Re: Unknown SMLE, please help!!!
What you have is a locally made copy of a Rifle No. 1 Mk III, also known as the SMLE.
It was not made in England by BSA, who were certainly not making SMLE's in 1981. The other markings, including the crown, are incorrect or poor imitations of English markings. Those marks were put on so the buyers, who usually could not read English, would believe the rifle was a genuine British firearm.
There is little doubt about its history and interest. Those guns were made, often by hand, with nothing more than chisels and files, with maybe a foot-powered lathe and drill press. The raw material was often railroad rails or other kinds of scrap steel. For the most part they are reliable and safe enough, but if they are not, there is no customer service to take your complaints.
They are a great lesson in the persistence and determination of people who wanted weapons but could not obtain them from more advanced countries. Even today, in spite of the Russian and American weapons flowing into Pakistan and Afghanistan, that arms manufacture continues, although the craftsmen have turned to making AK-47's and more modern weapons.
(In a way, that rifle symbolizes the determination of a people not to be dominated by outside forces, something we have to understand and be very cautious about in our relations with the people of that area.)
Last edited by Jim K; 01-08-2011 at 11:21 PM..