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For the Lithgow experts, which I am not.

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Shamu View Drop Down
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    Posted: April 16 2022 at 7:57pm
I did it.
I pulled the trigger in a minty blond Lithy No1 MkIII*
Please tell me I didn't Screw the pooch!
If I did I'm good for it anyway but I need a hug maybe?
I have one question.
Is the stamped rear sight protector legit for a '42 Lithy?
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BJ72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2022 at 1:27am
Hi there Shamu

I can't tell you the exact date, but the rear sight protectors with the milled out ears were fazed out well before world war 2. I believe they may have been fazed out in World War 1 with the change from No1 MkIII to III* but I'd need to check that. I couldn't go into your first link without access to the site, but I can see the pictures in the second link. It's a 1941 Lithgow receiver and appears to be a rifle built up from parts. Typical of the JJ Co rifles. A lot of the JJ Co rifles seem to have been built up on matching bolt and receivers, but not all. Some JJ Co rifles were actually genuine Lithgow assembled rifles. The one in the second link definitely isn't though. The JJ Co parts guns are built on genuine Lithgow parts though and can make very nice rifles and shooters.
My idea of gun control is hitting what I aim at and nothing else.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2022 at 4:46am
Does look like all the metal has been refinished and a new stock.  Very good looking rifle.  Do you have the rifle now? What’s the bore look like? 

Also can’t get into the gunboards site.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2022 at 10:44am
It looks just like the blonde that I fell for! 
That was my 2929 BSA No1MkIII* that I bought from EFD in UK.
I hope that yours is in better shooting condition!
I basically had to rebuild it; wood was not "fitted" , barrel was .310 at the muzzle, bolt body was worn, headspace was on max field gauge and it shot a 6" inch spread at 50 metres from a sandbag rest!!!
Turned out to be a great learning curve and probably more fun than having it shoot great from day one.
It will shoot 2 Moa if I do my bit; probably less with someone better.
It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2022 at 11:00am
Thanks for the reply, I did some rather hurried research on the Lithys, with particular reference to the JJ&Co disasters.

"It's a 1941 Lithgow receiver and appears to be a rifle built up from parts. Typical of the JJ Co rifles. A lot of the JJ Co rifles seem to have been built up on matching bolt and receivers, but not all. Some JJ Co rifles were actually genuine Lithgow assembled rifles. The one in the second link definitely isn't though. The JJ Co parts guns are built on genuine Lithgow parts though and can make very nice rifles and shooters"

I'm curious, How did you determine that? from anything I've found one of the big clues to the JJ&CO builds is the serial number format (####A) this has a "B#####" one.
Also I can't see a JJ&Co stamp anywhere in the images. Not even hidden inside the nosecap opening on the muzzle!
I have & most of the references I found warn to watch out for later war dates like '44 & '45.
Might it be a Lithgow build imported by Jovino?

Not trying to argue just to understand. Its mine no matter what but I'm trying to cross the "T"s & Dot the "I"'s .

I do not have the rifle on hand, its a mail order transaction & although a done deal its gong to take a while to get shipped into MD & Me getting to actually collect it from the FFL it has to go through.
Its described as "minty with like new bore".
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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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: April 17 2022 at 7:10pm
looking forward to hearing how you like it when in hand 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote BJ72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 18 2022 at 2:43am

Shamu

I probably didn’t explain myself very well in my first response. I’ll try and clear things up and offer a bit more detail. I can’t say for certain it’s a JJ Co parts gun just from the photos. What I was getting at is it has that typical appearance of a JJ Co parts gun.

Not all JJ Co guns have the A suffix. I believe they may have applied those to new unnumbered receivers. JJ Co purchased all manner of SMLE rifles and parts from Australia including complete and totally original Examples. They seem to have assembled quite a lot from parts though, many of which were made on receivers with correct serial numbers. The B prefix on your rifle is correct for 1941. As you’ve already found, they certainly did assemble a lot of rifles from late war dated receivers, but there’s plenty of examples where they used earlier receivers as well.

Some of the things I see in the photos that make me instantly suspect a JJ Co rifle include:

1- Complete set of new Slazenger woodwork lacking usual Lithgow markings.

2- The colour of the woodwork is way too light. Original examples assembled by Lithgow will always have a darker appearance to the coachwood timber due to the oil treatment applied. Your woodwork looks just like a new set of timber pulled straight out of stores prior to treatment and fitting. For lack of a better description, it almost has a dry look.

3- Your receiver is dated 41, the butt is 44 and the forend looks like 43 (photo isn’t clear), none of which really fits for an original rifle.

4- The serial number on the bolt appears it may have been force matched. Rear face of the bolt handle appears to have been ground and renumbered. The font doesn’t look exactly the same as on the receiver and the B prefix appears to be missing from the bolt serial number. The missing B is definitely not usual Lithgow practice. Check and see of the proof of assembly numbers match. (The number on the receiver under where the bolt handle closes and the number stamped to the underside of the bolt handle) If these match and look the same, your bolt should be original. If different, you know it’s not the original bolt.

5- The metal work all appears to have been refinished and looks way too black. The finish on World War 2 and later Lithgows take on a greenish appearance. That can be hard to tell just from photos though.

6- As discussed earlier, the rear sight protector is the incorrect earlier type with milled out ears.

All of these things are typical of what I’ve often seen on JJ Co assembled rifles. There are quite a few examples where the JJ Co stamp is very faint and difficult to locate. Some examples appear to have had the metal work refinished after the JJ Co stamp was applied so look very closely. They can be easy to miss.

To help you out in your research. An original, as it left the factory, Lithgow SMLE from 41 would have the serial number stamped on the, bolt, receiver, under the forend, nose cap, rear sight, barrel and sometimes on the butt. Coachwood for the timber would be correct. The butt will have the MA Lithgow SMLE III* HV and year markings on the right side.

Lithgow rebuilds.

There were two main refurbishment programs at Lithgow. Those completed in the mid to late forties and those that went through the FTR program which ran from 1950 to around 1955.

Rifles refurbished in the mid to late 40’s will often have no serial number of the nose cap, forend, rear sight and barrel. Quite often the only place you’ll find a serial number will be on the bolt and receiver. A lot of new furniture was used but old stocks in good condition were also used. A rifle refurbished at Lithgow during this period will always be marked on the butt, R over MA over Month/Year. Example R MA 6/45 for June 1945. Parts from early WW1 era rifles, including a lot of English marked parts were also used. So, your milled out rear sight protector could be correct for a Lithgow rebuild.

Rifles refurbished at Lithgow during the FTR program will always have the FTR stamp on the receiver, normally above the serial number. On the left side of the receiver above the trigger guard it will be marked MA Month/Year. Example MA 6/50 for a rifle FTR’d in June 1950. Quite a few early FTR rifles were fitted with refurbished stocks and used parts. Once again parts from any era were used including English marked components. I have a rifle that went through FTR in 1950 that was fitted with a 42 English barrel. The barrel carries Lithgow acceptance marks as well as the original English marks.

Probably the two big things to look for on the Lithgow rebuilds is either the R MA Month/Year mark or the FTR mark. If it doesn’t have either, it’s highly unlikely it was rebuilt by Lithgow.

As for the JJ Co parts rifles, some people look down on them as being inferior which to me isn’t really correct. They are normally made up of new or near new components. If everything is fitted correctly, they are still very attractive rifles which have their own history and make excellent shooters.

I still don’t consider myself a Lithgow expert by any means, but the above it what I’ve found during my own research over the years. My small collection of SMLE’s is based solely on Lithgow production. That’s what I try and focus on. I’m happy to be corrected at any time. It’s all part of the fun of collecting and learning the history of these great rifles.

Whatever the history of your rifle Shamu, I’d be happy to have it in my safe. Enjoy Thumbs Up

My idea of gun control is hitting what I aim at and nothing else.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 18 2022 at 10:57am
Thanks for the detailed reply.
Yes, it does look very "Jovino ish" with the dry blond wood & so on, I agree.

I obviously won't know "fer shure fer shure" till I actually get it, which here could take 3 or 4 weeks with the 2 way shipping, universal transfer background checks & wait periods of several days each. Out of state Xfer to FFL & then the FFL to me!
Let me go back & look at the images more closely, with you information in my head this time round.
Like you say its a nice rifle & if it needs fitting or recoil blocks that work is within my abilities.
Its not really being bought as a collectable, * koff, koff * much!
It will be a nice companion piece for the blonde No4 I have so partly yes it is though.
Star



Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SGonger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 18 2022 at 2:28pm
Thumbs UpClap 🍻!
Anyone seen the Tardis Box anywhere? 🤨
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 18 2022 at 8:04pm
I’d agree with the advice given so far above, except for a few points worth clarifying. The 50’s FTR program ran from 1950 to 1959, possibly 1960 unofficially and the lower left side will only be marked MA and year, not the month……..for example, MA50.  

The absence of recoil plates is not necessarily such a major concern on these. It largely depends on how well the woodwork has been treated and bedded to the forend. Remember Lithgow abandoned the practice for substantial period of time during WW2 and many of these still exist intact. My favourite shooting rifle was built during this period and has no plates. Good project, definitely an improvement and some peace of mind, but not essential all things being sound if you only want to fire it moderately.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 19 2022 at 10:52am
Thanks to you also.
I've been doing more research & have become comfortable with checking for bedding & presence or absence of recoil plates, without disassembly. I've bedded enough L-E's to be comfortable with doing it if needed.
I agree there's a lot of "noise to signal" in a lot of the contradictory info on these rifles.
From a buddy in oz:

"Well, I took my time replying Charles because I was cleaning the drool off my keyboard.

Wow! I haven't seen a Lithgow in that condition since I was a teenager. For what it is worth I have seen Lithgows from '41, '42 rebuilt in '43 several years down the track from being bought at Puckapunyal. After getting the usual lumps and bumps (and conversion to range rifles) and they do look like your rifle but with the wear and "beauty spots". I think you have done very well. I'm no expert but it looks like Coachwood. I have several sets of Coachwood knife scales for my knife making and they look exactly like your rifle wood. Queensland maple I have come to know is more of a honey colour like mine here: In my readings i have seen various reasons for recoil blocks/plates being fitted or not fitted. The evidence seems to weigh that Lithgow tried not installing them in Coachwood forestocks as an austerity measure; that after 6 months to a year or so it became evident that the forestocks were splitting and then they went back to using copper or hard brass recoil blocks/plates. That info I sent earlier shows that they are pretty easy to replicate from copper or hard brass flat bar with a hacksaw, hand drill and file.That colouration is seen internally as well where those areas haven't received multiple coats of RLO or BLO. Something that stands out is that in the photos I can see the machining marks, so what makes you believe that the wood has been refinished? Wood that has been refinished (by sanding, even very light sanding) has none of those lines left on the surface. The wood looks dry (as it would from years of storage) and in need of a good drink.Also the furniture appears to have been properly fitted with the correct gaps between body and forestock and buttstock. Again you can see the original machining marks in this photo.

In case you find that you do need to install recoil blocks/plates here is the info that I have attached.

My opinion? You lucky bastard!!!!

Cheers"

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote smerdon42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 19 2022 at 3:35pm
Guys the milled ears where phased out during ww1 I have ears with milled and flat some with the star and then some stamped oa,ma and ba .post 1926 it should be no milled at all . I have a 1942 DP rifle with brand new slazenger stock and unstamped barrel that bore gauges at 301  it also headspaces at go gauge . Not game to shoot it the d is struck strong but the p is not . 
Back home in australia at the moment 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 19 2022 at 3:47pm
The milled ears were dropped from new rifle production in 1917/18 but were used on repaired or refurbed rifles for the entirety of SMLE production at the SAF. Common to see them on much later action dates that have undergone repairs. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BJ72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 19 2022 at 7:00pm
Hi there Homer.
Thanks for the correction. You are correct, the FTR rifles were only marked MA and the Year on the left side of the receiver. No month. I should have got that correct considering I have one right here. To be specific they were marked MA/year, example MA/50. I've never been able to find information on exactly when the FTR program came to an end, or even if it did come to an end. I imagine Lithgow was repairing the SMLE right up to finale change over to the SLR. I've always suspected around 55 because I never seem to come across any dated after that. Just coincidence on my part I guess. I've seen plenty of bayonets with late 50's refurbishment dates but not the rifles. I'll add your info to the memory banks and see if I can't track one down.  Just like the JJ Co rifles, some people here seem to treat the FTR rifles like they're inferior for some reason. They were built to spec and are excellent rifles and form part of the history. I really like mine and wouldn't part with it in a hurry. 

Can't wait to see some more detailed photos of your rifle when it arrives Shamu. You'll need to find a nice Australia bayonet to go with it. It'll be lonely otherwise. It will certainly look the part sitting beside that No4.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 20 2022 at 12:27pm
I have a Bayonet & scabbard, with a repro leather frog, for my existing 1914 BSA ShtLE. Its not a Lithgow though!


Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote smerdon42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 20 2022 at 1:43pm
Homer i have a 1940 with milled ears and a 44 with the slazenger stock . Both are DP marked but both have a ne wbarrelll and pass headspace probably cadet rifles .one had yellow paint the slaz stock is like new 
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