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Aussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded project

Article about: I've a little winter project; retro convert my old Lithgow (1942) No 1 MkIII* hunting rifle back to 1942 military specs. It just so happens that 40 years ago my grandfather gave me the compl

  1. #1

    Default Aussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded project

    I've a little winter project; retro convert my old Lithgow (1942) No 1 MkIII* hunting rifle back to 1942 military specs.

    It just so happens that 40 years ago my grandfather gave me the complete fore and butt stock wood pieces from another Lithgow SMLE that he had removed from a rifle he was converting into a hunting rifle. I've kept these pieces for years and now plan to fit them to my sporter. I also have all the steel hardware to complete the project, nose cap, bands screws etc. With the rising value of fully wooded SMLE's it makes financial sense too.

    I've attached some crap photos (Hello Rene!) of the "before" look and will add the transformation pics later. It's going to be a fun project. By the way it's a live one, not a deact.

    As a start I've been looking into the history of the rifle based on the marks. Rifle & bolt are matching, serial number E 71292. It has the A^F of Australian Forces, looks like issued to 5th Military District, (West Australia). It's got the FTR mark indicating "factory thorough repair" work, a R3 mark which I haven't identified.

    Aussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded projectAussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded projectAussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded projectAussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded projectAussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded project

  2. #2
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    Hi Anderson,

    Im interested to see the final result. I've looked in Skennerton's The Lee-Enfield and the only R marking I can see is for replacement or reserve grade barrel if its on the barrel knox form - can you add a photo of it. As per the book A^F is for Air Force ownership.

    Alex

  3. #3

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    Great to see Peter
    Wish I had my old No 1 MkIII* 1915 BSA sporterized, would have been nice to restore it! I used to pack my own re-loads too! No good for using Mil surplus rounds hey, the pin doesn't strike the primer hard enough!
    Regards
    René

  4. #4

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    That's interesting Alex, the printout from the Lithgow factory museum suggests the A^F was "Australian Forces" (presumably Army) and RAAF was an issue mark for Royal Australian Air Force. Then there was AN or RAN for Australian Navy.
    I'll try and get a visible photo of the R3 mark. cheers.

  5. #5

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    Rene these older sporting rifles aren't worth much as is, rather nice to put them back to factory issue spec.

  6. #6

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    Quote by Anderson View Post
    That's interesting Alex, the printout from the Lithgow factory museum suggests the A^F was "Australian Forces" (presumably Army) and RAAF was an issue mark for Royal Australian Air Force. Then there was AN or RAN for Australian Navy.
    I'll try and get a visible photo of the R3 mark. cheers.
    AF is for RAAF see WW2 & 50's marks on kit
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Aussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded project   Aussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded project  

    Regards
    René

  7. #7

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    Nice work there Anderson! Yep worth a lot more brought back to original configuration. Afraid many met this fate but who knew they may be hugh collector favorites 60 years back. Thanks for sharing your efforts.

  8. #8

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    Nice project. I have a lithgow that is marked 1942 under the bolt but was assembled as a complete rifle in 1943 and therefore has a D prefix SN. I wonder if yours was assembled in 1944 with that E prefix

  9. #9

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    That's a interesting idea. the document i downloaded from Lithgow factory museum says; "serial numbers E00001 to E99999 (1942-1944)", but it did seem odd that serial 71292 would be reached in 1942! And if A^F means Air Force, as Alex & Rene think, the museum needs to revise it's information document. What is the mark for Australian Army?

  10. #10

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    D^D department of defense, chucking in a WW1 one too
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Aussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded project   Aussie SMLE sporter retro fully wooded project  

    Regards
    René

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