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The Lee-Enfield Rifle No. 1 Mk III* is part of a long and storied line of Lee-Enfield rifles that served as the core arm of the British military throughout the Empire and Commonwealth from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. Learning from continual use, design improvements were fairly constant, a factor that when combined with interchangeable parts, production in many countries, and delays in adopting updated designs, resulted in numerous variations of rifles over the course of history.
Production of the Lee-Enfield Mk III SMLE (Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield) began in 1907 and saw extensive service in the First World War. In 1916, before the war’s end, changes in sighting and small parts required the new designation of SMLE Mk III*. Together, the Mk III and Mk III* served in the remaining years of the war, but it was the Mk III* that played a sizeable role in the interwar years and the Second World War. Rifle nomenclature changed in 1926 with the introduction of the numeric sequence. At this point, the SMLE Mk III and the Mk III* became known as Rifle No. 1 Mk III and Mk III* respectfully.
As indicated by the F.R. stamp on the butt socket, this Lee-Enfield Rifle No. 1 Mk III* was repaired at the Ishapore rifle factory in India, most likely in 1947. Although India gained independence in August of that year, there are no stamps or marks to indicate if this repair took place before or after the declaration. The butt socket is blank on the right side, under the bolt indicating the original action body designation were removed during repair. The butt socket, left side, is marked with only ‘No 1 Mk III*/F.R.’. Following the F.R. is a very lightly stamped ‘47’.
The receiver, bolt, nosecap, and rear sight leaf serial numbers on our Lee-Enfield Rifle No. 1 Mk III* all match. SNs on the forearm are worn and difficult to decipher but do not appear to match the receiver set. The finish on the buttstock and little handguard piece is darker than that of the handguard and forearm wood which might indicate the factory repairs involved stock replacement. There are no roundels visible on the buttstock. Magazine SN does not match. Overall good condition with service handling marks on wood and some service wear on metal. Many proof/inspector’s/other markings as noted in photos. Bore is fair to good, clean, bright, with defined shallow rifling. Sling included.
See pictures for overall condition. FFL or C&R required for purchase.
Rifle Factory Ishapore
Rifle No. 1 Mk III*
fair to good, clean, bright, defined shallow rifling