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Rising Sun*
08-23-2007, 09:58 AM
The last time I used a Lee Enfield .303 was about 40 years ago.

My recollection is that we could load it with the bolt open by feeding rounds into the magazine through the breech, unless someone was lucky enough to have a clip thing of ?five rounds that could be pressed straight in, by stripping the rounds through the clip thing that held them by their base grooves.

Have I totally lost the plot; or am I thinking of another weapon; or are my recollections accurate?

George Eller
08-23-2007, 10:34 AM
The last time I used a Lee Enfield .303 was about 40 years ago.

My recollection is that we could load it with the bolt open by feeding rounds into the magazine through the breech, unless someone was lucky enough to have a clip thing of ?five rounds that could be pressed straight in, by stripping the rounds through the clip thing that held them by their base grooves.

Have I totally lost the plot; or am I thinking of another weapon; or are my recollections accurate?
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It has a detachable 10-round magazine, but is normally loaded with two five-round stripper clips through a guide on top of the receiver with the bolt open.

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jacobtowne
08-23-2007, 10:57 AM
Here are instructions for loading clips, or chargers.

And another, with my old No. 1 Mk. III, showing how not to load the clips.:shock:

JT

Panzerknacker
08-23-2007, 12:33 PM
I used a Lee Enfield .303 was about 40 years ago


Quite few year ago RS :rolleyes:

A video that might help you to remember your service times.

http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=CLe6WK0ucpc&mode=related&search=

pdf27
08-23-2007, 01:03 PM
Yep, all models of SMLE were breach loaded using stripper clips, although apparently the No.4 had an effective removeable magazine as well which was sometimes used.
IIRC the record for a mad minute is 38 rounds on target at 300 (?) yards. That's fast shooting even for a modern semi-automatic battle rifle.

redcoat
08-23-2007, 04:44 PM
The last time I used a Lee Enfield .303 was about 40 years ago.

My recollection is that we could load it with the bolt open by feeding rounds into the magazine through the breech, unless someone was lucky enough to have a clip thing of ?five rounds that could be pressed straight in, by stripping the rounds through the clip thing that held them by their base grooves.


You are correct, the SMLE could be reloaded either by topping up with single rounds or using the 5 round clip.

Rising Sun*
08-23-2007, 07:00 PM
Thanks all.

Nice to know that my ageing memory is still fairly reliable.

PK - The SMLE had been long retired by the time I was in. We used SLR's.

The SMLE were used by a lot of civilians, including me, for pigs, kangaroos, goats, deer, camels, brumbies (wild horses), buffalo, and crocodiles. I've only shot pigs and roos with them.

The SMLE was a real cheap rifle in the 1950's and 1960's from army surplus. At one stage I think they were going for a few dollars. Lots of cheap ammo, too. No licences then. Just walk in a buy anything you wanted.

Panzerknacker
08-23-2007, 08:14 PM
PK - The SMLE had been long retired by the time I was in. We used SLR's

Never mind, I try to be funny, But I failed. :)

Man of Stoat
08-24-2007, 03:37 AM
The smle has a detachable magazine too. However in military use soldiers were not issued spare magazines, so it was always loaded from chargers or loose.

George Eller
08-24-2007, 10:33 AM
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IIRC, the early models of SMLE even had a single shot feature. A plate that hinged at the side of the receiver that could be slid over the magazine through a slot in the receiver wall. Cartridges were loaded and fired one round at a time with ten rounds held in reserve in the magazine for emergencies. I think the feature was eliminated during the First World War in order to simplify and speed up production.

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Rising Sun*
08-24-2007, 10:40 AM
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IIRC, the early models of SMLE even had a single shot feature. A plate that hinged at the side of the receiver that could be slid over the magazine through a slot in the receiver wall. Cartridges were loaded and fired one round at a time with ten rounds held in reserve in the magazine for emergencies. I think that the feature was eliminated during the First World War in order to simplify and speed production.

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Why on earth would anyone want to do that, and deprive themselves of the advantage of a repeater?

Just a hangover from previous single shot musketry drill?

Or some bloody accountant in the Ministry of Defence getting uptight about the prospect of too many rounds being fired? If so, I bet he got a shock when WWI got into full swing.

George Eller
08-24-2007, 10:46 AM
Why on earth would anyone want to do that, and deprive themselves of the advantage of a repeater?

Just a hangover from previous single shot musketry drill?

Or some bloody accountant in the Ministry of Defence getting uptight about the prospect of too many rounds being fired? If so, I bet he got a shock when WWI got into full swing.
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Maybe a little of both. The later was a concern of the French. Most of their bolt-actions of that era had 3-round magazines.

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Rising Sun*
08-24-2007, 10:48 AM
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IIRC, the early models of SMLE even had a single shot feature. A plate that hinged at the side of the receiver that could be slid over the magazine through a slot in the receiver wall. Cartridges were loaded and fired one round at a time with ten rounds held in reserve in the magazine for emergencies. I think the feature was eliminated during the First World War in order to simplify and speed up production.

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Just on that point, wasn't it the case that early in WWI British musketry was so good that the Germans thought they were facing automatic weapons at times when they were only facing riflemen with SMLE's?

If so, they must have been pretty well trained in repeating fire.

Rising Sun*
08-24-2007, 10:51 AM
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The later was a concern of the French. Most of their bolt-actions of that era had 3-round magazines.

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Thanks.

I never knew that.

How much of an effect would that have had against their enemy?

Reloading takes time, and it's time you're not firing.

Did they have to reload each round singly by hand?

George Eller
08-24-2007, 10:54 AM
Just on that point, wasn't it the case that early in WWI British musketry was so good that the Germans thought they were facing automatic weapons at times when they were only facing riflemen with SMLE's?

If so, they must have been pretty well trained in repeating fire.
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Yep, a good example was the Battle of Ypres in 1914.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_Ypres

I think also at Mons.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_mons

From: World War I Trench Warfare (1) 1914-16, Dr. Stephen Bull, Osprey, ISBN 1 84176 197 4, 2002, p 9:

British Regulars were arguably the best all rounders, professional soldiers who were taught 'volume' fire, rapid fire, snap shooting and fire from cover as well as simple accuracy. Their efficiency was aided by the .303in Short Magazine Lee Enfield, a weapon developed as a universal arm for infantry and cavalry in the wake of the Boer War. Its useful features included a handy length, a bolt which could be manipulated without taking the gun away from the aiming eye, and a ten-round magazine which could be swiftly loaded from five-round chargers from the top. Fifteen rounds a minute was a perfectly feasible rate of fire; speed trials at Hythe actually reached 28 rounds under ideal conditions.

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SEE ALSO:
http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showpost.php?p=83340&postcount=12

http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3471

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Rising Sun*
08-24-2007, 11:14 AM
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Yep, a good example was the Battle of Ypres in 1914. I think also at Mons.

From: World War I Trench Warfare (1) 1914-16, Dr. Stephen Bull, Osprey, ISBN 1 84176 197 4, 2002, p 9:

British Regulars were arguably the best all rounders, professional soldiers who were taught 'volume' fire, rapid fire, snap shooting and fire from cover as well as simple accuracy. Their efficiency was aided by the .303in Short Magazine Lee Enfield, a weapon developed as a universal arm for infantry and cavalry in the wake of the Boer War. Its useful features included a handy length, a bolt which could be manipulated without taking the gun away from the aiming eye, and a ten-round magazine which could be swiftly loaded from five-round chargers from the top. Fifteen rounds a minute was a perfectly feasible rate of fire; speed trials at Hythe actually reached 28 rounds under ideal conditions.

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SEE ALSO:
http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showpost.php?p=83340&postcount=12

http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3471

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George

Thanks for that.

Very informative.

The pix in the links reinforce what hit me in Panzerknacker's video link above. Those rifles (both British and German) were very long and skinny.

Funny thing is, I remember them as a lot shorter and chunkier. And, no, I wasn't using the SMLE jungle carbine, although I fired it a few times and thought I was in heaven because it was such a big deal at the time (I was, I don't know, 12 or 13 or 14 y. o.). It can't have been much different to the longer barrel versions. Only a few inches off the end, from memory.

I must have compressed the SMLE memory into other rifles I used from .22 to .270. Or maybe they were long and skinny, too.

Maybe I'm relating everything to my favourite rabbit / fox / snake gun, the under and over Savage .22 magnum / .410 shotgun which I recall as being not too long in the barrel. If I Googled it I'd probably find it had a barrel as long as the SMLE, but I recall it as being a lot handier.

George Eller
08-24-2007, 11:21 AM
Thanks.

I never knew that.

How much of an effect would that have had against their enemy?

Reloading takes time, and it's time you're not firing.

Did they have to reload each round singly by hand?
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French musketry was not as good as the British. IIRC, Rommel commented that the French rifle fire tended to go high from his experiences in the early days of the First World War (from his book "Infantry Attacks"). I don't think that the French could have matched the volume of fire put out by British Infantry either.

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Some more:

French Rifles WWI
http://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/rifles.htm



French Lebel

Just as the Germans adopted the Mauser and the British the Lee-Enfield, so the French opted for the Lebel 8 mm weapon (officially titled the Fusil modele, produced in 1886, and which unusually fired smokeless cartridges) as their rifle of choice during the war years.

Despite its wide use it suffered from a marked practical design flaw. Its eight rounds were loaded, nose to tail fashion, in a tubular magazine placed under the barrel of the rifle. This resulted in slow loading since the operator had to be wary of one round hitting the primer of the cartridge in front, thereby causing a most unwelcome explosion.

Although a better French model, the Berthier (see below), was available from 1916, the Lebel - despite its flaws - continued to be standard issue.

French Berthier

As indicated above, the French discovered a serious practical defect in their standard issue Lebel rifle. Thus, two years into the war, the Berthier was issued as an improvement. Officially titled the Fusil d'Infanterie Modele 1907, Transforme 1915, the replacement rifle was, like the Lee-Enfield, clip loaded. The differences with the Lebel did not stop there however. The rifle's sights were different as was its bolt mechanism.

A fine weapon, the original Berthier (designed in 1907) nevertheless suffered, like its predecessor, from a design flaw - its magazine held only three rounds. A modified version, produced in 1915, increased this to five rounds. The result was the Fusil modele 1916, loaded from a six-round clip or charger.

Immediately popular demand was such that certain supplies of the model were produced in the U.S. by the Remington company.

Carbines

A carbine (i.e. short-barrelled) version of the Berthier was produced in 1916, titled the Mousqueton modele 1916. Carbines were generally preferred by all armies as being somewhat less unwieldy than longer barrelled rifles.

Indeed, the move towards carbine development was perhaps the only notable advance to rifle technology during the war, although other modifications for trench conditions were undertaken, including the fitting of periscopes and tripods.

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Lebel Model 1886 rifle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebel_Model_1886_rifle

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BERTHIER MODEL 1907/15 INFANTRY RIFLE CAL. 8 mm Lebel.
http://www.angelfire.com/vt/milsurp/bert0715.html

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The "Berthier"
http://www.gunsworld.com/french/bert_leb/bert_us.html

The "Berthier" Gallery
BERTHIER MODEL 1916 INFANTRY RIFLE CAL. 8 mm Lebel
http://www.gunsworld.com/french/bert_leb/bert_ga4_us.html

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Rising Sun*
08-24-2007, 11:28 AM
Despite its wide use it suffered from a marked practical design flaw. Its eight rounds were loaded, nose to tail fashion, in a tubular magazine placed under the barrel of the rifle. This resulted in slow loading since the operator had to be wary of one round hitting the primer of the cartridge in front, thereby causing a most unwelcome explosion.

Was there a problem with their primers?

It takes more of a hit than I'd expect in loading a tube magazine to set off a round, doesn't it?

Rising Sun*
08-24-2007, 11:34 AM
Was there a problem with their primers?

It takes more of a hit than I'd expect in loading a tube magazine to set off a round, doesn't it?

FWIW, an Australian soldier in Vietnam died when he, or someone else (I'm rusty on details) slung another belt of M60 ammo over him and hit the primer of a round on the belt he was already wearing with the nose of another round. Went into his chest and killed him.

George Eller
08-24-2007, 11:47 AM
George

Thanks for that.

Very informative.

The pix in the links reinforce what hit me in Panzerknacker's video link above. Those rifles (both British and German) were very long and skinny.

Funny thing is, I remember them as a lot shorter and chunkier. And, no, I wasn't using the SMLE jungle carbine, although I fired it a few times and thought I was in heaven because it was such a big deal at the time (I was, I don't know, 12 or 13 or 14 y. o.). It can't have been much different to the longer barrel versions. Only a few inches off the end, from memory.

I must have compressed the SMLE memory into other rifles I used from .22 to .270. Or maybe they were long and skinny, too.

Maybe I'm relating everything to my favourite rabbit / fox / snake gun, the under and over Savage .22 magnum / .410 shotgun which I recall as being not too long in the barrel. If I Googled it I'd probably find it had a barrel as long as the SMLE, but I recall it as being a lot handier.
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You're welcome RS :)

The Mauser 98 rifle of that era was longer than the Lee-Enfield SMLE - 29 inch vs 24 inch barrel. So, the SMLE was handier.

The Mauser 98k (carbine version) had a shorter barrel than the rifle version. It was more on par with the SMLE.

I used to own a sporterized No. 5 jungle carbine years ago. IIRC, I think the barrel was 18 or 20 inches long.

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Well, I'd better get back to work.

Back this evening.

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jacobtowne
08-24-2007, 01:22 PM
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IIRC, the early models of SMLE even had a single shot feature. A plate that hinged at the side of the receiver that could be slid over the magazine through a slot in the receiver wall. Cartridges were loaded and fired one round at a time with ten rounds held in reserve in the magazine for emergencies. I think the feature was eliminated during the First World War in order to simplify and speed up production.

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It's a magazine cutoff, and was discontinued during WWI, as you say, for production reasons. It was reintroduced after the war. The rifle in my earlier post was made at B.S.A. in 1927, and has the cutoff.
JT

pdf27
08-24-2007, 03:47 PM
George Eller:
1) The record at Hythe ranges is 38 rounds in a minute, not 28 - scored as number of shots hitting the target, rather than number fired.
2) Mod request - please shrink your sig. For those of us on smaller screens, the width of it is distorting the thread and making it hard to read. It is also rather tall.

George Eller
08-24-2007, 04:19 PM
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It's a magazine cutoff, and was discontinued during WWI, as you say, for production reasons. It was reintroduced after the war. The rifle in my earlier post was made at B.S.A. in 1927, and has the cutoff.
JT
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Thanks JT, I have a couple Lee-Enfields myself - pictures are further below.

http://img292.imageshack.us/img292/3259/smleaction01it6.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:SMLEAction.jpg
The Receiver and Action of a 1908 RSAF Enfield .303 Calibre Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III rifle, clearly showing the Magazine Cut-Off. Photograph taken by Coggansfield, 2006, and used with permission.

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I have two Lee-Enfield rifles:
SMLE No 1 Mk III* made at a BSA (Birmingham Small Arms, Co.) controlled company near Birmingham in Shirley, England in 1940. (however mine does not have a magazine cut-off).
and No 4 Mk I* made at the Long Branch Arsenal near Toronto, Canada in 1942
Both have issue slings and bayonets.
http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/8600/5enfield15jo.jpg
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Same as above with slightly different lighting:
http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/2161/6enfield86uo.jpg

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George Eller:
1) The record at Hythe ranges is 38 rounds in a minute, not 28 - scored as number of shots hitting the target, rather than number fired.

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Lee-Enfield
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee-Enfield


The current world record for aimed bolt-action fire was set in 1914 by a musketry instructor in the British Army — Sergeant Instructor Snoxall — who placed 38 rounds into a 12" target at 300 yards in one minute.

Pretty amazing feat :)

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I'll work on shrinking my sig tonight.

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