Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3428: Prototype Turner Semi-Automatic Enfield Rifle Conversion

Auction Date: December 4, 2016

Rare Prototype Turner Semi-Automatic Enfield Rifle Conversion

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $10,000 - $20,000

Rare Prototype Turner Semi-Automatic Enfield Rifle Conversion

Manufacturer: Turner, R
Model: Semii-Automatic Enfield Conversion
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 303 British
Barrel: 25 1/4 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 20184
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 177
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun

Developed in the early 1940s, this rifle was the product of independent inventor Russell J. Turner, who was also a contender in the U.S. Army Light Rifle Trials during the same period. Reportedly it was conceived for sale to the Canadians, who at the time were looking at their stock of SMLE bolt-action rifles and contemplating an upgrade to a semi-automatic infantry weapon. Similar in broad principle to a number of "conversion" rifles produced between the World Wars, the Turner uses a great number of original Lee-Enfield components, which would make for a cheaper weapon that could benefit from existing parts stores. That said, the Turner took the conversion up a notch, effectively cutting down the original receiver to a stump for mounting a whole new set of guts, built around Turner's patented cam-driven tilting breech mechanism, which is powered by a long piston operating rod assembly and a muzzle mounted gas port assembly. While the gas port arrangement bears a strong resemblance to the one found on the M1 Garand, the Turner has a novel feature in a hand-adjustable three position gas port. The front sight, magazine and buttstock are typical for the Enfield, but the forearm and handguard have been ventilated and altered to accept the gas cylinder, and the rear sight is windage and elevation adjustable with a large "2-10" graduated elevation knob suitable for use with gloves. Though the Turner performed very well, especially during cold weather trials, the Canadians retained the Enfield until the 1950s, when the FN FAL became the standard issue rifle.

Rating Definition:

Fine with 70% of the blue finish showing some light wear, handling marks and spotting overall. Much like the 1941 Light .30 Carbine Trial Gun elsewhere in this sale, the Turner-produced parts show extensive evidence of hand machining, with tool marks present in virtually every non-Enfield component. The stock is very good with a crack in the handguard near the rear, a few chips in the forearm, and some dings and scuffs on the buttstock. Interestingly, the forearm has been deliberately and professionally flexed to the right to make room for the operating rod and related hardware and shows a smooth curve between the receiver and the sling swivel. The trigger is a little stiff; otherwise, the action appears to be in very good form. However, as an experimental/prototype weapon, we offer no assurances or guarantees as to safety or shoot ability. A very interesting and rare rifle worthy of a place in a fine collection of military arms and certain to turn heads and raise questions wherever shown.

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