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A Rare Navy Stopgap: the CLLE MkI Naval Enfield

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The British Royal Navy tended to accumulate some of the obsolescent patterns of Enfield rifles around the turn of the 19th century, as the Army had higher priority for the new types of rifle. This resulted in a rather odd and poorly-documented pattern, the Charger-Loading Lee Enfield (CLLE) MkI Naval.

Produced around 1910-1912, these guns began as original production Long Lee (or Metford) rifles. In 1910, the new MkVII high velocity Spitzer ammunition was adopted, and it was largely issued on charger clips for use in the new SMLE rifles. The Royal Navy decided that it wanted to be able to use this ammunition, and so it converted some (exact numbers are unclear) of the old Long Lees with a mishmash of updates:

The rear sights were recalibrated for MkVII ammunition, but not changed in style. So, no windage adjustment was possible on either the front or rear.

A charger bridge was added, including a channel cut to allow a sigh picture on the old-style sights. This also involved removing the early pattern dust covers on the bolts.

The resulting guns were marked “HV” for “high velocity” in front of their rear sights. The right side of the receiver socket retained the original production markings, and “CLLE MkI” was added to the left side of the sockets.

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