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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After reading about the replace cutoff question and the answers on this forum and similar questions on other forums on this board I have come to my own conclusion.

First some background, I own several "sporterised" mil-surp rifles. Most were gifts. I love these old battle rifles both for their history and for the feelings I have for the folks that gifted them to me.

I also would love to have original condition battle rifles untouched except by armorers and me.

A compromise, it seems would be to return these "old soldiers" to original condition. But therein lies the problem.

Take for instance my Short Magazine Lee Enfield. 1907 BSA Mk1***. I don't know as much as most here about it but it seems that this rifle was changed several times by the various armories before being sold and then sporterised.

I was gifted this rifle from a cousin that knew about the theft of my No. 4 (sporterised) that was a christmas gift from my mother when I was 13 yrs. old in 1972. He knew that it wouldn't replace "reliable" the rifle I carried for years in the Alaskan bush. But Ol' Reliable (my 1907) is still one of my favorite back country rifles. You just can't beat 10 215gr. soft points for immediate fire power.

I have lurked about here and other places gleening information about possibly restoring Ol' Reliable but the cost for the pieces to do so seem to be more expensive than it would ever be worth, not to mention the labor to fix the parts I couldn't fix myself.

It's not just the price. What I would have wouldn't be restoration, at best it would be a reconstruction and possibly an abomination. And restore to what period? 1907? whenever they remarked it Mk1? *?*?*? post WW1? post WW2? Could some later owner try and pass it off as an "original SMLE"?

My conclusion: after looking at the factory sporters and lee speeds I think that I will try to finish the sporterisation of this fine old rifle. Shave and shape the stocks maybe add some nice checkering. Heat and bend the rear volley sight to act as a diopter for the original sights. Polish a bit and reblue, flatten the bolt knob and knurl it. You know make a proper sporter out of it. I will keep the 10 shot magazine though.

Any thoughts, comments suggestions?

All are welcome.

Wheeler44
 

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My thoughts on subjects like this:

Don't do anything to it that can't be un-done, you may regret it later.
 

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There will always be a wide range of opinion on this subject, and I must admit that I would cringe and whinge loudly and often at the thought of taking an original correct 1907 ShtLE MkI***, or any other intact old rifle and sporterizing it. That said; you can't ever put originality back, and the work you propose on an already sported rifle with such a personal history, plus the fact that you'll be keeping it in use as a cherished working rifle adds to it rather than detracts from it, IMO.

I wish you luck. I'd like to see pictures when it's done.
 

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Hi Wheeler, if your considering further sporterizing one of the rarest of the early SMLE's I would suggest either save the original pieces and work on more common mkIII parts to customize. (bolts, sights and wood) or even consider selling or trading for one of the many commonly found no.4s or mkIII. Many would gladly trade complete no4s for a chance to own a sporter mk1*** as they are very sought after.
 

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I was gifted this rifle from a cousin that knew about the theft of my No. 4 (sporterised) that was a christmas gift from my mother when I was 13 yrs. old in 1972. He knew that it wouldn't replace "reliable" the rifle I carried for years in the Alaskan bush. But Ol' Reliable (my 1907) is still one of my favorite back country rifles. You just can't beat 10 215gr. soft points for immediate fire power.


Any thoughts, comments suggestions?

All are welcome.

Wheeler44

I wouldn't. All the reasons noted above and;

it's been good enough til now and you can pass it on 'as you received it'

and

you can pick up any old chopped rifle w/ 'no history' and change to your hearts content.

Good luck and enjoy your rifle.
 

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We spend or working lives restoring old Enfields to something like their orignal condition, or to some state of modification done during their service life. The condition that some arrive in is, not to put too fine a point on it, heartbreaking. Much of the vandalisation is done through ignorance, or lack of appreciation of the piece's heritage.

Thankfully, the days when such rifles are messed about with is graduallly coming to an end, There is an appreciation of their value.

Please leave the Mark I*** as it is or just tweak it to restore a semblance of originallity.

We could even make you an offer for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
4 to 1 so far

Well folks, so far in voting the tally is Four against One in favor.

Thanks for the input so far fellas.

Does anyone else have any thing to add

Wheeler44
 

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Wheeler,
please don't ruin that rear volley sight, many people need them for their restorations.

I have saved at least one MkI***, it can be done and is not terribly expensive.

Springfield sporters has the original front band, if you call and ask nice. You can live with MKIII forewood, they also have it for a low price. You can see in the last picture where I filled in the MkIII* wood and recut it for the cutoff. Please excuse the Ishy screw, as most of the spare wood around for cheap has one.

The rear handguard is tough, no easy or cheap way to get it, but you can buy one; see the sticky on MKI wood at the top of this forum.

Here is my restoration :
 

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I would add a couple of comments/questions...

I wouldn't mess with the volley sight arm, it seems like the open sights would be more the thing for it's intended use as a back country companion. And out of curiosity, what condition is the rifle in now?

The reason I ask is that my "support" for a venture such as this is somewhat qualified, for what that's worth. If the rifle is modified beyond reasonable restoration, and you have the skills to emulate the fine craftsmanship of those old sporters, then I'm enthusiastically behind the idea. But if it's only a few bits and pieces from being put back into issue condition, I think it'd be a shame not to try and bring it back.
 

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i too would do no more to a mkI*** - please pass parts you plan to al;ter to those restoring/searching for parts and trade for more common ones or repros that can be dispensed with without such consternation ,
it is your rifle -do as you please but , you visit here , you know the value of hard to find bits , be kind to these historical pieces please

i agree the mkI*** went through so many changes and had so many things changed or left as the useability dictated that it would be dificult to say definitively it had this /or didnt have that .....as a mater of fact the reserialed ones sent to ireland may have actualy been of at least two versions [ER/CR]of upgrade - one getting lots of mkIII upgrades and the other getting fewer just because the existing parts were still useable and too valuable to throw out [especialy for that rable on the emerald isle :>} ....just kidding folks] so you make a good point about the reality of a restoration , yet , i must believe that as close to the original - as marked - configuration , is best
thats my oppinion and im sticking to it

BTW - no flames intended
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay Okay

BTW - no flames intended

No offense taken, I asked for honest opinions and I feel that I recieved them.

Tomorrow I will post pics so youse guys can see what I have.

The short lee is safe........for the night. ha ha ha

Thanks all for your input.

Wheeler44
 
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