Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Another Enfield heard from

So today, weather being decent, I took the last of my three new-ish Enfield SMLEs out for a test-shoot.

This one was the 1941-dated III* made at the Australian Lithgow plant.

It doesn't have a whole lot of markings compared to it's brothers and sisters, but it does have these:
The mark just ahead of the gas vent holes (in case of a cartridge rupture) is a proof mark applied at the factory, the "L" below the crown denoting "Lithgow". The MA VII" is the inspector's stamp.

The stock has this stamping, signifying that the rifle was rebuilt or repaired at the Lithgow plant in July of 1947.
This one also has a stock disc, which is curious in that the bass disc, once used to mark the rifle's unit, was done away with during the Great War and rifles produced after 1916 did not have one. My guess is that this stock was left over from those days and put on the rifle during it's 1947 rebuild to replace the worn or damaged original.

I got a bit of a disappointing surprise when I took it out to shoot it today. I gave it a good cleaning and oiling first and put a sling on it--Sarco has a ton of these British slings dirt cheap so all the Enfields now sport one. It shot decently but put it's group way low and left at a hundred yards, causing me to take a close look at the front sight. For some weird reason, the sight was on the barrel BACKWARDS! I don't know who did that or why, but I'd missed it until the range session, and it was clearly causing a problem because the sight base IS angled slightly. So I stopped shooting for the day and brought it back home. A bit of work in the gun room saw the sight protector muzzle cap removed and the sight drifted out of it's dovetail and reinstalled properly. I lined it up in accordance with it's old factory sighting mark and I'll take it out again next range trip to see if it shoots any better. I suspect that it will.

This Enfield, like the 1912-dated #1MkIII that came with it, has some wood charring on the stock courtesy of the house fire that both survived, but it's not as bad as the other rifle so I'll just lightly sand it down and apply new linseed oil.

All in all, she's a sound rifle with probably the best barrel of the three, which doesn't say much because the other two were badly fouled and I'm still working at cleaning them. She lacks the plethora of markings found on most Enfields, but being a 1941-dated rifle, I'm sure that she played some role in World War Two, either defending Australia from the Japanese or helping to push the Germans out of Africa and back across Europe. Like in the case of the last one I described, it likely would not have needed post-war rebuilding if it hadn't seem some heavy wear and damage during the war. And unlike that one, however, this one has a fair bit of wood and metal wear post-rebuild, so while the other one appears to have been refurbished and put in storage, this one seems to have soldiered on again in some capacity for at least a little while.

Damn, I wish these rifles could talk and tell their stories.

Fixed the sight and shot it today, 10Dec. Probably the best-shooting SMLE I have now.


  1. I've often wondered, as I held one of my rifles, where it had been and who it had belonged to in the past. That's part of the joy of collecting them, I suppose.

  2. Hey Murphy;

    As an owner of an Enfield, I also wish my old rifles could talk and regail me of stories when men walked the earth and fought the evil in other men's souls