SMLE

SMLE

Once considered unsatisfactory for competition work,Lee Enfield rifles are being seen more often on the firing lines. As used here "Lee Enfield" should be understood to include not only the "Rifle No. 1 Short Magazine, Lee Enfield Mark III," but later Commonwealth rifles such as the "No. 4 Rifle Mark I." These were the main battle rifles of the British empire in World Wars I and II. Most fire the .303 British cartridge, although some made in India after WW II are chambered for 7.62 NATO. Components for reloading are available from all major manufacturers. The .303 British is a good cartridge and has proven itself in sporting firearms. The Rifle No. 1, SMLE Mark III--and to a lesser degree the later Rifle No. 4, Mark I--are known for what has been called a "wandering zero," which makes them less than dependable in BRMR competition. We have received reports from several friends in the UK and Canada who report exceptional accuracy from the British Lee Enfields in .303 caliber, but here in Oklahoma the general experience has been that the "Commonwealth rifles" available of the surplus market today are hard put to match the Springfields and Mausers, many of which have bores in much better condition.
The British No. 1 Mk III Lee-Enfield rifles were produced in England, Australia, and India. The No. 1 Mk III has a 25.2" barrel and measures 44.8" OAL. Care should be used in selecting one of these rifles, as the bores are often found to be worn or neglected, an understandable condition in a rifle which may have seen service in both World Wars.
The British No. 3 Mk I rifle is better known as the (Pattern) 1914 Enfield. It is very much like the American 1917 Enfield, except that the rails and bolt of the 1914 rifle are set up for the rimmed British .303 cartridge. These rifles were manufactured in the United States.
The British No. 4 Mk. I rifle has a 25.2" barrel, but has a 44.4" OAL. It was developed between the World Wars, and individual rifles may be found in somewhat better condition than is usually the case with the earlier No. 1 Mk III rifles. In addition to England, Australia, and India, No. 4 Mk I rifles were manufactured during WWII in Canada and in the United States.
The No. 5 Mk I rifle, with its shorter barrel, is the least suitable of the Lee-Enfields for BRMR competition. The barrel is only 20.5" (flash hider included), producing a considerable increase in muzzle flash and in felt recoil. Cut-down Lee-Enfield rifles, sometimes called "Tanker" carbines, are available from a number of sources, but were never issued to troops and do not qualify for BAMR matches.

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4 years 38 weeks ago, 9:01 PM

zx12rmike

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My brother has had a .303 for a long time. He got a good deal, but he wished it hadn't been sporterized. Is there any way to get an original type stock for one? I just thought of maybe tring to get him one for his birthday.

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home" Thomas Jefferson
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4 years 38 weeks ago
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