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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Rifle No. 5 Mk 2 (D5E171/X/8) revisited. Newly acquired for my collection, I have been on the hunt for one for awhile as this rifle is a unique part of the Lee-Enfield history.

From what has been written in “The Lee-Enfield” the D5E171/X/8 rifle program was an experimentation in strengthening the body for grenade launching trials and either directly or indirectly trying to eliminate the “wandering zero” of the Rifle No. 5 Mark I. It was also the initial trial on the body mounted trigger which in 1949 would result in the Rifle No. 4 Mark 2, 1/2, and 1/3.

It has been stated that 50 of these rifles were ordered, however based on observed serial numbers it appears that around 100 were manufactured if the numbers of the rifles were sequential. The lowest serial number encountered is my example, BB1402, with the highest BB1479 just selling at auction this week (I was outbid, but I did not try too hard). The “BB” serial number block was used in the standard Mark I production but I have only found examples as low as BB3XXX.

These “Mark 2” rifles are stated to be conversions of standard Mark I bodies but upon examination it appears that the body modifications were machined out of the rough body forging and not welded and machined. If they were modified by welding and machining my naked eye cannot pick up any signs of this occurring.

As you can see in the pictures the triangular support added helps spread the shock load to a greater area of the butt socket body area, in later No. 4 Mark 2s this addition is mostly removed. This triangular support resulted in a significant amount of the fore-end being removed with the rear fore-end tie-plate. A cross screw was added for fore-end stability which is larger than the forward trigger guard screw.

The trigger guard for these Mark 2 rifles were of new manufacture as the shape was changed to help with some of the shock load distribution to the fore-end itself. Just the rear portion of the guard is different and is shown with a standard No. 5 Mark I for comparison.

The overall condition of this rifle appears to be un-issued which is similar to most of the other examples observed.

The accessories for the Mark 2 are harder to locate than the rifle itself. One advanced collector has a complete system, myself I only have one component of the sight assembly.

If any other collectors have an example outside of the 1402-1479 serial number range please let me know.
 

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So these were new made, purpose built rifles, in 1945? Is this correct? So the MkII program was on-going during the war? Are the heel marking serial numbers sequential, or just the receiver wall serial numbers?
Trying to get my mind around when this program was running. I would have guess postwar.
 

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There appears to be several very different rifles that are all noted as being No5 Mk2

One other type is :

The No5 Mk1 rifle had, however, one big fault : it was not easy to keep correctly sighted, and suffered from what was known as “wandering Zero”. This was a serious defect and many attempts were made to eradicate it. Trials were carried out with different forms of stocking up and a Mk2 pattern was eventually developed, with which further trials carried out in 1945 and 1946. In the new pattern the stock fore-end and hand-guard were extended to within about ½” of the rear of the flash eliminator, and the rear end of the fore-end was strengthened by a screw and nut. The band was positioned about three inches further forward to secure the lengthened fore-end and butt. The Mk2 never went into production, and it was eventually decided that the cause of the “wandering zero” was inherent in the design of the weapon and not the result of movement of unseasoned woodwork as had been suspected. The decision not to retain the No5 rifle in British
icon
service was made in July 1947 and it was declared obsolescent.


From : “The Lee Enfield Rifle
icon
” by Major EGB Reynolds.

Then there is the paratroop No5 Mk2 which had a 'breakdown' stock where the Butt 'clicked' in / out of a socket to make it a shorter weapon, another varient had the butt slide down a dovetail joint to lock in position.

"BreakeyP" has several different varients of the No5 Mk2, maybe he will post some pics and details.

I think he has 6 or 7 very different No5 Mk2 rifles.
 

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Wonderful rifle! Thanks for sharing! 👍
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So these were new made, purpose built rifles, in 1945? Is this correct? So the MkII program was on-going during the war? Are the heel marking serial numbers sequential, or just the receiver wall serial numbers?
Trying to get my mind around when this program was running. I would have guess postwar.
From what I have found they used a s/n block from production 1945 Mark I's. There are many made after these, when in '45 they were made is unknown. They are s/n'd in the standard locations, bolt, body and fore-end, no pre-serial number assembly numbers noted. No numbers on the mag or barrel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There appears to be several very different rifles that are all noted as being No5 Mk2

One other type is :

The No5 Mk1 rifle had, however, one big fault : it was not easy to keep correctly sighted, and suffered from what was known as “wandering Zero”. This was a serious defect and many attempts were made to eradicate it. Trials were carried out with different forms of stocking up and a Mk2 pattern was eventually developed, with which further trials carried out in 1945 and 1946. In the new pattern the stock fore-end and hand-guard were extended to within about ½” of the rear of the flash eliminator, and the rear end of the fore-end was strengthened by a screw and nut. The band was positioned about three inches further forward to secure the lengthened fore-end and butt. The Mk2 never went into production, and it was eventually decided that the cause of the “wandering zero” was inherent in the design of the weapon and not the result of movement of unseasoned woodwork as had been suspected. The decision not to retain the No5 rifle in British
icon
service was made in July 1947 and it was declared obsolescent.


From : “The Lee Enfield Rifle
icon
” by Major EGB Reynolds.

Then there is the paratroop No5 Mk2 which had a 'breakdown' stock where the Butt 'clicked' in / out of a socket to make it a shorter weapon, another varient had the butt slide down a dovetail joint to lock in position.

"BreakeyP" has several different varients of the No5 Mk2, maybe he will post some pics and details.

I think he has 6 or 7 very different No5 Mk2 rifles.
Paul has THE COLLECTION, so I hope he will share his knowledge. The Mark 2 designation was used for multiple trials so the D5E171/X/8 is the correct name for the girl. Most of the breakdown No. 5's were Mark I's, at least the ones I have seen!
 

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Very nice, Lance! Welcome to the club! I too have a No 5 Mk I, re-fitted as a trials Mk 2 (D5E171/X/8). I bought this around 13 years ago from a prolific collector who was thinning his collection. Couldn't believe my luck when it came up for sale. I have the grenade sight specific for this carbine, and I know where a grenade spigot for this model is, as well. My friend isn't ready to part with it yet, but maybe someday (or so he says...)

The sight came to me by way of the Victoria Trading Company (remember those con-men?), and I remember paying $95 for it. Wish I would have bought them all, but I was a broke army corporal, so one is all I could afford.

Great pics, as usual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Very nice, Lance! Welcome to the club! I too have a No 5 Mk I, re-fitted as a trials Mk 2 (D5E171/X/8). I bought this around 13 years ago from a prolific collector who was thinning his collection. Couldn't believe my luck when it came up for sale. I have the grenade sight specific for this carbine, and I know where a grenade spigot for this model is, as well. My friend isn't ready to part with it yet, but maybe someday (or so he says...)

The sight came to me by way of the Victoria Trading Company (remember those con-men?), and I remember paying $95 for it. Wish I would have bought them all, but I was a broke army corporal, so one is all I could afford.

Great pics, as usual.
Nice sight!! I think I got my 1 part from VTC also in a grab bag full of junk.

Your s/n is not in the BB14XX range, very interesting. I wonder its history??? Thanks for the pic's!!
 

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Thanks Lance. I'm not sure the serial number range is a reliable way to measure total production numbers. Skennerton only lists the numbers as "prototypes," with an approximate number of 50. In searching this forum, I found Paul posted a few threads of the No5 Trials with hung trigger. One thread had a picture of a rifle from the Faris collection. This example has a serial number of E6. Pure speculation on my part; but perhaps they pulled these 1945 rifles as needed (for both stocking up and grenade firing), since the trials program was running concurrently with the regular no5 production, as opposed to pulling a sequential set of rifles all at once. Again, purely a wild a** guess.
 

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Paul has THE COLLECTION, so I hope he will share his knowledge. The Mark 2 designation was used for multiple trials so the D5E171/X/8 is the correct name for the girl. Most of the breakdown No. 5's were Mark I's, at least the ones I have seen!
Yes - please do not think I was suggesting that yours is not a MK2, it just seems that there were 'several' totally different developments going on. all of which were called Mk2.

The one referred to by Reynolds was a Mk2 by virtue of a different stocking arrangement as opposed to using a 'MK2' trigger assembly

I guess it depends if you define a MK2 as being a MK2 only if it has a MK2 trigger (as per the No4s)

I'd love any of the MK2 variants !!!
 

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If asked a year ago, I would have said all the takedowns were Mk1s developed during the war. However, and there is always a however or but, I was able to purchase a dove tail takedown Mk2. It has a far more robust takedown than encountered with the earlierMk1 versions. It appears the program was far more involved than earlier suspected. The lack of research material is most vexing.
I have posted pictures of all the takedowns and should be searchable. Some one said that they should be archived but nothing happened to do it myself would be self-aggrandizing and beyond my meager computer capabilities.

Wood Air gun Trigger Wood stain Revolver
 

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Hey JB, the sight hooks on the left side of the receiver wall, and the cable wraps under the forend, just forward of the magazine. On the right side, a threaded screw secures it to the other side of the sight.
Now it’s starting to come together for me. Hooks over the left wall then snugs with the screw. (y)

Why would the British ruin a highly collectible rifle with cable marks on the underside?:unsure: (Not serious.)

Thank you.:)
 
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