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    September 2014 - Featured Milsurp Library Entry of the Month

    1943-44 Enfield No.4 Mk1* Experimental Long Branch
    'Scout' Sniper Rifle Serial # ASC-43-3

    (Mfg by Long Branch Arsenal, Ontario, Canada)

    c/w No.32 Mk.4 (C No.67 Mk1) Scope Serial #57-C
    C.G.B. 91 CGA Mfg by R.E.L (Research Enterprises Ltd.)



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    Caliber: ........................ .303 in.
    Rifling & Twist: ............. 5 Groove, Enfield, Left Hand
    Barrel Length: .............. 25.2 in. (640mm)
    Overall Length: ............ 44.5 in. (1130mm)
    Weight: ....................... 10 Lbs. (Weighed - mag empty)
    Magazine Capacity: ...... 10 rounds
    Converted: ................... Long Branch
    Scope: ......................... No.32 Mk.4 Scope #57-C C.G.B. 91 CGA
    Mfg by R.E.L (Research Enterprises Ltd.), Leaside Ontario, Canada

    Qty Mfg ........................ 20 (4 with regular Enfield bayonet lug like this Knowledge Library example)

    Source: .... Without Warning by Clive LAW - ISBN: 1-894581-16-4 - Service Publications (click here)

    Source: .... The British Sniper by Ian Skennerton (1983) - ISBN: 0949749036
    Source: .... The Lee Enfield by Ian Skennerton (2007) - ISBN: 9780949749826
    Source: ......... An Armorer's Perspective: .303 No.4(T) Sniper Rifle by Peter Laidler & Ian Skennerton (1993) - ISBN: 0949749176


    1943-44 Enfield No.4 Mk1* Experimental Long Branch "Scout" Sniper Rifle Serial # ASC-43-3
    This item has been reviewed by members of the Milsurps Advisory Panel.This item has been judged by members of the Milsurps Advisory Panel, to be authentic by original manufacturer, with all correct markings and components.
    (175 picture virtual tour)

    Observations: (by "Badger")
    Note: Pics of rifle provided courtesy of MILSURPS.COM member ~Angel~.[/b]
    Extracted from "Without Warning" by Clive LAW (pages 56 thru 64) - ISBN: 1-894581-16-4 - Service Publications (click here).

    This is an excellent book by Advisory Panel member Clive Law (click here) about Canadian sniper equipment in the 20th century. We highly recommend that this be a major part of the research library for anyone seriously interested in collecting Canadian sniper rifles. It may be purchased directly from Service Publications (click here).

    Copyrighted material reproduced here with the gracious written permission of Clive Law ....

    (start of extract) ....... As REL experimented with different mounts and different sights, SAL (Small Arms Limited), at the behest of the Army, undertook to develop several new weapons during the war, one of which was an improved sniper rifle. The project was instigated by the War Office, in 1943, who felt that several weapons could benefit from new designs. These were identified as; a light rifle, a sniper rifle, a self loading rifle, a machine carbine and a light automatic rifle. When asked which of these projects Canada would wish to undertake the army replied that Canadian competence was in the light rifle, sniper rifle and machine carbine. Co-incidentally these were the style of firearms manufactured in the Crown-owned Small Arms Limited, and no mention was made of expertise developed by the John Inglis Company in the manufacture of light machine guns, pistols and anti-tank rifles.

    The authority for SAL to undertake this development came from a meeting held with the Army Technical Development Board (ATDB), the Department of Munitions & Supply (DMS) and the Directorate of Vehicles and Arms (DVA) of the Department of National Defence. At the meeting it was pointed out that (the recently promoted again) Colonel Jolley of SAL sought approval to experiment with No.4 rifles to simplify the mounts for telescopic sights as well as other improvements to the sniper rifle. To support further development it was recommended that a Contract Demand in the amount of $2,500 be raised to cover the costs of manufacturing 20 experimental sniper rifles. The rifles were to be of two distinct types; the first 10 featuring heavy barrels, two of which were to have battle sights of 200 yards capable of being used with the telescopic sights mounted on the rifle. These two rifles were also to include a third sling swivel immediately in front of the magazine housing. The remaining 8 rifles were to have a standard sight usable only when the scope was removed. The second group of 10 rifles (as in this Knowledge Library entry) were to have cut down stocks and could be with or without heavy barrels at the discretion of Colonel Jolley and his experimental shop. These 10 rifles were to be fitted with offset sights and a wooden hand guard. All 20 rifles were to feature "special stocks ... rubber pads, cheek pieces, incorporated and improved pistol grip". They were all to be equipped with a combination of either the Griifen & Howe bracket and clamp mounts or the SAL spring-bar side mount. These rifles were further described as either a "Scout Sniper's Rifle" or a "Section Sniper's Rifle". They could be indentified by their serial number prefix; ASC (for Scout) or ASE (for Section)

    In a letter to ATDB, T.K. MacKeigan of Small Arms Limited described them as:

    The Scout Sniper's Rifle .... in this report with 2 1/2x Lyman telescope weighs 9 lbs. 12 oz. Without the telescope it weighs 8 lbs. 6 oz. The barrel is 24 inches long, weighs 2 lbs. 9 oz. and has an outside diameter of 0.003 inches greater than the standard barrel. The off-set sights mounted on this model are for use with the telescope on. The windmill type back-sight provides adjustments for 200, 300, 400 and 600 yards. The front sight swings out from under the guard. It mounts a standard sight blade. The body of this rifle has been considerably cut away for lightness. The main portions removed are: the top back-end including the bridge, the outside half of the sear lugs, and the clearance for the sear on the underside of the body. Four of these were to accept the No.4 spike bayonet (like this Knowledge Library example), three were described as "semi-long forend and US bayonet" while the last three were not setup to accept any bayonet. The fore-end has been cut down for lightness with a rear hand guard provided and a band at the front to hold them together. The front plastic block is ornamental.

    The Section Sniper's Rifle and the 5x Gimbal type telescope manufactured by REL are make-shift in some respects. The telescope mount is a Griffin & Howe design, consequently it is too high. The 5x telescope (early model) has some superfluous brackets on the underside. However, the rifle with telescope weighs 10 lbs 10 oz, without the telescope - 9 lbs. The barrel is standard length and is 0.003 greater on the outside diameter. This rifle has a MkI back-sight with the battle sight removed to allow more room for mounting the telescope. This can be used only when the telescope is off. The telescope mounts for the rifles were designed by SAL in conjunction with the development, by REL, of 3 1/2x and 5x telescopes. The mount consists mainly of two parts, the bracket and the spring bar. The bracket is a simplified form of a Griffin & Howe type. It is detachable from the spring bar, on loosening the two clamping screws, by sliding it backwards. The spring bar, also of SAL design, is fixed to the body at the front by two screws and tapered pins. The back end is adjustable for windage. Special butts were provided with each rifle. These butts were interchangeable with the standard design and featured a built-in cheek rest as well as an oil resistant synthetic rubber recoil pad. A black plastic fitting was provided to increase the length of the pistol grip. Only two of these rifles were equipped with the sling swivel ahead of the magazine.

    At the same time, REL was experimenting with a new finish for their optical products. especially binoculars and telescopic sights. They used a variety of techniques to reduce the visibility of the No.67 (No.32 Mk.4) scope as well as the Observer's scope. The Observer's scope was wrapped in a khaki Vinylite, a covering which was applied with an adhesive, much like wallpaper. Those parts of the Observer's scope which were not covered with Vinylite and were exposed when the draw tube was extended, were subject to a drab anodizing while rest of the scope was given a caustic etching. The No.67 (No.32 Mk.4) scope was finished with a khaki silica paint.



    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. Using deductive reasoning, it appears that the rifle in this Knowledge Library example is 1 of 4 that were built. This assumption is simply based upon the documentation indicating that out of the total of 20 experimental rifles altogether built, "The second group of 10 rifles were to have cut down stocks and could be with or without heavy barrels at the discretion of Colonel Jolley and his experimental shop. These 10 rifles were to be fitted with offset sights and a wooden hand guard." Of these 10 rifles, Clive's research further indicates that within the group identified as The Scout Sniper's Rifle ...... "Four of these were to accept the No.4 spike bayonet, three were described as "semi-long forend and US bayonet" while the last three were not setup to accept any bayonet." Since the photo montage of this Knowledge Library example shows the bayonet lugs and narrowing of the barrel near the front end, plus we tested that it indeed accepts the standard No.4 spike bayonet, it's safe to assume that this particular example is just 1 of a group of 4 "ASC" (Scout Sniper's Rifle) experimental models that were ever built. Prior to publishing, we ran this hypothesis past Clive Law and he concurs with that reasoning. Two other items worthy of note are the fact that first, the barrel appears to be one of the heavy versions, as indicated by the narrowing of the barrel in front of the front "flip-out" sight where the bayonet lugs are attached. The barrel is thicker than normal behind that area all the way back to the breech. Second, it also appears from judging the condition of the breech and bolt face by an experienced gunsmith, that this rifle has never been fired.

    Finally, we also asked Clive about the 43-3 part of the number ASC-43-3 that appears on the scope bracket, butt tang and bolt handle. We had wondered if the -3 meant the serial number 3, to which he responded. "I would suggest that ASC-43-3 is the serial number and that the 3 is merely an assembly number. This would apply to the 0244, etc.., numbers shown in the book also. That said, "Without Warning" was many years (and several books) ago and my memory fails me. However, the archival data I uncovered really only addressed the policy and some specifics and the numbering scheme was never noted so I did some interpretation. This may be shown to be incorrect and future publications will remedy that. The 20 rifles were approved in the sense that resources and money could be dedicated to them and I don't see any one of them as being 'earlier' or more significant than any other. In the grand quantity of rifles made by LB any group of 20 experimental models will be rare..... (Clive)
    ....... Feedback by "Badger".

    2. For those of you who may be into collecting Lee Enfield sniper rifles in general, there's an excellent article titled “Is my Lee Enfield sniper rifle a fake?” (click here) by a one of our members, Terry "maple_leaf_eh" Warner.

    3. Skennerton is unfortunately incorrect about the location of REL. REL was based at Leaside, Ontario (suburb of Toronto). This info is also contained in Law's "W/O Warning". I had to learn this the hard way via arguing with a friend who collects binoculars & was very embarrassed when I had to admit my error after he sent me reference material (and those binoc guys never forget) ....... Feedback by Advisory Panel Member "Lee Enfield".

    4. The Lee Enfield by Ian Skennerton (2007) - ISBN: 9780949749826 is an excellent general reference book on the evolution of Lee-Enfield rifles, however, it doesn't go into great detail on their use as sniper rifles. Ian Skennerton published an earlier 266 page work in 1983 called The British Sniper (British & Commonwealth Sniping & Equipments 1915-1983) - ISBN 0 949749 03 6. For anyone wanting a lot more detail research with pictures covering the evolution of sniping, this is an excellent supplement to his later work. It is out of print, so I'd suggest you use a "Google" search on the title to see if you can find a copy from one of the rare used book sources on the Internet. I found my copy on eBay. ....... (Feedback by "Badger")

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    5. Here's an interesting find by member ChessyCigar, discussed in this thread ... Photograph of rare Canadian Telescopic Rifles from WWII (click here)

    Photo Taken Jan 15th, 1945

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    I have enlarged an area of the pic (front row, second man from the right), where you can see through to the other side and you can just make out the windmill off-set rear sight, plus when you look at the front foresight area, you can clearly see how it swivels outwards to the left, in order to line up with the windmill sight.

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    Other than the butt, which in our MKL example is a standard looking No.4 butt with the cheekpiece, it does appear that the one you've referred to in your grandfather's pic is also one of the 10 experimental rifles produced at Long Branch.

    Although you can't tell from the angle of the barrel whether the rifle in the pic has a bayonet lug, if it did, then like the one in the library entry, it would be just 1 of 4 (possibly 3 if US bayonet lug) produced like this. Extract… "Four of these were to accept the No.4 spike bayonet, three were described as "semi-long forend and US bayonet" while the last three were not setup to accept any bayonet."

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    Note: After you click on images to ENLARGE them, you may find they automatically size smaller in your browser's window making them harder to view. The auto sizing is your browser's way of keeping images entirely within the screen size you have set. Move your mouse pointer to the bottom centre of the pic and you will see an options panel appear. There will be a small square box next to the large X, which will have a pointer arrow sticking out of it. If it's illuminated, it means the pic you're viewing can be enlarged, so click on this box and the pic will EXPAND and open to its normal size. You can then grab the pic with your mouse (hold down left mouse button) and move it around to look more closely at various parts of the photo. ........... (Feedback by "Badger")



    6. The secret to creating and maintaining quality research data in the Milsurps Knowledge Library is you! This is your site and these MKL entries on various old milsurps are yours to add to, or change. The volunteers on the Advisory Panel (click here) can only do so much to vet and validate the information posted here, so please contribute as much as possible to help us present the most accurate and reliable data we can gather on these old milsurps. If you own a particular specimen of any MKL entry, then please send us pics of it, even though they may be duplicate views of pieces you already see here. In that way, we can build up multiple sets of pics for several milsurps of the same model, which will help in identifying markings and authenticity. For example, in the case of this MKL entry of the 1943-44 Enfield No.4 Mk1* Experimental Long Branch "Scout" Sniper Rifle Serial # ASC-43-3, if you own a similar one, we'd like to receive more pics of the stampings and serial number views as shown in the "Observations" section and various "Collector's Comments and Feedback" notes. ALL pics and information received will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and respect of your privacy. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far, which is helping to make the Milsurps Collectors Forums a prominent site for serious collectors of all genres of old milsurp collectibles. ....... (Feedback by "Badger")

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