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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1923 MkIII* that I'm hoping to get some information on. I found a import mark "JJCO" on the receiver. While doing some research I found an article saying that JJCO NY NY, would build Australian SMLE's from parts and sell them as factory built rifles. I'm hopeful this is not the case, but hoping someone could give me some insight. The bolt and receiver are matching, the sight is not and the nosecap is unnumbered. There is no number on the stock as well. The unmatching barrrel has an "R" and looks to be from 1941. The stock has several cartouches, one being "1942" and another "R MA 1/47". So it is possible to have gone through an arsenal update. The brass recoil lugs are installed in the stock and it is also marked slatz which would be correct for the 40's. Thoughts?
 

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Others will know more than I, but I believe that JJCO imported a number of complete rifles and also a large number of parts into the US. They made a number of rifles from the parts imported. I am not sure but from the picture the B and the 7 on the bolt is not the same font as the B and the 7 on the receiver? The fitted a 1942 butt has a refurbishment date in Australia of January 1947. Normally if a new barrel was fitted, then the original number was scrubbed our or lines stamped through with the barrel receiving the same number as that of the receiver. Nose caps were normally numbered to the action and as it has the clearances in the sight protectors it is post 1942? I think that the R on the barrel knox is actually a 5. This normally in Australia denotes the 5th Military District (Western Australia) but there should be other letters MD for example and normally if issued to a military district there would be a rack number, repeated in the butt. SLAZ in the fore wood denotes slazenger which produced them in WWII for Lithgow.
You have shown a number stamped under the bolt 9285. Look at the top of the action and see if this number is stamped there (where the bolt folds down). Bolts and actions in 1923 should have a matching stamp to show that they had been paired. My thoughts at this time is that it is JJCO build, but lets see what others can add.
 

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First impression is it picked up a 1941 barrel along the way. With all the part swapping going on among owners in the 90's and early 2k I wouldn't be so quick to label it a "Jovino bitser".
 

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I believe that it WAS a Lithgow built rifle (by all the markings stamped on as it progressed 'down the production line')
It has been 'messed with' in civilian hands (hence the lack of strike out of the old barrel numbering) but I would suggest that it was not done by JJ.

The JJ built rifles (I believe) were given their own series of serial numbers - with a suffix.

My take on the 'story'.
It was one of the rifles purchased 'complete' by JJ, it was either 'shot-out' or the barrel had some other problems, a 'civilian' got hold of another barrel and changed it.

How does it headspace ?
 

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I own a few JJCO and am old enough like a few commentators above, to have seen / lived the JJCO import era, and seen hundreds of specimens.

Here is the mystery: If the stock is original to rifle when it left Australian military, it could be a post war arsenal refurbed rifle that later went to a Military District till it was surplused out and JJCO got it.

It could as well be a legit matching action that some one rebarreled and restocked with parts...wood and nose cap....Did JJCO salvage parts and build rifles..yes they did and its also possible some previous owner did the parts swaping and restored that matching action to operational rifle .

Look under the safety on left wrist..do you see MA or MA with a number there...like MA 51 ? If you do then it could have been assembled with parts by the Aussies and what you see in your hand is a legit ..not restored (by anyone) but a arsenal made up rifle.

We know its not original as it left Lithgow and its early enough in mfg. to have been rebuilt if it saw active service this long ... if no more clues are discovered, you just are going to have to decide what it is based on your gut.

It could be any of the things I posted. Since we are in the COULD BE theory, I'll give you mine. I think it got rebuilt post war by the Aussies , not unusual it got a salvaged barrel off another rifle that could not be rebuilt, got spare used wood and un numbered nose cap and off it went to Military District ownership for reserves to use...and maybe there it got another butt stock off a messed up rifle. Since ..to my view... no one can positively state what the rifle really is..only render opinions, I'd be of a mind to go with my theory if it were my rifle. I could be right and when I get to COULD, I'd go with my gut until something more concrete is found on the rifle to negate that.

Note: JJCO did buy new (NOS) and used parts , original rifles , post war refurb'd arsenal legit rifles, rifles in any form of disrepair and some 50s era rebuilt to new condition Lithgows. Not every JJCO is a bitzer but not every JJCO is original and passes the collector smell test.

Does the batching number on bolt and receiver match...if so ..then that bolt serial number which matches receiver serial number ..that solves any discussion about "font" of serial numbers not right and
any discussion of action/bolt not a matching unit. If both batching and serial # match...end of discussion. Such a matching bolt/action of 1920 era on the wrist would have been rebuilt if it saw active service..few rifles remained original as they left Lithgow in 1920, many got rebuilt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys. I know the barrel was marked 41 and the bolthead is marked MA46. I'll check the back of the safety to see if it is marked. I did check the forend stock to make sure the brass recoilplates were installed. They are. Apparently JJCO sold parts rifles without installing NG those making them dangerous to shoot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I wasn't sure what the number 5 meant so thanks for that info. I wasn't confusing it with the letter "R" which is stamped on the left side of the unmaching barrel along with 4 '41. If you zoom into the picture I posted with the number 5 you may be able to see the date. I'll post more pictures on Thursday. I am thinking that the "R" indicates that the barrel was replaced, but was confused why it wasn't force matched as well as the sight. I'll check the batching number on the wrist but I'm not sure if the batching numbers match. Are the supposed to?
 

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Impossible to say from these photos, but for the record, it's very normal for 40's post war refurbs to have unnumbered nosecaps, barrels and wood. In fact only action and bolt numbered. These rifles are marked R over MA over date, like this one. I still have one of these that came directly from army stores, purchased by my friend in the 80's when he was still in the army. It also has mismatched barrel. I've got no idea the origins of the OP's rifle, but these are the facts.
The action PAA number will confirm the bolt, it looks legit to me.
 

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Apparently JJCO sold parts rifles without installing NG those making them dangerous to shoot.
Where did you pick that information up from? Not dangerous at all. There's much to understand about recoil plates and why they were used, but be careful where you get the information.

The safety markings will tell you nothing. If the rifle was refurbed in 1947, it could be Australian or English any era.
 

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I'll check the batching number on the wrist but I'm not sure if the batching numbers match. Are the supposed to?
Lithgow actions and bolts from about 1918 I think, cant remember for sure now, were struck with a Proof Action Assembly number after proofing. Bolts got replaced so its not the be all. Your bolt looks original to me, Id say yours is a match. Could be wrong though.
 

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I think it's a good rifle which has a replaced barrel. What's better? All original matching with sewer pipe bore on the wall, or a nearly matching shooter on the range? Put it into perspective and either go with it or dump it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is the picture of the bolt head with MA46 stamped on it. The PAA numbers match and here is a picture of the number on the wrist. I'd say it's most likely a factory built rifle based on everything we have discussed. I was concerned that it might have been just a parts gun in the beginning. Thanks for all of the information.
 

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Better and more close up pictures of the assembled rifle will give a better indication of fit and finish of the wood. Still no way of telling the origins of this rifle from these photos. PAA numbers only tell us the bolt is original to the action from new, but that is all.
 
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