The cal. .303 British Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle, Mark III was approved for the British Service on Jan. 26, 1907. It was an evolutionary development of the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle, Mark I, which was adopted on Dec. 23, 1902.
The Mark III version is dimensionally similar to the earlier Mark I but is heavier. It weighs 8 lbs. IOV2 ozs. as against 8 lbs. 2Vi ozs. for the Mark I. (The weights given do not include the bayonet.)
The Mark III is fitted with a magazine cutoff so that contents of the 10-shot detachable box magazine could be held in reserve while the rifle was used as a single-loader. The receiver or body is fitted with a bridge-type charger guide with slots sloped to the front so that the empty charger is automatically ejected from the charger guide as the bolt is closed.
The U-notch rear sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. The front sight is of square-blade Patridge-type. An additional dial sight arrangement is provided for long-range firing. This is a carry-over from the Mark I.
There were many changes made in establishing specifications for the Mark III rifle, and those interested in a detailed history of this and other British Lee-Enfield Service rifles are referred to the book entitled The Lee-Enfield Rifle by Maj. E. G. B. Reynolds.
In May 1926, British Service rifles were redesignated by number, and the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle, Mark III. became the Rifle No. 1. Mark III.
1 Commence disassembly by first removing magazine (35) and then rotating breechbolt (55) counterclockwise and withdrawing rearward as far as it will go. Disengage breechbolt head (58) from retaining spring (26) by rotating it as shown. It will disengage with an audible click. Withdraw bolt from action body (10)
4 Remove back and front trigger guard screws (16 and 33, right and left arrows respectively). Lift away trigger guard (34). Remove back and front nose cap screws (46 and 50 respectively) and pull nose cap (48) forward off rifle. Remove inner band screw (4), and swivel screw (18) from outer band (43). Open and lift away outer band. Front handguard (67), fore-end (65), and rear handguard (66) may now be removed in that order
2 Disassemble breechbolt by removing striker screw (53), and then unscrewing breechbolt head from the other end of the breechbolt
5 Remove retaining spring screw (28, left arrow) and lift away retaining spring (26), sear (30), and sear spring (29). Drift out magazine catch pin (25, right arrow), remove magazine catch (27)
3 To remove striker (57), it is necessary to have an Enfield bolt stripping wrench or improvise one as shown using a O.D. brass tube approximately 6" long. File 2 opposing keys or notches in one end of tube and affix wooden ball on other end to serve as handle. Drill through handle and tube with Vs" drill and insert pin to prevent slippage. Insert tool into front end of breechbolt until notches engage corresponding notches in striker collar. Unscrew striker from cocking piece (54) maintaining steady inward pressure to prevent mainspring (56) from expelling striker when it becomes fully unscrewed from cocking piece
6 Should removal of buttstock (64) become necessary, open buttplate trap (37) and with a piece of bent wire fish out leather stock bolt wad (24). Insert long, square shanked screwdriver and engage slot in stock bolt (23). While applying downward pressure, place an appropriately sized open-end wrench against screwdriver shank and turn out stock bolt. A small quantity of penetrating oil may aid this operation as the bolts are often rusted in. Reassemble rifle in reverse ■
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