Lee-Einfield SMLE MkIII


May 31, 2008, 03:02 AM
I was just curious what people's thoughts are on this rifle for hunting. I have shoot it (not at live targets however) and found out I need ear protection because the noise makes a ringing sound in my ear (it stays there for about a day and then might occasionally resurface during the rest of the week). Othe than that I love the rifle, but don't know how effect it is against deer. When I hit 16 I can carry this rifle and just need to get my hunting permit or whatever (haven't looked up the hunting stuff up yet).

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May 31, 2008, 03:43 AM
Hearing protection, in general, is HIGHLY SUGGESTED when firing ANY firearm. A suppressor would HELP, but hearing (known as "ears") protection is still a neccessity.

As to the effect on deer, what caliber is it (I don't know off the top of my head)?

May 31, 2008, 03:48 AM
.303 British (but wikipedia says that's just a commercial name and it's really a .311).

May 31, 2008, 05:09 AM
.303 was for many years the choice of game big and small hunters in africa. It'll work very nicely on any north american game, though something like a pissed of grizzly might be stretching it a touch.


dirty habit
May 31, 2008, 05:46 AM
The SMLE was used by Government cullers over here for years and accounted for hundreds of thousands of deer, bloody noisy things to use though...

May 31, 2008, 06:35 AM
I do belive someone in africa killed a rhino with one.

May 31, 2008, 06:58 AM
Yes, unmodified SMLE MkIII's are usually chambered for .303 British.

This caliber has been used successfully on many types of game all over the world and is a close rival to the .30-06. Even some expensive British double rifles have been chambered in the .303.

May 31, 2008, 08:11 AM
The military loadings (174 gr at 2440 fps) are a good ways away from commercial .30-06 power, but some of the newer loads, like the Hornady light mag, come close.

You should be wearing hearing protection whenever firing a firearm, however, or you might not need that hearing protection before long! The .303 Brit is not hard to find ammo for, it doesn't kick much, and it has dropped elephants (Although few would recommend trying that). It's a good cartridge.

May 31, 2008, 09:35 AM

The most common and well-respected rifle in the world, prior to the AK-47. Right arm of the British Empire, arguably the fastest-firing bolt-action rifle, and in a caliber that's killed every land animal on earth at one time or another.

.303 can be used on elephant. Not recommended, but a bullet pulled out and seated backwards will work.

Jeff F
May 31, 2008, 09:53 AM
It's kind of a heavy rifle to carry around but the No 4 is my go to meat rifle. The .303 with the right soft point bullets is a fine game cartridge. I have killed a bunch of mule deer and a few elk at ranges from 50 feet out to 275 yards. I just went on a coyote shoot with a couple guys from work and took one out at a little over 400 yards, and some luck was probably with me on that shot. I have shot the .303 for the better part of forty years and it has always worked out for me.

May 31, 2008, 11:54 AM
the noise makes a ringing sound in my ear

That "noise" is the result of the permanent damage you have done to your hearing.:banghead: Use ear protection!

May 31, 2008, 12:53 PM
Now Vaarok, you can't shoot that 8mm through that Enfield.

Almost caught me off guard. My first thought was "where did that guy get a case of Romanian .303?

May 31, 2008, 01:04 PM
Heh, good catch, DMK.

I didn't even notice that.

May 31, 2008, 01:11 PM
I have a 1943 s.m.l.e and i love it. It is my deer hunting rifle, I have the ati stock and scope mount. with a perrty tan and black finish:D. Its my favorite rifle to carry into the woods.

May 31, 2008, 02:07 PM
I love Smellys (SMLE) :) They are a great rifle and my favorite Enfield. If there is a smoother, faster bolt action rifle out there, I haven't fired it. The .303 will do a real number on deer. Up in Canada, it is commonly used to take moose without incident. Always wear hearing protection when shooting firearms, unless of course you want to be saying "huh?" a lot when you get older. :(

May 31, 2008, 02:19 PM
The .303 British will kill any game in North America with a 174 or 175 grain bullet. Have the headspace checked before you shoot it. Thousands of 'em have been assembled out of parts bins with zero QC.

May 31, 2008, 03:06 PM
Ok, thanks. Before I go hunting next season I'll be sure to get ear protection. Also, I have a question on my particular model. It doesn't have wood all the way to the end of the barrel. It also has adjustable sights, at the front of the wood. There is no circular sights. I have looked around on the internet to see if anyone else had this version, but I could find any. Did they ever make a carbine version of the Mk3 in 1939? Or do I just have a modified rifle?

May 31, 2008, 04:32 PM
The .303 British is entirely adequate for game up to deer and has even accounted for itself pretty well on Moose and big bears with 215 grain bullets.

And wear ear plugs at the range.
I have tinnitus (ringing ears) from using explosives in my youth.
I hear a hissing noise in both ears all the time and it will be there until the day I die.
So wear ear plugs or you'll eventually wind up like me.

BTW - There are Jungle carbines but they all have reciever sights. More than likely, if you got one that is full length without wood to the end of the barrel, you have a hack-job sporter.
One of those was my first hunting rifle and it's still in the family.

May 31, 2008, 05:53 PM
I used my .303 Enfield No.1 Mk.III to pig hunt for years. It was produced in 1931 and dropped swine in 2005 like nobodies business.

May 31, 2008, 06:51 PM
Sunray said "Have the headspace checked" - and that is great advice.

However, even if the headspace is out, it is not a disaster.

The SMLE bolt head unscrews and there is a range of sizes available to correct the headspace. If I remember correctly, there are about 6 available, in .002" increments.

ylapirrynag - there are, literally, millions of SMLE in the world. They have been hacked, butchered, sporterised, bastardised into every conceivable configuration.

It is also available in 7.62 NATO in its later variants - and this is essentially .308" Winchester (well, almost).

Next to the AK47, it is still the rifle that the copysmiths in the Khyber Pass towns turn out as standard.

Mine is a totally original London Small Arms No1 Mark 3, built in 1909 and which still hits what it is aimed at 99 years later.

May 31, 2008, 08:33 PM
I love Smellies. I'm up to four now. Everything from a No. 4 Mk. 1 in cosmo to a well-worn guide gun, complete with Mauser safety, 5-round mag, and elderly Weaver 4x side mount.

Smellies WORK!

May 31, 2008, 08:34 PM
you want noisy? shoot an m44. The enfield is nothing.

June 1, 2008, 12:36 AM
Ok, it was probably modified but I have no clue as my grandfather had bought this rifle in Germany years ago, when he was stationed there in 45-50 (unsure on the exact year).

Funderb, I don't really need to switch rifles, I am accustomed to shooting this one. ;)

June 1, 2008, 09:37 AM
Just have to throw in the mosin card, as usual.

Enfields are great rifles, I've shot but never owned one. (No new calibers please) They shoot fast and reasonably precise. For deer hunting?
Yeah man! People hunt deer with x39, this cartridge without question can handle deer.

I can still probably shoot an enfield better than my m44 IS. This is a good find, my friend, even sporterized.

If it is sporterized, check the chambering and make sure it was not changed to .308. Enjoy the crap out of it though.

June 1, 2008, 10:41 AM
Good advice above but I get the feeling that you still do not quite understand the hearing protection issue. Excuse me if I'm wrong but this important.

Wear good hearing protection at all times for practice and on the range. You will not normally wear hearing protection while hunting because you need to hear what is going on around you (a good reason to protect your ears during practice).

You will probably only shoot a couple of rounds during a hunt. For some strange reason the noise of the shot does not seem to be so loud during the excitement but it can still cause hearing damage. Fortunately, I think that in the woods the noise is absorbed somewhat compared with the range.

Do not use FMJ ammunition for hunting. Good luck.

June 2, 2008, 11:38 AM
Ok, I'll have to look around and see if anywhere carries .303 British (the rifle wasn't changed to .308 :) ).

June 2, 2008, 02:36 PM
The No.4s had the interchangeable bolt heads; I believe the No.1 Mk. IIIs you had to swap out the whole bolt. The Bolt heads for the No. $4s are marked 1-4 with 1 being the loosest and each size being 0.002" longer than the first.

June 2, 2008, 03:28 PM
The Smelly is one of the most effective rifles ever made against humans. And purely by coincidence, whitetail deer and humans are about the same size and weight. So I don't think you'll have any problems.

June 3, 2008, 02:33 PM
I was just contemplating doing this as well (hunting with a SMLE)... what's a good no-gunsmithing scope mount for them?

June 3, 2008, 07:17 PM
Since getting my C&R FFL, I'm beginning to develop a taste for Enfields. :p

So far, only have two. But, I want a few more. ;)

Here's a pic of what i've gotten so far.
Top Enfield is a sporterized No. 4 Mark 1 in .303Brit.
Bottom Enfield is a Canadian No. 4 Mark 1 in 7.62x51mm (Sterling conversion).

I aquired the top Enfield as is for $150 (w00t for C&R FFL!) a few weeks ago and I'm currently looking for a forward eye relief scope mount for it, so I can make it into a scout rifle (Since, my Mosin-Nagant scout rifle project ended up weighing too much to be practical).

June 3, 2008, 07:59 PM
Many years ago you could get the Canadian 308 barrels surplus. How I wish !!!!

June 3, 2008, 08:42 PM
You don't say where you are from but, loaded with 215 gr. soft points they will (and have) stop anything on the North American continent (shot placement is critical as it is for any gun).

Poor East Texan
June 3, 2008, 08:52 PM
Quiet, the both of them is NICE!

I sure need to look into a C&R License!

Jeff F
June 3, 2008, 09:38 PM
The Bolt heads for the No.4s are marked 1-4 with 1 being the loosest and each size being 0.002" longer than the first.

The bolt heads for the No4 are marked #0 to #3 with #0 being the shortest.

June 3, 2008, 10:54 PM
That was my understanding about the No. 4 and one reason I'd really like to have one.
There is also a SMLE in my family that was hacked into a sporter. It still shoots great but the headspace is so loose that brass only lasts one reloading most of the time, even though I only neck size.

So not to sidetrack the thread too much (I don't really think I should clutter up the board with another Enfield thread) but how would I tighten the headspace up a bit on a No.1 MK III ?
And where can I find a good source for parts for Enfields?

August 12, 2008, 06:13 PM
The straight dope on headspacing a No1 MkIII -

To fit new bolt-head to Rifles No. l.—(Spare part bolt- heads, marked “S” on the top, are longer at the front.) Assemble the bolt-head to the bolt, insert it in the body, and test with .064-inch No. 1 gauge; should the bolt not close over the gauge, remove the bolt-head from the bolt, and having placed a piece of emery cloth (No. F) on a flat surface, rub the face of the bolt-head on the emery cloth, maintaining a circular motion in order to preserve a flat surface, until sufficient metal has been removed to enable the assembled bolt to close over the gauge. The bolt should not close over the .074-inch No. 1 gauge. Care should be taken to keep the-face of the bolt-head flat and square. After fitting and adjusting, the top front edge of the face of the bolt-head is to be rounded to a radius not exceeding .02-inch.
Note.—When it is found that the bolts of several rifles turn over the 074-inch No. 1 gauge, the bolt-heads should be ex- changed among such rifles, as, owing to the varying lengths of bodies and bolts, bolt-heads which are too short in one rifle may be serviceable in another. Bolt-heads that have been replaced in rifles by longer ones, should be kept by the armourer and used whenever possible in rifles requiring the bolt-head replaced, so as to avoid unnecessary use of new spare part bolt-heads. Part-worn bolt-heads held as required by armourers in accordance with the foregoing need not be accounted for as part of the annual allowance of new spare parts.
8. Instructions for fitting new No. 2 bolt-heads and firing-pins to rifles No. 2, Mk. IV*.—(a) Assemble the bolt-head to the rifle without the firing-pin, and adjust the front face, where necessary, to enable the bolt to be closed with the bolt-head touching the face of the barrel.
(b) Remove the bolt-head from the rifle, insert the firing-pin, and press home to the small shoulder (A) (Fig. 2). If the rear end (B) of the pin is found to project beyond the rear face (C) of the bolt-head, reduce the pin at (B) until it is just below the face (C). This ensures that the bolt-head, and not the small shoulder (D) of the firing-pin, acts as a stop to the forward movement of the striker.
(c) Assemble the bolt complete; place the cocking-piece in the long cam of the bolt; test the protrusion of the point of the firing-pin, which should be the same as in the Service rifle (i.e.,.04 inch to .042inch),and adjust the point where necessary, maintaining the radial form at the point, as illustrated.
Note.—The internal shoulder (A) in the bolt-head controls the firing-pin in its most forward position, and when the firing- pin is properly adjusted1 prevents it from striking the edge of the chamber when snapping. Therefore, when adjusting the rear-end (B) of the firing-pin, care should be taken to see that the pin is not more than .003 inch below the rear face (C) of the bolt-head, as whatever distance it is below, so there will exist a similar clearance between the shoulder (D) of the pin and the shoulder (A) of the bolt-head when the pin is gauged for protrusion, and this, added to the amount of protrusion as gauged, gives the amount of protrusion of the striker point in its most forward position.

So not a simple as I thought I remembered - apologies!


August 12, 2008, 07:18 PM
Get yourself some Remington 303 Core-Lokt and go hunting.

August 12, 2008, 10:54 PM
.303 British (but wikipedia says that's just a commercial name and it's really a .311).

The bore is .303 while the grooves diameter is .311. The groove depth is .004" just like our ".30 caliber" US military rifles that sport grooves diameters of .308. Note that all measurements are nominal.

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