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Trying to ID SHTLE

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by hfekigjkh, May 15, 2011.

  1. hfekigjkh

    hfekigjkh New Member

    May 3, 2011
    Just picked this up a few days ago. Spent several hours researching, getting conficting data (i.e. British stamp means it was stamped for export, British means it was not stamped for export, British is a caliber designation).
    Figured I'd take advantage of the expertise and knowledge here.
    Right stock socket:
    Enfield 1916
    Left receiver:
    Crown GR
    Large X
    Left rear barrel:
    crown crown
    GR 7?
    P E
    16 or 91 sideways
    govmt arrow

    right rear barrel:
    ENGLAND (upside down) 303 8? TCNS
    Y NPY
    7291 7291

    There are other stamped markings which are illegible.
    Rear sight, u-notch, graduated to 20
    Front blade sight
    Stock has been sporterized.
  2. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Centennial, CO
    We could really use a pic here as a starting point.
  3. Sunray

    Sunray Senior Member

    May 17, 2003
    London, Ont.
    Hi. It's a 'bubba'd' Short Lee-Enfield(SHTLE) No. 1 Mk III*. The receiver was made in the Royal Small Arms Factory Enfield in 1916. Thousands of 'em were assembled out of parts bins with zero QC. Do not shoot it until you have had the headspace checked. Headspace was adjusted in the factory by changing bolt heads until the headspace was safe. If the headspace is bad, you have an issue. The only way to fix it is to try multiple bolt heads with proper headspace guages(no empty cases, live ammo, bits of tape or anything else.) until you find a bolt head that gives safe headspace. No. 1 bolt heads run $13.30 each for a stripped one(you take out the extractor and its spring then put 'em in the new bolt head. Not a big deal.)from Gunparts.
    You should slug the barrel as well. Hammer a cast .30 cal. bullet or suitably sized lead fishing sinker through the barrel and measure it with a micrometer. Lee-Enfield barrels can measure from .311" to .315" and still be considered ok. Over .315" the barrel is shot out. Commercial hunting ammo uses .311" or .312" bullets. Accuracy will be poor through a larger barrel.
    "...303 8? TCNS..." That'd be BNP(Birmingham Nitro Proof) .303 2.222" 18 tons plus either / SQ " or per Sq ". The cartridge, its length and the pressure it tested at. 18 tons per square inch. Proofing stamps required by British law on any milsurp sold through England. You'll see 'em on M1 Rifles too. Nothing to do with Lend/Lease though.
    The 'England' stamp is there to comply with pre-GCA of 1968, U.S. import laws.
    The 'G. R.' means George Rex. As in King George V of England.
    The Crown GR, Large X(actually crossed flags), P is a British proof mark.
    "...Left rear barrel:..." Hard to tell from the description, but it's likely a proof mark too. Or an inspection mark.
    The crown with the 'E' and the number is an inspection mark. The number indicates a specific inspector.
    "...graduated to 20..." 2,000 yards. During W.W. I, the PBI were used as a sort of artillery using volley fire. Literally plunging fire with a whole battalion's rifles at very long range.
    There's lots more info about stamps, etc., here. Inspection and proof marks didn't change much between the No. 1 and No. 4. http://www.enfieldrifles.ca/main.htm
    There's a how-to for disassembly/reassembly here. Right colume. http://www.surplusrifle.com/smle/index.asp
  4. hfekigjkh

    hfekigjkh New Member

    May 3, 2011
    Sunray, thanks for the response, and the advice. Very thorough. You're obviously an expert. I'm not used to asking for assistance with firearms,
    but Im a 303 novice.Thanks again.

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