• 1933 No.4 Mk1(T) Sniper

    1933 Enfield No.4 Mk1(T) Sniper "Trials Rifle"
    (Converted by RSAF Enfield)

    c/w matching 1943 Model No.32 Mk.1 Scope
    (Mfg by William Watson & Son)

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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: ....................... 11 lb. 10 oz. (5.3kg)
    Magazine Capacity: ...... 10 rounds
    Rifle Converted: ............ by RSAF Enfield
    Rifle approval date: ....... February 12th, 1942
    Scope: ......................... TEL. SGT. No.32 Mk 1 O.S. Serial # 2597 (Mfg in 1943 by William Watson & Son)
    Scope approval date: .... February 12th, 1942 (No.32 Mk 1)
    Rifle Qty Mfg: ................ 1,403 of 2,500 original No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifles" converted to No.4(T)'s.

    Source: .... The Lee-Enfield by Ian Skennerton (2007) ISBN 0 949749-82-6
    Source: .... An Armorer's Perspective: .303 No.4(T) Sniper Rifle by Laidler & Skennerton (1993) - ISBN: 0949749176

    Canadian Market Value Estimate: $

    1933 Enfield No.4 Mk1(T) Sniper "Trials Rifle"
    This item has been reviewed by members of the Milsurps Advisory Panel.This item has been judged by members of the Milsurps Advisory Panel as NOT completely authentic, possibly has been rebuilt, or put together with correct/incorrect markings or substituted parts.
    (290 picture virtual tour)

    Note: Research and article prepared by Advisory Panel members Badger and Lance, with additional contributions from Roger Payne

    According to Skennerton, the Rifle No.1 Mark VI was re-designated the No.4 Mark i in mid-1931; a batch of these No.4 trials rifles were produced with many features similar to the Mark VI; a magazine cut-off, special foresight protectors, button headed cocking piece and bronze colored buttplate. However, the obvious and distinguishing differences which are classified as No.4 rather than No.1 Mk VI features are the higher, flat left wall of the receiver, absence of the safety catch recess in the receiver, and the absence of the chequering on the fore-end.

    Because of acute shortages of rifles after Dunkirk, most of the No. 4 Mk1 Enfield "Trials Rifles" were refurbished with wartime No.4 parts and put into service, although many of these retained the special foresight protector and cocking piece of the original rifle. Quite a few "Trials Rifles" were also converted to No.4 Mk1(T) sniper rifles at RSAF Enfield.

    The first No.4 Mk1(T) rifles were set up at RSAF Enfield, commencing in May 1940, when No.1 Mk VI and No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifles" underwent Factory Thorough Repair (FTR) and many of the No.4 rifles were fitted with the No.32 Mk 1 telescope. In all, RSAF Enfield manufactured about 2,500 No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifles" between 1931 and 1933, with the initial starting serial number at A0001. Skennerton's research indicates they only converted 1,403 of these original "Trials Rifles" to No.4(T)'s, before "Holland and Holland" (S51) began producing the standard No.4(T)'s, based upon regular No.4 Mk1 design and production standards.

    It should be noted that A0001 was the same starting serial number they used for the No.1 Mk VI over its two year run (1929-1930), so as Skennerton points out, it is possible to find a No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifle" and a No.1 Mk VI rifle with the same serial numbers.

    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. The rifle displayed in our photo pictorial is one of original trials rifles upgraded and converted to sniper configuration by RSAF Enfield. They only did 1,403 of these before Holland and Holland (S51) began producing the standard No.4(T)'s, based upon regular No.4 Mk1 production standards.

    This rifle is an essentially "all correct" with the exception of some anomalous components that are either "home made", or outright fakes. It does feature the original round cocking piece, a home made "waisted" front sight protector, hinged front barrel band, butt marking disc, a fake RSAF Enfield marked (it's actually a Fazakerley) folding aperture sight with battle sight removed, plus a magazine cut-off, the latter which is incorrect to be present on a "Trials Rifle" sniper conversion. Note: Since this comment was written, evidence has turned up that shows cut-offs may not have been removed on conversion after all. See additional information provided by Terry Hawker in reference note below.

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    Incorrect (home made?) .............................. Correct (British Mfg)

    Note: For the correct version, look closely at the pronounced steps on inside of sight band, which cause the band to fit snug against barrel and in this case, it's also marked S.M. = Singer Mfg Co., Clydebank, Scotland. Correct version pic courtesy of "Lance".

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    Fake marked Enfield rear sight. It's actually an "over stamped" Fazakerley original sight.

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    Correctly marked RSAF Enfield rear sight for a "Trials Rifle". Pics courtesy of "Lance".

    The scope covers are not original, but are off an L42A1 contract, as indicated by the NATO stock number stamped on strap.

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    ................................. Incorrect Scope Covers ...............................

    All of these "Trials" sniper rifles were original fitted with the No.32 Mk1 scope. The original W. Watson & Sons No.32 Mk1 scope matched to this No.4 Mk1(T) "Trials Rifle" rifle serial #A0507 was scope serial #1161, which is stamped in the wood on top of the butt wrist, above another number #2597.

    The original scope has been replaced with the current W. Watson & Sons No.32 Mk1 scope Serial #2597 and matched once again with this same No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifle" Serial #A0507. To be correct, the #1161 should have been cancelled out with horizontal lines through the number, which has not been done here. It has since been confirmed that this current W. Watson & Sons No.32 Mk1 scope Serial #2597, scope bracket and Case No.8 are KNOWN to not be original to the rifle, having been added and #2597 stamped on the wrist and scope bracket recently !!!!!

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    During the research on this rifle I came across a reference in the book, The British Sniper by Ian Skennerton (1983) - ISBN: 0949749036 which said on page 242 that There was a provision for a magazine cut-off, which was removed. This remark appears in a section discussing what was done do the original No4. Mk1 "Trials Rifles" during the conversion process at RSAF Enfield. I suspect that they indeed may have done this, simply because the use of this kind of feed limiting cut-off technology had become obsolete by then, similar to the removal of the long range dial sights that was performed on the P14 snipers set-up early in WWII. Note: Since this comment was written, evidence has turned up that shows cut-offs may not have been removed on conversion after all. See additional information provided by Terry Hawker in reference note below.

    The SMLE No 1 Mk V & Mk V1 along with the No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifle" all used a stamped sheet metal cut-off, as opposed to the forged ones on the earlier rifles. You can tell the difference by looking at the round part that forms the grip. The early style is solid with a hole drilled in it, while the sheet metal unit has a gap where it was rolled over to form the round part. Below are some close up pics of the "Trials Rifle" cut-off, which shows the correct stamped sheet metal cut-off and marked with Enfield inspector markings on the underside.

    In regards to our sniper "Trials Rifle" featured here, the correct style of magazine cut-off was originally thought to have been added back, but now, the recent emergence of war-time photographs, as well as recent collectors' reports, seem to disprove the long-held belief that cut-offs were removed from No. 4 Mk 1 Trials rifles upon conversion to sniper rifles. For the most recent evidence and with thanks to Advisory Panel member Terry Hawker, there's a very detailed and interesting article in the Technical Articles for Milsurp Collectors and Re-loaders (click here) section of the Milsurps Knowledge Library. It's titled No. 4 Mk I (T), ex-Trials Rifle - Cut-off - Off or On? (click here) and it's accompanied by an extensive photo montage detailing the use and descriptions of the various of magazine cut-offs on Enfield rifles.
    ...... (Feedback by "Badger")

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    2. According to Skennerton, they made 2500 No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifles" between 1931 and 1933, with the initial starting serial number at A0001. Of those 2500 No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifles", RSAF Enfield converted 1,403 to No.4(T) sniper rifles before "Holland and Holland" (S51) began producing the standard No.4(T)'s, based upon regular No.4 Mk1 production standards.

    Examining Skennerton's pics and comparing them to the 1933 No.4 Mk1(T) "Trials Rifle" displayed in our photo pictorial and if they only made 2500 rifles from 1931 to 1933, how can a 1931 rifle (A0902) and two 1933 rifles (A0485 & A0507) all be within only 417 numbers of each other? The math doesn't seem to work.

    Picture from the book "The Lee Enfield" by Skennerton (Page 212)
    "1933 No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifle Serial No. A0902"

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    Drawing from "The Lee Enfield" by Skennerton (Page 211)
    "1931 No.4 Mk1 "Trials Rifle Serial No. A0485"

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    Skennerton does say on Page 212 of the "The Lee Enfield" book that "On some of the 1933 dated No.4 rifles it has been noted that date seems to be an over stamp of an original 1931 date; these specific serial numbers fit into the 1930-31 series of No.4 rifles rather than being a new group, so it is assumed that these examples were from the earlier production run, perhaps updated to incorporate features of the later model, after the "C" pattern as described previously."

    However, in examining closely the 1933 No.4 Mk1(T) "Trials Rifle" displayed in our photo pictorial, plus looking at Skennerton's pics, none of these 1933 receiver pics or drawings indicates that it has the last "1" over stamped with a "3" (see pics). One can observe a slight vertical line which extends from the "E" in Enfield downward into the "3", but upon close inspection its actually an irregular metal flaw and not a "1" that's been over stamped.

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    So, what does all of this mean? To be honest, at this point I have no idea. Did they make a bunch of early serial numbered receivers in 1931 and leave off the date stamp, then in 1933 when they began to build more rifles, they put 1933 on some, while over stamping others that actually already had the 1931 date on them?
    ...... (Feedback by "Badger")

    3. 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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    4. 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 indentifying markings and authenticity. For example, in the case of this MKL entry of the 1933 Enfield No.4 Mk1(T) Sniper "Trials 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")
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 1933 No.4 Mk1(T) Sniper "Trials Rifle" started by Badger View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. yardbird's Avatar
      How can I find the rough value of one of these? Mine is not perfect, but it all matches...Roy
    1. bearrowland's Avatar
      What a beautiful rifle, complete with scope case to boot! The most accurate rifle I've shot to date was a 1921 SMLE.....I can't imagine what a 4T shoots like!
    1. Ian Skennerton's Avatar
      Hi from the sunny Gold Coast in Oz,
      To go through every point made in reference to the No.4 Mk I(T) Enfield conversion from a trials 1933 rifle and comment would be a major effort however Badger's and other comments are not far from the mark. You guys are learning well although it lets the forgers know how to do their work better too.

      My main comments concur...
      This was not the original scope on the rifle (production dates and absence of cancellation stamp on 1161).
      Obvious faking of Enfield logo on the backsight.
      Foresight protector and replica... working on the Faris collection catalogue we noted differences in the No.1 Mk VI and trials No.4 Mk I frontsight & protector, and rearsights.
      A 1929 dated magazine cut-off plate would be for a No.1 Mk VI, not trials No.4.
      The No.1 Mk V cut-off was a casting (S.A.I.S. #23, Lee-Enfield Parts Catalogue) while the No.1 Mk VI and trials No.4 cut-offs were folded sheet metal... usually with view marks and production year.
      I see an ENGLAND export mark and London proof on the receiver (action body) ring.

      Regarding production figures and serials for the trials No.4 Mk I rifles, I quoted 'approximately 2,500' made at Enfield. This was over about a 4-year period and any attempt to rationalise serial numbers is fraught with fustration, and from experience, almost inevitably incorrect.
      RSAF Enfield did not just do a run of troop trials rifles serial A0001 to A1xxxx or whatever. No.4 trials rifles evolved from the No.1 Mk VI in the late 1920s and there were batches for troop trials, assessments, parts updating, manufacturing trials, &c. over more than 3 years.
      Whether cut-off plates remained in the No.4 Mk I(T) rifles after they left Enfield is debatable. Is they/some did, no doubt some were removed in service anyway. It's not worth making a big fuss about, however a 1929 dated cut-off is not kosher. The 1,403 figure of trials No.4 rifles cond. to (T)s at Enfield early in the war is per contract records, so that is certain.

      While I may be a registered valuer for the Australian government under the Taxation Incentives to the Arts Scheme, I don't like putting prices on hard-to-get items. The value of any item is what people are prepared to pay, so buyers at auction can be lucky sometimes, or have bids run up to astronomical figures when 2 or 3 cashed up chaps want an item.

      Brian Labudda intends to do a paper on the 'Non-Interchangeable' features of troop trials No.1 Mk VI and trials (both troop trials, test and production trials) No.4 Mk I, as a result of working through the Faris collection. He had 6 transitional rifles in the No.1 Mk VI to No.4 Mk I period from 1926, as well as 'regular' No.1 Mk VI, wartime Fazakerley assembled No.1 Mk VI and trials No.4 Mk I rifles. The fact that Brian and I have reached a consensus on the timeline and progression as evidenced in Faris' collection, is not going to be far out.
      Happy birthday everyone!
    1. Surpmil's Avatar
      As a former owner of this rifle I can confirm that when it was sold by me, it did not have the second scope number on the wrist of the butt! Why anyone would deface such an important artifact in that manner is beyond me. Utterly pointless. I obtained the rifle without a scope or bracket as I recall, and again, as I recall when I sold it, it was sold with an un-numbered and very early (presumably) Rose Bros. bracket, which I recognize as being the one currently shown fitted. Without going back and looking at notes, I cannot say what scope was sold with it, but not this one! I have photos showing the butt before the second number was added. Likewise, there was no backsight when I sold the rifle. The magazine cutoff however, was fitted to the rifle when I got it and I personally would not consider it outside the realm of possibility for a cutoff from a No.1 MkVI rifle to have been fitted in service, perhaps even originally. We have certainly seen quite a few No.4 Mk.I trials rifles fitted with No.1 MkVI cocking pieces for example, which are easily identified by the cross-screw below the firing pin. It goes without saying that the label added to the scope case (Case, No.8 Mk.I) is entirely spurious and a recent fake done using an original piece of a form or more likely, a facsimile of one produced on a computer and then varnished over to look "antique".
Turner Slings