel anywhere?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteelFlint Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2018 at 4:16pm
Thanks Englishman!!  Can't see any markings on the barrel at all... I'll try and pull the dust cover tonight.  Appreciate all of your help - again!

Oh well, thinking I overpaid but will have make up for it in the woods this fall...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2018 at 6:27pm
Is it just me..or does some of the etching in the metal look like Kyber traits?
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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: November 07 2018 at 7:31pm
what a fun rifle , i have visited this thread three times , i keep coming back even tho im not really into the sporters i find them very interesting , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteelFlint Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2018 at 10:11pm
Hmmm what are Kyber traits?

I only know about Kyber crystals lol!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteelFlint Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2018 at 10:23pm
Khyber Pass, right.  Hmmm.. interesting theory!  I’ve seen Khyber Copies and they are generally very rough.  The engravings on mine however do not look rushed at all... but will google some more.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2018 at 6:40am
Very nice rifle you have aquired. Hope it shoots as well as it looks...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2018 at 6:41am
haha, not Khyber for sure.

I dont think that you overpaid if you like the rifle and get use out of it. I did take a look at it when it was up for sale and the owner at that time and I chatted about it. 

I was considering getting it and then remounting the barrel on a commercial BSA receiver that I have in the bins. But since finished rifle would look exactly as it does now, there was little point in the exercise, never mind the cost.



Here are three 'Lee Speed' style rifles (not mine, not my pic, but I can dream) all built around the turn of the century by bespoke gun makers in .375 flanged nitro express. These are true safari rifles, good for elephants or lions. None of them are 'factory' or have much in the way of markings.
Any one of these would command a price tag of $3-4K.

So be happy with that little beauty that you bought, you did good!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2018 at 7:01am
I also don't think you over paid. Very nice rifle. Is your plan to complete the project and shoot this rifle? I would!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteelFlint Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2018 at 9:02am
Thanks gents... really appreciate all the feedback!  This is my first Lee and I was feeling like I rushed into it without proper research - just needed proper second opinions from entirely disinterested parties and I got that here!  Smile

Hmm what would be needed to 'finish' the project?  I was thinking about replacing the front sight blade with a brass dot version, and was about to field this idea to the board just in case I'm breaking Lee decorum or doing something sacrilegious lol... It's a good sight picture, but the current black/steel post is very difficult to discern in anything other than perfect lighting conditions.

That volley sight cavity is also bugging me a bit: on the fence as to locating a new fore end, or just picking up a Parker Hale 5 or 9 and get better accuracy in the meantime...

All opinions and ideas welcome!

Cheers. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2018 at 11:21am
Good luck finding a No9.
I've been looking fir a while for one for my ShtLE without success. Oddly enough you may be aided by the older rifle as the No9's were not to common on a No1 MkIII
No5A is a better bet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteelFlint Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2018 at 11:24am
Hahaa thx.  Yeah I've not come across many No9 ads at all

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2018 at 11:41am
My two cents worth... I would replace front and rear sight with a modern Williams. Rear would be adjustable for elevation, front would have a sight hoop for protection. I would then add a front barrel band sling swivel, install a butt stock swivel and put a 1" leather sling on it. Prior to this, I would remove the old furniture finish, leave all dings and dents, and refinish with boiled linseed oil. The hardware, I work  and refinish with Oxfo Blue. Again, my humble opinion, but I would be proud to take that to the range and out hunting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteelFlint Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2018 at 12:04pm
Thanks Honkytonk! I have my Christmas task now I think - wife will have to get in line is she still wants the washrooms repainted muhahaaa.

Hear you on the sights... front one is going as soon as I find proper replacements on Numrich (any other supplier recos?).

One last request to the community - almost embarrassed to ask - what I've got is a No4 Mark I correct?

Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2018 at 12:44pm
If you were to muck about changing sights on an original antique Lee Enfield, you might ruffle some feathers, yes. However, there is nothing original to this rifle. It has been built from parts  by somebody with some skills, at some unknown time and place. 

Have at her and modify to suit you and your shooting. Normally, I dont touch the patina on old metalwork, but in this case, I would likely slow rust blue to make her pretty again.

If the volley arm inletting bugs you that much, a common rework was to cut it out and patch. If done right with matching grain walnut, it would be all but invisible.



This is a much modified martial rifle that had the volley arm inlets removed from both wood and metal.
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