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  1. #1
    Really Senior Member superbee's Avatar
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    Interesting long branch

    Looks like a prototype??



    LONGBRANCH NO 4 MK I * LIGHTWEIGHT EXPERIMENTAL RIFLE IN .303

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    Advisory Panel stencollector's Avatar
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    Compared to the one shown in the Knowledge Libraryicon, I see a few small differences right off the bat. https://www.milsurps.com/content.php...rimental-Rifle
    The serial number goes in the opposite direction, and wanders a lot more on the one at auction than the one in the knowledge library. As well, you can see the maltese cross on the bolthead of the one in the library...not seeing that on the one in the auction. Of course, things like boltheads do get changed. Since it was a limited run of rifles as opposed to mass production, I suppose some variations could exist.

    Certainly this is one of the holy grails of the Canadianicon Enfields. It will be interesting to see the final price.

    Edited to add: Had a look at photos of rifles no 13 (James Julia Auctions) and it has the serial number going the same way as serial 12, but no dashes in the serial numbers on either the bolt or the knox. Then I look at photo of serial number 16 on Colin's site and his has the serial going the same way as #17. With these rifles being worth so much, there could be fakes out there. One would have to see more of them to try and discern real from mock-up, if in fact there are mock-ups. I copied a couple of the serial numbers and blew them up. The J on serial 17 looks more like a cut down U than the others, but I also note the 2 on 12 has been double struck, and the 0 was double struck with one sideways on 17. Tough to make sense of the variations.
    Serial numbers on the bolt handles also seem to vary. On #17 it is not on top...can't see photos to see if it is on the rear. On the others it seems to be on the top.
    Last edited by stencollector; 03-15-2021 at 09:21 PM.

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    For future reference.
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    If you check out oldguns.ca you can see another lightweight in what appears to be better condition. The case shown in the auction looks made up to me in my opinion and the lightening cuts in the stock seem much more crude

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    Advisory Panel stencollector's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by #1oilman View Post
    If you check out oldguns.ca you can see another lightweight in what appears to be better condition. The case shown in the auction looks made up to me in my opinion and the lightening cuts in the stock seem much more crude
    That is not another lightweight but in fact the same one. Both are serial no 17.
    Interesting that it would appear to be a 43 Longbranch receiver which was recycled into the lightweight. Also notable is that the bolt serial is on the more traditional back of the handle. All the other examples I saw had the number on the top surface of the handle.
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    The crank put into the bolt handle/knob is interesting; reminiscent of the old LE Carbine. The body configuration is obviously is very close to the No.1 MkVI.

    One oddity is that the "thumb cut" in the left receiver wall is actually a bit too far forward: it is not inline with the opposite end of the charger bridge, thereby placing the thumb farther away from the charger guide, which is not a good thing.

    I assume the straight line stock was required by the need to follow the more or less straight line of the wood grain; had the later laminated stock blanks been available something closer to the No.1 and No.4 configuration might have been possible.

    The foresight appears to be screw adjustable for windage, which is certainly not a simplification, however desirable in use.

    I'm not sure when this Lightweight appeared, but could this be the inspiration for the lightening cut in the left wall of the No.5 Rifle? And if so, did the Lightweight show any of the famous wandering zero problems?

    The mag looks like it was put on a belt sander!

    (Looking at that No.1 Mk.VI photo I see the backsight aperture is machined on the front face the same way as the Long Branch Mk.I backsight, or vice versa.)
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    Last edited by Surpmil; 03-30-2021 at 12:23 AM. Reason: Typos
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

    "None need deceive a people determined to deceive themselves."

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    Has anyone ever seen the original factory "instructions / specifications for the J5550?

    It seems that almost none of them are to a precisely set pattern, as if the project were a serial design exercise, rather than a straight-up attempt to get something into the hands of the troops as soon as possible.

    My first impression on getting my sticky paws on one was: "Cute and light", promptly followed by: Could be "interesting to shoot, recoil-wise" and then; There's not much wood in the wrist of the stock: not good for "butt-stroking" the enemy when it all gets up close and personal. Never mind the time-honoured use of the service rifle as a "hoist"; used by two beefy diggers to assist their mates over the wall on the obstacle course.

    In an alternate universe, a .280-30 version might have been interesting, apart from the toothpick stock.
    Last edited by Bruce_in_Oz; 03-20-2021 at 03:50 AM.

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    In early 1945, there was a multi-national exercise in Northern Saskatchewan to test various equipment and tactics in the far North under arctic conditions. There was a 3 volume set of books made to record the various observations and offer suggestions on everything from the plastic comb to the oversnow vehicles. Amongst the small arms there were both the no4 lightened and the no5 jungle carbine. I am attaching a photo of the two paragraphs re these two weapons.
    I think there are also some photos of the weapons being carried....I'll have a quick look and see if I can find them.
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    Really Senior Member Cantom's Avatar
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    Bruce: I really wish AIA had made the Lightened Rifle model...would have been on one of them pretty quickly.






    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce_in_Oz View Post
    Has anyone ever seen the original factory "instructions / specifications for the J5550?

    It seems that almost none of them are to a precisely set pattern, as if the project were a serial design exercise, rather than a straight-up attempt to get something into the hands of the troops as soon as possible.

    My first impression on getting my sticky paws on one was: "Cute and light", promptly followed by: Could be "interesting to shoot, recoil-wise" and then; There's not much wood in the wrist of the stock: not good for "butt-stroking" the enemy when it all gets up close and personal. Never mind the time-honoured use of the service rifle as a "hoist"; used by two beefy diggers to assist their mates over the wall on the obstacle course.

    In an alternate universe, a .280-30 version might have been interesting, apart from the toothpick stock.
    Last edited by Cantom; 03-27-2021 at 03:10 PM.

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    I fail to see how the stocking up could be so different on one of the lightweights as compared a standard No4 or No5: the one piece stock is no advantage in that respect as far as I can see.

    Whatever "black art" there is to fitting a forend to a Lee Enfield action, the fact that a buttstock is attached merely means when the forend is scrapped, the butt goes with it!

    Had the one piece stock been made in plywood, we would really have been on to something. I suppose the more straight-line stock would appeal to modern tastes.

    No doubt in my mind that nothing "invented in the Colonies (sic)" *sniff, sniff* could be accepted as better, whereas invented in Czechoslovakiaicon was no problem at all!

    Silly? Yes, but the student of history will not be surprised.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

    "None need deceive a people determined to deceive themselves."

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