This has to be one of the more interesting rifles in the Lee Enfield story.
Some time ago a bare action came up for sale on a local website, it was the action alone, no mag or bolt.
All I knew about the action was that it was fom a rifle commisioned in the early 1900’s and that it was intended for Thailand. Not a lot really! But I did know I wanted it, So off to the history books!
I was soon to learn that Siam was ruled by King Vajiravualh from 1910 to 1925 and that he was educated in England and attended Sandhurst. Whilst at Sandhurst he used and became extremely impressed with the rifle (SMLE), so much so that he commissioned 10,000 rifles from BSA. The rifles themselves are unique, as on the wrist of the rifle is a Tigers Head, that represented “The Wild Tiger Corp”.
Sadly not many of these wonderful rifles remain today. This is due in part to the climate, and if you have ever been lucky to visit Thailand then you will understand. This was further compounded during WWII by the destruction of captured weapons by the invading Japanese forces. As such, there are few really good examples that remain today. Yet there are some fair ones still out there and that’s great, as they are an important piece of the Enfield story.
So when I saw the bare receiver, I jumped at the opportunity to own a piece of history.
Restoration time! I knew at home I had a very good .303 barrel that I had recently removed from a No2MkIV .22 cal marked reciever. It was the correct aged barrel and even had the correct BSA logo.
I had a spare mag and a correct type of bolt.
I wanted to stick with a suitable dark coloured wood that had the same characteristics of the original. After a good hunt around the traps I found such a piece of wood, well half of it!
So what I want to do now is put together a spliced or joined bottom wood . Because of the barrel I also want to do it so that I can shoot the rifle.
However before I get to that stage I will get the rifle properly checked as the bolt is a tight fit, and I will use lead cast reduced loads initially to test the splice.
There are a couple of options. I could simply make a display piece, or consider possibly moving the inner band or even introduce a second forward band as such to disperse the stress on the join.