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Thread: QUESTION REGARDING MR. LAIDLERS BOOK .303 No4 (T) SNIPER RIFLE AND THE H&H CONNECTION

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    Contributing Member bros's Avatar
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    QUESTION REGARDING MR. LAIDLERS BOOK .303 No4 (T) SNIPER RIFLE AND THE H&H CONNECTION

    I was reading Peter's book today and have a question about some info in Chapter 21. The text goes on to say that in the mid 1960's armourer's took all the 4 T's from the company arms stores for overhaul. " At the same time, the then current small arms instruction ordered that the rifle number should be stamped onto the bracket and this was done. Another departure from the original".
    I was under the impression that Holland & Holland (upon doing the greater part of the T conversions) would have ensured this was done before releasing the T's into service, especially that it was imperative that the original bracket remain with the original rifle it was fitted for!!!!!! So no English T brackets were stamped prior to going into service????



    Another question I have is why it is so important to not change brackets between guns? I fully understand the theory of milling away a small amount of material on the left body side of the receiver to ensure the flat the pads would sit on would be perfectly parallel to the bore and I understand why the pads were finish machined "on" the rifle to ensure parallelism both vertically and horizontally to the bore. What I don't understand is when they machined the brackets, specifically the areas that had to mate to the pads attached to the rifle...those dimensions and tolerances would have not changed from bracket to bracket...tight tolerances ensure the same results but why then could one not take one bracket and put it on another rifle and expect the same results....unless after the bracket was installed on it's particular rifle and the scope pockets were line-bored which I believe was not the case!! So what was done to make each bracket so specific to it's own rifle? Is it possible to take a un-matched bracket install it on a rifle and have no angle of deviation over different distances?
    I am looking at a unmatched No4 T for sale later this week and it made me think of these questions. It's a M47C 1945 and the finish is like a thick baked on paint, not suncorrite. I know I have seen that type of finish before...is this any reason to be concerned?
    It's getting late here now...hopefully my questions about the bracket don't embarrass me too much but I never fully understood that one!!!!
    Your input and knowledge...is always appreciated, thanks!!
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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    From what I understand about the building of a T they were pretty much treated as a one of, meaning there were variations in them due to the manufacturing process there fore it had to be hand fitted like a custom gun and once paired with the scope should never be separated.
    My T and scope is found on page 48 of Peters book about halfway down the list being part of the dowelled bush and pad trials, 1944 M47C BSA T Rifle Ser.38752/Scope No.16684 it is an AK & S 1944 still paired and working 73 years later in Australiaicon.

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    To be honest, I have pretty well answered this question several times. But, in short and to the point, it's not a case of whether the bracket FITS the rifle. It's a case of whether the bracket fits the rifle and in doing so BOTH MECHANICAL AXIS OF THE BRACKET CRADLE ARE EXACTLY ALONG BOTH MECHANICAL AXIS OF THE BORE. Nothing less is acceptable. It is only by ensuring this that you know that the OPTICAL axis of a collimated telescope is exactly aligned with the mechanical axis of the bore. Changing a telescope isn't a real problem, because the bracket is already collimated to the rifle. It's changing a bracket that IS a problem. I appreciate what the enthusiastic amateurs, home tinkerers and self taught gunsmith experts proclaim - and duly take it all on board. But they ain't the ones putting the kit into the hands of the blokes advancing into Antwerp or Bremen tomorrow morning at first light.

    As for why it was decided to number the bracket to the rifle later, it was to act as a double safeguard, specified in the SAI's and I KNOW that I've gone into this in some detail, quoting it chapter and verse some time ago

    Cinders raises a very valid point there. The epistle wot I writ a few years ago about making up a replica goes into great detail about the why's and wherefores.

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    This reminds me of a situation I was in about twenty years ago when I was rebuilding a mismatched but genuine 4T & scope combination. The fit of the bracket on the pads was ok in the vertical plane but well off laterally. I liaised with Peter at the time, & as usual his comments were of great help. I ended up removing the rear pad & soldering it back on several times, each time surface grinding a thou or so off the rear face, until it was just so. It was a complete & utter pig of a job, & I'll always remember what Peter said afterwards - something along the lines of 'Good! I'm glad it was a baXXXrd because you've learnt a lot from it & now more fully understand the importance of getting it right' (well, there was probably a few expletives scattered in there as well!).

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    Age has made made a lot more diplomatic now DRP

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    So the sledge hammer is now 18lbs instead of 20lbs.

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    LOL Bindi2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Payneicon View Post
    This reminds me of a situation I was in about twenty years ago when I was rebuilding a mismatched but genuine 4T & scope combination. The fit of the bracket on the pads was ok in the vertical plane but well off laterally. I liaised with Peter at the time, & as usual his comments were of great help. I ended up removing the rear pad & soldering it back on several times, each time surface grinding a thou or so off the rear face, until it was just so. It was a complete & utter pig of a job, & I'll always remember what Peter said afterwards - something along the lines of 'Good! I'm glad it was a baXXXrd because you've learnt a lot from it & now more fully understand the importance of getting it right' (well, there was probably a few expletives scattered in there as well!).
    First and foremost..I do not pretend to have any sort of knowledge in this field, hence the questions.
    So this was standard procedure used to collimate a bracket to a rifle that Dr.RP describes as well as in Peter's book. Wow I can only imagine the tedious and frustrating work involved!! Removing a soldered pad, cleaning the old solder off perfectly, then onto the surface grinder to remove the "slightest" amount of material because if you removed too much you now changed the axis too much one way and guess what...you could the procedure all over again, this time with a new pad and guess what you probably ****ed somebody off in the process. I now understand why this procedure was done to the pad rather than it's mating surface on the bracket...how would you even securely hold the bracket properly anyhow? Lots of trial and hopefully less error. One wonders if the newly manufactured rear pads were purposely left oversize so they could be eventually fit into let's say, " collimated perfection".
    So all or most of the brackets that were eventually stamped with their own rifles serial number, must have went though some sort of armourer's inspection at some point, replaced whatever needed replacing, bracket stamped and then back into service. I guess that's safe to say? I have not seen it before and admittedly have not looked at that many T's but do they ever "FTR" stamp a T? Does anybody here know if the Longbranch brackets were stamped prior to going into service?
    Thanks again all!!!

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    The early Long Branch (two words by the way) brackets do not seem to have been marked with the rifle serial number (SN) originally at Small Arms Limited which was located at Long Branch, Toronto, Ontario, Canadaicon. Several Canadian brackets survive that have no serial numbers. Some Canadian brackets were certainly numbered with stamped rifle serial numbers before they left military service e.g. In the 68Lxxxx batch. That stamping was usually just above the rear knob. Usually the full rifle serial number was stamped, but I have observed two examples where only the last four numbers, those after the "L" in the rifle serial number, were stamped on Britishicon brackets mated to Canadian made rifles in service.

    Experimental Long Branch brackets have been observed in photos with stamped rifle serial numbers.

    The 71Lxxxx sniper rifles and those made after this batch appear to have had the rifle serial number engraved on the bracket at SAL, in the centre of the horizontal connecting bar on the left side.

    The scope was numbered to the rifle on the wrist of the butt. Butts could be, and were, changed in service to give the sniper a proper length of butt (there were four lengths available). The modern U.S. term for this is "length of pull". Sometimes the person changing the butt made a mistake and did not mark the scope SN on the new butt (a couple of cases have been seen where they marked the rifle SN on the wrist instead), so marking the rifle serial number on the bracket was good insurance to ensure that the scope and bracket remained with the correct rifle. Best to keep the armourers happy!

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    Further to Seaforth's comments in the above post, I am currently rebuilding a 45 BSA 4T that has its original butt which bears both the scope & rifle serial number stamped where the scope number usually is found (it also has the rifle number on the 'tang' that fits into the butt socket in the usual way). I've occasionally seen rifles with serial numbers stamped into the butt underside behind the 'S51'. No idea who did it, I'm afraid.

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