The SMLE 1903-1989
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Thread: Value and explanation of condition?

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  1. #1
    Legacy Member AmEngRifles's Avatar
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    Value and explanation of condition?

    I THINK this is a refurbished BSAC (1915) SHTLE, MkIII? But I have never really studied the Lee Enfiel's vast varieties and nomenclatures. I usually purchase on model, bore condition and that overall "something" that brings joy to my heart. This rifle was so beautiful, I could not resist it, even if I did not totally understand what it was.

    The man who sold it to me was a bit of a crumudgen, so was not overtly forthcoming with details. Usually I walk away from that sort of seller on product I understand better. I suspect he had no patience for my lack of understanding of what he was selling? I still bought.

    I have understood that there are/were "hobbyists" who will restore and refurbish rifles like this. I guess it takes away collector value, but then, what is a rifle such as this beauty worth? I know what it is worth to me, but as I get older, I feel the pressure to reduce and simplify, as I won't be taking these with me.

    I can post or reply to questions, so decided not to post a bunch of details and markings, until someone asks for them.

    As far as I know, this IS a steel & wood, functioning rifle. I have never shot it. It was just so beautiful, it has brought me many hours of viewing pleasure. Kinda like a Trophy Wife.

    Any help explaining this rifle would be greatly appreciated.

    Been a while since I posted pictures. The feature does not seem to present itself on my Samsung (cell phone)?? Will post a few pics then once I figure it out.
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    Last edited by AmEngRifles; 11-14-2021 at 07:56 PM.

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    A Collector's View - The SMLE Short Magazine Lee Enfield 1903-1989. It is 300 8.5x11 inch pages with 1,000+ photo’s, most in color, and each book is serial-numbered.  Covering the SMLE from 1903 to the end of production in India in 1989 it looks at how each model differs and manufacturer differences from a collecting point of view along with the major accessories that could be attached to the rifle. For the record this is not a moneymaker, I hope just to break even, eventually, at $80/book plus shipping.  In the USA shipping is $5.00 for media mail.  I will accept PayPal, Zelle, MO and good old checks (and cash if you want to stop by for a tour!).  CLICK BANNER to send me a PM for International pricing and shipping. Manufacturer of various vintage rifle scopes for the 1903 such as our M73G4 (reproduction of the Weaver 330C) and Malcolm 8X Gen II (Unertl reproduction). Several of our scopes are used in the CMP Vintage Sniper competition on top of 1903 rifles. Brian Dick ... BDL Ltd. - Specializing in British and Commonwealth weapons Chuck in Denver ... Buy-Sell-Trade .. Guns, Cars Motorcycles Your source for the finest in High Power Competition Gear. Here at T-bones Shipwrighting we specialise in vintage service rifle: re-barrelling, bedding, repairs, modifications and accurizing. We also provide importation services for firearms, parts and weapons, for both private or commercial businesses.
     

  3. #2
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    What IS that woodwork? Maple? Looks like it...I suggest both have been restocked unless you have inspector marks. Very nice custom job. Both look very well selected for shooters.
    Regards, Jim

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  6. #3
    Legacy Member AmEngRifles's Avatar
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    It had been suggested to me that India used to make Lee Enfield stock sets for sale on the world market. If that is the case, could this be teak? Would teak work as a stock set for a rifle in .303?

    Sorry, forgot there were TWO rifles in the full length images. The No. 4 is a Savage made model. I am basically referring to the Nk III in my inquiry.

    I will check in the morning, but I believe the Savage stock does have some proof markings. None exist on the Mk III stock.

    The MkIII does have an importers stamp on the rifle itself, which is the somewhat ubiquitous Century Arms for us in the U.S.
    Last edited by AmEngRifles; 11-14-2021 at 11:36 PM.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmEngRifles View Post
    could this be teak
    I think it's too light for teak but maybe it's just birch like the mummy wrap Irish contract guns? Seems a bit darker though, someone will be along to tell us. The #1 Mk3 is the one I find strange in this color wood.
    Regards, Jim

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    Legacy Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    The No 1 has been worked on a lot, the wood fit is very [too] good, metal redone. I agree with BAR, the wood is too light for a No 1 but never say never for an LE.

  9. #6
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Here's a possible answer... https://www.prestigiouswoodstocks.co...ons/all?page=2

    Also the transverse screw in the No1 Mk3 bayonet boss looks to be a replacement, looks case hardened color. That would be the very nicest screw in service I've ever seen.
    Regards, Jim

  10. #7
    Legacy Member AmEngRifles's Avatar
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    BAR, thank you for that link. So our friends North of the Border may have been the location of it's restoration, then possibly imported by Century? I guess it would not be too hard to have a stock set shipped into the U.S.? Seems odd Century would somehow pick up a restored rifle and then import it, unless it somehow ended up as part of a larger collection of Lee Enfields?

    Where is it more likely this sort of restoration would have been done by hobbiests? Englandicon, Canadaicon or even the U.S.? I am not used to see many or ANY restored rifles, to this condition and standard in the U.S.??

    The bore of this rifle is excellent. Smooth, shiny with little perceptible wear. Were there stocks of new, surplus barrels at some point, after the war? No rifle could make it from 1915 to 2000 without some corrosion, pitting or wear could it?

    ---------- Post added at 12:30 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:23 PM ----------

    I have always understood this to be a restored rifle, and not by any military depot, but by a hobbiest. I don't mind that at all. I have owned "sporterized" version of several WWII rifles. They are what they are and I accepted their limitations ( as collectables) and just enjoyed shooting them.

    But this bird has always struck me as beautiful and odd at the same time. I never could bring myself to shoot it, for fear of damaging any part of it. It is almost too sterile. It has beauty and character, but only in the eyes of a few.

    Trying to eventually put a market value on it.

    ---------- Post added at 12:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:30 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Daan Kemp View Post
    The No 1 has been worked on a lot, the wood fit is very [too] good, metal redone. I agree with BAR, the wood is too light for a No 1 but never say never for an LE.

    Thank you for your reply. I know the wood is a very odd color. Not military by any stretch. But I love the orange tint to an otherwise perfect wood set with no dings, dents or damage. That dang shiny brass butt plate always dazzles me as well. Why has it not tarnished over the years?

  11. #8
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmEngRifles View Post
    Were there stocks of new, surplus barrels at some point
    Yes, I had one and sold it to a member here a few years back. The only ones I'd restore would have perfect barrels and the major parts complete and correct.


    Quote Originally Posted by AmEngRifles View Post
    Trying to eventually put a market value on it.
    I hear you, but look at gunbroker for finished sales or perhaps some of the US sale sites for help. My market won't reflect your sales in FLA at all... It should sell very well.
    Regards, Jim

  12. #9
    Legacy Member AmEngRifles's Avatar
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    Thanks BAR. You realize, that within the Unites States, it could possibly sell to any state in the Union. BUT I won't mess with shipping anything to California any more. Too many hurdles and hoops. So I may just list on GB, but have a local blog site within the state which is not an auction site, so wanted to have some idea of what these restorations might bring? Don't think there are many of these "restos" that have hit GB? I guess I will put my price on it and see what happens. There may be some other goofball out there that has my same quirky appreciation for a Mk III that looks new.

    Thank you for the feedback.

  13. #10
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmEngRifles View Post
    You realize, that within the Unites States, it could possibly sell to any state in the Union
    Yes, we have that ability also. As long as you regard the special features or condition of yours and look for comparable rifles, you should be able to compare. Good luck with the sales...
    Regards, Jim

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