British-made Lee-Enfield No. 4 marked "Mk I*"

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Kabal

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My latest gun purchase was a Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk. I that was built by Maltby in Britain in 1944. The odd thing about this rifle is that it’s marked “No. 4 Mk. I*”, like its cousins made by Savage in the US:

Enfield_1_zpsuh77qi0t.jpg


Here you can clearly see that mechanically, the rifle is a Mk. I (no asterisk):

Enfield_2_zpskfaubd4j.jpg


Using google, I found a few posts on other forums that confirmed that Maltby stamped some of their rifles like this. However, no one seems to know how many were marked with the “*”, or why.

Does anyone here have some more information or a guess?


There are all sorts of small stampings on the rifle. I can identify most of them, but there’s another one that makes me curious. What does the letter “H” in the Broad Arrow mean?
It looks like there's some other small marking partially covered by the arrow, but I guess that's just a badly-executed "M" for Maltby.

Enfield_3_zpsz0n4kopx.jpg
 
Yes, Maltby did stamp some of their Mk 1s as "Mk 1*", if there is an answer to this question, it's in Ian Skennerton book on the Lee-Enfield.
 
I am curious-My 42 Maltby shows no such markings. Stratton does not show that Maltby made any Mk. 1 * as all were made by Savage and Long Branch according to him. So, Stratton does not appear to answer what exactly you have here. (Charles Stratton's book on Lee-Enfield Rifles). Haven't got the Skinnerton book yet.

Your pictures show the bolt release lever--the No. 4 Mk.I* Savage and Long Branch simply have a cut area in the bolt rails next to the receiver ring where you have to pop the bolt head up to remove the bolt and the receiver bridge is a bit higher to allow you to draw the bolt under the receiver bridge to remove it. This sort of simplication I believe was the major point of the No. 4 Mk. 1 * along with using greater number of stamped parts. Machining the bolt release slot took time as did fitting the parts and spring. Stratton does not show that Maltby made any Mk. 1 * as all were made by Savage and Long Branch according to him. So, Stratton does not appear to answer what exactly you have here.

Try asking Peter Laidler who was a British military armorer and has written books about the Lee-Enfields--see the Lee Enfield section on milsurps.com. Very nice guy and authoritative on Lee-Enfields. He might also be a bit cheaper than Skinnerton's book. You can find him at milsurps.com--he also has a series of useful stickies that explain how to time bolt heads, fix the draws on your stock, etc.

All I can say is that you have an oddity which are the fun ones to have.
 
If my memory hasn't trashed itself it seems to remember that the No.4 MK1 was the earlier of the No. 4's and that the trigger and trigger guard were mounted to the stock. This changed the way the trigger felt depending upon how the weather or whatever changed the wood. The ones with the "*" had been reworked to where the trigger was attached to the receiver for a metal to metal fit and the trigger felt and functioned the same at all times.
 
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I thought that the Mk2 changed the trigger and the Mk1* was a wartime expedient that removed the bolt stop and replaced it with a notch in the raceway....
 
Thanks for all the info, guys! I'll try to find some more answers on milsurps.com, as boom boom suggested.

BTW: Had the time to put a few rounds through the old warhorse, and she's a sweet shooter, close to my Swedish Mauser in terms of practical accuracy.
 
If my memory hasn't trashed itself it seems to remember that the No.4 MK1 was the earlier of the No. 4's and that the trigger and trigger guard were mounted to the stock. This changed the way the trigger felt depending upon how the weather or whatever changed the wood. The ones with the "*" had been reworked to where the trigger was attached to the receiver for a metal to metal fit and the trigger felt and functioned the same at all times.
No.

The difference between the No. 4 Mk 1 and the No. 4 Mk 1* is the bolt release, the "*" did away with it and used a simple notch. Only North American production used this modification.

The trigger modification you describe is the Mk 2 (and the conversions noted by a slash, e.g., Mk 1/2, Mk 1/3...), all of the Mk 2 production was post war.
 
A survey done about ten years ago on another forum, using serial number letter prefixes on rifles in the possession of members, indicated there could be as many as 50,000 Maltby made "MkI*" rifles.
Nobody knows how, or why, this mark got on the rifles.
And the answer isn't in Skennerton, either.
Maybe there's a soggy scrap of paper in the UK, somewhere?
-----krinko
 
A survey done about ten years ago on another forum, using serial number letter prefixes on rifles in the possession of members, indicated there could be as many as 50,000 Maltby made "MkI*" rifles.
Nobody knows how, or why, this mark got on the rifles.
And the answer isn't in Skennerton, either.
Maybe there's a soggy scrap of paper in the UK, somewhere?
-----krinko
Somebody at Maltby though that a certain modification warranted the star designation, obviously....

But which major change?

"L" rear sight
Front sight variations
stamped trigger guards
 
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