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Discussion Starter #1
Picked up a 1943 dated Lithgow the other day,appears to be a non ftr'd rifle that has some unusual missing serial #'s from what I am used to.No ishy screw on rifle,stock has most stamps including serial # E2218,bolt has serial #E2218 and so does nosecap,however receiver only has 2218,no E.Barrel is marked 11/44 with no serial # at all,has R in a circle stamped on top barrel flat,assuming stands for replacement barrel.
There is an assembly # on underside of bolt handle but no assembly # at all on receiver.
Wondering about the lack of the usual numbers and or letter,possibly repaired in the field or was numbering a little less exact during wartime,also wondering about barrel being dated later that receiver.
Thanks for any help.
 

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Interesting rifle. There are a number of possibilities. Wartime production mishap re number stamping is one, but the missing batching number, the missing s/n prefix AND the lightly stamped date all on the same action body makes me question that unless somebody at Lithgow had a REALLY bad day. Possibly the original receiver failed somewhere farther along the line and got replaced? Field repair is another possibility, as is some sort of rework in or after 1944 when the barrel was replaced.

Hard to say for sure.
 

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I thought a large P meant barrel replacment.

Had a look in the skennerton bible and it sounds like he is not to sure on the R mark either, thinking either replacement or reserve.

Could you post a pic of it, if it is a funny looking R i think from memory that it meant it had been found rusty and was to be cheacked by an armourer.

cheers,
Lachy
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input so far. I am also thinking that the receiver was replaced at one time from damage,The R is in a circle,I have added some pictures.I have checked several references and can find no mention of a R in a circle.
 

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I noticed that the 1/55 dated Mk2 that I just unwrapped on Saturday had a little paper sticker on the knox form of it's F52 dated barrel that read "O" (unlapped barrel)? We're barrels routinely lapped. What is the practical significance of having a non-lapped barrel? Thanks.
 

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My '42 Lithgow has exactly the same "R" in a circle in the same place.
The barrel is numbered and dated the same as the rifle so has never been replaced.
I take it as reserve grade or possibly rusty.
 

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I'm going on reserve grade.

My '43 dated Lithgow is the roughest made rifle in my collection. No copper kickers, horizontal sanding marks, poorly fitted wood and the R marked barrel.

I've seen better made Ishys.

We must remember that due to the proximity of the Japs at this time, production was dispersed to Orange and Bathurst (read unskilled labour) to enable Lithgow to keep up production of Brens and Vickers.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Took the rifle apart and it was actually put together quite well,stock is tight fit and has recoil plates.Reciver has the 10 inspection marks under wood line.The serial # on receiver does look crudely stamped.I am also thinking mostly rushed wartime production.Would the R have been added after the war when rifle reinspected and deemed reserve if that is what the circle R means?
Added a couple more pics of serial #.
 

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FWIW I would go with the replacement receiver theory also. My WW2 Lithgow is 1942 dated, but the serial # is E13553, which should mean it was produced well after E2218.
Perhaps a replacement receiver and barrel in were fitted in '44 but the armourer, knowing it wasn't a '44 serial number backdated the receiver date - but not quite far enough ?

Mine lacks the R and I remain unconvinced as to the Reserve explanation.

Firstly I think if you are going to make that distinction between reserve grade and frontline weapons there would be documentation of some sort, not only of the marking but of the criteria and allocation.

Secondly lack of finishing touches doesn't make a reserve grade weapon. As long as they met specification I don't thinks looks would matter.

Thirdly Australian military traditions/practices/tactics etc of that era were heavily grounded in the British model - who didn't use R to denote Reserve. Rather they used Roman Numerals to indicate the class of arm.

Fourthly marking of reserve grade weapons was invariably on the right side of the butt.

Fifthly anything to do with the barrel - cord worn/rust/replacement/parallel bore etc is invariably stamped on the barrel.
 
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