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  1. #1
    Member Gaijin's Avatar
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    New member - New owner of a Lee-Enfield

    Good Afternoon,
    I recently purchased my first 'real' Lee-Enfield, even though I am pretty sure that it had been monkeyed with a little bit. (I purchased one a few years ago that had been redone by Golden State - I could not leave that beautiful piece of wood in the LGS!)

    This one is a 1943 Long Branch No4 MkI*.
    Pretty common from what I have been able to learn so far; but the price was decent, and I did not have a real Lee-Enfield yet.
    I am convinced that the wood has been refinished, and the metal scrubbed a bit with something along the lines of Scotch-Brite. Most of the finish is all but gone, but all of the stamps that I can find do not seem to have that "worn" look. Bore is bright and strong with 2 grooves.



    In an effort of trying to learn what is "correct" for that rifle, I have read more forum threads on multiple websites than I previously believed would have existed. And I have not scratched the surface of the information that is out there. I have so much to learn, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

    At this point, I figured that I would ask a question in the attempt to make my research a bit more efficient.

    Is there a resource already in existence that would help me learn:
    1) About the No4 Mk I rifles in general
    2) the specifics of what components and finish were 'correct' for my rifle.
    With the adage "Better to be though a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt" in mind, I am trying to learn at least the rudimentary facts of this rifle before I start asking any specific questions. At this point, I think I would wear the patience of a monk thin with all of my questions.

    Thank you so very much for any guidance you can offer!

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    Banner AD Space Available - Click HERE to Inquire Family owned and operated since 1962, Simpson LTD is the largest collector firearms store in the Midwest. Our globally sourced inventory represents many eras, with an emphasis on World War II and our favorite firearm, the Luger, of which we typically have 2,500 in stock.  Inventory changes daily with 10,000 firearms ready to ship; along with accessories, militaria, and hundreds of book titles. We also offer appraisals, consignment services ranging from single items to full collections, and we are one of the most reliable and competitively priced import and export services available.  We do not offer parts or gunsmithing, but we have a little bit of everything else. Visit our website for more information and our new technical video series Speaking Luger, and like Simpson Ltd on Facebook for updates, previews, and more. LIMITED TIME OFFER FROM THE AMERICAN GUNSMITHING INSTITUTE: Get Immediate Online Access To AGI's NEW Armorer's Course for Glock Pistols, Covering Every Generation of Glocks, Including the Latest Model 42/43 and Double Stack Pistols for ONLY $7.00! Brian Dick ... BDL Ltd. - Specializing in British and Commonwealth weapons Chuck in Denver ... Buy-Sell-Trade .. Guns, Cars Motorcycles Your source for the finest in High Power Competition Gear. Here at T-bones Shipwrighting we specialise in vintage service rifle: re-barrelling, bedding, repairs, modifications and accurizing. We also provide importation services for firearms, parts and weapons, for both private or commercial businesses. Banner AD Space Available - Click HERE to Inquire
     

  3. #2
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    Roger Payne's Avatar
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    Hello, & welcome to the forum. There are people on here that specialise in Long Branch production, so I'll limit my comments, other than to say that I think your rifle, leaving the factory in 1943 would almost certainly have had all major metal parts blued when new. Later on parkerising came in, but not until rather later (IIRC).

    The 'Bible' on Lee Enfields is 'The Lee Enfield Story' by Ian D Skennertonicon. It started life many years ago as 'The Britishicon Service Lee' but was subsequently revised & expanded becoming The LES, & then undergoing a further expansion for its third & current iteration, though still retaining the same name. It really is the standard work on all things Lee Enfield, not just the No4, though that rifle features prominently. If you just want something dealing with the No4 there are books such as Strattons which give much useful information on production years, serial number ranges & variations seen in component parts, etc. There are other books too, but that is an initial suggestion. I daresay others will chip in with books that they have found useful.

    Plus of course, this forum is an incredibly useful source of info..........you just have to ask. We all started somewhere so nobody will ever tell you your question is foolish.

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    Advisory Panel Brian Dick's Avatar
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    Roger is correct. Bluing was standard until later 1950 production when Parkerizing became the norm. Many wartime Long Branch rifles were Parkerized during Canadianicon FTR programs in the 1960's and later.

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    Books

    Get the last one of Ian Skennertons the one on the bottom left Ian is the recognised most knowlegable person on the Lee Enfields.
    Stratton books are handy for a quick reference guide if your at a gun show lot smaller to carry around.

    The E.B Reynolds book is another good source and if you want to dig further into the bits and bobs with markings buy "The Broard Arrow" By Ian Vol I and the MkII version.
    The Mk II Blue covers is a further expansion on Vol 1 and probably a bit cheaper than the first both my copies are signed by Ian and both numbered 211 of 300 copies.

    Badger I finally sorted my computer out horrah I am actually learning a bit on comps
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    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    This forum has an immense body of LE knowledge. Whenever looking for specifics use the search function top right -searchmilsrups.com- you will find lots of answers quickly. There are usually multiple threads on the same topic but covering different areas of that same topic. So you have many different opinions of that very same question.

    We love profuse photos, of your LE of course.

    Golden state produced good firearms.

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  12. #6
    Member Gaijin's Avatar
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    MANY Thanks for the replies!
    I am now in the hunt for the books by Skennertonicon that you recommended.

    So far I have found a of couple of small items that I need to 'fix' at some point.
    • a stamped front sight protector
    • a replacement cocking piece.
    One thing that I have not been able to nail down...
    On my cocking piece, there is a stamp that I have not been able to find reference to. It is certainly not the LB stamp, but it does not look like the blocky Savage 'S' either. Does anyone have any ideas?
    (Here goes my first attempt at posting a pic on here...)





    Thanks again for all of the advice!
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  13. #7
    Advisory Panel Brian Dick's Avatar
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    Please don't be offended but why do you feel like you need to replace the cocking piece and front sight guard? If your bolt assembly is set up properly and functions correctly, for God's sake, leave it alone. When you start changing things around and are clueless to start with, you can only put it out of specification. Then you'll wonder why it doesn't work right. Both of those parts are Savage manufacture. They probably are replacements on a 1943 LB but if it was a later 1944 or 1945 LB, they could also be correct because Savage sent all the remaining spares to LB after their contract was completed in late 1944. If the stamped Savage front sight guard bothers you, go ahead and replace it with a LB marked one if it makes you feel better but if you start tearing your bolt assembly apart, my guess is you're asking for trouble.

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    I would concur with Brian........the foresight protector isn't a major issue, but assuming your trigger pull is currently ok I would not advise changing the cocking piece as it will probably subtly alter the whole dynamics of the system. The trigger, trigger guard, trigger guard collar, sear, & cocking piece are all intimately connected & carefully fitted to get the right first & second pressures. Just changing any part of this to get the 'right' manufacturer's mark on a component may lead to regrets. But......it's your rifle!

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    Member Gaijin's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Interesting! Not offended whatsoever. I am admittedly the novice here and am anxious to learn as much as I can.
    Looking at the cocking piece and the bolt, I would not have expected it to alter the trigger pull or how the action functions. When I found the incorrectly stamped cocking piece, I thought that it was significant transgression against the rifle, and had the impression that I should try to return the rifle to as close to original condition as I could. If the cocking piece had already been swapped out, how would I determine if it is in spec or not? I am working on being able to check the headspace and will be verifying that the bolt will not close up on a .074" gauge.
    The bolt head is a #2 and measures .633".
    Besides verifying the headspace and that the firing pin does not protrude when it is being closed; is there anything else that I should be concerned about and should check before firing it?

    As far as the front sight protector goes, it is flat out missing. The front sight is there and is even stamped correctly, but the protector is just not there at all. I felt that replacing it was something that I should be doing first and foremost.

    I just picked up the rifle about 8 days ago, and have not had the opportunity to shoot it yet, so I cannot vouch for its accuracy. A few rounds were cycled through it just to be sure that fed correctly.

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    Thread Starter
    Brian,
    I went and took a few pictures of some of the stamps on the rifle. Are these enough to confirm anything about the rifle?

    The first is just the main stamp on the side of the receiver.

    56L2717 serial number - Is this correct for the stamped 1943 year? Did they keep precise enough records to come close to a month of manufacture?
    A12 - No idea what this is - Was the rifle repaired at Fazakerley? When?

    I took the rear hand guard off to get some pics of the barrel. Three of them.
    The barrel does look like it has a LB stamp. The other stamps I do not know what they signify.
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