• 1916/1945 No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Medium Bracket)

    1916/1945 No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle
    Australian No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Medium Bracket) Serial #40068
    (Converted by Lithgow 1944-46)

    c/w matching A.O.C. Model 1918 (3x) Scope Serial #40068
    (Mfg by Australian Optical Co., Victoria)

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    Caliber: ....................... .303 in.
    Rifling & Twist: .............. 5 Groove, Enfield, Left Hand, 1 Turn in 10"
    Groove Depth: ............. .005 in.
    Width of Lands: ............ .0936 in.
    Overall Length: ............. 44.5 in. (1130 mm)
    Barrel Length: ............... 25.2 in.(640 mm)
    Weight: ........................ 10 lb 10 oz (4.8 kg) unloaded
    Mag Capacity: ............... 10 rounds
    Scope: ......................... A.O.C. (Australian Optical Co. Ltd. Model 1918 (3x) Scope)
    Qty Converted: ............. 1,612 completed out of contract for 2,500 by Lithgow 1944-46 & 1954-55
    .................................... 481 (Short Bracket)
    .................................... 1,131 (Medium Bracket)
    (Note: The first batch went into stores in November 1944 and the last in February 1946.
    This rifle serial #40068 - Date to Stores was March 15th, 1945 (See page 562 of "The Lee Enfield" book by Skennerton)
    Production ceased Feb 15, 1946. At Lithgow, 100 rifles were FTR'd between July 1954 and April 1955.)

    Source: .... The British Sniper by Ian Skennerton (1983) - ISBN: 0949749036
    Source: .... The Lee Enfield by Ian Skennerton (2007) - ISBN: 9780949749826
    Source: .... Small Arms Identification Series #19 by Ian Skennerton (2004) - ISBN: 0949749494

    No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Medium Bracket)
    This item has been reviewed by members of the Milsurps Advisory Panel.This item has been judged by members of the Milsurps Advisory Panel, to be authentic by original manufacturer, with all correct markings and components.
    (165 picture virtual tour)

    Observations: .... extracts from "The Lee Enfield" (Pages 344-347, 522) and "The British Sniper" (Pages 203-208) by Ian Skennerton
    With thanks to Advisory Panel members Lance and Son for their assistance.
    Note: Pics of rifle provided courtesy of MILSURPS.COM member ~Angel~.

    This model was introduced into Australian service towards the end of WW2 with a variety of options; medium or short scope brackets and short medium or long butts. In 1946, a coachwood cheekrest was introduced for fitting to Rifles No.1 MkIII* and No.3 MkI*(T). These were to be fitted to all rifles, by A.E.M.E. personnel, and adjusted to suit the individual user. Rifle Club style sling swivels mounted onto the front trigger guard screw with attached swivel were also introduced for fitting where required. The distance between the medium and short (often referred to as high and low) mounts is about 1/2 inch and the short bracket model has a scoop removed from the rear handguard to permit dismounting the scope assembly.

    The medium bracket telescope tube is marked SIGHT TELESCOPIC PATT. 1918 (AUST.); the short bracket model has the suffix /1 added to this inscription. The quick detachable mounts are similar to those on the No.3 MkI* (Patt. 14) sniper, with the release latch on the left side of the rear mount. The front male mount is a clawfoot design incorporated in the lower portion of the front telescope ring. Leather scope caps and a canvas carry case were provided, the rifle number was engraved or scratched on the underside of the scope tube. The range drum is graduated from 100 to 1,000 yards and the sight was produced by the Australian Optical Co., Victoria, whose mark A.O.C./V. is found on the steel tube.

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    Mostly rebuilt MkIII actions with magazine cut-off provision, cut-off plates were not refitted. Some British MkIII receivers were converted although Lithgow bodies dated between 1915 and 1918 were mostly utilized, set up to MkIII* specifications. Some had a * stamped after the III designation in conversion, a heavy barrel was fitted and numbered to the rifle, scope base mounts screwed and soldered onto the receiver and the appropriate furniture fitted. This has an H stamped on the butt and inside the fore-end channel. Inner barrel band and screw were deleted, replaced by a wooden plug in the hole on the underside of the fore-end (see pics). A standard MkIII* backsight was fitted without windage adjustment; the backsight bed was reamed out to accommodate the larger profile barrel.

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    Of the contract for 2,500 units, 1,131 medium and 481 short bracket models were made; the order was terminated at 1,612 units. The first batch went to stores in November 1944 and the last February 1946. At Lithgow, 100 units were FTR'd between July 1954 and April 1955. The rifle in this Knowledge Library entry, serial #40068, was sent to stores on March 15th, 1945 (See page 562 "The Lee Enfield" by Skennerton).

    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. According to Skennerton's book "The British Sniper (1983)", he says "Progressive numbers, about 2 - 3 mm high, will be noticed on the mounts, and these appear to range from 1 - 2500, with those from about 1620 on being uncompleted scopes. It will also be noticed that sub-1250 numbers are on high mounts and over-1250 numbers being generally low mounts." ....... (Feedback by "Badger")

    2. The quote from Ian Skennerton's "British Sniper" seems to have been an assumption made at the time (1983) based on a few observations. I can tell you there were 1132 High Mount and 480 Low Mount rifles. Although the scope and mount sets were used pretty closely to in order, there seems to be about 120 or so missing from near the start of production. That, in turn means the last few rifles had scopes numbered over the 1700 mark. Then there were 100 rifles FTR'd in the '50s. They all received Lowmount scopes out of the left over production. A couple of these that have turned up in my research have scopes numbered from the high 1700's into the low 1800's.

    There was also a number of rifles that served in Korea that seem to have been re-worked at workshop level on return (not a factory FTR). They were all given new woodwork and some scopes and mounts may have been replaced then too. (I'm still to prove this conclusively)
    ....... (Feedback by "Son")

    3. The MKL (Milsurp Knowledge Library) also contains a 224 pic photo montage of an excellent example of a sister No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Short Bracket), to compare with No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Medium Bracket) displayed here in this MKL entry. ....... (Feedback by "Badger")

    Australian No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Short Bracket) Serial #76222 (click here)
    Date to Stores was Sept 19th, 1945 (See page 565 of "The Lee Enfield" book by Skennerton)

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    4. Most converted actions were Lithgow WWI actions with some early British, post war Lithgow and some early WWII Lithgow mixed in. The latest dated observed action has been a 1942 Lithgow. Mine for example, is a late 1941 into early 1942 (1941 action, 1942 marked butt).

    Besides the 100 official FTR'd rifles, many as Son notes, were rebuilt at the armourer level. My low mount was rebuilt at Lithgow in 8/52 during the war (butt markings interpreted by Ian Skennerton, see pics below), but never marked FTR even though it appears totally rebuilt. The MF marking I was told stood for Lithgow. Opposite side D/|\D is the Australian Dept. of Defense, and the OO mark could be a wood inspection mark for examined stores.

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    Surprisingly, even though there were approximately 3 times more high mount conversions, I have found these to be the hardest to locate in matching condition. One could say the high mounts were used first but this still does not account for the rarity of matching examples.

    Lance's No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifles
    TOP - Medium Bracket (High Mount)
    BOTTOM - Short Bracket (Low Mount)

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    ............................... Bracket & Mount Types ................................

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    Medium Bracket (High Mount) ............... Short Bracket (Low Mount)
    Note: Short bracket has wood removed from the rear top handguard, to permit dismounting the scope assembly.

    ................................... Scope Markings ......................................

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    Medium Bracket (High Mount) ............... Short Bracket (Low Mount)
    Note: Short bracket scope has the suffix /1 added to the SIGHT TELESCOPIC PATT. 1918 (AUST.) inscription.

    How to spot fake HT's has been made easy by the fact that the serial number of each HT was recorded during conversion and FTR, which is available in Skennerton's books. Some HT's were converted at the armourer level and do not have their serial numbers in the record. These rifles are correct but will be looked at with suspicion and should be carefully examined.

    Many rifle's have been restocked during their career so new wood should not be a warning sign of deception, as long as the serial number is in the record, however, one must also make sure the front and rear mounts share the same serial numbers. If the rifle is marketed as matching, the scope should have that same serial number on its front mount and also stamped on its internal components, but only the rear brass insert is visible without disassembly. CAUTION: DO NOT DISASSEMBLE UNLESS NECESSARY FOR FUNCTION. The scope will also have the rifle serial number engraved by hand on the tube to confirm its matching status.

    The rifles themselves can also be lacking serial numbers in traditional places. Rear sights were rarely serial numbered to the rifles along with fore-ends. Nose caps are hit and miss along with bolts, noted from observations of different rifles. If the bolt lacks a serial number and appears to have been on the rifle for a long time, I would assume it to be matching.
    ....... (Feedback by "Lance")

    5. With thanks to some nice photography by Tina, below is a lovely photo montage of Brian Dick's 1915/1945 No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Medium Bracket). This is a nice looking example of a "high mount" H.T. sniper rifle. Upon examining it closer and besides it being a "common" WWI 1915 Lithgow conversion, there are a few items that are of specific interest to the collector:

    First, the conversion date is 3/45 on the butt (see pic), but according to the serial #34681, the date put to stores as per "The Lee Enfield" (2007) by Skennerton (Page 562) is May 28th, 1945. Where was this rifle for the preceeding 2 months? Has the butt been changed at some point in its life, or was it spending time elsewhere within Lithgow's facilities? Definitely, an interesting anomaly in the life of this rifle.

    Second, nothing is ever written in stone, as this rifle has the numbers on the scope mounts upside down (see pic). The numbers are perfectly correct, however, just inverted, which is a second anomaly of this rifle.

    Note: My "low mount" H.T. sniper has the standard numbers oriented the right way up, similar to the "low mount" H.T. example which is the subject of this Knowledge Library entry. Conversely, my "high mount" H.T. sniper has the numbers the right way up on the front mount, however inverted and on the opposite side on the rear mount. Some armourer did not like this and stamped a second set of numbers the correct way up and on the correct side of the rear mount, but at a later date.

    Finally the forend of this rifle is serial number matched to the rifle (the first I have ever seen), plus the rear of the stock has had part of it cut out and removed for a receiver based target sight, which as you can see in the pic below, mounts over the safety. If this was done while in service, or after its release, is unknown, but I would assume post service as the need for a target rifle would not be sufficient cause to down grade an H.T. sniper rifle
    ........... (Feedback by "Lance")

    1915/1945 No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Medium Bracket)
    This rifle serial #34681 - Date to Stores was May 28th, 1945 (See page 562 of "The Lee Enfield" (2007) by Ian Skennerton)
    Pics and rifle are provided courtesy of Advisory Panel Members Brian and Tina Dick of BDL Ltd. (click here)

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    1915/1945 No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Medium Bracket)

    (14 picture virtual tour)

    6. With thanks to Jollygreenslugg, you'll find in our on-line "Screening Room" (click here) and "Members Showcase" (click here), two interesting videos relating to the No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle. First, there's a detailed video of the 1917/1944 No.1 MkIII* H.T. (Medium Bracket) Sniper Rifle in his own personal collection. Second, there's a very interesting video that he took at the Lithgow museum. The first part of that video shows the Rare Australian No.6 1/1 Trials Rifle and the second part covers the No.1 MkIII* HT Sniper Rifles they have there.

    Simply click on the PLAY button (big right arrow). Use the PAUSE and other buttons at the bottom of the video window to adjust your personal viewing preferences. Make sure you turn on your speakers and set the volume appropriately. .......
    (Feedback by "Badger")

    7. With thanks to Son and trooper554877, here are extracts of the EMEI re-introduced specifically for the HT's dragged out of storage to use for sniper training at Singleton, mid 1970's. They remained in use until the Parker Hale M82 was introduced.

    Rifle No.1 Mk3 HT .303 EMEI's D113, D114-1, D114-2, D117-1, D117-2, D118 (Sept 1976)

    Zeroing & Accuracy, Stripping & Assembling, Repair Procedure, Trigger Mechanism (adjustment of pull-off), Sight Telescope (adjustment & zeroing - field repair), breech bolts (field & base repair), fitting of cheek rest (modification instruction), cutting of apertures in foresight protectors (modification instruction), Equipment Inspection & Examination Data ……….
    (Feedback by "Badger")

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    Note: After you click on images to ENLARGE them, you may find they automatically size smaller in your browser's window making them harder to view. The auto sizing is your browser's way of keeping images entirely within the screen size you have set. Move your mouse pointer to the bottom centre of the pic and you will see an options panel appear. There will be a small square box next to the large X, which will have a pointer arrow sticking out of it. If it's illuminated, it means the pic you're viewing can be enlarged, so click on this box and the pic will EXPAND and open to its normal size.

    8. The Lee Enfield by Ian Skennerton (2007) - ISBN: 9780949749826 is an excellent general reference book on the evolution of Lee-Enfield rifles, however, it doesn't go into great detail on their use as sniper rifles. Ian Skennerton published an earlier 266 page work in 1983 called The British Sniper (British & Commonwealth Sniping & Equipments 1915-1983) - ISBN 0 949749 03 6. For anyone wanting a lot more detail research with pictures covering the evolution of sniping, this is an excellent supplement to his later work. It is out of print, so I'd suggest you use a "Google" search on the title to see if you can find a copy from one of the rare used book sources on the Internet. I found my copy on eBay. ....... (Feedback by "Badger")

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    9. The secret to creating and maintaining quality research data in the Milsurps Knowledge Library is you! This is your site and these MKL entries on various old milsurps are yours to add to, or change. The volunteers on the Advisory Panel (click here) can only do so much to vet and validate the information posted here, so please contribute as much as possible to help us present the most accurate and reliable data we can gather on these old milsurps. If you own a particular specimen of any MKL entry, then please send us pics of it, even though they may be duplicate views of pieces you already see here. In that way, we can build up multiple sets of pics for several milsurps of the same model, which will help in indentifying markings and authenticity. For example, in the case of this MKL entry of the 1916/1945 No.1 MkIII* H.T. Sniper Rifle (Medium Bracket), if you own one, we'd like to receive more pics of the stampings and serial number views as shown in the "Observations" section and various "Collector's Comments and Feedback" notes. ALL pics and information received will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and respect of your privacy. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far, which is helping to make the Milsurps Collectors Forums a prominent site for serious collectors of all genres of old milsurp collectibles. ....... (Feedback by "Badger")
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