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British Enfield SHT. LE MKV (No1 MKV) Rifle Caliber 303 British


Dated 1922, SHT. LE V , GR

UNIT DISK: 1926 over B5

20,000 produced

The Enfield action, being popular with the Commonwealth troops and having proven itself as arguably the best battle rifle of the war, was retained as a basis for new design innovations. One of those proposed changes would become the centerpiece of a new rifle, the Sht.LE MkV, or No.1MkV Lee Enfield. Approved in 1922, the new rifle was essentially a No.1MkIII* Short Magazine Lee Enfield with a newly designed rear sight mounted behind the charger bridge, a longer one-piece hand-guard which completely encased the barrel and omitted the opening for the older tangent sight, an additional stock band was added to better stabilize this newly designed stock.

The design held enough promise that production of 20,000 rifles was ordered for immediate field trials. Despite the obvious improvements, wide-scale production was not undertaken, and all production work was halted sometime in 1924. The commonwealth already had vast stores of No.1MkIII* rifles left over from the war and adoption of a new rifle would have been a heavy financial burden for a country already suffering from its war debt. Additionally, preliminary work was likely already beginning on what would eventually become the MkVI trials rifle and would evolve into the No.4 series Lee Enfield.

The MkV rifles already produced were issued throughout the 1920's, possibly the 1930's and were issued once again after the disaster at Dunkirk in WW2 created a pressing need for serviceable arms. Figures do not exist today, but it is plausible to assume a significant number of these rifles would have been lost to service wear and action in the second world war, making the MkV one of the rarest Lee Enfields to be mass produced which a collector is likely to encounter.

1. Skennerton lists the total number of MkV's manufactured as about 20,000 (1922-1924). According to some sources, 2,000 rifles were produced in 1923 (approximately ten percent of total production) with about 6,500 having 1922 dates. The balance were manufactured in 1924.

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This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 01 March, 2009.

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