SMLE Sniper 1914 scoped magazine bolt-action rifle .303

01. Original name Short Magazine Lee-Enfield sniper rifle with Periscopic Prism Co. telescope  
02. Other official names Rifle No.1 MkIII*   
03. Popular names SMLE sniper, “Smelly”  
04. Chamberings .303”  
05. Designed by James Paris Lee, RSAF Enfield  
06. Design date Evolution of the Short Magazine Lee Enfield MkI first approved in 1902  
07. In service date(s) 4th May 1915  
08. Adopted by Great Britain  
09. Production quantities 9788  
10. Mechanism Bolt action, 10 round magazine  
11. Weight 10lbs 1ozs   
12. Mountings Pattern 1907 bayonets. The rifle could also be fitted with wire cutters and grenade cups  
13. Practicality in action The telescopes on these rifles were mounted to the left of the breech (and therefore fired using the left eye) which allowed clip loading and offered the ability to use the iron sights should the telescope become damaged. This was awkward to fire but usually remedied by fitting a wooden cheekpiece or tying a pad onto the butt. Late in the war a small number of these telescopes may have been mounted over the bore. Snipers and observers usually worked in teams of two, swapping roles to avoid eye strain and physical discomfort  
14. Comments / Other information This model was the most widely used (49%) of the British Great War sniper rifles, built on the Mark III and Mark III* actions. The rifle shown utilises the Mark III* action. A variety of scopes and mounts were used, over 90% were those manufactured by the Perismatic Prism Co., Aldis and Winchester. The magnification of this particular telescope is 2x, the Aldis was 2.5x and the Winchester was 5x. By comparison the German Hensoldt Wetzler scope was 3x. In June 1921 the total number of SMLE sniper rifles in circulation was 1004. Because the Pattern 14 rifle was considered to be superior (and we had been through the “war to end all wars”), these were, by all account, broken up for parts and the telescopes/mounts sold off as surplus