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Lithgow WWI Enfield

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Category: Enfields
Forum Name: Enfield Rifles
Forum Description: Anything that has to do with the great Enfield rifles!
Printed Date: December 01 2020 at 4:42pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.01 -

Topic: Lithgow WWI Enfield
Posted By: AussieShooter
Subject: Lithgow WWI Enfield
Date Posted: September 01 2019 at 12:22pm
I am unsure if there are any restrictions on references to other broker sites and will be happy to modify my post if there are,   However, I am an Aussie living in Chicago and learned to shoot the 303 in army cadets and want to add an aussie enfield to my collection. 

On there is a 1917 Lithgow Mk3* that appears to be largely unrestored, largely #s matching but not quite all original.   As a fan, but not an experienced collector, I would welcome any feedback, and happy to forward web links to anyone interested in providing their opinion.  I have been researching for about six months and happy to remain patient if this is not a good one. Quality over quantity!  Hopefully one day I can return the favour.

Posted By: Zed
Date Posted: September 02 2019 at 11:25am
Be careful when buying a Lithgow rifle in the USA.
When the Lithgow company sold off it's stock of Lee Enfield rifles and part's; they were bought by J Jorinco Company in the USA. They received a mixture of complete rifles; as well as a lot of parts. They are known to have put together many rifles from the part's. They were sold as complete rifles; but are not necessarily finished to proper specification. Example: some did not have the brass reinforcements fitted to the coachwood fore end. Maybe also non matching bolt's etc.
A JJCo stamp on the receiver does not necessarily mean it's a "bitza"; but it certainly requires proper inspection before considering purchase.
However I would expect that this would be more relevant WWII production.

I have a J Jorinco stamped Lithgow No2MkIV*. It has matching numbers and is a very good shooting rifle. But the Butt stock is obviously a replacement; being incorrectly marked with a six pointed star instead of a seven pointed star!

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!

Posted By: The Armourer
Date Posted: September 02 2019 at 1:59pm
As far as I am aware- The original Lithgow assembled rifles had a prefix letter to the serial number.
The ones assembled from 'random parts' by J Jovino had a suffix letter (normally an A) to the serial number and the various numbered parts are unlikely to match.

The ones without the reinforcing recoil plates have been shown to split within about 20-30 rounds.

Inspect carefully !!!!!

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: September 03 2019 at 7:15am
Here's the whole "JJ&Co" saga, compiled from several sources.
You can check for the presence (or absence) of the recoil plates by removing the bolt & magazine & looking back & up shallowly into the rear of the receiver through the magazine well. if they're there you'll see them, but be aware they are frequently dirty or greasy so look carefully.

No. 1 Mk III* (Lithgow - "New")
Often advertised as “collector grade” or “mint - unfired” or “unissued” and selling for $200 and up.

Watch out for these! Quite a few “new Lithgow” rifles have been built just within the last few years from spare parts bought from the Australian government. The parts are new, and the rifles were never issued--but they aren’t Lithgow factory rifles by any stretch of the imagination! They’re recently-built parts guns.

It is possible (though not likely) that some Lithgow-manufactured rifles with late-1945 (or later) dates were kept in storage and subsequently surplussed out in unfired or unissued condition. Such rifles would have 5-digit serial numbers with either an “E” or an “F” serial number prefix, and the serial number would be stamped on the rear of the bolt handle and on the bottom of the fore-end, as well as on the receiver ring. Neither the nose cap nor the bottom of the backsight leaf will carry a different serial number on these rifles. Also, legitimate factory rifles will have 1/4-inch square brass or copper recoil plates installed on the fore-ends where the sear boss bears against the wood. These plates will be attached with small brass wood screws.

If you find a “new” Lithgow with a 1943 or 1944 date, be highly suspicious. This was the height of the war, and virtually all rifles manufactured were issued. If you find the receiver marked with a “JJ CO NY NY” import stamp, assume it’s a parts gun unless you have clear evidence to the contrary. (Many “new Lithgow” parts guns appear to have been assembled on receivers imported by John Jovino & Co.) If you find a 4-digit serial number with no prefix letter and an “A” suffix, this is clear evidence that it is not a Lithgow factory rifle. If you find different serial numbers on different parts, this is clear evidence that it is a parts gun. And if the recoil plates are missing, it is not only a parts gun--it could be dangerous to shoot. There’s a possibility that the fore-end will be damaged with as few as 20 or 30 round fired.

Where JJ Co used unissued receivers, they did not have serial numbers on them from Lithgow.
JJ Co numbered these receivers themselves, using a letter suffix (usually A) in the serial instead of a letter prefix as was customary markings for Lithgow.
If any doubt, a quick look at the serial number and date on the rifle will soon sort it.

For knowledgeable collectors of Lithgow Enfields, these assembled new rifles are pretty easy to spot by their light colored stocks and parkerized finish. Another dead give away for the assembled rifles is that they are not in the normal Lithgow serial number ranges. Most of the assembled rifles have serial numbers that either start with a "G" prefix or have a "A" suffix.

import marks on your Lithgow on the right hand side of receiver just above the woodline in front of the bolt handle? If so, I think it you look hard at your import marks, you will see that they are actually IA CO SAC CA but the first "I" looks like a "T" due to the mark being stamped at an angle. I have had a couple of the IA imported Lithgow rifles with the IA CO SAC CA import marks on the location I mentioned and others with the import marks on the bottom of the charger bridge on the right side. IA was the "Inter American" company and they imported a lot if military surplus arms as well as new AKs and Sks. If I remember right, they went out of business around 2005 or so. Anyhow, they had some pretty nice Lithgows as well as some not so nice like any importer. They did not assemble rifles from NOS parts either like Jovino did.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Honkytonk
Date Posted: September 03 2019 at 7:53am
The Lithgow I'm having built is being fabricated from parts. Bolt will be fitted to action, furniture will be picked to match. This I'm fully aware of... and can't wait to heft that ole war horse! While I totally can appreciate the collector and the purists, I've never been one. Sounds way, way out of my price range!

Posted By: Zed
Date Posted: September 03 2019 at 12:12pm
HT, your rifle is, I believe, being built for you by a qualified gunsmith; that know's his way around an Enfield? At least I hope it is!
There is quite a big difference when parts are just put together with no proper fitting or checks.

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!

Posted By: Homer
Date Posted: September 03 2019 at 2:54pm
aussieshooter, PM me a link to the auction, I’ll have a look at it for you. 
Just to clarify a few points made earlier, for the record. Lithgow only started installing recoil plates from about 1939 or at least the late 30’s. Plus, there was a lengthy period of about one year from 1943, in order to speed up production, recoil plates were not installed. This period alone equates to roughly a little over 100000 rifles with D and E prefixed serial numbers. These rifles were shot plenty in service. My main shooting rifle, an original from new 1942 Lithgow does not have recoil plates.
Also, there seem to be equally as many 1942/43/44 dated Lithgow rifles that appear to have missed the battle, as there are 1945. No doubt we’ve all made varying observations, but I wouldn’t be at all suspicious of an unissued looking Lithgow with a 1942 or 1943 action date. They used to appear regularly, I’ve owned plenty including 1941. Makes sense a healthy volume of new rifles were kept in reserve and I’d suggest the minty looking 1942 dated rifles surplused off in the 80’s, possibly outnumber the numbers of 1945 action dates on the market. Talking about as new here.
Probably all useless information gents but I felt some earlier points needed further discussion.

Posted By: Honkytonk
Date Posted: September 03 2019 at 3:38pm
Zed. Yes, he is very experienced and highly regarded in the world of Enfields.. He's currently in the process of fitting hardware to furniture... 

Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: September 03 2019 at 7:05pm
homer can help you far better than most i know , im still seeking out an aussie rifle - one day perhaps , you will get good info here tho , 

Posted By: Honkytonk
Date Posted: September 04 2019 at 8:57am
Zed. He also said with No1's, you just don't plop the hardware in. After steam pressing the wood true, he said there's quite a bit of fiddling to set them up proper. Again, not knowing No1's, I guess I thought they were pretty much like No4's... like I said before. I only know enuff to make me dangerous!

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: September 04 2019 at 9:11am
No1's are actually spring-loaded internally in addition to all the other fitting for draws Etc! It was done originally to help stabilize the thin, light whippy barrel.
Stern Smile
Parts 2,3,4, & 5!

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Honkytonk
Date Posted: September 04 2019 at 3:29pm
Actually, in the true British way, that's why he said the No1's are very special... he told me he appreciates the No4's, but luvs the No1's. 

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: September 05 2019 at 6:36am
It was supposed to (& may actually have) compensate for variable ammo velocities!

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Honkytonk
Date Posted: September 05 2019 at 6:49am
Shamu... once tuned, do No1's require periodic "retuning"? Or if not mishandled, do they stay correct?

Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: September 05 2019 at 7:55am
No additional work is needed, just periodically check that the screw, visible between the bayonet lug & piling swivel mount is tight. Some think they can "adjust" the spring with this but it needs to be tight to work properly.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)

Posted By: Honkytonk
Date Posted: September 05 2019 at 9:23am
Good info. Thanks Shamu.

Posted By: MJ11
Date Posted: September 05 2019 at 9:09pm
Always an interesting subject with many new points posted when ever it comes up.

The Spartans do not ask how many the enemies are but where they are

Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: September 05 2019 at 9:24pm
i gotta get one of these one of these days - wish i could find one as nice as one of those , 

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