C&Rsenal, an utterly fantastic resource for the historically inept at firearms history, has released their latest Primer episode. The Primers are in-depth looks at the firearm including their history (often the result of a combination of conflict, technology, and politics) and their ultimate design, including excellent transparent models.
The latest episode focuses on perhaps the second most famous bolt-action rifle (behind the Mauser), the British Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle chambered in .303 British. Referred to affectionately as the “Smelly” the SMLE, the weapon is still in use today by modern paramilitary and police forces.
A derivative of the “Long Enfield,” the SMLE owes its origin to the British Empire’s defeat in the first Boer War, wher the British regulars faced an early Mauser design. The Long Lees ran into multiple issues and the British were not so haughty as to ignore the lessons and design of the weapon that served the Boers well into the second Boer War.
Combined with other influential ideas, the SMLE evolved slowly into the fantastically quick bolt action that we know today. Even today, the record for the mad minute still stands from the SMLE platform with the record set in 1908.
Fair warning, this Primer is a long episode, but seems short with Othias’ quick wit, solid pacing, and heavy usage of graphics.