THE SAVAGE MADE NO4MKI*
This is the rifle that
started it all. I saw it on the rack at my local Big 5 Sporting Goods shop.
They were having a 25% off sale on all their "collector" rifles. I had never
owned an Enfield before, and thought them somewhat ugly and "junk". The price
was right on it, but I said to the salesman that I would only consider an
Enfield if it had the "U.S. Property" stamps on it. He told me it did, and
it was a downhill slide from there. The rifle is a typical No4MkI*, with all
Savage made parts, but the bolt, although Savage made, is mismatched. One
can see the common two position flip sight at the rear. After I got it home,
I went to the internet to see what I could find out about it. That is when
I found the old "Gun and Knife" Enfield forum, now in it's current incarnation
as Britishguns.net ,
still the best source of information and cameraderie for collectors of the
Enfield series of weapons.
Here is a closeup of the
right side of the action, showing off the reddish tints of the American birch
wood stock to good effect.
Above left are the usual
US Property stamps common to most Savage made Enfields. These rifles were
not US Property at all, but were so marked as a way of sneaking the rifles
into England prior to US entry into WWII through the "Lend-Lease" program.
The markings above right
are common on mid to late contract Savage No4s. Note the squared S for Savage
and the US "flaming bomb" proof mark. This particular rifle is from the 65C
serial number block, which places it's manufacture sometime during 1943. All
serial numbers on Savage made No4s have a serial number format which includes
a C in it, for Chicopee Falls, Mass. where the Savage plant was located. An
example would be 65C1234. Other typical Savage codes will be a squared S,
a squared S inside a box and a rounded S inside a circle. Most collectors
seem to think the difference in these markings may indicate different subcontractors.
Savage was pretty much the king of subcontracting during WWII.
This photo shows
in detail the modification of the No4MkI action to the No4MkI*. Instead of a
bolt release to the rear of the bolt travel, Savage and Long Branch in Canada
instituted a much simpler system consisting of a notch in the track for the
bolt head. By positioning the bolt correctly, the bolt head could then be flipped
up and the bolt then pulled from the action. Savage and Long Branch were the
only two factories to use this system, which helped to speed up manufacture
of the rifles.