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Silver Bullet Member
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I've read that the original Mk 1 buttplate was steel, not brass and had no trap.

Mk 1* has a similar type of buttplate to Mk III, but perhaps not quite identical.

The buttplate on my Mk1* from 1906 is a lighter coloured metal than my Mk III ones. It has a finer edge thickness, and the shape of the lug which lifts the butt-trap is different.
 

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As Maxwell Smart says...there may be minor cosmetic differences, but for the MkI* on...they'll be substantially the same as the ones on the MkIII. What are the differences on the ones you have? Pictures?

And just because someone's bound to say it before long...there's technically no such thing as a "No1 Mk1". At the nomenclature change in '26, ShtLE MkIs and the various Converted short rifles were specifically exempted from the nomenclature change. A bigger deal to some then to others, but there it is.
 

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We'll need to see, or at least get a much better description of what you bought. If the seller gave you a No4 MkI and a NoI mkIII buttplate, then there is most definitely a difference.
Not all sellers are up to snuff on the numbering/mark system.
 

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I have never seen one of the steel buttplates with no trap on an Irish gun like your Colorado68. Not sure ewhn they were upgraded, but it would appear that SMLE MK I** and *** seem to all have the brass buttplates with the trap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, my rifle currently has a steel hinged buttplate and knew (thanks to Fritz) is was incorrect for an Irish issue.
The one on the left is smaller than one on the right.
The larger one fits my buttstock. As mentioned previously, the seller said they were for Mk1 & Mk3 butts.

I won't be able to use the smaller one and believe the larger could work. Although the finish seems to be rather crude, maybe it was never issued?
In either case, they only cost me $5 a piece and will chalk up as a lesson learned.

Thank you!

 

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If your rifle came with it, I would leave it as it is. Most of the sported rifles I have seen only messed with the for wood, the left the back half alone. it is very possible some steel plates were in Irish service, I just simply have not seen one. As these arms were surplused out of Irish service in 1961, there could well be some oddities that do not match expectations. For example it occurred to me lately that if Interarms was paid by the rifle, a lot of the ER and CR rifles that seem to have had MK III forend slapped on them might have been efforts to take unserviceable rifles and make them suitable for sale. No one really knows, the issue being none of the Irish armorers form that period are left to tell us what occurred, 56 years ago.

One of the problems that infest US arms collecting is folks putting it back to "correct" a lot of those efforts will confound folks in 50 years when all of these corrected rifles are in a database some place and folks are trying to make sense of it all.
 

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Is the smaller one for a bantam butt perhaps?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Hi Fritz

I really appreciate your purist approach and guidance. And am grateful for your passion and advise.
I'm a purist myself in another hobby (and aspire to be in this one), and agree keeping original as it was issued.

The rifle I purchased was unfortunately just a matching receiver/bolt/barrel and correct rear sight base.
The forestock, handguards, buttplate, buttstock (which is beech and stained to look like walnut) and nosecap; appear to have all been pieced together in the last 30 years.

It's evident even to an amateur like me, there has been an attempt at restoring this rifle.
The rear volley sight is a repo, while the forward is original.

My initial intent was to restore this to what it would likely have been in the early 20's as issued to the Irish. (I heard you about the 1961 out-of-service surplussed rifles, but some of these parts are much newer)

Don't want to muck this up with a bubba.
Only God knows what the main parts of this rifle have been through.

But think it would be an injustice if I didn't help it at least give it arms and legs back.

If this were not a 1907 BSA/Sparkbrook, I wouldn't attempt a restoration.

jrhead75- I''m not familiar with a Bantam. The edges of this smaller buttplate are much thinner.

Thank you all for your advise, very much appreciated.

Doug


If your rifle came with it, I would leave it as it is. Most of the sported rifles I have seen only messed with the for wood, the left the back half alone. it is very possible some steel plates were in Irish service, I just simply have not seen one. As these arms were surplused out of Irish service in 1961, there could well be some oddities that do not match expectations. For example it occurred to me lately that if Interarms was paid by the rifle, a lot of the ER and CR rifles that seem to have had MK III forend slapped on them might have been efforts to take unserviceable rifles and make them suitable for sale. No one really knows, the issue being none of the Irish armorers form that period are left to tell us what occurred, 56 years ago.

One of the problems that infest US arms collecting is folks putting it back to "correct" a lot of those efforts will confound folks in 50 years when all of these corrected rifles are in a database some place and folks are trying to make sense of it all.
 

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Is the smaller one for a bantam butt perhaps?
I seem to remember a similar question being posed to Peter Laidler, many, many years ago.
He answered that the butts we identical except for 'length'. To do otherwise would involve duplicating / triplicating inventory of parts.
 

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That certainly makes sense, but leaves us looking for an explanation for the obviously smaller buttplate.
 

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Identical in which way? Something has to change. Measurements of the wrist and angles of drop etc. can remain the same, but variances in length demand a difference in size at the butt end.
Just because someone said it doesn't mean I toe the line in blind belief. Not unless the MoD developed a top secret way to defy basic geometry and the laws of physics. There are certain altars I refuse to worship at no matter how respected the preacher may be according to others.
 

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I was wondering about that on the drive in this morning...where did that inch go? If you wanted to change the length without changing the dimensions at the end, you'd have to vary the butt geometry in some way. One of those "Hang on a moment..." moments.

I'd guess that the buttplate started at a standard size, and then would be "adjusted' a bit to fit a smaller butt. That would account for the thinner edges and cleaner finish. The very close fit on original rifles would also suggest that some final hand fitting would've been the norm of the time.
 

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Is the thinner one the smaller one? Not having been around to address the issue in its infancy, I can only surmise.
If all the butts came off an identical pattern, all would be equal including the boring for the buttstock bolt. Needs to be in order to attach to the buttsocket. Only the cutoff length would differ before going to whatever jig for shaping.
Easy to align the plate so the trapdoor matches the bore and drill for the screws. If the plates come off the line the same size, then the issue of fitting the tang comes into play.
Changing the length up to one inch means a slight change when plotting the angle. If material allows, then a shallow mortise and/or a thinned tang could be a way to circumvent the problem. Providing of course there is enough 'meat' left to the metal to resist breakage.

Random thoughts running through an empty head. :)
 

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That's what I'm seeing (if I'm reading you right JB). At the top end, the mortise would be shallower, with the bigger change in size between the two (standard and bantam) being at the toe. Since the bantam didn't come into being until 1918, it seems pretty likely that the plate would have been filed to fit rather than any other more radaical solutions.
 

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You and I are pretty much on the exact same page. I was thinking about all possibilities given the alignment of the oiler trap. Likely not enough to make a difference, but still a possibility not to be overlooked until proven otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So, you guys think the smaller one is just a ground down one from a normal buttplate to fit a bantam?

By the way, the rifle as purchased, and now just realized, has a No4 buttstock and steel buttplate.
Have also realized a No4 buttstock stock bolt isn't as long as a No1. So another part to replace.
Thanks for all the replies and help!
 
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