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Another interesting 'Smelly'

Article about: I picked up this rather interesting SMLE this morning at the Liverpool arms fair. The rifle is a 1906 dated SMLE Mk 1* which seems to have had a rather chequered career. At some stage in its

  1. #1

    Default Another interesting 'Smelly'

    I picked up this rather interesting SMLE this morning at the Liverpool arms fair. The rifle is a 1906 dated SMLE Mk 1* which seems to have had a rather chequered career. At some stage in its life it had been bored out and re sleeved in .22cal. It had also been used on the training ship; 'TS Dolphin'. The woodwork was actually marked to the ship when I obtained it this morning. But when I stripped the rifle and lightly rubbed over the woodwork with oil, the black stencilling lifted off.

    The Dolphin was built in 1882, and after her naval career she was pressed into service as a training establishment for Merchant Marine cadets from 1944 to 1977.

    The rifle itself is a 1906 dated London Small Arm Company model, and has matching numbers to bolt and receiver - although the bolt-head is obviously not the original. The cut-off was missing, but fortunately I had one in the spares box. As far as I can tell the woodwork appears to be original WW1 - although probably not original to the rifle. It has the cut-out for the charger bridge - which this version never had. The crown of the original barrel is stamped... 'Rifled by Alf J Parker.' The rifle bears several WD stamps, so it obviously didn't start out as a civilian rifle. But it would be interesting to know whether it always had a naval connection.

    Hopefully, I will at some time be able to obtain the correct type bolt head with integral charger guide...

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    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  2. #2

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    A very nice SMLE with a intresting career thanks for showing it



    Best regards Matt

  3. #3

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    Interesting rifle Steve!...
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  4. #4

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    It is a military contract rifle that was converted to .22 by AJ Parker, which is why the cut off would have been removed and possibly why a new bolt head was fitted. Does the bolt head have an off set firing pin hole and does the firing pin look like it was a one piece off set?

  5. #5

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    Quote by m3bobby View Post
    It is a military contract rifle that was converted to .22 by AJ Parker, which is why the cut off would have been removed and possibly why a new bolt head was fitted. Does the bolt head have an off set firing pin hole and does the firing pin look like it was a one piece off set?
    The bolt head is indeed off-set - as it would have to be for conversion to .22 cal.

    According to my book these conversions were carried out circa 1915, and the resulting weapon was named as... Rifle, Short, .22-inch,R.F., Pattern '14. Although it states that the conversions were carried out on No 11 and 11* rifles. The SMLE No 1* was introduced in 1906 - the date this one was manufactured. And as it is an LSA manufacture, I doubt if there are many more around - LSA rifles being harder to find in ANY model!

    The reinstating of the cut-off (by me) is purely for cosmetic reasons. And at some stage I would like to obtain the correct bolt-head and sliding charger - again purely for cosmetic reasons. I doubt if this weapon ever saw action in its original form, but I bet it helped to train an awful lot of recruits in the art of musketry!
    Last edited by HARRY THE MOLE; 01-12-2015 at 03:08 PM.
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  6. #6

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    So is the rifle still barrelled for .22 LR? Personally it doesn't seem to make sense to try to convert it back to a standard which it hasn't had for a century-it's a .22 training rifle, as many of the older pattern Long Toms and early SMLEs were converted to for small arms training and one with a definite history of attachment to a ship-I would never attempt to convert my RIC LE carbine back to LE CC standard as a weapon's history is its history.

  7. #7

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    It's my understanding that SMLE's issued to the Navy, had the "N" stamp to the left hand side of the receiver, as well as having the cut off installed way into 1917. I have just purchased a few of the Italian ones that have been brought back in. I will say that they are like brand new, and shoot well.
    you'rs is a nice one Harry, please tell me it's not a de-act? I'm looking for a SMLE .22 shooter

  8. #8

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    nice find steve

  9. #9

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    Quote by John Brandon View Post
    It's my understanding that SMLE's issued to the Navy, had the "N" stamp to the left hand side of the receiver, as well as having the cut off installed way into 1917. I have just purchased a few of the Italian ones that have been brought back in. I will say that they are like brand new, and shoot well.
    you'rs is a nice one Harry, please tell me it's not a de-act? I'm looking for a SMLE .22 shooter
    Hi John, it is indeed a deact. And for the benefit of Lithgow, it would not be possible (for me) to convert it back to .303 cal. The Parker barrel conversion utilised the original barrel by boring it out and re-sleeving with a .22 cal barrel. As I first said, any retro-fitting of parts are purely cosmetic for my own satisfaction.

    To get this rifle back to original Mk 1* spec would require the removal of the old barrel for a start. The rear sight ramp is of the later No 1 Mk111 type and of different shape,and I doubt that it would accept the earlier pattern sight - the profile of the two types of ramp are considerably different! It is highly likely that this rifle was upgraded to Mk 111 before it was later converted to .22 cal for training.

    As for the navy connection, it is Merchant Navy and not Royal Navy, so I suspect that for the purposes of the training ship Dolphin, they just acquired redundant military training rifles - and that is why it has no naval markings. You normally expect to find additional stamps on the left side of the butt ring when mods or upgrades to a later mark have been carried out, but this has nothing whatsoever.

    The cut-offs weren't needed when converted to .22, and the magazine floor plate and spring were usually removed too. The magazine was left in place (with spring removed) to catch the empty .22 cases. I have no interest in shooting these days, that left me many years ago. But I have a love of firearms (and deacts), and I like nothing better than to get hold of a rifle in poor condition and tidy it up a bit.

    John, there is a VERY nice .22 No 1 Mk1* being offered for sale with all original furniture, nose cap, sights, early wings - the lot. It is a .303 conversion for training. And when I saw it I immediately thought that it would be a bl**dy good reason for me to get my section 1. I stumbled upon it by chance the other day when I was trying to trace an early pattern bolt-head and sliding charger guide. The price is 800 - which I think is a good price considering the condition and rarity. If I can find it again I will let you know.

    Cheers,
    Steve.
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the update Steve. That's very interesting. As for the one that's for sale. My other business apart from militaria is buying and selling firearms. I have my RFD and at the moment I have 11 enfields SMLE and number 4, I've just bought a large collection and apart from being skint. I've no more room in the house on my own ticjet I have a genuine number 4 T an LA1 sniper plus 3 SMLE. And a browning hi power, glock, 1911...... I could go on

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