Saturday, September 19, 2015

Swimming in Enfields!

Oh, man.

A neighbor of mine recently asked me if I wanted to buy some old rifles that he had. He's a real nice old guy, and I know that he doesn't shoot any more, so I popped over to look at them. They are three Enfield rifles, #1MkIII, Caliber .303.

Yeah, I seem to be coming across a lot of Enfields these days, don't I?

The old things were caked with dust and haven't seen daylight in many years. He had no idea what they were worth and was willing to take far less than current value for them. Talk about tempting...

Had it just been some guy at a gun show I could have scored these rifles for next to nothing, but like I said, he's a neighbor, and a really nice guy who would do anything for anyone, and he really does need the money. So I gave him a fair price for them even though I don't really need them need them like a 747 needs a porch swing.

And here they are:

From left to right, BSA-manufactured (Birmingham Small Arms) rifle built in 1917. This rifle also bears Australian markings, so it's obviously one of the batch that was sent to Kangaroo Land after World War One. The stock markings indicate that it was refurbished by Lithgow (Australian arms factory) in 1947. The upper handguard has cracked, no doubt from drying out, and will have to be replaced. Rest of the wood is screaming for linseed oil.

Rifle Two, center, is a Lithgow-manufactured rifle produced in 1941. Far as I can tell, it was also refurbished in 1947. Both of these rifles bear small import marks and probably came into the country with the big batch of Australian rifles imported in the late 1980s.

The third one is a gem. This one was produced at Enfield in 1912. Has the magazine cut-off and original volley sights still intact. And unlike the other two, it's neither Aussie-marked or import marked. It's biggest negative is a scorched stock on the left side where it got too close to a fire at some time in it's life.

Top to bottom: 1917 BSA, 1941 Lithgow, 1912 Enfield.

All are still caked with dust and grime and it's going to take me a bit to clean them up and see what I've got here. The Lithgow and the BSA seem to have decent bores but the Enfield looks pretty dark and sketchy. I'd guess that someone fired a some corrosive ammo through it and didn't clean it. And coincidentally, my neighbor had some corrosive .303 that he threw in with them. (Hmmmm....) I won't shoot that stuff, but I will sell it and give him whatever I can get for it. Anyone need 90 rounds of pre-war cordite-filled .303 on clips and in bandoleers?


  1. How much for the lot? What arsenal?

  2. Oh and you lucky dog!! I sold my Lithgow a few years back when I was in a pinch... Still regret that decision. And an actual Number 3... Good score.

  3. Anonymous12:39 AM


  4. Anonymous3:28 AM

    reassembling my blog list and moved myself to the front of the line!

  5. Very nice, and thanks for giving him an honest price. That's a class act! But I'd expect nothing less from you.

  6. Lucky You! You did a good thing there. I once bought an old, high time,Piper Cub from a widow who had it priced about $10,000 less than it was worth. She was older and was not a pilot and had no idea what it was worth. But her husband had died and I could tell, by the house and land, that money was tight. I gave her a check for what it WAS worth, and she just cried.

  7. Hate to show my ignorance, but what are "Volley Sights"?

    I can imagine by their name they were for firing volleys of shots from massed troops, but looking at the pictures, all three appear (to me) to have the same type of sights.

    And +1 on all the others who commended you on not taking advantage of the seller!

    1. The volley sight is very rare. I have several enfields, none of which retain it. The sight was on the side of the rifle. The idea was that an officer would shoot a compass azimuth to a target, all the troops would line up on that azimuth, set their volley sight to bring the rounds done on a specific spot on the target line, then everyone would fire on order. You were supposed to lay down a blanket of fire on the spot. The machine gun made the concept superfluous , and almost all the volley sights were removed over the years as rifles went into the depots for updates. There is a good picture at

  8. Wow. I envy you. The Enfield MK.III isn't that common these days. That was a very nice acquisition.

  9. Awesome. I do love Enflields.

  10. i agree that giving the true value to people is the right thing to do. karma has a way of working out to return to you. or, as i like to say, I never have missed money I have given away.

    as far as the rifles, i can't even pick up a mosin-nagant these days for less than 175$. they used to sell at Dunhams for 75$. Good for you on some very nice guns.