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So, you want to collect guns, eh?

Then let's start on a little lesson in telling the fakes from the real ones.  Below are three actions of British weapons.  Two are real.  One is fake.  It's not good enough to spot the fake - what's important is "why" you think it's fake.  Because the general cues to the authenticity of weapon are the take-away.  Why does it look/seem fake?

Royal Irish Constabulary Carbine, manufactured 1902.

Charger-Loading Lee-Enfield, manufactured 1910

Lee-Enfield No 1, manufactured in 1901.


Oh this is good.  Well lets embarass ourselves shall we?

The carbine: The metal wear looks real to me and the wood wear acceptable.  Finger fat on metal produces a certain look, dull an shiny worn eventually and I think this is it.  My best guess is this is not a fake.

The LE 1910:  A candidate for the fake.  The metal looks almost fresh pressed and while the wood wear is passable the wood itself looks really grainy which suggests weak to me.

The LE 1901: My favoured candidate for a fake.  Metal even more clean pressed.  The wood seems in rather good condition for 1901 and i don't like the fit with the central metal bit.  I really find the label a bit odd kind of like advertising for the buyer who has a poor diea of guns... like me.  If it's paint that's even worse because it should have worn at least a bit by now.

PS what the hell are the little arrows for?  Putting it back together?

   My vote goes to No.3, the Lee-Enfield No.1
    I would say it's fake simply because of the stampings on the band. First, they are done over a blued/browned band when the originals were stamped on bright metal before the bluing was applied. Second, the poor quality of the stamp. Real inspectors stamps, prrof marks, etc are reasonably crisp, but don't have a raised area in the middle. This one was oviously done with a hammer and set of individual letters. You can tell that by the way they are misaligned. Real stamps are cut all together, such as "TOWER", or "LA", etc. so that all the letters are crisp and straight.  This one was definately hand-stamped, something only the single proof marks or inspector's marks would've been.

   After that, the poor fit of the wood against the bands. I'd also say the finish isn't right as well. Too dull, and the dings and dents look out of sorts as well.

    Anyway, that's my call. I may well be out to lunch, but if I were shopping for a rifle, someone else would be buying that one :)

Heh.  Re: Tim's last comment - I own all three.  But they were all bought with eyes wide open, there were no hard lessons there.

Argent - the arrows are called "Broad Arrows" and are representative of English military arrow heads.  They are what's termed a "property mark" and represent acceptance into British military service.

The Australian equivalent looked like this:  D^D with the arrow being a touch larger than I can create .  The DD stood for Department of Defence.

I agree with Argent for mostly the same reasons.

To my untrained eye, the biggest problem with the 1901 LE No 1 is that the wood is smoother and less gouged than either of the other two guns, yet has the worst fit with the metal.
There seems to be a rivet? missing on the LE 1901 that should be there. At least they were present  on the  earlier 1896 version and the two that you show that came afterwards, aside from the ill-fitting metal to wood that you mentioned as well.
That and the stamp seems rather new looking for a firearm that has been around for supposedly over a hundred years.
That's my guess anyway.
i think it is no 3, because I find the thingy (please insert correct term and make me look less of an amateur!) at the end of the bolt (with the vertical ribs) looks crude and I have seen only smooth ones there. Plus I wonder why the Elisabeth Regina stamp is wiping out the word  Enfield.
The 2nd one, the 1910, the ball looks way too shiney and not dinged up at all. 
Curses, that book is at home. Third pic looks authentic for a 1901 or 1902 MK1, LONG Lee-Enfield, 'flap' type safety, no rivet. Need to see the fore-end and the action, breech open to know for sure.

Third pic is always a red herring anyway. I'm sure I'm a sucker for staring at it.

(Indian reserve 1919 or one of the .22 cal conversions? The marks look 'odd' and recent)
It seems odd to me that the 1902 and 1910 rifles have the safety on the right side of the bolt, while the 1901 either has no safety or it's located on the left in the std position for a No.1 MK III or a No. 4.  I have to admit that the markings on the third rifle do look rougher than usual as well.
Type of safety on the third rifle should be acceptable, but again, the marks on the band scream 'NOT ONE OF US'.

The Calvalry Carbine definetly looks correct, the shape of the handle on the bolt body is correct. The marks all look correct. (and it appears to be in amazingly good condition)



You drew out McCart with this one, John!  Good job!
Nice to see you, McCart!

Nice find on that *early* dated No.1, John!
Good observations!
The 1901 rifle is undoubtedly the imitation.  In addition to the other comments, the flat cocking piece was not introduced until WW2, and while might possbily be excused as a later replacment for a broken part, that is unlikely.

Actually, I think this is the neatest rifle of the bunch.  Probably made in the Darra/Peshwar or Khyber Pass area on the Pak/Af border region.  The folks there have made virtually every sort of gun known to man for decades, largely by hand, from whatever materials they can steal,or sometimes buy.

They are selling huge numbers of recenly made and aged guns to our troops as souvenirs.  Since customs and Army regs prevent bringing home anything newer than 1898, they are making mainly muzzle loaders, Sniders, Martini-Henrys and some camel guns.  1854-1858 are the most popular dates.   They are also not above stamping pre-1898 dates on newer guns and selling them to gullible GIs.  (Such as the crown/VR/1858 dated Mosin Nagant, or a nice WW2 Czech sniper rifle that some guy tried to haul home before customs stopped them!)

I have often thought that collecitng just the "Khyber Pass fakes" would be a great collecting niche.  LIke that .303 caliber Martini Henry pistol I passed up...
The NZ Army just released 500 1940's Lee-Enfileds for auction, still in their grease. Most went for around $300 US.

I found out about the auction the day after it happened.
And here I thought that one stood out too much, so I went with my 2nd guess.
Murray - yer a b*st*rd for bringing that up.  Especially in conjunction with my Aussie buddy sending me pics of the very cut-away Bren and Vickers that feature in Skennerton's books.

Yo, sailor!  This was a post for the amateurs - kinda like the title implied...  Gun collecting dealer pogues putting their kids through skool on *my* dime were *not* invited!


8^ D
Hmmm... no comment on my reference to the *early* date on the "No. 1"...
They'll be turning up in the shops any day now