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Lithgow SMLE MkIII


The Lithgow SMLE (Small Magazine Lee-Enfield) Mk III begins with the British Lee-Enfield rifle, which was introduced in 1895. The Lithgow Small Arms Factory in New South Wales was established in 1912 for the purpose of easing the reliance on the British for firearms and other supplies.


The Lee-Enfield bolt operating system was vastly different from others during its time period. The bolt locking lugs were in the rear of the bolt rather than the front like most other rifles.  This feature along with a short bolt throw and  a detachable, ten-round magazine gave this  rifle an impressive rate of fire for its time which simply outmatched any rifle during that period. Although this rifle had a detachable magazine, it was also designed to be loaded via stripper clips  and even single rounds.  The bolt handle was bent downward, allowing for more efficient cycling of the action and quicker follow-up shots. This rifle also featured volley sights, which were a unique and distinguishing characteristic of the weapon. These sights were designed to enable massed volleys of fire at long ranges, a tactic commonly employed during the early 20th century. The volley sights consisted of a range-adjustable front rotatable sight located on the left side of the receiver and a rear peephole sight  located on the left side of the rifle just above the rear of the trigger guard. It allowed soldiers to engage targets at distances anywhere from 1,700-2,800 yards.


You can identify that this rifle was made in Australia by the import marks on the receiver in electropencil, but also by the lithgow factory marking on the right side just above the trigger. Below that marking is the year of manufacture. The Lithgow Factory ceased production of the SMLE Mk III in 1915 and made the SMLE Mk III* afterwards. This was essentially the same rifle, but with minor adjustments to increase the affordability and ease of manufacturing. 


Origin: Australia
Manufactured: 1907-Present
Manufacturer: Lithgow Small Arms Factory

Type: Bolt-Action Rifle

Caliber: 7.7x58mm Arisaka
Barrel Length: 640mm (25.2")
Action: Bolt-Action

Magazine Capacity: 10 Round Magazine


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