I am sitting here holding a rifle that I am considering adding to the “herd.” I think it would be a worthwhile addition, but, I’m not totally convinced.
Let’s talk about it. It is a copy of the Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) Mk III. The Mark III was the British battle rifle for decades. It was and is a dependable and accurate firearm. You could do a lot worse. The Mk III came in the .303 British caliber. A good caliber, used for 100 years, but now relegated to the past.
The gun I refer to is the Ishapore (India) rifle in .308/7.62X51 caliber. These good guns were made during the 1960s. The one I am holding was manufactured in 1965. One visible difference is the magazine. The .303 is a rimmed case. The .308 is rimless. Therefore the floor of this magazine is more square than the .303. The .303 holds 10 and the .308 holds 12 rounds.
It’s a heavy gun. I read that it weighs around 10 pounds loaded. I guess that a person could cut away some of the excess wood with no bad results. That would eliminate a pound or two. Also, ATI makes a replacement stock which would make a nice looking sporter out of this gun.
When I first put ammo in it and tried the action for fuctioning, it kept jamming. The upper cartridge would take a dive and I had to use a cleaning rod to pry the stuck cartridge out. Not good! However, I got to looking at the magazine and the feeding lips were not the same height. It looked to me like they should be. So, I adjusted the lips and tried it again. It seems to be working now. Somewhere along the line I think that somebody dropped the mag on its lips and one side got bent. However, until I can get it out in the woods and fire a few down range, I will hold my decision on whether I keep it or not.
If you can find one of these, they will probably cost between $200 and $400. But, I think that, if you get a good one, you will get a really good one. And, it is in a great caliber for Americans. You can research this gun by googling “Ishapore rifles.”