No 8 Scope Tins for the Lee Enfield No4T / No32 family

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

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.

This original tin is the earliest I have - dated 1941. 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. The paint on this example is a new post war repaint in Bronze Green, a color that also seems to be in the 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 "B L Ltd" 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 brown paint. 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" 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" 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.

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 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 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).