Lee Enfield rifle sights


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Lecture to Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association (HBSA) monthly meeting at the Imperial War Museum, talking about the original service sights and the vast variety of civilian target sights that have been made for the British Enfield service rifles from 1880s through to 1960s

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Lee Enfield rifle sights

  1. 1. Target Sights - Bolt on Goodies Through the Ages for the Lee Enfield rifle family
  2. 2. In memoriam <ul><li>Nic Weston </li></ul><ul><li>15 th December 2007 RIP </li></ul><ul><li>without whom this lecture will be less comprehensive and much less erudite </li></ul>
  3. 3. Target sights on Service Rifles <ul><li>Service relevance and rules </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering constraints </li></ul><ul><li>Target accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Service rifles for teenage eyes </li></ul><ul><li>Target shooting with ageing eyes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. 2004 NRA debate about clearing lenses with Eagle Eye </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Agenda <ul><li>‘ Long Lee’ </li></ul><ul><li>SMLE </li></ul><ul><li>Rifle No.4 & derivatives </li></ul><ul><li>Reading and using target sights </li></ul>
  5. 5. ‘ Long’ Lee <ul><li>No windage adjustment </li></ul><ul><li>Elevation slider – friction fit </li></ul><ul><li>Imprecise adjustment </li></ul><ul><li>V-notch </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>A G Parker 1885 </li></ul><ul><li>Windage allowances </li></ul><ul><li>Aiming off </li></ul><ul><li>No markings </li></ul>
  7. 7. Ventometers Unidentified Alex Martin Parker’s O’Hare
  8. 8. Portable vernier scales Initially – elevation later - windage as well
  9. 9. Martin ventometer on MLE Elevation 5 degrees of windage
  10. 10. MLE windage slides
  11. 11. MLE extended sight bed by LR Tipping 3” closer to the eye
  12. 12. Peddie-Parker <ul><li>No gunsmithing replacement </li></ul><ul><li>Designed by Peddie </li></ul><ul><li>Manufactured by Vickers </li></ul><ul><li>Fast elevation movement </li></ul><ul><li>Fine adjustment to windage & elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Choice of V or aperture </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul>
  13. 13. Peddie patents 1908 1909
  14. 14. Sutherland <ul><li>No gunsmithing </li></ul><ul><li>Windage and elevation (fast) </li></ul><ul><li>Distance but no vernier </li></ul>
  15. 15. unidentified <ul><li>No gunsmithing </li></ul><ul><li>Windage & elevation with vernier </li></ul>
  16. 16. and at the sharp end <ul><li>Martin 1909 Galilean foresight for MLE </li></ul><ul><li>Magnifies x2, generally needs a clearing lens at rear </li></ul><ul><li>Folds down into round container </li></ul>
  17. 17. Martin patent 1910
  18. 18. SMLE Mk I <ul><li>Sophisticated for a service sight </li></ul><ul><li>Zero windage & elevation; reset windage blind </li></ul><ul><li>Heat resisting bone grips </li></ul>
  19. 19. SMLE original sights Sightbed: Mk 1 top, Mk 2-4 below Foresight block Mk 1 Mk 2 Mk 3 Mk4 Mk 5 aperture rearsight
  20. 20. Sight accessories Aperture replaces Mk 4 blade (modern) Foresight windage adjuster (PH) Aim corrector
  21. 21. Accessory sights <ul><li>Folding aperture sight replaces Volley sight arm </li></ul><ul><li>No gunsmithing </li></ul><ul><li>Retains original sights for service competitions </li></ul><ul><li>Closer to eye = greater sight radius </li></ul><ul><li>Invented by ? (perhaps Martin, later BSA) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Parts of an SMLE folding sight <ul><li>Eyepiece socket </li></ul><ul><li>Windage adjuster </li></ul><ul><li>Elevation adjuster </li></ul><ul><li>Windage vernier scale </li></ul><ul><li>Elevation fast adjust </li></ul><ul><li>Dumbell spring </li></ul><ul><li>Pivot point clamp screw </li></ul><ul><li>Bracket </li></ul><ul><li>Volley eyepiece </li></ul>A B C D E F G H I
  23. 23. BSA model 9 (1907) <ul><li>Possibly the first SMLE folding sight </li></ul><ul><li>1907 patent date </li></ul><ul><li>No clicks on windage or elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Windage zero </li></ul><ul><li>Fast adjust elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Volley aperture to comply with military rules </li></ul>
  24. 24. BSA 9c (1911) <ul><li>Folding </li></ul><ul><li>½ minute clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero adjustment on elevation vernier </li></ul><ul><li>No zero on elevation range scale </li></ul><ul><li>Better ergonomics but </li></ul><ul><li>No fast adjust elevation </li></ul><ul><li>More robust </li></ul><ul><li>No volley aperture </li></ul>
  25. 26. AG Parker 9g <ul><li>Folding </li></ul><ul><li>Very similar to AGP 9c </li></ul><ul><li>C. 1912 </li></ul><ul><li>Fast adjust elevation </li></ul><ul><li>½ minute clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero adjustment on elevation vernier </li></ul><ul><li>No zero on elevation range scale </li></ul>
  26. 27. Alf J Parker “Twin zero” (TZ) <ul><li>Folding </li></ul><ul><li>Zero scales on windage and elevation </li></ul><ul><li>½ minute clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Extremely robust </li></ul><ul><li>Adjuster screws have compensation for wear </li></ul><ul><li>Arm joint locks for rigidity </li></ul>
  27. 28. AG Parker ‘Raj’ <ul><li>Made individually in AGP toolroom </li></ul><ul><li>Fitted to bespoke SMLEs for export to ‘The Raj’ </li></ul><ul><li>Elegant, lightweight, very high quality </li></ul><ul><li>Ivory scale plates </li></ul><ul><li>1/2 minute clicks </li></ul><ul><li>No distance scale </li></ul><ul><li>No zero adjustment </li></ul>
  28. 29. London Smallarms Co (LSA) <ul><li>1909 patent </li></ul><ul><li>2 alternative elevation adjustments </li></ul><ul><li>No zero adjustment </li></ul><ul><li>No clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed aperture </li></ul><ul><li>Lightweight </li></ul>
  29. 30. Westley Richards <ul><li>1901 & 05 patents claimed, but do not appear to relate to this design </li></ul><ul><li>1 min clicks on windage </li></ul><ul><li>No clicks on elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Vernier only, no distance </li></ul><ul><li>Lightweight </li></ul><ul><li>Fragile hinge detent (possible to circumvent patent?) </li></ul>
  30. 31. Parker Hale model 13 <ul><li>Windage arm folds </li></ul><ul><li>Based on the PH ‘Sportarget’ mechanism </li></ul><ul><li>¼ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Vernier only, no distance scale </li></ul>
  31. 32. Ed-Mott <ul><li>Folding </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Fast adjust elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Weak elbow joint </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on windage </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul>
  32. 33. Mues ‘Special’ <ul><li>Folding </li></ul><ul><li>Australian </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on windage </li></ul><ul><li>Distance & vernier scales </li></ul><ul><li>Fast adjust elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Robust and rigid </li></ul>
  33. 34. AG Parker ‘Plus 5’ <ul><li>Possibly the best folding SMLE sight made </li></ul><ul><li>‘ No compromise’ design - everything engineered for rigidity </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on both windage & elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul><ul><li>Integral bracket </li></ul>
  34. 35. And there were other folding designs …… <ul><li>I was unable to find examples of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BSA – Tippins </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fenby-Hale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BSA Parker (from original Parker-Ross) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>others? </li></ul></ul>
  35. 36. Rigid sights on SMLE <ul><li>Suitable for ‘target rifle’ competitions </li></ul><ul><li>No moving parts to wear </li></ul><ul><li>More rigid </li></ul><ul><li>Generally mounted permanently </li></ul><ul><li>Easier to make </li></ul>
  36. 37. AG Parker model 5 <ul><li>Rigid </li></ul><ul><li>Integral bracket </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on windage & elevation (crude) </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul><ul><li>Quick release for windage arm for fast elevation and safer storage </li></ul>
  37. 38. Parker Hale model 5A <ul><li>Refined development of model 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Rigid with integral bracket </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on windage & elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul><ul><li>Quick release for windage arm for fast elevation and safer storage </li></ul>
  38. 39. Alf J Parker TZ1 <ul><li>Rigid with integral bracket </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on windage & elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul><ul><li>Quick release for windage arm for fast elevation and safer storage </li></ul><ul><li>I have not so far been able to find an example to photograph </li></ul>
  39. 40. NRA ‘Guildford’ <ul><li>NRA economy design </li></ul><ul><li>Versatile with mounts for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SMLE Mk1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SMLE Mk3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>P14/P17 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rifle No 4 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vernier only, no distances </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on windage only </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed aperture </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>No fast elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Fragile </li></ul>
  40. 41. Mues <ul><li>Rigid </li></ul><ul><li>Fits on volley sight bracket </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on windage & elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul>
  41. 42. Central <ul><li>Australian </li></ul><ul><li>Brackets and scale plates for SMLE or No.4 </li></ul><ul><li>Integral 3-hole aperture </li></ul><ul><li>1/3 min clicks elevation </li></ul><ul><li>¼ min clicks windage </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on wind & elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul>
  42. 43. Rawson <ul><li>Australian </li></ul><ul><li>Brackets and scale plates for SMLE or No.4 </li></ul><ul><li>Accepts PH apertures </li></ul><ul><li>¼ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on wind & elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul>
  43. 44. Lane <ul><li>Australian </li></ul><ul><li>Brackets and scale plates for SMLE or No.4 </li></ul><ul><li>Accepts PH apertures </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Zero on wind & elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul><ul><li>No vernier on windage </li></ul>
  44. 45. Mounting brackets
  45. 46. Unidentified
  46. 47. JNT sporting <ul><li>New Zealand </li></ul><ul><li>Rigid and durable construction </li></ul><ul><li>Simple windage and elevation adjustments </li></ul><ul><li>Simple ‘battle’ aperture </li></ul>
  47. 48. Parker Hale experimental for MoD <ul><li>Marked ‘PH X .22’ </li></ul><ul><li>Found on N Ireland B-Special .22 SMLE </li></ul><ul><li>Gives No4 aperture to SMLE </li></ul><ul><li>Requires tapping 2 holes and relieve stock </li></ul><ul><li>Very strong and ‘squaddy proof’ </li></ul>
  48. 49. Australian WW2 conversion <ul><li>Civilian target sighted SMLEs handed in to support the services </li></ul><ul><li>No service sights </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy target barrels </li></ul><ul><li>This sight fitted to barrel in front of knoxform </li></ul><ul><li>Gives No4-like aperture </li></ul><ul><li>Made by Central </li></ul>
  49. 50. Foresights Central variable width blades Brinell foresight blades Alf J Parker foresight Foresight elements
  50. 51. and at the sharp end Martin 1915 Galilean foresight for SMLE
  51. 53. Rifle No 4 original sights No4 foresight adjuster and blades No5 foresight adjuster
  52. 54. Service rearsights Singer Mk 1 Mk2 Mk3 Mk4 C Mk4 No4T No5 No7&8 Target
  53. 55. Parker Hale 8/53 <ul><li>Attaches to original service sight by stud through aperture </li></ul><ul><li>No gunsmithing </li></ul><ul><li>New aperture threaded for PH </li></ul><ul><li>+/- 20 mins windage </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced travel on elevation c.200-600 </li></ul>
  54. 56. Parker Hale PH4 <ul><li>No gunsmith replacement for original sight </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Windage zero </li></ul><ul><li>Elevation distance & vernier </li></ul><ul><li>Threaded for PH eyepieces </li></ul><ul><li>Folds down as original </li></ul>
  55. 57. Parker Hale ‘Target’ conversion of No.4 Mk 1 rearsight Replaces original pivot pin with a threaded stud to provide simple windage adjustment
  56. 58. Replacement sights on No4 <ul><li>Ejector screw secures sight base </li></ul><ul><li>Fast release for windage arm </li></ul><ul><li>Windage arm dovetail </li></ul><ul><li>Nut through original sight pivot secures sight base </li></ul>A B C D
  57. 59. Parker Hale 5c <ul><li>Mechanism very similar to SMLE PH5a </li></ul><ul><li>½ min clicks in 303 </li></ul><ul><li>¼ min clicks in 308 </li></ul><ul><li>Zero adjustment on windage & elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul><ul><li>Fast windage release for safe storage </li></ul><ul><li>Base can be aluminium or steel </li></ul>
  58. 60. D.O.W.57 <ul><li>Made under licence from Parker Hale by Delphos Ordnance Works in South Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Identical to PH 5C </li></ul><ul><li>Marked D.O.W.57 on scale plate, ‘SA’ over crossed rifle & rocket on arm </li></ul><ul><li>Proofmarked “arrow within U” for SA Army service target shooting </li></ul>
  59. 61. Parker Hale 5c parkerised <ul><li>Matt grey/green phosphated finish </li></ul><ul><li>Possibly intended for sniper or camouflaged use? </li></ul><ul><li>Bigger adjuster knobs </li></ul><ul><li>Use with gloved hands? </li></ul>
  60. 62. Alf J Parker TZ 4/47 <ul><li>½ min clicks in 303 </li></ul><ul><li>Zero adjustment on windage and elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Distance and vernier </li></ul><ul><li>Fast windage release for safe storage </li></ul>
  61. 63. Other target sights for No 4s <ul><li>All of the rigid arm sights shown for the SMLE had base plates to fit No 4: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Central </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rawson </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lane </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NRA Guildford </li></ul></ul>
  62. 64. 308 / 7.62 Enfields <ul><li>Most of the 303 accessory sights were also fitted to 308 Enfield conversions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PH 5c (now ¼ min clicks) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AJP 4/80 (as 4/47 but ¼ min clicks) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some new makes also made 308 sights for No 4s e.g Wilkes, Redfield, Premier </li></ul>
  63. 65. John Wilkes Redfield (USA)
  64. 66. Premier <ul><li>Australian </li></ul><ul><li>Fabricated from steel pressings (this example appears to have a bent windage arm) </li></ul>
  65. 67. Eyepieces – single aperture <ul><li>Most British and Commonwealth sights took standard Parker threads </li></ul><ul><li>Single apertures came in a range of aperture sizes to suit eyes and light </li></ul><ul><li>Large surrounds cut out light </li></ul><ul><li>Small surrounds give clearance </li></ul><ul><li>Long shanks increase clearance </li></ul><ul><li>Short shanks can lock elevation </li></ul><ul><li>Some take corrective lenses </li></ul>
  66. 68. Variable apertures <ul><li>Most made by AGP, AJP, PH, BSA </li></ul><ul><li>6 hole rotating </li></ul><ul><li>3 hole sliding </li></ul><ul><li>Iris </li></ul><ul><li>Filters </li></ul><ul><li>Lens holders </li></ul>
  67. 69. Vernier sights and minute of angle <ul><li>For practical purposes one minute of angle moves the point of impact by one inch per hundred yards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1” at 100 yards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6” at 600 yards etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A vernier scale makes it possible to read your windage or elevation setting to ¼ minutes (i.e. just 1½” at 600 yards!) </li></ul><ul><li>Rifle score books have diagrams marked up in 1 minute grids, so you can readily adjust your group </li></ul><ul><li>Learn to love verniers for better scores and less wasted ammunition </li></ul>
  68. 70. Thank you for your attention Any questions? Tony Cattermole