What’s the Difference Between the Mk I Lee-Metford & the Mk I Lee-Enfield – Britishmuzzleloaders Explains

    Rob & Branko put their rifles through their paces

    Britishmuzzleloaders is one of my favourite historical shooting youtube channels so I am always pleased to see a new video from Rob. In his latest he explains some of the differences between the MkI Lee-Enfield and the earlier MkI Lee-Metford. The Lee family of rifles would eventually evolve into the iconic ‘Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield’ or SMLE. But the SMLE’s 19th century fore-bearers are no less interesting.

    Side by side of the MkI Lee-Metford and the later MkI Lee-Enfield (Britishmuzzleloaders)

    Rob begins the video by explaining the history behind the major difference between the Lee-Metford and the Lee-Enfield – rifling. The adoption of a new smokeless cordite .303 round, in 1891, saw increased wear on the barrels using rifling developed by William Ellis Metford. As a result the British moved to a simpler, older style of rifling developed by the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield.

    The video then very helpfully recaps the various (and numerous) marks and stars which were developed and fielded by the British Army between 1888 and 1900. And then moves on to examine the various external and mechanical differences between the two rifles.

    Rob is joined by a friend, Branko Diklitch, who kindly provide his MkI Lee-Enfield for examination and demonstration. Rob and Branko put their rifles through a course of fire demonstrating the proper period method of loading and handling the rifles. The video concludes with one of my favourite elements of Rob’s videos: a look at the kit worn and used with the weapons. Branko is wearing and interesting uniform, that of the Canadian Mounted Rifles that fought during the Second Boer War, while Rob sports his usual highland infantry uniform.

    Matthew Moss


    TheFirearmBlog.com – Managing Editor
    OvertDefense.com – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]