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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
G'day folks,

On another board, an interesting exchange took place;

http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=66427

Someone asked questions about this rifle up for auction (it has since closed)







Note the No42 scope, the ground down wings on nosecap, no foresight or rearsight, filled in Ishapore screw, new handguard to fill the rearsight gap and strange angle of the scope. The scope is mounted on a mount which is not able to be adjusted for windage or elevation, and we all know that the No42 scope was for artillery use, and is not adjustable for windage or elevation.

The rifle was quickly pointed out to be 'unusual', and I called it a fake, bady-done fantasy piece.

The owner responded, claiming to have references which supported it's authenticy, claiming that it and another rifle were "Coverted snipers with doc's in several books to show Rhodesian heritage". I replied that it was unlikely that Rhodesian forces would have modified No1s in such a way when far more practical sniping rigs were available.

Then I had a look at the sellers auctions. I found these this interesting specimen;






Aint she a beaut?! Claimed to be an 'Enfield Rare Saxby and Farmer Salesmans Discharge' weapon. Who is/was 'Saxby and Farmer'? Why would they need to have a sales example of a smoke discharger to drum up business? If so, it is harde presentation-quality, with the Indian wood and the rough-as-guts stamping. Why does the wood look Indian (rear tie-plate) when it is supposedly by a company with a generic English-sounding name? Why does it look quite unlike other smoke-discharging SMLE mods?

And this;

Note the similar missing rearsight...


DP? Why no, that's D OF P, which we are told stands for 'Department of Prisons'. 1936 Ishapore No1 Mk3. The other stamping on the wood ooks ike the stamping on the 'smoke discharger' above. No rearsight, but it has what looks ike a 300/600 yard apeture fixed to the charger bridge. Seller responded: "Department of Prisions rifle which has not been converted with bell tower site has not had the letters "OF" added" after I mentioned that it looked like OF had been stamped on a DP butt. I'm not sure which 'Department of Prisons' we're talking about, but the nomenclature isn't right for India. Were any prison services using .303s after 1963? I can't imagine that a .303 would be a practical prison weapon.

But wait, there's more!




We have this little ripper! An Indian wire-wrap is chopped, and has an unusual grenade cup. Claimed to be a 'No4 discharger cup', it does not look like the actual No4 discharger cup, which was introduced in 1942, designated as Discharger No.3 MkI. This cup was made for the No4 rifle, and was attached to the rifle with "a turning collar which locks behind the lugs on the rifle, the same lugs that also fix the bayonet" (Skennerton, The Lee-Enfield, p415). So, the 'cup' featured cannot be the cup in Skennerton, as they fit different rifles. The one in the auction does not have the base that actual Discharger N0.3 MkIs did, and it is fitted to the wrong rifle, the wrong way.

Grenade launching rifles were bound with wire as the stocks sometimes cracked or shattered due to the increased forces on the rifle during grenade firing. I can hardly see an Indian GF rifle being chopped back to the main band, as that would make the comparative pressures even higher.

So, am I out of like in thinking that we have three ex-Indian rifles which have been cut and modified into these 'rare and valuable pieces? I'll happily stand corrected and apologise if I'm out of line, but I think I'm on pretty safe ground.

Cheers,
Matt
 

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I've been following that thread with some interest. I tend to agree with you that we have some real creativity here. I haven't found any reference to a generic Dept of Prisons in India without some mention of the state or region attached...that's in addition to the problems you've mentioned.

If the gent has documentation, one would think it'd be part of the auction presentation...unless of course he's still waiting for the ink to dry. As always, about anything's possible...but I also think you're pretty safe, apology-wise.
 

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The launcher tube is a 4 inch smoke launcher and there is a good possibility that it is kosher. A lot of odd ball kit came out of India..... The 4 inch launcher tubes were used mainly on vehicles for smoke cannisters but I have no doubt that they MIGHT have been used on rifles in India. I have seen some strange caca (read excrement) come out of there.
I saw a martini that was dressed up with a 4 inch cup and it was kosher..
 

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I laughed so hard at those Enfields and your use of the phrase "We have this little ripper!" That phrase reminds me of my grandma, who uses the word "ripper" fairly often. Back to the subject at hand though, those are insanely obvious fakes, the writing alone is just too much. I have to hand it to you, those were some hillarious finds.
 

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Skennerton isn't in the business of stopping people from taking wooden nickels, so I think the real reason he won't commit himself without personal examination is the large number of far better done No.4T fakes (etc. etc.) which come on the market.

Saxby and Farmer are almost certain to be the British Saxby and Palmer. Here we have a minor difficulty, for there is no telling how long some of these minor British firms have been in business, or what they made when gun laws allowed for a bigger market. But in modern times they made airguns. Their commonest were German zinc alloy framed but real revolvers, I think Weihrauch, adapted to fire only their own very ingenious and efficient compressed-air cartridges. But they also did similarly fuelled conversions of real rifles, mostly Lee-Enfields. They were banned some years ago, and in contrast to cartridge handguns, they became unownable under any circumstances, and without compensation. To be fair, controlling airguns had nothing to do with it. The revolvers WERE being converted to cartridge use (probably very inefficient and dangerous use) by mostly West Indian drug gangs.

It's even possible that this rifle was once a Saxby and Palmer airgun conversion, and/or had "Saxby and Palmer" stamped on it. I suppose some people would count nine letters right out of eleven as more than 90% right. Or maybe he just needed to think of a name.
 

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I laughed so hard at those Enfields and your use of the phrase "We have this little ripper!" That phrase reminds me of my grandma, who uses the word "ripper" fairly often. Back to the subject at hand though, those are insanely obvious fakes, the writing alone is just too much. I have to hand it to you, those were some hillarious finds.
Winston Churchill is sometimes accused of using expanding bullets in his C96 Mauser pistol in his cavalry charge of 1898, because he described it as "a ripper". He of course meant only that it was particularly good.

I see the perpetrator of this enterprise is conscientious enough to have a little flexible lamp, enabling him to check the bore for the three possible conditions they are ever in: excellent, very good or "would clean up to very good." I'm amazed more dealers don't do the most profitable piece of bore cleaning in the business.
 

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Skennerton isn't in the business of stopping people from taking wooden nickels, so I think the real reason he won't commit himself without personal examination is the large number of far better done No.4T fakes (etc. etc.) which come on the market.

Saxby and Farmer are almost certain to be the British Saxby and Palmer. Here we have a minor difficulty, for there is no telling how long some of these minor British firms have been in business, or what they made when gun laws allowed for a bigger market. But in modern times they made airguns. Their commonest were German zinc alloy framed but real revolvers, I think Weihrauch, adapted to fire only their own very ingenious and efficient compressed-air cartridges. But they also did similarly fuelled conversions of real rifles, mostly Lee-Enfields. They were banned some years ago, and in contrast to cartridge handguns, they became unownable under any circumstances, and without compensation. To be fair, controlling airguns had nothing to do with it. The revolvers WERE being converted to cartridge use (probably very inefficient and dangerous use) by mostly West Indian drug gangs.

It's even possible that this rifle was once a Saxby and Palmer airgun conversion, and/or had "Saxby and Palmer" stamped on it. I suppose some people would count nine letters right out of eleven as more than 90% right. Or maybe he just needed to think of a name.
I've seen the Brocock cartridge compressed airguns.
A airgun built on a real Enfield might explain the radically tilted scope. low velocity yet some get pretty good accuracy at longer ranges than you might think, especially those that can handle a heavy pellet.

The Brocock cartridges were sometimes bored out to take a 8mm theatrical blank and a bullet heavier than the pellets it was made for. Velocity was said to be lethal.

The guns also might be movie props.

A friend had to lower the front mount of a one thousand yard target rifle years ago to get enough elevation, not that radically though.
From the position of the lever the mount may not be fully engaged in those photos.
 

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The launcher tube is a 4 inch smoke launcher and there is a good possibility that it is kosher. A lot of odd ball kit came out of India..... The 4 inch launcher tubes were used mainly on vehicles for smoke cannisters but I have no doubt that they MIGHT have been used on rifles in India. I have seen some strange caca (read excrement) come out of there.
I saw a martini that was dressed up with a 4 inch cup and it was kosher..
To add a bit, the cups are probably still available from Springfield Sporters. I paid $10. They came from India and were part of the martini device used on armoured vehicles. Springfield Sporters got burned on the deal as when they arrived, the martini actions turned out to be of new stamped steel manufacture that were not reworkable to a firearm. The Feds stepped in and said the actions with three inch??? barrels were illegal short barrelled rifles and had to be destroyed. After the dust settled, all they had left were the cups. I got to handle an action prior to distruction and it would not have made a decent gun.

A cup, a junk gun and some work can lead to untold profits. Not only Skunks smell.
 

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Any gun where the vendor can't (or won't) provide decent quality photographs of what he is selling is one you should walk away from.
Saxby & Palmer's name appeared on conventional firearms as well; I recall seeing a sporting rifle built around an '03A3 bolt in my local shop with their name on the barrel.
 

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There is no Department of Prisons in India.It was and is still referred to as the Jail Department.The 'Department of Prisons and Correctional services' is a modern nomenclature and it mainly deals with the implementation of the Borstal Act that deals with young offenders.Law and order is a state subject and the Jails are managed by each state individually.

The guards in prisons are armed with hand me downs from the state police forces.They were armed with .410 musket's almost exclusively till the 1980's.These still remain in service along with .303 Lee Enfield's.Prison guards were never issued with tear gas grenade launchers of any kind.

The Martini Henry rifle with a discharge cup for taking on armor is also a first for me.

Sorry if I have ruffled any feathers by inadvertently saying something that may be contrary to 'established' facts acknowledged by experts.
 

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Sorry if I have ruffled any feathers by inadvertently saying something that may be contrary to 'established' facts acknowledged by experts.
No, I think you've covered the facts of the case very nicely. All of it good to know.
 

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To add a bit, the cups are probably still available from Springfield Sporters. I paid $10. They came from India and were part of the martini device used on armoured vehicles. Springfield Sporters got burned on the deal as when they arrived, the martini actions turned out to be of new stamped steel manufacture that were not reworkable to a firearm. The Feds stepped in and said the actions with three inch??? barrels were illegal short barrelled rifles and had to be destroyed. After the dust settled, all they had left were the cups. I got to handle an action prior to distruction and it would not have made a decent gun.

A cup, a junk gun and some work can lead to untold profits. Not only Skunks smell.
Never heard of the martini type actions you speak of. If they even resembled the old Martini Henery actions they might have been usable for construction of blank firing prop rifles.

I did a quick check of the images and while they are full of artifacts I can't really spot a photoshop pattern to them.

I can download then into one of my editors and do a closer examination.


PS
Could that discharger be a line throwing set up?

The scoped rifle, the more I look at it, seems like it might be a photo of a work in progress.
The mount doesn't look like its engaged and a non adjustable scope like that may have been used by the fellow trying to regulate the mount by making any adjustments necessary to the mounting so that the fixed reticle would line up with the bore, then an adjustable scope of the same tube diameter could be exchanged for it and be easier to zero in.

I'm not up on these scopes, but saw some advertised that had no post but a fixed horizon wire.
A friend had a damaged scope and mount, the horizon wire was loose at one end but the post still worked, and those scopes similar to the one above that I saw advertised were recommended as a source of parts to repair the regular sniper scope.
Don't know if that would work or not.
I've cleaned, repaired, or rebuilt a few scopes and telescopes and binoculars over the years, so the friend asked me to look around for replacement parts, but that was long ago. My hands aren't up to that sort of fine detail work these days.

These may be stuff someone found among a deceased owners effects, with no explanation of what they are or where they came from.
In recent years several people have brought this sort of find over.
Not long ago a fellow brought over a pistol he'd found on the table next to his brother in law's corpse. He'd at first believed the man had committed suicide and on the spur of the moment pocketed the pistol to protect the family, not at all a smart idea but he was in a very disoriented state of mind at finding a corpse. Turned out the brother in law had a heart attack while examining or preparing to clean the antique, which hadn't been fired in decades, so it never became an issue. On my advice he gave the pistol to his wife to see it got back where it was supposed to be.
Had it been a crime scene he could have been in a world of trouble for even touching the pistol. But people don't always think straight when faced with a dead body out of the blue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I considered the possibility of the seler mistaking a smoke discharger cup for a grenade launcher

The cut down grenade firing rifle was advertised specifically as a "
British Enfield Discharger No4 Cup no1 mk111". Part of the item description was "This No1 mk111 Wire wrap includes a very rare No4 Discharger Cup. For those who read The History Of Enfields you will find reference. This No4 Cup is Very Rare indeed..Good looking Rifle and would be a great addition for the advanced Enfield Collector. Need more Info, feel free to ask, glad to help.."

So, part of the selling point of this weapon was that it was a rare item. However, the item in question is shown and described in TLE, on pp413-415 and it is a 2.5 inch cup, not a 4 inch cup. A comparison of the pictures in the book with the images from the auction clearly shows that it is not the same item which it is touted to be.

If we accept that the seller has mistaken a smoke discharger for a grenade discharger cup, we need only look at legit smoke dischargers. Found in images and text on P416 of TLE, we see that it doesn't match there either. The 2.5 inch smoke discharger (as seen in Star Wars - "Utini"!) had an anged base. The genuine 4 inch smoke discharger is shorter than the auction item, and it has a larger attachment at the base, as well as a lip around the tube near the base. It looks like someone has welded up some 4" tube.

So, I don't think it makes sense. Perhaps the seller is mistaken in his descriptions, but I can't see how. Why would the Indians chop a rifle? Why would they re-apply the removed strengthening wire when it is not needed.

My belief is that someone had some leftover Ishapore bits and pieces and decided to make some fantasy pieces.

Cheers,
Matt
 

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If you have a tank or something that takes BIG ammo and has wheels, thats what the No42 scopes were made for.
It appears, as has been said that the shorty is actualy a smoke discharger. Remember the JAWAS zapping R2D2 with one of those?
Yep, the scopes had only a horizon wire according to the advertisement. I got the impression these were meant for the close range anti-tank guns that would be lined up and bore sighted on the target tank just before firing. The horizon wire would be useful for quickly setting the gun in position and being sure it hadn't shifted off kilter since the last shot.

I'm not saying the scope was meant for the use I described, it just seems a possible reason for it being in that mount.
I'm not familar with that mount but for the way its sitting and the position of the lever it looks like whoever took the photo just put it on without trying to dog it down properly.
I know the smoke discharger has been identified as such, but with the variety of civilian adaptations of such military accessories I wonder about the uses these could be put to, especially nautical or live saving uses.
I understand that the cut down SMLE actioned dischargers such as the Jawas used in Star Wars have been stripped of their cups and used as starting guns for yatch races at times where a regular pistol type blank won't make enough noise for all the contestants to hear it clearly. It would take the place of the small cannon they often use for the purpose.

PS
I looked at the auction site and the discharger markings are claimed to be "Saxby & Parker" rather than "Saxby & Farmer".
Neither appears to be related to rifles, though "Saxby & Farmer" is at least a real company.

Just thought of another use for a discharger, launcher dummy birds for training retreivers. Only thing similar that I've seen were smaller bore and mounted on pistols. I have one of the blank pistols meant for use with this sort of dog training dummy bird. These are about the only blank pistols I know off that aren't manufactured with a bore obstruction. The small caliber one I have uses a stem on the "bird" loaded directly into the muzzle.
 

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Sorry if I have ruffled any feathers by inadvertently saying something that may be contrary to 'established' facts acknowledged by experts.
Sounds more as if your feathers were ruffled because I (far from an expert, as my forum name says 'a beginner') had the cheek to ask you for proof of your "flying in the face of established facts" beyond your forum name. The experts wrote books after years of research & gave references, you made statements which to date you still have not substanciated.
 
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