Updated: May 16
Rear Micrometer Sight
BSA / M47C
Other Wood & Metal Marks
X mark on the receiver wood
"s" for rear sight replaced (at Hollands)- needs resighting
Serial Numbers - other than the receiver wrist and bolt
1907 USA Leather Sling
"Hoyt / MT&B Co 1918 REW"
If you are lucky enough to have an unmolested No4 mk1T, then you could have a rifle, scope and accessories that represent one of the 4 years of production at Holland and Holland, or as it was updated and repaired by British Armorers or other installments of service history. If you are slightly less lucky you may have a rifle, scope and accessories that have been used and "improved" by private owners and tinkerers, Here is how to spot original features, errant ones and simple techniques to step towards your chosen rifle impression - original factory - war years service - post war British service and post war International service - organized by parts group:
Wrist markings: I was talking with a fellow enthusiast about BSA Shirley using electro-penciled serial numbers in production and so took some photos to explore this:
Here we have a scopeless and virtually unfired 1945 No4T on the left and an "active service" No4T on the right that had its last service with India, other than the metal being painted with lumpy glossy black paint it is predominantly unchanged, On the left, the scopeless one exhibits all marks as freehand stamps through the blackened surface. The M47C is typical, as is the date and TR mark. The safety latch style and M47C mark are of note as is the rear pad, flush slotted screw and interestingly the screw being staked at the top. The rear sights were also switched out for Singer Machine marked and made parts (interestingly not marked S67 yet even this late in production and supply). On the right the "England" stamp was a required format for origin to be imported into the US after @1965 and is clearly stamped through all of the finish layers.
Here we have a scopeless and virtually unfired 1944 No4T on the left and two heavily reworked "sportster" T's (the middle professionally done by Sante Fe) and an American surplus "bubba" on the right. On the left, the scopeless one exhibits all marks as freehand stamps under the blackened surface - except the serial which may be a light stamp or a very precise electro-pencil. The M47C is typical, as is the date and TR mark. The safety latch style and M47C mark and the SM marked rear sight as as the 1945 examples above. The Sante Fe in the center was completely polished and blued by them to make a premium scoped sporter - they removed the original serial from the wrist and added their own by stamping through the bluing (original barrel serial is still present) this rifle may have picked up the fabricated safety spring at Santa Fe. On the right the M47C, date and TR are as they should be - all else is modified, retouched or swapped out The serial would be correct for early 1944 if it started with a "3" - was the "1" added somewhere else?
Rear micrometer sight. These were originated for the No4 rifle design by Singer Machine Co, hence they are often referred to as a "singer sight". Early No4 rifles were produced with the micrometer sight by the rifle manufacturer (Enfield Lock - "E over D" for the Trials rifles).
The very first Maltbys and BSA's produced their own and used the associated early marks for each (large B for BSA, stylized M for Maltby). Genuine early BSA marked T rear sight (reconditioned / polished scale face):
When the war expedient models were produced (initially with the "L" flip sight, then those selected for conversion to T status had to have the rear sight replaced with a modified micrometer sight (H&H indicated this had been done by stamping the "S" on the front of the right receiver wall ( this happened to most, but not all!) Where did the replacement Micrometer sights come from? Singer and other producers (Savage has been observed). In the British war time contract scheme there were 2 phases of demarcation - early / pre-war marks, and later regionalized contractor codes, For mid 1943 and down you are seeking the early war markings from Singer (SM), after that seek the regional producer code (S69 - for Southern region, 69th contractor). Here are 2 genuine early Singer produced sights - the SM 41 example was more correct to apply to my 1941 MalTby:
Note the all blackened finish - dark and matt - typical of war time efforts at H&H. The item on the left has been rebuilt, but features other components marked "SM" for consistency. The last year observed on these sights using the SM mark is 1943 as per the right hand example, then the S69 code is used - again on major components (sight ladder (top left of the face), cursor (left side), elevation screw (top) and elevations screw nut (back).
BSA experienced a third level of maker coding change - each of its factories were given an "A,B,C" location definition. So BSA Shirley, that produced the No4 rifles was designated "M47C" (Midlands region, sequential supplier no 47, factory C)
The very early contracts at Holland and Holland for T conversion included selected rifles from Savage, Longbranch, Maltby and BSA (a single Fazakerley example has been documented @ 2020) - this was too much variation for the conversion process to be efficient and by early 1942 only BSA rifles were to be converted. So if you have a genuine Maltby T - it was converted in 1941 and a little into 1942 at H&H while stocks lasted - typically Maltby "Ts" are nearly always 1941 dated - a 1942 example that is genuine has yet to be documented.
Similarly Savage rifles that are genuine and completed to a fully scoped "T" are rare and early. Some of these rifles seemed to have laid in stores until the end of the war and then they and and the remains of the BSA marks were furiously converted to "T" status by H&H while the contract lasted. These later T's often went into stock as "Scopeless" - a rifle in a transit chest as a spare part - awaiting a need and the addition of a scope and bracket - plus all the other CES. Most of these seem to have been released / imported in the 1980s. So a genuine Savage rear sight converted to T format by H&H is possible on an early 1941 converted and war time used rifle and on a late 1945 scopeless rifles and in between when added to BSA rifles that had the L flip sight from the factory - Savage provided a lot of micrometer sights for this purpose. Savage rear micrometer sights have some unique machining features in the battle peep - which will be missing on the T format versions. Here is a Savage T format sight - with a 'squared S" on all 4 major parts as above:
Of other interest - Wood and other Metal marks / stamps.
It has been observed that only on No4T rifles, there can be found an "X" mark on the upper left flat on top of the left fore end that holds the receiver wall. It has been consistently observed but no reason or original documentation found to support it. It is found on early rifles that saw full service (1941 Maltby - un-peened pad screws evident), It is on unissued "scopeless" rifles from 1944 and on later "scopeless" and service experienced 1945 rifles.
In the expert write ups, there is reference to the H&H contract use of an "S" on the would-be "single round cut off" mounting ear section of the right receiver wall. Per the contract and description Hollands were to remove the L / "flip" battle sight when present from the sending factory and replace it with one of their provided milled micrometer sights (either Singer Machine or Savage made and marked) - this would leave the rifle needing a new "zero" - a pass through an "Enfield Rest" test. The "S" was added to indicate the need for this re-zeroing as a subsequent step. Of the rifles I have examined this appears 1 in 10 or so times on real rifles - applicable to 1943 to 1946 production. So I would say the "S" mark can be used for verification of a real rifle but it is not the main course of study.
Rifle Serial Numbers were put on the box that all the parts of a subject rifle were taken from and stored in while it was being converted. Hollands also wrote the serial number of the rifle in pencil on the inside of the barrel channel on wooden fore end sections - just the serial number and not the letters have been observed. Hollands also stamped the rifle serial number into the hidden edge of the top of the butt that fits into the wrist socket.
1907 USA Leather Sling
These were purchased from the USA as supplies in the great war (WW1) along with the Pattern 14 rifle (amongst other materials). While the Winchester made P14s were recognized as designated man / sniper rifles and developed the remainder, included the 1907 leather slings were relegated to storage and second tier supplies / arms / materials. So they languished deep in the Weedon bunkers.
Here is a Hoyt marked MT&B Co made USA 1907 leather sling produced in 1918 which are thought to have made up the contingent of these WW1 supply / shipments. There must have been a lot of them to survive 2 world wars and all the action and attrition they were exposed to. These are now hard to find in any condition, but this example is near pristine.
They remained in use with select weapon platforms - the P14T / No3T as its name was changed) through to WW2. Then after the lessons and material losses of the BEF in Europe, the No4T was hurried into existence and the 1907 USA leather slings were applied to it as standard equipment. The sling worked well enough in dry / sunny climates like Africa and Italy, but in the UK training camps and northern Europe they were found to be "slippy" to use and needing lots of preservative (Dubbin) to survive the wet conditions. The schools were also populated by inter-bellum target shooters who had already experienced the Parker Hale and other specialist center / front trigger guard screw replacement sling swivels and various format canvas / webbing slings. Sniper in the field (Europe) were prove to take a Bren length webbing sling and leave the 1907 Leather behind. As the war drew to a close the field feedback resulted in a prototype webbing target style sling being trialed (made by MECo). After hostilities the No4T parts and CES lists were re-standardized with the 1907 USA Leather Sling as a standard (despite the progress and learning). This condition remained until the end of the No4T life and the introduction of its replacement - the L42.