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Are these genuine No.4 Mk.1 Sniper markings?

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gameranger View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 19 2020 at 5:24am
Hi all

Just wondering about the markings on this rifle. It's claimed that it's an early conversion at ROF Maltby, since it has no 'T' or 'TR' stamp. Also on the left side of the bracket, and on the topside of the wrist, some numbers have been marked out, perhaps the current parts are replacement parts?









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Goosic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 20 2020 at 5:24pm
HeIIo from Phoenix Arizona. 
As far as markings go.  The serial number on the scope mount now is matched to the rifle. The front pad does look to have been tinned to the reciever but it has been removed at least three times from the looks of how many times the screws have been restaked. The mount is not original to the rifle however and the x'd out numbers on the wrist were the original scope number. The new number stamped is the scope ID number that is currently on your rifle. Removing the butt stock should show the serial number of the rifle as well. You should also find a S stamped on the right side if the reciever just above the woodline near the breech. I will  have to do some more researching but, it should have a TR near the rear trigger guard screw.  Does the scope still have the sunshade attached?
Further information indicates that Holland & Holland started sniper conversions September 22 1942. Stating that nearly all 23,177 catalogued rifles were hand selected BSA rifles,although a few Maltby and Savage actions had been noted. It is also referenced that, the rifle serial number should not appear on the scope or mounts on the British rifle.
Whatever the case may be here, you have a nice rifle just from what I can see in your photos. I was always told to, " Buy the rifle,not the story."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gameranger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 21 2020 at 4:49am
he!!o to you in Phoenix. I've only been to Cave Creek, and that was a good night out :D

This is a rifle that is for sale, so like you I only have the pictures to work off. It doesn't appear to have the 'S', 'T' or a 'TR', nor a sunshade. 

The only plausibility I can offer, from other internet comments, is that it's an early conversion, and being a New Zealand rifle we had to use whatever spare parts were around, hence the crossed out numbers and restaked screws.

I have studied this writeup from a fellow contributor. Within the writeup it's said:

'Postwar, the British rifles stamped the rifle serial number on the rear leg.  Long Branch serialized the bracket to the rifle, centered near the top edge.'


I would say this casts a bit of doubt over the rifle, as that statement suggests Long Branch had something to do with the engraved serial numbers.

Like you say there should be an 'S' for a Holland and Holland conversion - I'm going to try and get a better photo of the righthand side of the receiver.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 21 2020 at 8:19am
Welcome from Brandon, Manitoba, Canada!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 21 2020 at 9:28am
It is difficult to tell without handling the rifle in its entirety.

I think that all of the 'parts' are for a No4T rifle, but I'm not convinced that they were all originally installed on that rifle.

I think that it has the look of a 'civilian assembled' No4T putting marks where they are not usually found and 'not quite correct' fonts.

It is not a problem that the T & TR are omitted - in 1942 the marking system had not been standardised.

If you want a shooter, enjoy it, If you want an 'original' collector grade No4T, I'm not convinced that you have one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 21 2020 at 10:13am
I suspect the seller is asking a high price.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 21 2020 at 11:56am
The left hand side of the receiver does not appear to have been milled for the bracket. I thought that was part of the procedure for fitting up the scope brackets. However I'm no expert so I could be wrong.
The finish on the scope bracket looks poor; would that be acceptable due to wartime constraints?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 21 2020 at 1:25pm
If you ate and drank at either The Horny Toad or The Satisfied Frog, you had one heII of a night.
The lack of a T is understandable given that some early Savage rifles did not have the T stamp. Your plausibility being that it was an early conversion would only apply if the rifle in question was a trials rifle that was converted at the ROF Fazackerly plant before everything was done at Holland and Holland  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marco1010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 21 2020 at 7:24pm
Interesting. a 1942 model of a similar rifle was stolen from Waiouru NZ Army Museaum some years back, so its quite possible your rifle fits the description.
That particular one was based on a long branch rifle rather than one from ROF Maltby. My understanding was that during the war the No.4 mk 1 & 2 rifles were almost totally sourced via either Long Branch or Savage. Any Uk Manufactured rifles would likely be post WW2. However not to say that your rifle wasn't assembled as a sniper configuration later...... In fact I hear a recent story of the armourers at trentham assembling rifles from existing stocks to just this configuration, also some were "lost"from stock at an appropriate price.
(i have a friend who aquired one of these prior to leaving the army).
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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: September 21 2020 at 7:30pm
i dont think so , but then im not the one to say on these as ive never been that guy , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MJ11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 21 2020 at 8:35pm
I'm no expert on anything. But let me have a look at my '41 stuff. How about a picture of the scope legends.

So what would you do with this rifle ? Which asks the questions how is the bore, ahead space and the draws ?

Good luck and enjoy.

Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 22 2020 at 7:21am
Long Branch & Savage never made No4 Mk2's, just MK1's  after '43 No4 Mk1*'s.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marco1010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 22 2020 at 11:15am
Apologies Shamu
I should have been a bit clearer.  You are correct the Long Branch & Savage rifles were all Mk 1* versions
Any Mk2 would have been Maltby , Fazakerly or BSA Shirley.
The Savage rifles were supplied under lend lease via the USA.
The long branch rifles were predominantly introduced into service after 1945, there being approx 50,000 of these.  
A quote from the NZ Arms Registry Website 
"Note: The most common No 4 now encountered in New Zealand is the Long Branch Mk I*, however from observation of rifles offered for sale in recent years Savage Mk I* represent about 1/6 of the stock. 1941 dated Long Branch No 4 Mk I have also been reported with NZ issue marks. British manufactured No 4s with NZ marks are almost non-existent, those found in country are most likely civilian surplus imports".

If this rifle is genuine and correct it would be quite rare & valuable, last one I saw sold down here was listed for auction with a reserve of $8000 NZD.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 22 2020 at 2:34pm
Originally posted by Marco1010 Marco1010 wrote:

Apologies Shamu
I should have been a bit clearer.  You are correct the Long Branch & Savage rifles were all Mk 1* versions
Any Mk2 would have been Maltby , Fazakerly or BSA Shirley.
The Savage rifles were supplied under lend lease via the USA.
The long branch rifles were predominantly introduced into service after 1945, there being approx 50,000 of these.  
A quote from the NZ Arms Registry Website 
"Note: The most common No 4 now encountered in New Zealand is the Long Branch Mk I*, however from observation of rifles offered for sale in recent years Savage Mk I* represent about 1/6 of the stock. 1941 dated Long Branch No 4 Mk I have also been reported with NZ issue marks. British manufactured No 4s with NZ marks are almost non-existent, those found in country are most likely civilian surplus imports".

If this rifle is genuine and correct it would be quite rare & valuable, last one I saw sold down here was listed for auction with a reserve of $8000 NZD.

Maltby and BSA did not manufacture Mk2's either. 
It was only Fazakerley in the UK and POF in Pakistan that produced the No4 Mk2's
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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: September 22 2020 at 8:37pm
im a little confused at the discussion - i get the points being made regarding who made what and all , but i thought we were discussing a "T" and its authenticity . 

i dont know anything much of "T" rifles , was hoping to learn a bit more 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 23 2020 at 9:28am
According to information I have accumulated, the Maltby as pictured  from the OP would NOT have been a true candidate for the sniper conversion due to not having the recessed area on the reciever for the front pad,making it easier to collimate the scope to the rifle. The scope and scope mount as pictured  from the OP does show a Maltby serial number x'd out with the new Maltby serial number stamped in its place.  According to Skennerton and Stratton however,  British converted rifles did not have their serial numbers stamped into the mount.  The scope serial number stamped into the wrist is correct procedure but in this case, the stamping blocks used are modern and very similar to, if not identical to the ones I use. The missing T stamp at the 11 O' Clock position around the ejector screw would only be applicable if it was one of the Steven-Savage rifles that had been converted but did not have the scope assembly fitted.  The only sniper converted rifles that would not have any Holland & Holland marking would have been the early trials rifles that were converted at Fazackerly before H&H secured the manufacturing contract.
When I started my faux sniper rifle project, I researched everything I could find on the subject, including excerpts from Skennerton, Stratton, Dr. Roger Payne, David Tomkinson, and Peter Laidler. The OP's rifle quite possibly could have been retrofitted by a New Zealand armourer at some point in time using authentic parts, such is the case with my rifle. Does it make the rifle a sniper rifle converted as such by Holland & Holland? Nope. The contract orders,quantities of the British No4 T sniping equipment were:
ROF Enfield  1403
Holland and Holland   12,101
Holland and Holland    4824. Less than 2500 being Savage No4Mk1* on this order.
SAL Canada. 950. 100 of these to have been .22 No4 rifles converted for training purposes. 
Holland and Holland   9517
BSA Guns Shirley  100.
The rifle in question has all the accoutrements associated with the No4Mk1 T rifle however, it is of my opinion that this was done post war and not done through Holland & Holland. 
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