303 British SMLE - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Default 303 British SMLE

I am considering buying a "Smellie". The idea would be a rugged SHTF/prepper gun, that would be simple enough to operate if I pass it to a trusted family member. I am somewhat unfamiliar with the Mark (1,2,3,4) designations, and other that the internet, the only place I could likely get one is Dunham's Sports. I am not looking for a collector, but a reliable rifle that I could clean up into something shootable and presentable. Any major pitfalls to look out for? I will most likely buy a sealed tin of ammo to store, and shoot reloads for the range, possibly hard cast lead.

Any and all feedback appreciated.

"...And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat." Acts 10:13
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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 11:17 AM
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First, decide if you want a 303 British or a 7.62x51 (308). That will make your choice easier!

I've got a Savage made No.4 Mk1* (303) and a Ishapore 2A1 (308) and like them both. Seems to me that someone marketed what I thought was a very handy "Scout" type rifle sometime back by shortening the front end of the Ishapore. That's what I would try to find if I were you.

Decent surplus 303 is very hard to find.

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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Decent surplus 303 is very hard to find
Hey Atlaw, thanks for the response,
Doing further research, that's what I'm finding. I am starting to lean towards a current bolt action for the same purpose(s). I'm not a Mosin fan and there isn't a lot else out there.

"...And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat." Acts 10:13
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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 12:16 PM
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If I were you I would get a Mauser. The Spanish 1916s are available for $200 or less in your choice of 7x57 or 7.62x51 (.308).
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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WECSOG View Post
If I were you I would get a Mauser. The Spanish 1916s are available for $200 or less in your choice of 7x57 or 7.62x51 (.308).
That might be a better bet.... thanks.

"...And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat." Acts 10:13
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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 01:57 PM
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I'm down to a #5 right now, but over the years I've had other models. A #4 MK I would be my first choice along with a spare extractor spring (the only part I've ever had break on one). Haven't seen any tins of ammo with any regularity for quite some time but I mostly reload what I shoot.
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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 04:13 PM
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Although I'm a big fan of SMLE's and have a No.4 that I've taken several deer with I think for your stated purpose one of the "scout" rifles such as made by Savage, Ruger, etc may be better.

Get it in .308 and ammo is available and (relatively) cheap. The new manufacture "scouts" take common and cheap M14 mags, can be used with either scope or iron sights, and are more ergonomic than a stock SMLE.

In it's full military version the SMLE is comparatively heavy, commercial ammo is expensive, surplus ammo is for the most part gone, and if you find any it is corrosive and not cheap.

Lastly, there just isn't nearly as great a difference in price between a surplus rifle and a new commercial rifle as there used to be. In fact if you go with a Ruger American or a Savage Axis there's hardly any difference in price between them and a decent SMLE!
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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-01-2017, 11:23 AM
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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-01-2017, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Good points made about Mausers here. Still thinking...

I have many rifles to fit the bill, I was more looking for a little nostalgia...

"...And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat." Acts 10:13

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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-01-2017, 08:35 PM
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jeff: if you are looking for a prepper/shtf rifle you must consider ammo availability. It would not be long before 303 British ammo or the Russian 7.62x54R, or other older mil surp ammo supplies dry up. Mil-spec surplus is ok in those calibers that will be available during bad times. 223, 308/7.62x51, 9mm, 45 can be found or taken, other stuff most likely not so. And if you're going to scope anything for hunting to sustain yourself it will be easier to scope a more modern action already tapped and drilled than on a mil-surp. For what you are looking for I would even think 30-30 Winchester 94 or Marlin or a 308 bolt. If it is nostalgia you want then grab a SMLE and look for a US made No4 Mk1, made by Stevens or Savage - these are the best as they were never issued. Next up would be the same model refurbished by the armory at Faszerkly (? sp - I can't ever get that one right but it is a English armory in England I believe) as this would be a totally functional rifle refurbished for service - new barrel, proper headspace, nice. Good luck and let us know what you find.
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