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I dragged out a box of trigger guards and did some looking for the indexing mark that shows where to do the screw up to so you can retighten it to the same tension every time….
Unless someone can show me a Commonwealth military document that details the practice, I say it’s another figment of a fertile imagination.

I think we can call this one a duck! (see my sign off for clarification 🤣)

I put together the following “stake mark” information from my sample of used trigger guards…

4 with no stake marks. All are type with wire loop removed
7 with one stake mark; 1 had wire loop removed; 3 had no loop; 1 had wire loop present; 2 had swivel lugs.
7 with two stake marks; 3 with wire loop, 3 with no loop; 1 with swivel lugs.
1 with three stake marks; wire loop (NRF marked trigger guard)
1 with four stake marks
1 with 5 stake marks
1 with 6 stake marks.
Also one MLE trigger guard with no stake marks.

pic of the bunch and a sample of the different findings…
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Unless someone can show me a Commonwealth military document that details the practice, I say it’s another figment of a fertile imagination.
Unless it is listed / written down in original period documentation it is only heresay or speculation at best. Even books produced by the best researchers are based on an element of memories and speculation mixed in with the documentary evidence.

Some folk are happy to believe their Uncle Jim's cleaner, whose brothers best mates wife worked in the NAFFI and heard two squaddies talking about 'it', others like hard evidence.

The difficult part is deciding which 'forum poster' is which.
 

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Plenty of Lithgow rifles get used without plates, the factory sent out about 150000 of them.
Anthony, I distinctly remember years ago on this very board caution to not shoot if the recoil pads were missing and talk of fore end splitting. In fact talk of safety issues to the shooter. Now if this is internet myth and no damage to my rifle nor me is pending , I'll shoot my rifle. My reluctance here is based on "fact" presented on this board concerning lack of pads and damage that follows.

Anyone know the bottom line here ???
 

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Unless it is listed / written down in original period documentation it is only heresay or speculation at best. Even books produced by the best researchers are based on an element of memories and speculation mixed in with the documentary evidence.

Some folk are happy to believe their Uncle Jim's cleaner, whose brothers best mates wife worked in the NAFFI and heard two squaddies talking about 'it', others like hard evidence.

The difficult part is deciding which 'forum poster' is which.
Alan I’m sure you’ll present a very strong case against this and I’ll have nothing but heresay, but I don’t fully agree with this.
P for paint and unnumbered nosecaps are two things that come to mind. No official evidence to support it, but cases of both are prolific.
 

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Anthony, I distinctly remember years ago on this very board caution to not shoot if the recoil pads were missing and talk of fore end splitting. In fact talk of safety issues to the shooter. Now if this is internet myth and no damage to my rifle nor me is pending , I'll shoot my rifle. My reluctance here is based on "fact" presented on this board concerning lack of pads and damage that follows.

Anyone know the bottom line here ???
Milprileb, I do recall discussion about that. I thought the “safety issues to the shooter” idea was shut down? I‘m no expert, but my understanding was that the plates were there to simply increase the life of the draws. They are still subjected to the same forces, with or without plates, just the pressure bearing surface is enlarged once fitted and therefore increasing the life. The same rule would apply with your rifle not having them, if the fit up is tight to the lugs on the action, the screws tight, the forend can’t go anywhere. Over time however, that timber will compress and then the problems may start. Unsafe to fire, I don’t think so. Having said all that, if I had a mint, untouched Lithgow with no plates, I probably wouldn’t use it. Yours being a rifle that’s most likely put together from parts, with an un-numbered forend, I’d have a go. Maybe find a second hand Lithgow forend with plates, take some time to fit it up to your rifle and put the original in the cupboard. My thoughts, 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️
 

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Alan I’m sure you’ll present a very strong case against this and I’ll have nothing but heresay, but I don’t fully agree with this.
P for paint and unnumbered nosecaps are two things that come to mind. No official evidence to support it, but cases of both are prolific.
I am sure there is variation amongst the various Nations methods and there will be some documentaion for the un-numbered Lithgow forends/nose-piece, it just hasn't been found yet.

Whilst the Commonwealth countries were supposed to follow the British systems (we all know there are local variations - out of reach and unseen so 'anything goes' ?) an un-numbered nose piece would not pass inspection before release from the Armourers 'shed' in the British Army

Instructions to Armourers :


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I am sure there is variation amongst the various Nations methods and there will be some documentaion for the un-numbered Lithgow forends/nose-piece, it just hasn't been found yet.

Whilst the Commonwealth countries were supposed to follow the British systems (we all know there are local variations - out of reach and unseen so 'anything goes' ?) an un-numbered nose piece would not pass inspection before release from the Armourers 'shed' in the British Army

Instructions to Armourers :


View attachment 3976595
That didn’t go well, I tried to edit and lost it.
Anyway Alan, by your last post it seems you agree there was some variation to British doctrine in Australia. This is why I felt your earlier post needed some correction.
And with respect, always appreciate your contributions. Great sources for our learning.
 

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Milprileb, I do recall discussion about that. I thought the “safety issues to the shooter” idea was shut down? I‘m no expert, but my understanding was that the plates were there to simply increase the life of the draws. They are still subjected to the same forces, with or without plates, just the pressure bearing surface is enlarged once fitted and therefore increasing the life. The same rule would apply with your rifle not having them, if the fit up is tight to the lugs on the action, the screws tight, the forend can’t go anywhere. Over time however, that timber will compress and then the problems may start. Unsafe to fire, I don’t think so. Having said all that, if I had a mint, untouched Lithgow with no plates, I probably wouldn’t use it. Yours being a rifle that’s most likely put together from parts, with an un-numbered forend, I’d have a go. Maybe find a second hand Lithgow forend with plates, take some time to fit it up to your rifle and put the original in the cupboard. My thoughts, 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️
Here's a pic of my 1943 Lithgow without recoil plates. It was FTR'd at Lithgow in 1955 and still didn't have plates fitted.
You can see how the timber has compressed slightly (perhaps 0.5mm). If it gets any worse I may be tempted to glue some small shims in there.

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