The Lithgow and an Aussie sight

I was just heading to bed last night when all of a sudden I realised I had an Australian Central sight for an SMLE and an Australian SMLE so I put the two of them together (ish) this morning. The sight was sent to me many years ago from Australia, marked as an optical instrument and the sender told me these sights were used in very small numbers by Australian soldiers during ‘a’ war.

So it could have been WW2 or Korea maybe?

This particular Lithgow was built in 1920 and was re-barreled in 1952 and does look to have seen service in that conflict. It has a superb bore and chamber and I must admit the one issue for me was always getting my old eyes to work with the sight picture, the forward of receiver rear sight always leaves me struggling slightly.

One unusual feature, certainly one I have not seen on an SMLE before is the series of notches on the underside of the wrist, draw your own conclusions… What I can say is they do look to be period.

My wife says it was notched by a bored soldier on guard duty marking off the pretty girls that walked past. Personally I would have thought they were all pretty after a few days on guard duty…

The side plate is a PH version, the plus side is it fits without any modification to the woodwork which is good as I would hate to chop the stock on this lovely old rifle. It would be nice to fit an original one day if it fits without modification.


I actually have a couple of Central sights and I am sure I have a plate for a No4 somewhere and they are really superb sights to use. There is zero backlash in the elevation and windage screws and they super smooth to use.  They are also very easy to put on a vague zero as they can be co-witnessed with the existing sights, plus I am very used to dioptre type sights these days with all of the time spent on Bell Target and LSR.  Best of all they are quickly removed for transport and security and to have the original tin is lovely.

I am missing the correct over length bottom screw and the thumb screw for the sight to attach to the plate, so if anyone has or knows of such items I would be very interested. Even dimensions for the thumbscrew would help as I can readily machine one to suit.

Take care and wash your hands.

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