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Thread: Target Rfiles Converted from a No4T Sniper Rifle

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    Really Senior Member BushyFromOz's Avatar
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    Target Rfiles Converted from a No4T Sniper Rifle



    Whitaker Special
    Enfield No4T
    Target Rifle
    £495



    This is one of the 117 Target Rifles manufactured by (Bert) Herbert Whitaker between 1973 & 1976

    Converted from a No4T Sniper Rifle

    Enfield Rifles
    Last edited by BushyFromOz; 04-22-2017 at 06:26 AM.
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    I picked up a similar one a few years back but made by Geoff Hart, built on a No4T body................ its a good example of what not to do, to a Sniper rifle.

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    Really Senior Member BushyFromOz's Avatar
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    By the time you make all those changes to it, i cant see how you get any accuracy advantage by using a 4T action and molesting it

    ---------- Post added at 07:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:35 PM ----------

    Be nice as a curio though
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    I agree with you chaps concerning it being a waste of a 4T, but I suppose we must remember that when Bert Whitaker & Geoff Hart were doing this 4T's had a far lesser value than they have now, even allowing for inflation over the years. I think I've mentioned before, but back in about 1992 I was introduced to Geoff who was packing up his gunsmithing business, & I was lucky enough to buy his last four 4T receivers off him. They were all complete with pads; three BSA Shirleys & a '31 Trials! A good mate still has the Trials rifle (now completed), & I built a faux (though correct) L42 on one of the BSA's. I still have this as my main 'regular use' rifle, & she's a real tack driver if I do my bit. Attitudes have changed over the years - dare I say it - we are more 'purist' now. Some people would probably criticize me for making an L42 look alike out of a genuine 4T body, & indeed I probably wouldn't now.........but it was a long time ago.

    And of course, these rifles do have their adherents........where are you Mick?!?

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    I saw a paper on the reasons behind the supposed enhanced accuracy of these Whittaker and Hart No4T based rifles. All to do with the 'superior inherent accuracy' of the No4T action and barrel and the new restricted non-flexing of the body in the new stock. Don't bother asking me how! As for the already inherent accuracy of the barrel, well I didn't even ask how so when some were fitted with new barrels! A good example of fuzzy logic. It was more a case of re-inventing the wheel - for a slightly oval version. Or how to destroy a No4T, depending on your point of view

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    ....forgot to mention that I seem to recall getting quite a bit of help & advice from a well known armourer when making up the L42 as my main 'target' rifle!

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    I often wondered about grafting a butt socket off a scraper back on to the Hart rifle to make up another No4 T .22............. strange on the subject of target rifles I've just re-built a Musgrave this morning ready to go to auction, the original barrel was bulged which I replaced a couple of years ago, put the stock back on before which I refinished many years ago and it does look a lovely rifle, make an excellent start for someone only problem these these days is folk come into the sport and buy something with all the bells and whistles on...... then realise there a c**p shot.

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    Really Senior Member Strangely Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Payneicon View Post
    And of course, these rifles do have their adherents........where are you Mick?!?
    Just coming Roger!

    Lets get some perspective in here!
    Bert was doing all of this between 20-7-1973 and 26-6-1976, now how many (except you Roger!) were collecting No.4T's in those days?

    They were plentiful then and the market was demanding 7.62mm target rifles.
    So step forward one Herbert Whitaker who had won the Grand Aggregate at Bisley. Bert knew a thing or two about target rifles, and what the market was demanding in those early days of target rifle transition from .303 to 7.62mm.
    But lets not forget that Bert was also a salesman who knew the value of selling a target rifle that had once been a "sniper" in a previous existence!

    This forum gets this hand ringing every year or so when todays collectors discover that somebody has converted a 4T to a target rifle 40 plus years ago.
    My take on it is that it's history and lets get this straight, not all 117 were 4T's many were bog standard No.4's which in 1973 were hardly setting the world alight!

    Bigduke6 mentions Geoff Hart who took over the mantle of Bert's work after he died in his tent shooting the Palma in 1976.
    Geoff without a shadow of doubt produced the best conversions of the No.4 to a 7.62mm target rifle, even going to the extent of fitting a Brindles trigger and a far better stock than Bert's creation.

    I have two Whitakers and one Hart...............and no regrets.
    Mick

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    Really Senior Member Frederick303's Avatar
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    I would mention on the other side of the pond, that though the old Enfield target rifles are not well known, to a few of us they are the most interesting Enfield variations of all. The fact that a well regulated No4 in 7.62 or a No 1 Mk III properly "tarted" could put in groups with the same vertical deviation at 1000 yards that they show at 600 yards (~24 inches) is pretty fascinating. Especially as the US variant of L2A2/C21/SS77 ball (M59 or M80) are a total stinkers of a cartridge, so bad that no US target rifle venue never even tried to use them at even 600 yards. The US used the M72/M118 cartridge, which was a 175 grain FMJ bullet, that was in a long match barrel just hitting transonic velocities at 1000 yards. The UKicon was getting good performance at long range at the same time with a 144/145 grain bullet that was clearly in the transonic region past 900 yards, even out of a match length barrel.

    Mind you the English target 5 ring in 1973 was 30 inches, when until 1975 the US long range target had a 5 ring of 36 inches. Normal Mauser front lug based actions could not shoot any NATO ball into a decent group past 800 yards, properly regulated No4 rifles could shine at that range and for 18 years from 1969 to around 1987 that was the action type that won the Bisley finals.

    Of course the target world has moved on, especially since 1995 when the 155 gr HPBT sort of took over in Palma/long range shooting. In the early 1970s, when Commonwealth shooting was with ball 7.62 ammunition these rifles were the state of the art for long range. If you ponder that it puts a whole different spin on why the conversions would be based on known good actions.

    Secondly, and this may be very secondary or an observation that really does not have any causal relationship, attitudes regarding sniper rifles have changed. I recall the mid 1970s well as a kid, my father and his generation were all WWII and Korean war vets of US and Germanicon stock, with all of their fathers having been WWI vets. For us kids a BBC import import, "The World at War" was all the rage around 1975~1976. I recall the older men opening up about things then, not so much on specific but on an abstract level, while we scuttled about the room in our runny-nose manner.

    That generation did not look on snipers with anything approaching a positive attitude. The current veneration of such activity and the weapons is an attitude I doubt that generation shared (at least the ones I knew). Those men had no hostility to target shooting, though none of them did it, but the attention lavished on snipers and their equipment might have raised a few eyebrows and some rather cutting commnets. Kind of like folks who collect concentration camp memorabilia, SS patches or implements of torture are viewed by many today. Many of those WWII/Korea vet men had an example of the service rifle they used or a trophy mauser/Arisakaicon, but I do not recall a single one of those many vets who owned a sniper rifle, even though they had been cheap 10 years prior and were readily available.

    Two observations that might help explain the conversions back then.

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    The Musgrave is not a bad rig there Bigduke do you have some pics.
    I would have thought if you are making a target rifle up he could have filled the front pad holes in and finished it off, a curio yes for some but in my eyes a crying shame to castrate a perfectly accurate system.

    Snipers have always or so it seems in WWII been the bain of the infantry as all they seem to do is bring artillery/motar fire on them after they have shot a high value target.

    One story from my readings;
    Cannot remember the book but a japanese MG pillbox was holding up an advance on the beach it was about 700 yds to the box but the marines could not get up so they called for snipers.
    Two marines came forward with their wide brimmed hats and settled down at that long range one shooter one spotter "the smokies they called them" the MG was hammering away so the shooting smokey using an Unertl scoped '03 30/06 put lead down range 1st shot too high 2nd close to the port 3rd through the port killed the gunner from then on every time a jap manned the gun he was shot by the sniper team. The marines advanced and took out the post.
    That's why a sniper team is a force multiplier.
    Last edited by CINDERS; 04-23-2017 at 06:38 AM.

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