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  1. #1
    Legacy Member dg2004's Avatar
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    BSA-Sparkbrook SMLE

    I received this rifle today.

    It's a BSA-Sparkbrook SMLE. It was made in 1906 as a SMLE Mk I*, and sometime later converted to SMLE Mk III. You can barely see the overstamped star. I had to hold the rifle at an angle to the light to see it. It took a bit of work, but I got the overstamped star in a picture.

    The metal parts except for the barrel match. The forend bled a little cosmolineicon when I handled the rifle. The bore needs cleaning but is rust free. There is rifling. I have not looked at with my bore scope, but to my naked eye it looks near mint except for some fouling/dirt I need to finish cleaning out.

    There is rust, but all on external parts.

    I have not taken anything apart beyond removing the handguard.

    The serial number doesn't line with the BSA-Sparkbrook block according to Skennertonicon. If I remember correctly, BSA-Sparkbrook was Q, and this is R.

    It's very hard to see, but it looks like the two opposing R mark is on the top of the receiver. I didn't see this in the pictures the seller took. I almost missed it when I first looked over the rifle. The picture I have of it is the best one I could take. It took a bit of work with the light.


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    Legacy Member tatou's Avatar
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    I have two of them and indeed, both originally had (have) a Q prefix.
    The second one was renumbered when it was updated to be sent to Ireland in the 20's but the old Q serial is still visible.
    My guess is yours was scrubbed, we can see marks in your last picture.
    In the early years of the Sht LE's the barrel was still considered the prime component of the whole rifle... so if the barrel was changed, his serial number was stamped on the receiver.
    Obviously your barrel was changed again some time later. Maybe when it was ''upgraded'' to Mk III and a charger bridge installed.
    Normally serial numbers would have again been re stamped to match ... but who knows with this one.
    I learned a while ago to never say never with Lee Enfields.

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    Legacy Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dg2004 View Post
    It's very hard to see, but it looks like the two opposing R mark is on the top of the receiver. I didn't see this in the pictures the seller took. I almost missed it when I first looked over the rifle. The picture I have of it is the best one I could take. It took a bit of work with the light.
    Just be aware that the 'back to back R' marking means the rifle was condemmed (not because of the barrel because that could be changed, it was normally because the body / action was beyond limits). which is why it was stamped on the body so it could nor be missed.

    There was also 'back to back R' with DP alongside it which meant is was a rifle with an unsafe barrel & only suitable for DP use.

    See items 39 and 40 on the attached extracts :
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    Mine are not the best, but they are not too bad. I can think of lots of Enfields I'd rather have but instead of constantly striving for more, sometimes it's good to be satisfied with what one has...

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    Legacy Member dg2004's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatou View Post
    My guess is yours was scrubbed, we can see marks in your last picture.
    Oh, thanks! I missed those marks. After reading, I took another look at the picture, and see the scrubbing marks.

    I noted that the bolt had been scrubbed and restamped. The flat part with the numbers looked a bit too big, and there is a faint number off to the side.

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    Legacy Member dg2004's Avatar
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    It looked like the #40 stamp based on the picture I took.

    I took another look at the rifle, and I'm honestly not sure if it is the #40 stamp. I see some evidence of scrubbing in the area. It could be the #40 stamp but I'm less certain than I was before.

    Based on the powder fouling that's been coming out of the bore, someone shot this gun. Of course, I have no idea what load the person used or what happened.

    It would be a real shame if it was the action/receiver being out of limits. Anything I should check?

    Thanks!

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    Legacy Member dg2004's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dg2004 View Post
    Anything I should check?
    On further thought, I realized the answer is most likely "no", or possibly "get it to a gunsmith", but if there is something to check, I'll do it.

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    Get in 'thoroughly' checked and gauged by a gunsmith who knows Enfield's prior to shooting.

    If it turns out to be a non shooter, shorten the firing pin and pop it on the wall as a lovely collectable....

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    Legacy Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    I'm not sure there are many gunsmiths who have the knowledge, the experience, the tools or even know what the original specifications were.

    Assuming it is the body that was declared 'condemned' it could be worn locking lugs, the hardening of the locking lugs penetrated, body stresses / stretched / twisted and a number of other possibilities.

    Do we know a smith who knows what the original hardness was on the lugs ? has he the equipment to test them ?

    To quote Peter Laidlericon (out of context, as he was talking about markings on DP rifles) "I’ve been an Armourer for a couple of years and while I or your local gunsmith could examine one and give it a bright clean bill of health, would YOU trust it. NO, I wouldn’t either!"

    It was marked as being condemned by someone who knew why it needed condemning.
    If the 'fault' was repaired then why wasn't the mark removed or cancelled ?
    If the fault has not be corrected, would you trust the rifle ?
    Last edited by Alan de Enfield; 05-04-2022 at 05:11 PM.
    Mine are not the best, but they are not too bad. I can think of lots of Enfields I'd rather have but instead of constantly striving for more, sometimes it's good to be satisfied with what one has...

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  14. #9
    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    Spot on advice Alan.....
    .303, helping Englishmen express their feelings since 1889

  15. #10
    Legacy Member dg2004's Avatar
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    Thanks Alan! That's a good point.

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