New Antipodean Carbine

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coggansfield
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New Antipodean Carbine

Postby coggansfield » Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:43 pm

12 July 2006
2:45pm
Re: New Antipodean Carbine
To celebrate Aussie Graeme’s having stepped into Adam’s mighty shoes as moderator, I thought I would post some pics of my new acquisition from more or less the same part of the world.

This arrived yesterday, after payment of embarrassingly large shipping fees from Wellington. It is a New Zealand pattern Lee-Enfield carbine, type 3. I did an on-line NZ carbine owners’ poll last year, and these type 3s seem to account for about 4 percent of the 1,500 of these NZ carbines made. In other words, I would guess that about 60 type 3s were made.

Unlike the type 1 (new made) or the type 2 (made of LEC mk. I* spare parts), the type 3s are conversions of old LMC mk. Is. They bear their original LMC serial numbers, while the type 1s and 2s have serial numbers special to the NZ carbine run. I do not know why LEC I* is stamped under the old LMC I stamp on the left of the wristband, but they all have this feature.

On the whole, this is a nice gun. I have attached some photos. The metal is in very nice condition with lots of finish. The bore is a 9.5 out of 10 (much, much better than my other two NZCs). The barrel, action and backsight all have matching numbers, and the bolt is what I call a file match (that is, the old number has been filed off and a new, matching number applied). The topwood is authentic, though doubtless originally from another carbine (darker wood). The butt may be from another carbine. The colour match is good, though the butt has not been sanded while the foreend has, slightly.

The real proof of quality will be when I can get it apart. Right now the screws are all too tight to take out. I’ll leave then soaked in WD-40 for a few days. If it turns out to be rust bucket under the barrel, I’ll let you know.

I am always after info on these NZ carbines. If anyone has one whose particulars are not in my database, or if you just have some historical material on these firearms, please contact me at munro@intergroupservices.com.

Coggansfield
P.S. Graeme, can you resize these pics if necessary, please? Thanks.








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Woftam
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Postby Woftam » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:57 pm

Coggansfield,
Very nice. Very, very nice.

Random thought 1 - With regard to the special run of numbers you mention for the NZ carbines, are the types 1 and 2 numbers all consecutive ? Suggesting maybe the type 3's were a last minute solution to make up the numbers ? A run of numbers already having been allocated for the contract they left the originals on the type 3 carbines ?

Random thought 2 - You, my son, are deeply afflicted. From other posts around the place I gather you have paid a shocking amount of cash for the carbine and now for shipping. Still 'ya gotta have a hobby' haven't you.
The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it.
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Brian the Brit
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Doug's New Carbine

Postby Brian the Brit » Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:23 am

Imagine the scene.

Coggansfield, the man with a twisted mission to buy up all the Metford and Enfield carbines in the world, is sitting in his private basement fondling and drooling over his new acquisition.

The evil genius has managed to smuggle yet another carbine into the vaults of the ancestral mansion past Mrs Coggansfield's eagle eye and he is gloating at his latest success.

"I have you now, my precious," he lisps in his soft and sibilant voice. "You are all mine. Mine, I say! I will keep you locked away from public view forever. NEVER EVER WILL YOU SHOOT AGAIN."

Cut to the rain pouring against the leaded windows of the Gothic pile. Church organ music can be heard from within and as the camera pulls back into the dismal night above it comes the sound of a bolt being feverishly operated and maniacal laughter, "Bwaaaaahaaaaahaaaaaa!"

Well, you're not getting mine, you bugger!
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coggansfield
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Postby coggansfield » Thu Jul 13, 2006 8:23 am

13 July 2006

9:30am

Bolts? What bolts? The only bolts I operate are the ones on the loo door!

Coggansfield
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coggansfield
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Postby coggansfield » Thu Jul 13, 2006 9:22 am

13 July 2006

10:25am

Woftam,

Sorry for not answering your intellectual question above. I was distracted by the catcalls from Dorset, England (not to mention by the thought of the increasing difficulty of smuggling these things past Mrs. Coggansfield).

Anyway, yes, the types 1 and 2 appear to be consecutively numbered. I am (very) slowly but (not very) surely working on an article about this, which one day will reveal all. However, in the meantime, Skennerton says that there were 1,000 carbines in the first (1901) batch of carbines, and I am just about certain all these were type 1s. The type 1s all seem to be purpose built (new made, in other words), presumably serial-numbered 1 to 1000 approximately. Number 1 is in the Pattern Room. The highest type 1 serial number I have on record is 913. All were made in 1901, all were rack dated 1901 and all were assigned rack numbers under 1000.

Then there was a second (1903) batch of 500 more carbines, this batch appearing to have been composed exclusively of type 2s (mostly) and type 3s (a few). The lowest type 2 serial number I have is 1054, so presumably these numbers picked up at 1001. At the upper reaches of the serial numbers, within the “normal” range of numbers, the highest I go to is 1592, though then there are more carbines, such as the type 3s, that have higher numbers held over from their previous incarnations. These previously serialed guns are nearly all type 3s (i.e., LMC conversions), though there are a couple of LEC mk. I* conversions in there too (5595E, for example).

Nearly all of the guns in the s/n 1001 to 1500 range are dated 1902 or 1903, are rack dated 1903 and are rack numbered between 1001 and 1500. This is as one would expect.

However, with the exception of two guns (s/n 1501 and s/n 1543), all the guns serialed over 1500 have rack numbers under 1000, which is theoretically not possible as all these lower rack numbers should have been assigned to the first-batch guns. These high serial-numbered guns have various other dating anomalies that I won’t bore you with here. Suffice it to say that I believe most to be replacement guns actually sent out to NZ in, probably, 1904 as replacements for batch-1 guns lost or destroyed in the intervening years. In others words, each was given, I think, the rack number of the gun it was replacing.

So, yes, I believe you are exactly correct, Woftam, about the type 3s being an expedient to make up numbers. In 1901, these carbines (type 1) were the state of the art and carbines were still in general issue, so naturally the NZ order would have been new made. However, in 1902 the SMLE was introduced, so when the NZers asked for another 500 carbines, presumably that same year, RSAF Enfield decided to offload a bunch of by now obsolete surplus LEC mk. I* action bodies by building them into NZ carbines. I suspect, however, that there simply were not enough to make up the full order of 500 and so towards the end of the run some old LMCs (and a handful of stored LEC mk. I*s) were broken up and used for this purpose too.

These LMCs (and the couple of LEC mk. I*s), once having been actual guns, already had serial numbers and so kept them (as on the contemporary RIC carbines, which also kept their original serial numbers). Take at look at the photos below. These show, respectively, the action and barrel serial numbers from my type 1, 2 and 3 NZ carbines.

Notice that on the types 1 and 2, the typeface of the action and barrel numbering is the same, implying that these numbers were applied at the same time.

On the type 3, however, the typeface is clearly different, implying that the action number was applied previously. The highest serial numbered type 3 I know of is 2148, obviously well outside the expected range of numbers for these 1,500 carbines, giving further credence to the idea that the types 3s retained their old numbers.

Sorry to have bored you all.

Coggansfield

P.S. Who has time for shooting when you can ponder the intricacies of serial numbers!





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dromia
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Postby dromia » Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:15 am

Thank you for this most interesting post Doug.

Especially the series detail, the logic of retrograde manufacture here is obvious and eloquently explained by your self and Graeme. It is doubly pleasing then to have sight of some of the evidence.

Although with Enfields there is always room for further "interpretation".

:bigsmile:

BTW Brian I never really saw you as a gothic afficianado, still waters mate, have you got any peircings?

When your next in Whitby why don't you pop up to Strenshall and see Peter he could take some photographs of you on the range cloak et all.

:lol:
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Woftam
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Postby Woftam » Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:08 pm

Coggansfield,

Yes I know what you mean about the English. They reckon they sent all their riffraff out of the country years ago. Firstly to the New World. When that became unavailable due to some upstarts thinking they could run the place better they reckon they sent them to Australia. However evidence suggests to me they overlooked some.

On to more intellectual pursuits. Nice to know one of my random thoughts was on target for once. A most informative post. It also convinces me that random thought #2 was on the money as well.

Do let us know when the article is coming up for publication. Oh, and where it is to be published. We may be able to have a whip around and buy one copy.
The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it.
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coggansfield
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Postby coggansfield » Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:08 pm

14 July 2006

1:15pm

I'll probably try peddling it to Skennerton for next April's "Collector" magazine.

Coggansfield

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