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Discussion Starter #1
Hello to everyone!

I was advised by another forum member, to post and ask here for your help and opinions, regarding a rifle that I am considering to acquire.

I saw this "ZF" mark on the buttstock of this rifle and thought that it was a rack marking, like on the M1 Garands and other rifles. But a forum member emailed me a link to another forum, where there is an older post, mentioning this mark and according to the post, the rifle probably has issues.

How did this No.4(T) managed to get to the USA with this mark, if it had issues?

I am trying to see if a more knowledgeable person can view this rifle with me.

Really appreciate your input on this matter.

Thank you for your time and help.

3800610

3800612

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The ZF mark means it was condemned by a base workshop as being beyond repair. The consensus is to stay away from them.

Regardless of our conversations on the matter, and the variables that come into play with individual rifles, the only way to be safe is to keep right on walkin'.

I wish it weren't that way, but alas.
 
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I'd try to find out if that was the original butt-stock!
Yes IT is condemned, but was it on THIS rifle when it was condemned?
I would NOT fire it until I'd sorted that problem out.
 
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I'd try to find out if that was the original butt-stock!
Yes IT is condemned, but was it on THIS rifle when it was condemned?
I would NOT fire it until I'd sorted that problem out.
Given the fact that the scope number on the stock matches the number of the scope in the photos, I'd say there is more than a very good chance it is the original stock. Depending on the price, I would not let the debate about the ZF mark alone stop me from pursuing acquisition if it's an otherwise good deal. T's with matching scope numbers are rather scarce.
 

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Then I'd walk away.
Not into wall hangers, sorry.
 

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That’s too high $ even if the ZF wasn’t present. You’d need the transit chest for that money.
 

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The price is decent for an all-matching package like this, but the ZF issue is certainly a good reason not to pay full market price. Just last week we had a thread with a poster chomping at the bit to pay $8K for a similar one (not ZF marked).
 

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It appears someone rubbed off some of the Brunofix (sp?) finish next to the front scope pad and then quit. Fortunately it isn’t glaring. As bigwagon says, the price is fair for a matching rig with chest. If it checked out from a safety standpoint, it is worth buying in my book. These matching rigs don‘t come up for sale like they used to.
 

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$5500 for something you may not get to enjoy and might not be able to sell.
Question is, for the money is it worth having to just to touch?
For some people who only display it might be.

If it weren't for that ZF...
 

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The scope doesn't match. The scarce ones have only one number on the stock, because that's what was original. Renumbered stocks don't bring any premium in my book because it could have been renumbered at any time by anyone. If it had the chest you could maybe justify the price. Case on the loose....maybe 1500 if you ever find one. That puts you at 7k, just a bit shy of a complete one with one matching number on the stock in a chest?
The zf mark is meaningless unless you take a look at the gun, the bore, and the headspace.
 

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It has a transit case. He posted a photo of it three posts above. The mount and stock have been renumbered, but that is still more matching than most.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yes, the price is for the Sniper rifle, transit case, sling, scope, and can. But I can't find anyone to check the bore and headspace.

I contacted a local gunsmith, but he told me that he does not have the tools to inspect the Enfield rifles. Another gunsmith is not doing any work because of the pandemic.
 

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Given the fact that the scope number on the stock matches the number of the scope in the photos, I'd say there is more than a very good chance it is the original stock. Depending on the price, I would not let the debate about the ZF mark alone stop me from pursuing acquisition if it's an otherwise good deal. T's with matching scope numbers are rather scarce.
while the scope number is there, the butt was also renumbered at some time,

so is it a different scope that was numbered to the stock, or a different stock that was numbered to the scope?
 

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It is a well travelled rifle showing history of wear and tear. The quickest way to get new sniper gear is to ZF the old. Can not have the boys without good gear when they are about to be deployed. Hurries up the supply chain.
 

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How did this No.4(T) managed to get to the USA with this mark, if it had issues?

A brief article by Peter Laidler regarding ZF markings.

Peter was the most senior British Armourer who served his apprenticeship on Lee Enfields and has subsequently written several books on the 4T and the 32 Scope.

This is what he says :

The ZF mark.



The short answer to this is that the ZF marking to an Armourer means that this is the end of the line.

The Z means that it has been condemned at a Base workshop (that's the Z bit) as suitable only for a Factory Repair (that's the F part). This will indicate something to do with a part that cannot be rectified at Base Workshop and that is inevitably a damaged body. On a No4 rifle, this is what we call 'the master component', a part that is NEVER supplied as a spare part through the Ordnance channels.

There was only one other mark that was more extreme than ZF and that was ZF-BER. Which meant that in addition to the ZF, one of the examiners had decreed it to be beyond economic repair in any case. But effectively, both were the same......................

There was a milder Z-BER which indicated that it wasn't even worth sending to the factory and at workshops, these were torched!

So, the rifle your correspondent is referring to falls into one of three categories
1) scrap
2) very scrap
3) Extremely scrap


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


XXXXXXX asked me to comment on the ZF mark on No4 rifles and I reported back in pretty-well general terms exactly what it meant to ALL British, Australian and New Zealand army equipment. It’s not difficult. Now, I cannot comment on Canada because I’ve never been there. I’m not here to tell you a load of unsubstantiated rubbish….., it’s all freely available for you all to see but what I do want, is for you to take it on board.

I would also ask you to read again the thread that deals with DP rifles because it’s pretty clear that some out there in Forum land know more about these than they’re letting on. Or alternatively, THINK they know more about these than they’re letting on……….

Up until now, I’ve been the polite Mr. Laidler, long, long time Armourer, with a modicum of experience under his belt from working in the MASSIVE Base workshops, to the smaller Infantry/Field workshops and the small, pretty-well self contained workshops. These range from…….. I won’t go on. I don’t want to rock any boats. Until now that is! I’m going to gingerly pick my way through the comments in this thread and tell you how it is. I hope the Editor lets it run because what I’m saying will lay a few myths to bed and maybe, in a few instances, ***** a few where it hurts.

Are you ready………? Then I’ll begin

If your butt has a letter R over the word REME, either painted or stamped, it means REJECTED BY THE REME EXAMINER. It doesn’t mean repaired or repairable, it means, listen to me – REJECTED. It’s marked with the REME logo to show those back in the Base Ordnance Depots that it is a REME reject as opposed to an Ordnance reject. Only the highest level of REME in-inspector will mark this and the REME overrule the Ordnance in all things engineering. That’s why we are called engineers.

Now, the next thing………. The R-REME or ZF is painted or stamped onto the butt because there’s nowhere to paint it on the rifle body. Imagine a Bren with a jammed-up solid gas cylinder needing a FTR to replace it (and they do jam solid too…..). Would the examiner paint the ZF on the gas cylinder? OF course not! Look and think logically those forumers who think and write otherwise………… When we write off vehicles, we paint the word CAST in yellow paint on the bonnet, even if it’s a well worn out Bedford with a cracked and buckled chassis. Is that clear enough?

And another thing while were here. While some, including Tikirocker seem to doubt this and think it ought to be stamped on the rifle PART………, even when we DO, as in the case of DP kit, do they then doubt that too. You just can’t win. But furthermore, you just can’t have it both ways lads

I’ll give you an example. While in the US recently a dealer at one of the shows showed me an L1A1 rifle. A good, solid, British BSA that looked in GOOD overall condition. But there, winking at me from the butt were the dreaded, yellow painted letters, ZF….., which he assured me was Zimbabwe Forces. I told him that I didn’t think so because a) it was good, b) had been oiled in the past c) hadn’t been flogged to death and d) the barrel looked both straight and was fully painted in good old hard wearing sunkorite. So he passed it back to me and getting my in-inspectors hat on, gave it a quick once over. And sure enough, the rear body locking lug was worn out. The tell-tale mark was on the left side that a No2 (oversize) catch was fitted too! Body not just worn out, but TOTALLY worn out.

Now, the mystery of the ZF butts on ‘good’ rifles. I’ll ask you the obvious question with a statement first. Do YOU or your gunsmith have the gauging and examination kit that we have at even the lowest echelon unit Armourers shop? I doubt it but you never know… So the question is ‘just how do YOU know that the butt has been changed? The answer is that you don’t. Try to understand when I read constantly that the ZF butt has been changed! If it has, then remove the bloody ZF and be done with it. But don't let it stand there chuckling at you like a set of Christmas lights.

Jona is NEARLY right about us using our kit over again. When your rifle goes back to Ordnance as a ‘scrapper (or a ZF in Armourers language ……get it…., it’s that word again…?) it is disposed of by torch or gulllotine
as a whole complete unit or sale as scrap to some dealer who wants to earn a fast buck. Some parts are cannibalized and returned to store but they go through a RSSD, attached to a REME workshops – again! That’s a ‘returned stores sub-depot’ for you non Armourers, where the parts are examined, tumbled etc etc etc parkerised and painted to new condition and re-packaged, returned to the shelf and re-issued in the fullness of time with the packaging marked PW (for Part Worn). That’s where we get our reconditioned engines and refurbished Bren gun butt slide assemblies, right down to foresight protector screws. But all ASSEMBLIES, and major parts, like Bren barrels, breech blocks and the like are re-packaged and it is made clear on the packaging that they are re-worked parts. They are sent out again like NEW. Can you imagine a reworked butt being sent through the system still bearing the ZF paint on it. Just think of the confusion…………… Come on!

At unit workshops, the Armourers will touch-paint the parts that need it while at a big Field workshops, they’ll just degrease and spray the weapons over the old paint and air dry (in my experience due to lack of paint oven but in Malaya, ‘air drying’ in the baking heat was pretty damned good!) while at Base workshops, they get the full in-inspection full repair and full out inspection. Obviously some weapons can be fully rebuilt to new condition at Base workshop and suddenly fail, to be condemned as ZF-BER because of an unforeseen fault, such as too high sear on a previously staked body or loose locking shoulder. You know what I mean……………….

I’m grateful to the Maestro Ed Horton for exhibiting the picture, not previously shown on this forum, of the repairs to the No5 rifle. Was this a joke Tiki or have you everso slightly lost the plot of what these forums and the hard working authors are trying to convey? I did have time before it was removed, to pass it on to some other Armourers to choke on their tea-cakes. Coke tins and swipe cards………… I’m doing my best to be polite but the words absolutely fail me. It’s fair to say that I have NEVER, ever seen…………. I won’t go on, but thanks Ed! And there again, as bold as brass, the infamous REME REJECTED and ZF signs proudly pop up like pop stars on the TV. Just take my word for it Tiki, there is NOT an answer for everything. LOOK AND LEARN.

But now, it’s time to eat a bit of humble pie to JohnR. I said on a previous thread that what we call ‘the master component’ was NEVER available as a spare part. This was obviously to prevent a budding Armourer making up a rifle out of spare parts. I even related the story of Craftsman ‘Tiny’ Davidson in Malaya who did somehow manage something similar in Malaya with a No2 pistol and being caught with it in his locker by Sgt Doug Baker (later killed with 8-RAR in SVN). Doug told Johnny Cotterill, our Armourer Sergeant later ‘Tiny does 28 days in the can (as we called Holdsworthy Jail) or I lose my pension. It’s simple. Tiny does 28 days'! I have learned that at the big combined RCEME/REME workshops in WERL in Germany, Canadian No4 and Bren bodies were available as replacement parts but only from Canadian Ordnance. This was cut short very quickly but quite clearly, Canadian Ordnance did supply master components and I should imagine, was awash with unlawful weaponry……….. But not in the UK, Australia or New Zealand.

Now, where were we. Ah, yes! If your rifle exhibits the glowing ZF or DP marks, then take a bit of advice. It’s there for a reason, I’ve covered all your bases but moreover, YOU don’t know why it’s there but at least the Forum has erred on the side of safety

Peter Laidler


Your rifle, your life, your choice, I and many others would never fire a ZF rifle.
 

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It is a well travelled rifle showing history of wear and tear. The quickest way to get new sniper gear is to ZF the old. Can not have the boys without good gear when they are about to be deployed. Hurries up the supply chain.
Politics. That actually makes some sense.
Do we trust supposition and assume the o ring trick will be a safe work around??
Its all guessing at this point.

At the very least the price should come down quite a bit for a condemned rifle and it should be treated as condemned until a factual reason is found for it.
 
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