British SSA Enfield SMLE No.1 Mk III .303 British Bolt Action Rifle C&R

SOLD FOR: $1,735

WOA#: WY240117CB026

Make: Standard Small Arms (SSA, part of the “peddled scheme”)

Model: SHT LE III* (Short Magazine Lee Enfield Mark III). Later designated as the No. 1 Mk III*.

Serial Number: R52102

Year of Manufacture: 1918

Caliber: .303 British

Action Type: Bolt action, 10 round detachable magazine

Markings: The front-right side of the receiver is marked “R52102”. The rear-right side is marked with an import mark. The bottom right side of the charger clip bridge is marked with a C.A.I. import mark. The left side rear of the receiver is marked “U” and “S.S.A.” The safety lever is marked “III”. The bolt handle is marked “R52102”. The receiver collar is marked with a crown, “G.R.”, “1918”, “SHT L.E”, and “III*”. The nose cap is marked “52102”. The underside of the forend is marked “5901”(?). The underside of the rear sight is marked “R52102”. The top of the barrel is marked “H.V”.  The bottom of the magazine is marked “51 13” crossed out and “52102”. As is common on British firearms, there are numerous small proof marks throughout the metal surfaces. The left ricasso of the bayonet is marked with a crown stamp over “1907” over “8 17” over “ANDERSON” (the “S” has been worn away). The right ricasso has numerous proof and acceptance marks. The right grip panel is marked “R”.

Barrel Length: 25”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a bladed post set atop a ramped base and between two protective wings. The rear of the sight is a u-notch blade attached to an escalator assembly. The rear sight also has protective wings.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The two-piece wood stock has a straight grip with finger groove, barrel band, nose cap assembly with sight wings & bayonet lug, three sling loops, and a brass buttplate with hinged door for storage. The buttplate is heavily worn, with scratches and impact marks throughout. The internal storage is empty. There are compression marks, scuffs, and scratches throughout the wood. There is a thin crack on the left side of the middle upper handguard section. The LOP measures 13.25”  from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The stock rates in about Good overall condition.

Type of Finish: Parkerized

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright and the rifling is sharp. There is light to moderate erosion in the bore.

In this writer’s opinion, this bore rates 7 out of 10.

Many military and C&R eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide. For example, the U.S. used corrosive ammunition throughout WWII. The U.S. military did not begin to phase out corrosive-primed ammunition until the 1950s.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 80% of its metal finish. There are scuffs and scratches throughout the metal surfaces. There is thinning to the finish on the bottom of the trigger guard. There is also pitting at the rear of the trigger guard, which also has spots of surface rust. There is wear and pitting on the nose cap. The bolt and action show usage wear. The screw heads show moderate to heavy use. The markings on the metal are mostly sharp, but those on the wood are worn. Overall, this rifle rates in about Good condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We did not fire this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The rifle comes with a 10 round detachable magazine that is difficult to remove.

Our Assessment: The Enfield No. 1 Mk III was the standard firearm used by the British Army during World War I and into the first years of  World War II. It was first introduced in 1907 and remained in service in some form until the late 1950s. The rifle was designed at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield in the United Kingdom. It has a ten-round magazine and fires the .303 British cartridge. The Enfield No. 1 Mk III* is known for its accuracy, reliability, and smoothness of action which enables relatively rapid fire for a bolt action rifle.

This Short Magazine Lee Enfield Mark III* (No. 1 Mk III) was made by Standard Small Arms in 1918. Standard Small Arms was an attempt to circumvent the government monopoly on rifle production via the use of numerous smaller subcontractors. This system was known as the “peddled scheme”. SSA made rifles, like this one, do not have the standard factory marking on the receiver collar. That was instead moved to the rear of the receiver. The bolt, receiver, nose cap, rear sight, and magazine have matching serial numbers. Though the magazine appears to have been force-matched. The stock has normal wear to it for being over 100 years old, with a small crack on the left side of the middle upper handguard section. The metal retains most of its finish, with most of the wear being on the nose cap and trigger guard. The bore is in really nice shape and it has more than enough rifling left to make for a good shooter. The rifle comes with a canvas sling and a Sanderson made Pattern 1907 bayonet. This rifle is an interesting example of one of the most venerable bolt action rifles of the early 20th century and would fit into any British, Enfield, or First World War collection. Please see our photos.


British SSA Enfield SMLE No.1 Mk III .303 British Bolt Action Rifle C&R
British SSA Enfield SMLE No.1 Mk III .303 British Bolt Action Rifle C&R