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Shooting & Reloading - Mausers, Big Bores and others >> Lee Speed Forum & Archive

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Rigby350
.300 member


Reged: 11/11/08
Posts: 145
Loc: NSW,Australia
303 Lee Speed
      #310890 - 23/01/18 09:23 PM

Hi All,

I recently purchased a 303 Lee Speed No1 and was hoping to seek your help to shorten the load development cycle. I would appreciate any thoughts on suitable loads for the Lees Speed and any information that would help in developing a balanced load for it,


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Gen_Hicks
.300 member


Reged: 15/10/12
Posts: 121
Loc: Lowveld, South Africa
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Rigby350]
      #310892 - 23/01/18 11:29 PM

Congratulations. But I would guess A suitable answer would depend the age of your rifle.

For example, pre1900 rifle would be regulated for 215gr bullet. I shoot 150gr at 2320Fps in my 1907 rifle

Post some good photos if possible.


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Old_rifle_nut
.275 member


Reged: 13/12/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Manitoba, Canada
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Gen_Hicks]
      #311087 - 26/01/18 01:55 PM

In every one of my dozen various & sundry .303's, I have found that 42.0 grs. of Alliant RL15 ahead of either a Hornady 174 gr. RNSP-IL seated to the cannelure and crimped or Sierra 180 gr. SPT bullets did the trick better than anything else I tried over the years.

My 202 gr. BRTORNFPGCTL Accurate Moulds Mould bullets like 28.0 gr. x2924 (BLC-2)


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Rigby350
.300 member


Reged: 11/11/08
Posts: 145
Loc: NSW,Australia
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Old_rifle_nut]
      #311168 - 27/01/18 05:56 PM

I believe this particular Lee Speed was built Circa 1910, I will confirm shortly.

Here are a few poor photos, I will take better photos over the coming weeks.

Thanks for the help thus far









Edited by Rigby350 (27/01/18 10:33 PM)


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Old_rifle_nut
.275 member


Reged: 13/12/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Manitoba, Canada
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Rigby350]
      #311213 - 28/01/18 10:38 AM

Beautiful!

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264
.333 member


Reged: 15/02/11
Posts: 355
Loc: NT Australia
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Old_rifle_nut]
      #311217 - 28/01/18 10:50 AM

Very nice, looks to be in good condition. Cheers Mick

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Gen_Hicks
.300 member


Reged: 15/10/12
Posts: 121
Loc: Lowveld, South Africa
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: 264]
      #311239 - 28/01/18 06:37 PM

Beautiful lee speed that!!

Thanks for sharing


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Waidmannsheil
.400 member


Reged: 19/04/13
Posts: 1293
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Gen_Hicks]
      #311247 - 28/01/18 09:56 PM

Very nice, you certainly did well there.

Waidmannsheil.

--------------------
There is nothing wrong with vegetarian food, so long as there is meat with it.


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93x64mm
.400 member


Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 1177
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Waidmannsheil]
      #311268 - 29/01/18 09:43 AM

She'll do just nicely in the paddock mate!
That old girl might have clocked the ton & then some, but she looks bloody good for her age.
Lovely piece of kit mate, have plenty here who would be in lust...myself included!
Well done


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Levallois
.300 member


Reged: 27/11/03
Posts: 108
Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: 93x64mm]
      #311272 - 29/01/18 10:25 AM

Congrats - what a beauty! Which firm retailed your rifle?

--------------------
It ain't like it used to be, but it'll do.


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Rigby350
.300 member


Reged: 11/11/08
Posts: 145
Loc: NSW,Australia
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Levallois]
      #311360 - 30/01/18 10:07 PM

Hi Levallois,

The Speed was made by B.S.A., I donít believe it was retailed by anyone as the top rib has the space for a name but it is blank.


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Rigby350
.300 member


Reged: 11/11/08
Posts: 145
Loc: NSW,Australia
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Rigby350]
      #311361 - 30/01/18 10:11 PM

Thank guys for all the positive comments, the Speed really is in very fine original condition for her age, everything is still sharp and crisp. Just need to take it out to the range to see how it shoots, will try a few rounds of factory to see how it performs.

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englishman_ca
.224 member


Reged: 05/08/17
Posts: 20
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Rigby350]
      #311449 - 01/02/18 01:41 PM

As I understand, the Lee Metford/Enfield sporting rifles that were manufactured by BSA and LSA, by patent law, had to recognise Lee Speed's patents and be so marked.

Patents were pending for a period of fourteen years. Any BSA or LSA sporting rifle that was made before the First World War would be marked Lee Speed.
The Great War happened and all manufacture of sporting rifles ceased as full attention was given to war production.
When the war was over and sporting rifles were made again, the patents had expired and so no longer were required to be marked.

So,

As I can see no LEE-SPEED PATENTS banner, which is quite a distinct to marking to see, I would confidently date your rifle post 1918.
In which case it will likely have been regulated for Mk.VII ammunition with a 174 grain bullet..

--------------------
Look to your front, mark your target when it comes.


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Old_rifle_nut
.275 member


Reged: 13/12/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Manitoba, Canada
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: englishman_ca]
      #311461 - 01/02/18 04:08 PM

Re: Mk 7 ammunition

Not always. You could specify whatever load you wanted the sights regulated for. I have seen, and almost bought, a Number 4c pattern carbine that was regulated for the Mk 6 round and was so engraved on the top of the barrel.

A good choice for a quick pointing bush rifle.


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Rigby350
.300 member


Reged: 11/11/08
Posts: 145
Loc: NSW,Australia
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: englishman_ca]
      #311466 - 01/02/18 08:08 PM

Quote:

As I understand, the Lee Metford/Enfield sporting rifles that were manufactured by BSA and LSA, by patent law, had to recognise Lee Speed's patents and be so marked.

Patents were pending for a period of fourteen years. Any BSA or LSA sporting rifle that was made before the First World War would be marked Lee Speed.
The Great War happened and all manufacture of sporting rifles ceased as full attention was given to war production.
When the war was over and sporting rifles were made again, the patents had expired and so no longer were required to be marked.

So,

As I can see no LEE-SPEED PATENTS banner, which is quite a distinct to marking to see, I would confidently date your rifle post 1918.
In which case it will likely have been regulated for Mk.VII ammunition with a 174 grain bullet..




Interesting, thank you for the detail, it certainly helps.


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jc5
.300 member


Reged: 10/10/07
Posts: 151
Loc: West Coast, USA
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Rigby350]
      #311467 - 01/02/18 08:51 PM

That rifle is pre-1915. Please share pics of the markings and numbers and I can narrow it down for you.

--------------------
Researching Lee Speeds and all commercial Lee Enfields. If you have data to share or questions, please send me a PM.


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Rigby350
.300 member


Reged: 11/11/08
Posts: 145
Loc: NSW,Australia
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: jc5]
      #311474 - 01/02/18 10:23 PM

Quote:

That rifle is pre-1915. Please share pics of the markings and numbers and I can narrow it down for you.




Thanks Jc5, give me a few days and I will take photos of the markings, thanks again.


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englishman_ca
.224 member


Reged: 05/08/17
Posts: 20
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Rigby350]
      #311495 - 02/02/18 04:20 AM

Jc5, I trust your call, but what clue do you see that indicates pre 1915? I'm still leaning towards post war.

ALL of the factory sporters are pre 1915 or post 1918, no?

I am an info sponge when it comes to figuring out the dating of these commercial arms.
Solid info is hard to find, just scattered tid bits. I am trying so hard to pull my notes together and make sense of it.

Perhaps there is a date code marking with the proof marks? That would nail it.

--------------------
Look to your front, mark your target when it comes.


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Old_rifle_nut
.275 member


Reged: 13/12/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Manitoba, Canada
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: englishman_ca]
      #311504 - 02/02/18 09:52 AM

Well, there's several post-1904 proof marks observable in the 2nd photograph.

BUT, unless it is on the other side of the barrel, along with the words NITRO PROVED (effective 1904), there's no Crown/BM mark, which came into effect in 1916.

On the other hand, there is no LEE SPEED PATENTS or the LS patent use number on the right action strap, nor on the bolt head.

Interesting.

Was perhaps B.S.A.Co., the real manufacturer & seller of the rifle, exempt from the patent use marking requirement that mere retailers had to abide by, as a result of its manufacture of the rifles & employment of Mister Speed?

As an aside, I have 2 virtually identical No. 1 Pattern rifles, the first an Army & Navy CSL marked & marketed rifle, which carries the LEE SPEED PATENTS & patent use number, marked above & below the B.S.A.Co. name on the right action strap, along with the bolt head & safety patent markings, the rib carrying the A&N name in a ribbon on the rib engine-turning ahead of the FOR CORDITE ONLY warning; the second a B.S.A. Co. retailed rifle (same engine-turned barrel rib, same FOR CORDITE ONLY warning, but with an empty space in the retailer's name ribbon bar), but which carries no patent use marks, and only B.S.A.Co. on the action strap. Incidentally, the B.S.A.Co. rifle has more substantial engraving on it, compared to the A & N, which is quite well-engraved. The B.S.A.Co. rifle also has, at the very bottom of the left action strap in very small stamped letters/numbers, No. 1 S.R., which, I presume, identifies it as a Number 1 Pattern Sporting Rifle, as shown in their 1908 catalogue. As well, the B.S.A.Co. has a rifle bolt handle, while the A&N has a carbine bolt handle, BUT both rifles are built on the carbine action, although neither is fitted with a carbine magazine. Rather, they both carry the typical 5 round "fish-belly" magazine. The matching 4 digit serial numbers on the bottom of the barrel & receiver where they mate, are quite near one another.

I did have another identical rifle that had the same NO. 1 S.R. marking, an Andrews-retailed rifle, that had no LS patent marking, nor B.S.A.Co. for that matter. You could, however, see where those letters had been engraved over with bouquets and scrolls.

CURIOUSER & CURIOUSER!


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jc5
.300 member


Reged: 10/10/07
Posts: 151
Loc: West Coast, USA
Re: 303 Lee Speed [Re: Old_rifle_nut]
      #311505 - 02/02/18 10:04 AM

There are many clues I've picked up over the years as to why this one is pre-war. In the Lee Speed book, I'm devoting a whole chapter on how to date these rifles, with a detailed flowchart (too much to go into here on the forum).

One clue is just as our friend old_rifle_nut said: the lack of the a wartime BM mark. Even though it's not in the photo, I'm confident it's not there. But an easier clue is simply that BSA did not make the No 1 Pattern after the war. I know this from unpublished BSA records.

As for patents, don't rely on that, because you're starting from the wrong premises.

englishman_ca, you and I need to catch up on some related matters; I'll send you a PM.

Cheers everyone!

And this is a nice looking Lee Speed BTW. Well done.

--------------------
Researching Lee Speeds and all commercial Lee Enfields. If you have data to share or questions, please send me a PM.


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