Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tuesday Furniture

SMLE Mk III* made in 1918, the stock in 1947. The receiver band (?) above the trigger reads

1919 1918

beneath the Crown stamp. Does anybody know whether the "1918" is engraved on all SMLEs? The India pattern bayonet was made in 1942 and is marked

9 42
RFI (for Rifle Factory Ishapore)

on the blade beneath the crown stamp.

The action is as slick as wet ice, but the rifle will not chamber .303 British ammo! I've tried! Does anybody know whether this might be chambered for a different caliber? Any help is welcome.

Update: It has a 103XXX serial number on top of the receiver beneath a D-2-with a tripod under it-D. On the right side of the receiver, it is stamped with a K, underneath which is a 67XX serial. It also has the K67XX stamped on the bottom of the stock, which I believe was made in 9/47 as it is marked. There are lots of other stampings all over which I can describe to anyone interested...anybody have a clue? I corrected the date after scrutinizing the "wrist" (as Firehand calls it) in better light. FH also caught the "RFI" right after I updated the first time. I Googled the heck out of "SMLE chamberings," which is what I should have done before even posting the first time. Hey, no one calls me a Journalist.

Another Update: Got lots of advice from both the Blogosphere and Usenet (rec.guns). It is definately chambered for .303 and is either subject to some stubborn grease stuck in the chamber, or has a separated piece of cartridge case neck lodged in the chamber invisible to visual inspection. I'll have to give it a good scrubbing with solvent, but it might take a while to resolve this...I know I've got a bandolier of .303 British around the house, but I don't recall seeing it in the last few years. It might be a while before I find it and/or get curious enough to send the gun off to the gunsmith. My latest search for the bandolier turned up 900 rounds of Chinese .308 ammo I forgot I had. Damn...what could I do with that?


  • At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Check for obstructions, broken off case in chamber, cosmolene, etc.

    Then look for signs that it was re-barreled for another calibre ... .308, .410 and .45-70 enfields have been made.

  • At 4:36 PM, Blogger Firehand said…

    The '1919' on the wrist is the year of manufacture, the * means No.1 Mk III*, a slightly later version.

    On the bayonet, RFI is 'Rifle Factory Ishapore' I believe. The '9 42' MAY be year of manufacture, but I'm only guessing there.

    I've got a friend who loves Enfields, I'll get him to take a look.

  • At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As kbarrett said, check for obstructions or it could be chambered for .308. If it were in .410 or .45-70 I'd think a .303 would slide right up inside.

    As my friend firehand said, 1919 is the year of mfg and * means a later variation. RFI is the Ishapore (India) factory

    For more information check books by Ian Skennerton. Ian's web site is tell him Oren Truitt sent you. Ian is THE leading expert on all British military small arms; he has dozens of books in print.

  • At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Isapore armory rechambered all the Enfields they could get their hands on into .308 for the Indian army.

    Maybe it's a .308 rebarrel that some clod put a .303 magazine on?

    Of course, that RFI bayonet may havbe nothing to do with the rifle. If you need a .308 enfield mag, there is an alaskan dealer in shotgun news who sells them.

  • At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    According to my copy of Stratton's SMLE (No. 1) Rifles book, the Enfield under the crown on what you're calling the reciever band is the factory it was made in, in this case the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield. Just like my 1916 #1 Mk III*...

    RSA Enfield made the Mk III* from 1916 to 1919, according to Stratton.

    The 103xxx is not the serial number from manufacture, the K67xx is the serial number. RSA Enfield varied the normal serial number scheme by only having 4 digits before rolling over into the letter prefixes. It's estimated that RSA Enfield made 623,330 MkIII* rifles in 1918. And they're estimated to have run through the alphabetical prefixes two or three times each in 1916, 1917, and 1918.

    The D-2 with tripod should be the unit or country marking. It's usually what is stamped on top of the reciever ring.

    Amazon has this book for about $15. Good money spent... ISBN is 1-882391-16-0... Complete illustrated parts breakdown, notes on the variances of the different parts, even down to the different screws and springs.


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