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No. 4 Mk 1 serial number

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rick510 View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 01 2022 at 8:17am
Greetings all,

New to the forum and need a little help identifying the origin of my No. 4. The 4 digit serial number is preceded by a W.
 
Thank you.
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DaveNo5 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveNo5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2022 at 2:06pm
Welcome.  I am fairly new myself but will do my best to help you out.

The four-digit serial number on a No.4 is characteristic of a Shirley.  Later Shirley's had five digits (all in the 30,000 range--starting in 1944), but Shirley was the only to make one with four-digit serial numbered No4's, and did so from 1941 until 1943.

Shirley's had no letter prefixes at first, then single letter prefixes (starting with 'A' in early to mid 1942, and ending with Y), then started over with AA through AV (1943).  These all had 4-digit serial numbers.  Five-digit numbers started in 1944, and had single-letter prefixes.

I am guessing that your "W" prefix would put it as a late 1942, but I am working from Stratton's book.  Stratton lists observed prefixes of A, B, and most of the alphabet until U,V,X and Y.  I do not know why "W" would be skipped, or if Stratton was just unaware of it. 

I'll dig around some more and see if I can find some more information.  Others here have a wealth of information and likely will offer more information to what I have or correct any oversights.

(Edit)  If you could take a look at the left side of the receiver (just forward of the ejector screw), it would be helpful, too.  Sometimes there are markings there.  If so, then please post a picture.
(Edit 2 to clarify 1942 prefixes.)

Again, welcome!

Dave

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveNo5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2022 at 2:30pm
I should add that it is a British rifle (not Canadian), even though you are in Mississauga.  The "broad arrow" markings show this.  Most of the other markings are British proof marks.  I want to say the "BNP" marks are from when it was sold out of service (a requirement in the UK at the time).  The one that looks like crossed flags was the original British army proof, although I am not familiar with the digits that appears there (looks like a "5" at the bottom?).  I am also not familiar with what looks like script writing in the upper part of the barrel picture (just above the 'tons per (square)"').  The 19.5 tons per square inch (tsi) is the Imperial standard of "long tons" (2240 lbs each), and works out to 43,680 psi for US readers.

Thanks for posting interesting pictures!
Dave
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rick510 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 02 2022 at 3:17pm
Thanks Dave. Here are a couple of pics of the left side of the receiver.
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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: May 02 2022 at 8:11pm
bear has my reference books so i can no longer help but he may jump in with info , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2022 at 4:09am
Looks like the rifle was reserialized, two numbers on the wrist.  Also a number “5” or letter “S” before the “No. 4 Mk I” marking on the left side of the receiver which I’ve not seen before.   There are also markings above which are not readable.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rick510 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2022 at 7:34am
Hi Britrifles. The pictures posted to the forum do not show detail very well but I sent them to a Canadian historian and retired infantry Captain Colin MacGregor Stevens and this was his reply:

LEFT SIDE WALL

On the left side it says on the upper line "No. 4 MK I (F) F.T.R."  - This means it went through a Factory Thorough Repair at Fazakerley ROyal Ordnance Factory. 

Older marking is below. The "5" in front of the lower No.4 MK I marking is a puzzle. It is NOT for No. 5 Mk. I or Stevens-Savage. 

 

W5434 is indeed the serial number but I do not know which British maker. 

 

WOOD FURNITURE

J.C

N22
is John Curtis, 22nd manufacturer in the North of England to be assigned a number in WWII

 

SOCKET
1943

W5434 (faint, electric pencil)

W5434 (restamped for clarity during FTR)

ENGLAND (country of origin when sold surplus, a U.S. import requirement at the time) 

End of reply.

The 5 and the W are still a mystery but I believe Dave is correct with BSA as the origin. I am theorizing that the barrel was replaced during FTR due to it's excellent condition.

I'll post a picture of my rifle when reassembled.

Best Regards all.

Rick510
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2022 at 11:58am
rick510: The electro-stenciled 5 is in the wrong font that would have normally been used. The 9 that has been electro stenciled over the 8 on the 18.5 tons per □" is also in the wrong font. Someone else other than the original manufacturer decided to get creative.
The ENGLAND and the BNP .303 2.222" 18.5 tons per □" are sold out of service stamps when the rifle is placed into the civilian market.  The only rifles that recieved a 19.0 ton proof stamp are the 7.62mm NATO chambered L39/42A1 rifles.
Little clues as to manufacturer can be found on all the metal bits screwed onto the reciever as well. Stamps that show M47C indicate BSA Shirley. Stamps with a stylized M indicate Maltby. Stamps with a F indicate Fazackerly...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveNo5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2022 at 2:11pm
Goosic:  Good catch.  I downloaded the picture and zoomed in on the "19.5" and it may actually be an "18.5," but it is hard to tell (or maybe an 18.5 with a 19.5 on top of it?).  That is good info on the 2.222" as well.  I agree with the creativity part.  It looks like the rifle was somewhat crudely re-marked at some time.  Even the "T" in tons looks like it was stamped twice if you zoom in.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2022 at 2:22pm
A double strike is not that uncommon especially on an Enfield. It's when you see electro-stenciling over a stamp that you become concerned. Fazackerly has on occasions used an electro-stencil and lined out the original No4Mk1 and then stencil in No4Mk1/2 or No4Mk1/3. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2022 at 2:29pm
Originally posted by DaveNo5 DaveNo5 wrote:

Goosic:  Good catch.  I downloaded the picture and zoomed in on the "19.5" and it may actually be an "18.5," but it is hard to tell (or maybe an 18.5 with a 19.5 on top of it?).  That is good info on the 2.222" as well.  I agree with the creativity part.  It looks like the rifle was somewhat crudely re-marked at some time.  Even the "T" in tons looks like it was stamped twice if you zoom in.  

 
Except for 7.62mm Envoy/Enforcer/L39A1/L42A1, all .303B chambered Enfield rifles sold into the civilian market will have been proofed to 18.5 Tons and stamped as such. If you look closer at the bottom left of the 9 where it starts to curve up and inwards you can make out a light strike. It is an 8...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rick510 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2022 at 4:53pm
Here is a better picture.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveNo5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 04 2022 at 5:43pm
Thanks.  The "18.5" is much more clear in that light.  Nice looking rifle!  

Here's a few links you may find helpful:

https://www.rifleman.org.uk/Dating%20your%20rifle.html


The above link gives insight on the proof marks.  The "N-B-5" above the electro-penciled barrel serial number would put it a re-proofed in 1962 if I am counting right and inspected by inspector "5," whoever that was.

 

https://www.gunboards.com/threads/barrel-markings-on-enfield-no-4-mk-i.266777/


This is just discussion of another proof mark that looked like a "19.5."


https://www.enfield-rifles.com/british-system-of-chamber-pressure-measurement_topic10711_page2.html


The last is some discussion of the peculiar British method of proof testing, which was different from CIP and SAAMI methods.  Some of the regulars who post here have some very good information in that thread.  I learned a lot.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rick510 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 04 2022 at 8:44pm
Hi Dave, Thanks for the info, very interesting. Yes, I was very impressed with the condition of the rifle when it arrived. Nicest Enfield I have seen, so far. I do think the barrel was replaced based on the new condition, and the furniture looks too good not be refinished (in my uneducated opinion). I am expecting  delivery of a '45 Long Branch next week and based on the pictures, it looks just as good as the '43 Brit. I'll post some pics after it arrives.

Cheers,

Rick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2022 at 5:18pm
You might have a great shooter here if forend fit is good and barrel is in good condition. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2022 at 5:36pm
It would be greatly appreciated if you could post some photos of the whole rifle...
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