Enfield SMLE

castile

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Joined
Jun 19, 2012
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This is another one I am helping my friend sell. I may buy it for myself. I would like to find out more about it. The brass bore disc is replaced with a Canadian quarter. It is an import. But its in good condition for its age. Bore is good, No pitting I can see. Good rifling. I tore it completely down and cleaned it and oiled it. The rifle is dated 1916 and the action cover is dated 1942. So would this have been a WW2 rifle used in WW2 possibly? Any help on value, or historical would be greatly appreciated. DSC09477.JPG DSC09479.JPG DSC09480.JPG DSC09481.JPG DSC09482.JPG DSC09483.JPG DSC09484.JPG DSC09485.JPG DSC09486.JPG DSC09487.JPG
 
She had two Enfields. This one I believe is a No4 MK? I tore it down but I could not get the front stock off. Someone busted off the screw. I would have to drill it out and try and easy out if not a full drill out. But since it was not necessary to do a cleaning and the blueing under the hand guards was like new I just oiled it and put it back together. Cleaning the bore and the bolt ect. 1.JPG DSC09552.JPG DSC09553.JPG DSC09554.JPG DSC09555.JPG DSC09556.JPG DSC09557.JPG DSC09558.JPG DSC09559.JPG I will try to do the post for this one. I don't believe the scope mount is original English. I think its some after market but I have no idea. The scope is obviously not original to the gun.
 
Ugh, that scope mount is aftermarket and hideous. Love how they gouged the stock to put it on, SMH.
At a local shop or show, I would expect the No4 Mk1 to have $350-450 on the tag due to the condition and mods.

The SMLE No.1 Mk3* on the other hand is very clean for a wartime production gun that almost certainly saw combat, and relatively free of arsenal rebuild and inspection marks that usually cover every square inch of old Enfields. That said, its a very common gun, with rare and expensive ammo. I would expect a local seller to be asking $550-700 for that one.
 
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On the SMLE I was told that the Z on the barrel ring meant it could not be shot safely. Is that true? Is the SMLE a wall hanger?
 
Z marks (when on the receiver, near the serial number):
The ZF mark.

The short answer to this is that the ZF marking to an Armourer means that this is the end of the line.

The Z means that it has been condemned at a Base workshop (that's the Z bit) as suitable only for a Factory Repair (that's the F part). This will indicate something to do with a part that cannot be rectified at Base Workshop and that is inevitably a damaged body. On a No4 rifle, this is what we call 'the master component', a part that is NEVER supplied as a spare part through the Ordnance channels.

There was only one other mark that was more extreme than ZF and that was ZF-BER. Which meant that in addition to the ZF, one of the examiners had decreed it to be beyond economic repair in any case. But effectively, both were the same......................

There was a milder Z-BER which indicated that it wasn't even worth sending to the factory and at workshops, these were torched!

So, the rifle your correspondent is referring to falls into one of three categories
1) scrap
2) very scrap
3) Extremely scrap


Several pages more and then .........

Now, where were we. Ah, yes! If your rifle exhibits the glowing ZF or DP marks, then take a bit of advice. It’s there for a reason, I’ve covered all your bases but moreover, YOU don’t know why it’s there but at least the Forum has erred on the side of safety

Peter Laidler

I didn't see it in your photos so not sure this applies to yours or it was on another part. And in theory even if so it could have been repaired after being surplussed, but we have no evidence of that if it still bears the Z marking.
 
Not sure how much this kills value. I was told there is no way to tell what is wrong with it to deserve the Z stamp.
 
The Z mark on this rifle is part of the Suffix not an inspection mark. A lot of the people who are on the SMLE and Enfield forum shot this rifle down along with my Mk4. They said the top was ground a bit and it was because it had a DP [drill purpose only] rifle. That is facts not in evidence as far as I am concerned. I ran a box of 303 ammo through it with no issues. Its very accurate at 100 yards. After that I took them both into a full service gun smith and asked them to do the head space, check for safety and bore scope and anything that would make the rifles unsafe to shoot. Many on the forum said I should send them to some guy that only looks at Enfields. I will dispute that idea out of the gate. There is no evidence that the top was ground to remove a DP mark, no evidence that the gun was in any way marked anywhere else with the DP or Z series of marks. The only Zs on the gun are the Suffix on the receiver and the nose. These are obvious suffix lettering.
 
Funny, but after I went to the range today and shot the Enfields again, I took them over to a full service gun smith locally. I asked for an inspection, I stated this above. On the Enfield forum some went off that there was only one competnt gun smith that could look at the Enfields. LOL Only one in the whole USA. LOL that is just ridiculously stupid.
 
It’s pretty obvious that you have made up your mind. They’re your guns, shoot them if you like. (It’s also your face behind the bolt, so, again, shoot them if you like.) IMO being contemptuous of the advice people have given is not charitable, “not particularly high road,” as they say in these parts, since they are not trying to trash your guns, they’re just giving you their experienced opinions as to what some marks may mean, and that it might be bad news in terms of potential safety risks. You may disagree but don’t ridicule, please.

I don’t know Brian Dick or any other Enfield smith, but I can tell you that the Enfield is a lot more esoteric in terms of parts fitting, etc compared to Mausers and Springfields, and my guess is, this guy gets the nod from those who are enthusiasts about these guns, because he has experience and specialization, and because he has a set of the gauges necessary to actually diagnose these things, and the knowledge to use them, which your average gun plumber does not.

I think the potential safety risks of non-matching bolts in Enfield circles might be a bit overblown…. But to me it’s not worth the risk of the gun beating itself up, so I only buy ones that match. The price difference isn’t huge if you’re patient. Some rifles were condemned to DP purely because they needed training guns… but others were condemned for very real safety reasons. With hundreds of thousands of good ones available it’s worth asking if the risk is worth taking.

If they were my rifles and there was question about markings etc I’d throw them on Gunbroker with full photos of the marks and disclosure of suspicions, range trip, gunsmith, etc. and let them bring what they bring …but that’s just me.

That all being said, the good news all around is, .303 Brit is now relatively expensive so a “shooter” rifle, matching, mismatched, potentially condemned, or no, will probably only have a few dozen rounds put through it in a lifetime now, not hundreds at a time from a spam can of surplus ammo. So these concerns are probably less serious than they were a couple of decades ago, when an old rifle could be expected to hit the range often and be abused compared to today.
 
I think you missed the point a bit. Many on the forum said that only one person can check the Enfield. I don't buy that for one minute. Its a ridiculous statement. Its not even positive this is a DP rifle and even if it was its not proven that being a DP rifle makes it automatically a bad rifle. Why would the gov. cull a rifle that is dangerous and not drill it and make it not shootable? Why is it that on the same forum they show one being used with 300 win mag and it not even cracking a lug till the 16th round then act like they are that delicate? If my gun smith gives me the OK than its OK to shoot. That is what I have made my mind up on. Since I have the dies to load the 303, I can always load a low pressure round, also the 303 was a lot lower pressure than other calibers and they made these in 308 which is a much higher pressure than the 303 and I hear nothing about these blowing up. Also I asked for one example of one blowing up with normal use. No one could show me as much as a photo of one that blew up under normal use. My other issue is that because I dared to question the guru I was out of line. Sorry but either we discuss and have different opinions or we don't . If someone can show me actual proof of my rifle being dangerous or that only one guy can check an Enfield for safety then fine. But I have not seen any yet. Its all been "I heard this guy say, or I knew a guy who said"
 
Interesting to watch OP's saga play out. I wouldn't tempt it but maybe I'm too risk adverse?
 
I called the so called guru. He said he only checks head space and inspects for damage in the bore and bolt. No magic at all. So there goes the only one guy in the US can inspect these. The thing is if it is a DP gun that scares people off. From what I have found there is no source but for one or two of the armorers who said they would not shoot a DP. For me you can not judge all DP by one rule. I am sure that not all DP rifles were junk that were a time bomb. I would be if they needed them they would grab them when needed and stamp them DP. He also said my rifle from the pics looks very good with a decent bore, from what he could see in the photos. There were no DP marks on this rifle anywhere at all. The Z on the back of the receiver is really an N. He also agreed that this N could be a Navy mark. I will post what the local gun smith comes up with. The one thing I have observed about the two Enfiled forums is that they wallow in Analysis paralysis. Its actually fun to go read some of the threads where they go on and on and on about Go No go gauges that are good and the ones that are bad. Some will go on about the Forster gauges as being junk.

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Welcome to the glorious world of military surplus.


Many Enfield shooters are British or from commonwealth countries. They tend to have a very …risk averse… mentality. In America we had our government condemn rifles, cut them up… and we happily find them, weld them together again, and sell them as good to go. Not saying one is better than the other, right or wrong, just different. Part of the problem with surplus is that it’s just that… surplus. By definition it’s stuff that no longer meets govt requirements. Whether that’s because of condition, or just because they don’t need Enfields/Garands/Springfields anymore. So there’s always an element of risk because unless you’re buying from the CMP or someone who has trained armorers go through and gauge each gun… some are going to be in spec, some probably not.

After 50+ years since these have been issued to anyone? Hard to say anything with absolute certainty.
 
I am going to go with the gun smith I took them to. What I plan on is that if both the SMLE and No4 are deemed good to go, I will shoot the SMLE with light loads and not that often. The Noo4 I will shoot with middle of the road loads of factory. To say that the Enfield form is insane over the safety factory is putting it mildly. Its all I know a buy who talked to a guy named Peter in England and he said that he said bla bla bla. That is such a load. I did get an apology from the Mod that some were a bit over the top. Here is a video showing how strong the action is. https://youtu.be/7bhWxFbYdyw
 
The same folks will tell you how weak the action of the Springfield 1892 30-40 Krag is because it only has one front locking lug. They never notice that the bolt handle also serves as a locking lug at the rear of the receiver.
 
I know, the other forum went off on how my two rifles were junk. I took them both to the range again and put some reloads through them and everything was just fine.
 
I cracked a bolt on a No1mk3 while shooting cast bullet reloads and posted about fixing it on Jan 2022. Theres a pic of the broken bolt and a book on accurizing Enfield. Dunno, might be of interest.

I recall replacing the wood off a beat up No1m3 back in the day when they could be had for 100-150 bucks.
The old wood did smell bad:)
 
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