May 2015 - Featured Milsurp Library Entry of the Month
1944 Enfield No.4 Mk1*(T) Long Branch TP Sniper Rifle Serial # 74L0318
(Converted by Long Branch Arsenal, Ontario, Canada)
c/w matching Telescopic, Sighting C No.32, Mk.I(TP) (Trade Pattern)
Scope Serial # 4392S (Mfg by Lyman-Alaskan)
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Observations: (by "Badger")
Note: Pics of rifle provided courtesy of MILSURPS.COM member ~Angel~.
Extracted from "Without Warning" by Clive LAW (pages 39 thru 47) - 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) ....... The Lyman Alaskan sight was introduced into Canadian service as an interim measure. Contrary to other reports it has been established that 350 of these were purchased and provided with mounts manufactured by SAL (Small Arms Limited). ...... In May, 1943 SAL shipped two No.4 rifles to Colonel McAvity of National Defence Headquarters. McAvity was the head of the Directorate of Vehicles and Arms (DVA). These were No.4 Mk.I models and one, serial number 32L3126, was equipped with a Lyman Alaskan scope while the second, s/n 32L4243, sported a Weaver 330 telescope.
These rifles were provided on loan only and Col. McAvity was advised that they were to be returned. The rifles underwent trials and these results were telegrammed to Canada and stated "We consider Alaskan best choice. It has tapered posts with cross-wire and luminosity ahead of (No.)32. In theses tests we were able to distinguish targets 15 to 20 minutes later in the evening than with the 32." Until REL could supply No.32 telescopic sights, or until such time that an improved sight came into production, attention was directed to the United States for the possible supply of commercially manufactured scopes. The US had previously indicated that they could release 200 Weaver 330 or Lyman Alaskan scopes per month. The Canadian Army had determined that the No.32 mount could, by use of two bushings, be suitably adapted. The Canadian Army had an outstanding order with Long Branch for 441 sets of sniper equipment (rifle, scope chest, etc.). However, after receiving 91 of these, they agreed to give up the rest of the sights and mounts to the British Army who had a demonstrably greater need. This left Canada with a shortfall of 350 telescopic scopes and mounts. They chose to proceed with an order (contract number 2-199149, dated 2 December 1943) for 350 Lyman Alaskan scopes but rather than use the No.32 mounts with bushings decided to order new style of mount then under development by SAL. Part of the rationalization was that the delivery schedules for either type was similar. It would be March 1944 before approval was obtained for the scope purchase but Lyman Gunsight Corporation was unable to provide definite delivery dates, in fact an army memo, written in frustration, claims that "we still have no definite assurance that they are ever going to supply us with the sights." Based on this it was suggested that SAL hold up on the manufacture of the mounts until Lyman could guarantee delivery dates.
Lyman's delay was caused by two factors outside of its control. The first was that Lyman , which had already advised Canada prior to the contract, could not obtain their glass from their normal source (Lyman procured 'sets' of lenses from Bausch & Lomb) and had to shop around for glass. Suitable lenses were finally obtained from Plummer & Kershaw, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The second reason concerned the type of graticule to be incorporated into the sights. Canada did not want the cross-hair type of graticule preferring instead a tapered post with cross-wire. To produce these Lyman utilized No.12 sewing needles and they were unable to locate sufficient quantities of the required needles in the US. Finally, the Canadian Department of Munitions & Supply located a small quantity of needles in the UK. Lyman started production but warned that Canada had to be prepared to accept the standard cross-hair reticule if sufficient needles to complete the contract were not procured quickly.
Within a month Lyman advised the Department of Munitions & Supply that a quantity of scopes had been completed and that they were contemplating an immediate delivery. An army memorandum, dated 10 May 1944 outlined that the formal contract should show 350 each; Lyman Alaskan 2 1/2x telescopic sight, No.8 Mk.I cases converted to carry the Lyman sight (these were later designated Case, No. 18, Mk.I), SAL mounts, No.4(T) rifles and No.15 Mk.I chests. The model designation was "Telescopic, Sighting C No.32, Mk.I(TP)" with the TP representing Trade Pattern.
The sights were marked and numbered in the commercial range and the military designation was not shown. The approximate range of serial numbers is believed to be between 4340S and 4690S. The range is based upon observation only as no records have survived. It is the author's belief that these were originally mounted on a block of No.4(T) rifles numbered from 74L0001 to 74L0350. Most of the scopes also display the British "Broad Arrow" Ordnance mark. This may have been applied at Lyman on their own initiative when they saw the order was for the Canadian army - however this is purely speculative. The contract between the Department of Munitions and Supply and the Lyman Gunsight Corp., did not call for any special markings to be applied.
Collector's Comments and Feedback:
1. Excellent general article titled “Is my Lee Enfield sniper rifle a fake?” (click here) by a one of our members, Terry "maple_leaf_eh" Warner.
2. Feedback provided by Advisory Panel member "Lee Enfield", with updated information as to quantity manufactured, using data from Clive Law's book.
71 mfg up to Dec 31, 1943
1141 Jan 1 1944 to Dec 31 1945 (Note: Skennerton lists approximately 99 [of 350] No32TPs as being set up during early 1945) 376 mfg by Canadian Arsenals Ltd 1946 (Note: Most or all being C.No.32 Mk3 scopes)
1588 total manufacture
Note: Only 1,524 scopes are recorded as having been produced & purchased by R.E.L. & DND respectively.
Law's conclusions are that the REL No.32 MkI, IA & II scopes are numbered CONSECUTIVELY, while the C.No.67 (No.32 MkIV), C.No.32 Mk3, and No.32TP run in their own sequences. Having said that, MkI, IA & II serials show limited (and unexplained) overlap (probably like a late numbered receiver with earlier features).
Laidler's original conclusion was that all serials had their own ranges, but I have been assured (by Law) that Laidler has since changed his mind to reflect Law's evidence. ....... Feedback by Advisory Panel Member "Lee Enfield".
Source: Without Warning - 20th Century Sniper Equipment of the Canadian Army, by Clive M. Law (2004), ISBN: 1-894581-16-4
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. In the fall of 2010, I started a thread in the The Lee Enfield Knowledge Library Collectors Forum titled Canadian Lyman Alaskan scope and mount research help … (Click Here). The purpose was to gather pics of both legitimate and reproduction versions of them. I received a lot of pics from many sources and I'd like to thank the members who sent many pics, for their contributions of them to our collector community.
I've presented the pics below, simply labelling them as numbered groups and to protect privacy, without any reference to the owners names who requested anonymity. The pics show both authentic and reproduction versions of Long Branch Lyman Alaskan scope mounts and related brackets...…. (Feedback by "Badger")
Note: Click PICS to Enlarge to full size
Photo Group 1
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Photo Group 6
5. If you are a serious collector and paying top dollar for a Long Branch sniper rifle as a collectible piece and it's being sold complete with it's transit "CHEST.S.A.No.15.MK.1", then ensure it's the original Canadian version, not the British "CHEST.S.A.No.15.MK.1". ....... Feedback by "Badger".
6. Canadian No.15 chests will have the initials HCF stamped on the edge of the bottom at one end. This is HILL CLARK FRANCIS of New Liskeard, Ontario. The company still has an office there but unfortunately all the pieces that were still in the warehouse went to the dump in the early 70's. They also made the cases for the Browning AC Mk. II and Mk. II* machine gun, and the Bren. They also made several other arms and munitions shipping cases. I'm just now getting time to get into the records for a complete listing of all the wooden cases they made during WW II. ....... Feedback by "wheaty".
7. 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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8. 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 1944 Enfield No.4 Mk1*(T) Long Branch TP Sniper Rifle, if you own 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")