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TheOldPro

Enfield .303 Questions, Part 2

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I am having a problem identifying exactly what kind of British Enfield .303 I have. I have researched the models quite a bit, and nothing matches exactly. On the wrap-around strap, this is what it says:

 

M A

Lithgow

M.L.E.

I C*

1942

 

Lithgow was a manufacturing plant, located in NSW, Australia, that made guns before, during, and after WWII. However, from what I have read, the M.L.E. initials were replaced by S.M.L.E. in 1909. Also, the barrel length is a problem. The regular M.L.E. barrel lengths were about 30 1/2", The S.M.L.E. barrel lengths were around 22-25", give or take. Mine has a barrel length of between 17 1/2" and 19 1/2", depending on where you start measuring from. There was a "jungle carbine" made with a barrel length of 18 1/2", except it didn't go into production until 1944, from what I have been able to learn. Also, all the versions of the jungle carbine I have found are shown with the peep rear sight, behind the ejection port. This one has the elevated rear sight in front of the ejection port, and a blade front sight, which is currently missing, but I have ordered what I think is a replacement....I'll make it fit. Also, the end of the fore-stock is rounded, and was not cut off by my brother-in-law, so it was apparently made that way. It has some curious drillings, 2 holes on each side of the ejection port, that are not threaded, with a cutout for their placement. I cannot currently find any designation anywhere that identifies it as a Mark 1,2, etc. or a model 1,2,4,5.6, etc. The muzzle end is crowned, so the barrel has not been shortened, I don't believe. Also curious, the wood of the stock is very wavy, as though it was rough-cut and never sanded smooth. The fore-end has a little of that.

I am attaching pictures, in case any of you might recognize what it is. It seems like it has to be a jungle carbine, but the dates and sights don't add up. Notice the barrel length in comparison to the ruler pictured. There are other markings and serial numbers on the gun, but I thought I would lead with this to see if anyone has any ideas.

 

OP

 

 

 

 

 

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My guess would be that somewhere along the line the barrel was cut off.

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Do most of these guns have a Schnable fore end or has it been "gunsmithed"?

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Looks mostly like my SMLE 111 made 1915.Its missing the receiver top brace rear sight is old style. might be an arsenal rebuild from WW2 .

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Do most of these guns have a Schnable fore end or has it been "gunsmithed"?

Hard to say. The "jungle carbines" had that exact fore-end.

 

My guess would be that somewhere along the line the barrel was cut off.

Could be, but the muzzle is definitely crowned. I don't think during wartime they would have bothered, and later these were too cheap to buy to spend that kind of money on. I think it was made that length to start with, but that is just a guess.

 

Looks mostly like my SMLE 111 made 1915.Its missing the receiver top brace rear sight is old style. might be an arsenal rebuild from WW2 .

If the "band" between the stock and fore-end can be trusted, it is a MLE, not SMLE. But theoretically, the MLE's were made before the SMLE's, and that doesn't jive with the date on the band. It may have had that peep sight originally, thus the 4 unexplained holes where they are. I've also seen some that had the rear of a scope mount in those holes. There were some specialized Enfields built during WWII at the Lithgow plant that did not match any other Enfields, but I still haven't found one that matches this one exactly. I'm leaning toward a modified "Jungle Carbine" because of the barrel length. But it lacks the flash suppressor put on guns at that time. And the date is wrong. And I still haven't cleaned it yet. For the record, there were 4 cartridges still in the magazine, and it hasn't been touched since the early 1960's. I don't think I will shoot them, especially since one is a different case size from the rest.

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Finally found my father in laws book on military rifles heres info on Enfields maybe help you figure out what you have.

Mark

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Mark, have you ever taken the fore-stock or fore-end completely off the rifle? Mine has only two screws on the underside, the front one of which

is missing, so only one screw seems to be holding the fore-stock on. I also see what looks like one brass pin near the back end of the fore-stock, which is visible on both sides, so it would seem it is a pin going all the way through the fore-stock and is the back anchor. Do you know if this is in fact part of what holds the fore-stock on, and if so, is it something that must be driven out with a drift? As dirty as this gun is, I really need to disassemble it to get it anywhere near clean.

 

OP

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Mine has the brass pin also 1 towards the back and 1 at front end but they don't have to come out on mine . you have to take off trigger guard and wood

should come off might have to wiggle it some to free it from receiver.

Mark

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Yep, that is exactly where mine is. If I can get the trigger guard off without stripping the screw, I'm giving it a try.

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Actually, mine won't come off without taking out that brass pin. I just tried. The other thing I found out is that the brass pin and the trigger guard are the only things holding the fore-end on, as the two screws farther up the fore-end go to nothing....nothing there for them to screw into. So at some point it seems likely that either the stock was changed or the barrel was changed. Also, when seen in the right light, there may be an "S" before the M.L.E. on the band, making it a S.M.L.E. rather than an M.L.E., which would make more sense. The "S", if it's there, is very faint and up for debate. So I have no idea what version of Lee Enfield it is, unless it is a hybrid. Which makes ordering any part for it fun. I did manage to run a brass brush through it a number of times after applying Hoppe's to the bore, and while far from perfect, the lands and grooves seem okay, though pitted somewhat, and worthy of buying a box of shells to try it out. I cleaned the rest of it the best I could with carburetor cleaner, as the wood cannot be hurt, believe me, and got out most of the 50 plus years of dust, dirt, grease, etc. P.S....it can't be a jungle carbine, as they only had 4 numbers after a letter on the barrel...this one has 5. It's probably a one-of-a-kind, worth a million dollars, but I would be willing to sell it for half that.

 

OP

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item 37,38,39 are band to hold forearm on also 40 is sight piece you need. I don't know how you can get 1 of the top brace/stripper clip piece that your missing I would be cautious with firing heavy loads with out it I am pretty sure it also stops rear of receiver from flexing and spreading when its fired.

Mark

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I see what you mean. As far as I can tell, that piece in the diagram is not even numbered, as far as I can tell. I wonder if it is an integral piece of the receiver, and not meant to be replaced? Is there any site that has the parts broken down similar to the above diagram that sells parts by the numbers?

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The only 1 I know of with schematic is Numrich Arms co . There is 1 who actually has used receivers for 30.00 www.poppertsgunparts.com they have more parts for the enfields then any place Ive ever found and not so high on pricing like Numrich usually is. Getting a receiver so far has been the only way Ive found to get the upper brace . You might contact them and see if you can get one without receiver.

Mark

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