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JJ&Co JJ Jovino. lithgow or bitster?

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Topic: JJ&Co JJ Jovino. lithgow or bitster?
Posted By: Shamu
Subject: JJ&Co JJ Jovino. lithgow or bitster?
Date Posted: July 19 2019 at 2:21pm
This came up a couple of times & I had an hour or 2 to kill so I did an internet search.
This is the sum of all that I discovered.
Much of it comes from, but is not limited to : Dr. Skip Stratton, who published this warning on his Enfield rifles on his website & Greg Young's Alaska Enfield Headquarters site.

No. 1 Mk III* (Lithgow - "New")
Often advertised as “collector grade” or “mint - unfired” or “unissued” and selling for $200 and up.

Watch out for these! Quite a few “new Lithgow” rifles have been built just within the last few years from spare parts bought from the Australian government. The parts are new, and the rifles were never issued--but they aren’t Lithgow factory rifles by any stretch of the imagination! They’re recently-built parts guns.

It is possible (though not likely) that some Lithgow-manufactured rifles with late-1945 (or later) dates were kept in storage and subsequently surplussed out in unfired or unissued condition. Such rifles would have 5-digit serial numbers with either an “E” or an “F” serial number prefix, and the serial number would be stamped on the rear of the bolt handle and on the bottom of the fore-end, as well as on the receiver ring. Neither the nose cap nor the bottom of the backsight leaf will carry a different serial number on these rifles. Also, legitimate factory rifles will have 1/4-inch square brass or copper recoil plates installed on the fore-ends where the sear boss bears against the wood. These plates will be attached with small brass wood screws.

If you find a “new” Lithgow with a 1943 or 1944 date, be highly suspicious. This was the height of the war, and virtually all rifles manufactured were issued. If you find the receiver marked with a “JJ CO NY NY” import stamp, assume it’s a parts gun unless you have clear evidence to the contrary. (Many “new Lithgow” parts guns appear to have been assembled on receivers imported by John Jovino & Co.) If you find a 4-digit serial number with no prefix letter and an “A” suffix, this is clear evidence that it is not a Lithgow factory rifle. If you find different serial numbers on different parts, this is clear evidence that it is a parts gun. And if the recoil plates are missing, it is not only a parts gun--it could be dangerous to shoot. There’s a possibility that the fore-end will be damaged with as few as 20 or 30 round fired.

Where JJ Co used unissued receivers, they did not have serial numbers on them from Lithgow.
JJ Co numbered these receivers themselves, using a letter suffix (usually A) in the serial instead of a letter prefix as was customary markings for Lithgow.
If any doubt, a quick look at the serial number and date on the rifle will soon sort it.

For knowledgeable collectors of Lithgow Enfields, these assembled new rifles are pretty easy to spot by their light colored stocks and parkerized finish. Another dead give away for the assembled rifles is that they are not in the normal Lithgow serial number ranges. Most of the assembled rifles have serial numbers that either start with a "G" prefix or have a "A" suffix.

import marks on your Lithgow on the right hand side of receiver just above the wood line in front of the bolt handle? If so, I think it you look hard at your import marks, you will see that they are actually IA CO SAC CA but the first "I" looks like a "T" due to the mark being stamped at an angle. I have had a couple of the IA imported Lithgow rifles with the IA CO SAC CA import marks on the location I mentioned and others with the import marks on the bottom of the charger bridge on the right side. IA was the "Inter American" company and they imported a lot if military surplus arms as well as new AKs and Sks. If I remember right, they went out of business around 2005 or so. Anyhow, they had some pretty nice Lithgows as well as some not so nice like any importer. They did not assemble rifles from NOS parts either like Jovino did.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Bear43
Date Posted: July 19 2019 at 5:41pm
Any chance we could get this made into a sticky, Shamu? It's something that comes up regular enough to warrant it, I think.

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: July 20 2019 at 7:33am
Not sure! I stickied it but its not showing up that way? we'll see.
edited. the "pin" just showed up when I refreshed the page.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Bear43
Date Posted: July 20 2019 at 11:10am
It is showing up as a sticky for me now. It wasn't last night for some reason.

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: July 20 2019 at 2:28pm
I think we were seeing data from our cache before the pin, when we came back the page updated with new data?

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: AussieShooter
Date Posted: September 01 2019 at 1:46pm
Thanks for posting these details.  Are there any examples where the JJ&Co is legit for a Lithgow gun?

I'm a new collector and trying to learn.  There is a gun being offered as a No1mk3* 1917 (heavily used, not promoted as new) but it has the above referenced receiver. 

Posted By: BJ72
Date Posted: September 02 2019 at 2:18am
JJ&Co did purchase and resell complete Lithgow made and assembled rifles. Some of the rifles they sold were every bit as good as any other Lithgow. They also assembled a lot of rifles from parts. Unfortunately these parts guns have tarnished the reputation of all JJ&Co marked guns. The only way to tell if it's genuine is to inspect it very carefully and make sure all the markings are correct for that production or refurbishment period. If the rifle you're looking at was made in 1917, it was most likely arsenal refurbished at least once in it's life. If refurbished by Lithgow in the late 40's it will be marked R M/A and the year on the butt. If it went through the Lithgow FTR program in the 50s it will be stamped FTR near the serial number and M/A and the year on the lower left side of the receiver just above the trigger guard. At lot of these early WW1 era Lithgow rifles also ended up in the UK or elsewhere and could have been refurbished by another country. We also need to remember these JJ&Co rifles have been in circulation now for quite some time and may well have been messed with since JJ&Co sold them. Most of the JJ&Co parts guns Ive seen have been made on later production receivers, especially 1945 receivers. As far as collectable rifles go, I just stay well clear or anything marked JJ&Co. Even if you think it's original, you still have to convince the next guy if you go to sell it. If you just want a good looking shooter and the rifle is in good serviceable condition (if in doubt have it checked by a decent gunsmith), the JJ&Co stamp definitely wont make it shoot any better or worse. There are plenty of JJ&Co guns out there that shoot just as good as the next Lithgow. If you're more into acquiring a collectable rifle, there's still plenty of Lithgow made No1 Mk3's out there without that annoying JJ&Co stamp.

My idea of gun control is hitting what I aim at and nothing else.

Posted By: AussieShooter
Date Posted: September 02 2019 at 8:07am
Thanks for the details and great advice.  I recently purchased Ian Skennerton’s book and am looking forward to having this reference.  I am looking for a collectible, so patience is a virtue!

Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: September 02 2019 at 7:47pm
thats a great sticky , some of us learned this old school - we can now say the younger among us are armed with better info than we were , so much to learn and so little time , 

Posted By: MJ11
Date Posted: September 15 2019 at 7:28am
This is well covered ground but wroth posting again.

1944 E prefix

This one has a deep blued finish and while it has never been to the rage I doubt I will try it and leave the set in as new condition to be moved on to the next conservator when my time comes. I have a fine shooter I dearly enjoy.

1943 BSA my go to fun gun.


The Spartans do not ask how many the enemies are but where they are

Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: September 16 2019 at 6:40pm
great info always worth sharing and beautiful rifles 

Posted By: AussieShooter
Date Posted: September 17 2019 at 5:45am
Great info and great patterns!

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