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Thread: Lee Speed/Metford Top (Dust) Cover source?

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  1. #21
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    Interesting question. It’s certainly possible that Speed was in the Volunteers, but I haven’t found any evidence for it. What makes you think so?

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    Legacy Member Strangely Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jc5icon View Post
    Interesting question. It’s certainly possible that Speed was in the Volunteers, but I haven’t found any evidence for it. What makes you think so?
    Jc5, I have no idea if he was either, however if he is described as a corporal in some historic document, (was he?) then that description has to come from somewhere. Not unlike the description of my "Major" Richardson.
    Mick

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    Quote Originally Posted by BVZ24 View Post
    Some confusion might come from the the designation "Lee Speed". Lee Speed is the actual name of the rifle family. It comes from the engineers who designed it, James Lee and Corporal Joseph Speed. When it was adopted by the Britishicon, the enlisted Speed's credit was given to Enfield RASF, hence all British government Lees are Lee Enfields.

    For the commercial production, manufacturers were allowed to properly credit Speed. All rifles produced as sporter, target, and foreign military patterns are Lee Speeds.

    There are several variants of commercial rifle at this time, but for the sake of simplicity, it can be narrowed down to two. Customers can choose if they wanted cleaner stronger Enfield rifling, or weaker accurate Metford rifling for either variant. Commercial metford barreled rifles will have the No 1 Lee Speed action, without a E marked on the barrel.
    The first is a sporting pattern. This is a shorter rifle without full wood. May not look much different than a sporterized SMLE, but very rare and desirable.
    The second is the military model. These are almost exactly the same as produced for the British. The Ethiopian hoard is made up of these.
    FYI: The rifle I bought was one of those offered by RTI that has the type designation as "Lee Speed Patents" stamped above the BSA Maker Mark on the right side of the receiver hub. "Lee Speed rifle" may be a misnomer, as it is intrinsically a Lee-Enfield Magazine Metford, but I dont think the reference to it as a Lee Speed and not a Lee Metford is incorrect? The rifle I am asking about is also NOT one of the sporting versions (I only collect old military rifles, besides, I find then fugly!)) but the Lee Speed military version (called Commercial Pattern???) of the Lee Metford . The barrel also has the E designated barrel indicating it is a later model with the Enfield rifling groove style. It is my understanding that the Lee Speeds were upgrades of the Lee Metford rifle sold to those who wanted the better rifling and a generally higher (finish?) quality level, but I am uncertain whether the "higher finish quality" applies to the so-called Commercial Pattern or the Sporting models.

    Ive acquired a signed copy of "The Lee-Enfield" by Ian Skennertonicon, but it is more of a "history of the development of" tome in the style of Hatcher's Krag & 1903 books or Ruth's M1icon Carbine compendiums and in my opinion neither serves well as a collector's reference when compared to the books by Poyer, Harrison (1903, M1 Garand) and Larsen (M1 Carbine). Is there no other reference book printed about the Lee Speed/ Lee Metford/ Long Lee Enfield Magazine Rifles?

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    Contributing Member muffett.2008's Avatar
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    Most of the patent information I have associated with Joseph James Speed just gives him as being an Engineer at RSAF Enfield Lock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strangely Brown View Post
    jc5icon, I have no idea if he was either, however if he is described as a corporal in some historic document, (was he?) then that description has to come from somewhere. Not unlike the description of my "Major" Richardson.
    I’m not the one who brought up the idea. Is there any evidence that he was?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jc5icon View Post
    I’m not the one who brought up the idea. Is there any evidence that he was?
    Ask BVZ24 who in post No.13 suggested he was a corporal.

    My post was merely to suggest how he might have been a volunteer given some research I've undertaken in another area.
    Mick

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    My mistake. I might have had Captain Sergei Mosin on my mind when I was writing that, as his design is presently giving me headaches. J.Speed was the manager at RSAF Enfield.

    Wasn't Enfield state owned and only produced rifles for the Britishicon government?
    A commercial rifle would be produced by the private companies such as L.S.A. and B.S.A., and would only be stamped LE1 if it was for the British government. All other rifles would be stamped Lee Speed.

    I stand by my argument that the rifles produced after the Metford MK2 could be considered the Lee Speed family, from a commercial standpoint.

    But I guess if my argument was right, we'd be calling Remington Lee rifles Sharps Lee.
    Last edited by BVZ24; 09-26-2022 at 12:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1903Collector View Post

    Ive acquired a signed copy of "The Lee-Enfield" by Ian Skennertonicon, but it is more of a "history of the development of" tome in the style of Hatcher's Krag & 1903 books or Ruth's M1icon Carbine compendiums and in my opinion neither serves well as a collector's reference when compared to the books by Poyer, Harrison (1903, M1 Garand) and Larsen (M1 Carbine). Is there no other reference book printed about the Lee Speed/ Lee Metford/ Long Lee Enfield Magazine Rifles?
    I agree that Skennerton's book is mainly a history ( a good one), but it can serve as a collector's reference if you look at the last 1/3 of the book, pp.431-554, which catalogs every major model and variation, and good coverage of markings. Not sure what else you are looking for in a collector's reference. Skennerton has also published several SAIS paperback booklets that contain just the basic facts on various models (including the Lee-Metford and a good one devoted to changes in parts), and also a small "Lee-Enfield Buyer's Guide" which is a pocket size reference. Some years ago Charles Stratton published a good collectors reference on the SMLE and another on the No.4--although they don't cover the Long Lees--these detail the variations in individual parts, useful to collectors who need to identify the correct part for a rebuild. They do not follow the standard Britishicon military nomenclature for parts, which might lead to some confusion, but they are useful books.

    As for a collectors guide to the commercial rifles, I'm working on it. It will mainly be a history, but will include a catalog of all variations. Let me know what you want to see specifically, and I will try to include it,
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    Researching Lee Speeds and all commercial Lee Enfields. If you have data to share or questions, please send me a PM.

  12. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by BVZ24 View Post
    My mistake. I might have had Captain Sergei Mosin on my mind when I was writing that, as his design is presently giving me headaches. J.Speed was the manager at RSAF Enfield.
    No worries-- I thought maybe there was a biographical reference to Speed that I had somehow missed.

    Quote Originally Posted by BVZ24 View Post
    Wasn't Enfield state owned and only produced rifles for the Britishicon government?
    Yes, that is correct...RSAF Enfield was state-owned and (with very rare exceptions) only produced arms for the government. I mentioned above that they did not produce commercial rifles ("Lee-Speeds").

    Quote Originally Posted by BVZ24 View Post
    A commercial rifle would be produced by the private companies such as L.S.A. and B.S.A., and would only be stamped LE1 if it was for the British government. All other rifles would be stamped Lee Speed.
    Well, yes and no. Yes, they were made only by LSA and BSA. However, LSA commercial rifles were marked LE I, so that is not the best way to distinguish a commercial from a government rifle by LSA. Yes, they would be stamped "Lee-Speed Patents," but only during such time as the patents were in force. See the article linked above.

    Quote Originally Posted by BVZ24 View Post
    I stand by my argument that the rifles produced after the Metford MK2 could be considered the Lee Speed family, from a commercial standpoint. But I guess if my argument was right, we'd be calling Remington Lee rifles Sharps Lee.
    Call them whatever you like. It all depends on how you define your terms, including "family." BSA and LSA never called them "Lee-Speeds." We call them that as a convenience. I'm not sure you'd want to draw a distinction between "rifles produced after the Lee-Metford" versus earlier, because commercial Lee-Metfords were certainly produced and sold., and they were stamped “Lee-Speed Patents.”

    For someone who is really nit-picky, you'd have to call them the "Remington-Sharps-Lee-Metford-Enfield-Speed-Borchardt-Diss-Penn-Deeley-Rigby-BSA" design, but that's too long for me to get out in one breath! I said as much to Gene Myszkowski once and we had a laugh over it. (RIP Gene)
    Last edited by Jc5; 09-26-2022 at 06:23 PM.

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  14. #30
    Legacy Member 1903Collector's Avatar
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    jc5icon, Outstanding! Id love to see the final book!

    In my opinion, the best collector's reference book today is The M1icon Carbine by L. C. Larsen. Its unlikely there are records extent as comprehensive or the with the same level of detail that is available for the M1 Carbine, but, as a collector I appreciate the quality of the color pics, the individual parts by mfr and type labeled and pictured, the year by year, manufacturer by manufacturer, production block by production block, and part version by version detail, and all the separate sections for part markings, accessories and others is just outstanding!

    For me, the distinction between Lee Metford, Lee Speed and Long Lee military pattern rifles is still unclear. There seems to be many Lee Speed military pattern rifles used in conflicts including WWI. Or am I mistaken? So to me, commercial vs. government rifles, after all thee years, seems unimportant, or vague at least.

    I confess that I have only skimmed thru Skennertonicon's book. I will look into the section you suggested, but the standard I compare collector's books is Larsen's.

    I very much appreciate your posts on this issue. I will receive the rifle tomorrow and start restoration evaluation and plans. I found a good bayo and scabbard at a "good" price but no frog. I will get a repro frog from Savage. He does excellent wok in my experience. I have yet to follow the one or two leads on the dust cover (the original topic of this entry), but my expectations are low. As I may have mentioned, this rifle is the 103rd, and likely the last for a time, long arm in a collection of long arms of each major belligerent (battle and sniper rifles, and carbines) from the Spanish American War thru the Cold War that is on display at the Texas Veterans Hall of Museum in Denton, Texas north of Dallas (often considered an extension of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex). I need all the help I can get as I am sure Ive got errors in my collection (e.g., I recently determined that an Arisakaicon T44 in my WWII section was a 1914 WWI rifle!. That was actually an exciting find for me!!)

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