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  1. #1
    Senior Member daveboy's Avatar
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    My new Long Branch



    Sorry for all the photos. I'm a collector of U.S. military rifles, primarily. But, owning a Lightgow SMLE, I also wanted a nice No. 4 to go with it. And, a Long Branch is something I held out for. Well, I finally found one locally, at what I consider a good price. I brought this home today. It''s dirty as heck. Bore is dirty as well, but good rifling is very visible. The bolt # matches the receiver, and I don't see serial numbers anywhere else. I was wondering if anyone could chime in and tell me exactly what I have? It also has the bayonet frog. My concern is the wood. Although, it is some beautiful walnut, unsanded it would appear, someone has done some carving on it. Are these commonly done by the soldiers, or was this Bubba? Also, notice how some strange cutouts where done on the lower handguard. I don't understand that at all, and the arrow? I think I can steam and lightly sand the carvings from everywhere else, but no way to repair that handguard. Are there any places I can purchase a lower handguard, with the grooves? Thanks for looking. Oh, I got it for a steal...225 American dollars. I think I did okay.

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    Member lithgow1918's Avatar
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    It was bubba, shame too as besides all the "custom work" it looks like a very nice rifle.

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    Really Senior Member Seaforth72's Avatar
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    I would disagree with browningautorifleicon. I only encountered one case in my Canadian Army service of a soldier carving a design into his rifle stock. If I had found out who it was he would have been in VERY BIG trouble. I believe the carvings on yours were done by a civilian owner.

    The ENGLAND marking on this Canadian made rifle was a U.S. requirement oddly enough. The McKinley Tariff Act was intended to show the country of origin/manufacture. Any Lee-Enfield rifles destined for the U.S. surplus market was so marked whether they were made in Englandicon, Canadaicon, the USAicon or possibly even Australiaicon, India or Pakistan. The ENGLAND marking does very strongly suggest that your rifle is one of the many thousands that Canada sent to the British, so looks like “it was over there”.

    Replacement Long Branch furniture is available on eBay but the supply is drying up. I suggest contacting Dean at deanboyce64 at Google’s gmail service dot com in the UK. He could also see that the wood type and colours matched. The metal parts would be Long Branch marked (the L superimposed in B monogram). Your backsight is a British Mk.I sight likely fitted post-war as the rifle likely originally had a simple wartime economy sight (a simple “L” shape flip sight or stamped metal sight.) To have the rifle done really right consider contacting Brian Dickicon of BDLicon Ltd in South Carolina.

    One the other hand if you do not want to put more money and effort into it you could leave it as it is, clean it, shoot it and enjoy it. Although you can slap any No.4 Mk.I or I* wood on it, unlike the Garand, they were set up to have a certain pressure on the barrel which was adjusted for each rifle.

    The wood was often treated with Boiled Linseed Oil (BLOicon) though everyone has their own opinion and favorite treatments. I use the BLOicon because my Dad carried a Lee-Enfield in WWII and that is what he used.

    It is a good idea to have a gunsmith check the headspace. As well on the No.4 Mk.I* rifles the bolt release mechanism was greatly simplified and is simply a slot cut in the track. However if the corners of this opening become damaged/chippped I understand that the bolt head can pop out of the track when the bolt is being manipulated, although I have not seen any damaged in this fashion.

    Your sling is the correct pattern, but appears to be a post-war synthetic one. Wartime examples were usually a light brown web material. There are replicas of those e.g. at IMA-USA, but for an original you could contact Hayes Otoupalik in Missoula Montana. Look for his web site.
    Last edited by Seaforth72; 05-21-2020 at 03:33 AM.

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    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seaforth72 View Post
    It is a good idea to have a gunsmith check the headspace. As well on the No.4 Mk.I* rifles the bolt release mechanism was greatly simplified and is simply a slot cut in the track. However if the corners of this opening become damaged/chippped I understand that the bolt head can pop out of the track when the bolt is being manipulated, although I have not seen any damaged in this fashion.
    Unfortunately 'not an uncommon' fault on the US & Canadianicon built Mk1*

    Affected rifle life can be extended by adding a chamfer onto the bolt head to help it slide across the 'cut-out'., which will help reduces the bolt jumping out of the rails. More permanent repairs can be done by VERY CAREFUL re-build welding of the broken rails - BUT - extreme care is needed not to over heat the rail and remove the hardening.
    This is what to look for :

    Photo previously posted by Parashooter.


    I presume the carved 'arrow' is an instruction for Bubba to "point the gun in this direction".
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    Last edited by Alan de Enfield; 05-21-2020 at 05:28 AM.
    Mine are not the best, but they are not too bad. I can think of lots of Enfields I'd rather have but instead of constantly striving for more, sometimes it's good to be satisfied with what one has...

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    Contributing Member Singer B's Avatar
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    The wood looks very shiny. Has it been treated with a shellac or varnish or stain?

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    Senior Member daveboy's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks for all the great replies. The wood looks a little shinier than I would expect, but whatever was put on it was done a long time ago, and it does not appear to sit "on top" of the wood because the grain seems open. I found what appears to be a correct handguard on ebay last night and ordered it. It is walnut, and has the relief cuts. Normally, I would not sand a stock. But, in this case, collector value has been lost due to the carvings. Except for the handguard (which I will replace), the carvings don't appear to be very deep. I think with some judicious steaming, and a little sandpaper I can minimize them, if not remove them entirely. And, I have restored many stocks, so know all about what to stay away from with the sandpaper. It is interesting that you mention that bolt release. The only other No. 4 that I've ever owned, was many years ago. I recall that the bolt came all the way back, and then you lifted the bolt face up to remove. I tried and tried to get that bolt face to move in that position at the store, but of course, it wouldn't budge. So, I looked closer and saw that cut out in the rail. That removal system was a shock to me. I have several other projects going on right now, but hope to get started on this one soon. When I do, I will post some more pics at that time. Again, thanks for the replies.

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