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SMLE questions

RugerFanRugerFan Senior MemberPosts: 2,256 Senior Member
Approx.  40 yrs ago my father bought a bubba'd .303. I would like to know more about the gun. 
Here are some pics of various markings.





Replies

  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
    I have done a little research on the internet. Apparently GR means "George Rex" so I'm assuming it was made in the reign of King George. 

    The markings on the left under the safety are SSA, which apparently means it was made by Standard Small Arms.  

    In the brass disk on the stock are the letters JB. What do those mean?

    Any idea what the proofmarks mean?

    Any information is appreciated.
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
    Here is the rear sight. It's missing a part. I don't know what that piece is called. Reckon I can find 1 online?
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,152 Senior Member
    Probably has a manufacturers stamp somewhere - check the back end of the receiver.

    That started life as a No.1. MKIII*, (pronounced "Mark 3 Star")

    That particular revision was instituted at some point in 1916 as a means of reducing cost of the No.1 MKIII.  It eliminated the long range volley sights, the magazine cutoff, and the windage adjustment capability on the rear sight.  The No. 1 MKIII* remained the standard pattern until production of the more modern No. 4 series kicked off in earnest in mid WWII.

    Any rifle has the potential to surprise you, but Bubba's No.1's with the forend wood chopped back typically don't shoot worth a damn.  The lightweight barrel of the No.1 SMLE series was originally pressure bedded with an elaborate series of screws, seats , and springs - the key component of yours went away with the the forend/nose cap/ bayonet mount.  Unless work was done to provide some upward pressure at the front of the remaining wood (and maybe not even then), odds are, you have a shotgun.

    Looks like the barrel exterior is unmolested however, so, possibly restorable.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
    edited June 13 #5
    I remember shooting a couple of times and it was good enough for deer hunting. Btw, the gun cost $40 with some ammo. It was purchased from a man I deer hunted with while I was in high school

    The rear if the receiver between the bolt and the safety lever is marked SSA.  Apparently the stands for Standard Small Arms who I'm assuming is the mfgr. 
  • rberglofrberglof Senior Member Posts: 2,634 Senior Member
    I have a No.4 that was cut down also, put a pressure point at the end of cut down stock and did help, just used a thin piece of cardboard.
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
    The barrel, receiver, and bolt handle are marked with the same 5 digit serial #. However, under this # on the receiver is a 4 digit # with a line through it. The marking in the bolt, to me, seems crude. I'm assuming an arsenal refurb at some point.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member
    Does it have a number on the bolt head. I think they were replacable. Numbered 1,2 or 3 in order of length to compensate for increased headspace as time wore on.
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
    Would it be on the bolt its self? 

    Every time I look at this gun I find new markings. It's covered in'em 
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,152 Senior Member
    RugerFan said:
    I remember shooting a couple of times and it was good enough for deer hunting. Btw, the gun cost $40 with some ammo. It was purchased from a man I deer hunted with while I was in high school

    The rear if the receiver between the bolt and the safety lever is marked SSA.  Apparently the stands for Standard Small Arms who I'm assuming is the mfgr. 
    Standard Small Arms was a participant in what was known as the "Peddle Scheme" emergency wartime production of rifles.

    The gist of that was you had your major producers like BSA and RSAF Enfield who could make entire rifles, but WWI created a need that exceeded their capabilities.  The Peddle Scheme sought out smaller firms that had the capability to make various small bits of the rifle, which were then shipped to one of the major arsenals to be mated together into complete rifles.  SSA was one of the outfits making receivers.



    My SMLE is a 1918-dated SSA that received an FTR (Factory Thorough Repair) at BSA in 1953.  Basically new.  The birch stocks pretty much kill any chance of it being mistaken for a WWI original, but ya just can't say no to something like that when it appears...

    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,357 Senior Member
    fwiw,

    google for SMLE boards.  you cant miss them and they have a wealth of info in them.

    if you want to play 20 questions and piecemeal your info, its up to you.

    have fun.
    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
    I don't think all of the markings on this gun could be answered in 20 questions :)

    Thanks for all of the information!!
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,763 Senior Member
    RugerFan said:
    Apparently GR means "George Rex" so I'm assuming it was made in the reign of King George. 


    Georgious Rex actually...King George...every time there was a King George the mark reflected it.

    When Victoria was Queen the mark was VR...Victoria Regina
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member
    RugerFan said:
    Would it be on the bolt its self? 

    Every time I look at this gun I find new markings. It's covered in'em 
    Understanding the particulars looks overwhelming. ilove22's may be on to something....
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    If the bore is good, I'd strongly consider restoring it with original top and bottom wood and front sight/bayonet lug. Wood is out there, not cheap since folks started restoring them, but there.  You could probably buy a DP (Drill Purposes Only) rifle for the wood and metal and it might be cheaper, but you'd have to remove that red and white line painted on the wood to announce it wasn't to be fired. 
     
    I'm a big fan of the SMLE and the No. 4, especially the No. 4. The bolt head numbers also include the 0, which is what mine is.  Bloke on the range says headspace is not something they worry about in England as there is a tremendous range between the go-no go gauge and the rifles have generous chambers. They apparently don't do much reloading over there and LEs are not the rifle to choose for brass longevity. 
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,403 Senior Member
    To my un-expert eye, that looks like a magazine for a no. 4/5. (??)
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,357 Senior Member
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    zorba said:
    To my un-expert eye, that looks like a magazine for a no. 4/5. (??)
    Looks fine to me.  A No 4 mag won't fit without some engineering.  A quick view is the vertical indentations on the No 1s go all the way down to the floor plate, the No 4s go down about a half inch from the bottom.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,403 Senior Member
    Thanx Gene - you are correct. I was going on the more rounded shape vs. the more angular - never mind! ;)
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
    Thanks everyone for your comments. I'll do some more research. I just now noticed it's missing the two bolts on the forearm. Guess I'll see if I can some on the internet. And the rear sight also. 
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    Check places like SARCO for parts. They often sell entire "kits" to restore a rifle back to original, for less than it would cost getting one piece at a time!!
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    edited June 14 #23
    RugerFan said:
    Thanks everyone for your comments. I'll do some more research. I just now noticed it's missing the two bolts on the forearm. Guess I'll see if I can some on the internet. And the rear sight also. 
    The sight slider is missing; I think that's what it's called.  The "elevator". The sight protectors are missing; is that what you mean by the two bolts?  Upper barrel band, upper wood and lower forearm wood, and big-ass muzzle cap. The originals had a spring to force down-pressure on the muzzle..."bedding."

    Fixed up, it's worth a lot more than it is now. If the bore is good. Wish I had a SMLE.  Australia never went to the No 4, used the SMLE until they went to the SLR. 
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
    With my limited vocabulary, the best way to describe the 2 missing bolts is: it's the 2 bolts that hold the barrel in the stock. 
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    edited June 14 #25
    The disk on the buttstock is a unit designation, slightly out of date on the III*.  Also, all the SMLEs will be GR.  VR might appear on the CLLE, but she died in 1901 and George took over, and the SMLE came into use after that...I think.

    Here's a link to all the marks on a SMLE. On the barrel and Nock's form.  Universally and wrongly referred to as the Knox form.  

    http://www.allaboutenfields.co.nz/history/markings/ 
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,256 Senior Member
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member
    Not the same iteration but more fun than the average bear for sure....

  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    My No 4 Mk I was made in 1942...I just found out today when cleaning it.  Actually, most everything was polished out, reads faintly 1_42. A fairly early No 4 Mk I.  I love it.  Wish it was original, but that it isn't.

    On Bloke On the Range, one episode where he was talking to an Australian about competition shooting, one of them said a "gunsmithed" No 1 was equal to a gunsmithed No 4 in competition. No difference in scores. I think it takes more gunsmithing to accurize a No 1, but it takes a lot for any top-grade military rifle.

    OT, but on Practical Accuracy, Henry Chan said a prepared M 21 would cost around $8K!!!  That's with the Macmillan stock.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member
    The available information strongly suggests a past of being underappreciated.

    Not only changing to being coveated, but the vastly different iterations draw collector interest that can reach fanaticism. 

    Bloke and a couple others including Bigslug got my attention with them.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,152 Senior Member
    The available information strongly suggests a past of being underappreciated.
    Like anything else from WWI, there's a history of attrition.

    It had to survive the shells and climate of WWI.  (I'd love to have an early one with all the extra bits that the III* left off, but. . .)

    It had to survive WWII

    If an early gun, it had to survive later armorer's goals to standardize on the III* configuration of parts.

    It had to survive the U.S. surplus market - all those guys that really wanted, but couldn't afford a Model 70, or even a 1903-A3 Springfield - - many of those guys were named Bubba.  Similarly, the guys at the time who WOULD have taken care of them were mostly only interested in the U.S. stuff

    Oh yeah. . .the British never made a .303 round that wasn't corrosive.  There was some chance that Tommy Atkins got trained on that; Bubba buying up surplus, not so much.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
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