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Round Cocking Peice on SMLE Mk III*

Article about: Folks, Happy New year all! I'm looking to buy an SMLE Mk III*. The main area of identification for Maker and date - the wrist - has been ground down - no idea why, so I'm working from other

  1. #1

    Default Round Cocking Peice on SMLE Mk III*


    Happy New year all!

    I'm looking to buy an SMLE Mk III*. The main area of identification for Maker and date - the wrist - has been ground down - no idea why, so I'm working from other areas of the rifle to date it. I know from the markings on the receiver - Crown, Crossed flags and 'GRI' its an Ishapore (indian) rifle and it also has a stamp TWE on the butt stock, which is Ishapore's Technical Weapons Establishment, which began in 1951.
    So its almost definitely of Indian manufacture.

    So now to the date. This Rifle has the Round cocking piece. Apparently, these were changed to the common 'slab' cocking piece from 1916 onwards. The thing is, the bolt , receiver, barrel and Nose cap all carry the same serial no. It also has 1965 stamped on the left side of the wrist.

    My question is - is this a pre-1916 rifle, perhaps with subsequent refurbishment, or did Ishapore continue to build these rifles with the earlier cocking piece after this date, if so for how long? I've not seen another one with this cocking piece but have no other way of dating it unless someone knows what to look for.

    Any SMLE experts out there advice much appreciated!

  2. #2


    I'd say the cocking piece has been fitted in 1965 during a rebuild. The scrubbed wrist marking is quite normal for an Indian rifle which has been through a rebuild. I suspect after independence, they didn't like to have a British crown on there! The numbers matching could be a number of things, they are all original, they are new items replaced at FR (They didn't FTR in India) and numbered to match, or they are recycled parts, scrubbed and the action serial number applied.

  3. #3


    Cheers m3bobby. That's made me more uncertain - the Round cocking piece (according to the various SMLE history) was apparently changed in 1916 to the simpler and cheaper Slab type, along with other simplifications, which went through to the Mk4. Are you thinking that Ishapore fitted the older type at the refurb point?

    And excuse my ignorance but is the Cocking piece separate to the Bolt, as all the metalwork numbers currently match?


  4. #4


    When a rifle went in to the system for a refurb, it and hundreds of others were stripped down to there component parts, cleaned, inspected/gauged and then rebuilt from any of the parts previously stripped. If there weren't enough reclaimed parts in the system, there was a supplement of new parts. The rifle would then be serialised to match the action. So it's possible for a refurbed rifle to be all matching but not original. For example I have a 1916 Enfield MkIII* which spent it's life in Australia, it was FTR'd in 1952 and has Slazenger wood work and all new Lithgow barrel and bolt. The rest of the metal work is new Orange Arsenal, in fact the only recycled parts on my gun are the Slaz wood work and the magazine.

    The cocking piece is separate to the bolt, the bolt has a firing pin and spring inside and to retain the firing pin and spring in the bolt the firing pin is screwed into the cocking piece and then a screw locks the firing pin to the cocking piece to prevent it unscrewing.

  5. #5


    Standard practice in India was to strip old rifles down for usable parts to assemble or refurb 'new' ones-see my .410 Ishapore musket-the action body is an LSA 1910 action body rebuilt post WW2 at Ishapore in 1947.
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