Gunboards Forums banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,756 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Quite a while ago, I set about chasing up the spiel I put together even further back on the topic to put some rationale behind the Gunboards policy of not discussing returning these rifles to live fire.
The information I have pasted here is a compilation gathered from several sources, the main one being Peter Laidlers articles posted over at milsurps... Links to which are posted in the stickies above, courtesy of Badger.

Some posts have been removed from the original thread mainly because they are not pertinent to the discussion or they muddy the waters.

Thanks in advance for reading it... There will be no discussion even hinting at DP rifles being restored to or used as live firers. An amendment to the board rules is forthcoming.
--------------------------------------

Drill purpose rifles were to be assembled from parts deemed unserviceable. Rifles that had been inspected and gauged as being not suitable for repair (which generally means the principle component, the receiver has failed gauging, as anything else can be replaced and the rifle returned to service). Condemned rifles were stripped and any parts gauged ok could be re used for maintaining live weapons, any parts that failed gauging were down graded and set aside or destroyed.

When an order for drill purpose rifles was received, the scrapped receivers were, by the instruction, assembled with down graded parts where possible and finished to the same standard as a new service rifle. So... Other than the DP stamps and without the Master Armourers gauges, there is no way to tell a drill purpose rifle from a new from the factory, live rifle.

Drill purpose rifles were utilised in many training activities that were deemed likely to cause damage to the rifles. Things like bayonet training, parachute training, obstacle courses etc. By having a store of DP rifles to conduct these activities, a unit did not risk damaging their front line weapons.

A receiver could be scrapped for any number of reasons. The big problem faced here is most of these things cannot be checked by your local gunsmith, even if he was aware of them (which most are not) There was a couple of gauging functions, the tooling for which was only available to the master Armourer. He was the only person with the authority to scrap a weapon. For example, a rifle that failed headspace could have a number of issues. It could be the barrel,the bolt head or wear in the receiver. Often a combination of all. Before a longer bolt head was fitted, the wear in the receiver locking lugs was tested with the master bolt gauge. The receivers locking lugs are case hardened. If the wear on this case hardening had thinned it to a pre determined dimension, the receiver was considered not safe for continued use and it was scrapped. If wear in the boltway allowed excessive lateral movement of the bolt body, the receiver was scrapped. Once again, it was the master Armourer who made the call.

There has been unconfirmed opinion that some new rifles had at some point been downgraded to DP to fill a requirement. I am yet to see any documentation or anything else official that proves this... Bottom line is, a rifle stamped DP was deemed unsuitable for live fire and did have some form of job done on it so it could not fire live ammunition, but could cycle drill rounds normally. This usually was the striker (firing pin) cut off and the bolt head hole plugged with a nail, fitted from the inside and peined over into a drilled counter sink cut in the bolt face.
This process was very easily reversed, but that did not (often) happen in service. (Yes, I have seen DP rifles with the markings struck out and made live firers again, but this could have only been done with the use of the gauging mentioned earlier) The standing order was that DP rifles were never to be fired. By replacing the firing pin and the bolt head (as a minimum, some had other alterations made...) they can be fired... But there is no way of knowing if the receiver of your rifle is safe or not.

It might have, for example, failed locking lug tests, but still have enough strength left to pass a proof round, but who could say how many more rounds before the inevitable catastrophic failure?

By default, for the sake of safety, I consider every DP rifle to be unsafe to fire, simply because by the process it was deemed so by a master Armourer. If there was new rifles stamped DP, there is no way of being sure which they may be without the appropriate tooling. Their appearance is not a guide as the DP's were finished to the same standard as a new rifle.

I have tried explaining this to number of people on different international forums but because some of them are "inherently right", (the earth is flat!!!) you cannot teach them anything. Instead I advise them to have their gunsmith write them a letter to say the rifle is safe to fire. It won't do them any good when the 18.5 tons per Square inch chamber pressure being produced on the other end of the bolt, an inch in front of their faces lets go and kills them, but their family might be able to sue the gunsmith and get some money from it.

Apologies if I seem a little harsh here, but I won't pull any punches WRT safety. I tell people if they are going to continue to fire it, at least let the person beside you at the range know it is a DP so they can move to a safe distance if they want.

---------------------------

Open to comment....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,161 Posts
Hey Doogal, I remember meeting a gun store worker who had his big toe for a thumb because his real thumb was blown off when he fired a dp rifle. The hole drilled in the barrel was hidden under the top hand guard

Sent from my HTC_0P6B using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
298 Posts
Ah yes, the DP marking "dilemma" (to many that is, me there is no question). I have reposted Mr. Laidlers comments on DP rifles to several facebook "enfield enthusiast/experts" who alternate back and forth with various excuses as "well my gunsmith checked the rifle over and its OK" to "i cant have a gun i don't shoot".

A DP rifle fired with a live round could be completely safe for the rest of your life, or it could fail next round. Is it really worth it? After all, it only takes one bad experience with a rifle to have a lifetime of issues. Is a finger really worth shooting that .303 DP rifle that cost some hundreds of dollars? In this day and age in the US nearly any type of hospital visit is easily going to be more than the cost of a DP marked Enfield, from a pure money perspective. If you loose an eye? A finger? Several fingers? Why risk it? There are more than enough NON DP Enfields floating around to not even bother.

And then every once in awhile you get somebody who insists that it means "Delhi Police" ;)
 

·
Platinum Bullet Member
Joined
·
4,612 Posts
There was a good object lesson on the subject that showed up a year or three ago on Badger's site. A gentleman posted some pretty ugly photos of the aftermath of shooting a DP No.4. The hole drilled through the chamber had been covered by replacement wood and the rifle had been sold to him as okay to shoot...inspected by a gunsmith, etc. He got off relatively easy, didn't lose the whole thumb.
 

·
Gold Bullet Member/Moderator/Administrator/
Joined
·
27,677 Posts
I would be curious as to how many of these there are. Would those proof houses even do such a thing? Surely they know the DP story!

What are opinions about DP rifles that have been commercial nitro-proofed post service by the London or Birmingham Proof Houses?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,970 Posts
I would be curious as to how many of these there are. Would those proof houses even do such a thing? Surely they know the DP story!
Yes they do exist.

That is part of the 'problem' with the 'proving system'.
They are a commercial business who are paid to do a simple, single, test on a firearm, it either passes, or it fails. The firearms history is of no concern to them.
If it fails it fails and cannot be sold.
If it passes, no one knows if the action has been so overstressed that on the next firing it will 'explode'.

The proof house has done what it has been paid to do, and the owner has a firearm that can be legally sold.

I guess its like buying a second-hand car - you have it checked over and there are no problems (at the time of checking), but when you drive it home, the fuel tank develops a leak, the car bursts into flames ................

Was the car 'safe' - YES (at the time of the test).

Caveat Emptor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,145 Posts
I think the forum owner is right;for offering any encouragement,or even a favorable opinion could involve you in ruinous legal action.Something best avoided.Regards John.
 
Joined
·
1,196 Posts
I wanted to point out a dangerous area for collectors and would be amiss not to.
I can only offer a negative opinion.

Often I see modified receiver rings, the flat being a little wider than normal suggesting that the flat had been shaved a touch. Sometime to remove Military District markings or similar, but I am sure that DP gets removed too. It is illegal in most countries to remove serial numbers, but not DP marks.

DP on the woodwork or furniture means nothing. Tons of DP take off parts used to restore rifles.

An instance where you will often see reproofed DP rifles is with the conversion to 22 rim fire with sleeved barrels. Usually the trainers have the old 303 proofs scrubbed on the left with commercial .22 proofs on the right. But the forces generated by the diminutive 22 cartridge are a fraction of that of the 303.

I believe that some of these were contracted by the Brit Govt. Commercial proof would suggest sale through The British Gun Trade post service.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,565 Posts
My '41 Lithgow is matching except for the bolt and stock. It is a clean, nice looking rifle. The bolt is DP marked, and it appears someone prior had attempted to buff/grind off the DP. After noticing this I finally pulled the stock off and there are traces of yellow paint up around the rear sight base. Then I observed, previously unseen in my joy at this good looking rifle, traces of yellow on the buttstock. The receiver top/knox form area is flat to begin with. Well it is still flat but has been buffed. My '20 Lithgow has the "2MD" or something stamped there. this one is CLEAN.

I thought ohhhh someone/P.O. put new wood on the rifle, and the trued up the receiver top for a scope mount. I had a grand idea of sending the rifle to Brian Dick and have a new bolt fitted up. Something deep inside must be smarter than me because I never sent the rifle. The little I shoot these days, and the fact I have a nice 1920 Lithgow, well you know.

This is not to slam or shame the gentleman I purchased it from. Honestly I cant remember if the DP bolt was ever brought up. Right now it is a nice representation of a 1941, with magazine cutoff intact.
t
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,461 Posts
Fully agree with the intent/message of this thread that DP MARKED RIFLES SHOULD NOT BE FIRED.

I have about a dozen DP marked Enfields - purchased knowingly as examples of particular types and I would not consider firing them or returning them to firing condition if they are not. They consist of couple of Indian ShtLEs, couple of Lithgows, couple of Indian P'14s, a .303 Martini and a MLE)

However, I have one DP marked rifle which I have fired and will continue to fire. I hesitated to mention this because I did not want to detract from the message of this thread with which I agree, or to provide any basis to suggest DP rifles should be returned to firing status.

This rifle is a No2 MkIV* converted from a 191? DP MkIII by Parker Hale during WWII.

As mentioned above - this was a standard .303 MkIII which had been downgraded to DP status but then in 1941-2 had its barrel relined by Parker-Hale as a .22 trainer (No2 MkIV*)

This contract is documented: On May 23 1941 Parker Hale got a contract for 2000 No2 MkIV* to be produced from "cond. DP rifles" (see Skennerton, 1988, British Small Arms of WWII Skennerton Publishing p9)

So this is a previously DP Marked rifle which has been officially rebuilt (lined barrel) as a .22 rifle (and according to Skennerton's list of contracts there were quite a lot (2000) done, given that .22 trainers are more likely to survive I suspect many are in circulation)
Obviously .22 is a much smaller calibre, lower pressures etc and it should be noted all the DP marks are lined out (including the small one on the foresight protector/nosepiece - obviously not a load bearing part)

The rifle was also renumbered to match (H prefix) in all regular locations, had the new model designation stamped on it etc.

I have included photographs of the markings below - which also show later British commercial proofing on the original (but relined) 1917 barrel (with PH stamp and DP crossed out)



SO.... for sake of completeness I am mentioning this here.

As I said at the outset, I fully agree that DP rifles should NOT be rebuilt and should NOT be shot. This officially relined and redesignated weapon is an exception. To me that the official conversion bothered to line out all the DP marks suggest this is NOT just a trivial mark but is something to be taken seriously, and I do and will.

Cheers.
 

·
Copper Bullet member
Joined
·
574 Posts
Along with the .22 No. 2 rifles 4thGordons lists, there is one other "DP Marked" rifle I would have no qualms with shooting - and that is the NZ Carbine. It would seem that these carbines got marked DP simply because they were obsolete; most had nothing more than the firing pin shortened.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
This is a great thread!
When did they stop stamping a DP designation?
As a newbie, wondering how many rifles should now be considered unserviceable or structurally compromised?
What indications did armorers use to determine a rifle be designated DP?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,461 Posts
I kind of agree but there is always the chance some were DPd because they were out of spec & how can you be sure it would be fine just because most were just down-graded? My NZ carbine is DP marked with a cut firing pin & has a VG+ bore & its going to stay that way as no-one would be able to guarantee to my satisfaction that it would be safe, plus if it was to 'let go' (me aside) that's $1600+ down the drain.
Plus 1 on this.
I have to a DP marked NZ carbine and I know the previous owner hand loaded mild loads for it and fired it but I will not be doing that for the reasons as above. I have an RIC I can shoot if I have a hankering.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,756 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Lets not forget....

DP rifles were disabled BECAUSE they were for Drill Purpose only, not to make them Drill Purpose only.

The methods of disabling are detailed in the LoC's, and yes, a lot just had the striker cut off. They did not need to do any more as a soldier did as he was told and did not want to fire a rifle that had been deemed unsuitable for live fire by someone who new a lot more than he did. It was just to make sure that it was safe if some idiot tried it.

If a model of rifle that had been in service for years was removed from service, it was most likely because they were not only being superseded, but also, on average, were beyond economic/ safe repair anyway. Not enough life left to be held in reserve, sentence the lot without the expense of inspecting them all.

Do you have the instructions and gauging used to determine what receivers could be reused and what receivers should be scrapped? No? so you cannot be sure if any of these rifles was safe or not....

Is it REALLY worth the risk? Saying "it would seem..." does not exactly fill me with confidence.
 
Joined
·
1,196 Posts
Lets do a risk assessment.

Hazard = DP marked rifle.

Risk = mechanical failure causing bodily injury or death.

Reward = the satisfaction of making the rifle go bang and maybe hitting a target.

Risk outweighs the reward when there is a simple way to mitigate the risk.

If the reward is simply shooting guns, then put that DP down and pick up one that is a known to be safe.
Same reward. Same equipment and set up, just a different gun.
If the reward is shooting the DP without it blowing up in your face, dont put it up to your face, or dont shoot it.

Would it be such a loss not to shoot THAT DP marked one? Mitigate the risk, switch out rifles.

No different than inspecting a round on the line and visually finding what could be the start of a case head separation, or old milsurp stuff with corrosion on the brass ready to shatter.? You would put that round aside, cos you just don't know if it would harm you or damage the gun.

Or maybe you don't inspect your ammo either?

Yippee kayay MF! Here, hold ma beer and watch this! :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
413 Posts
Really Great Thread and it is nice to see intelligent discussion. I learned of DP making on this forum and have always tried to educate pawn shops what to look for so that they do not unknowingly sell on a DP. So what I have not seen discussed so far are the .410 Muskets. I have a 1914 LSA that has struck through DP markings and the Conversion markings dated 1931. I initially fired blanks through it then bought some the the Indian 1960 Ammunition in the neat little crate. I have fired a few of those. (probably about 5) and have no desire to shoot more. Definitely a strike through DP that looks identical to the one in post #15. Any thoughts about these Muskets. It seemed more of a logical repurpose of a downgraded rifle (Prison Guards and Railroad Guards).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,970 Posts
Just to reinforce what a couple of posters have alluded to :

From Peter Laidler - Examples of 'non-worn out' firearms converted to DP.

Not only were these worn out rifles put into the pot, but we later learned, several thousand extensively fire damaged No4, L1A1 rifles and Bren guns that had been involved in a massive fire. These were aesthetically cleaned down, rebuilt to DP standard and profusely marked JUST so that there could be no doubt about their status. Oh, they looked very nice but what had gone on under the surface was a matter of conjecture. Would YOU fire one? I’ve been an Armourer for a couple of years and while I or your local gunsmith could examine one and give it a bright clean billof health, would YOU trust it. NO, I wouldn’t either!

Let me give you another example too. NO dates here of course but ‘recently’ several hundred assorted weapons were recovered from a fire ravaged/damaged ship, sunk in low water (and later towed out to sea and scuttled). These were all quickly earmarked for scrap and eventually side tracked for DP/Training use. Like the other example, these were also cleaned, and refurbished, painted and ‘restored’ to aesthetically ‘serviceable’ condition. Oh, they looked good but within a couple of years, these had started to rust from under the welds, seams and joints.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top