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Thread: Survey of Lee-Metford Mk. II*, Late Lee-Metford Mk. II and Derived Conversions

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    Member coggansfield's Avatar
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    Survey of Lee-Metford Mk. II*, Late Lee-Metford Mk. II and Derived Conversions

    Survey of Lee-Metford Mk. II* Rifles, Late Lee-Metford Mk. II Rifles and Converted Derivative Rifles.

    Moderator, would it be possible to sticky this, please?

    Folks,

    I’m doing research on the magazine Lee-Metford (MLM) mk. II* rifle, yes, with the asterisk or star. This will be for future publication by Ian Skennertonicon. The study will be similar to the New Zealandicon carbine study that appeared in the June 2012 edition of Skennerton’s “Collector” magazine (no. 30 annual).

    With only 13,479 made, and with most subsequently converted to other models, not many mk. II* rifles survive today. That’s why the report will be important.

    I am looking for input (a) from owners of Lee-Metford mk. II*s or rifles that once were mk. II*s, but are now converted to something else, and also (b) from owners of Enfield- and Sparkbrook-made Lee-Metford mk. II rifles (no asterisk) from the same era (1895-96).

    1. My working principal hypothesis is that all Lee-Metford mk. II* rifles were in fact conversions from mk. II. My assumption is that existing mk. II rifles were drawn from store, and each was given a new, safety-fitted bolt and had a star added next to the pre-existing “II” mark-of-arm stamp (as in Lee-Metford mk. II). The records indicate 5,991 Enfield-made and 7,488 Sparkbrook-made mk. II* rifles. I believe a serial number analysis will reveal a the number spread between the first and last far greater than 5,991 and 7,488, respectively. If I am correct in this, this will demonstrate, not a series of rifles made from scratch, but, rather, pre-existing rifles drawn at semi-random and converted. (By semi-random, I mean at random from a circumscribed supply, such as official stores, and not from the whole universe of mk. II rifles.)

    2. A secondary hypothesis, of which I am much less certain, is that all the mk. II* bolts will prove to be Enfield made, even if fitted on Sparkbrook rifles. While this is a secondary aspect of the study, it is still very important.

    If you are the owner of any of the following rifles, please respond to this survey. Your anonymity is assured. No names will be associated with any rifle in any subsequent publication.

    • MLM mk. II*. A list of surviving mk. II* rifles will form the basis of the study.

    • Any rifle converted from MLM mk. II*, such as the CLLE mk. I or mk. I*, the SMLE mk. II Cond., the SMLE mk. IV Cond., .22 Long Rifle mk. II and a number of others. While these conversions are no longer intact as MLM mk. II*s, they are likely still to bear their old mk. II* serial numbers in various places. Gathering data on conversions will also provide a useful insight into what the bulk of the mk. II*s were converted into.

    • MLM mk. II, 1895-96, Sparkbrook and Enfield only. If my primary hypothesis is correct, then there will be extant several late Enfield and Sparkbrook MLM mk. IIs with serial numbers within the known range of the mk. II* serial numbers. For example, if we discover 1895 Sparkbrook MLM mk. II* s/n 45001, MLM mk. II s/n 45002, MLM mk. II* s/n 45003 and MLM mk. II s/n 45004, then we will be able to state with virtual certainty that the mk. II*s were drawn from an existing batch of mk. IIs.

    For those unfamiliar with some of the technical names I have used, at the end of this post are 16 photos showing what I’m looking for in terms of stamps and features.

    Thank you,

    Coggansfield
    _____


    Please answer the following questions. Responses may be posted here or e-mailed to munro[at]intergroupservices.com.

    1. My rifle is currently (see photo 1):
    a) [ ] An intact MLM mk. II* (from RIGHT side of buttsocket, II*).
    b) [ ] An intact MLM mk. II (from RIGHT side of buttsocket, II).
    c) [ ] A former MLM mk. II* now converted to something else, usually from LEFT side of buttsocket (specify: _______________________________).

    2. The factory that made my rifle was (from RIGHT side of buttsocket, under bolt handle):
    a) [ ] Enfield.
    b) [ ] Sparkbrook.
    c) [ ] Other (specify: _____________________________).

    3. My rifle was originally made in this year (from RIGHT side of buttsocket, under bolt handle):
    a) [ ] 1895.
    b) [ ] 1896.
    c) [ ] Other (specify: _____________________________).

    4. If converted to some other model, my rifle was converted at this factory, usually from LEFT side of buttsocket (see photo 2):
    a) [ ] Enfield.
    b) [ ] Sparkbrook.
    c) [ ] London Small Arms Co. (LSA).
    d) [ ] Birmingham Small Arms Co. (BSA).
    e) [ ] Vickers Sons & Maxim (VSM).
    f) [ ] BSA-Sparkbrook.
    g) [ ] Other (specify: _____________________________).
    h) [ ] Does not apply, my rifle is still an MLM.



    5. If converted to some other model, my rifle was converted in this year (usually from LEFT side of buttsocket):
    a) [ ] ________ year.
    b) [ ] No date given.

    6. My rifle’s original MLM serial number on the receiver is (look on the right side of the receiver ring) (see photo 3):
    a) [ ] Sparkbrook: ___________________ (expected range, 40000-60000).
    b) [ ] Enfield: _______________________(expected range, 1H-9999I).
    c) [ ] Other (specify make and number: _____________________________________).
    d) [ ] Don’t know.
    e) [ ] Illegible.
    f) And this number is: [ ] horizontally set or [ ] vertically set.

    7. My rifle has its original MLM barrel, the serial number of which is (you will have to take off the wooden handguard to see this number, on the right of the barrel reinforce at the breech end):
    a) [ ] Sparkbrook: ___________________ (expected range, 40000-60000).
    b) [ ] Enfield: _______________________(expected range, 1H-9999I).
    c) [ ] Other (specify make and number: _____________________________________).
    d) [ ] Don’t know.
    e) [ ] Illegible.
    f) And this number is: [ ] horizontally set or [ ] vertically set.

    8. The manufacture date of my original barrel is (see photo 4):
    a) [ ] ___________ year (to get this figure, you need to take the foreend off and look for the date on the underside of the barrel up at the breech end; expected formats are ’96 for Enfield and /95 for Sparkbrook).

    9. My rifle is still an MLM or is a CLLE but has a replacement long Lee barrel, as follows (check all that apply) (see photo 5):
    a) [ ] Metford grooved (seven very shallow, round-shouldered grooves).
    b) [ ] Enfield grooved (five fairly deep, square-shouldered grooves)
    c) Made by:
    • [ ] Enfield (signified by roman “E” inspection stamps).
    • [ ] Sparkbrook (roman “B” stamps).
    • [ ] LSA (roman “X” stamps).
    • [ ] BSA (italic “B” stamps).
    d) [ ] And with serial number: ________________________.
    e) [ ] Does not apply, my rifle has been converted to some other model.

    10. The manufacture date of my replacement long Lee barrel is:
    a) [ ] ___________ year (to get this figure, you need to take the foreend off and look for the date on the underside of the barrel up at the breech end).

    11. The installation date of my replacement long Lee barrel is (see photo 6):
    a) [ ] ___________ year (look on the left side of the barrel reinforce at the breech end; it will usually be a two-digit year preceded by an apostrophe).

    12. My rifle is still an MLM or CLLE and its rear sight is serial numbered (look on the underside of the cap or top bar of the sight ladder) (see photos 7, 8 and 9):
    a) [ ] Serial ___________________________, and this rifle is an MLM mk. II, MLM mk. II* or CLLE mk. I (not CLLE mk. I*), with a simple, non-windage-adjustable ladder sight.
    b) [ ] Serial ___________________________, and this rifle is a CLLE mk. I*, with a windage-adjustable replacement sight.
    c) [ ] Does not apply, my rifle has been converted to some other model.

    13. My rifle is neither an MLM nor a CLLE. It has been converted to some other model, with a conversion barrel as follows:
    a) [ ] .303 long rifle (long Lee).
    b) [ ] .303 short rifle (SMLE).
    c) [ ] .22 long rifle.
    d) [ ] .22 short rifle.
    e) [ ] Other (specify: _____________________________________).
    f) Made by:
    • [ ] Enfield (signified by roman “E” inspection stamps).
    • [ ] Sparkbrook (roman “B” stamps).
    • [ ] LSA (roman “X” stamps).
    • [ ] BSA (italic “B” stamps).
    • [ ] other (specify: _________________________________).
    g) [ ] And with serial number: ________________________.
    h) [ ] Does not apply, my rifle is still an MLM or a CLLE with a long Lee barrel.

    14. The manufacture date of my conversion barrel is:
    a) [ ] ___________ year (to get this figure, you need to take the foreend off and look for the date on the underside of the barrel up at the breech end).

    15. The installation date of my conversion barrel is:
    a) [ ] ___________ year (look on the left side of the barrel reinforce at the breech end; it will usually be a two-digit year preceded by an apostrophe).

    16. My rifle was issued to the navy at some point (see photos 10 and 11):
    a) [ ] Yes, there is an “N” stamped on the left side of the buttsocket.
    b) [ ] Yes, there is an “N” stamped somewhere else (specify: ___________________).
    c) [ ] Yes, though there is no “N” stamp, there are other naval ownership indicators (such as “P/N/1” on the barrel) (specify: ______________________________________).
    d) [ ] There are no signs of naval ownership.

    17. My rifle is still an intact MLM and has its original foreend (see photo 12):
    a) [ ] Yes, my rifle’s foreend appears to be original.
    b) [ ] No, replacement Parker-Hale (P-H) foreend, dated: _________________ (look at underside of foreend at middle band).
    c) [ ] No, replacement “heart wood” civilian target shooter foreend (generally, this will be smooth, shiny and very well made).
    d) [ ] No, replacement other foreend (specify and look at inspection stamps to determine maker:________________________________________).
    e) [ ] Don’t know.
    f) [ ] Does not apply, my rifle has been converted to some other model.

    18. My rifle is an intact MLM and has its original butt (see photo 13):
    a) [ ] Yes, my rifle appears to have it original butt.
    b) [ ] No, replacement long Lee butt from this model ___________________ and maker ____________________.
    c) [ ] Don’t know.
    d) [ ] Does not apply, my rifle has been converted to some other model.

    19. Please describe any manufacturer’s stamps on the right side of the butt:
    a) Roundel or cartouche says: _________________________________________.
    b) Mark of arm says: _______________________________________ (Roman numeral) and asterisk, [ ] yes or [ ] no.
    c) Class of arm says: ___________________________________ (Indo-Arabic digit under Roman numeral).

    20. Please describe any issue or ownership stamps on either side of the butt, also describing their placement.
    a) Description: __________________________________________________ __________________________.

    21. My rifle is an intact MLM and it has been upgraded to take mk. VII high-velocity ammunition (see photo 14):
    a) [ ] Yes, there is an “HV” stamp [ ] in front of or [ ] behind the backsight.
    b) [ ] No, there is no “HV” stamp anywhere.
    c) [ ] Does not apply, my rifle has been converted to some other model.

    22. My rifle is an intact MLM with an MLM bolt:
    a) [ ] My rifle is an MLM mk. II* with its original bolt, and the bolt’s original serial number is: _________________________.
    b) [ ] My rifle is an MLM mk. II* with a replacement bolt (describe type of bolt: _____________________________________), and the bolt’s original serial number is: _________________________.
    c) [ ] My rifle is an MLM mk. II with its original bolt, and the bolt’s original serial number is: _________________________.
    d) [ ] My rifle is an MLM mk. II with a replacement bolt (describe type of bolt: _____________________________________), and the bolt’s original serial number is: _________________________.
    e) [ ] Does not apply, my rifle has been converted to some other model.

    23. This question is for intact MLM mk. II* owners only. My rifle’s safety-fitted MLM mk. II* bolt (check all that apply) (see photos 15 and 16):
    a) [ ] Is Enfield made, and I know this because it has:
    • [ ] An “E” inspection stamp to the right of the serial number, down by the knob.
    • [ ] An “EFD” maker’s stamp at the top rear corner of the bolt handle, visible when I pull back the cocking piece.
    • [ ] Other evidence (specify: ________________________________.)
    b) [ ] Is Sparkbrook made, and I know this because it has:
    • [ ] A “B” inspection stamp to the right of the serial number, down by the knob.
    • [ ] An “SK” maker’s stamp at the top rear corner of the bolt handle, visible when I pull back the cocking piece.
    • [ ] Other evidence (specify: ________________________________.)
    c) [ ] Does not apply, my rifle has been converted to some other model.

    .

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    I should be able to help next week regarding serial numbers, a conversion of a MLM, cant tell original date, it is 18??as this was scrubbed later, but made at BSA & M Co, so guess it started life as a MLM Mk11, then upgraded to Mk11* ?, converted 1905 at Enfield Sht LE CONd 11* , then converted again at Enfield to Sht .22 111.

    (Will provide the info requested when it arrives)




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    Contributing Member smle addict's Avatar
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    Three metford Mk II's

    Good afternooon sir,

    I will try to answer by scrolling back and forth (reading your quesionnaire)

    Rifle #1: Trade pattern MLM Mk II. Mfd by LSA, date of manufacture unk.
    1. (b), 2. LSA (commercial pattern), 3. Unk, 4. N/A, 5. N/A, 6. LSA-1149 (no alpha prefix), 7. Same as #6, 8. Unk (unmarked), 9. (a)-metford rifling, (b)-N/A, (c) LSA-1149, 10. N/A, 11. N/A, 12. 1149 (sight matches), 13 through 16, all N/A, 17. (d)-small italic B for BSA inside barrel channel. 18. yes, 19. Commercial LSA roundel (see pic), 20. Marked to CCC for county cadet corps, 21. No HV stamp, 22. (d)-unumbered but correct bolt (no safety) italic B for BSA on bolt. 23. N/A

    Rifle #2: Charger Loading Lee Enfield Mk I, Converted from a MLM Mk II
    1. (c)-CLLE Mk I, 2. (c)-BSA&M Co. 3. 1895, 4. (c)-LSA, 5. 1910, 6. 61227 (BSA&M), 7. N/A, 8. N/A, 9. (c) X for LSA, 10. Unk (couldn't locate) 11. 1910, 12. 98081 (mismacthed rear sight), 13, 14, 15, all N/A, 16. (d) no, 17. (a), 18. (b)-model unk, 19. None, 20. Marked with 12/09, 9 HLI on but-tang. These are barred out, and rifle is marked both EY and DP on stock and knox form. 21. Yes, HV marked on barrel, CL marked on Dial sight plate, 22. (e), 23. N/A

    Rifle #3: Magazine Lee-Metford Mk II
    1. (b) MLM Mk II, 2. (a)-enfield, 3. 1892 (yes 1892) 4. N/A, 5. N/A, 6. (b) 6008 B, 7. (b) 6008 B) 8. '93 (1893), 9. (a) meford rifling, 10. N/A, 11. N/A, 12. (b) 6008 B, 13, 14, 15, 16-all N/A, 17. (a), 18. (a), 19. (a)-RM Enfield, (b) II, (c) N/A (no class marking) 20. NZicon ownership marks, sale marked on butt-tang, and receiver. 21. (b)-no HV stamp, 22. (c) 6008 B, 23. N/A

    Hope my responses make sense.

    Arnold
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    Advisory Panel Lance's Avatar
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    Not super helpful data, but here are two of mine and one I previously owned.

    Rifle No. 1, Enfield MLM MK II*

    1 (A), 2 (A), 3 (A), 4 (H), 5 (n/a), 6 (2314H), 7 (replacement), 8 (unk), 9 (A, BSA, 35129), 10 (unk), 11 (8/03), 12 (3584T), 13 (n/a), 14 (n/a), 15 (n/a), 16 (A), 17 (D, BSA), 18 (B, BSA), 19 (none), 20 ("RM" on butt plate tang), 21 (A), 22 (B, 8765), 23 (n/a, mismatched)

    Rifle No. 2, .22 Long Mk II

    1 (C, .22 Long Mk II but not marked as such), 2 (A), 3 (1899), 4 (G, armorer?), 5 (B), 6 (2992H), 7 (replacement), 8 (unk), 9 (E), 10 (unk), 11 (unk), 12 (C, BSA, 6387), 14 (unk), 15 (unk), 16 (D), 17 (A, but is a MLE Mk I* pattern), 18 (B, Enfield I), 19 (Enfield I), 20 (none), 21 (A, 2992H), 23 (A, "E")

    Rifle No. 3, .22 Patt. 14 No. 1

    1 (C, ConD II, then .22 Patt 14 No.1), 2 (A), 3 (A), 4 (A), 5 (1905), 6 (7533H), 7 (unk), 8 (unk), 9 (E), 10 (unk), 11 (n/a), 12 (C), 13 (D, unk, 7766J), 14 (unk), 15 (unk). 16 (D), 17 (F), 18 (D), 19 (Enfield II), 20 (D/|\, Australianicon), 21(C), 22 (E), 23 (C)

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    Member coggansfield's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks, everyone. Please keep the info coming.

    Coggo

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    Member Saskgeol's Avatar
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    I had posted this on another site, but I have been lurking on here to learn more about my gun, so I thought I should share it here.------------------

    Just recently picked up an early british rifle. I am posting pictures in the hope that those with more knowledge of these guns might offer some advice and confirm or refute my understanding of what this gun is.

    Gun is labelled as a London Small Arms MK II* (on wristband). I'm assuming (possibly incorrectly) that it is a Lee-Metford. All visible numbers are #983 (assuming that is the serial #). There are some small proof marks on the receiver that I can't decode as well as some letters. This gun seems to be lightly marked/proofed compared to any of the other examples I've seen. Volley sights are intact and plain, compared to some of the MLM guns online. On the right side of receiver it says Lee-Speed Patents, which I believe is for commercial guns only. I didn't know if that jived with the existing proof marks. On the front of the bolt dustcover you can make out another faint 'PATENT" marking. Magazine lockout plate appears to be an early 1890-1895 judging by the hole and detent tab pattern. The stock looks like a bubba-job, but it is close to the Lee-patents commercial pattern, without any of the fancy accoutrements. If it has been modified it's a shame as the wood is in incredible shape. Other than the attached pictures there are no marks on the metal to denote anything. Barrel is in remarkable shape. I appreciate any information people are willing to share. I have tried determining as much as I can, but the variability of these guns and the rarity makes things tough. Gun seems to be in amazing shape for its age and model. Maybe I'm missing something.

  9. #7
    Member coggansfield's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks, Saskgeol. This looks to be an LSA trade pattern MLM mk. II upgraded to mk. II* by the addition of a new safety-fitted bolt. The star next to the II on the buttsocket looks to be a later addition (added at the time of the upgrade). Having said that, the bolt is not obviously a renumbered replacement bolt, so I suppose it could be original. If bolt and the star on the buttsocket are in fact original, then this would be the first purpose built trade pattern MLM mk. II* I've seen. Nice rifle. Thanks for sharing.

    Coggo

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    Member Saskgeol's Avatar
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    Coggansfield,

    Managed to figure out how to disassemble my gun, removed the bolt and dustcover. On the bottom of the bolt knob is another crown/over 'v' symbol. On the bottom of the bolt cocker/safety is "27". At the end of the receiver, where the bolt handle would rest when action closed is a number "6" stamped on the flat area. No marks on trigger housing or trigger. Trigger has 3 vertical lines milled about halfway up. These end at a horizontal indent about halfway down. I will try and get pictures uploaded.

    And thanks again for the previous info, much appreciated

  11. #9
    Member coggansfield's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    7 Feb. 2013
    12:40am

    The crown-over-V mark is a London post-proof inspection or "view" stamp. I would expect the find the same stamp at the breech end of the barrel and/or on the nocksform.

    Coggansfield

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    Really Senior Member superbee's Avatar
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    I have a strange one.Is this what you are looking for?
    Looks to have been a lee medford Mk II built in 1910 and then converted in 1910 to a CLLE.
    At some time it was converted to a SMLE target rifle.It has south african marks on barrel,receiver etc


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