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    Contributing Member smle addict's Avatar
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    *(Range update)SMLE Mk I* saved from the sporter pile

    Hello all,

    Here is my SMLE Mk I*, produced in 1911. I acquired this as a barreled action about two years ago. All I had to work with was the barrel, receiver, and bolt. The sight base had been removed in its past. The man I bought it from said it had been horribly sporterized. Thankfully, it was not drilled, but all of the original wood and harware was either mangled or discarded. Over the years, I managed to source a correct sight base (for Mk 6 ammunition) w/rear sight, an early Mk I cocking piece, and all the hardware.

    The handguards and forend is reproduction wood from Prestigious Wood Stocks. It took well over 300 hours of sanding, chiseling, drilling, staining, and oiling to get this to fit to the rifle. After fitting the sight ears to the rear handguard, I set it aside to let the stain dry. I knocked it off the table doing laundry, and it slid under my jeep in the garage. I hadn't noticed this, and when I drove out of my garage, I ran over the handguard, splitting it in two. I was able to glue and patch it back into one piece. It was a true labor of love.

    I dare not call this a restoration as I am an amateur, and I did take a shortcut. I am ashamed to admit I did use a bedding compound to get the rear of the stock snugged up to the receiver. After carfeully fitting the forend draws to the receiver (and centering the barrel, I found I had a gap of about .065 between the buttsocket and forend. I fitted a shim of walnut, but each time I sanded to fit, I still wound up taking too much off. So marine-tex was used to tighten it up. The cheaters way out, I know, but I blame the stain/linseed fumes for clouding my brain!

    So here it is. I hope it shoots as good as it looks. First range trip will be this coming friday. More updates then, and hopefully a good one. Any ideas why the Mk I* was still being produced at this late of a date, fours years after the introduction of the Mk III?

    Hope you enjoy the pics.

    *UPDATE-4/3/2021
    Thanks everyone for the positive comments. Makes those 300 hours worth the effort. I couldnt tell how many sanding belts and sand paper sheets I went through. Not to mention two trips to the local cutlery shop to re-sharpen my chisels. I also went through about half a box of bandaids. My hands looked like hamburger after many days of fitting.

    Took the rifle out to the range yesterday, to stretch it's legs. After trying a variety of handloads, I found one that it seemd to favor. Best group of the day was a 6" X 4", 10 shots at 100 yards. Not target rifle worthy, but good enough to keep them in the 8-ring. Now that I've got something to work with, I'll stick with this load and run it out further, in the coming weeks.

    Got to meet USABaker at the range (one of the RSO's). Very nice man.

    Tatou: I'm glad at least one person was happy I ran my handguard over. Believe me, the strings of four-letter words that came out of my mouth was pretty impressive.

    Roy: thanks for the info on these Mk I*s.

    Added a few more pics (used a better camera)
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    Last edited by smle addict; 04-04-2021 at 04:05 PM.

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    Really Senior Member Salt Flat's Avatar
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    Excellent - that came out great. The wood has just the right shape and color. I have a similar project (Mk I***) so I know how hard it is to acquire all those correct parts! Salt Flat


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    Senior Member pisco's Avatar
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    That is certainly a good story boy did you put some hours into the old girl it looks good what’s it shoot like

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    I think those older rifles look like artwork. That one's no different, looks great.
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member NORTHOF60's Avatar
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    Well worth saving. Well done, and congratulations.
    Some do, some don't; some will, some won't; I might ...

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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    Excellent job, the Mark 1* is very rare in the USAicon. years ago I was able to restore some CR pre fix Mark 1*** rifles back when you could
    still find parts, I did find a Mark 1 hand guard in a box at a gun store. Only found one Mark 1*** (BSA 1907) with the Irish pre fix.

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    Senior Member tatou's Avatar
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    Nice work. When you spend that many hours working on the stock, you know it's not a botch job.
    I for one am glad you ran over the rear handguard... i LOVE your repair work.
    It gives it a touch of reality and adds real character only seen on service rifles.
    I like it so much, i might even do it on purpose on a future project.

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    Really Senior Member Roy's Avatar
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    New Zealandicon acquired a bunch of Sht LE Mk1 receivers in 1910 from BSA, it seems they were used to refit the Mk1's that NZ got in 1905 as they were all stamped with '05 dated Census numbers. perhaps yours was used n a similar way. Nice work on the slip patches, I have saved several split and oil soaked handguards that way.
    Keep Calm
    and
    Fix Bayonets

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