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    Member AradoAR234's Avatar
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    Question about sniper rifles.......

    It's possible I may have missed a thread about this somewhere in the listings, but due to a project I'm currently working on I am very curious about the choice of Sniper rifles in the Australianicon armed services.

    Condensing this as much as possible, the Lithgow HT No1 Mk3* supplanted, then replaced the P14 Sniper variant at the end of WW2. I also believe the P14 was declared obsolete in 1946. I'm certain somebody somewhere would know about official or trials testing between the two rifles to see which one was more suitable ( or accurate etc), and why was the SMLE chosen?

    I've got more questions on this subject, but that is probably enough for an opener...

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    Contributing Member 303 Gunner's Avatar
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    I'm stepping a bit outside my knowledge here, but I would imagine it would be for the same general reason Britainicon hurried the No. 4 Mk I (T) into service: a lack of spare parts, spare scopes, and for that matter, new No. 3 Mk I's for conversion.

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    Senior Member Lithy's Avatar
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    The P14 was the more accurate of the two, but sadly they were getting tired and parts were almost non existent at the end of WW2.

    On the other hand, AOC were making P18 'scopes locally and OA were churning out SMLEs by the truckload which meant there was an abundance of parts available.

    Additionally, we had a wealth of knowledge in accurising SMLEs due to strong fullbore competition in the inter war period.

    In a nutshell, it was availability and familiarity which won the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 303 Gunner View Post
    I'm stepping a bit outside my knowledge here, but I would imagine it would be for the same general reason Britainicon hurried the No. 4 Mk I (T) into service: a lack of spare parts, spare scopes, and for that matter, new No. 3 Mk I's for conversion.
    That would make sense, being a logistical decision more than one rifle outclassing another, especially on a wartime footing.

    When I look at the history of "Full bore" rifle clubs in Australiaicon, the P14 has always been permissible in competition ( and in later years, the N0.4 rifle), but the "H" barrel SMLE continued as the mainstay for decades, so lithy's point is quite valid as well. I have owned a number of "H" barrelled rifles in different configurations, and all have shot very well. They do need varying levels of tinkering to get the best out of them, but that can be said for most competitive pieces of equipment. I do remember a number of comparisons made in the '60's between the 7.62 cartridge and the .303, but the results always appeared to be inconclusive; handloading wasn't allowed, and stock military ammunition will always be a variable.

    There does appear to be a huge amount of misinformation out there regarding SMLE accuracy, some of it hearsay from younger shooters, and some from older shooters who didn't know how to set up the rifle correctly. Poorly sporterised No 1 MK 3's did a lot of damage to their reputation.

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    Really Senior Member Bindi2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 303 Gunner View Post
    I'm stepping a bit outside my knowledge here, but I would imagine it would be for the same general reason Britainicon hurried the No. 4 Mk I (T) into service: a lack of spare parts, spare scopes, and for that matter, new No. 3 Mk I's for conversion.
    There was no new No3 Mk1 rifles or spare parts available.
    The No1 Mk3 rifles were available and being built in Australiaicon including scopes. To my knowledge there was no tests done it was a straight replacement

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    Member AradoAR234's Avatar
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    That should cover it then. It appears the Lithgowicon HT rifle performed really well in Korea, and the rifle clubs continued to shoot impressive scores with their SMLE's for decades to come. Still, it would be of interest to find some evidence or documentation of accuracy testing between the two, even though it wouldn't have changed anything.

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    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AradoAR234 View Post
    That would make sense, being a logistical decision more than one rifle outclassing another, especially on a wartime footing.



    When I look at the history of "Full bore" rifle clubs in Australiaicon, the P14 has always been permissible in competition ( and in later years, the N0.4 rifle), but the "H" barrel SMLE continued as the mainstay for decades, so lithy's point is quite valid as well. I have owned a number of "H" barrelled rifles in different configurations, and all have shot very well. They do need varying levels of tinkering to get the best out of them, but that can be said for most competitive pieces of equipment. I do remember a number of comparisons made in the '60's between the 7.62 cartridge and the .303, but the results always appeared to be inconclusive; handloading wasn't allowed, and stock military ammunition will always be a variable.

    There does appear to be a huge amount of misinformation out there regarding SMLE accuracy, some of it hearsay from younger shooters, and some from older shooters who didn't know how to set up the rifle correctly. Poorly sporterised No 1 MK 3's did a lot of damage to their reputation.

    The 'Out of the Factory' accuracy was more than sufficient for it job at hand, ie 'Minute of Man'
    This was posted many years ago on the old Joustericon forum, apologies to the author as I did not keep a record of who posted it.


    SMLE TESTING


    For the SMLE All rifles were tested for accuracy by the Small Arms Inspection Department at 100ft, and 10% were also tested at 600 yds.
    All rifles were fired from a special mechanical rest, known as an Enfield Rest, and a special Telescope layer was used for laying an aim. The Enfield Rest was designed to simulate the conditions under which a rifle would be held when fired from the shoulder, and was provided with hand wheel adjustments for laying an aim.
    Trial shots were first fired and, if necessary the foresight was adjusted laterally, or replaced by one of a different height, until the shots on the target were within the required limits. Five rounds were then fired, and four of the five shots had to be contained in a rectangle 1 inch broad by 1˝ in high. Rifle which failed this test were rejected. At 600 yds 10 shots were fired, nine of which had to fall within a 2 foot circle.


    No 4 RIFLE TESTING

    For the No 4 Rifle, the accuracy test was the same at 100ft ten per cent of all rifles were then fired at 200 yds when six of seven shots had to fall in a rectangle 6in x 6in , the point of mean impact having to be within 3 inches of the point of aim in any direction.
    Ten per cent of rifles fired at 200 yds were again fired at 600 yds when 6 out of seven shots had to be in a rectangle 18 inches x 18 inches the permissible deviation of point of mean impact being 9 inches up or down, or left or right. Two per cent of rifles were fired from the shoulder, ten rounds being fed into the magazine by charger and fired rapid to test “feeding up” and ejection. After these tests the barrel was inspected to ensure that there was no expansion in the bore or chamber and that it shaded correctly from end to end. (Was not bent)
    Last edited by Alan de Enfield; 06-24-2020 at 03:35 AM.
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