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No. 4 Mk 1*
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2021 5:58 pm    Post subject: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

Sometime around 1990 I bought a Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk 1* for $75, with the intent of sporterizing it. A military collector friend gave me so much grief about "Bubba-ing" it that I set it aside to think about what I wanted to do. It’s been sitting in the gun cabinet ever since. I got it out this week, started looking at the markings, and got confused.

On the left side of the receiver it is stamped “No 4 Mk 1*”. On the right side of the wrist it is stamped “F.R. 1963 R.F.I.”. The serial number, on the receiver and barrel, is “03 8XX”. The butt stock is stamped “S↑A I”. It has an “L” shaped aperture sight at the rear of the receiver. It has a zinc butt plate. It is chambered for .303 Brit.

I knew that R.F.I. was Ishapore, India. I first thought it might be an Ishapore 2A or 2A1 but they were 7.62x51mm, and had different sights. My quick research says that RFI didn’t make No. 4s, only the Mk III and then the 2A and 2A1.

So I went to the gurus in a military weapons group. With their help it appears that this rifle was manufactured by Savage in the US for the British army, in 1942-43. By 1963 it was in India. The "F.R." means Factory Repair/Rebuild. The Indians removed the previous markings (you can kinda see where they were ground off and refinished) and added their own.

I'm still not sure what to do with it. At the moment I'm leaning toward just cleaning the stock then leaving it as is. The bore looks good.

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2021 8:04 pm    Post subject: Re: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

DO NOT bubbafy her...PLEASE....... SHE IS A PIECE OF HISTORY.... folks over here are putting them back to origonal condition....most KIWIS over 45years old started hunting /shooting using a cut down SMLE.....they have been workhorse for many . finding one in good condition is rare...the $$$$ value of one is about the same as a new browning bolt action with scope and suppressor fitted....similar to a blazer if numbers match.bubbafied....half price of a botton tier savage/mossberg/remington sps
shooting animal with rifle thats over a hundred years old...PRICELESS.

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Vince
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 7:59 pm    Post subject: Re: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

Yep...agreed Elvis. I'm a bit of a purist in this respect...which is why my #5 is original apart from a modern NO GUNSMITH sight mount and sight. I much prefer to see a rifle in original condition (so long as that condition is good) than seeing a sporterized, or as you say Bubbified.

Will it be a good hunting rifle...who knows, and you won't know until you get it on the range and put a few rounds through it, but if nothing else, you will have a range plinker with history.

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 4:43 am    Post subject: Re: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

Pumpkin, you'll be surprised when you reload them with blackpowder and a non-sized (as casted) lead bullet. And don't worry: you cann't get 75 grs of BP in that case, but just fill them up with as much as possible.
After shooting you should clean the cases with boiling water and oxy-clean.
I have seen another topic started here about powder coating. I think hunting with such a BP reload and a powdercoated bullet of rather soft lead can be more than priceless...

and I forgot to mention: you can take a mould of a .308 bullet to cast and use it as casted.
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Gil Martin
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:05 am    Post subject: Re: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

All good points. Savage Arms made No.4 Mark 1 rifles in .303 caliber and mine are marked "U.S. Property". This was part of the Lend Lease Program prior to the U.S. entry into WWII. I agree that classic military arms should remain in original condition. I would not shoot blackpowder loads in a military rifle not designed for it unless it was a muzzleloader. Regarding the stock, my recommendation would be to merely rub in a small amount of boiled linseed oil. Enjoy your classic rifle.

You did very well. All the best...
Gil

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:02 am    Post subject: Re: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

Gil, what was the original .303 British load?
So why not reloading it with black powder? I know it works fine, it even kicks almost the same...
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Gil Martin
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:48 am    Post subject: Re: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

Aloysius, Not sure what era you are referring to, but I doubt the the No. 4 Mk 1* was designed to shoot blackpowder. Of course it is possible to reload cast bullets with blackpowder in a .303 British load. However, the cleanup after shooting such loads involves more than just the cases. The rifle needs to be carefully cleaned to remove any blackpowder residue. It depends what you prefer. All the best...
Gil

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Vince
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:23 am    Post subject: Re: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

Aloysius wrote:
Gil, what was the original .303 British load?
So why not reloading it with black powder? I know it works fine, it even kicks almost the same...

Gil...Aloys is correct mate...

.303 In The Beginning

".303 British in the Beginning

The .303 British started as a blackpowder, jacketed-bullet cartridge- not the best combination. The bullet was a long, 215-grain FMJ RN over a pelleted charge of blackpowder. Most sources state the muzzle velocity was 1,850 fps from a 30-inch test barrel, the length used in original Lee-Metford Mk1 service rifles. Note that I included "long" in the bullet description. That bullet placed demands on rifle chambers that affected future development of .303 service ammunition.

The transition from blackpowder to smokeless powder happened quickly. About 1891 a bundle of cordite replaced the pellet of blackpowder and produced velocities up to 2,050 fps, similar to U.S. .30-40 Krag 220-grain service ammo. This also forced a change in how barrels were rifled to deal with rapid wear from high-temperature cordite gases."


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Illegitimi non carborundum
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Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

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Gil Martin
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:44 am    Post subject: Re: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

Agreed. Thanks for the clarity. All the best...
Gil

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:08 am    Post subject: Re: No. 4 Mk 1* Reply with quote

And it's easier to clean black powder foaling than to get that nasty preservation stuff out of the system the first time you clean a rifle coming from the army stock...
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