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US Savage #4 MK1

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cwo4uscgret View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 23 2010 at 7:04am
On another discussion board there's talk about a "Tanker" sized SMLE - a fantasy gun but hey stubby guns fit in places longer guns don't.   Here's an example:
 
 
My local gunshop has had a US Savage #4 Mk1 on the shelf for months - they wanted $200.  I offered $125 out the door but ended up paying $139 and change for it.  The barrel has been cut to less then 24" - it looks like a cut-off wheel was used to chop it shorter.  I have a #4 stock set but no metal so I'll have to get some.
 
Here'a few shots of the gun I got and the stock set:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 23 2010 at 1:41pm
Quote On another discussion board there's talk about a "Tanker" sized SMLE - a fantasy gun but hey stubby guns fit in places longer guns don't.  
I'm not entirely sure that the tanker wasn't an experimental configuration at the least.
 
A relic cutdown No.4 barreled action has been dug up on a battlefield fitted with a launcher for the anti-tank rifle grenades. The battleground was one where British Paratroopers had fought, but that all I remember about it.
 
There definitely were similar cutdown M1917 and P-14 rifles, the P-14 carbines were experimental but the M1917 rifle was cutdown at the Chinese Infantry school in India, for use by the smaller of Stillwell's Chinese troops who'd had difficulty handling the full length rifles. Several thousand of these were turned out by local craftsmen. 
 
There were several versions of shortened No.1 rifles with nose cap and stocked to the muzzle, some of these were very short indeed. Some are believed to be Cadet rifles but I believe there were others that were experimentals.
 
The vast majority of cutdown tanker types are of course fakes, but a very few real authorized conversions once existed.
 
Heres a PDF article with photos of the Shortened P-14.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beerhunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 23 2010 at 9:02pm
Originally posted by LE Owner LE Owner wrote:

Quote On another discussion board there's talk about a "Tanker" sized SMLE - a fantasy gun but hey stubby guns fit in places longer guns don't.  
I'm not entirely sure that the tanker wasn't an experimental configuration at the least.
 

The flaw in the argument for a "Tankie" (as they are know in the British Army) No4 is that tank crews were armed with SMGs and pistols issued purely for self-defence.  So no need for rifle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cwo4uscgret Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2010 at 12:28am
Lithgow did create a few shortened SMLEs and more then likely a few unit armorers did some in-theater experiments (like was done with the M1 Garand - 3 prototypes made by Springfield and some shorted in the Pacific Theater of Operations) but they were never produced and issued to troops. 
 
This Savage I have has had the barrel shortened and the OD of the last inch or so has been milled down - the front sight is pressed on over what was once the bayonet lugs.  The barrel was not recrowned; it still shows tool marks from being cut.  Had the gun been uncut I would consider restoring it - but instead I think I'll do the stubby conversion...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2010 at 1:18am
The cutdown No.4 found in a battlefield dig ( perhaps in Holland?)is an unusual item. I wish I knew more about that one. Similar shortened No.4 rifles used as dedicated grenade lauanchers were used by rebels in Burma in the 80's.
 
In theatre modifications to rifles seems to have been far more common than one might think.
Despite difficulty in producing enough arms to equip whole armies the situation was all too often reversed with casualties so high that there were far more rifles laying around than men left alive to carry them.
 
Transporting damaged rifles back to an area where they could be properly returned to original configuration would not be cost effective.
 
I've seen WW2 Pacific theatre combat footage showing US Marines moving heavy ammunition loads into the mountains while carrying Thompson SMGs that had been field modified to create very compact machine pistols. All wood removed and the mounting hole of the butt stock fitting used to secure one end of a sling, the other end looped around the barrel. This gave them a very effective close range lightweight PDW they could use with one hand while handling the heavy loads.
 
In WW1 Sappers cutdown battlefield pickup SMLE rifles to make ultra short weapons to be used when they ran into German countermines or broke into enemy bunkers.
 
On the Eastern front Russian partizans modified a number of the SVT rifles to a carbine configuration for close range work, deployed much like an assault rifle. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VAnimrod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2010 at 1:58am
At some point, I'm going to:
take a bubba's No.4 action;
fit a No.5 sight to it;
screw on an Ishapore barrel;
modify the bolthead to feed the 7.62x51s;
use/modify the Ish mag to work;
 chop the barrel to about 18";
whittle down the stock and refit the metal to it for the front sight assembly and bullnose;
D&T in a scout mount just in front of the receiver out to where the Ish rear sight was;
mount a good scout scope in QD rings;
and call it good.

Think Jeff Cooper meets Gunga Din.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2010 at 4:56am
Remember that not all converted no.4 rifles passed proof testing.
 
According to an armouer converted No.4 rifles that had appeared to pass the 7.62 proof loads were sometimes found to have difficulty in extraction and such afterwards and these were condemned without further inspection.
 
A few posters of other forums have told of converted No.4 rifles suddenly becoming very difficult to cycle, the bolts bent or action bodies warped. Same has been reported of at least one L42 in the Falklands.
 
I personally don't consider the converted No.4 suitable for most recent .308 loads or a good deal of available surplus 7.62 either.
 
If handloaded to original 7.62 Ball specs of 48,000 CUP the No.4 rifle should handle these loads okay if in otherwise very good condition. But even then I suspect some might not over time.
 
I wouldn't automatically assume that a run of the mill No.4 is suitable for conversion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cwo4uscgret Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2010 at 5:48am
LE Owner - I intend to keep mine as a .303
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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 24 2010 at 6:10am
interesting rescue you have on your hands - all i have are some no1 metal bits or id offer to send them , sorry bout that , and i wish you good luck as it looks to be a worthy cause , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lithgow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2010 at 6:20am
Hey VAnimrod, I have exactly what you describe.
A No4 converted to 7.62mm, 18inch barrel. Mag is aftermarket made for the indian rifle and mine is not drilled and tapped and never will be while I own it.
It was converted by Sportco and reproofed at lithgow for the 7.62.
Someone decided that the barrel would be better cut to 18inches
The wood on mine is cut at the middle band.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2010 at 6:45am
Originally posted by cwo4uscgret cwo4uscgret wrote:

LE Owner - I intend to keep mine as a .303
With reloadable .303 brass and quality components becoming more and more common the .303 offers advantages over the .308 without the possible problem of factory ammunition loaded above the average good condition Enfield's safety margin being encountered.
Some users of the .308 have found that their most accurate loads mimic the MkVII ammunition in bullet weight and velocity.
 
I don't see any tangible advantage to converting a No.4 to 7.62.
 
I'd considered it many years ago, when quality .303 ammo and components weren't easy to find, but even then warnings against use of any ammunition other than the 144 gr British NATO Ball in the L42 were already commonplace.
 
The main reason so many conversion kits were on the market years ago was that India had canceled a huge contract for these prefering their own homegrown 2A rifles.
 
The Envoy police rifles were especially manufactured to handle the 7.62 better than the run of the mill conversions due to the high percentage of surplus L42 rifles leased to metro police found
 by police armorers to be badly degraded and dangerously unsafe to fire.
 
Warnings of safety concerns over use of the hotter .308 and 7.62 loads in converted No.4 rifles have been around since the seventies at least. The controversy over more recent NRA UK warnings are a sign that some shooters only believe what they want to believe, and they can always find some pundit or other to feed their desire for reassurance.
 
If not for some placing too much faith in the unscientific results of the occasional incidents of rifles much stronger than the Enfield surviving one or two shots of inncorrect ammunition of much larger caliber than the bore size the myth that oversize bullets don't raise chamber pressures would not have led to the use of undersized bores for No.4 conversions.
These undersized bore target barrels are the main reason restrictions were placed on the use of No.4 rifles at Bisely.
 
Experiments by Ruger on a set of custom ordered .303 single shot rifles, built with .308 bore barrels for experimenting with available bullet types in the smaller dia, indicated a 7-8% increase in chamber pressures when standard .311 bullets were used.
When long range target ammo is already loaded to near maximum acceptable pressures that sort of increase would over stress the action body with every shot.
 
Basically to repeat myself , if ammo is kept at the M80 pressure levels of 48,000 CUP a No.4 properly converted and proofed is plenty safe, but theres a lot of .308 and 7.62 Long Range ammo out there that generates Average working pressures more than ten percent higher, and Maximum Deviation pressures over 20% higher, very nearly a proof test level charge (125%) at every shot.
 
Also its likely most WW2 era manufacture No.4 boltheads are not up to repeated stresses of the .308. Boltheads proofed at higher pressure levels are generally used for these conversions and marked as such.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lithgow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 25 2010 at 5:14pm

When I had a brief stint at big bore in the late 70s, the conversions were still quite popular.

At that stage the most common rifle was the Omark M44.
When the 7.62 was adopted by the military and consequently the rifle shooting movement, a lot of No4s were converted.
Some of these were converted by club armourers and others by Sportco.
Sportco were reproofed at Lithgow and only rifles which were proofed could be used in a competition. I think you could arrange to have armourer conversions sent to be proofed but I am not 100% sure.
In those days, all ammo was supplied by the Army and was std issue ball ammo.
at distances over 600yds, the conversions were rumoured to have superior accuracy to the Omarks, I only ever shot the No4 and then the Omark so never tested that.
As long as the rifles are used with the correct ammo they are quite safe. the problem comes when using 308 ammo that they were not designed for. Any rifle will fail in a short time if used with ammo that is too hot.
I have never heard of the undersize bore issue and was unaware that there were restrictions placed on them at Bisley but I certainly wont argue that one. It is a long time since I shot big bore.  Any rifle fired with oversized projectiles will raise pressures.
Basically, keep to the ammo they were designed for and you shouldnt have any problems.
If you are looking for an edge ove th 303 then I think you need to look much further than th 7.62, in my opinion they are so close I doubt anyone would be able to pick the difference.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beerhunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 25 2010 at 5:48pm
Originally posted by LE Owner LE Owner wrote:

The controversy over more recent NRA UK warnings are a sign that some shooters only believe what they want to believe, and they can always find some pundit or other to feed their desire for reassurance.
 

However that warning from the NRA and subsequent warnings (containing some back tracking by the NRA) has been comprehensively discredited.

The NRA were unable to provide ANY credible references or evidence on which they had based the warning.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote madcratebuilder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 26 2010 at 12:32am
Damn, my Tanker is making the rounds.

As on GB.


After some BLO. Displayed with a 43 Maltby as I believe this  Tanker action is a 43 Maltby with the bogus LB serial number.



From my cold dead hands
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 26 2010 at 12:53pm
Originally posted by Beerhunter Beerhunter wrote:

Originally posted by LE Owner LE Owner wrote:

The controversy over more recent NRA UK warnings are a sign that some shooters only believe what they want to believe, and they can always find some pundit or other to feed their desire for reassurance.
 

However that warning from the NRA and subsequent warnings (containing some back tracking by the NRA) has been comprehensively discredited.

The NRA were unable to provide ANY credible references or evidence on which they had based the warning.
Credible to who?
If you don't want to believe the Birmingham Proofmaster then show up at Bisely with a No.4 conversion which has not been reproofed to their standards and demand that they let you use it in competition there.
 
I read and compared the NRA safety warnings and saw nothing that looked like "backtracking".
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Safety Notice
Enfield No 4 Rifle Conversions to 7.62mm

A safety warning concerning the use of Enfield No 4 Rifle actions converted to 7.62mm was published in the Summer Journal.

After further consideration of all factors influencing safety of these conversions and consultation with the Birmingham Proof Master, the following advice must be adhered to in respect of the use of Enfield No 4 conversions:

• Owners of Enfield No 4 actioned rifles converted to 7.62mm currently proofed to 19 tons per square inch are strongly advised to have them re-proofed to the current CIP standard (requiring a minimum mean proof pressure of 5190 bar) which allows the use of CIP approved ammunition with a Maximum Average Working Pressure (MAWP) of 4150 Bar.
• Conversions retaining their original Enfield barrel or a replacement barrel as manufactured by RSAF Enfield are safe to use with commercial CIP approved ammunition, which complies with a MAWP of 4150 bar, loaded with any weight of bullet, providing they carry a valid proof mark, and are still in the same condition as when submitted for proof.
• Conversions fitted with any other make of barrel (such as Ferlach, Maddco, Krieger etc) should be checked by a competent gunsmith to determine the throat diameter of the chamber/barrel fitted before use.
• Conversions where the throat diameter is less than the CIP specification of 0.311” but not smaller than 0.3085” must not be used with ammunition which exceeds 3650 Bar MAWP when fired in a SAAMI/CIP pressure barrel.
• Conversions which have been checked and found to comply with Rule 150 may safely be used with any ammunition supplied by the NRA including the 155 grain Radway Green Cartridge, 155 grain RUAG Cartridge or any other commercial CIP Approved cartridges loaded with bullets of any weight provided that the ammunition pressure does not exceed 3650 Bar when measured in a CIP standard barrel.
• Owners of Enfield No 4 actioned rifles converted to 7.62mm who are uncertain as to the proof status of the rifle should have it checked by a competent gunsmith.
• Owners of Enfield No 4 actioned rifles in any calibre are strongly advised not to use them in wet weather or without removing all traces of oil from action and chamber prior to shooting.
• Enfield No 4 rifles which are fitted with a barrel which has a throat diameter less than 0.3085” must not be used on Bisley Ranges.
• Ammunition loaded with bullets of any weight which are of greater diameter than the throat diameter of the barrel must not under any circumstances be used on Bisley Ranges in any rifle or barrel of any manufacture.
__________________
 
3650 Bar is just short of 53,000 PSI which is the maximum deviation pressure of M80 Ball. Long range match loads of over 60,000 PSI average working pressure are not uncommon.
Average working pressure of M80 Ball is listed as 48,000 CUP or 51,000 PSI.
 
If you believe your rifle is suited to pressures of over 60,000 PSI then you shouldn't object to having it reproofed to the higher standard.
 
  
From what I've read the Converted No.4 was barred from matches in New Zealand long ago, and I've been told of warnings against use of Lapua 7.62 Sniper ammo in the L42 rifles.
 
The situation is due to most not realizing that besides the average working pressure of a particular load there are acceptable maximum deviations in pressure of modern long range ammo that are far above the design safety margin of the rifle.
The Instructions to Armorers reveal that even when only mil spec MkVII and MkVIIIZ were in use some rifles developed cracked action bodies and cracking around the locking recesses. These were demilled by drilling a hole from top of the receiver ring and a hardened steel plug inserted , the rifles then relegated to DP status.
We can figure that the vast majority of actions not up to the stress were scrapped or DP'ed long before conversions began, but thats no garantee that some converted rifles won't fail after repeated exposure to significantly higher pressures of modern 7.62 and .308 long range match ammunition.
 
believe what you like, its your skin, or maybe the skin of a bystander since injuries to bystanders from blown boltheads are not unknown, even when only .303 ammo was used.
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