Chartlon .303 conversion

Thought some might like this.

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Pretty good and considered to be revolutionary but ironically enough he did not actually invent the first .303 bolt action rifle to machine gun at all regardless of what the gun fraternity claim.

It was invented by an Australian Light Horseman by the name of Ion Idriess.

Just a little about Ion Idriess; - In Palestine during 1917, Trooper Ion. L. Idriess of the ALH (Australian Light Horse) worked on an idea to convert the SMLE Mk III bolt-action .303 to a gas-operated semi or full-auto rifle. An Armourer-Sergeant King of the NZC (New Zealand Contingent) was detailed to assist him. A working model was built and forwarded to England for study and possible adoption. Nothing further is known of the rifle.

Idriess had a colourful life prior and after the war, having been a sniper and spotter at Gallipoli. Later he was to become a counter-sniper in the Middle East. He was invalided back to Australia due to wounds, and appears to have nothing more to do with the design.

Later, he was to write over 50 books, including two on sniping during World War II and others on scouting and guerilla tactics. He outstalked and killed a Turkish sniper in the Middle East. When the body was examined, it was found to have 38 allied identity disks (you’d call them “dog tags”) around the neck on a string. These were only the ones the sniper was close enough to recover!

He wrote some really great yarns on the Australian outback and on mining as well. His book ‘The Desert Column’ tells about his experiences in the Australian Light Horse’ but he also wrote classics like ‘Lassiters Last Ride’ plus hand books on mining - first editions of his book ‘Prospecting for Gold’ can fetch $1400 US.


That’s some interesting reading Lammerlaw thanks.

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How strange I think have a first addition of the desert column must be close to 100 years since first edition must go and dig it out and check its publication date I did read somewhere his war diaries are keep in the national war museum

The first edition should not have any photos in it. I have a first edition as well I think.
I would vote for him as being Australia’s geatest author of all time.
If you look through your copy you will see his reference to the .303 bolt action machine gun. That is where I got it from.
Looking at the date of publication it is easy to see that he developed it before Charlton.

When I was a young kid, he was my hero. Read everyone of his books I could get my hands on. Esp the ones about gold.

Yes they are fantastic books and as a kid I read some as well as my grandparents had some. I have some of his and some where have duplicates but have no idea where I.put them. I have two copies of ‘The Desert Column’ which is my favourite.