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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found this little gem in a gunshop about six months ago whilst getting some ammunition (only just got the PTA a fortnight ago!)... the Magazine Cut-Off sticking out the side of the rack was an obvious giveaway that this wasn't a garden-variety SMLE Mk III*. ;)

The BSA Markings on the rifle intrigued me, as did the 1940 date- I didn't have any wartime dated Lee-Enfields, which was something I'd been meaning to fix for some time. :D

The rifle has an "L" prefix (S/N L8XXXX) and FTR markings, which, according to Skennerton, is correct for 1940 BSA production and subsequent post-war refurbishment. All the numbers except the bolt match (yes, even underneath the sight!)

Note the markings on the wristguard: "GR BSA Co 1940 Sht LE III". Given that the official nomenclature was changed in 1926, the presence of the "Sht LE" markings on a 1940 dated rifle are interesting, to say the least. I'm guessing it's an older action or (more likely) commercial contract that was diverted to British military use (for obvious reasons). It does have two interesting markings, though: On the top of the wristguard, either side of the bolt channel, are stamped the letter "R" (on the left hand side, next to the safety catch) and the letter "L" (on the right hand side). I'm guessing the "R" is "Refit", but I'm not sure what the "L" might be.

Given the presence of the Royal Cypher, Manufacturer's Name, etc, I don't believe this is a Dispersal Rifle, but I'd say it was almost certainly made during the Battle of Britain, which gives it rather a lot of history just from that point of view alone. It's also interesting that it still retains the pre-WWII Mk III configuration (ie, no volley sights but having a magazine cut-off), and was FTRd as such after the war, keeping the magazine cut-off

Haven't had a chance to shoot it yet, but it's by far and away the best looking SMLE I've seen in a long time, and the first affordable Mk III (no star) I've come across... My 1918 LSA SMLE Mk III* is in good company now. :D
 

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The wood looks like coachwood to me, not walnut, then again if it was an FTR then that would make sense if done in Australia?
Cheers
NED
 

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The BSA Markings on the rifle intrigued me, as did the 1940 date- I didn't have any wartime dated Lee-Enfields, which was something I'd been meaning to fix for some time. :D

The rifle has an "L" prefix (S/N L8XXXX) and FTR markings, which, according to Skennerton, is correct for 1940 BSA production and subsequent post-war refurbishment. All the numbers except the bolt match (yes, even underneath the sight!)
You made me go look at mine, which I had not touched in years (I really should thank you, since I found some tiny rust spots that needed addressing). Mine *is* a dispersal rifle, 1943 BSA production, N-prefix, with FTR markings. Unlike yours, all my numbers indeed match.

Note the markings on the wristguard: "GR BSA Co 1940 Sht LE III". Given that the official nomenclature was changed in 1926, the presence of the "Sht LE" markings on a 1940 dated rifle are interesting, to say the least. I'm guessing it's an older action or (more likely) commercial contract that was diverted to British military use (for obvious reasons).
With the exception of the date and missing the "S A", my markings are the same.

It does have two interesting markings, though: On the top of the wristguard, either side of the bolt channel, are stamped the letter "R" (on the left hand side, next to the safety catch) and the letter "L" (on the right hand side). I'm guessing the "R" is "Refit", but I'm not sure what the "L" might be.
Nope, don't have 'em

Given the presence of the Royal Cypher, Manufacturer's Name, etc, I don't believe this is a Dispersal Rifle, but I'd say it was almost certainly made during the Battle of Britain, which gives it rather a lot of history just from that point of view alone. It's also interesting that it still retains the pre-WWII Mk III configuration (ie, no volley sights but having a magazine cut-off), and was FTRd as such after the war, keeping the magazine cut-off
By 1943, they had deleted the cutoff for good (even the matching stock is not cut out for it). Perhaps yours was manufactured before the Dispersal?

Haven't had a chance to shoot it yet, but it's by far and away the best looking SMLE I've seen in a long time, and the first affordable Mk III (no star) I've come across... My 1918 LSA SMLE Mk III* is in good company now. :D
If its like mine, you will find it to be quite accurate and well-built.

Almost makes me want to get a WWI-vintage No 1 Mk III.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It does appear to be coachwood (it has brass reinforcing pins through it)... The stock has been varnished, though, which should help protect it.

Oddly, there are no Australian ownership markings on it at all- you'd expect to see some from an Aussie FTR.

I took the magazine out this evening and got quite a surprise:

It's a No. 3 Magazine! A most unusual find; I've never come across one before. I can't imagine they're especially rare, but it's an unusual thing to find in a 1940 dated rifle.

As to where I got it: Rebel Gun Works, who have quite a selection of .303s (ask Ron or Dave if you can see their little museum upstairs; there's all kinds of neat stuff up there!). They've got a got couple of Jungle Carbines and some WWI dated Lithgow SMLEs in at the moment as well, in case anyone is looking...
 

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My 1940 BSA #1MkIII complete with cut-off also has Sht. LE. Serial #L99XXX, all matching except for the rear sight. I looked for any other marking & found on the knox an unusual crown with a circle below which has an I superimposed on it. On the receiver rear on the right side of the bolt channel is what appears to be M over reverse E which is over J.
I wish I could work the picture thing as I sure as hell have proplems with vebal descriptions.

Sprog
 

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I looked for any other marking & found on the knox an unusual crown with a circle below which has an I superimposed on it.
I've got a couple of rifles with that mark on them (looks a bit like a crown over two back-to-back 'P's?). I believe I read somewhere that it's some sort of civilian proof. There should also be one on the bolt handle.
 

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I have a 1941 dispersal, all matching, in great shape. It's a really nice one. I like the fact that these rifles were still being made in the 1940's! Akin to the Finns making rebuilt M1891's from 1940-1943.
 

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Blind man drawing pictures

I've got a couple of rifles with that mark on them (looks a bit like a crown over two back-to-back 'P's?). I believe I read somewhere that it's some sort of civilian proof. There should also be one on the bolt handle.
Not quite, but I know the one you mean. On closer look it appears more like a P where the curved part has been continued round (with a slightly larger radius) stopping just short of it's origin giving the appearance of an O with a longer I in the middle. Hope that makes sense.

Sprog
 

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The mark jrhead is referring to is the London Proof House crowned "CP" monogram---which also sounds like you description.
-----krinko
That's the one.
 

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The mark jrhead is referring to is the London Proof House crowned "CP" monogram---which also sounds like you description.
-----krinko
Thanks Krinko that's exactly it.
Now why does a rifle made in Birmingham have a London Proof House marking?

Sprog
 

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My 1940 BSA #1MkIII complete with cut-off also has Sht. LE. Serial #L99XXX, all matching except for the rear sight.Sprog
I've just realised why the rear sight doesn'tmatch up serial # wise.
The rifle was the fantasy rebuild & someone put an early rear sight with windage adjustment on, after the FTR.
BTW apologies to 303EnfieldAU for diverting his thread.

Sprog
 

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which cocking piece

303enfieldAU does yours have the round or square cocking piece. Mine is round. (Take your minds out of the gutter the rest of you).
Sprog
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's round, but the bolt is mis-matched to the rifle (it has a "U" prefix). It could be either an FTR bolt or it's WWI vintage, according to Skennerton...
 
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