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1917 No1 MkIII* project rifle

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pauerpilot View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 23 2018 at 11:41pm
Aloha! Al here. I have been on this forum for bit. I have been absent for a spell. With the upcoming 100 year anniversary of the end of WW1 I decided to build a rifle to mark the occasion. I have always had a deep interest in the Great War. I had the opportunity to actually spend time with a nice lady in the 1980s that was a nurse during the war. I volunteered at an old age home in Victoria, BC, Canada. She was a trip. I cannot recall her name. What I do recall is that she was born in England in 1899. She looked after all the injured in England in a church that was converted to a hospital. She would describe in detail her day to day life. What she described sounded like armageddon to me. Cannot imagine the magnitude of what she saw today. She was a neat lady. That time I spent with her got me interested in WW1. 

Fast forward to today and I live in AZ and I am a Veteran of both the Canadian Army and the US Army. I have a couple Enfields. A 1944 Longbranch and 1949 Fazarkly (?). I love them and I shoot them. I always wanted a No1 MkIII and a Ishapore in 308. So being that I build most of my firearms, I decided to build a rifle to commemorate the end of the Great War. So the search was on for something to start my rifle. 

I found a 1917 SMLE No1 MkIII* barreled action on Gunbroker. Rifling is good with no pitting on the action or barrel. I have no history of the rifle. If anyone cares to chime in please do so. 

I found a NOS Long Buttstock on ebay. It has one cartouche on it and I have not idea what it means. If anyone knows please let me know. 

I also found a Beech wood lower stock in England. It is new and needs a lot of fitting to make it work. 

So far finding parts for this rifle has been a challenge. I cannot find the upper forward hand guard anywhere. I found a guy in New Zealand that makes replica hand guards but he does not have any in stock. If anyone can help me in my search, that would be appreciated. 

So far I have sourced parts from Numeric, BRP, and APEX parts. I have been told that parts are getting scarce. Actually what I was told from the guy in New Zealand "you guys in America just figured out that these rifles are valuable and are buying everything up!" 

My plan is to build the best usable rifle with the most accurate parts I can muster. I know that the rifle will not be matching. I will just get the parts, clean and refinish parts that need it and assemble the rifle. I am going to post my progress here as I go. With pictures. Any and all constructive comments, ideas, and tips are welcome.
US Army Infantry/OIF3/Strike One out!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2018 at 6:40am
The ShtLE is BSA's way of marking the SMLE so its probably a BSA made rifle.
I believe its been rebarreled because of the serial numbers?
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2018 at 8:28am
BSA always marked their company on the wrist. This receiver is either an SSA or NRF. Another sign is the style of the crown on the wrist. It is different than the style BSA used.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2018 at 8:38am
So is it a Dispersal rifle?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pauerpilot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2018 at 3:51pm
whats a dispersal rifle?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2018 at 4:50pm
Roughly, after the 1940 bombing of the Small Heath BSA plant, SMLE production was "dispersed" to smaller facilities in the Birmingham area.
BSA was the only producer of rifles in the UK at the time, No4 production hadn't even started, so this was mildly important.

The rifles continued the BSA pre-war serial number letter prefixes through L,M and N from 1940-43. Receivers were MkIII (to 1941)and MkIII* from BSA stock, barrels were new made and carry Enfield inspection marks. Furniture can be Walnut or Beech, salvaged or new.
In 1944, salvaged receivers outside of the L-M-N series were built up into rifles with barrels that were also reused---in one case, a barrel from a 1941 Dispersal rifle was renumbered to match a '44 receiver.
The 1944 rifles also have an "FTR" mark at the bottom of the roll stamp marking on the buttsocket---I have not seen any without this yet, but it is possible there are such rifles...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2018 at 6:36am
In the case of this rifle it started life as one of the peddled scheme rifles.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2018 at 6:41pm
i was just thinking that bear - shamu was thinking of the peddeled scheem rifles , should be marked at the reciever rear left i think right at the bolt , i dont have one of these yet , but i want one some day if i can find the right one , one of the interesting sidebars of the enfield history that makes them fun , 

the dispersals were all BSA [only no1 mrfgr in the isles at that time] and all late 40 through 43 , i do have one of these , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2018 at 8:28pm
Yes often people get confused with peddled scheme and dispersal rifles, but are two different beast.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 26 2018 at 6:55pm
and two different eras/wars 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pauerpilot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 27 2018 at 8:56pm
Ok I have been getting some parts. I elected to not go with a complete bolt. I purchased a stripped bolt body and started from there. I got a bolt head that measured 0.635. I tried to get the bolt head to merry up with the built body. Unfortunately it will not fit. I cannot screw the bolt head all the way into the bolt body. Subsequently I cannot close the bolt in the action. What should be my next step? I am thinking that I should try a new bolt head. If I go that route, should I look for a longer dimension bolt head or shorter?

Here are some pictures to illustrate.

As you can see, I cannot screw the bolt head into the bolt body. When I try to continue to thread the bolt head, it only moves a quarter rotation then binds up. What to do?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2018 at 6:16am
IIRC there were (at least) 2 different bolt body/bolt head thread  lengths. Does that one you have  also have a cutout in the thread? They were well known for the long threaded shank.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2018 at 6:36am
Crank on it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2018 at 10:54am
I dunno, that thread looks awfully long to me. If it doesn't have the long internal threads in the bolt body you could do harm. I think you need the later, un-slotted type so it matches the bolt body's thread depth.

The slot in the threaded portion of the bolt head was an early feature (Mk I through III); along with a lug on the striker (firing pin) collar, it allowed the firing pin to be unscrewed using the bolt head for leverage. But the bolt head often didn't have enough leverage and the system was discontinued in favor of a striker collar cut into two lugs, and using a matching tool to remove the striker. It serves no purpose in a rifle with the later striker, but does no harm.

Long "slotted" thread shank (early type).

Short non slotted shank.

http://thumbs4.ebaystatic.com/d/l800/pict/122927905875_1.jpg.jpg
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2018 at 12:03pm
You may need to try a few different bolt heads before you get one that clock's in properly. When I replaced a bolt body on my No1 rifle I had to a select a head that would screw in to the shoulder. I bought a few and found that the two types shown by Shamu above do seem to index into the threads differently. however this comment is based on the few bolt head's I have; so not necessarily what other's will experience.

Also, make sure when fitting the new bolt properly;  that you have contact on both recoil lug's.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2018 at 12:11pm
Yes you have to do that as well.
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