Q: I have obtained an old BSA Lee-Enfield rifle marked “Lee- Speed”. The speed marking seems appropriate for the Lee-Enfield since it can be operated faster than most other military bolt- actions. However, I have no proof that the marking has any reference to fast operation, and would appreciate any information you may have.
A: The word “speed” is certainly appropriate when describing the Lee-Enfield rifle but has reference to the co-developer of the arm rather than speed of operating the bolt. J.J Speed was an employee of Enfield Arsenal in England and developed the cutoff, 2-piece stock,and several other minor features of British Lee -Enfield rifles. The “Lee-Speed” marking appeared on some early long Lee rifles, and especially on copies intended for the commercial market.