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The Magazine Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield Rifles Mk.1*

or "Long Lee" M.L.M. and M.L.E. Mk.1*

by the B.S.A. & M. Co.

(Birmingham Small Arms & Metal Company)

In the reign of Victoria Regina - 1892

See also a "Long" Lee-Enfield training rifle in .22RF


Under the above name, B.S.A. was incorporated in 1873, and dissolved in 1916, mid Great War.

The next two images can be rotated and zoomed, either as initially loaded or full-screen for higher definition.

The illustrated rifle is a Magazine Lee-Metford (M.L.M.) dated 1892, of between First and Second Boer Wars vintage. These Lee-Metfords and Lee-Enfields had yet to be converted for charger loading, resulting in the later nomenclature of C.L.L.E and C.L.L.M rifles

The rifle is fitted with both the bolt cover and bolt-head with incorporated shroud of the early issue rifles. The bolt cocking-piece does not carry the safety catch added to later Mark II* Metford and M.L.E rifles. Note also the grooved fore-end woodwork, including the small notch below the cut-off (to clear the thumb when changing between single-loading and magazine-feeding), and the round-nosed magazine with retaining link at the front. The fore-sight is the standard plain and unprotected barleycorn. The rear-sight leaf is calibrated to 1,700 yards. The front and rear volley sights remain in place.

The butt-stock has had the initials 'H.J.' carved into the right-hand-side ahead of the unstamped butt disc. The nose-cap includes the bayonet-lug for the 1888 Mk.I (1st. type) bayonet and bored for a cleaning rod (omitted in later production). The front barrel band, pinning the nose-cap, retains both the front sling swivel and the open "stacking" or "piling" loop swivel.


 

DATA TABLE - ALL MEASUREMENTS AS VIEWED EXAMPLE
FIREARM
IMPERIAL
(METRIC)
Designation or Type :
British Service Rifle
Manufacturer :
Birmingham Small Arms & Metal Company
Date :
1892
Serial No :
56810
Furniture :
Walnut
Action Type :
Turning bolt
Nomenclature or main marks:
Magazine Lee-Enfield/Metford
Calibre :
.303inch Centre Fire
? mm
Weight :
9 lbs. 4 ozs.
? kgs
Length - Overall :
49.25 inches
? cms
Length - Barrel :
30.375 inches
? cms
Pull :
13½inches
? cms
Spare row :
-

Rifling - No. of Grooves :

7
Rifling - Twist & Direction :
1 turn in ? inches - RH
? cms
Rifling - Groove width :
0.0?? inches
? mm
Rifling - Land width :
0.0?? inches
? mm

Rifling - Groove depth at muzzle :

   
Sight - Fore :
barleycorn on block
-
Sight - Rear :
V-notch tangent leaf
-
Sight - Radius :
21¾ inches
? cms

 

 


A most interesting aspect of the introduction of the first Magazine Lee-Metford rifle was a lengthy criticism of the design and manufacture of the first issued units, as compared with the preceding Martini-Henry service rifle. The criticism was presented in the House of Commons by one Mr. Majoribanks on 3rd. February 1891, and was reported in Hansard as replicated in the scrollable PDF below.

That such considerable negative opinion should have been put forward after only trialling of early rifles, is retrospectively eye-opening. In view of the subsequent longevity and sterling performance of the Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield designs, through many marks, and at least three major following wars, it is indicative of how seriously conservative thinking can potentially set back major advances in almost any field.


 

 

This rifle can be viewed fitted with the Wilkinson Sword Company's

"Portable Sub-Target Machine"

for musketry training without ammunition.

See also a "Long" Lee-Enfield training rifle in .22RF