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Thread: Mk. I*or Mk. I?

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    Senior Member oldfoneguy's Avatar
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    Tighten up the barrel at the fore end Before you really try to dial-in a load. There will be a big difference once that's done. You may find loads you passed up on may still be worth going back to. But for me the "go-to" accuracy load in any .303 is the MkVII spec. - Bill

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    Contributing Member fjruple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackStones View Post
    I recently acquired a Pattern 14 rifle manufactured by Eddystone. I'm having some difficulty identifying whether it is a Mk. I or a Mk. I*. Sorry for the long explanatory post, but I wanted to provide sufficient information for anyone willing to help (plus I'm a lawyer and it's an occupational hazard - ha ha).



    I had originally assumed the rifle was a Mk. I* since there is a five-sided star on the receiver ring above the serial number on the receiver ring, and a seven-sided star on the barrel above its serial number. The rifle has a "fatboy" stock and a serial number in the 215XXX range, which are consistent with a late 1916 or early 1917 manufacture from what I gather.

    It's my understanding that the order authorizing the variation giving rise to the Mk. I* was issued in December 1916, but this rifle has a "'16" mark on the barrel, suggesting a 1916 manufacture. It seems unlikely that many, if any, Mk. I*'s were constructed in 1916. My suspicion was raised as a result, but I also surmised that it could mean a 1916 barrel was put on a rifle manufactured in early 1917.

    Stratton's "Pattern 14 and US Model of 1917" at page 20 indicates that the * should be on the right side of the buttstock next to the IW roundel, on the shank of the bolt handle, or on the extractor. The VGCA's "A Short History of the American Enfield" by Gorelick states that the * should be on the bolt handle, the barrel/receiver top, and the right side of the buttstock. Upon further inspection, my rifle has a faded five-pointed star on the bolt handle, as well as stars on the receiver ring and barrel (as noted above); however, it doesn't have a star on the buttstock or the extractor, so my curiosity increased.

    On a hunch, I then measured the left locking lug. It came out at 0.625 inches ... the measurement for a Mk. I left locking lug (with the Mk. I* left locking lug being 0.725 inches). So, although the receiver ring, bolt handle, and barrel have markings for a Mk. I*, the locking lug is a Mk. I variant and some other indicia of a Mk. I* rifle are not present.

    I then wondered if I had a "mix-n-match" rifle, but the serial numbers on the bolt handle, the receiver ring, and the barrel all match. However, upon closer inspection, it appears that the last figure on the barrel's serial number was "marked-over" with the matching number. I don't know if that was just a correction at Eddystone. It seems unlikely that a mix-n-match would have ended up with a barrel within an almost-identical serial number, but it's possible.

    Gorelick's fine article at p. 12 cites Skennertonicon (I don't have his pricey book ... at least yet) as stating that some transitional rifles with the Mk. I* barrel were fitted with the Mk. I bolt, but had no * on the buttstock and were described as Mk. I rifles (unless and until a Mk. I* bolt was later added). So, perhaps I've got a transitional rifle using a Mk. I bolt but a Mk. I* barrel.

    That would imply my barrel, though made in 1916, was later recessed to the Mk. I* standard. I'm not exactly sure what sort of metalwork constitutes a such "recess", but a visual inspection shows some shallow cuts at the back of the barrel when the lugs fit. I also saw another thread on this forum with a picture of a Mk. I barrel, and the rear of that barrel didn't have the cuts that mine has.

    Incidentally, the volley sights have been removed (except for the dial sight plate), and the brass disc in the buttstock replaced by a wooden plug. I don't, however, see a Weedon Repair Standard marking anywhere on the rifle.

    I have enclosed some pictures of the rifle to illustrate the points raised above (however, I couldn't take a picture of the apparently "recessed" barrel).

    Does anyone have any thoughts on whether I have a Mk. I, a Mk. I transitional, a Mk. I*, or some mix-n-match "Franken-rifle"?

    If I have a Mk. I transition rifle, is it unsafe to fire for that reason alone? I can't imagine that the factory (and inspectors) would have let the rifle out the door that way if it was unsafe. To be clear, the headspace seems fine, I've already put about 100 rounds through it without a problem ... at least so far (the lawyer in me talking - ha ha), and the fired brass looked fine (I've already neck-sized and reloaded).

    Any comments are much appreciated.
    Remington and Eddystone quickly changed from the MK1 to MK1* . Winchester changed over much later in their production.

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