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Rare Lee-Enfield Short Magazine #1 Mark V

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#1 Kanemono

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 12:37 PM

Manufactured in the early 1920s, the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Number One Mark Five was an interim step between the Number One Enfield used through World War One and the Number Four Enfield that served through World War Two. These unusual rifles have something of a mysterious service history, but represent a missing link in SMLE development. The Mark Five was intended to be both a whole new model of rifle, as well as an upgrade pattern that could be applied to Great Britain's then-extant stocks of service rifles, leaving it very close in overall configuration to earlier #1s. The primary distinguishing feature of the No. 1 Mk V is the rear aperture sight. The hooded front sight with combination bayonet lug and clamp-on grenade launcher mount is present, the piling swivel was kept attached to a forward barrel band, which was wrapped over and attached to the rear of the nose cap to reinforce the rifle for use with the standard Pattern 1907 bayonet. Other distinctive features include a nose cap screw was slotted for the width of a coin for easy removal, a safety lever on the left side of the receiver was slightly modified with a unique angular groove pattern the barrel-mounted rear sight has been replaced with a two-peep folding aperture rear sight, featuring a fixed "battle" sight and a staff graduated from "2" to "14". The King George cipher, 1924 date and model mark are present on the right side of the socket, with a magazine cutoff installed on the receiver. Unfortunately, this design was found to be even more complicated and expensive to manufacture than the Mk III, and so was not developed or issued beyond a trial production of about 20,000 rifles between 1922 and 1924 at RSAF Enfield, all of which marked with a "V". Service life for the Mk.V is rife with speculation. Since the pattern was ultimately never adopted roughly 20,000 units were filed away in reserves or given out for training. But the guns were certainly dusted off for World War Two. Various sources cite trips to India or the Middle East. There are photos of Polish Free Forces with Mk.V rifles. A Vietcong propaganda photo also shows a young soldier with a Mk.V rifle, so some did manage the trip to Asia. Most known instances of the Mk.V in use are with the British Home Guard. Please forgive the dust on the rifle. I forgot to wipe it off before I took the photographs.

Attached Images

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  • right-side-action.jpg
  • nose-cap-and-extra-band.jpg
  • markings.jpg
  • rear-sight.jpg

Edited by Kanemono, 25 February 2019 - 12:39 PM.

#2 Brian Keith

Brian Keith
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Posted 25 February 2019 - 04:29 PM

Very interesting, great information. Thanks for posting it.

#3 tanks1921

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 01:41 PM

Another interesting variation, thanks for posting!

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