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    Contributing Member 22SqnRAE's Avatar
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    Information on No 4 Mk 1* in NZ Service

    G'Day All,

    I'm hoping that I might be able to extract some detailed knowledge from the wider, knowledgeable community about the No 4 Rifle in Kiwi service.

    Of recent times, we in Australiaicon have been fortunate to access a few "new" No 4 Mk 1*s from the Kiwis. Now, you'd be aware that Australia did not issue the No 4 Rifle during or after WW2, in any numbers. But we did have a small shipment, that was diverted and rescued from Japaneseicon capture and we used these sparingly.

    My interest is the No 4 in NZ based service. Like you, I've got a copy of Ian Skennertonicon's bible, so we can move beyond that with your additional knowledge, I trust.



    I'd like to know a little more about the receipt of No 4s from Long Branch and Savage and their storage and use at home in NZ. This is where these "new" rifles seem to emerge from.

    I'm keen to find out whether these rifles had the Mk 2 (300/600yd) sight replaced with Mk 1 ('Singer') Mk 3 (the problematic one...) or Mk 4 rear sight leaf?

    Please do let me (and everyone else!) in on your knowledge, I'm very curious.

    Thank you in advance.
    Trying to save Service history, one rifle at a time...

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    Really Senior Member Frederick303's Avatar
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    Well the basic story is the NZ Longbranch and Savage rifles were supplied in or around 1946/7, out of commonwealth stocks stored in Italyicon. They were part of the post was division of surplus military material, in lieu of actually payment of specie. The quantity supplied was in the 45~48,000 range. They became the post war issue rifle of NZ, and remained so until the replacement by Lithgowicon made L1A1 rifles circa 1962.

    The disposition was as follows:

    1) Quantities sold to Century arms circa 1965/66, which is where the ones in the US of A come from, though these are always Longbranch made rifles, at the time Savages were not allowed for import due to a 1959 act.

    2) Sold to NZ citizens for marksmanship use and other purposes (hunting) up to around 1978.

    In NZ Full bore competition the No4 was the rifle from around 1948 (once good target sights became available in quantity) to 1968/69, when the 7.62 NATO round took over. NZ made some of the most accurate non-corrosive MK VII ammunition in the 1958/59 time period and it sort of set a standard for competition in the 1965 to 1969 time period, at least in Commonwealth matches shot in NZ. Indeed the visiting UKicon team in 1968 bought quite a quantity to take back home.

    I am sure I have a lot more in notes, but that is what I recall off the top of my head.

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    Contributing Member 22SqnRAE's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick303 View Post
    I am sure I have a lot more in notes, but that is what I recall off the top of my head.
    G'Day Frederick303, this is an excellent piece, thank you for the time and knowledge sharing. Just the type of info I was hoping for.
    Trying to save Service history, one rifle at a time...

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    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    NZicon also added an individual census number to each rifle along with the 'NZ' stamp.

    Something NZ did from the 1850's
    (originally applied to Snider's I believe) to 1959.

    I don't know if this was added to the rifles that remained in store, or only the issued examples though.

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    I was in NZicon as an Armourer, conveniently based at the two BIG Ordnance depots of Sylvia Park and where the small arms were stored, at Ngaruawahia. According to the Ordnance census records, the NZ rifles came over during the war and were NZ stamped when issued out from Ordnance to the units*. So if it's NZ marked, it WAS issued. The NZ Govt were disposing of large amounts of No4's (and No1's) during the late 60's, during my time there. As I have said many times on the forum, there were still brand new crated/sealed boxes of new No4's, still with the serial numbers identified on the ends of the boxes where they'd been stored since the war. When the crates were opened (supervised by S/Sgt Denny Phillips and another who's name I forget for the moment), they were simply crates of totally rusted out, cracked, bulging rust fit for scrap and in some cases, not even recognisable as No4's

    *NZ Sterlings were marked NZ before dispatch from Sterling by S/Sgt Annandale who went to inspect them prior to acceptance

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Laidlericon View Post
    brand new crated/sealed boxes of new No4's, still with the serial numbers identified on the ends of the boxes where they'd been stored since the war. When the crates were opened (supervised by S/Sgt Denny Phillips and another who's name I forget for the moment), they were simply crates of totally rusted out, cracked, bulging rust fit for scrap and in some cases, not even recognisable as No4's
    They must have been opened and degreased for use and then repacked? Or were they sent as a short term storage thing out of grease? Never heard of rifles not being prepared for shipping first...too bad...
    Regards, Jim

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    Senior Member giove's Avatar
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    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    It's certainly odd, as you say Jim, the rifles must have surely been swimming in cosmolineicon before being sealed up in crates.

    We can only hypothesize that the rifles were accidentally not inhibited from the factory (massive gaff there) or withdrawn from store, cleaned, repackaged and stored in a very damp humid place for many years.... An equally massive gaff with bells and whistles on....

    Interesting info on the NZ marked L2A3's Peter, S/Sgt Annandale must have marked and numbered some of the final pieces.

    Only a handful of the 59 dated Lithgowicon L1A1's from the first NZ consignment were so marked before the process was discontinued.

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    Have you ever heard of deck cargo? Have you ever seen deck cargo from across the Pacific? Grease and whatever else doesn't do much especially when they are left crated. Annanuvverfing. I was actually there......... Another small point is that while I was there I never saw a Mk1/2 or 1/3or 2. I asked our ordnance to supply the drawings for the conversion and still have them, copied and sent to me at Waiouru. The trouble is that I've had such a sheltered life. I need to get about a bit..............

    Just read BAR's reply and my response and it sounded as if I came across as a bit dismissive. Not the case, just a bit thoughtless in my reply. Sorry BAR and Clarkie.......
    Last edited by Peter Laidler; 08-15-2019 at 03:08 PM. Reason: add a bit....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Laidlericon View Post
    Have you ever heard of deck cargo?
    Never thought of that. Too bad at any rate...
    Regards, Jim

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