Tuesday, January 25, 2011

long ago & far away

I've seen a lot of old family photos recently, and I thought I'd share one.

The uncle of my uncle is shown here, walking tall at the front of the line, just to the left of the man saluting. They were marching in some sort of small town parade in Abbeyleix, Co. Laois - back when Irishmen still carried guns.

Perhaps someone could help me identify the rifle.


Alan said...

Rifle looks like a SMLE

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Please. Too easy. Alan beat me.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

You know you can get stuff that looks like that in more common calibers, right Breda? .303 is the classic, but they made some in .30-06 for doughboys and the Indians at Ishapore turned out some 7.62 NATO versions.

Perfect rifle for a girl. I know how interested you are in finding perfect firearms for ladies...

(post a pic of an AR and I'll say "Perfect rifle for a girl.")

(post a pic of a Garand and I'll say "Perfect rifle for a girl.")

(post a pic of a Barrett and I'll say "Perfect rifle for a girl.")

(post a pic of a... &c.)

Mad Saint Jack said...

Here is a page about Irish Enfields:


(By the way... I got one. Come to KY and you can have a look.)

LawDog said...

Short Magazine Lee-Enfield, probably in .303.

One of my all-time favourite rifles, and the source of this old saying about The War To End All Wars:
"The Germans had the best hunting rifle, the Americans had the best target rifle, and the British had the best battle rifle."


George in AZ said...

That pic is so cool! My father's father was a Marine (prior to becoming a RR cop), prior to WWI.
I have his medals, but, alas, no photos...

Old NFO said...

Great photo and yep SMLE :-)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Examining that picture in detail... There is SO much good stuff to see in there. The buildings, the clothes, the Imperial manual of arm and marching style, the telegraph poles. Wonderful.

Kevin said...

No. 1 Mk.III Enfield (SMLE), not to be confused with the No. 4 Mk.I or Mk.II.

Anonymous said...

Short Magazine Lee-Enfields. Probably in .303, and probably UK surplus-or retained goods when the Brits left.

Chris M said...

And, of course, you'll also need to acquire one of these... it being the perfect handgun for a lady like yourself.


nzgarry said...

Agreed, Short Magazine Lee Enfield No 1 Mk 3*.
My first ever rifle that I saved for and bought at 16yrs (I live in New Zealand).
You can tell the Mk3 because the furniture runs all the way to the end of the barrel, the Mk4 (WW2) had about an inch of barrel protruding.

The bolt does not lock to the receiver at the face like a Mauser but instead at the rear by a lug.
In theory not as accurate but the rifle is very accurate so they must have got it right somehow.
The bolt can be cycled much faster than a Mauser action allowing quite
a high rate of fire in the right hands.
Care had to be taken reloading the 10 round mag as the rimmed .303 rounds had to be stacked ahead each
time or the rim of the top round would snag on that of the one underneath causing a jam.

In its class and for its time I guess great but I think the 30-06 cartridge is better than .303

Buckshot said...


What is making you say No. I Mk. III*?

I would agree with the No. I Mk. III but I can't see enough of it to tell if it is a * or not.


They NEVER made No. I Mk. IIIs or Mk. III*s in .30-06! That was the No. 3 Mk. I that turned into the M1917. I am fairly sure a No. I Mk. III in .30-06 would have been a grenade!

Breda, you NEED one of those and a Garand.


The picture is WAY too early for the No. 1 Mk. III 2A or 2A1, they were not made till the very lat '50s or, more likely the early to mid '60s!

doubletrouble said...

Was he IRA of old?
Dress looks like it could be in the '20s; during the war of Independence maybe?

Very cool.

lordjim said...

I'll ditto all about it a SMLE no.1 mk.III Grab one and a full length bayonet as soon as you can.

The Ishapore 2a/2a1 was made in the 60's to the early 70s. Those take 7.62x51 NATO but "not .308 Winchester?" (Read up on those discussions somewhere else, I won't start that here). They are a nice one too if you can find one for less than $250 in good shape.

Mr Evilwrench said...

I have one of those Indian smellies in 7.62x51. They called it a "type 7", which is their version of a type 5 jungle carbine. Picked it up about 10 years ago for pretty cheap, but can't remember how much. Did some fiddling around and finagled a scope mount which seems to be holding.

Mr Evilwrench said...

Oh and yeah, on the quick bolt, I can clear a 10 round mag in about 15 seconds, with aimed shots. Of course that's left handed, so...

Weer'd Beard said...

Just for you, Breda

nzgarry said...

You got me on the * bit. In fact I couldn't even name the difference though I suspect it being the absence of a magazine cover plate.
Lots of Mk3/4 SMLE's in NZ at one time. Most had the stock cut down and heavily used for hunting Deer/Pigs.
These are now worn out and worthless and the originals are fetching good prices.

rchester said...

.303 British

McThag said...

I would say it's definitely a III*. The magazine cutoff plate is pretty distinctive and you would be visible even at this resolution. No cutoff, it's a *.

For all I know that's the very same rifle I have on my wall...

McThag said...

If you look closely you can see the wood goes up slightly near the charger bridge, it's level on the III where the mag cutoff is.


JPG said...

That's a really great image, Breda.

As long as we're being nit-picky about the EXACT model rifle, I submit that it's most probably a Rifle No. III*. The designation was not changed to No. 1 Mark III* until 1926. No way to tell if the photo was taken before or after that date, but I'd wager that when produced, it was designated a Mk III*

I can't see a magazine cutoff, and the cocking piece is the grooved flat one, rather than the knob - - both tip offs that the rifles are the * ("star") version.

I notice that all the marchers whose feet can be seen are in step. Eyes front, stern demeanor - - - Serious men, proud troops.

TOTWTYTR said...

Definitely No.1 Mk III, and definitely in .303. The Indians made some in .308, but that was after WWII and I'd guess that this was between the world wars.

A sweet shooting rifle, if ever there was one. The bolt action is so buttery smooth it should be illegal.