• 1896 Mk1 MLE (Magazine Lee-Enfield) Long Lee

    1896 Mk1 MLE (Magazine Lee-Enfield) Long Lee
    (Mfg by BSA&M Co. - Birmingham Small Arms & Machine Co.)
    (Issued to the 37th Haldimand Battalion of Rifles)


    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Caliber: ....................... .303 in. (British)
    Rifling & Twist: ............. 5 Groove, Enfield, Left Hand 1 turn in 10"
    Barrel Length: .............. 30.2 in. (767mm)
    Overall Length: ............ 49.5 in. (1257mm)
    Weight: ....................... 9 lb. 8 oz. (4.3kg)
    Magazine Capacity: ...... 10 rounds

    Canadian Collector Market Value Estimate: $

    Source: .... The Lee-Enfield Story by Ian Skennerton (1993) - ISBN: 185367138X



    1896 Mk1 MLE "Long Lee"

    (137 picture virtual tour)

    Observations: by Claven2
    Note: Pictures provided courtesy of MILSURPS.COM member ~Angel~


    Based on a design devised in the United States by Scottish born Canadian James Paris Lee, the Lee rifle coupled with Metford pattern rifling was introduced to British service in 1888 as the Magazine Lee Metford Mk1. Following some design changes to the MLM, in 1895 the rifle was updated with Enfield rifling and rebranded the Magazine Lee Enfield Mk1. Later the Mk1* variant deleted the steel cleaning rod and accompanying forestock inletting, cleaning now being accomplished in the field by means of a rope pullthrough. Field regulations also called for removal of the rods on all Mk1 rifles then in service and original rods are scarce today, ofting bringing hundreds of dollars at auction by themselves.

    The .303 calibre, Rifle, Magazine, Lee-Enfield, more commonly referred to as the Magazine Lee-Enfield, or MLE (sometimes spoken as "emily" instead of M, L, E) was developped because the new invention of cordite ammunition was too quickly eroding the rifling in the earlier Metford rifled arms. Cordite ammunition, first introduced by the French for the 1886 Lebel, proved far superior to the previously used compressed black powder munitions then in wide use. It produced less smoke to betray a soldier's position, fouled the rifle less, and gave gains in accuracy, range and projectile velocity.

    The Long Lee gave exemplary service until the advent of the Boer War where its weaknesses would be highlighted. The rear sight would prove too fragile in the field and the rear handguard would prove insufficient to adequately protect a soldier from burns during sustained firing. British troops taught to fight in the Napoleonic style by use of massed volley fire against a lined up opponent soon found the non-windage adjustable sights and lack of training emphasis on individual marksmanship to be a great disadvantage when pitted against the crack-shot Boers and their concealed guerilla tactics. The inability to rapidly top up a depleted magazine would also prove to be a detriment.

    The successes and early failures of the Long Lee led to the development of the Short Magazine Lee Enfield Mk1 and eventually to the excellent SMLE No.1MkIII/III* that would come to dominate the European battlefields of 1914-1918.

    Though the Long Lee had largely been replaced in front line service by the time of the great war, many colonial units such as the Anzacs at Galipolli went into battle carrying the then venerable Long Lee, and the rifle continued to see broad use on the target ranges of commonwealth countries for many years following the close of hostilities in 1918.



    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. The Haldimand Rifles (click here)

    1801? The Regiment of Haldimand formed in Sedentary Militia upon creation of Haldimand County from Norfolk County
    1856.07.24 1st Volunteer Militia Rifle Company of Dunnville first volunteer militia company formed in Haldimand county
    1866.09.28 37th Haldimand Battalion of Rifles formed in Active Militia with HQ at Dunnville, Ont., by regimentation of independent companies: No. 1 Company at Dunnville, raised 24 July 1856 as 1st Volunteer Militia Rifle Company of Dunnville
    No. 2 Company, raised 27 Aug. 1862 as York Volunteer Militia Company
    No. 3 Company, raised 27 Aug. 1862 as Caledonia Volunteer Militia Rifle Company
    No. 4 Company at Oneida, raised 6 July 1866 as Oneida Infantry Company
    No. 5 Company at Walpole, raised 31 Aug. 1866 as Walpole Infantry Company
    No. 6 Company at Cheapside, raised 14 Sep. 1866 as Cheapside Infantry Company
    1900.05.08 37th Regiment (Haldimand Rifles)
    1920.05.01 The Haldimand Rifles
    1921.04.01 reorganised to perpetuate CEF: 1st Battalion, perpetuating 114th Battalion CEF 2nd (Reserve) Battalion
    1936.12.15 amalgamated with The Dufferin Rifles of Canada, and C Coy, 3rd Machine Gun Battalion, CMGC, to form The Dufferin and Haldimand Rifles of Canada

    ........
    (Feedback by MILSURPS.COM member "GrantRCanada")



    2. When the Lee magazine rifle was first adopted, loading by charger had not yet been adopted, so two magazines were issued for each rifle. But there was a problem with feeding if the magazines were not fitted to the rifle by a skilled workman. So one magazine was considered the primary magazine; it was chained to the rifle (as pictured below); the second magazine, pre-loaded, was carried in the soldier's pocket or belt.

    In use, the primary magazine was to be emptied, then it would be released and the second magazine inserted. The chain kept the primary magazine from being lost.

    After charger loading was adopted, issue of the second magazine was discontinued. Since the primary magazine would not be removed except for cleaning the rifle, it was considered that attaching it to the rifle by a chain would no longer be necessary, but the loop was retained. Later, it came in handy for attaching the receiver cover.

    One additional footnote. Some of the earliest rifles had a more elaborate milled loop in the center of the trigger guard assembly rather than offset as are the later ones. ....
    (Feedback by "Jim Keenan")


    (Click PIC to Enlarge)
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 1896 Mk1 MLE (Magazine Lee-Enfield) "Long Lee" started by Badger View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. folkie johnson's Avatar
      HI looks like mine the one I have,it has the volley sight,no dust cover,no clearing rod,has military markings m&d on the but,I suspect that the Yukon field force was stationed at Dawson ciy during the Gold rush.
      Information
      Warning: This is a relatively older thread
      This discussion is older than 360 days. Some information contained in it may no longer be current.
    1. Seaforth72's Avatar
      I have a Long Lee Enfield (Lee-Enfield Mark I) from 1896, a Mk. I (not Mk. I*) which has the cleaning/clearing rod hole. The rods were ordered removed according to Skennerton. Mine is issue marked on the top flat of the butt plate:
      88.V.F
      39

      = 88th Regiment (Victoria Fusiliers) 39th weapon. They exisited in Victoria, BC from 1912 to 1920 when they merged with the 50th Gordons to form one of my old regiments, The Canadian Scottish.
      Mine has the M&D marking on the butt above the garter belt.

      Full military, all matching serial numbers. Complete with volley sights and dust cover. Missing only minor non-essentials i.e. sling, bayonet, oil bottle and pull through. No cleaning (renamed "clearing") rod as they were ordered removed by the British authorities.

      This one had come from the collection my brother-in-law, the late Dr. Gerry Hicks (R.C.A.F. Reserve) whom I never met, so sadly I do not know where he got it from.

      Colin
    1. totoinoz's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Seaforth72 View Post
      I have a Long Lee Enfield (Lee-Enfield Mark I) from 1896, a Mk. I (not Mk. I*) which has the cleaning/clearing rod hole. The rods were ordered removed according to Skennerton. Mine is issue marked on the top flat of the butt plate:
      88.V.F
      39

      = 88th Regiment (Victoria Fusiliers) 39th weapon. They exisited in Victoria, BC from 1912 to 1920 when they merged with the 50th Gordons to form one of my old regiments, The Canadian Scottish.
      Mine has the M&D marking on the butt above the garter belt.

      Full military, all matching serial numbers. Complete with volley sights and dust cover. Missing only minor non-essentials i.e. sling, bayonet, oil bottle and pull through. No cleaning (renamed "clearing") rod as they were ordered removed by the British authorities.

      This one had come from the collection my brother-in-law, the late Dr. Gerry Hicks (R.C.A.F. Reserve) whom I never met, so sadly I do not know where he got it from.

      Colin
      I have the same stamp on my butt plate, 88vf but a 334 instead of a 39, guess they fought together huh
    1. harlton's Avatar
      Hi, Some interesting comments, I have a LSA 1896 LE1, All the same markings. M&D, LSA, LONDON, roundel with 1 above another 1 on the Butt, The buttplate is marked with 48/137 and sold as an ex blackwatch rifle.
      From what I can find out, the scottish contingent got banded together in the boer War. It would be great if someone out there could clarify this a little as my great, great uncle served with them and at some point made sargent, also a piper, but he is listed as being in the seaforth's and I'm not sure if he started in England and then transferred out here or he left the UK and then re-enlisted.
      He served with my grandfather in the CEF, they both had the same name and were both sergeants and one digit apart in their serial #'s. Any info would be appreciated, as I know very little.
      Thanks Ian
    1. tentalous's Avatar
      Hi All
      I have a nice Lee Enfield Mk1* MADE BY L.S.A. Co. Ltd.
      It has little markings other than a few proof marks and inspectors stamps.
      I believe it was a private purchase rifle bought by someone of importance here in Northern Ireland during the Home Rule Crisis of 1912 https://plus.google.com/photos/111901139611480077553/albums/5955074141046714977?banner=pwa&authkey=CL-D--3f4LKWwAEhttps://lh6.googleusercontent.com/WxRkkx_fZUgUWzpVqJFmGW2Lt1VUa6trbiTINEvJZw=w309-h207-p-no
    1. harlton's Avatar
      Hi all,
      My understanding is , maybe was.... that the LSA made Rifle's were the best quality items made, hence so few produced. Yet they seem to be the majority of the surviving rifles we have here, with the next biggest group, being BSA's and none to shabby. Though I have noticed from my own examples, that tolerances are tighter, and that's the case on all the examples I have.
Quartermaster Stores