Lot #2625
Lot #2627

Lot 2626: World War II British Enfield Bolt Action Prototype Light

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: December 1, 2018

Lot 2626: World War II British Enfield Bolt Action Prototype Light

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: December 1, 2018

Estimated Price: $9,500 - $15,000
Price Realized:

Rare World War II British Enfield Bolt Action Prototype Light Rifle

Manufacturer: English
Model: Bolt Action
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 303 British
Barrel: 25 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 7726
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 284
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun
Description:

This is a very rare example of a British rifle produced in 1943/44 as a prototype substitute light rifle. It is estimated that only a handful were actually produced with the British Ministry deciding to just retain the original No 4 rifles. This design was developed by the C.S.A.D. (Central Small Arms Dept) which was basically the concept/design agency for the British Ordnance/Government office. Once a requirement was established, the C.S.A.D. would develop the concept and produce a limited number for evaluation by the Enfield factory, and then, if approved, a bid proposal would be solicited form various manufacturers. In this case, the requirement was established as a lightweight rifle design when in actuality (based on this describer opinion) it is actually more of a wartime expedient product, an improved/redesigned No. 4 rifle intended to make manufacture of the rifle much easier with a stronger and better design than the old No 4. In this design, the rifle action and barrel are still very robust and rigid, and are chambered in the standard 303 British cartridge but are easier to produce. The action of the rifle is comprised of 4 different sections that were welded together. It also features a completely new bolt, magazine and stock design. The receiver probably started out as a square bar stock or forging that was machined out for the bolt raceways. The front receiver ring is approximately 2 inch long overall. This 2 inch section provided a very long and rigid receiver to support the rear of the barrel. The front 1 inch section was turned round, and the remaining sides of the receiver flat are like a No 4. The rear receiver bridge, was also fabricated from a separate piece that was welded into place (on the sides) in the rear of the receiver. This separate rear section was machined for the clip guide and a small pocket on top that held a new, redesigned, stamped two position, sheet metal rear sight. The rear sight is somewhat like the Mk 2 rear sight on the late war No 4 rifles. This new sight only had two settings; 300 and 600 meters. The left side of the receiver is also fully machined with a dovetail to which a complete, heavy duty, and very robust one-piece ejector housing was attached via a single screw. The lower buttsocket and trigger housing were also a separate piece that was welded to the upper receiver in two places on each side and along the full length at the rear of the receiver. The sides are covered by two small walnut sections that are non-functional and are strictly for aesthetics purposes. The internal components, i.e. the trigger and probably the sear and disconnector appears to all be of a stamped manufacture that are just pinned in place inside the trigger housing. It is fitted with a stamped sheet metal (non-detachable) box magazine that probably holds 6 rounds. The floorplate of the magazine also forms the basis for the trigger plate and trigger guard. The most notable departure from the standard No. 4 rifle is the new bolt design. In this rifle, the bolt body is completely round for its full length and was two conventional opposed front locking lugs in lieu of a separate bolt head and rear locking lugs on a No 4. The bolt handle is actually manufactured from two separate pieces; a simple turned down handle (probably machined from bar stock) that is welded to a internally threaded bolt handle ring. The rear of the bolt body is also threaded and then the two are threaded together and held together by a single small cross-screw. The extractor is actually a two piece design with a short claw section up front and a longer bolt guide type rear section. When installed together, it is very similar to a conventional K98 or 1903 Springfield extractor. The firing pin appears to be the same as a No. 4, while the cocking piece is completely redesigned. This new cocking piece is actually a simple small squared off steel block internally threaded for the end of the firing pin and the lock screw. This is a very neat and easy to manufacture design. The most apparent visual change is the forend/handguards and exposed barrel area. Here they had a dramatic departure from the No. 4 rifle. They eliminated one top handguard completely, shortened the forestock by approximately 12 inches so that it extends only from the front of the magazine box, and then used only one, 12 inch long top handguard. It is still fitted with the standard No. 4 buttstock and buttplate. The barrel, as noted, is considerably heavier than a No. 4 and is also fitted with a simplified two piece front sight design. The front sight was fabricated from a simple round barrel band machined for the front sight base and has the sight protectors (probably from a stamping) welded in place on top of the base. Then the complete front sight assembly was pressed in place over the front of the barrel. There is no bayonet stud as the spike bayonet was also completely redesigned. The bayonet blade was then welded to a round attaching section that fits over the extended area of the front sight base. It is simply held on via a push button design so that you just reverse the bayonet to have it point outwards. There is no serial number or factory markings on the rifle anywhere, and the only proof mark is a single small "Crown/GB/crossed scepters/T" on the front left area of the receiver. As noted, it is fitted with an all walnut buttstock, forend and top handguard with two small side pieces. A very neat and interesting British experimental rifle.

Rating Definition:

Excellent with 90% of its original British blue/black exterior metal finish, some minor edge and high spot wear, the front barrel band for stock end cap showing some browning and spotting, and some light thinning on the exposed section of the barrel. The bolt body is still in the white as originally manufactured. The wood components are all in fine condition with their original dark walnut color overall showing minor handling marks and light pressure dents in some areas from handling over the years. This is certainly a very interesting and unique British rifle design with only a limited number ever manufactured.



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