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It's another request for help identifying marks on a Winchester P14


jabbott376
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Hello everyone. First time poster here! I've been looking for information on a P14 I've recently bought and am hitting a brick wall. I would really appreciate your help.

 

I have bought Ian Skennerton's British Enfield Rifles Vol.4 and The Broad Arrow mk2. From these resources I've managed to put together that I have the following;

 

Winchester - Action body, Bolt assembly (mk1), trigger, trigger/magazine assembly, magazine platform, magazine case (first variant), front block & sight.

 

Eddystone - Barrel (mk1*), rear sight ladder.

 

What I'm struggling to identify is - the age of the action, age of the barrel, and a plethora of markings that don't seem to appear in the reference literature I've found (pictures attached).

 

  • Action - Winchester serial number W88619 - with serial number being below 100,000 i'm assuming early 1917?
  • Barrel - I've identified as an Eddystone because the * is a 7 petaled flower and it has an "E" on the right side of the barrel chamber (there are no W's on the barrel, only the front block). It has '17 stamped on the left side - is that to be take as produced in 1917?

 

The markings causing confusion are;

Barrel;

  •  "2" - found top barrel, front of chamber (variation 2 barrel?)
  • "L" - left side chamber above proof and acceptance marks
  • "R4" - bottom chamber
  • Circle with X inside - bottom chamber
  • "C2" - right chamber
  • Empty Diamond - right chamber

 

Action;

  • Half broad arrow & number 4 - bottom action
  • "L6" - bottom action
  • "11+" - bottom action
  • "1091" - bottom action
  • "MC5" - right side action (also present on trigger plate)

bottom action.jpg

right barrel.jpg

side action.jpg

top barrel.jpg

left barrel.jpg

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I put some comments in the quote box so you may need to expand it to read them

Quote

 

What I'm struggling to identify is - the age of the action, age of the barrel, and a plethora of markings that don't seem to appear in the reference literature I've found (pictures attached).

 

  • Action - Winchester serial number W88619 - with serial number being below 100,000 i'm assuming early 1917?

W88619 would have been delivered in the week ending Jan 6 1917 if I am reading the Ministry of Munitions acceptance files list correctly

 

  • Barrel - I've identified as an Eddystone because the * is a 7 petaled flower and it has an "E" on the right side of the barrel chamber (there are no W's on the barrel, only the front block). It has '17 stamped on the left side - is that to be take as produced in 1917?

'17 is the inspection/acceptance date, yes.

 

The markings causing confusion are;

Barrel;

  •  "2" - found top barrel, front of chamber (variation 2 barrel?)
  • "L" - left side chamber above proof and acceptance marks
  • "R4" - bottom chamber
  • Circle with X inside - bottom chamber
  • "C2" - right chamber
  • Empty Diamond - right chamber

Action;

  • Half broad arrow & number 4 - bottom action
  • "L6" - bottom action
  • "11+" - bottom action
  • "1091" - bottom action
  • "MC5" - right side action (also present on trigger plate)

Most military actions are covered with markings like this - and the precise meanings of many of them are, as far as I am aware in most cases, simply not know - they are generally thought to be markings related to the production process indicating various inspections/finishing processes/stages in machining etc 

 

Some markings (proofings/inspections/modification/"mark" indicators etc) are well documented and if you have Skennerton's "Broad Arrow" then you have the best single reference for these - but markings related to the manufacture (as opposed to govt inspection/acceptance/proofing ) which is what I believe is what you have listed here are mostly an enigma. So I believe for many of these you are going to struggle to find definitive interpretations.  The MC5 is interesting I am not sure I have seen that before I will need to check my P '14s and have a look some time.

 

 

You don't show an overview of your rifle -- is it in original format with the volley sights etc or has it had those removed? If so there is the added complication of stamps that may have been added during the WRS process (there is usually a star and letter stamped into the stock indicating where this process was carried out, as there were a number of contractors)

 

Chris

Edited by 4thGordons
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Hi Chris

 

So the volley sights and stock disc have been removed (the disc rather pleasingly replaced with a George VI half penny). The front volley disc is still in place.

 

The only marking on the stock is an "18" in the recess under the bolt arm. There are 2 filled in circles - I'm not sure what they were replacing. 

 

The only part that has a 5 point Weedon star is the underside of the magazine plate.

 

James

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The stock appears to have been heavily sanded and varnished? So that may well have removed any markings or even lighter stampings given how much wood appears to have been removed (look at how shallow and rounded the grasping grooves are)

 

The inletted circles cover what would have been the lateral/transverse stock reinforce (officially called the "fore-end reinforcing tie bolt and nut" IIRC)

chris

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That's interesting (and slightly disappointing) i hadn't picked up on that. I'm not sure why anyone would have sanded it!? The previous owner apparently bought it from the Home Guard and then kept it until selling it to the RFD i picked it up from. 

 

Do you have any idea regarding the production date for the receiver? Any idea if the numbers on the barrel ('17) and stock (18) are date indicators? 

 

Many thanks

 

James

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The rifle would have been inspected and accepted as a whole in the first week of 6 Jan 1917 so presumably the receiver was manufactured in the days/weeks previous to that. The '17 on the barrel is a date (as noted above) I don't think the mark on the stock is but I do not know it's actual meaning.

 

The stock as a whole has been refinished. It's original finish would have been Linseed Oil and it would be much more matt. It was probably an attempt to "pretty up" the rifle although I am not sure removing the forestock reinforce and plugging the ends added much (it would have taken a good deal of sanding to do that) - it is possible that the stock was very oil soaked and darkened sand the previous owner stripped it right down to bare wood and stained and refinished it. To judge by the area where the bolt sits the varnish is pretty thickly applied but the overall effect is not bad.

 

I have a completely refinished Pattern 14 (done commercially by Navy Arms in the US) where all the metal and wood are as new which shoots very well (I added a Parker-Hale site to it) such set ups were pretty common on ranges in the UK in the 60s/70s I am told.

Chris

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Thank you, Chris! The question now is whether to go at it with acetone and 0000 steel wool, or just leave well alone. 

 

Where do you find your acceptance data? I contacted the national archives and royal armouries, but need to follow up with them.

 

Next is just to decode some of the markings!

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That's a good looking P-14 and I admire the company he keeps in the form of that fine looking Swede! The half penny in the stock is a great touch.  The question that perplexes me is when is a P14, no longer a P14, but a Rifle No3 MK2. My rifle started life as a P-14 in 1916, but became a Rifle No3 MK2 between the wars. Is the fact, your rifle has had the volley sight removed, qualify it as a No3 MK2 in the realm of historical accuracy? 

 

Looking forward to hearing how it does at the range!

 

Cheers~

David

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The nomenclature change happened in 1926 as you say:

 

nomenclature.jpg.2d16b31b9e7036e873c6d934e0128f4e.jpg

 

ShtLE MkIII/MkIII*  = Rifle No1 MkIII/III*

.22 RF = Rifle No2 MkIV*

Pattern 1914 MkI* = Rifle No3 MkI* then later Rifle No3 MkI*(WRS)   - Weedon Repair Standard

Rifle No 4 (1931-)

Rifle No 5 (1944-)

 

 

 

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While I was looking for the above photo I found a group shot of some of my P14s (I have added an Indian DP and another since this was taken)

The one at the top is the Navy Arms refinished one with the PH sight I mentioned above

Below that is a Winchester MkI, then an Eddystone MkI* (no grasping grooves in stock)then a Remington MkI* in an Eddystone stock and then a Remington MkI*

 

P14s.jpg.2015ebe54fc58b178b69c1e91a540486.jpg

 

 

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@Sargent Silky Draws it shoots fantastically. With no adjustments to the sights, using PPU's "Rifle line" .303, managed a group of about 4.5" at 100 yards. I'm still a novice at open sight shooting so hope to improve on that a bit. The Swede is so much harder because i can't find a sight hood, so lining up consistently on 8" black targets at 100 yards is proving challenging!

 

With regards to the nomenclature change - i've taken it that it applied to all of the rifles retroactively. I believe i'm correct in saying that all P14's were produced between 1916-1917 (though i've nagging memory of reading later dates, but that might have been M1917s...)

 

@4thGordons that is a venerable collection!

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@4thGordons The Navy job looks sweet, I had no idea Navy Arms does/did refinish work.  Any interesting info from the past on those identity disks of the 2nd and 3rd rifle down?

 

 

20 hours ago, jabbott376 said:

@Sargent Silky Draws it shoots fantastically. With no adjustments to the sights, using PPU's "Rifle line" .303, managed a group of about 4.5" at 100 yards. I'm still a novice at open sight shooting so hope to improve on that a bit. The Swede is so much harder because i can't find a sight hood, so lining up consistently on 8" black targets at 100 yards is proving challenging!

 

That's great, she treats you good on the firing line. Open sight shooting is my favorite shooting style. I must admit mine is one of the finest shooters in my collection too. So damn good in fact, I'm tempted to mount a scope to her for use in vintage sniper matches. But I won't because of her historical value as an all matching P-14/No3-MK1, I understand their not making them any more. If she was mixed numbers, she'd be sporting the proper reproduction scope already. 

 

That's a bummer about the Swede, I hope you fine a hood soon. I'm currently shopping for a Swede if I see a place selling hoods, I'll let ya know.

 

 

Edited by Sargent Silky Draws
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One disc is blank - the second one down (Winchester MkI) is marked to RAF Feltwell which was a WWII bomber station and is currently a USAF facility (although non flying I understand)

Chris

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Quick update from my second trip out with the P14 yesterday!

 

100 yard range. First group is 6 shots, second is 14. Very happy!

 

Hoping to shoot out to 600 yards on Sunday at a military range (fingers crossed it goes ahead!).

 

@Sargent Silky Draws a very kind offer - please keep me posted!

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