Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I went out to the flea market again the morning and picked this baby up. It's a British Military 1948 .303 No.1, Mk 3 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle (SMLE).


I saw this rifle laying on the table and I asked the dealer what the deal was with the copper wire wrapping. He said that it was reinforcement for a grenade launcher. I laughed and said, "you're kidding?" and he said, "No crap, look it up." I asked how much and he said cheap and I bought it, but sill questioned it. I got it home and went on the WEB and sure enough I found some information backing it up.


Is there anyone here on the forum that can tell me the history of this grenade launcher reinforcement of the Enfield. What years was it done and was it successful? Was it a common thing? When did they quit using it? What countries used it? I had never heard of this before today.


The men of this forum have always been a great source of information and I hoping someone out there knows something about this weapon.


Thanks in advance,




Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jack:


Looks nice a nice clean piece and a good find. However, as a reminder our Forum rules restrict discussion topics to US military related items. ;)


I suggest that you post your inquiry at the British Enfield Forum over on Gunboards. I am sure that the Enfield nuts there can help you out. Here is the link: http://forums.gunboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=55


Good luck.



Charlie Flick


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since a number of WW1 US units were issued SMLE's in France when serving with the British Army it's fair game!


The british did in fact try wrapping brass bands around the stock to try and keep it from cracking when firing grenades. From what I have seen this was not a terribly common thing, and so it is debatle if any were ever used by the AEF. I'd say no unless somoene comes up with a photo.


However.. in WW1 they iused a thicker braqss band, and odd thatthey did not keep doing it thorugh WW2 so I assume it did not work all that well. The ones found today like this one are not WW1 prodeuction (well the rifle is but not the brass). These are the ones with brass wire wrapped around it and soldered on the ends to hold it in place. These were done in India for their army after WW1.


They imported a ton of them back in the 80's/90's and they did not sell all that well. So there shoudl be a lot floating about- a lot of folks just cut the band soff and so you cana lso find SMLE's with the marks on the stocks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife's grandfather had a British uniform and a British rifle (prob No3Mk1) at the beginning of the war. 30th Division "Old Hickory" M115th Machine Gun Battalion.


We all try to keep all the pics of the guns up by finding what we can to justify them :lol:


How about a friend or foe of the US Military arms section Charlie?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Early in WWI the British used a rifle grenade that had a rod that came out of the base and went down the barrel. These could bulge a barrel or even burst one. These wrappings were an attempt to prevent this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, legit....what are the markings on the right side of the butt socket? Judging by the "Ishy" screw through the forearm, this is an Indian done wrapping. The Indians wrapped a lot of theirs...that re-inforcment bolt through the forearm is also a typical Ishapore mod....


A lot of actual British done grenade wraps were cord wraps, instead of the copper wire, and there are also grenade launching rifles that had stamped steel reinforcements...


I was curious as the the butt socket markings, as for Enfield collectors, its always a plus to get a grenade launching variant that is British made, with no Ishy refurb marks...also, if the right side of the butt socket indicates British manufacture, check the left side for an Ishy refurb mark and date....

Link to post
Share on other sites

These were designed to use with the cup discharger grenade launcher firing a Mills bomb with a flat steel plate on the bottom. Grenade launcher blanks were HOT and the pressure of lobbing a hand grenade enormous. So, the wire reinforcement was added to (hopefully) keep things together if the rifle blew.




The rifles will often have WWI dates but this setup was strictly WWII.


Do go to the Enfield site for more information.


Tom thumbsup.gif

Learn to ride hard, shoot straight, dance well and so live that you can, if necessary, look any man in the eye and tell him to go to Hell! US Cavalry Manual, 1923








Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.