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  1. #11
    Really Senior Member Seaspriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Enfield View Post
    Indications are that the first stage of the program started (likely) based on selecting an accurate rifle and converting it.



    The second stage was likely started when Peter's oft referred to H&H production specialist showed up to solve the low production problems. It was to go down and select a "batch" of 10-20 completed rifles (not necessarily consecutive, but close) and segregate them for conversion.

    The third stage was true "serial block" production in that serial number "blocks" were set aside and receivers were converted and guns assembled as snipers...never having been standard service rifles.
    Thanks so much for this insight and makes eminent sense. Those who have experienced manufacturing production systems certainly know the difference between very small batches (one-off bespoke), cluster batches, and large mass production. Of course, no mass production continuous flow manager wants to do small batches, it requires a different type of production approach.

    On a related subject, here's what the data is starting to show (I will update in future posts):
    Wartime Production (1941-Q2/1945): ~1025 Snipers produced, 9% accounted for
    War's End Production (Q3-4/1945): 219 Snipers produced, 21% accounted for
    Post War Production (1946): 376 Snipers produced, 23% accounted for

    This means the total produced was in the range of (low) 1,588 to (high) 1,620 (not including the experimental models). As more data comes in we will get more clear what is most accurate and I will share the data base analysis.
    Last edited by Seaspriter; 02-25-2016 at 10:16 PM.

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  3. #12
    Advisory Panel Lee Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seaspriter View Post
    Thanks so much for this insight and makes eminent sense. Those who have experienced manufacturing production systems certainly know the difference between very small batches (one-off bespoke), cluster batches, and large mass production. Of course, no mass production continuous flow manager wants to do small batches, it requires a different type of production approach.

    On a related subject, here's what the data is starting to show (I will update in future posts):
    Wartime Production (1941-Q2/1945): ~820 Snipers produced, 8% accounted for
    War's End Production (Q3-4/1945): 434 Snipers produced, 11% accounted for
    Post War Production (1946): 376 Snipers produced, 23% accounted for

    This means the total produced was in the range of (low) 1,588 to (high) 1,630 (not including the experimental models). As more data comes in we will get more clear what is most accurate and I will share the data base analysis.
    The 1588 number is from the National Archives so I would take that to be the ceiling.

    I think the only place we can play is in the actual size of the earlier (pre-"block") production batches. The later "block" serial groups are pretty plain.
    known (observed) low and high rifle serials:

    71L low known serial is 0237 thru 653
    74L 000 thru 340
    80L 002 thru 092
    90L 003 thru 328 but known Mk3 telescopes are serial numbered from 1c to 352c

    If the Canadianicon Army retained 71L 000 thru 71L 200 and 90L 330 thru 90L 375 that would help to explain the "off the market" Long Branch No4 T rifles.

    Having said that, the Canadian War museum attributes 90L8141-189C to use by “Ted” Zuber - Korea War sniper (and artist).

    1950's Canadian armourers instructions and parts catalogues illustrate the No32 MkII, No32 TP, C.No67 and No32 Mk3 scopes.
    Last edited by Lee Enfield; 03-02-2016 at 03:46 PM. Reason: "Observed" serial numbers & Ted Zuber info
    BSN from the Republic of Alberta

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  6. #13
    Really Senior Member Seaspriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Enfield View Post
    If the Canadianicon Army retained 71L 000 thru 71L 200 and 90L 330 thru 90L 375 that would help to explain the "off the market" Long Branch No4 T rifles.
    These certainly seem to be "missing" serial numbers; interesting hypothesis if the Canadian Army retained these -- this represents nearly 250 "missing" Snipers. If in the possession of the Canadian Army, someone has a record of them (unless they went to clandestine forces in Europe or to fight the Cold War -- does this seem reminiscent discussion of the Irish Contract a decade later?). Perhaps (clear speculation) they are sitting in some old warehouse, awaiting discovery? (The Indiana Jones scenario -- I'm dreaming).
    Last edited by Seaspriter; 02-25-2016 at 10:18 PM.

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    Really Senior Member Simon P's Avatar
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    I had 1943 dated serial 39L7716 recently
    Regards Simon

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    Is it also possible that many just met the same fate as many "non-sniper" rifles? They were sold as surplus, picked up by hunters and sportsmen, and sporterized? True that one does not see many of them showing up like that at shows and such, but the attrition on the Bubba specials was very high. They were cheap, used hard, and abused much. I worked at a sporting goods store in Saskatoon in the 1980's and part owned one in the '90's, and I can't even tell you how many sporterized Enfields came and went. By that stage, no one was buying full wood Enfields and sporterizing them fresh, because that was in the days before the last releases of full wood Lee Enfields came out, so the full wood ones were very scarce. However, the damage had already been done; some of the older shooters recalled being able to buy them by the barrel full in the 1960's and they were cut down left right and centre. I was only interested in the full wood ones, so really never gave the sporter ones a second glance; one abused Lee-Enfield looked much like another. I do recall one coming in with a #32 scope on it, and it was probably originally a sniper unit. Couldn't say whether it was Brit or Canadianicon made, but since it had a chopped barrel and was beat up pretty good it didn't matter.

    Ed

    Ed

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  11. #16
    Contributing Member muffett.2008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon P View Post
    I had 1943 dated serial 39L7716 recently
    I've got 39L3922

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  13. #17
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    74L0350 perhaps as the highest SN sniper in the 74Lxxxx series rather than 74L0340 as 350 are reported to have been ordered, not 340 as the serial number range quoted above would allow for. Earlier accounts as quoted in Skennertonicon said 100 were ordered but Clive Law's research now says 350 in "Without Warning" and his research is pretty solid.

    The 74Lxxxx with the No. 32 TP MK.I scopes (made by Lyman) reportedly all (other than test/sample specimens) stayed in Canadian service, even though some like my scope SN 4407S (but not all) have a /|\ Britishicon issue mark following the serial number. At least one was used by the Canadian Army in the Korean War (photographuc evidence). In the 1950s Canadaicon gave away several divisions' worth of vehicles and weapons to NATO allies such as Italy, Franceicon, Holland and Norwayicon. As Canada was starting to standadize on US vehicles and weapons (though in the end we only did a partial changeover), the WWII British style kit was surplus. By the 1950s Canada had a few M1C sniper rifles with infra-red sights and some M1D sniper rifles. With the adoption of the 7.62mm NATO round, these became surplus as well by the early 1960s.

    I have been told that a bunch of the 74Lxxxx sniper rifles ended up going to the Netherlands, likely as NATO aid. The Dutch reportedly scrapped a bunch of the rifles but a chap brought about 50 (?) scopes and mounts back to Canada and they were sold to collectors etc. For that reason collectors need to be especially careful of rifles fitted with these rare Lyman military scopes as they could be fitted to other rifles. At least one has been fitted (post-war by a civilian owner presumably) to a Stevens-Savage made rifle. Some armourers reportedly assembled some sniper clones and there are reports of unnumbered Long Branch bodies being assembled into complete rifles - or as legitimate in-service replacement bodies and some Lyman scopes MAY have been mated with these buckshee. In at least one case, one 74Lxxxx rifle has a serial number in the correct 74Lxxxx range but with an A suffix. In the British Army the A suffix meant that there were some non-standard parts. I suspect (hypothesis only) that that is used here to indicate that this body is a replacement one, with the serial number copied from the bracket, and an A suffux added to make it slightly different. It is also possible that the A suffux was an army replacement body in-service. I do not know.

    As for missing sniper rifles - some likely ended up going from Canada to the countries above. An ex-Italian Navy one with a British scope was sold recently. The chest had Italianicon markings. I wonder what happened to those sent to Norway for example? Those sent to the UK are mixed in with the British rifles and were disposed of in normal manners. At least one ex-Indian service has shown up.

    The theory that some were lost in the Battle of the Atlantic seems to be invalid. "Wheaty" me that these were sent to the UK aboard aircraft.

    A few sporterized sniper rifles do show up. Stencollector in Manitiba found one still with its original REL scope and he has done an excellent restoration job. I have a 1943 BSA (ex- PA, USAicon) that was also sporterized but fortunately the metal was not cut. It has now been restored using original parts. The scope and bracket turned up in Nebraska in 2014 mismatched with a Trials No.4 MK. I (T) . The rifle was sold separately and the scope and bracket (numbered to my rifle ) were returned to the consignee and the dealer would not provide the contact information. :-(

    Remember that when sold surplus, even the sniper rifles were fairly cheap. I bought my first sniper, a 1945 BSA all matching, complete in the chest and mint, for $75 back in the early 1970s from Lever Arms in Vancouver, BC. The normal price was $100 so I waited for his January sale. I later carried that rifle on army exercise, and my Platoon Sgt brought his, as we were not issued sniper rifles at that time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Enfield View Post
    The 1588 number is from the National Archives so I would take that to be the ceiling.

    I think the only place we can play is in the actual size of the earlier (pre-"block") production batches. The later "block" serial groups are pretty plain.
    known low and high rifle serials:

    71L low known serial is 0237 thru 651
    74L 000 thru 340
    80L 002 thru 092
    90L 003 thru 328 but known Mk3 telescopes are serial numbered from 1c to 352c

    If the Canadian Army retained 71L 000 thru 71L 200 and 90L 330 thru 90L 375 that would help to explain the "off the market" Long Branch No4 T rifles.

    1950's Canadian armourers instructions and parts catalogues illustrate the No32 MkII, No32 TP, C.No67 and No32 Mk3 scopes.

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  15. #18
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    I have 74L0022/tele 4419S and a second tele 4430S that came to the UKicon as a spare tele with a rifle used for trials.

    The wartime attrition rate for small arms losses at sea generally was approx 5.5%

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  17. #19
    Really Senior Member mike1967's Avatar
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    Sorry it's 74L0303 and its missing scope is 4407S, very close to yours Peter.
    Quote Originally Posted by mike1967 View Post
    Rifle 5 on that list, SN 71L0303 is with me in Australiaicon. It had and was fitted up for a Lyman TP not a No32 but now sadly missing its scope and mounts.
    Last edited by mike1967; 02-26-2016 at 06:02 AM.

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    Advisory Panel Simon's Avatar
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    I think I've got a loose TP scope somewhere in the Gunroom. I'll see if I can track it down and check the number.

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