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Anyone got any good photos of Lee-Speed or other GOOD QUALITY .303 sporters that you can post? Not Bubb'd junk...

Thanks,

Lone Star
 

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Sporters were produced in .303 by most manufacturers before WW1, even the Remington-Lee and Winchester 1895 - most of the Lee Speed sporters were based on the Lee Metford MkII style action and only a few were based on the SMLE style action by BSA post WW1.
If you are only interested in Lee Speed I can take some pictures of some of my rifles - the BSA #4 pattern carbine (about 1910) at bottom has an SMLE profile barrel and butt on an MLE carbine style action.
 

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Lee Speed sporters

Those are beautiful sporters. Can you post any more pics? Also, one has a longer fore-end than the other...how long are they from tip to tip?

Thanks

Also, more pics and discussion of Lee Speed sporters can be found here:

http://forums.nitroexpress.com/postlist.php?Cat=0&Board=classicarchive

http://milsurpafterhours.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=4061&sid=b432608095d9bb4403f4a27531d7cdb5

I am a big fan of these sporters and would like someday to build one up from a military action. Happy to discuss that project if anyone has advice on it.

Cheers
 

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LSA

PNEPS, that is a great looking rifle! How about a picture of the left side?

Also, what is the length of that fore-end? I'm trying to figure out if most commercial sporters of BSA No 1, 2, 3 types (in the old BSA catalogues) used the same length of fore-end, or if there were variations?

Finally, is the barrel of the same thickness as the Long Lees or the SMLE? I would assume the former. What is the barrel length?

Thanks for posting
 

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The BSA sporting rifles as per catalogue had 25" barrels with knox form and muzzle dia. as the Long Lees.
Even the carbines followed this pattern with their 19" barrels though with all barrels the taper would have to be different from the 30" barrels to give the same muzzle dia.
The exception to this was the #4 pattern carbine which used a barrel based on the SMLE in knox form and profile.
Of course if you were prepared to wait one could have any variation you wanted - different barrel lengths and fore ends etc.
The rifle fore-ends I have seem to be about 14.75" long but the #4 carbine is about 17.75".
 

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Beautiful rifles guys, thanks for posting the pictures.

Something else to put on the 'wish' list.
 

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Identifying these suckers

Let me see if I can identify the rifles in Rowdy's post, according to the BSA Catalog circa 1912, pages 14-16, reprinted by Skennerton in "B.S.A. Rifles and Sights" (but not, unfortunately, in the new "Lee Enfield" book. I guess running a full page ad for the AIA hybrid was deemed more useful than giving more attention to the classic sporters. Sorry for the dig! Couldn't resist.)

First pic (BSAriflesNo1and2 J.jpg): The No. 1 Pattern is on top. It has the barrel rib. Is there a BSA safety of the buttstock? I don't see one, but since there's no safety on the cocking piece, I assume there must be one. The No. 2 Pattern is on bottom. This differs from the catalog only in having a 5 rd mag, but these were of course customer options. The BSA buttstock sliding safety is evident in the photo.

Second pic (BSAriflecarbine.jpg): The one on top must be what BSA calls the No. 4 Sporting Carbine. Has military wood (though checkered). Catalog shows checkering available only on buttstock, but perhaps fore-end was an option later. The front sight differs from the catalog. Interesting that it retains the gunmetal buttplate. Now this one you say has an SMLE barrel rather than a cut-down Long Tom barrel? It doesn't look thinner, but that's hard to see in the photo. The knox form doesn't seem to differ from any of the others...are you sure it's an SMLE barrel? I know that some Australian Rifle Club MLEs (though not sporters) were fitted with Lithgow Heavy barrels, which had the SMLE length and knox form, but were of Long Tom diameter, though it tapered at the front sight. I shouldn't confuse things, since these are not sporters, but that would be an example of a barrel in SMLE length and knox, but with larger diameter.

The rifle on bottom looks like the same rifle in pic 1 above: the No.2 Pattern. Correct?

Third pic (BSAcarbinesNo1and2 J.jpg): These are obviously the No.1 and No.2 Carbines listed by BSA as "For Officers' Use". They resemble the catalog drawings perfectly. Nice specimens!
 

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I've got 3 and will post some pics as soon as I can get them out. All are #3 pattern sporters. The last one aquired is a BSA LeeSpeed in 35cal (356 groove dia), unkn case and haven't had time to do a casting. Anyway, I pulled the bbl and replaced it with a No1MkIII 410shot bbl. Use it for Sunday morning skeet shoots and works perfectly. Even feeds the second round ,,well most of the time. Point is that the SMLE 410 barrel is the same profile as the original BSA sporter barrel. The forend fits it perfectly.
Also, the BSA top tang safety was an option only and not a necessity even with the Metford cocking piece on the bolt. The Metford cocking piece only gave the use of a half cock as a safety, no other safety device on the rifle. But that in itself was considered sufficient at the time in the hands of a competent shooter. The Lee Metford rifle in it's final form had no extra mechanical safety IIRC. I feel the Lee sporters & Mannlicher Schoenaur pre war sporters are some of the best if not the best handling rifles I've ever had.
 

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The military stocked one is listed in the BSA catalog (circa 1912) as the "No. 4 Sporting Carbine". BSA called this one "the cheapest high velocity sporting rifle on the market at present" and said it was great for customers who "want cheap knock-about weapons for all around work." Obviously they wanted to downplay it compared to their more expensive models. Nothing wrong with it that I can see!!! Man, I would love to own one. If any of you guys want to sell one, drop me an email! Otherwise I will have to make one up from a military model...but who would do the custom wood? (That's a serious question).

Anyway, I'll let Rowdy describe the rifle in more detail since he owns it. I'm adding the two remaining pages from the BSA catalog (see my previous post) that consists of all the info I can find on these guns. Apart from the forum posts, there's not much published material on commercial models. Skennerton's info seemed to be largely taken from the BSA catalog.
 

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I believe the #4 pattern carbine was offered when the SMLE started production and used some parts based on the SMLE, however they still used the LEC style action and bolt as with their other rifles.
I will have to take some more photos in the next couple of days.
Terry Willson has a very original looking early style rifle which conforms to the first parrern produced - may I ask if it has either of the following markings - for cordite only, 38gns rifleite (beside the rearsight) or neither?
 

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I've got 3 and will post some pics as soon as I can get them out. All are #3 pattern sporters. The last one aquired is a BSA LeeSpeed in 35cal (356 groove dia), unkn case and haven't had time to do a casting. Anyway, I pulled the bbl and replaced it with a No1MkIII 410shot bbl. Use it for Sunday morning skeet shoots and works perfectly. Even feeds the second round ,,well most of the time. Point is that the SMLE 410 barrel is the same profile as the original BSA sporter barrel. The forend fits it perfectly.
Also, the BSA top tang safety was an option only and not a necessity even with the Metford cocking piece on the bolt. The Metford cocking piece only gave the use of a half cock as a safety, no other safety device on the rifle. But that in itself was considered sufficient at the time in the hands of a competent shooter. The Lee Metford rifle in it's final form had no extra mechanical safety IIRC. I feel the Lee sporters & Mannlicher Schoenaur pre war sporters are some of the best if not the best handling rifles I've ever had.
KTR,
I've got some questions - can you shoot me a PM?
 

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Otherwise I will have to make one up from a military model...but who would do the custom wood? (That's a serious question).
I've got a Lee Metford buttstock where someone very carefully worked down a military buttstock to a shotgun profile, then checkered the grip. Proves that it can be done, if you're patient.
 

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sporter wood

If I wanted to have a buttstock made that exactly matched the commerical sporter stocks, would it be possible to start with military wood or use a blank like the one sold by Boyd's? Anyone you recommend to do this work? (I've never had custom wood made before).

Is there enough wood on a military buttstock to be "cut down" enough to end up with one that EXACTLY matched the sporter buttstock?

Story, could you please post a pic of that custom Lee Metford buttstock?
 

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Some detail pictures of the BSA #4 pattern carbine.
I think it has been reblued sometime in the distant past - owned and catalogued by the navy? - the front sight added by bubba or maybe late BSA production? and you can see BSA raided their military production line for good looking wood but before the cutouts for safetys etc were put in.
 

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JC5,
WILCO.

I put an Ishapore light-colored buttstock behind, in an attempt to illustrate what wood the stock carver took away from the military profile. You can see the rounded shotgun grip and narrowed, arched wrist.
Rowdy,
Those pics are inspirational.
 

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Yes, great pics! Thank your for posting.

How about a pic of the knox form?
 
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