Enfield No.4 Mk.1 - difference between Brit factories?


November 20, 2004, 03:46 PM
I'm curious about the manufacturers of Enfields and whether there are any quality (or other) differences between BSA, Fazakerley and Maltby. There doesn't seem to be any mention of difference on any Enfield sites I've found, but I'd like to know if anyone here has insight.

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Jim K
November 20, 2004, 07:53 PM
Others may have more info, but I don't know of any significant differences in manufacture or quality among the three British makers. The only significant change was the Mk 1*, which was produced only by Savage and Long Branch.

In Britain, small parts were made mostly by subcontractors, so variations appeared on different maker's products at different times, and anything serviceable was used. Obviously, as with any wartime production, machining and finish were not up to previous standards, but that applied across the board.


November 20, 2004, 11:13 PM
In my (perhaps limited) travels, I've certainly never heard of any factory-specific quality variations. Best I can tell, the fit-n-finish-n-tolerances are much more date sensitive (late-war production being the most hurried and least well finished/toleranced) than any differences between factories.

November 20, 2004, 11:56 PM
The BSA plant was bombed flat early in W.W. II. Wartime production was spread around to plants outside the range of German bombers.
Fazakerley and Maltby, unless I'm confused again, were/are post-war government owned arsenals. Much like the old Springfield Arsenal.
Savage made No. 4's, under contract until the Brits and Canadian Arsenals, Longbranch got up to speed. Then all existing Savage made parts and rifles were shipped to Longbranch.
The Brits issued specs for their rifles and other firearms, all closely controlled by the Ministry of Production, I think it was, and woe unto any manufacturer who changed anything without approval.

Dave Markowitz
November 21, 2004, 03:17 PM
Fazakerley and Maltby, unless I'm confused again, were/are post-war government owned arsenals. Much like the old Springfield Arsenal.

They were govt. owned but they were in operation during the way. I have a No.4 Mk.I made at Fazakerly in 1944, then FTRed there in '48.

November 22, 2004, 12:17 AM
No difference, in real world accuracy, between the makers. As evidence of this, samples from all 3 makers ended up at Fulton's for the No4T conversion to sniper. If one had quality issues, none of their rifles would have passed muster. The brits were picky.

September 17, 2006, 06:43 PM
I have a Fazakerley made 303. 1956 I think. Serial No gives clue to where made. Mine is FAxxxx for Fazakerley in Liverpool. Another clue to different models and makers of Lee Enfields is wood furniture. The best No:4s are plain yellow beechwood. from Fazakerley. Mahogany come from India, Boxwood from Australia. Someone else asked about how to measure the 0.303 dimension. LeeEnfield uses odd no of lands so yo cannot actually measure the effective demension 0.303. You have to calculate it from min dia, max dia and land height. Good luck!

September 17, 2006, 08:57 PM
So how do I tell where/when mine was made? I can see no obvious marks such as M, S, or F?

September 17, 2006, 10:21 PM
easy, post the serial number. The numbers can tell where the rifle was likely made.

Sunray, I have never heard your variation that Savage was covering for Long Branch until Long Branch could "get up to speed".Savage and Long Branch started producing rifles in 1941. Savage ceased on 44, but parts were exchanged through out the production time. Savage made more rifles in the 41-44 time frame than Long Branch made in the 41-45 time frame also. Long Branch continued production well after WWII where Savage chased other business. Savage and Long Branch closley colaberated on production and materials, and worked together to create the #4mk1* modification.

I would not really consider that a case of Savage covering for Long Branch. In fact, it is generally accepted that the finest fit and finish were at Long Branch first, then Savage, followed by the 3 English plants. Keep in mind that the Long Branch and Savage plants were not being bombed regularly!

Back to the question at hand, I have never heard anyone complain about one of the British manifacturers being of poorer quality than the other. As rbernie said, the 42, 43 and 44 rifles showed wartime expediency, and finish standards were lowered somewhat, but the fit and function were never compromised.

September 17, 2006, 11:18 PM
OK ser # C293xx

September 19, 2006, 09:25 AM
easy, C293XX is a serial number range for a rifle made at the Royal Ordinance Factory Fazakerly. Look for any electro pencil markings on the left rail that might signify an "FTR", or not.

September 19, 2006, 10:25 AM
I agree with DougW's post. There were no differences in quality between the BSA, Fazakerley, and Maltby plants. I must point out, however, that none of the British plants were being "bombed regulary". The cities of Birmingham (BSA) and Liverpool (Fazakerley) were both bombed sporadically and at times heavily in 1941 and 1942, but neither factory was targeted specifically, and after the summer of 1942 there were no large raids anywhere in England, just occasional incursions by single aircraft or very small formations. Maltby, in Yorkshire, was never bombed at all.

I grew up less than forty miles from Maltby, first in Scarborough, then in Hull. The Luftwaffe hit Hull as hard as they could for for three consecutive nights in '41 -- it was a very significant port -- and destroyed most of the center of the city; it was still just one big bomb site, the rubble gone but nothing rebuilt, when I first saw it in '52. My house in Hull had big pockmarks in its back wall from October '43, when a Messerschmidt 110 strafed a goods train on the line about 200 yards from the end of our garden. Our house in Scarborough got hit, too; just a single incendiary through the roof, from some Fritz too scared or navigationally challenged to find Hull.

Stop me before I digress even further...

September 19, 2006, 10:12 PM
Thanks. Nothing on the side rail but No4 Mk1. Importer stamp on the barrel just forward of the front sight. Bbl, receiver, bolt have matching #s. Cocking piece is smooth, no serations, rear sight is two position peep not tangent. Shoot nice though.

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