Great War SMLE advice

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abaddon1974
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Great War SMLE advice

Postby abaddon1974 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:17 pm

After 8 months of waiting I finally have the neccessary paperwork to obtain a SMLE for my Lincolnshire Regiment impression.

I am just wondering if anyone has any pointers or advice they could offer ready for when I start looking.

I would hate to buy something only to be told by someone with more knowledge that it is different from one that would have been used during the great war.

Also are blanks readily available for them? I would like to self load but I don't think that this is feasible with blanks.

Thanks

Craig



acecat999
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby acecat999 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:21 pm

i self load but mine's a .410.... but .303 blank is available from many places but not as cheap as it used to be.

simply look at the date on the gun (most post WW! ones will be MK111* anyway, you really need a MKIII although a MKIII* is ok for anything past 1915, but having the right looking guns gets ruined if you have 1939 stamped on the side of the gun) - anyway words ain't as good a pictures are they

and see who made it at the same time. you'd probably want a british made gun.

Image


Sht LE = means short Lee enfield. thats what SMLEs of the period have on them although you will find things that look like SMLEs that are converted Lee Carbine or cut down Long Lees. Conversions are cool but Make sure that there is a charger bridge if its a conversion, also the safety is in a different place.


check cocking piece it has is correct for the date
http://www.jaybe-militaria.co.uk/deacti ... -275-p.asp

serated side ones are post 1915, although they still made the round ones


volley sights and / or magazine restrictor are bonuses

Image



hope that its not been refurbed by Ishapore at some point. they stick an extra screw in it

this is an ishapore screw on a no4 http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v322/ ... o5Mk1d.jpg


so read the side of the gun, check the bolt ons and you are away




if you are after one....
this is not a bad start - cut off, round cocking, BSA 1915, fairly priced
http://www.gunstar.co.uk/Rifle/Lee-Enfi ... 08003.aspx
to finish it off you can get a blank brass regimental disc and stamp it up for your regiment
Last edited by acecat999 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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abaddon1974
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby abaddon1974 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:41 pm

Thanks for your help.
I have sent the gun star seller a message so we will see what happens.
What little bit of knowledge that I have is black powder smooth bore based, so nothing as modern as a rifle.
Gary at Derbyshire Historic Arms has offered to seek out some blanks for me, and long term I intend to join a local shooting range as well, which the FLO who interviewed me was also keen that guns should be used properly not just to shoot blanks, but that is in the future and will of course mean applying for a variation to my licence.

Craig



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Dixie
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby Dixie » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:43 pm

Best to work to a budget, I have just been through the process so I know where you are coming from.
i bought my 1st SMLE only to discover that it is too good to take out for reenacting.
the second one I got is like the one mentioned in the above post. It is a post war BSA SMLE made for the Bahrainian Military. i intend to use it for blank firing at events and it will be fine as it looks the part, it just doesn't have the date on it.
Happy to discuss my journey with you.
best of luck.


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Dixie
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby Dixie » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:22 am

Another BSA interwar SMLE
http://www.gunstar.co.uk/Rifle/SMLE-No1 ... 10850.aspx
It looks like that it will do you on the range as well.


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abaddon1974
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby abaddon1974 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:03 pm

I have spoke to the seller of the first SMLE.
It has the earlier bolt, the magazine cut off and a windage sight if that is the correct spelling.
The seller thinks that it was made around 1914, 1915 and it is known to have been exported to South Africa for the forces there, having been imported back to England as part of a batch last year and re-proofed to a civilian spec in November.
It has no date stamp at all which the seller says is not unusual for rifles that have come from South Africa.
He also added that when he buys a batch he deactivates anything that is too worn to be of use so this one should be in decent condition.
To the more knowledgeable people on the board, is anything standing out like a sore thumb from that description?

Craig



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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby acecat999 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:22 pm

if you like it and can afford it ... its up to you.

but from what I know about you .... you are a perfectionist.

if it has a load of SAP markings its not going to pass a close inspection for WW1 british. but its a question if you can find an affordable example with the right markings.... or one that fires in the same direction you point it.

thats the thing about enfields - they are what they have stamped on the side...... unless they are kyber pass copies of course.


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Dixie
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby Dixie » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:40 pm

acecat999 wrote:thats the thing about enfields - they are what they have stamped on the side...... unless they are kyber pass copies of course.

I would agree with that, but still put my money on it being an interwar rifle.
Check the serial number if, on the main body, it starts with a 5 then it is a BSA Bahrain contract rifle. The chances of them having matching serial numbers are slim as they came back into the country in bits. They vast majority were deactivated as the UK market is not big enough to sustain large numbers of firers.

On the subject of blanks be a little careful what you put down your barrel. There are some dodgy Indian made blanks and even worse Egyptian ones out there.
Some of the cheaper stuff is black powder and you have seen what that does if you don't clean it too well. I am using PPU from Kranks, not the cheapest but if someone else can get me better and cheaper...... :)


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acecat999
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby acecat999 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:06 pm

egyptian blanks leave your gun the cleanest you could imagine ---- they rarely work.

i clean my gun after its been used... oddly i think all 3 of us are black powder muzzle loaders, haven't you even noticed that the enfields are so much easier to clean? :lol: was going to tell craig his first purchase has to be a cleaning pull through and oiling bottle.

i have a mixture of home loaded cut down .410, PPU, Kynoch Black Tip and Egyptian, it depends how loud I want to be Most of the long nose red tip PPU though goes into the Bren.


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450 Martini
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby 450 Martini » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:56 pm

Those egypitian blanks make for some intresting hang fires.
I was fortunate a few months ago a quartermaster friend of a chap in my group was clearing out a armoury used in the 1980's by the cadet force. He found a crate of 303 blank, it seems this was the stuff that was handed back in by cadets after exercice as some were in charger clips. Any way the army didnt want it so they disposed of it to our lot. most of it was 1970-80s greek army blank.

another story is how a gun dealer chap i know came across a pallet of unopened ammunition cans dated 1945 in the magazine of a midland target shooting club each contained 288 rounds of .303 live mk7 rounds, in each can were boxes of 32 rounds all in the celophane. needless to say they sold like hot cakes, one case has migrated to my ammo cabinet.

Regarding the home loading of blank it can be done, the tools needed are standard bits of reloading kit, i did need to get a rose crimp die from Ch4D in the USA. i have had good results with small amounts of quick burning nitro shotgun powder like red dot/unique. i think i have made and used up several thousand over the past few years. they work well in my martini enfield, long lee, smle, p14, no4. I think my cost is less than a few pounds per hundred. Now i'm not advising anyone to go and tinker, reloading any kind of ammunition can be potentially dangerous, i personally have been making my own live ammunition for the last decade, if you don't know what you are doing, don't try it.



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Dixie
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby Dixie » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:23 am

I will hopefully be getting reloading equipment later this year and I was chatting to a mate about making blanks. Now if they are as cheap as you say then it is worth getting a die. Any advice on the weight of the charge and the powder type would help.


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450 Martini
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby 450 Martini » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:34 pm

This is the way i reload a batch of rounds up, say for example i have a batch of used ppu 303 blanks, firstly i cut off the split "bullet" bit of brass with a copper pipe cutter, then i place in a press shell holder and de cap with a universal decapping die, i then use a hand held priming tool to insert new primers, i then use my drum powder measure to add 12-16 grains of alliant red dot or green dot or unique. i have also had some sucsess with vectern AS. i then screw in my CH4D 30 cal blank crimp die. the trick with the die is to get a nice close crimp without bending the shoulder of the cartridge case. if the case is a bit bent i can straighten it up later. i then lube the case with resizing lube and size in a rezizing die with the decapping pin removed. i then use a tiny piece of beeswax to seal the tiny hole in the crimp and water proof the case. thats all there is really to the process. here is a link to a US chap who done a lot of blank loading.

http://bobshellsblog.blogspot.co.uk/200 ... -ammo.html

crimp dies
http://www.ch4d.com/catalog/blank-crimp/bc



abaddon1974
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby abaddon1974 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:52 pm

I have now managed to find a 1915 british SMLE which appears to be in pretty good condition and has apparently only just been released from the military. The woodwork has a few little dings but at 98 years old it is what I would expect.

I am now on the look out for stripper clips, but the only ones I have found are modern and don't look like the photo's of great war ones that I have seen.
Does anyone know if original looking ones are available from anywhere?

Craig



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Dixie
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby Dixie » Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:03 pm

I had to get my ones from the states. They are a later version but a box of 100 cost £120 including delivery, so not to be passed by.
If you find a source for the early ones then spread the word.


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7thLeicesters
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Re: Great War SMLE advice

Postby 7thLeicesters » Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:39 am

If you mean 'chargers', the usual ones (which I presume are the ones you're referring to? They're the ones i've most frequently seen), with holes at the bottom and sides, are still fine for WW1 as they were introduced in October 1917;

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forum ... pic=137658

"Mark IV LoC 19786 20 Oct 1917. "Differs ....in having four holes in the sides instead of five, which leaves more room for the spring in the lug end, and makes it less stiff"


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