Buttplate - any difference between Mk1 and MkIII.
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Thread: Buttplate - any difference between Mk1 and MkIII.

  1. #1
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    Default Buttplate - any difference between Mk1 and MkIII.

    Are there any differences between a No1 Mk1 and No1 Mk3 buttplate?
    I recently bought a couple brass buttplates and the seller said they were different.
    Haven't read about this before so thought I consult the experts.
    Thank you
    Last edited by Colorado68; 03-19-2017 at 09:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    I've read that the original Mk 1 buttplate was steel, not brass and had no trap.

    Mk 1* has a similar type of buttplate to Mk III, but perhaps not quite identical.

    The buttplate on my Mk1* from 1906 is a lighter coloured metal than my Mk III ones. It has a finer edge thickness, and the shape of the lug which lifts the butt-trap is different.

  3. #3
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    As Maxwell Smart says...there may be minor cosmetic differences, but for the MkI* on...they'll be substantially the same as the ones on the MkIII. What are the differences on the ones you have? Pictures?

    And just because someone's bound to say it before long...there's technically no such thing as a "No1 Mk1". At the nomenclature change in '26, ShtLE MkIs and the various Converted short rifles were specifically exempted from the nomenclature change. A bigger deal to some then to others, but there it is.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

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  5. #4
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    We'll need to see, or at least get a much better description of what you bought. If the seller gave you a No4 MkI and a NoI mkIII buttplate, then there is most definitely a difference.
    Not all sellers are up to snuff on the numbering/mark system.
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  6. #5
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    Default early steel butt plate

    I believe this is the early steel butt plateClick image for larger version. 

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  7. #6
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    I have never seen one of the steel buttplates with no trap on an Irish gun like your Colorado68. Not sure ewhn they were upgraded, but it would appear that SMLE MK I** and *** seem to all have the brass buttplates with the trap.

  8. #7
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    Yes, my rifle currently has a steel hinged buttplate and knew (thanks to Fritz) is was incorrect for an Irish issue.
    The one on the left is smaller than one on the right.
    The larger one fits my buttstock. As mentioned previously, the seller said they were for Mk1 & Mk3 butts.

    I won't be able to use the smaller one and believe the larger could work. Although the finish seems to be rather crude, maybe it was never issued?
    In either case, they only cost me $5 a piece and will chalk up as a lesson learned.

    Thank you!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #8
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    If your rifle came with it, I would leave it as it is. Most of the sported rifles I have seen only messed with the for wood, the left the back half alone. it is very possible some steel plates were in Irish service, I just simply have not seen one. As these arms were surplused out of Irish service in 1961, there could well be some oddities that do not match expectations. For example it occurred to me lately that if Interarms was paid by the rifle, a lot of the ER and CR rifles that seem to have had MK III forend slapped on them might have been efforts to take unserviceable rifles and make them suitable for sale. No one really knows, the issue being none of the Irish armorers form that period are left to tell us what occurred, 56 years ago.

    One of the problems that infest US arms collecting is folks putting it back to "correct" a lot of those efforts will confound folks in 50 years when all of these corrected rifles are in a database some place and folks are trying to make sense of it all.

  10. #9
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    There is a steel but plate with a brass trap that was used at least during WW1

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    Is the smaller one for a bantam butt perhaps?
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  12. #11
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    Hi Fritz

    I really appreciate your purist approach and guidance. And am grateful for your passion and advise.
    I'm a purist myself in another hobby (and aspire to be in this one), and agree keeping original as it was issued.

    The rifle I purchased was unfortunately just a matching receiver/bolt/barrel and correct rear sight base.
    The forestock, handguards, buttplate, buttstock (which is beech and stained to look like walnut) and nosecap; appear to have all been pieced together in the last 30 years.

    It's evident even to an amateur like me, there has been an attempt at restoring this rifle.
    The rear volley sight is a repo, while the forward is original.

    My initial intent was to restore this to what it would likely have been in the early 20's as issued to the Irish. (I heard you about the 1961 out-of-service surplussed rifles, but some of these parts are much newer)

    Don't want to muck this up with a bubba.
    Only God knows what the main parts of this rifle have been through.

    But think it would be an injustice if I didn't help it at least give it arms and legs back.

    If this were not a 1907 BSA/Sparkbrook, I wouldn't attempt a restoration.

    jrhead75- I''m not familiar with a Bantam. The edges of this smaller buttplate are much thinner.

    Thank you all for your advise, very much appreciated.

    Doug


    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz View Post
    If your rifle came with it, I would leave it as it is. Most of the sported rifles I have seen only messed with the for wood, the left the back half alone. it is very possible some steel plates were in Irish service, I just simply have not seen one. As these arms were surplused out of Irish service in 1961, there could well be some oddities that do not match expectations. For example it occurred to me lately that if Interarms was paid by the rifle, a lot of the ER and CR rifles that seem to have had MK III forend slapped on them might have been efforts to take unserviceable rifles and make them suitable for sale. No one really knows, the issue being none of the Irish armorers form that period are left to tell us what occurred, 56 years ago.

    One of the problems that infest US arms collecting is folks putting it back to "correct" a lot of those efforts will confound folks in 50 years when all of these corrected rifles are in a database some place and folks are trying to make sense of it all.
    Last edited by Colorado68; 03-21-2017 at 06:46 AM.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhead75 View Post
    Is the smaller one for a bantam butt perhaps?
    I seem to remember a similar question being posed to Peter Laidler, many, many years ago.
    He answered that the butts we identical except for 'length'. To do otherwise would involve duplicating / triplicating inventory of parts.


    "When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over many years,
    the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic". Dresden James

    All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

  14. #13
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    That certainly makes sense, but leaves us looking for an explanation for the obviously smaller buttplate.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

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    Identical in which way? Something has to change. Measurements of the wrist and angles of drop etc. can remain the same, but variances in length demand a difference in size at the butt end.
    Just because someone said it doesn't mean I toe the line in blind belief. Not unless the MoD developed a top secret way to defy basic geometry and the laws of physics. There are certain altars I refuse to worship at no matter how respected the preacher may be according to others.
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    I was wondering about that on the drive in this morning...where did that inch go? If you wanted to change the length without changing the dimensions at the end, you'd have to vary the butt geometry in some way. One of those "Hang on a moment..." moments.

    I'd guess that the buttplate started at a standard size, and then would be "adjusted' a bit to fit a smaller butt. That would account for the thinner edges and cleaner finish. The very close fit on original rifles would also suggest that some final hand fitting would've been the norm of the time.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

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    Pictures of the edges:
    Attachment 2064498Attachment 2064514
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails image2 (1).jpg   image1 (1).jpg  

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    Is the thinner one the smaller one? Not having been around to address the issue in its infancy, I can only surmise.
    If all the butts came off an identical pattern, all would be equal including the boring for the buttstock bolt. Needs to be in order to attach to the buttsocket. Only the cutoff length would differ before going to whatever jig for shaping.
    Easy to align the plate so the trapdoor matches the bore and drill for the screws. If the plates come off the line the same size, then the issue of fitting the tang comes into play.
    Changing the length up to one inch means a slight change when plotting the angle. If material allows, then a shallow mortise and/or a thinned tang could be a way to circumvent the problem. Providing of course there is enough 'meat' left to the metal to resist breakage.

    Random thoughts running through an empty head.
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  19. #18
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    That's what I'm seeing (if I'm reading you right JB). At the top end, the mortise would be shallower, with the bigger change in size between the two (standard and bantam) being at the toe. Since the bantam didn't come into being until 1918, it seems pretty likely that the plate would have been filed to fit rather than any other more radaical solutions.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  20. #19
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    You and I are pretty much on the exact same page. I was thinking about all possibilities given the alignment of the oiler trap. Likely not enough to make a difference, but still a possibility not to be overlooked until proven otherwise.
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    So, you guys think the smaller one is just a ground down one from a normal buttplate to fit a bantam?

    By the way, the rifle as purchased, and now just realized, has a No4 buttstock and steel buttplate.
    Have also realized a No4 buttstock stock bolt isn't as long as a No1. So another part to replace.
    Thanks for all the replies and help!

  22. #21
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    The part number for the No1 Mk3 Butt Bolt is "BB0663"
    The part number for the No4 Mk1 Butt Bolt is "BB8567"

    (Just so you know what to ask for)


    "When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over many years,
    the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic". Dresden James

    All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

  23. #22
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    So, you guys think the smaller one is just a ground down one from a normal buttplate to fit a bantam?
    That seems to me to be the most likely explanation we have at the moment. I suppose the best way to test it out would be for someone who owns a rifle with a bantam butt to sing out and then do some measurement comparison.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  24. #23
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    My tuppence worth. I have actually given this some thought in the past.

    From my observations, the butt end of all the various lengths, B, S, normal and L, all have the same bum profile.

    The geometry of the stock is adjusted to present the same size shape and inletting to allow for the one size butt plate to fit all.

    I even have a small length butt cut back and factory extended to normal length. It wears a normal size butt plate too.

    I have a bin full of butt plates, MLE and SMLE. I just measured, they all vary a little, the overall variation amongst a dozen of them being almost 1/4 inch in length. The variation occurs between the bottom screw hole and the toe. The rest of the dimensions such as hole centers and distance to top appears to be the same, including the relative position of the trap. Widths vary too, but look to be filed and shaped to suit.

    My thoughts are that the wee short ones have been filed and sanded to fit whatever sanded stock they were on, whether military or sporterised.


    When fitting up a butt plate, I usually go through the bin and find one that is just UNDER size. I fit so that the wood is even with the brass or slightly proud.

    Unless it is an unsanded stock, I have to switch out until I find one to fit. Even then I have found slight variations.

    I separate my stash of butt plates into modified or unmodified bins. I use a crisp unsanded butt as a gauge to sort them into the appropriate bin.

    My feeling is that if a butt plate is way too short to fit, it has been modified by Bubba.

    Late model Lee Enfields, say WWII onwards appear to have 'fat' replacement NOS wood that often way is oversized (lotsa work to fit it up and "make pretty, make nice"). This might be intentional to allow for future sanding, or maybe just oversize to ensure that one size fits all.

    I believe that the SOP for fitting a butt plate is that it should be smaller than the wood, there should be a small overlap of the wood over the brass.

    But good thread, I am very interested in others' opinions on this topic (my OCD).
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  25. #24
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    Sadly, the "bubba factor" is always out there to keep things interesting...and confusing.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Englishman_ca View Post

    I believe that the SOP for fitting a butt plate is that it should be smaller than the wood, there should be a small overlap of the wood over the brass.

    But good thread, I am very interested in others' opinions on this topic (my OCD).
    From one of the few people left who actually "walked-the-walk"

    Peter Laidler (Jan 2nd 2008)

    ".....................Now for the important bit. The wooden shoulder of the butt, the part that sits proud of the butt socket, MUST be clear of the butt socket and there should be a gap of about 2mm between that edge and the actual butt socket. Have you got that? There MUST be a gap of about 2mm between the steel butt socket and the butt. If there isn’t a gap, then you can be sure that a sliver of wood WILL break away. The butt MUST be tight in the socket and in an ideal world, according to the REME Armourers bible, the wood of the butt MUST (but in civilian circles, should) be proud of the socket by approx 1/16” and the edges should be crisp and sharp. Now, remove the butt and slap on a xxxxing good coating of XG279 or automotive high melting point grease. Some of you will by now have noticed that there are TWO shapes inside top surface, inside the No4 rifle butt socket. The OLD ex SMLE shape with a rounded step on the right and a tapered step on the left and the post 1942 (?, but that’s what we called them…..) shape of two rounded steps.
    Officially, and according to our EMER’s, you CAN fit a double rounded stepped butt to a single round/taper step body after adjusting the wood accordingly.But you CANNOT fit a single rounded/taper step butt to a double rounded buttsocket. This is because, try as you might, you’ll never truly get it tight …..,or if you do, it won’t last!

    That’s the OFFICIAL party line. But if you think that any old, wise and weary old Armourer Sergeant would allow you to wait until a stock of double rounded butts arrived, from stores in England to Korea or Aden or Malaya or wherever you were, you’re WRONG. It was quite common practice to simply dovetail, glue,patch, peg and make off the butts to get to the type you need. Simple isn’t it.

    How tight do I tighten the stock bolt? I cannot find a specific torque figure but if I said to you xxxxing tight would be about right, then we won’t fall out but don’t forget to put the double coil spring washer in first followed by the stock bolt covered in the same grease. I nearly forgot. Before you put the stock bolt into the butt, with your long ‘BIT, screwdriver, stockbolt', check that there is a metal washer inside the butt. You’ll easily tell by the metal to metal sound. If there’s NOT, then PUT ONE IN. And DO NOT, DO NOT tighten the stock bolt up with the fore-end fitted because if the stockbolt does protrude into the body, then you WILL bugger up the rear of thefore-end and rest assured, a cock-up like that will ensure that you will be buying the tea’s and buns at tomorrows tea break.

    Next, the butt plate. All the EMER’s state is that the butt plate should be ‘…evenly seated with the edges below the level of the wood surface of the butt’. In other words, it must be of a smaller silhouette than the butt. I say, with an approx .100” or 3mm gap around its edge and the edge of the wood. As for the fit of the butt plate, then, once again, I say evenly, by taking wood from underneath the butt plate to get an all round even bearing at itsedge. If there was a 010 - .015” (ten to fifteen thousandth) that would be acceptable but no more. Oh yes, please, PLEASE don’t polish the bloody thing up. We did it as apprentices to show off our skills but I never ONCE saw one polished to a gleam by an Armourer. A slight linish with emery to get rid of ascrape or roughness, but polish …………………. "


    "When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over many years,
    the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic". Dresden James

    All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

  27. #26
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    Englishman,

    The geometry of the stock is adjusted to present the same size shape and inletting to allow for the one size butt plate to fit all.
    Not debating, but your take is the other approach. Contrary to "all buttstock are created equal"

    Here we are having been told one thing, only to find differences on one end or the other.
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  28. #27
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    Ya, this is very intriguing. I have repaired many butt stocks by patching and grafting. I know that if I shorten a butt, I will need to reduce the butt plate too.

    Going the other way, if I increase the length of pull, I will be rummaging through my bins for the longest plate that I have.

    Not too long ago, I restored a Sht.LE butt that had been cut flat at the back and a commercial rubber recoil pad fitted. Simple job to splice some length back onto it and to inlet for the butt plate. What I did find that when it came to blending everything to shape, the comb at the top stayed the same, but I had to work on the underside and reshape from the pistol grip heel to the toe.
    When I put a straight edge on it and eyeballed things, I would have needed a butt plate a good quarter inch longer than the longest one that I had. I know that there ain't such a thing. So I changed the geometry.
    I had to re-inlet for the sling swivel to finish it off, the old inlet was completely taken away by my sanding, gone.

    When I laid the repaired butt over a good one (long) the two were congruent.

    We need somebody with a selection of butt lengths and a tape measure to make comparisons of the arse ends.
    Last edited by Englishman_ca; 03-22-2017 at 07:14 PM.
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  29. #28
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    Bantam & Long butt comparison




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