WW1 Enfield ' Territorial Officers Private purchase' Charger Loader
Fitted by Alex Martin of Glasgow Periscopic Prism Co Scope
This is a very rare example of Alex Martin converted Enfield Charger loading Long lee for sniper used in the Great War.
Alex Martin firm was a high class Scottish gunmakers based in Glasgow and the firm was founded in 1778 with shops in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Bisley.
Alex Martin was one of the UK's top gunmakers, but it was the third generation of Alex Martin that gained a reputation as a rifle maker in the late 19th and early 20th century, especially target rifles based on the British Army Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield military actions.
This Enfield 1899 manufactured Long lee was converted in 1909 to the upgraded Charger loading specifaction and the work was undertaken by the London Small Arms Co in 1909 at their South London Factory.
The Charger loading versions were used by the Territorial Army rather than first line troops. In 1904 the Long Lee service rifle's were replaced by the 'New Short Rifle' the Short-Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) in the British Army as its standard service rifle and the Long Lee service rifles were issued to the Territorial Army.
In 1908 all issued rifles were upgraded to the new .303 MkVII ammo and any Long lee still in service were upgrade with a charger bridge and new barrel and sights.
This Long Lee was upgraded at the London Small Arms Factory in 1909 to CLLE (Charger loading Lee Enfield).
By this time (1909) the charger loading lee enfields were issued to the Territorial Army as by this time the Number 1 Mklll SMLE service rifle was in full production but the SMLE had being issued to the regular army since 1904 (No1 Mk1).
The Territorial Army at this time was a part time Army (a reserve army like today) and mostly were comprised of either working class people or Public School upper class land owners ect . The working class were 'any other ranks' and the Pubic School upper class were the officer class.
There was one small draw back being an Officer in the British Army, that is you had to buy all your own eqipment that included Service rifles and service revolvers like the Mk6 Webley service revolvers ect.
Depending on your rank you also were issued with a batman (servant) to wash your cloathes, make your bed and clean your eqipment.
As an British Army officer when buying their rifle or revolver the officer class would buy from the 'Army & Navy Store' or a high class gunsmaker.
Being this rifle came from Alex Martin the best high class Scotish Gunmaker at the time, the owner was very likely an officer within the Scottish Territorial Army.
It is almost certain the Alex Martin purchase the Periscopic Prism directly from the London based Periscopic Prism Company, Kentish Town in North London in 1915.
They either made the mounts from British issued drawings supplied from RSAF Enfield who at the time had the British Army contract to supply SMLE equipt Periscopic Prism scoped rifles or made a direct purchase.
There are examples made by Alex Martin of scoped P14's .303 dating from 1916 on the internet and those mount appear to be factory type.
This rifle has a good shooting barrel and smooth action, we test shot this rifle and had a 4' grouping at 100 yards which was the average range of a German trench line to a British Trench line. In many cases the trench lines were no more than 30 feet apart.
The condition is very good for 1899 and considering it might even been sent to the South African Boar War as well.
Unfortunately like a lot of rifles its history has been lost to time