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  1. #1
    Contributing Member Cordite burner's Avatar
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    Late war H&H T furniture

    I have been studying the many excellent Enfield resource books and this fine forum but have a lingering question on Holland & Holland's WW II sniper conversion of BSA No.4Mk.1Ts -

    It sounds like the rifles were re-stocked as part of the process, does that mean new wood or just bedding the existing stocks better for accuracy? The selection process of identifying TRs at BSA no doubt located the rifles that had just the right stock fit, fore end pressure, etc., that promoted accuracy among other features. Would H&H then start over with new wood?

    If so, would they always use more stable North American Walnut than home grown Beech, even in 1945?

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    A Collector's View - The SMLE Short Magazine Lee Enfield 1903-1989. It is 300 8.5x11 inch pages with 1,000+ photo’s, most in color, and each book is serial-numbered.  Covering the SMLE from 1903 to the end of production in India in 1989 it looks at how each model differs and manufacturer differences from a collecting point of view along with the major accessories that could be attached to the rifle. For the record this is not a moneymaker, I hope just to break even, eventually, at $80/book plus shipping.  In the USA shipping is $5.00 for media mail.  I will accept PayPal, Zelle, MO and good old checks (and cash if you want to stop by for a tour!).  CLICK BANNER to send me a PM for International pricing and shipping. Manufacturer of various vintage rifle scopes for the 1903 such as our M73G4 (reproduction of the Weaver 330C) and Malcolm 8X Gen II (Unertl reproduction). Several of our scopes are used in the CMP Vintage Sniper competition on top of 1903 rifles. Brian Dick ... BDL Ltd. - Specializing in British and Commonwealth weapons Specializing in premium ammunition and reloading components. 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.
     

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    AFAIK H&H did not restock rifles. They were paid to effect the conversion from standard service rifle to sniper's rifle only. The rifles should not have needed restocking anyway, as they had already passed an accuracy test & been accordingly marked at BSA with the TR stamp. If it ain't broke don't fix it!

    I've not seen documentation to confirm it, but from observation of many rifles it seems that Trials rifles were stocked up in walnut, though once war broke out we were quickly forced to substitute walnut with beech & birch for various woodwork parts. However, by 1943 it seems that supplies of North American kiln dried walnut came on hand, so one sees a reversion to walnut. If you see a 1943, 44, or 45 BSA produced 4T stocked up in anything other than walnut you are likely to be looking at a rifle that has been restocked. The walnut, though of North American origin, was turned into forends, butts, & hand guards in the UKicon & bears usually one of three different makers' initials or factory codes. This is further complicated in that the metal fixtures to the woodwork were often contracted out to additional manufacturers....

    Hope this helps....
    Last edited by Roger Payne; 03-24-2023 at 07:55 PM. Reason: typo

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    Roger can you ascertain from the pic what wood my T is stocked in it's by all accounts according to the records from what I have learned here a Sept 1944 build with it's original as issued MkIII No.32 scope.
    AFAICT it has not been FTR'ed as there are no stampings or electro pencil markings on it anywhere to signify that event in it's history, the scope end covers are a repro.
    TIA
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    Cinders, I'm sure that's walnut, although stained birch can sometimes look quite similar, especially to lighter shades of walnut.......but that's walnut. I suspect that your cheekpiece is quite possibly ash (ash looks just like oak to me, but I gather we do not use oak on rifles due to the chemical constituents rotting iron over time!).

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    Thank you for that Roger.

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    H&H 4T furniture

    Thank you Roger. It makes sense that the "careful restocking" work done by H&H was simply fine tuning, etc., as referenced by Skennertonicon in "The Lee-Enfield" and "The Britishicon Sniper". In "An Armorer's Perspective", by Laidlericon and Skennerton it is more clearly defined: "the rifles were stripped and the rifle number stamped into the woodwork". Clearly if they refused rifles with solid foresight blocks they were not going to re-stock them as well!

    As a follow up, what about the wood of late war cheek rests? Most look pretty dark, suggesting walnut but I suspect they were made by whatever small blocks of wood were at hand.

    The flecks in the grain of Beech seem the best way to identify some dark wood stocks of undefined species.

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    They may exist, but I've never seen Britishicon produced cheekpieces in walnut, only Canadianicon. I have examples of UK cheekpieces in beech (the most common), birch (usually noticed on early conversions such as Trials & Savage rifles), & ash (usually on later war BSA Shirley rifles). Ash cheekpieces are sometimes stained quite dark, but equally are sometimes found in their pale natural wood colour. However, beech seems the most common generally. It's also difficult to be too dogmatic about it as rifles were often in service a long time & could easily have had replacement cheekpieces fitted over the years.......

    From what I have read & learnt from Peter when he was researching the book the woodwork & furniture was tagged with the rifle serial number in order to ensure that it was refitted to the correct rifle once the conversion to T was completed.

    P.S. Indeed H&H were not paid to swap over foresight blocks from the solid to the screw type, but in practice the requirements were relaxed when it came to foresight blocks, & many later rifles have the solid type. There is also a sub-group of 1943 rifles that bear Savage produced Mk1 (M) rear sights. This was long presumed to be because these rifles arrived at H&H as acceptable for conversion, but with the wrong rear sights. Rather than reject them a replacement 'Singer' sight was permitted. I had noted a small number of such rifles, all '43 dated, & then a while back another forummer found a documented reference to the supply of sights of Savage manufacture to H&H for this very purpose.
    Last edited by Roger Payne; 03-25-2023 at 04:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CINDERS View Post
    Roger can you ascertain from the pic what wood my T is stocked in it's by all accounts according to the records from what I have learned here a Sept 1944 build with it's original as issued MkIII No.32 scope.
    AFAICT it has not been FTR'ed as there are no stampings or electro pencil markings on it anywhere to signify that event in it's history, the scope end covers are a repro.
    TIA
    What prefix serial number is it, as I reckon mine was made around Sept/Oct '44 as well. Mine is a L prefix serial number, and has its original matching Mk.3 scope and bracket, and woodwork. Mines not been FTR's either, although its not got its original barrel.
    Just the thing for putting round holes in square heads.

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    GeeRam mine sports the JC bracket which is I think is Rose & Son!
    Scope is an AK & S MkIII Ser No. 16684 I think they started the serials for the AK & S at 1500.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cordite burner View Post
    I have been studying the many excellent Enfield resource books
    From my shelves the first book will give valuable insights into the stocking up of the Lee Enfield line.

    I have like most here all the books you referenced as well as a few more Statton's book is not bad also E B Reynolds book on them but is a bit pricey.
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