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Etienne Hamel




Location: Granby (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 433

PostPosted: Tue 09 Oct, 2007 7:33 am    Post subject: short magazine lee enfield mkIII         Reply with quote

I would like to discuss about a firearm that is in the closet of my grand father. first he bought it 4 years ago in a garage sale for 40 canadian dollars (we are in the quebec province for those who wants to know) and this perfect specimen of SMLE mk3
was used for test shooting by my grand father 2 years ago he said that the rifle was very powerful and he said that he will give it to me (and i am only 17 so it is a really important piece of collection for me because it is 100% functional).
The only thing that is a kind of fishy is that it is written 1918 but it looks like a 1895 model so i don't know what to think...
if someone want to help me with this mystery i would be grateful Laughing Out Loud .
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Oct, 2007 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Etienne,

If you go this url you'll find a picture of both a Mk 1 made in 1888 and a Mk 3 made in 1916. Tough to call without a picture to look at, but if the rifle is stamped 1918 and it is a Mk 3 then it would be unlikely be manufactured prior to 1916, You can research the stampings on the barrel and receiver and the cartouches on the stock if they exist to find out when and where your rifle was made. http://world.guns.ru/rifle/rfl04-e.htm.



Cheers

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
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PostPosted: Tue 09 Oct, 2007 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have an Australian made MkIII made in '18, she's my favorite! Enjoy yours, they like to be actioned fast, like you're doing the "Mad Minute" when rechambering. Shoots like a dream.
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Granby (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 433

PostPosted: Tue 09 Oct, 2007 8:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan mine is a canadian version didn't shoot with it cause i dont have the place yet and because i'm affraid of it (we don't know how many men this beauty killed Wink .
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Oct, 2007 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
Allan mine is a canadian version didn't shoot with it cause i dont have the place yet and because i'm affraid of it (we don't know how many men this beauty killed Wink .


I would be cautious about firing it unless you have a competent gunsmith evaluate it first. A lot of these old warhorses have shot out barrels, eroded throats and excessive headspace which can make them dangerous at both ends. At the very least have the headspace checked. Then the first time you fire do so from well behind it, using string to pull the trigger. Check the cartridge case for signs of bulging at the base and around the case mouth. Also, a flattened primer that has extruded out of its pocket can be a sign of excessive pressure as can a crater where the firing pin struck the primer.

A friend of mine had a MkIII come apart on him a couple of years ago even after checking it carefully and firing it over a period of time. Fortunately he was not injured but the rifle became a wall-hanger. I have a No. 4 Enfield that has a brand new barrel. However, I cannot resolve the headspace problem it has even with a size 3 bolt head. So, outward appearances can be deceiving. In the case of my No. 4, the barrel was apprently improperly installed on an old action. I just wish I had brought a headspace gauge to the gun show where I bought it.

These are very interesting rifles and generally sturdy. However, it is very good to be careful.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Granby (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 433

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

at least my grand father checked it once a month for maintenance Big Grin is it ok like that? but i know that the old firearms could be dangerous and anyway i must see a gunsmith to take a look at the safety lock because it doesn't lock the trigger.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 8:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
at least my grand father checked it once a month for maintenance Big Grin is it ok like that? but i know that the old firearms could be dangerous and anyway i must see a gunsmith to take a look at the safety lock because it doesn't lock the trigger.


The safety not working is an indication of potential problems with the gun. The safety should lock the bolt in place and prevent the firing pin from falling when the trigger is pulled. Replacing the safety on these guns is relatively easy but it may be more than that. There could be a problem with the bolt as well. Do take it to a gunsmith for evaluation and repair. The fact that the safety is worn indicates to me at least, that this gun has had a lot of use. Throat erosion and headspace problems are likely. Checking headspace is actually not difficult for the average person, but does require the use of gauges. These gauges can be purchased from several sources. Using them on a rifle which fires a rimmed cartridge like the .303 requires removing the extractor and extractor spring which is not too difficult either.

There are web sites and forums which state that excessive headspace with the .303 Enfield is not a big deal. I beg to differ. Excessive headspace with any firearm is a very big deal and can lead to the destruction of the firearm and possible injury to the user. Always be very cautious when shooting any surplus firearm.

By the way, if you can supply a serial number I think I can tell you when and where it was made. I have a fairly extensive reference library on the .303 Enfields. I have four of the things and have tried to learn as much as I can about them.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Granby (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 433

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks lin i'll try to find it in a couple of days cause the rifle is not at my home it is still at my grand father's.
with your informations could you find in what war it could have been and the first owner of it?
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Granby (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 433

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I forgot to say that when my grand father bougth it it has a 5 rounds magazine.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I cannot get that detailed.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Granby (QC) canada
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Posts: 433

PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct, 2007 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

is anyone can tell me more about this rifle?
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct, 2007 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The safety on the Enfield locks the bolt so it won't action not the trigger. When the bolt has been drawn and reseated the pin and guide assembly projects behind the bolt, hold this, release the trigger and slowly return the pin to its inactive position. The gun is now loaded, but cannot be fired or rechambered. To re activate the firing pin simply pull back the pin assembly to the cocked assembly ( this is done by hand and moves easily). The bolt will still be locked so it is impossible to chamber a new round without releasing it.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct, 2007 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan Senefelder wrote:
The safety on the Enfield locks the bolt so it won't action not the trigger. When the bolt has been drawn and reseated the pin and guide assembly projects behind the bolt, hold this, release the trigger and slowly return the pin to its inactive position. The gun is now loaded, but cannot be fired or rechambered. To re activate the firing pin simply pull back the pin assembly to the cocked assembly ( this is done by hand and moves easily). The bolt will still be locked so it is impossible to chamber a new round without releasing it.


Allan...

What you say about closing the bolt and releasing the cocking piece on a live round is true. That is to say that it can be done. Engaging the safety then locks the bolt in place, as you say. However, with the safety engaged you should NOT be able to pull the cocking piece back. If you can on your gun that indicates a problem. The question I have is why would you want to do that?

Because I have never done that procedure with any of my Enfields I decided to try it. I tested my MKIII and my 3 No. 4s (without a round in the chamber). It works as advertised but on two occasions, when I was trying to release the cocking piece, it slipped out of my fingers. That short drop could well be enough to cause the firing pin to hit the primer and touch off a round. This procedure is a two-handed job for me, which means that I do not have adequate control of the rifle. That is dangerous. I do not recommend what you are suggesting and do not see the point of doing it any way. If you are at the range with one of these guns just do not load it until you are ready to shoot. After chambering the round engage the safety and do not take it off until ready to shoot, i.e. with the rifle pointed down range.

Keep in mind that Etienne is 17 and seems to be new at shooting. What you are suggesting is something that should not be done even by an experienced shooter.

I am sorry if this comes off a little strong or if I misunderstood your post, but I am concerned.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct, 2007 10:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I sort of agree with Lin that this could be an accident waiting to happen: A bit like lowering the hammer on a Colt .45 ACP
auto on a loaded chamber for a loaded but un-cocked carry. Do-able but carries some risks. Eek! Eek! Eek!

Oh, even worse with earlier model without a firing pin safety. ( Pre 1970's Colts )

The fact that this is possible to do on the Enfield may be because it was considered " useful " in the late 19th century when it was designed and the " risk " of accidental discharge wasn't a big consideration at the time.

Might be worth practising and checking out with an empty chamber but to avoid using at the gun range or anytime the rifle is actually loaded.

Safer to have a loaded magazine and an empty chamber or " USE " the safety if hunting. At a gun range one should only load any gun when actually actively target shooting. ( Otherwise ACTION OPEN, magazine out of the gun, loaded or not, when not set up at a shooting position ).

Always treat the gun as loaded even when you a " SURE " it is empty and always keep the gun aimed down range or pointed at a safe backstop should you make a mistake ! Everyone gets at least one scary accidental discharge at some point but if you keep the muzzle ALWAYS pointed downrange you will only scare yourself to death ! ( No real deaths involved ).

Gun safety is mostly establishing good handling habits and not getting so casual as to get sloppy ! One can say the same for sharp swords. Wink Laughing Out Loud

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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Oct, 2007 4:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
I sort of agree with Lin that this could be an accident waiting to happen: A bit like lowering the hammer on a Colt .45 ACP
auto on a loaded chamber for a loaded but un-cocked carry. Do-able but carries some risks. Eek! Eek! Eek!

Oh, even worse with earlier model without a firing pin safety. ( Pre 1970's Colts )

The fact that this is possible to do on the Enfield may be because it was considered " useful " in the late 19th century when it was designed and the " risk " of accidental discharge wasn't a big consideration at the time.

Might be worth practising and checking out with an empty chamber but to avoid using at the gun range or anytime the rifle is actually loaded.

Safer to have a loaded magazine and an empty chamber or " USE " the safety if hunting. At a gun range one should only load any gun when actually actively target shooting. ( Otherwise ACTION OPEN, magazine out of the gun, loaded or not, when not set up at a shooting position ).

Always treat the gun as loaded even when you a " SURE " it is empty and always keep the gun aimed down range or pointed at a safe backstop should you make a mistake ! Everyone gets at least one scary accidental discharge at some point but if you keep the muzzle ALWAYS pointed downrange you will only scare yourself to death ! ( No real deaths involved ).

Gun safety is mostly establishing good handling habits and not getting so casual as to get sloppy ! One can say the same for sharp swords. Wink Laughing Out Loud


Jean....

There is no conceivable reason to use this procedure, period. The Enfield cocks on closing the bolt so why do this on an empty chamber? Dropping the firing pin on a live round is dangerous because the pin is then resting very close to the primer. Any blow caused by dropping the gun may well cause the firing pin to hit the primer, resulting in an unexpected discharge with possible disasterous results. The ONLY reason to do this might be to relieve the tension on the firing pin spring. However, a well-made spring in good repair is not going to be affected by leaving the gun cocked for any length of time.

I have been shooting for 45 years. During that time I have had one accidental discharge - a Colt 1911 went off when I released the slide. The gun was pointed down range at the time and there were no dire consequences. The reason there were none is that I was practicing safe gun handling. To this day I do not know why the pistol went off and it never did it again. I no longer own it so I do not know what sort of experience any later owners had with it.

I was quite concerned - obviously - when I read Allan's post because it is clear that Etienne is a neophyte. I would not want to hear that he was injured or injured someone else by following what is clearly bad advice.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Oct, 2007 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Lin Robinson"]
Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Jean....

There is no conceivable reason to use this procedure, period. The Enfield cocks on closing the bolt so why do this on an empty chamber? Dropping the firing pin on a live round is dangerous because the pin is then resting very close to the primer. Any blow caused by dropping the gun may well cause the firing pin to hit the primer, resulting in an unexpected discharge with possible disasterous results. The ONLY reason to do this might be to relieve the tension on the firing pin spring. However, a well-made spring in good repair is not going to be affected by leaving the gun cocked for any length of time.

I have been shooting for 45 years. During that time I have had one accidental discharge - a Colt 1911 went off when I released the slide. The gun was pointed down range at the time and there were no dire consequences. The reason there were none is that I was practicing safe gun handling. To this day I do not know why the pistol went off and it never did it again. I no longer own it so I do not know what sort of experience any later owners had with it.

I was quite concerned - obviously - when I read Allan's post because it is clear that Etienne is a neophyte. I would not want to hear that he was injured or injured someone else by following what is clearly bad advice.


Lin thanks for the explanation about the cocking piece and the only other possibility might be to take the tension off the firing spring when putting the gun away unloaded instead of pulling the trigger ( Although dry firing shouldn't damage anything ). In other words if I understand you correctly this should never be used as a carry option.

Still there must have been some rational for the mechanism allowing this: Could just be bad design. Eek! Laughing Out Loud

The gun safety issue was not meant for experienced gun handlers and I thought the very basic principles are worth repeating in a forum that may be read by many inexperienced with firearms people. Wink Cool

Oh, I had ONE accidental discharge i.e. surprised by stupidly pressing on the trigger when I though the chamber was empty, but the gun was pointed safely downrange at the time. Eek! But when this happens ONCE the consequences of NOT keeping the barrel in a safe direction becomes very clear and it's makes one feel very very small and STUPID !

So, I would say that our experiences with an accidental discharge are similar but for different reasons: Yours happened through some mechanical fault and mine was a brain " FARTH " by pulling the trigger before cycling the slide and assuming that I had shot the last round in the pistol. Oh, this was a very small handgun that has no slide stop and always closes on an empty chamber.

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Etienne Hamel




Location: Granby (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 12 Oct, 2007 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And for the lock ,if i understand well what you all were saying, is made for the bolt to lock but not the trigger?(the conceptors of this gun was a little sory for the word dumb)
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Granby (QC) canada
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PostPosted: Sat 13 Oct, 2007 9:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In a 1 to 10 cote what would you all would put for this firearm?
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 13 Oct, 2007 9:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
And for the lock ,if i understand well what you all were saying, is made for the bolt to lock but not the trigger?(the conceptors of this gun was a little sory for the word dumb)


A good safety design is one that it " SAFE " when in the on position but that can be done in many different ways: Blocking the trigger is only one of the ways and usually a design that blocks the trigger does more than just block the trigger.

Sears can break or get worn down and a safety design that only blocks the trigger is usually not very trust-wordy !

On the other hand some safety designs block the movement of the bolt or slide, blocks the firing pin, put and obstacle between the firing pin and the cartridge primer etc ..... Most well designed firearms will have multiple redundant safeties so that many things have to go wrong at the same time for the safety system to work.

Some very good safety systems don't include blocking the trigger: Knowing your specific gun very well as many designs have very unique features that make each safety system work differently and handling that is safe with one design can be dangerous with another.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 13 Oct, 2007 9:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
In a 1 to 10 cote what would you all would put for this firearm?


I think you mean to ask: On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being bad and 10 being good, how would you rate this gun " DESIGN " ?

Not your specific gun as a gunsmith would have to look it over to see if it's in good working order and safe, but the design itself.

For a military bolt action, to compare oranges with oranges: The SMLE MK3 is a great design with a standard capacity of 10 shots and, from what I have read, very fast to cycle/fire.

The action is weaker than some designs ( Mauser ) in lock-up but this is mostly just theoretical and would only be important if the action was used for a more powerful cartridge with higher PSI than the military .303 load.

My estimation would be an 8 out of 10 for the design and it's also a very reliable rifle when in sound condition.

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