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I've had a glaring hole in my WW2 rifle collection for quite a while, so I've kept an eye out for am excellent condition No4 Mk1 with a low bolt head number for quite a while. Since it's a British design, I was hoping to acquire a British made No4 Mk1 as it also has the original method of bolt removal, but all the better condition rifles seemed to be Savage or Long Branch. I was heavily recommended by a couple Enfield owners to acquire one with the milled micrometer adjustable rear sight as they reported it to be the best in terms of craftsmanship and usability.
I even traveled to the Wanenmacher show in Tulsa last weekend without any luck.
Seems like I was expecting to find them available for $400, but all the nice ones at the show were over $1000. :eek:
How much should I expect to pay for one? Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

Only one I found recently that I'm heavily considering is this rifle for about $420 shipped. Should I go for it? Think the FTR and MK2 conversion process was a big improvement? Kinda hesitating since it wouldn't be a true WW2 example then...
 

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If you don't require a war time made Lee Enfield then the post war dated Longbranch rifle is a good one. Why low bolt head number? As I recall they are numbered 0 through 4 and are used to headspace the rifle when built so a low number isn't an issue. They can be found with mismatched parts, some Savage etc. All are legit parts used in the repair shops.
Post war rifles tend to be better built since they were not rushed to produce. There are 3 types of barrels, or should I say rifling. A 2, 5 and 6 groove. The 2 and 5 groove are left hand twist, the 6 groove is right hand twist, so you don't have to count them to know if it's a 5 or a 6 groove.
Some say the 6 is most accurate but some 2 groovers can shoot quite well.
Where I am in Canada, price for a decent one is $600 and up to $1000 for a minty one. Canadian $$ though. Years ago they were selling for $180
 

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It is possible. Are you planning on shooting many 1000's of rounds through it, if not then it's not an issue. The "0" bolt head is the longest (tightest).
It is good to headspace the rifle you intend to buy as bolt heads are easily mixed up.
A higher number bolt head can be welded to add length and then machined to the correct HS measurement, then just drill the firing pin hole through by the threaded end.
Want to use a hard rod for this work.
You can find bolt handles that have been ground or filed and a matching serial number stamped in. This is done at the 2nd and 3rd line level. The bolts were not fitted, only head spaced using one of the numbered bolt heads. Finding unaltered bolt serial numbers may be more desirable from the collector standpoint but the others are perfectly accurate for repair work in wpns shops.
 

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The "0" bolt head is the longest (tightest).
It is good to headspace the rifle you intend to buy as bolt heads are easily mixed up.
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Other way around! 3 is (on average) longest but with considerable overlap between numbers. I've had 3's that measure out in the lower end of 2. If you see a 3 on a rifle don't automatically assume the body is worn out. Regarding choice of rifles, my favorites are ones that actually look like they were there and used but are still mechanically sound. I have Long Branch's that look like they were never issued and I don't tend to want to drag them to the range and lower their value by adding my own wear and tear.

Ruprecht
 

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Other way around! 3 is (on average) longest but with considerable overlap between numbers. I've had 3's that measure out in the lower end of 2. If you see a 3 on a rifle don't automatically assume the body is worn out. Regarding choice of rifles, my favorites are ones that actually look like they were there and used but are still mechanically sound. I have Long Branch's that look like they were never issued and I don't tend to want to drag them to the range and lower their value by adding my own wear and tear.

Ruprecht[/QUOT

Yes other way round, 3 being largest then 2, 1 and 0. Been some time since I repaired these old rifles. Why I said there is a #4 that's wrong, I was thinking there are 4 bolt head sizes in total.
 

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I think I actually have a no. 4 bolt head somewhere. I had a few and I should sell them, but I think there is a 4 in the bag.



Other way around! 3 is (on average) longest but with considerable overlap between numbers. I've had 3's that measure out in the lower end of 2. If you see a 3 on a rifle don't automatically assume the body is worn out. Regarding choice of rifles, my favorites are ones that actually look like they were there and used but are still mechanically sound. I have Long Branch's that look like they were never issued and I don't tend to want to drag them to the range and lower their value by adding my own wear and tear.

Ruprecht[/QUOT

Yes other way round, 3 being largest then 2, 1 and 0. Been some time since I repaired these old rifles. Why I said there is a #4 that's wrong, I was thinking there are 4 bolt head sizes in total.
 

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One other thing to consider is the build quality of the Long Branch and Savage rifles were better throughout the war years.

The early No.4's from all the British factories had quality problems related from new, inexperienced, employees all learning their jobs in newly built factories at the same time.

Also, neither of the 'new world' plants seemed to feel the need to routinely assemble rifles with one or more 'nonstandard parts' (basically reject parts. The rifles with an A appended to the serial number had them) just to get the rifles out the door. Just to make it MORE fun, it is up to YOU to figure which parts are nonstandard.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that some of the build quality advantage of the 'new world' (Savage and Long Branch) No.4's perhaps came from the fact that their factories weren't subject to being bombed during air raids like the British ones were. Not surprisingly, having your factory get bombed can have the effect of doing some pretty nasty things to your production equipment, schedule, and personnel.
 

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That's more than I'd swing on an FTR'd #4. Many view them as less desirable, resulting in lower prices. If you don't care that it's refurbished & really gotta have a #4, it may be worth considering.

IMHO, the FTRs are a great way to get an example in excellent condition. I wouldn't blink at the FTR, but I'd talk him down in price because of it!
;)
 

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Other way around! 3 is (on average) longest but with considerable overlap between numbers. I've had 3's that measure out in the lower end of 2. If you see a 3 on a rifle don't automatically assume the body is worn out. Regarding choice of rifles, my favorites are ones that actually look like they were there and used but are still mechanically sound. I have Long Branch's that look like they were never issued and I don't tend to want to drag them to the range and lower their value by adding my own wear and tear.

Ruprecht
i'm the same
 

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Thanks for all the advice fellas! Think this rifle would be a good buy if I can get it around $400-$430 shipped? Seller says it's an all matching 1944 Long Branch No 4 Mk 1 that underwent Mk2 upgrades in '53 through FTR.



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I would - great history - it's been shot - stock in great condition
 

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I watched a ZERO series Longbranch sell for under $500, on THIS site, because it was an FTR. Barely want to talk about it... Would've given the seller more than he DID get, but it was a 2 groove & I don't swing that way.

In my neck of the woods (NM), the LGS is the only place suckers (I mean... people) pay $400 or more for an FTR. Never paid over $250 myself, I could get a really great ANY Enfield for sub $400 at, well, EVERY gun show. There's one this weekend, you are all invited to witness it for yourselves! Only finances stop me...
 

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I watched a ZERO series Longbranch sell for under $500, on THIS site, because it was an FTR. Barely want to talk about it... Would've given the seller more than he DID get, but it was a 2 groove & I don't swing that way.

In my neck of the woods (NM), the LGS is the only place suckers (I mean... people) pay $400 or more for an FTR. Never paid over $250 myself, I could get a really great ANY Enfield for sub $400 at, well, EVERY gun show. There's one this weekend, you are all invited to witness it for yourselves! Only finances stop me...
Your loss. I PREFER shooting my two-groove 1943 Long Branch to my five-groove 1942.

I have never noticed any systemic difference in accuracy between the two, and my shooting preference comes mainly from the fact that the 1942 is a lot more 'minty' (bought it out of a crate that hadn't been opened since the day it left the factory).
 

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All good info to consider !

I have two points:

a. The school of Been There Done That has perils. You want a wall hanger or do want a rifle that still is serviceable and shoots well. Lots of worn No.4 out there but best condition ones are in your favor. Lots of them were torn apart by ignorant owners and they ruined wood fitting in forearms ..so look at a rifle and if it looks like its been refinished or fore arm taken off (buggered screws are a clue), its a good chance you should walk away. If you inspect properly, you may find a worn rifle that has been carried much, shot little and prior owners have not messed up....that is the one to get if you like a battle used looking rifle. Great or Ugly looking ...let condition of rifle drive your purchase decision.

b. The post war FTR'd No.4 are a safe bet for an outstanding shooter, may not have the Been There Done That look but its been there ...only rebuilt post war.

I hunted for No.4 and found few that pass the smell test on condition but the few I found that were solid, were worth buying and owning. One 1943 Long Branch with 2 groove barrel is a complete Brit FTR..new barrel and new wood and suncorite refinished. Glorious rifle that has been there, done that and survived to live again. It shoots at the 1000 yd line here at Quantico with great performance. It was snubbed on Gun Board Trader for days because it was a FTR in early 2008. No one wanted a FTR. Great ...the seller sold it to me because this as new condition FTR went unsold for 3 days and he then sold it to me for $250...down from $350. It shoots like a new rifle and looks like a new rifle and its a legit wonderfully rebuilt post war FTR .

FTR...sometimes its in your favor. In favor for performance and great leverage if the seller / gun shop is told its a FTR and not original...you might bring down asking price, it happens frequently when I note that to a gun shop, they usually clutch & blink hard...... and in glorious ignorance of Enfields and what FTR is...they will cut a better deal.

Don't like FTR? Snooze ya lose is all I can say.
 

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If you don't, I will!!
A /3 Long Branch is a great addition to any collection, and I will always buy these when the opportunity presents itself. Fine rifle at a fair price.


Thanks for all the advice fellas! Think this rifle would be a good buy if I can get it around $400-$430 shipped? Seller says it's an all matching 1944 Long Branch No 4 Mk 1 that underwent Mk2 upgrades in '53 through FTR.



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Up here in Canada, 1/3 rifles are highly sought after by Long Branch collectors.

I never turn my nose up at an FTR rifle. That would be like me going to a used car dealership and turning my nose up at an old car with new engine and transmission, new brakes, tires, steering, exhaust, bodywork, paint and an upholstery job, because the car has been completely rebuilt to like new condition???
 

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never understood the disdain for FR or FTR's

I get it that it is not factory original,
however, like said, it is Factory repaired, (meaning to me factory original for that time period,,,)

I have a few, and enjoy them for what they are
 

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Thanks for the info! I was told to get a low bolt head number because as they get shot and used, the headspace can increase and necessitate a higher bolt head number. Is that true? D'oh!
The ones I have that I am sure are 100% original non FTR and minimal to no use are about even between 0 and 1 marked on the bolt head. Including the British made wartime ones. I do have one 43 Faz. that is about brand new that has a 2. No 3s on any rifle and I don't even own a spare head marked 3. It would seem they did try to have minimum length as far as practicable at the factory.
 
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