|This is a
queer bird, indeed! I'd seen a post on Tuco's
Collectors Forum from a Jim Balogh with a single picture. I suspected
a hoax and knew what talented people could do with a photo manipulation
program. But, after querying the C&R FFL holders list, I was told,
much to my surprise, that these were legit, and that the dealer who had
them was close to home!
The markings tell a long story. The
left butt-stock socket showed that it began life as a Lee Enfield Mk I* in
1901 (without a charger loading bridge among other things), then updated
to the C.L.L.E Mk I* (Charger Loading Lee Enfield) in 1909. (The addition
of a charger bridge, etc..). The next marking shows up on the receiver
ring and shows that it was reconfigured in Ankara, Turkey in 1936.
How did this make a journey such as
this? It appears it is a rifle lost to the Turks in Gallipoli.
(Search www.google.com with that word)
The bayonet above fits fine, and is
from another Turk mauser I own, as is the sling.
There are some crossed out markings
on the butt-stock, the meanings of which are lost to me. (Unit ID or rack
Curiously, the import stamp says
1893 Germany ?! (Apparently Century Arms imported these with a large lot
of M1893 Turk mausers since they superficially look similar. I'm sure they
had no idea these were even in the shipment.)
Though there is a cutout on the left
receiver for a safety, it is not there. Rather, it is on the rear of the
The boltface appears at first exam
to be unaltered from the .303 size, but the extractor spring is very
strong and appears a bit longer (and angled) to grab the 8mm rim.
The standard M38 Turk Mauser bayonet
works just fine!
It headspaces fine. I can't wait to
try it out!
Opines one fellow collector in-the-know...
"They were in the basement of one of Century's
smaller warehouses, covered with who knows what. Century itself probably
lost track of them (there were only 24 of them, anyway). I'm not sure
anybody knows when they got here in the U.S.
At any rate, Century was in the process of closing that
particular warehouse down, and Scott and his partner Pat from xxxxxxxx
were there last November when this happened. They were lucky enuff to be
the ones who picked up on these, and a bunch of other strange odds and
ends. I guess it has taken them till now to get everything cleaned up
enuff to even see what it is, let alone price and sell it.
These "EnMauserFields" are absolutely genuine,
no doubt about that, and are a fascinating combination of both technology
and historical background. The Gallipoli connection alone makes them
outstanding. They are .323 bore, 8 x 57, by the way. What they basically
are is a Lee Medford (or early Lee Enfield) long rifle "back
end", with a Turk '03/38 "front end". The coolest part to
me is the Lee trigger guard (designed to fit a removable magazine), fitted
together with a '93 Mauser floorplate, follower and magazine spring,
creating a more or less standard 5 round Mauser box mag. And it works!
There is an irony to the story, tho. If these were still original long
Lee's of either type, they'd probably be worth around a thousand