This myth my buddy Dave brought up the other day. And it concerns the British rifles. He was talking about the SMLE rifles and said to the effect that if the 10 round magazine that the SMLE had was a short magazine, he didn't want to see what their long magazine looked like. Well he like so many others think they know what the British rifles designation means. He thinks it means Short magazine, Lee Enfield.
The original Lee rifle that was adopted by Great Britian was called the Lee Metford. The LEE part was because James Paris Lee, designed the rifle action. The Metford part was the rifling that was designed by him. Then the Lee-Burton came around and finally the Improved Lee. The improved Lee, was to become the SMLE. The improved Lee was entered into the 1888 rifle trials and after some changes was adopted as the Mark I rifle. This rifle was used by the Kings men until the new rifle trials of 1902 were held. It is at the conclusion of those trials that the rifle became the Rifle, Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield.
The old Lee rifles had barrels that were 30" to 33" long. The new smokeless powder showed that the long barrels were not needed for maximum performance. And the shorter and lighter 25.2 inch barrels were extremely popular with the troops. So now we have Rifle, Short (as contrast to the long barrel rifle of before) Magazine, (because the early British rifles were single shots) Lee, (it is still the improved Lee rifle) and Enfield,(because that was where they were being produced) The original Medford rifling was shallow for easier cleaning with the black powder that the first .303 was loaded with. That rifling was not very accurate with the modern bullets that were loaded in the smokeless powder cartridges so they went to a deeper (Enfield type) rifling.
OK you got it. It is a Rifle, Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield
Sarge the myth buster