Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Replica Rifle
- 16 Comments
- Last updated: 11/11/2016
At the end of the 19th Century, after harsh lessons learned during the Boer War, the British Army realised that they desperately needed a new service rifle. After the Magazine Lee Enfield (Long Lee) was introduced in 1895, the design was refined into the Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) in .303 calibre, which was issued in 1904.
The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield gets its name from ‘Short’ (shorter than the rifle it replaced), ‘Magazine’ (it was fed by a removable ten round magazine), and ‘Lee-Enfield’ referring to its bolt action designer, James Paris Lee, and the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield were work on designing the SMLE had begun.
The SMLE – universally recognized as ‘Smelly’ - proved to be robust, accurate, and capable of an extremely rapid rate of fire due to the easily operated Lee bolt action. The ‘Smelly’ became the main battle rifle for the British Army and most Commonwealth forces in the First World War and still sees service in target shooting to this day. Only its replacement, the Lee-Enfield Mk IV, has such an iconic status in terms of British Army service rifles.
As a result, the SMLE has become very collectable, both in live fire and de-act form. This of course has pushed up prices, making the best SMLEs quite expensive and increasingly difficult to find. However, if you are in the market for a reasonable facsimile of this legendary rifle – for theatrical work, historic display and drill, etc. (or any other exempt category under the new VCR Act) there is now a reasonably priced alternative to the real thing.
Battle Orders are offering an all metal and wood construction replica of the SMLE with fully operational bolt, working trigger mechanism and removable magazine. Woodwork is exceptional, The action and muzzle assembly are non-convertible castings – there is no actual barrel between the action and the muzzle. In addition, the sight assembly is accurate looking, but is in fact non-adjustable, although a real sight could be purchased and fitted if a sight operation demonstration was required. The brass butt plate has what appears to be an opening cover for storage of an oiler bottle or pull-through, but the ‘flip open’ lid is in fact false. There are three sling swivels, so a sling can be attached.
Size (44.5” in length) is correct and weight (at 7.5lbs approx. instead of 8.7lbs approx) is comparable to the real thing, and certainly good enough for drill purposes and mock engagements. The muzzle assembly has a bayonet attachment but it is slightly oversize, nevertheless, this could be altered by anybody that was handy with a file, to allow presentation of bayonet drill and full dress displays.
This reproduction SMLE is available direct from Battle Orders at £129. For information on this and other Battle Orders products, give them a call on tel: 01323-485182 or visit their website at www.battleorders.co.uk