• 1944 ShtLE (Short Lee-Enfield) No.1 MkIII* Infantry Rifle

    1944 ShtLE (Short Lee-Enfield) No.1 MkIII* Infantry Rifle
    (Manufactured by Lithgow, Australia)

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Caliber: ....................... .303 British (Mk VII or Mk VIIz Ball)
    Rifling & Twist: .............. 5 groove, left hand twist, 1 : 10
    Barrel Length: ............... 25.25 in (640 mm)
    Overall Length: ............. 44.5 in (1130 mm)
    Weight: ........................ 8.6 lb. (3.9 kg) (unloaded)
    Magazine Capacity: ....... 10 rounds (magazine loaded)
    Mfg Dates/Qty: ............. Mk III SMLEs started in production at Lithgow in 1913, production of the Mk III* ended in 1956.
    Approximately 415,800 were produced between 1939 and 1956.

    Sources: ........................ The Lee-Enfield Story by Ian Skennerton (1993) - ISBN: 185367138X
    .................................... Small Arms of the World (12th Ed.) by Edward Clinton Ezell - ISBN 0-88029-601-1

    Canadian Market Value Estimate: $

    1944 Lithgow ShtLE (Short Lee-Enfield) No.1 MkIII*

    (42 picture virtual tour)

    Observations: (by "Stevo")
    Note: Pics of rifle provided courtesy of MILSURPS.COM member Stevo.

    The Rifle, Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield, in it’s Mk III and Mk III* variants was the primary infantry rifle of Australian forces from circa World War One until the introduction of the L1 FAL rifle variant in the mid 1950's. It served with distinction from Gallipoli to Korea.

    Serial markings will be found on the receiver ring, rear of bolt handle, nosecap bayonet lug, and normally on the barrel knox form (though not on this rifle). Coachwood stocked examples, as this one is, must be treated carefully to ensure the wood does not dry out or crack/split while removing it. Brass wood-reinforcing pins can be noted in many of the pictures. Virtually all Lithgow SMLEs produced after 1939 will be found stocked in Australian coachwood.

    This rifle, while in unused condition, appears to have been issued. This is supported by the "6/45" marking stamped on the buttstock which indicates the rifle was "Returned to Arsenal" in June of 1945. This would normally imply a minor repair/part replacement or FTR (Factory Thorough Repair), but in the case of this rifle, there is no evidence of repair/replacement or FTR.

    The majority of World War Two Australian MkIII*’s were marked “MA Lithgow”, signifying manufacture and assembly at Royal Australian Ordnance Factory Lithgow. This rifle is marked “MAO SMLE”, signifying assembly of the rifle at the Royal Australian Ordnance Factory Orange on a Lithgow made receiver.

    This particular rifle was purchased in Toronto, Ontario in the early 1960's by my Father. It shows none of the paint evident on Australian No. 1s imported into Canada during the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. These rifles were ex-Cadet issue and marked with either green paint, signifying “OK for use with ball” or yellow paint, signifying “OK for occasional use with ball”. The yellow markings were usually due to a minor imperfection like a pitted bore, poor trigger, bad bedding, a superficial stock crack, etc. These paint bands would have included the nosecap and extended to midway between the nosecap and barrel band.

    The John Jovino Company of New York State imported large numbers of Lithgow rifles and parts. The rifles are marked JJCoNY,NY. These rifles should be inspected for the presence of brass recoil plates in the fore end. Some, but not all, JJCo rifles were made up from parts and these are commonly lacking the recoil plates. These recoil plates are necessary to prevent the coachwood stock from splitting under recoil which could occur with the firing of just a few rounds. Lithgow made SMLEs fitted with coachwood or Queensland maple stocks are the only SMLEs to feature these recoil plates.

    Caution: On any SMLE, ensure that you remove the fore end before attempting to remove the buttstock. Failing to do this can result in a cracked fore end when removing the buttstock first.

    I consider this rifle to be the most attractive military surplus rifle I have ever seen, because of it's condition and the beautiful colour and figure of the coachwood stock. But I'm biased.

    Note: Special thanks to "Claven2" and "Son" (a member of Gunboards), for additional feedback and research.

    Collector Comments and Feedback:

    1. Found this very interesting brochure and instruciton manual contained in a post by JIMMYC on Gunboards:

    "I was digging through some of my old papers, and I came upon this. I remember getting this when I purchased my Australian SMLE in 1990. So I thought I would share. I don't know if the information is valid, but there is a lot of good info if it is. (by JIMMYC)"
    ......... (Feedback by "Badger")

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    2. Here's an interesting manual for Australian Enfield collectors. I can't remember where I found it, but if someone knows the source to thank and acknowledge here, please send me a PM and let me know. ..... (Feedback by "Badger")

    1945 Australian Rifle Parts Identification List


    Rifle No.1 SMLE .303
    Mark III, Mark III* and Emergency

    Rifle No.3 Mk1*(T)

    Rifle No.4 .303 Mk1 and Mk1*

    Discharger Grenade Rifle No.1 Mk1 2 1/2"

    (Click PIC to read and save Adobe PDF File)
    (Right Click on PIC and choose "Save Target As..." to download PDF file)

    3. On some systems with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, after you click on images in the MKB to ENLARGE them, you may find they automatically size smaller in your browser's window making them hard to read. The auto sizing is your browser's way of keeping images entirely within the screen size you have set.

    If this happens, move your mouse pointer to the bottom right corner of the pic and hold it there. You will see a small box open up with four arrows point outwards and it will say "Expand to Regular Size". Click this box and the pic will open up to it's normal size and you should now be able to read any text and make out small details in the pic. .....
    (Feedback by "Badger")
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 1944 ShtLE (Short Lee-Enfield) No.1 MkIII* Infantry Rifle started by Badger View original post
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