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  1. #1
    Member scottsmich's Avatar
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    New guy looking for some help

    A friend inherited a Lee-Enfield No. 4 MK I. He knows nothing about guns, and he offered to give it to me. Before taking it though, I want to make sure he knows what he is giving away. I've checked it out as best I can, but I'd appreciate it if anyone here can add additional information or correct what I think I know.

    I believe this is a No. 4 MK I made by Maltby based on the serial #. The bolt release looks to me to be the 1st version (not at all sure about that). The forward barrel band has been replaced. Not sure, but the stocks seem a little shiny to be original finish. The serial numbers on the receiver and the bolt match. The one on the single magazine appears to be two off. It does include the one magazine and a bayonet with sleeve (pig sticker). There is a marking on the receiver under the serial number that is only partially visible. It appears to be "M 1944" or "M 1941" , but that's mostly a guess. I will include as many pictures as I can.

    Thanks in advance for whatever info you can help out with.

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    A Collector's View - The SMLE Short Magazine Lee Enfield 1903-1989. It is 300 8.5x11 inch pages with 1,000+ photo’s, most in color, and each book is serial-numbered.  Covering the SMLE from 1903 to the end of production in India in 1989 it looks at how each model differs and manufacturer differences from a collecting point of view along with the major accessories that could be attached to the rifle. For the record this is not a moneymaker, I hope just to break even, eventually, at $80/book plus shipping.  In the USA shipping is $5.00 for media mail.  I will accept PayPal, Zelle, MO and good old checks (and cash if you want to stop by for a tour!).  CLICK BANNER to send me a PM for International pricing and shipping. Manufacturer of various vintage rifle scopes for the 1903 such as our M73G4 (reproduction of the Weaver 330C) and Malcolm 8X Gen II (Unertl reproduction). Several of our scopes are used in the CMP Vintage Sniper competition on top of 1903 rifles. Brian Dick ... BDL Ltd. - Specializing in British and Commonwealth weapons Chuck in Denver ... Buy-Sell-Trade .. Guns, Cars Motorcycles Your source for the finest in High Power Competition Gear. Here at T-bones Shipwrighting we specialise in vintage service rifle: re-barrelling, bedding, repairs, modifications and accurizing. We also provide importation services for firearms, parts and weapons, for both private or commercial businesses.
     

  4. #2
    Contributing Member smle addict's Avatar
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    Very nice! You have (or will have) a Maltby produced No4 Mk I. Not quite sure of the finish; it may just be the lighting, but it looks like it was laquered. Either way, it looks to be an honest rifle.

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  7. #3
    Member scottsmich's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks a lot! Do you know it it's normal for the serial number on the magazine to match the rifle? In these days of having so many magazines for every gun it seems like an oddity to me, but I'm guessing even then it was normal to have more than one magazine for a rifle. Just curious.

    Also, do you know how much the replaced barrel band affects the collector value of the rifle?

    Thanks
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    Contributing Member smle addict's Avatar
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    Perfectly normal to have a magazine serialized to a rifle. I cant say with certainty that your magazine was numbered in service. True british rebuilds scribe the serial into the magazine in a much neater fashion. But, some nations were not so neat, and stamped numbers in a much more hap-hazard manner.

    No need to replace the front band; that weld is normal. As far as prices go, your best bet would be to check the on-line auctions to see current pricing. Seems like the prices are all over the map nowadays.

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    Member scottsmich's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    thanks again!

    That makes sense. I'm guessing whoever stamped the number didn't look at the receiver serial number too closely. If you don't look really close the last digit of the serial number looks a lot like a "5". That probably explains why the serial number on the magazine is 13215 instead of 13213.

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    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottsmich View Post
    In these days of having so many magazines for every gun it seems like an oddity to me, but I'm guessing even then it was normal to have more than one magazine for a rifle.
    There was only one magazine per rifle, you didn't remove the magazine except occasionally to clean the rifle, the magazine was loaded using chargers, slid into the charger-bridge (strippers in American parlance). The magazines were not simply plug-and-play and required fitting to the rifle (hence they were rarely removed as they could easily have the 'ears' bent, and just a couple of thou' out of alignment and they wouldn't feed)




    List of Changes #C2792 dated 3rd June 1946 mandated that all new No4 production rifles must have their magazines numbered to the rifle, and any rifles 'in the field' must have their magazines numbered to the rifle on the next Armourers Inspection.

    If you have a rifle with an un-numbered magazine, you in fact have a 'non-original' rifle as ALL rifles should have had numbered magazines in Service, certainly within (say) 12 months of June '46.
    If your rifle was sold out of service prior to the LoC implementation then it could have escaped with an 'un-numbered' magazine.


    Extract :
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    Last edited by Alan de Enfield; 10-27-2021 at 04:41 AM.
    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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    Member scottsmich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan de Enfield View Post
    There was only one magazine per rifle, you didn't remove the magazine except occasionally to clean the rifle, the magazine was loaded using chargers, slid into the charger-bridge (strippers in American parlance). The magazines were not simply plug-and-play and required fitting to the rifle (hence they were rarely removed as they could easily have the 'ears' bent, and just a couple of thou' out of alignment and they wouldn't feed)


    List of Changes #C2792 dated 3rd June 1946 mandated that all new No4 production rifles must have their magazines numbered to the rifle, and any rifles 'in the field' must have their magazines numbered to the rifle on the next Armourers Inspection.

    If you have a rifle with an un-numbered magazine, you in fact have a 'non-original' rifle as ALL rifles should have had numbered magazines in Service, certainly within (say) 12 months of June '46.
    If your rifle was sold out of service prior to the LoC implementation then it could have escaped with an 'un-numbered' magazine.


    Extract :
    Thank you Alan! That explains a couple of things and raises a new question or two. The magazine is either mismarked or mismatched. I was assuming that it was a mistake in marking, but it occurs to me that if the magazine was separated from the rifle during the process of putting it into surplus then the mistake could have been made when re-attaching them during that process. The last digit ( "3") in the serial number on the rifle is very easy to mistake for a "5" as is on the magazine.

    This may explain a problem I am having with feeding ammunition. The last round in the magazine does not feed. It goes high and left of the chamber. All of the other rounds feed fine. The magazine itself seems to fit fine. I was thinking that this was due to the follower or spring. I hope it's not an issue with the ears.

    #C2792 also mentions marking the foreend of the rifle with the serial number. I believe this would be on the underside of the forestock. Is that correct? This was not done on
    on this rifle. I suppose the rifle could have been retired between the two effective dates of the changes. The stocks look original to me. At least they all seem to be the same wood and about the same age.

    One more question if you don't mind. Should the barrel also be serialized? I attached a couple of pictures of the muzzle. It does bear some marks, but not a serial number.
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  14. #8
    Really Senior Member Mk VII's Avatar
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    That's the usual London proof marks applied on commercial sale.

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  16. #9
    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottsmich View Post
    I hope it's not an issue with the ears.

    This is not a big problem, simply VERY SLIGHTLY bend the ears (one at a time) the very smallest fraction to can manage, try cycling the rounds - any improvement or worsening. Keep fiddling about altering one then the other and 'after a few hours' you'll know why you do not remove a peoperly fitted magazine from a Lee Enfield.


    Quote Originally Posted by scottsmich View Post
    #C2792 also mentions marking the foreend of the rifle with the serial number. I believe this would be on the underside of the forestock. Is that correct? This was not done on
    on this rifle.
    It seems some were and some were not. As you suggest there would have been a large number of rifles sold off, or gone into long term storage after the end of WW2 and the inplementation of the new markings between June '46 - JUne '47.
    I have a Savage which is marked :




    Barrels were rarely marked with the serial number, although some countries operated with slightly amended 'rules' and you can occasionally find numbered barrels.

    For the No1 Mk3 rilfe the following instructions are to be found in the "Instructions For Armourers - 1931"

    17. Each rifle must invariably be used with the breech bolt bearing the rifle number, otherwise the
    lugs may not bear evenly, and the rifle may fire to the right or left; the distance from the bolt to the
    end of the chamber may also be affected. When, owing to loss or damage, it becomes necessary to fit
    another bolt to a rifle, the rifle should be fired for accuracy on the range. The fore-end and nose-cap
    are also fitted and numbered to the rifle. Accuracy tests must always be carried out when either or both
    of these components are exchanged.
    18. When spare bolts, sight leaves, fore-ends and nose-caps are fitted to rifles, they will be marked
    with the body number. When fitting a spare barrel with body, the whole of the components before
    mentioned will be re-marked with the new body number.
    Last edited by Alan de Enfield; 10-29-2021 at 05:02 AM.
    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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  18. #10
    Member scottsmich's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Thank you for the info. I realize these are really basic questions and I appreciate you taking the time to answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan de Enfield View Post
    This is not a big problem, simply VERY SLIGHTLY bend the ears (one at a time) the very smallest fraction to can manage, try cycling the rounds - any improvement or worsening. Keep fiddling about altering one then the other and 'after a few hours' you'll know why you do not remove a peoperly fitted magazine from a Lee Enfield.
    I did a little more reading, and it sounds like magazine feed issues can sometimes be specific to the round being fired. I currently have 4 rounds of Winchester Super that came with the gun. They have rather mashed up soft tips and aren't what I will buy if and when I can actually find ammunition for it. (Going to look at local stores today and hope I get lucky.) I'm thinking I will wait until I have the proper ammo before adjusting. I am now a bit paranoid about not damaging the magazine, so I'd like to adjust it as little as possible.

    Thanks Again
    Last edited by scottsmich; 10-29-2021 at 12:17 PM.

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