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  1. #1
    Senior Member giove's Avatar
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    Savage Sniper

    I have a 1942 No 4 Mk I* Lee Enfield Savage Sniper L.S. with a 5 groove british barrel '45 dated; is it all regular?

    All opinions are appreciated.

    Thank you. Giancarlo


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    Hi Giancarlo,
    If you could manage some photo's that would help us a lot. I have seen Savage 4T's with both original six & two groove barrels as well as some rebarrelled with tubes of UKicon mfr (IIRC more often than not 1945 dated).

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    Senior Member giove's Avatar
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    Hi Roger, thank you.

    I'll put the pics as soon as possible: tomorrow, I hope.

    I thought that if the Savage were a transitory expedient, it made little sense to set them up in 1945.

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    My guess is that it's correct. I've also seen a couple of Savage rifles that were converted to No.4T with five groove Britishicon barrels installed and British walnut forends fitted. The wood was sporting the correct examiner's markings and was obviously replaced by H&H. I think Skennertonicon's book makes light of the fact that some of the original Savage stocking up was not up to their standards.

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    Senior Member giove's Avatar
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    Some pics
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    It looks fine to me. Does the butt bear the serial number of a previous scope, or do you think it may be one of the 'Less Telescope' rifles? The rifle serial number is in the range I'd expect to find it.

    I have always found these Savage conversions puzzling. It is said that at least some (?just the 'Less Telescope' rifles?) were not converted by H&H until late on; the speculated scenario being that just before the military contracts came to an end in April 1946 H&H perhaps converted as many rifles that were laying about in stock as they could so as to maximize their income before the contract deadline.

    That being the case, one would expect (correct me if you think this is a wrong assumption) that such rifles would bear the (by now) typical conversion markings as found on late war BSA Shirley rifles; the T, TR, D6E, S, S51 & so on, yet apart from the S51 these marks are not there, & in fact the rifles are marked (or show lack of markings) in exactly the same manner as 1941 dated BSA's & ROFM's that we generally accept were the earliest conversions effected by H&H.

    Further, there is a distinct though minor change in the radius on the 'shoulders' either side of the spigot on the front pads which becomes noticeable as the production follows its course. Early pads bear much more rounded shoulders than 1945 era pads (with a transition seen on pads from 43 & 44 dated rifles). Front pads on 1945 dated rifles also generally bear a small broad arrow stamp, not seen on those of earlier production. However, the pads on these speculated later set up rifles again show the typical features seen on early conversions (B1941's & ROFM 1941's).

    I accept that Savage T's are not infrequently seen with Britishicon 5 groove 1945 dated barrels as Brian says (I have had a few go through my hands too), but I wonder if the conversion to Telescope Rifle was either wholly or partly effected (it is maybe conceivable that the rifles were partly converted but the final machining of the spigot left until later on) contemporaneously with the early BSA & Maltby supplied rifles, some receiving new barrels further down the line? Certainly, if you directly compare an early BSA conversion with a Savage, the work looks identical, at least to my eyes.

    And we haven't even got on to the small number of Savage T's that were probably converted RSAF Enfield!

    Don't wish to side track your thread on your very nice rifle Giancarlo, but I would love to know if anyone else has any thoughts on the matter.
    Peter, did you happen across any info at H&H when you were researching the book? I know you uncovered a lot more than you could reasonably include in a book of its size.......
    A 'last minute' conversion just doesn't add up to me, unless it was a last minute completion of a conversion started beforehand.
    Last edited by Roger Payne; 06-07-2019 at 06:58 AM.

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    Really Senior Member Frederick303's Avatar
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    I also have seen Savage No4 T with the UKicon 1945 barrel. The actions are general early ones, in fact all of the savage conversions seem to be on early action bodies.

    None of the ones I have seen was matched to a scope or came in a box here in the US, but I have one seen two of them, one sported and one complete with Savage wood. I seem to recall they both had cheekpieces, which if they were early conversions that failed some test along the way, why would they have the cheekpieces mounted?

    Also the Savages were Lend lease guns and until the accounts were settled in late 1945/46 it would have meant that guns had to be accounted for in a different way from other commonwealth material. As such the conversion of them during the war is kind of suspect, as they technically were not MOD property.

    Now at the end of the war there was a lot of horse trading of material to try and resolve lot of the on-paper inter-state debts. That included US debts to commonwealth nations, typically for food, oil and other minerals required for the war. I know that SA received a large number of 1942 and 1943 Savage rifles as part of the settlement, many of which were not issued and sold off in the early 1990s sale. Skennertonicon references the Savage No 4T issue in Rhodesia in the 1970s as marksman's rifles, and Rhodesia was sent a fair bit of material by SA, especially if it could in some way the origin would be muddy (AK the 30,000 G3 rifles supplied from ex-Portuguese stock, the scrubbed 1948/49 Fazakerly No 4 rifles).


    So the best fit to me, is there were part of a post war 1945/46 contract, executed at H&H which either was halted because the scopes were not available or ???. I say halted as the markings indicate the ones here in the US of A were imported pre 1968, but Skennertons remarks indicate some of the rifles ended up in southern Africa. If done for export in 1945/46 it might explain why they later viewers marks are missing, it was not for the MOD. why some went south and many did not might doom that theory, but not much else would explain the various contradictory aspects of these rifles.

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    Wink

    Hi Frederick. An interesting possibility. Personally, I think that it's most likely that all of the Savage rifles were set up by H&H (apart from the very few Savage rifles believed to have been set up along with the Trials rifles at RSAF Enfield) during the period of the wartime military contracts held by H&H, that terminated in April 1946. I also think that most, if not all, were set up earlier on before H&H started using exclusively BSA produced rifles. This explains not only the fact that Savage 4T's exist, but also early BSA rifles, ROFM rifles, & the very rare few ROFF rifles. I know this seems to be at odds with the Lend-Lease status of Savage rifles, unless you believe that all of the Savage rifles were set up post war when the situation of ownership had been sorted out, but it fits with everything else. I just wonder how concerned people were if a few Savage rifles got set up in 1941/42 either by RSAF EFD or H&H considering the parlous situation the UKicon was in at that time. And the finances could have been settled at a later less pressing date. We know from MkVII's research that. IIRC, 500 Savage made Mk1 Singer rear sights were supplied to H&H in 1943 for the rectification of 4T's that otherwise satisfied conversion criteria but arrived with a battle sight fitted. Were components paid for outright by the UK or did they also come under Lease Lend? I'm not sure but would think the latter more likely.

    I know it is said that cheekpieces were all retrofitted from the latter part of 1944 onwards, but I wonder if this might actually refer to them being fitted to rifles that had escaped having one fitted prior to that date, as there are numerous photographs in existence showing 4T's at the front that slightly predate this period & which quite clearly bear cheekpieces. Readers who have Chosenman's recent new book on the subject will find one in there dated to 1943. I do wonder if maybe the earliest conversions might have gone out without 'pieces & so would be eligible for rectification in 1944, with 'later earlier' run of production rifles coming out of H&H with them already fitted. Just speculation I know, but the photo's are out there....& it would fit with the observations.

    Front body pads. Enclosed (if I manage to upload them!) some photo's I took a few minutes ago showing a set of pads from a 41/42 rifle next to a set off a 45 BSA. Note the shoulder difference. There is also a small broad arrow on the later pad just below the RHS of the LH pad screw hole, at about 5 o'clock. These are both typical. There are then photographs of a B41, a ROFM 41 & my Less Telescope 1942 12C Savage Mk1* T. Note the body pads all bear the typical rounded shoulders of what we generally accept to be early conversions. My 0C 1941 Savage Mk1 T & my 14C 1942 Mk1* T that was scoped up, both bear identical type front pads; not a sharp edged broad arrow containing one amongst them.

    IIRC, & I don't always! but I think Peter mentions in the book that the pads were fitted to the rifles in an only partially finished state. I think the dovetails on the rear pad & the spigot on the front pad were machined individually, as part of the unique mating process with each rifle's respective bracket. This is why I mentioned that I suppose it could be possible that the Savage rifles that were scoped up were converted early on with the B41's & ROFM41's, but that the Less Telescope rifles were the rifles in which the conversion was not finished, perhaps until the death, to get every last penny out of the government in the run up to April 1946. I know that this begs the question as to why would some of the Savage rifles have been left only partially completed at a time when we needed them badly, mid-war? But, we know that at some point not long after H&H got involved the instructions came through that only BSA rifles were to be converted. Just maybe, the Less Telescope rifles were those in the process of being converted at this time? I know restricting the supply of rifles to only one manufacturer simplified things for H&H, but it may also have provided a workable solution to getting Savage rifles which we didn't technically own mixed up in the conversion process, at least from that point onwards. It would also fit in with the Less Telescope rifles being amongst the 'last' Savage rifles converted, going by serial numbers, anyway; the ones that were still on hand when the BSA only edict arrived??? Who knows. I'm just wracking my brains trying to come up with something that fits with observed evidence.

    I'm going to lie down now......

    P.S. In fact the first pic shows a 41/42 pad LHS, a 45 BSA pad RHS with a 44 BSA in the middle. Forgot about the middle one! The most striking difference is between the two end ones.
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  14. #9
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    Should have included this above. It shows the sharp edged shoulder on the late front pad.
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    Dont know how relevant it will be but I have a 42 Savage No.4 Mk1* T number 15C4051 with a walnut Long Branch forend. IIRC, the s/n is penciled in the barrel channel of the forend and hand guards. Its also fitted with a 45 dated 5 groove Enfield barrel.
    If the "scopeless" savage snipers were done up post war then the LB timber would make sense, but if they were done earlier as is now being speculated would LB forends have been available to H&H in the form of replacement parts?
    Last edited by vintage hunter; 06-07-2019 at 06:11 PM.

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