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    Member tarhee's Avatar
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    Enfield SMLE III* question

    Hi All- I'm new to the forum and to SMLE rifles. I recently purchased a 1918 Enfield SMLE III* at auction in Columbus Ohio, USAicon. The walnut wood furniture is very dark- it was covered liberally with grease for apparently many years. The barrel and receiver have olive paint on them, then grease on top of the paint. When I disassembled the rifle for cleaning that grease off everything so I could take it out shooting, I noticed the barrel channel has a layer of sand, then rust-red dirt on top, then bits of the olive paint that came off the barrel on top of that. It's my understanding that SMLE rifle metal parts were painted olive in WWII to prevent corrosion and that WWi use would have simply had grease applied. The 1918 manufacture date would have put the rifle at the end of WWi, so it's use was likely WWII. The barrel has the BNP proof stamp and 18.5 tons stamped over the serial number. No US company import markings. Was this returned to Britishicon arsenals after use, then sold to the US, or could this have been a US GI battlefield pick-up that was sent to the US? It had never been cleaned- the barrel is shiny, but has gunpowder residue in it and the external grease, with years of dirt in it, made it impossible to hold without getting covered in greasy dirt. If it was proofed and sold, would it have been disassembled and cleaned prior to sale? To have sand under rust red soil would imply to me that it was used in an amphibious assault, then made it inland a bit, but not far enough to be cleaned thoroughly. I'm curious as to the history of it. Thanks in advance for your input.

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    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Lots of pictures would allow those who really know to provide an expert opinion.

    Olive paint? Do a search of the website, you will find a few threads discussing the olive paint that should give you more information.

    Sand and red soil may be found anywhere and isn't necessarily an indication of use. Desert, Middle East, Australiaicon, India, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc

    Battlefield pickup? I doubt if a GI would pick up on of the allied forces' rifles and try to take it back with him, but anything is possible with LE rifles. More probably an import. Only pictures of the markings will possibly tell.
    Last edited by Daan Kemp; 11-04-2018 at 02:58 AM. Reason: clarify areas of use

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    Really Senior Member nijalninja's Avatar
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    I know basically nothing about proofing, but from threads on here I have no impressions that they have the best interests nor knowledge, so stripping a gun seems unlikely when proofing.

    If the sand got there in service one would think it would have been right at the end of its service, as if it were refurbished or attended to by an armourer this sand would have been cleaned away while checking everything else (I don't think there were instructions on accounting for bedding with sand in the fore-end). So perhaps it was in some sandy environment, but right at the end of its life in the battlefield and was never serviced afterwards; or, sometime after being surplussed someone took it somewhere sandy and never bothered to clean it.

    The olive paint I have no idea on, but I've seen plenty of 40 - 45 Lithgows with the usual blacking and nothing like olive paint.

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    Tarhee,
    As stated already, we ned to see it to be able to help. Just follow the instructions by asking the question in the search box top right, How do I download images?
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    Member tarhee's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your replies. I got home from work a bit ago, so will post pics in the morning. I'm pretty worn out at the moment.

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    Member tarhee's Avatar
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    I'm getting a "400 Error- Bad Request" when I try to upload images. I'm using Safari 12.0. I've confirmed that my local security preferences allow almost everything for the site. I've turned off the enhanced attachment uploading on my general preferences on this site. I've reduced file size to 900k. What am I missing? Is there an administrative block on my account for photo uploading since I'm so new to the site? Thanks for your help.

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    Thread Starter

    pictures!












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    The green paint is not unusual, was a method of preservative. Check our past threads here and it's discussed. The grit under the rifle in the wood has come from the past, I'd clean it personally but I'm not nostalgic about dirt...on my rifle...
    Regards, Jim

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    That is a lot of dirt. Turps, a toothbrush, and some rags will get it all out. Looks pretty good anyway, but I would be pulling that butt-stock off the check the socket for rust. It also has that kinda creasy ring around the butt-stock at the front, and I wonder if someone tried to shove it into a No4 or something and the socket edge rode over the shoulders of the butt-stock, is that possible? Otherwise just give a good clean and it will appreciate it.

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    Im sorry ,but the war ended 70+ years ago. who knows where it been since then.However green paint could mean its been in tropical climate,somewhere.


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