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The GIBBS Galilean sights for the SMLE Rifle

See also: the LATTEY Galilean sights on the SMLE.....NEILL (Barnett) Galilean sights on the SMLE..

MARTIN Galilean sights for the SMLE.......BSA optical sight on a Lee-Metford

Westcountryman George Charles Gibbs applied for two patents in mid 1915,

one of which was for a specific mounting for the Rifle, Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield,

and the other for a mount that suited the earlier "Long" Lee-Enfield or Lee-Metford rifles.

The fore-sight lens of patent no. 10,967 utilised a post and cross-hair reticule

similar to that of the BSA optical front sight and later integral tubular telescopic sights.

The first patent entry - 10,967. Gibbs, G. C. 28th. July 1915 - for the SMLE.


Sights - Consists in mounting an auxiliary fore­sight by means of a saddle-piece having two de­pending limbs adapted to be engaged by a cross-bolt passing through the nose-cap and stock. In the construction shown in Figs. 1 and 2, the depending limbs s are hooked for engagement with the cross-­bolt q. The auxiliary sight p is held rigid by a vertical clamping-screw t at the rear acting in con­junction with a forward screw v or a projecting nose engaging the inclined rear surface of the ordinary foresight.

The second patent entry - 10,968. Gibbs, G. C. also on 28th. July 1915 - for the CLLE,

the 'Charger Loading Lee-Enfield'.

Sights.- Consists in securing all auxiliary fore­sight to the barrel by three clamping-screws. In the construction shown in Fig. 2, one of the screws n is part of a ring clamp, and the other two o at the sides provide for a limited lateral adjustment. In the construction shown in Figs. 5 and 6 the sight has two forwardly projecting lugs q fitted with screws s for gripping the sides of the sight­-protector, and a screw slide t is adapted to bear against the back of the ordinary foresight. The ring k carrying the lens of the auxiliary sight may also be fitted to the lower part 1 of the sight by a lateral dovetail.

The first patent above was very similar to the equivalent LATTEY system,

although the patent showed no correcting lens for the rear-sight that was used on the Lattey model,

and may have been intended for use with a standard aperture target rear-sight

as used with the BSA optical fore-sight.

However, the production version was advertised with optional 1.0 and 1.5 diopter rear lenses

that could be fitted into the side-mounted rear-sight unit as shown in the imagery on this page.

The Lattey front lens did not use any reticle, and relied upon the rifle's own fore-sight.

Gibbs' production lens for the S.M.L.E. had a simple spot reticle

and was in the event side mounted, probably because of the difficulty of effectively mounting

a rear-sight lens over-bore without adversely affecting the normal usage of the rifle.

Below left: the Gibbs fore-sight frame with cross-bolt that replaces the original nose-cap bolt,

and top clamping screw that tightens the frame in place.

Left: the folding rear-sight marketed in the kit, and which fits behind the Lee-Enfield butt-socket

'dumbell' in place of the rear volley aperture sight arm.



The second patent, intended for the "Long" Lee rifles, was of the Lattey type,

the lens being without reticle, and applying magnification to the standard fore-sight

as well as to the overall sight-picture.


Below: a complete cased set of the sights for the "Long" Lee-Metford and Enfield rifles.

The set included fore-sight lenses with a variety of reticles to suit the shooter and/or the targetry.

Source: unknown auction site.

Below: a contemporary four page leaflet of instructions and prices

covering the sights for both the "Short" and "Long" Lee-Enfield rifles.




Below: the patent specification, showing the application date of 28th. July 1915,

and the acceptance on 8th. June 1916



See also: the LATTEY Galilean sights on the SMLE.....NEILL (Barnett) Galilean sights on the SMLE..

MARTIN Galilean sights for the SMLE.......BSA optical sight on a Lee-Metford...


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