A century ago, as the “War to End All Wars” was fought in the horrific trenches of France and Flanders, one rifle more than proved its worth on the Western Front. The Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield was the workhouse of the British Empire from the 1890s until the adoption of the FN FAL in the 1950s. The main British infantry rifle of the Great War was the SMLE Mk III chambered in .303 British, and it is our “NRA Gun of the Week.” The “smelly” as it was nicknamed has a short 25.2” barrel and detachable box magazine that held 10 rounds. The guns before 1916 had a magazine cut-off—allowing single rounds to be fed while holding 10 rounds in reserve for an emergency—as well as long-range volley sights. The SMLE today remains one of the slickest bolt-action rifles ever invented. Learn more in this week’s "NRA Gun of the Week" video hosted by American Rifleman's Mark Keefe.
Manufacturer: Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (B.S.A.)
Model: Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III
Chambering: .303 British
Action Type: bolt-action, repeating center-fire rifle
Magazine: detachable box, 10-round capacity
Barrel Length: 25.2”
Overall Length: 44.5”
Weight: 8 lbs., 10 ozs.
Year of Manufacture: 1913