No 8 Scope Tins for the Lee Enfield No4T / No32 Scope Family
Updated: Jan 23
No8mk1 1941 B&Co - Round Corner
No8mk1 1941 BE Ltd - Round Corner
No8mk1 undated B&Co - Square Corner
No8mk2 WW2 - Canvas Carrier - coming soon!
No8mk1 1946 BE Ltd - Round Corner
Label R339A - instructions for method adjustment - Mk2* & Mk3 scopes.
L42 Label - L1A1 Sight
Early Vietnam Copy - Round Corner
No8mk1 Cold War BE Ltd - Round Corner
No8mk1 undated REL / Lyman Alaska - Round Corner
The No32 family of straight sighting scopes was to be housed when not on the rifle and in direct action in a protective tin that was worn on a shoulder strap by the sniper. The tins for this role were designated as Case Stg Tel No 8 and were produced in 3 versions and 2 marks with renewed contracts in Britain through to the 1980' s and service and possibly more production with other countries too. The stores designation for these was OS 906 A - where OS refers to Optical Stores (all manner of technical, valuable material thusly traceable of ocular devices and tools and their care and storage supplies). Here we take a look at originals first, with their special details , markings and paint finishes - then we can deal with others and modern reproductions.
The first tins were of a round edges and round cornered design format - this was deemed too complicated to produce in numbers after initial production and then the mid war square corner and edged economy model was introduced. The rounded edge and corner version was remade after the war ended for new contracts and again the 1980's. The square cornered version was deemed obsolescent but not obsolete - so they remained in service until damaged beyond repair or discharged.
This is an early 1941 made tin in my mind by B&Co (Belling and Company) - it has a more elaborate one piece column and integral bracket casting - which includes a rib between the columns for stiffness / stability. The external markings also include a crows foot / pheon which evidently caused a dent when it was applied. The paint seems to be a post war / cold war Deep Bronze Green - but is a very professionally applied thin coat of paint - with no evidence of build-up. I propose that this was a meticulous cold war refurbishment, starting with bead blasting clean. This seems to have included removing and re-riveting the latch hardware. This then need the use of original style cloth printing blocks to add the word "Rifle" and the serial number. This example is dedicated to (and separated from) a X series BSA rifle - showing the degree or repurposing and reassignment - 1941 Tin to a 1945 rifle (all plausible cold war / post war). The last photo shows another tin of this type exhibiting lettering, original brown paint (second coat in matching brown) and external scope and rifle serial numbers added by hand.
This my second 1941 tin and seems a little later (revised with simplifications / war effort updates). The paint on this example is Equipment Green which shows a build up of layers of older chipped paint below. The makers mark of BE Ltd is a little distorted while stamping. The spindle mounts are solid machined brass and are captive to a coffin shaped plate that is riveted to the tin lower hull. Originally both bosses were threaded, but as is found with production variation this could lead to misalignment of both threaded holes on certain bracket / tin combinations leading to cross threads or the bracket standing proud and clashing with the lid on closure - to remedy this a mid-war expedient of drilling the left hand boss oversize was effected in the field. This is observed on this example. This tin came with a nice Mk3 scope and no original labels - I added my reproduction labels.
Made by "BEL Ltd" (Berry's Electric Company) the designation is now on two separate lines "CASE STG TEL" and "No8 Mark 1" below it. The OS number is stamped a little more strongly suggesting it was added separately / later.
Here is a really nice late war square edged square corner tin in original SCC2 brown paint (for Africa / Italy). It has a nice stenciled "RIFLE" in white and a block printed rifle serial number in beige paint - both of these steps were done at Holland and Holland as the scopes and brackets were paired with their rifles. The bracket mounting bosses have been simplified to be two sections of machined brass captive on two L shape metal brackets that are spot welded into the lower tin hull back to back and at the right angle. This tin came with a really nice and original Mk3 scope that matches the serial number on the original labels. Maker is stamped as "B&C" (Belling and Company) along with the usual stores number. The mark of the case has been dropped and is simply states "CASE STG TEL No8". The OS number is stamped a little more strongly suggesting it was added separately / later.
This is an original post war tin in a little poorer state of preservation, showing a darker shade of original paint and no date stamp on the top, but a white paint date stamp of 12 (Dec 19) 46 on the bottom - protected all these years by a leather carry strap.. The interior details have been simplified for manufacture and to save brass - the right hand boss is now fabricated steel with a captive brass nut that can float to allow scope and bracket position variation - the left brass boss is still drilled out - all held on a square shaped plate which is spot welded to the lower tin hull. The Mk1 adjusting tool clip was retained throughout as the Mk1 scopes were also obsolescent and not obsolete - so the tins were required to house the tool for any Mk1 and Mk2 scopes remaining in the system and serviceable. This tin does not have the instruction label for the Mark 2* and Mk3 scope with slip rings so is presumed to house an earlier scope, probably into Indian service - where is was paired with a Mk1 Scope in decent rebuilt shape before my acquisition. Made by "B E Ltd" (Berry's Electric Limited) without date stamp with the designation on two separate lines "CASE STG TEL" and "No8 Mark 1" below it.. The OS number is stamped a little more strongly suggesting it was added separately / later.
Label R339A hand written / printed (banding machine) - instructions for method of adjusting No32 mk2* and Mk3 scopes
Label R339A Typed / printed - this example is in a 1941 made tin still in desert brown paint (2 coats evident - the instruction label has been painted around for the second coat of brown). No indications of cold war update, so this may be original wartime print, apply and serial number (with fountain pen).
L42 Label - instructions for method of adjusting the L1A1 scopes
The first of the "mystery tins" - from a friend. A post war production style round edge and corner model with fabricated bosses - which seem to be Vietnamese sourced copy modelled on the simplified post war example above - the right hand boss has a reproduction tell-tale - tapering legs inwards towards their base. The right hand boss seems to have lost its captive brass threaded insert - or never had it. The paint seems to be a thinner coat of a lighter / more yellow shade with no / few other layers evident. The markings are " CASE STG TEL No8" on one line - which look very good aside from the position towards the left end of the tin (rather than the middle), the next line of text is spurious - a large "S" and "3413" - a vague attempt at the OS number?
A good friend of mine provided some photos of his genuine and some rare scopes and scope tin details.
This post war BE Ltd (Berry's Electric Limited) tin has all the features and marks per the example above, but has found extended life housing an L1A1 straight sighting scope for an L42 Sniper Rifle - the last iteration of the tin, scope and rifle to see British service. This one shows dark bronze green paint, 1980's style MOD stenciling with the sight serial on the outside and white painted rifle number on the inside and the L1A1 version of the adjusting label on the upper left inside of the tin. My L42 is missing its tin, but I will refinish the weary 1946 made tin above with corresponding details.
Here is an end of war Longbranch sniper scope tin with its matching Lyman Alaskan scope and mount - these were purchased scopes with a custom made tin (at REL Canada, who would go on to make the No32 scope that was needed).