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Rasputin

SMLE No.1 Mark III*

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Found this gem in a local gun shop for $300 OTD. Although it looks really rough, its cleaning up nicer than I expected. Its all matching - receiver, bolt, barrel fore stock, and nose piece, and not marked FTR.

 

The question I have is the unit disc on the stock. If I'm reading it correctly, it was issued in February, 1920 to the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, and the rack or weapon number was 74. I'm a little confused as to what the "PW" means, so can anyone shed some light on this? Enough of my ramblings, here are the before pics of the rifle as found:

Enfield1918_zps6d417db8.jpg

RightSideFullSun_zps8a1fa702.jpg

RearSightSerialNumber_zpsad096073.jpg

LeftSideReceiver_zps7c448c23.jpg

NosecapSerialNumber_zps156d7952.jpg

StockDisc4_zpse276f97b.jpg

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This is the site I use.

 

http://www.martinihenry.com/units.htm

 

Could it be R.W?

 

The stock is a unfinished Mk3 stock , you can see the flat for the forward volley sight and I'd imagine it cut for a cut off too. I've only seen these on BSA rifles so it may be a rebuild, hence R.W which may be 'Repaired Weedon' but I'd expect to see more weedon marks.

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Good eye on the stock, I never really noticed that. The * after the III indicates it had the volley sights, and the magazine cutoff removed, so it seems fair to assume that after WWI any SMLE rifles that had this feature were returned to a maintenance shop to be retro fitted.

 

I'll have another look at the "PW" mark to see if its a poorly struck "R". Thanks for the info!

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Nice rifle, looks like both the action and barrel are 1918 dated. It looks like the "PW" and "2.20" were stamped at the same time but the "1. Leic" and "74" were stamped at a different time.

 

Thinking about these stamps, it occurred to me that it was unlikely that Weedon was doing refurbishments in 1920 so soon after the war as the UK would have ben awash in SMLE's post WW1.

 

Based on the stampings ad scrape marks on the disc, I looks to me like it might not be original to the rifle. Before 1918, the British Army was not giving away free intelligence so unit disk markings had been discontinued and you often find rifles with either a wooden plug or a blank disc in those stocks inletted for the disk.

 

On the possibilities of what does the PW stand for, the only regiment in the British Army I can think of would be the Prince of Wales Own - West Yorkshire Regiment. Perhaps they used PW as an abbreviation.

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This disc is original to the rifle as far as I can tell. I collect mostly German GEW98s, and when the stock discs are messed with, or even replaced, its very easy to tell.

 

I'm not sure how well it comes out in the picture, but when you look closely at the disc in question, you can see how the wood has swelled around it, and this almost always indicates that its been on the rifle for decades.

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As far as I'm aware the marking discs were in use throughout WW1, I've seen a number of WW1 rifles with the disk and my own relic gun retains it.

 

The * doesn't indicate the windage sight, volley sight and cut off were removed, it indicates a change to the pattern that was not worthy of an increase in mark so the MkIII* was made as a MkIII* and was never a MkIII. Some MkIII* were converted to MkIII post war by fitting a cutoff and windage sight but as the stocks had been made differently to the MkIII, the Volley sights were obsolete.

 

Weedon were repairing and checking weapons through WW1 and right after. Thousands passed through Weedon as the weapons were returned to store after being handed in by returning soldiers.

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As far as I'm aware the marking discs were in use throughout WW1, I've seen a number of WW1 rifles with the disk and my own relic gun retains it.

 

The * doesn't indicate the windage sight, volley sight and cut off were removed, it indicates a change to the pattern that was not worthy of an increase in mark so the MkIII* was made as a MkIII* and was never a MkIII. Some MkIII* were converted to MkIII post war by fitting a cutoff and windage sight but as the stocks had been made differently to the MkIII, the Volley sights were obsolete.

 

Weedon were repairing and checking weapons through WW1 and right after. Thousands passed through Weedon as the weapons were returned to store after being handed in by returning soldiers.

 

In your opinion, is that "P" nothing more than a poorly struck "R" indicating repaired at Weedon?

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002.jpg

 

Here's my SMLE MK III...........Enfield made and dated 1910 with the "ER" cypher for King Edward 7th............

 

No butt-disc at all, and likely upgraded over the years, although still has the mag cut-off fitted.............

001.jpg

003.jpg

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A "mag cut-off" is a metal plate used to isolate the ten round magazine, making the rifle a single shot only rifle.

 

Volley sights are simply long range sights fitted to the side of the lee Enfield. They were meant to be used to deliver long range group fire to harass incoming enemy.

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Thank you for that concise description, when I searched the internet most places mentioned whether or not they were fitted but not what they were used for... :)

 

trevor, a bit wiser now!

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When SMLE No1 was first intriduced on the 1 July 1903 the British Army still worked on the line up in a row and fire single shots at ordered range principal. The cut off was placed so the Tommy couldn't waste the goverments 1p by blazing away indiscriminatley. The cut off was only opened on order of an officer. Another practice the South African War put to rest. The Mk 5 and 6 .303 round can carry out to about 1200 yards but not with any accuracy so again form line, raise the rear peep site, mounted just to the left at the end of the bolt. Dial the range onto the the front sight and super elevate. Fire on command, and at 1200 yards the beaten zone becomes about 20 foot square. The SMLE No 1 Mk 111 was introduced in 26th January 1907 and remained unchanged till 1914 when minor technical changes were made to adopt the Mk 7 .303 pointed nose bullet. It was not till 1916 that the mag cut off and volley sights were officially dropped being SMLE No 1 Mk111* it stayed in service till 1939 when the SMLE Rifle No 4 Mk1 was introduced.

 

Mag cutoff was found to have some use, it acted to keep some mud and muck out the magazine when loaded. The magazine is not routinley removed, the rifle is loaded from the top vis a charger. A metal strip holding 5 rounds which fit into pair of grovves at the back of the rciver. Push firmly with thumb and rounds slid down into the mag.

Edited by Tony B

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