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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi here is another rifle from my collection that I recently picked up. A mK 1* Le with a westley Richards barrel retailed through Mick Simmons store in George st Sydney must be before the full bore rules changed as it is still the original length I also included a photo of Micks catalogue from the early 1930's that I took from a friends catalogue showing the original advertising.
I have a question for any one that knows, I hate the varnish on the wood and would like to remove it and just have an oiled look but the person I bought it off said it may have been applied when Mick sold it does anybody know ? I also wouldn't mind a rear volley sight arm and buttstock with the car touches intact if anyone knows of any in Australia.
Mitch







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What a great looking rifle, I cant help with the finish when it left Mick Smiths or the butt but hopefully the gun shows will be back on in the new year, always plenty of stocks at the Sydney show. Cheers

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Well, this may or may not help, but the varnish might have been applied by the retailer as your friend suggested. I have two commercial Lee's; one a charger-loader, and one an MLE Mk I. Both are commercial BSA rifles, and the stocks are beautifully figured walnut, covered in varnish. I have no reason to believe this was done anywhere else but at the BSA factory.

On a different note, You say your stock is missing it's cartouche. I have two other Long Lee's that seem to have had the cartouche either sanded over or intentionally obliterated. On one of the stocks, I can actually feel the divot where someone sanded the cartouche, removing it and leaving a distinct impression in the stock. I have no idea if the owners thought having a cartouche present (with class of arm as well) somehow indicated it was a stolen or unaccounted for military arm. Pure speculation on my behalf...

My uncle was a police officer in Los Angeles back in the 50's/early 60's, He would see and hear of people scraping, grinding or otherwise de-facing the surfaces of surplused US Arms. It seems the "US Property" stamp on US arms led owners to believe it was still US Gov't property. Even some of the LAPD (back then) seemed to think this was the case as well. Rumors and misinformation abounded even back then.

You have a beautiful rifle there! I would leave it as is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Smle addict, you maybe correct about the cartouches as there does seem to be a divot in the stock about the size of a stamping, I can just make out the round stamping from bsa.
I will probably leave it as is then because it is quite presentable. The bore is very good.
I found some information about mick Simmons store here History if anyone is interested. I am too young to remember it selling guns but it is interesting all the same.
 

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The Mick Simmons gunsmith business is well known from newspaper advertisements from early 1910, but a gun business selling American sporting rifles existed under this name by 1903. The business had a alrge stand at the 1903 Royal Sydney Show which had both tobacco requisites and "m\Maine" rifles on display.

He started business as a George Street tobacco importer, processor and cigarette and cigar maker in the late 1870's and this grew to eventually become an incorporated company some time before WW1. The business imported American grown tobacco leaf and processed it using the best available imported machinery. Mick Simmons stood as a candidate in the general elections of the late 1880's (several times but unsuccessfully) and was active in supporting candidates after that time. Serving as an alderman from 1892, Mick Simmons died aged 43 of peritonitis in December 1894 but his successful business was carried onwards by his widow and sons. The business had six Sydney stores by 1911. In 1922 the business bought their rented premises at Haymarket outright for 32,500 pounds and the business later expanded to 12 stores around Sydney. Adverts for the gunsmithing and sporting goods continue until after WW2.

By the 1920's the Mick Simmons business sponsored a series of special event at the NSWRA prize meetings, with a 100 pound prize pool being split by shooters using a Mick Simmons built rifle. Percy Pavey won part of one of these prizes at the 1931 NSW Kings, having gone up there to use a MS rifle. 1931 was also the year the famous Lionel Bibby began work at the Mick Simmons Haymarket store.

Aperture sights like the BSA No.9 were permitted from 1909 and were popular through to the mid 1920's when the Parker Hale 5A went on sale. As sights were an expensive item the trusty No.9 stayed in use with many shooters until cheaper Australian models of better design began appearing in the 1930's, so it is not easy to date a rifle (like yours) from this period, though if still as originally built and with it's original sight is would have to be before the mid 1920's. The advert below is from 6 Mar 1910 naming the options for a rifle build from Mick Simmons at that date.

Have you checked the butt trap in your rifle carefully? Sometimes the owner had his club membership slip rolled up and put inside.
 

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@swedeM63 your knowledge continues to impress. Thanks for this history lesson.
 
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