Charger-Loading Lee Enfields: The CLLE MkI* and MkII

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In our continuing series on the development of the British Lee Enfield rifles, we are looking at the CLLE conversions today. In 1907 the British adopted a new universal short rifle (the SMLE) that used charger (aka stripper) clips. Previous models of the Lee in British service had to be loaded one round at a time by hand. In order to make use of the hundreds of thousands of “Long Lee” (and Metford) rifles already manufactured, the British instituted a program to update them with charger guides. The began in 1908 and ran to 1914, although the majority were done in 1909 and 1910. In addition to removing the dust cover and fitting the charger guide, the front sight, rear sight, magazine, and volley sights were all updated. The new sights were windage-adjustable on both front and rear, and calibrated for Mk VI ammunition (although many were later updated again and re-re-calibrated for Mk VII ammunition).

These CLLE rifles would serve as second-line rifles in World War One and even through the end of World War Two.

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