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Discussion Starter #1
Any one own one?

I have seen a few kicking around but have always wondered what they where actually for. Where they used to instruct new recruits how the .303 works or something to aid armourers?

I have only seen two models, One full length cut away and one which was shorter showing the butt, action and part of the barrel. Are there any more models?

Where the cut away models made from damaged or defective rifles or where they just made out of a rifle selected at random?

The ones I have seen are all Australian, where there any British?


Any one got any photos?

cheers all,
Lachy.
 

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Skeleton actions and rifles

According to Skennerton's new book, "The Lee Enfield", p-527;

They were used for instuction and early on for testing of 'suspect' parts.

Most were made at Enfield, later both Ishapore and Lithgow made them.

They were usually made from reject or downgraded weapons.

The short action and full rifle appear to be the two types made; however, the individual skeletonizing cuts will vary according to where the work was done. There were actually "approved" patterns for the Skeleton actions.

Hope this helps.
 

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Cut aways

I have one, though it was made for me about 12 years ago from a 1915 Lithgow with a stretched action.

I use it for the practical examination instruction for candidates for their firearms licence.

It’s a full wood and has been cut out like the examples within the book

As a teaching aid it’s perfect.
 

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Have 7
One full length and six short ones
the "shorts"
1901 LE 1 * (Sparkbrook)
1901 ShtLe 1***
SMLE
No4Mk1
No4 Mk1/2
No5 Mk1
 

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At one point in time, a cutaway rifle and revolver was issued to each armourer as part of his kit. This explains the large number of each type encountered up to about WWI. Later cutaways were made by armourers in training as part of the final examination. They were graded on maching capability and knowing where to cut to show interior workings. I have a good assortment of BATF happy cutaways including Australian serial #1. Springfield Sporters brought in most of the US cutaways in the early 1960's. I have a catalog of the period where they sold for $15.00 each.
 

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G'day Paul,

Could I possibly ask for further details on Australian serial #1 please? Does this refer to the rifle number or the conversion number?

Cheers,
Matt
 

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Australian cutaway #1

Australian cutaways have a unique numbering system. Ian looked at this one and said it was a match to one in the Singleton (spelling?) museum. They both had the unique to Australia buttstock with most of the side removed to show the lightening holes and bolt hole. I displayed this one time with some other odd ball Australian items and two fellows mentioned that if I wanted to win any awards I would have to get a better looking buttstock than that one! The batch of Australian cutaways brought in by J Jovino had some former British Enfield cutaway conversions as well in that EFD was stamped in an area where metal had been removed during the cutaway process.

Since the title did not transfer:
Ross M10 Cutaway over Australian NO. 1 MkIII serial #1
British No.1 Mk1 cutaway
Mosin Nagant, No.1, No. 4, British Lend Lease US M1917, Kessler shotgun
Webleys
Webleys
Enfield No.2s
 

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Nice cut a ways; great collection. Thanks for the picts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone for your great pictures. I was very interested in the no.4 and no.5 skeleton actions as I have never seen theses before, only the no.1's.

As for the revolvers I have only ever seen one, A Enfield revolver (the tankers one, i think it is the no.2 mark 1*) that had been cutaway, which belonged to Barry Lathwell hear in Perth.

I find it interesting that most of the revolvers by Breakeyp don't have a section of the barrel cut away.

The comment about the armoureres making them as a final test makes sense to me. It would be just the test for showing wether they have mastered the skills necessary that had been learned, they would be producing a item that would aid other armourers/soldiers and also be using damaged .303's that would otherwise go to waste.

Woftam, I would like to get some originals but I would be interested in the details of that company. I might get one made up in the future if I get a wasted .303 on the cheap.

Cheers all,
Lachy.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't surpose I will be making cut away AUS STYR's next year!!

cheers all,
Lachy.
 
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I've got these:

A skeleton Hakim:




No1MkIII from JJovino:




And a proper SKN serialed No4:

 

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Matt,
my understanding is as they are made from real firearms, then yes they have to be registered, at least in NSW. Personally I think anyone who attempts to make a shootable forearm out of one and then fire it is certifiably insane.

Lachy,
you would be looking at the cost of the firearm (so you'd better score a real cheap one) + $300AUD + courier costs both ways (can't post firearms in/out of NSW, must be specialist courier) + registration in your state (if required).
If all that hasn't put you off the add is at the bottom of the military section of usedguns.com.au.

My own two cents worth is that I wouldn't bugger up an existing firearm to make one. I'd rather put the parts towards salvaging another gun. Looks like you bugger every part except the nosecap, rear sight, triggerguard, trigger mechanism and oiler. As I said just my opinion.
 

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Do they need to be registered in NSW? I wouldn't mind one.

Cheers,
Matt
Matt... gotta be very carefull in NSW. Last time I looked into them, the full length version needed to be registered as a firearm as it does not comply with the laws controlling deactivation. The short variety is also considered a firearm, but get this.... because of it's length it is officially a shortened longarm, therefore illegal! You needed a restricted licence to possess one. That was before the last review of the laws, can't imagine they got any easier.....

Paul, your spelling of Singleton is correct. I just went thru my files and I don't have a pic of their cutaway rifle. I'll have to duck out and get a couple of it if I get a chance.
 

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Thanks guys. I don't think it's worth the effort. I have a number of rifles I have no intention of using often (Lee-Metford and earlier) but I don't see any point in registering something that can't be used.

Cheers,
Matt
 

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Sort of thing that would go on a collectors licence - Australia used the short ones as per the British and presumably the long ones as well after they made them in the late 40's - there seem to have been two patterns of these and a lot of copies made - I have heard that even Lithgow made more of them as projects for apprentices.
Be aware that as they were used to demonstrate how the firearm functioned they have firing pin protrusion.
I did buy a Lee Metford one a while ago but had to sell it recently when the Vic. Gov. brought out their new pre 1900 collector licence.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
"there seem to have been two patterns of these and a lot of copies made"

Is there any way to tell, are the originals stamped in any way?

What price range are we talking for an original full length no1 mar3* cut away? There are a few here in Perth but I would like a price to compare them to.

I think it is the height of stupidity that these have to be licensed, can you imagine trying to fire one of these?

cheers all,
Lachy.
 

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This will make you cry!!!!

This will make you cry!!!! :(

I wish to thank Mr. P.Q. for sending me a copy of DISPATCHES the news letter of the Lee Enfield Rifle Association, which this article came from.


WEBSITE: leeenfieldrifleassociation.org.uk


WHERE HAVE ALL THE No4T snipers gone?

You might recall several years ago, Capt Mainwaring was called upon in the course of his various mundane ‘….when you get around to it, but before Friday’ jobs to withdraw a goodly number of skeletonised No4 rifles from the Cadet at TA Forces down in the South West. Nothing really unusual about the job ….., a days jolly…., a lazy lunch in the Mess at Oakhampton …., perhaps a chat with brother in Plymouth …, you know the sort of thing. All went well until he had a chance to inspect the ‘weapons’ back in the cold light of day back at Warminster. Once again, nothing unusual among the odd collection of tatty and totally worn-down-to­the-fingernails motley skeleton actions that included a couple of No1 Mk3 actions among the remaining No4’s. Until ……
But I digress here a little. Sensibly, these skeleton actions have recently been deemed to be not firearms as de­fined in law although I suppose if you were really stupid and with suicide in mind, you COULD use one. So on that note, I hope that every Lee Enfield collector or enthusiast has one in his collection, while they’re still avail­able. But back to the plot………….
Among the old worn out heaps of tat was one that had the distinct pedigree of a No4T. While we KNOW that many(?) worn out No4T’s were downgraded to L59 A1 DP specification, an ex No4T as a skeletonised action is unknown …, unless you know better! But what’s more, this rifle appears to have been unfinished as a No 4T because while the holes were there alright and it was marked correctly, the front pad screw hadn’t been drilled or tapped.
A closer examination showed that while the serial number and proof marks had been barred/linished out. The little TR and S had escaped the grinder. The little ‘T’ was there, but barely visible. A closer examination using the X-ray facilities at Shrivenham showed that there was indeed a third/front pad screw hole in the body but it had been filled. Using chemicals, a slight witness mark was found and then the answer became clear……
Sometime in its past, the front screw had sheared and had been made good inside and outside the body. After years of phosphating and painting, it had almost reverted to nature and simply disappeared. After some diffi­culty, the original sheared screw was removed. All of the screw holes were very tight on the taps so could this tightness have caused the demise of this sniper rifle.
Imagine a typical scenario: The front screws had become loose with the pad so the Armourers would have re­moved them to re-sweat the pad and tighten the screws. It was very tight, weak at the joint so it’s just sheared (yes…, we’ve all done it!). It is (say) 1948, and sniper rifles are ten-a-penny in Ordnance stores so this rifles is returned to Ordnance while a replacement is issued. While awaiting a Field or Base repair programme to re­move the broken screw, 1000 rifles are required for the skeletonization programme by List Engineering in Dagenham. So our No4T goes there and returns as SKN-901.
Interestingly, this rifle has its (presumably) original 2 groove barrel which was, contrary to the specification, laid down for the ‘T’ conversion process. However, research has shown us that while it is unusual, it’s not un­known. In any case, this isn’t a bar to being a sniper rifle as it’s constant accuracy that counts!
Thanks for assisting in the chemical and X-Ray analysis of this go to Capt Ray Davies REME and Dr Derek Allsop
Captain Mainwaring
See photos below
 
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