Lee Enfield No.4 Mk1 Savage - Identification


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Dark Skies
April 29, 2009, 12:40 PM
I've never actually really bothered to interpret the markings on my Lee Enfield No.4 until today. The reason being that my rifle, whilst in excellent shape overall, has so many overstamping and proof marks that it's nigh on impossible to make out what they say - let alone chase down sources for the markings.

Anyhow today, for the first time ever, I noticed that on the top and bottom of the nose cap there is a squared capital letter 'S' within a square box looks a bit like this: [S]

So I did a bit of digging around on the Net and through Ian Skennerton's Small Arms Indentification on the .303 and it looks like I have a Savage produced Enfield. Unfortunately I can't make out a 'US Property' stamping because the area where it's supposed to be appears to have been machined off - along with some other markings / numbers and then overstamped with a single serial number.

It looks like I have the earlier No4 Mk1 version because the No4 /1* had the bolt release moved forward and simplified whilst mine has the traditional button release just behind the stripper clip feed.

The general finish quality of the rifle seems better than British produced rifles I've seen. It also has a nicer stock a light oak colour instead of the very dark finished wood and the brass buttplate instead of steel. Oddly it has six groove rifling - I was under the impression Savage used two-groove. The bolt cocking piece is the three groove squared affair - not the round earlier version. It seems to have left service in 1952 - because all the serial numbers on the bolt, breech and body match and have F52 stamped next to it. These are a new serial number - I can just make out the remnants of the old one that had been polished off and then overstamped underneath. So I guess that any mix and matching was done prior it left service.

It's very difficult to pinpoint all the turning points that define a particular mark according to Skennerton - mine doesn't seem to tick all the boxes. Am I at least right about it being a Savage though?

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shinz
April 29, 2009, 03:42 PM
Its probably going to take photos of the receiver markings to let the experts in such things work on this, I'm certainly not one but in view of so much that is contrary to usual Savage production, I wonder if it is a case of a Savage nose cap on an otherwise British rifle?
Steve

Limeyfellow
April 29, 2009, 04:27 PM
It sounds like a Savage nose cap.

The six groove barrels tend to be on early Savage Lee Enfields, usually circa 1941. If it is an early one it would be pre lend lease too and so wouldn't have US Property mark on it either. All this and the fact it is a No4 Mk1 would have me guess it is a '41 Savage.

If you can give us the beginning part of the serial number starting with #C# I can determine a year of production. The F52 indicates factory repair. It a shortened form of FTR (factory through repair). The Lee Enfield was probably put into reserve back in the 50s, before being sold off as surplus.

The wood if it lighter than the English and American Walnut I would happen to guess that it has birch furniture. It was used as a substitute instead of walnut. Beech was also used but that be far more blond wood.

Dark Skies
April 29, 2009, 06:35 PM
Thanks for that. I'll try and get some photos and the serial number asap.

In the meantime here's a picture posted elsewhere on the board of my Lee Enfield. Is it possible to tell what wood the stock is from this? I'm hopeless when it comes to telling one type of tree from another.

http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u309/darkskies_bucket/DSCF0012.jpg

DougW
April 29, 2009, 09:20 PM
Pics are about the only way to really ID the markings. Can't wait to see them. Get a pic of the butt socket on the left side if you can.

jpwilly
April 30, 2009, 12:00 AM
Here's what a No4 Mk1* and it's markings look like...similar to your's?

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p38/jpwilly/SavageMarkings014reciever.jpg

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p38/jpwilly/Enfield2BNo42BMK12BUS2BPROPERTY.jpg

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p38/jpwilly/SavageMarkings016S.jpg

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p38/jpwilly/Enfield2BNo42BMK12B003.jpg

Dark Skies
April 30, 2009, 07:04 PM
Were that my rifle was so clearly marked as the above. I tried taking pictures of the markings but they were just not readable. My camera is just too crap for that kind of detail.

Here's what I have. The nose cone has this exact style of [S] stamped in it on top and underneath.

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u309/darkskies_bucket/th_s.jpg

(Picture taken off a Lee Enfield site).

On top of the breech in large uppercase letters are the words:

REQUESTED BY then whatever it said was unhelpfully overstamped by the serial number.

Underneath this is in much smaller lettering is Birmingham

Unlike jpwilly's picture there is no US PROPERTY on the left hand side of the bolt carrier - it's rough machined and blank. Nor does it have the model of rifle in the position indicated. Instead is the serial number PF250*** - which is repeated on the stock socket and the bolt. On the end of the barrel are the words AOP BALL BURNISHED (could AOP stand for Arkansas Ordnance Plant?) Underneath the barrel just in front of the bayonet lug are the calibre .303 and British proof markings (which all rifles sold in the UK must have).

Not a lot to go on really.

DougW
April 30, 2009, 08:20 PM
Sounds like you have a late war Fazakerly #4mk1 in some Savage wood which is not unusual. The PF tags the rifle as British, not a Savage. The 6 groove barrel is also another indicator, as later war Fazakerlys could have a 6, 5, 4, or 2 groove. The Savages ended up with 2 groove, but early usually had a 5 groove.

Looking in Stratton's book you have a '45 #4mk1 Fazakerly according to the serial number.

Dark Skies
May 1, 2009, 04:51 AM
Thanks for that. Much appreciated.

rogertc1
May 1, 2009, 06:49 AM
LEND LEASE RIFLE made in the US by Savage prior to the USA involvment in WWI. Made to help supply England yet look neutral. The boxed S are the Savave marked parts. Everyone should have at least one in their collection.

Limeyfellow
May 1, 2009, 10:59 AM
PF250*** indicates it a 1952 Fazakerley, which should put it in the No4 Mk2 configuration. Is the trigger hanging from the the trigger guard. If so it is a No4 Mk1. If it is hanging from the receiver, it is either a No4 Mk1 or a converted rifle designated a No4 Mk 1/2. Since the old serial number was removed however, I would happen to guess it was the mk 1/2.

The wood furniture is either a Savage left over that was used or a replacement stock.

The marks on the socket with the F probably originally said something like...

No4Mk2 (though that could be Mk 1/2) (F)
month/52 PF250***

As for the AOP BALL BURNISHED. Ball burnishing is a method of deburring metal to make it shiny. I am guessing this was done by a company after it was sold on the private market. I never seen the mark on a Lee Enfield and it is no military marking I know off.

Looking in Stratton's book you have a '45 #4mk1 Fazakerly according to the serial number.

Which Stratton book is this, since my copy of his British Enfield Rifles vol 2 says it is unlikely that Fazakerley built any No4 rifles from 1945-1947 (p. 167)

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