• No.3 MkI* (T)A Sniper Rifle - (Pattern 1914 Mk1* W (T)A Sniper Rifle)

    No.3 MkI* (T)A Sniper Rifle - (Pattern 1914 Mk1* W (T)A Sniper Rifle)
    (Manufactured by Winchester) Serial #W209977
    Sniper conversion by Alexander Martin (Glasgow) - Scope Mount Serial #209977

    c/w Model 1916 (3x) Pattern 4 Scope Serial #71262
    (Mfg by Aldis Bros. - Birmingham)

    c/w 1907 Pattern leather sling
    (Mfg by W.T.& B. Co. - 1918)
    (Also marked J.J.M. - 1918)

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    Caliber: ....................... .303 in.
    Rifling & Twist: .............. 5 Groove, Enfield, Left Hand, 1 Turn in 10"
    Groove Depth: .............. .005 in.
    Width of Lands: ............ .0936 in.
    Overall Length: ............. 46.4 in. (1175 mm)
    Barrel Length: ............... 26.0 in.(660 mm)
    Weight: ........................ 11 lb 5 oz (5.22 kg) unloaded
    Action: ......................... Modified Mauser turn bolt
    Scope: ......................... Aldis Pattern 4 Model 1916 (3x) Scope
    Qty Converted: ............. 421 by Alexander Martin (Rifle Maker, Glasgow)
    Contract Dates: ............ July 1, 1940 (400 units) and April 26, 1941 (21 units)

    Source: .... The British Sniper by Ian Skennerton (1983) - ISBN: 0949749036
    Source: .... The Lee Enfield by Ian Skennerton (2007) - ISBN: 9780949749826
    Source: .... Small Arms Identification Series #10 by Ian Skennerton (1998) - ISBN: 0949749362
    Source: .... The U.S. Enfield by Ian Skennerton (1983) - ISBN: 0949749028

    Canadian Collector Market Value Estimate: $

    No.3 MkI* (T)A Sniper 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, to be authentic by original manufacturer, with all correct markings and components.
    (144 picture virtual tour)

    Observations: by Badger (extracts from various Skennerton publications listed above)
    With thanks to Advisory Panel members Lance, Wheaty and Terry Hawker,plus regular members Valleysniper, breakeyp and scrmblerkari (deceased), for their patient assistance.

    As the second world war approached, a quantity of WW1 vintage Aldis telescopes were still in stores and as there were no Pattern 1918 scopes available in quantity, these were earmarked for fitting to rifles to provide desperately needed sniper equipment. Many of the Pattern 1914 sniper rifles, No.3 MkI* (T), had been disposed of to other Empire forces during the inter-war period so the shortage was even more acute. The contract for mounting the Aldis sights to No.3 rifles was undertaken by Alexander Martin of Glasgow and initial orders seem to be for about 4,000 rifles, although this figure was the total requirement of sniper rifles at that point in time, and may not have been intended as the total quantity of No.3/Aldis units ordered.

    Similar to the earlier Pattern 1914 rifles used for sniper conversions, only Winchester made rifles were used and the designation of the new rifles was No.3 MkI* (T)A, the "A" indicating Aldis scope. Many of the Aldis scopes still bear the Great War SMLE serial number, as does the one shown here in this Knowledge Library entry. The telescopes were soldered onto a non-detachable mount and the mount itself was serial numbered along its edge, with the serial number of the original Winchester rifle used for the conversion. Pattern No.3 and No.4 of the Aldis telescopes have been noted set up on the Alexander Martin mount, but most of the scopes used were the No.4 type. For a short time early in the war, the Aldis pattern was referred to as the MkI*.

    The ongoing contracts with Alexander Martin resulted in a total of 421 units being supplied, with contracts dates of July 1, 1940 and April 26th, 1941, for 400 and 21 units respectively. A small number of Periscopic Prism Co. and Watts telescopes were utilized as well, but the designation of the rifle remained the same, No.3 MkI* (T)A.

    The unit cost of the conversion, with the rifle and telescope supplied, is recorded as being £3/12/6 and 400 breech covers and scope caps were ordered from S.E. Norris & Co., Shadwell Leatherworks, Dagenham, Essex, whose wartime code was S61. The first Alexander Martin No.3 MkI* (T)A rifles were contracted in 1939, but are not recorded as being filled, and were probably incorporated in the 400 batch.

    As can be seen from the pics, the telescope is custom fitted and mounted quite close to the action and soldered onto the long mount. On the front of this mount, a lug protrudes through the wooden handguard from the left side of the rifle, attached to a sleeve around the barrel. The telescope is soldered directly to the mount, which is marked as below and it is secured to the lug on the rifle by a screw. Finally, during the conversion process, the long range aperture sights were removed with dial side plate left in fore-end.


    This form of mounting positions the telescope 3/4 inch offset to the left of the bore and windage adjustment can be effected by moving the rear mount, although the telescope is not quick detachable and would require re-zeroing if removed from the rifle.

    The rear mount is fixed to the receiver, which has a portion of the sight protecting ears milled away. Because of the close fit of the telescope, the original sights have been removed and a special aperture fixed peep sight is fitted for emergency use, ranged at 300 yards.

    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. When collecting the more rare old milsurps which usually sell for very high price premiums, one has to be careful to ensure that what is being purchased is an "all correct" piece and not something that is not original, or has been altered, by accident or design.

    In preparing this Knowledge Library entry, we were fortunate enough to locate in various collector's hands (see acknowledgements under "Observations Section"), a number of other No.3 MkI* (T)A sniper rifles converted by Alexander Martin of Glasgow. These collectors have gracious donated pics of their rifles, so we may show our membership the kinds of things that one may compare, to help ensure authenticity of No.3 MkI* (T)A they may comes across for sale.

    One immediate observation we noticed about all of the No.3 MkI* (T)A sniper rifles converted by Alexander Martin of Glasgow, was just how much individual customization seems to have gone into each rifle. In looking at the pics below, you'll notice minor variations in the top wood attachment around the scope bracket (one even has a hole through the top wood), the varying angle of the scope bracket arm to adjust the fit (one is very sloped), plus the variance in maker's stamps on the brackets. The "Alex.Martin, Gun Maker, Glasgow" stampings, which although the letter fonts are all identical, include different depth of letter impressions and in some cases, double striking of letters, which was common in those days and is shows the individual hand worked nature of how these guns were built up. .......
    (Feedback by "Badger")

    Observed No.3 MkI* (T)A sniper rifles converted by Alexander Martin of Glasgow

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    Aldis Pattern 3 Scope .................................. Watts Scope (No.93 on mount)

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    Aldis Pattern 4 Scope ................................... Aldis Pattern 2 Scope (Watts range drum)

    Observed "Alex.Martin, Gun Maker, Glasgow" scope mount stampings

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    Note: The last set of views were provided to show a set of Alexander Martin mounts and screws that must have originally appeared on eBay for sale sometime in the past, as shown by the eBay watermark in the bottom left corner of the pic on the far right. Some of our general Advisory Panel members have expressed concern about the item displayed in this pic. They've pointed out an interesting visual anomaly in regards to the font and letter spacing, as well as the formation of the letters (see the "G"), as they appear in this last set pics of the "ALEX.MARTIN, GLASGOW" stampings on the standalone scope bracket.

    Click on and open up individual pics, then hold down the mouse button while viewing any of them. Release the mouse button and open another pic. Arrange (move) them around on your screen to present a montage for you to be able examine them carfeully side-by-side. Note that the pic from eBay showing this stamping, seems to have a distinct look when compared against the other three examples of the "ALEX.MARTIN, GLASGOW" stampings on their respective scope brackets? It also appears that there's a more clear (wider) spacing between the "S" and "G" in GLASGOW on ALL three of the other pics, but again, the eBay pic set doesn't show similar spacing? Finally, the letter "G" appears to be more full (rounder) in the pics of the first three examples of the "ALEX.MARTIN, GLASGOW" stampings, whereas it appears thinner and less "fat" in the eBay provided pics? Closer examination and comparison of many other letters, also seems to show variances that are notably different as compared to the markings in all three of the other mounts.

    Without conclusive proof, collectively we hesitate to draw finite conclusions about the item in this last pic, as it was provided as a legitimate representation of an "ALEX.MARTIN, GLASGOW" mount with authentic stampings. The anomalies noted may simply just be unusual artifacts in the quality of the photography, however, the first three sets of pics were individual and unique cameras as well, provided from three different sources. Instead, we prefer to let the all of the photos collectively displayed of No.3 MkI* (T)A sniper rifles converted by Alexander Martin of Glasgow, with their own individual mounts and stampings, to speak for themselves and let the reader be the judge. As always, feedback is welcome.

    Observed serial number fonts on scope brackets (Note and compare numerals "2" and "9")
    Note far bottom right pic. The serial number shows it has been changed at some time. Owner suspects the scope and mount has been changed and re-numbered.

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    2. Here are some pictures of an interesting example of a WW1 Aldis Pattern 2 sniper scope re-used in WW11 on Alex Martin No.3(T)A sniper rifle. I overhauled the optics for the owner "scrmblerkari" and addressed a few other problems for him. I actually enjoyed working on this rare variant. ....... (Feedback by "Valleysniper") .... Web Site (click here)

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    Alexander Martin No.3(T)A Scope
    (Aldis Pattern 2)

    (25 picture virtual tour)

    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. Here's some pics of the workers at a Weedon Repair Depot, working on Pattern 1914 rifles. Although the pics are not dated, it is presumablly some time between the first and second world wars ....... (Feedback by "Badger")

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    5. 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 No.3 MkI* (T)A sniper rifle converted by Alexander Martin of Glasgow, 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: No.3 MkI* (T)A Sniper Rifle - (Pattern 1914 Mk1* W (T)A Sniper Rifle) started by Badger View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. 5thBatt's Avatar
      The three photos above were taken during WW2 the third photo (unloading from the barrow) was taken during the time of the retreat from Dunkirk.