top of page

Rare BSA  SMLE  .303  Number 1 Mark 1*** dated    1904

                            Floating Charge Bridge

   This is a very nice example of a very early Lee Enfield SMLE Number 1 Mark 1*** .303 fitted with volley sights.  

   This Lee Enfield Number 1 Mark 1***  .303 was manufactured at BSA in 1904 as a Number 1 Mark 1* but in the run up to WW1 it was ungraded to Mark 1***.  

   Just before the start of WW1 the British Army had developed a new Mark VII  .303 

 ammo and it started to up grade all its rifles to the new ammo from 1911 onwards.



Nice clear Enfield stamp and date 1904



Floating charger bridge and mag cut off



          Military rear Target sight with micro adjustment and windage



Nice view of a very clean rifle


       The SMLE Number 1 Mark 1 series of rifles were only in production for 4 years,

from 1904-1907.   It had replaced the Boar War  Long Lee Enfield / Metford .303 rifle series which had been up till that point the standard British Army Service rifle.

      It was anounced in 1906 that the No1 Mark 1 SMLE series would stop in early 1907 and be replaced by the No1 Mk3 SMLE series.  But as machining problems with the No1 Mk3 dragged on into mid 1907 at Enfield ,  the Mark 1 stayed in production until late November 1907.

     The No1 Mk1 series was light years ahead of the British Army Long Lee service rifle and was a major jump in rifle technology as lesson had to be learnt  from the 1899-1901 Boar War.       


Historical Footnote

   In late 1901 after the Boar war had just ended,  the inquest into the performance of the British Long Lee Service rifle was to say bad,   the Boars in South African War out performed the British on the battle field is an understatment.  

  The 'New Rifle' was announced in mid 1902 to replaced the Long Lee service rifle, this did not go down well with the NRA at Bisley or the shooting community and big parts of the British Army.

  Huge articles were written to the  'Editors' of THE TIMES  by readers complaining about this 'New Rifle' , the NRA was by far the biggest complaint followed by Generals of the British Army and Members of Pariament. 

   If those people had persuade the Government including the NRA at Bisley to stop production of the 'New Rifle' and continue with Long Lee production as they demarded in 'The Times' day after day week after week  


   The Number 1 Mark1 would never had gone into prodution therefor the No1 Mark 3 would have never had existed. 

   Without the fire power of the SMLE .303 MK3 in WW1 the British would have never have helded the German Army at Mons  . 


   If Smith-Dorrien (1st Corps) and Douglas Haig (2nd Corps) had failed to hold,  then retreat from Mons the whole of the BEF would have been wiped out in two days.

    Then maybe if that came to pass this article may well be in German,  not English.




bottom of page