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Thread: Probable Service information about a Savage No 4 MK 1*

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  1. #11
    Advisory Panel Brian Dick's Avatar
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    I'll happily chime in and say that I stick to my observation that the US Property stamp has been removed. The US ordnance bomb acceptance stamp was also standard. I've seen a few in 30 years from new in the carton to shagged out junk. They were all marked starting at 0C1. It's just a bog standard Savage that's been neatly reworked IMHO. The original Dulite blue was not too durable so almost all that saw service with the UKicon and Commonwealth got refinished post WWII providing they saw substantial usage. I have one here now that was a "lunch box" variant with no serial numbers and in minty condition that also sports the US Property stamp. I'd guess that the bodies were marked before they were breeched up and finished. An interesting observation is that the bodies were sandblasted first so many think they are Parkerized as the Dulite takes on a greyish color when applied on a sandblasted surface. The finish on the original .303 Savage barrels has a very light polish and if you take a look at the barreled body of an original rifle there is a distinct contrast in the colors between the body and barrel but it's the same Dulite blue finish. Having examined hundreds, I'm also looking for the walnut stocked variants which we've been told many times do exist but they don't! All of the Savage woodwork I've examined over many years is good old birch.

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  4. #12
    Contributing Member 22SqnRAE's Avatar
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    Excellent, we're getting somewhere!

    Thanks for the comparison Roger, that's very helpful. I do feel that this rifle was reconfigured in the UKicon post War at some stage, certainly for civilian purposes. Might be an individual, might be a club, might be a school, no idea.

    I'll accept the flaming bomb, was not contentious, and AdE's comment is bang on the mark, thanks Alan.

    The confusing things still is the absence of the US Property stamp. Was this ground off, was it such a good and careful job, was the stamping so light or crude in the first place that it made it easy for the smith to do some touch up work to make the rifle gleam? Who knows?

    Great input, thanks folks, appreciate the effort. Let's hope some one will wander by and recognise the receiver ring stamp mark.
    Trying to save Service history, one rifle at a time...

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  6. #13
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 22SqnRAE View Post
    Was this ground off, was it such a good and careful job, was the stamping so light or crude in the first place that it made it easy for the smith to do some touch up work to make the rifle gleam? Who knows?
    Well, you can see the file marks at the front of the receiver on that top flat...so it's just a job not a "Good and careful" job... It was just filed off.
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    Regards, Jim

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    Advisory Panel Brian Dick's Avatar
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    Thereís nothing confusing about it. Itís a simple task to file it off and refinish. I doubt it was done by a military Armourer as it wasnít allowed because the rifles werenít UKicon property. That being said, Iíve seen a few with it filed off over the years. Whoever converted it and refinished it is most likely the culprit.

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    Contributing Member 22SqnRAE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    Well, you can see the file marks at the front of the receiver on that top flat...so it's just a job not a "Good and careful" job... It was just filed off.
    Jim,

    Not being the owner of the rifle, I currently don't have better photos of the portion of the receiver. Of my 3 Savages, each has pretty rough striations perpendicular to the side face of the receiver, whereas this one doesn't.

    I'm not following your pointed response to my choice of words. What was your intention that I missed? I don't get my message absolutely spot on 100% of the time, does anyone? I'll agree there's file marks, so it's not a perfect finish. We're in agreement.

    I'd concede, after several views of this photo against one of my Savages, that the stamp has been ground off. (With, or without care, so as not to offend anyone's expectation of workmanship. )



    In the photo above, the angled top surface intersecting the radiused vertical face clearly has a distinct misalignment at the intended tangent. So, on that basis, all those who have suggested the mark has been ground off, I reckon you have evidence right there.

    Brian's information about the lighter grey colouration of the grit blasted surface seems to be supported by the finish we see now. That's really good insightful stuff, thank Brian.

    Funny how with some reflection and some better information, the very strongly held opinions of some folks can be realistically challenged. I'll not delve into that back story, suffice to say I believe the view that people have presented in this discussion are quite well evidenced and reach a very similar conclusion as to the actions leading to the rifle in its current form.

    The missing bit is: 'by whom?'
    Trying to save Service history, one rifle at a time...

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  12. #16
    Really Senior Member Paul S.'s Avatar
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    There is a proofmark on top of the Chamber that I believe is the same as one seen on a supposedly ex-Israeli BHP being discussed on another forum. I suspect that the lend lease stamp would have been removed by the Israelis since they would have received/purchased the rifle from another source obviously.

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    I agree with 22SqnRAE - I think the history of this rifle has been reasonably pieced together from careful observation of it. As mentioned, the only outstanding question being who effected the .22 conversion. I know quite a lot of both SMLE's & No4's were converted by PH & Alfred J Parker, as well as by (for the want of a better expression) 'jobbing gunsmiths' so it may be that we will never know for sure. The mark on the top of the receiver ring may be a clue, or may not; again we may never know, but hat's off for the effort in trying!

    As an aside Brian, I agree with you about the US Property marking not being removed in military service (or at least, not in Commonwealth military service) as the Savage rifles legally didn't belong to the UKicon. However, I have often wondered about how the Savage 4T conversions got through. If the same rationale applies, they weren't ours to convert/bugger about with, but we did, all the same. Perhaps it just didn't occur to anyone that we shouldn't be 'tampering' with US government property......

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    Advisory Panel Brian Dick's Avatar
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    Paul has it in one. I had a brainstorm, (a rare occurrence here!), this morning and went to my storage area to check a box of surplus of chamber sticks I have. Low and behold, they are Israeli and all marked with the same marking that's stamped on the breech of the OP's rifle. That answers that question.



    I think the same answer applies that I use for many unanswered questions Roger. There was a war on and many formalities were overlooked in the name of expediency, practicality and probably experimentation. The strange thing is that I've seen more "less telescope" Savage No.4T conversions than ones that were legitimately scoped and issued so maybe they were leery about putting them out in the hands of the troops in quantity. It appears most were sat in a rack someplace for the duration and they certainly aren't that rare. Their use or lack of may be for the reasons you state. It's hard to say. Peter Laidlericon told me that he'd never seen a Savage No.4Mk.1*T while working them in service. His book relays that and he admitted it needed to be rewritten with all of the new information gleaned in the past 20+ years. I think H&H were probably happy to receive rifles from everyone initially and as we know, the ROF Maltby, ROF Fazakerley and Savages more or less fell by the wayside because they wanted bodies that were consistently the same. BSA were the only ones accepted after the early years of diverse conversions, ('41-'42). It must have been quite a learning experience when they found that jigging up all of the different bodies with their respective machining differences became a production nightmare. It had to be simplified to meet the high quantities of rifles needed for the war effort and that's why BSA ruled the roost! Just my personal observation but I think it makes sense.

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    So, it would appear to be an Israeli mark, you reckon? An acceptance mark perhaps?

    Yes, Bri, re the 4T's we're on the same page. Lots of the Savage conversions are indeed less Telescope rifles as you say, & I suspect more Mk1* rifles than Mk1's. However some Mk1*'s were definitely scoped up - there were several in the big batch we bought twenty years ago - I still own one of them. Peter often said that you stick your neck out when writing a book or a magazine article because there's always someone who has that extra snippet of information that you didn't know. I did tell him when he was preparing the book that I thought there were a few Savage Mk1*'s converted, but I think he thought I'd been taken in by fakes. I don't mind about that - they were not well known then, but once the book appeared more collectors provided him with similar observations, & so these rifles became accepted. Just shows why popular books run to more than one edition!

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