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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, I have what I assume is an SMLE muzzle protector. I'm curious to know if they were military issue - there are no markings on my example - if so when were they introduced? when superseded etc? Can anyone help me with this please?
Thanks in advance, A Roads.
 

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Sight protector

Sure mate these 'sight protectors' were made for the No.1 Mk 111 etc...made for and used by target shooters...to protect their 'sight black' on the front sight blade before they got to shoot...

The 'muzzle protector' part was always of doubtful value...although may have given some 'dust' protection.... :)

Probably made in their thousands...sometimes you see makers marks...most often those by 'Parker Hale'...but usually un marked. Spring steel and blued...they were fairly cheap, usually just a few 'shillings' in the old money...probably less than a dollar in todays.

As far as I am aware they were never a military issue component.
 

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SMLE sight protector

...and as for a time frame they were in use (by target shooters) from the introduction of the SMLE into rifle clubs..(probably after WW1) right up to the time when they fell out of favour as full bore target rifles...(with the introduction of the No.4 rifle to target shooters in Australia...about 1960)

Another item of similar purpose was a spring steel 'cover/protector' for the back sight of the SMLE..much rarer today and those seen usually have Parker Hale markings...rarer because most fullbore shooters either removed the military backsight or just didnt refit it to their heavy barrel.

You will also find a similar item for the No.4...although not incorporating a muzzle 'protector'...

Quite a collectors item in themselves these 'sight/muzzle protectors' and can be found for the martini henry and martini enfield and long lee enfields.

I think a similar range of devices could also be had for the 1903 Springfield over the years.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for that, I have a few of the earlier ones for LLE, ME, MH, Snider & P/53 etc & was vaguely aware that there was a military issue one for SMLE's but when I brought this one home & looked up the L.o.C.'s it was quite different to the types described & had me scratching my head - what you have said clarifies it nicely.
Adrian.
 
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