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No4 MK1 Long Branch 303

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txcrash View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 06 2017 at 9:10pm
I recently purchased a No4 MK1 Long Branch 303 which had been “sporterized”. I don’t know much about the firearm and the more research I do the more confusing it gets. From what I know these were produced in Canada, but one of the markings shows “England” and bears the serial number of 0L8987 which is the same as on the barrel. The rifle also shows “No4 MK1 long Branch 1941 on the receiver. I would like to refurbish this rifle back to its original condition. Also, is the front site original? It has the marking of “Farken Hale England”?? on the side of the front site. I have added pics of the rifle and some of the areas with makers marks on them. I would greatly appreciate any advice or information on this weapon.
Thanks in advance for your time
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2017 at 4:19am
Methinks the front sight is actually "Parker - Hale". The did an excellent job at converting them to sporters.

It appears that your barrel has ben shortened, ergo it cannot be brought back to military nick with that barrel.

Long Branch is located just west of Toronto.

It looks like there is a Canadian D.o.D. stamp on it.

Do you have a magazine for it?
Loose wimmen tightened here
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote txcrash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2017 at 4:30am
Thank you for the great information and no I do not have the original magazine for it. The magazine that did come with it was made in Japan. I am looking for an original one but they are tough to find. It did look as if the barrel had been shortened and If it was shortened it was a very good job.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2017 at 5:22am
The "ENGLAND" stamp is a U.S. Import law from before 1968 indicating the country of origin (of the design). The rifle was made in Canada, but it was an English design.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2017 at 5:45am
The ENGLAND marking is a pre -1968 export marking applied to meet USA import regulations to show the commercial source of the arm..

The rifle is actually of Canadian manufacture, yes, and thousands were shipped overseas to the UK during the war and held as war stock after. The ENGLAND is a commercial stamp, not military. It was applied to ALL arms leaving the UK inbound to the USA to denote their origin. 

Old war stock inventory sold off from the UK will typically have rifles of mixed manufacturers, Enfield, BSA, Long Branch, Savage.

As far as export regs go, they all came out of ENGLAND.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2017 at 5:52am
Nobody has said it but it is sad this one was sported like it was. Long Branch did not make a lot of No 4 Mk 1's before they switched to producing the No 4 Mk 1* with the simplified bolt head release. So, this was a very early Long Branch. It is a very nicely done sporter though. Personally, I would keep it just as it is and use it. They are good game getters.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2017 at 6:33am
Very early, yes. This was only the 8987th No.4 that came off the Long Branch production line.

Complete and original, any LB Mk.I will command a premium and are sought after by collectors around the world.

However, it is now a sporter.  A long way from its original military configuration. The thing has been cut and drilled, it is not a good candidate for restoration. 

A bit like looking at a zooped up hot rod car while thinking of the original Ford T.

Now that being said, to restore it all that is required is the fitting of a replacement barrel. Fill the scope mount holes in the receiver wall. Restock it in military wood with the barrel bands. Refinish the painted metalwork and repaint. Sounds easy, eh?
But sadly, it will then only ever be a restored parts gun, it will have some collector interest, but wont command the same premium as an original. To put it simply, it will cost more to restore it than the finished gun will be worth. Doesn't make economic sense to restore, but most restorers do it for the fun of the hobby and don't really care about the bottom line. If I can sell one of my restorations and break even, I am happy because the fun of restoring didn't cost me anything but my time. yay!

Enjoy it for what it is, one of the toughest and most reliable deer guns on the planet!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote txcrash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2017 at 8:06am
Thanks again for everyone’s input!! In the research I found it was the first lot of MK1s produced “OL” and yes it may take a bit to rebuild but might be some fun. Thanks for the information on the “England” stamp and all the other information. It has helped me learn more about this rifle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2017 at 8:39pm
thats a nice early longbranch - they did not make all that many mkIs , well worth a restoration in my mind , but a task to be sure , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote txcrash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2017 at 3:58am
I would have to but a barrel to replace the sporterized one. Will this effect the overall value of the rifle if there are 2 different serial numbers (one on the barrel and one on the receiver)?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2017 at 5:11am
Yes matching numbers is considered a good thing, but it will be worth more than a sporter once the restoration is completed.
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i think its worth it if you are willing , if its a project of love you will hold it dear , if your looking to improve value or cash in for improvements it will noit happen , the facts - you will invest more than it will be worth , could trade it to someone that wants it for something you want too ? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BMP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2017 at 3:14am
If you would like the gun better in its original configuration and have the $$$ to spend, go for it.

I am restoring a 1917 ShtLE sporter and don't care how much I spend on it. To me its having the gun back to its original beauty! I don't care about resale as all my guns will be passed down to the next generation.

Brad
1917 NO1. MKIII ShtLE
1943 Webley MKIV
1948 NO4. MK1 (F)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2017 at 3:54pm
as brad has said so well , there are a number of us that have or would do this , its not for everyone , it can be frustrating and time consuming but thats half the fun for those that do it , 

i can respect leaving it as is if you chose that or trading/selling if that is your choice as well , but it is an early rifle that was made in small quantity , makes it a bit of a rare one , 
i have one but mine is a mkI/2 as it was converted to mk2 , also not all that common , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2017 at 9:33pm
Ya, tell me about it. I am building another Magazine Lee Metford rifle, an 1890 Mk.I, one piece at a time.

Finding single parts and getting them shipped to me from all over the globe.

It is taking years and costing a fortune, however, I am enjoying the rebuild. It is going to be an awesome example with all the early features.

It will only ever be a parts gun, non matching with some new made parts, but complete, functional and authentic looking. It is so rare, that will not matter, it will still have great collector interest.
It would be interesting to hear the story about it many years down the road in the hands of the next generation of collectors.

No doubt, it will cost me a great deal more money to build it than it will be worth. But then again, it is rare and would be almost impossible for me to find one for sale, and therefor, is hard to establish a value when there are no comparables being sold.

If your Long Branch were mine, I would probably take the long road and I would gather up bits and pieces as I go when the price was right. There are some LB barrels that have no serial numbers on them, if I am not mistaken, Long Branch refurbished rifles too. Did rebarreling. It would be cool to find one of those and screw it on. At least it couldn't be called miss matched serials.
 
Send the receiver out to get the drilled and tapped holes filled. The location of the holes is highly visible, it needs to be professionally done. Will cost a few bucks, but it is at the heart of the rebuild and needs to be done right and to be an invisible repair.

Or, .... much simpler, find a mount scope rail that fits the hole pattern. It looks to be drilled for a Weaver TO-1 rail. Mount a vintage scope like an old Lyman Alaskan, or an old Weaver. A faux sniper rifle would be fun and no original rifle would be harmed in the process.


Im just bouncing ideas off of you. Your sporter has a lot of potential.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 10 2017 at 4:29pm
you sir are a dedicated restorer , i doubt id even consider such a reclaim unless i was retired and independently wealthy - so far im not either so i only encourage those with the heart dedicated as i know from my minimal restoring endevors just how true your words are , 

for the record - it is also very satisfying , i will do another for my bucket list of some sort , 

right after i finish all those 22s ive accumulated in the last couple decades , they are my current passion for restoring , yes a few of them are enfields and cooeys but those are pretty good right now , i have that webley air pistol im working on as well , 
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