Friday, February 25, 2011

Faux Smelly.


Here's a detail of the markings on the buttstock socket of a bogus Lee-Enfield Mk.III*. Note how the crown is kinda crudely drawn and looks "washed out" in the center. Also note the sans-serif font used, the lack of the "ShtLE" designator, the unevenly stamped numbers in the date and the way the Roman numeral "III" is made from a single stamp and not three separate "I's". (Further, a purportedly wartime gun with no magazine cutoff or volley sights would be marked "III*"...)

22 comments:

og said...

it would be nice to say "look at the wood-to-metal fit for clues" but I've seen the real thing with fit that bad too, unfortunately.

Tam said...

Some people get all upset about my sporterized Turk. These people have never seen the result of a couple of Ankara re-arsenalings...

og said...

lol. Yep. Some of the mishmash mauser/enfield halfbreeds are fun to look at, but I'd never shoot one.

Tam said...

The only value remaining to my M1903 Turk was that underneath all those decades of Anatolian half-assery there was still a good, solid large-ring Oberndorf action...

Rob Reed said...

That's still a better Kyber Pass copy than most though. "Enfield" is spelled correctly, the "N" is not backwards, and the date is reasonable.

I can see how someone not up on real Enfields vs. faux Enfields could get fooled by that one.

Rob (Trebor)

Don Meaker said...

That picture, with the accompanying anlysis, is a Service to History.

How often has a pious fraud made it in to the museum, for the adulation of the masses? I am thinking of the "True Cross", the "Shroud of Turin", the "Holy Grail" and the "Lance of Longinius".

Tam said...

Rob Reed,

"I can see how someone not up on real Enfields vs. faux Enfields could get fooled by that one."

That's the rifle I bought to complement my 1916 Spandau G98. Everything I've since researched on Khyber Kopies is because of that gun.

It's gone now, replaced with a real BSA ShtLE...

Arthur said...

@og "but I'd never shoot one."

That's the first though through my head when I read about your Arisaka as well as Tam's faux SMLE.

Other than proofing the rifle yourself, is there any way to tell if you got a rifle made with bum steel?

McThag said...

Should it look more like this if authentic?

http://inlinethumb03.webshots.com/44994/2896851000041331668S600x600Q85.jpg

atlharp said...

Does this rifle come with a glass-top box of Cohibas?

Tam said...

Arthur,

The Arisaka is easily the strongest action of the old military bolt guns, and will survive pressures that would grenade a Springfield or SMLE.

The legend of the "bad steel" Arisakas came from GIs and postwar collectors confusing drill rifles (identifiable by their smooth bores and the fact that they frequently lack locking lugs) with "last ditch" Arisakas. Even the crudest late-war Type 38 or Type 99 is a plenty serviceable rifle, ugly as it may be cosmetically.

Don Meaker said...

Rockwell hardness tests push a diamond tip penetrator a small distance into the metal. It is just about, but not quite a non-destructive test. If you could stand having a letter stamped into your barrel with good steel, you can stand a Rockwell test on the finished part. Of course if it is soft steel, you don't shoot it afterwards, and treat it like the (wall hanger/tomato stake/ warning to others) that it deserves to be.

Tam said...

Of course, there's more to it than just hardness.

Glass is real hard, too, but I wouldn't want to make a gun barrel out of it....

Tam said...

(Incidentally, Arisaka actions and bolts, unlike their Western counterparts, sport a fairly elaborate differential heat treat. Perhaps unsurprising considering where they were made...)

Matthew said...

So if the markings are in Comic Sans I should pass on the gun?

Seth from Massachusetts said...

Isn't there also one other item missing? Shouldn't it have the initials of the king? One my father used to have was stamped "ER" for Edward Rex, that being Edward the VIIth and Rex being Latin for king.

og said...

(Incidentally, Arisaka actions and bolts, unlike their Western counterparts, sport a fairly elaborate differential heat treat. Perhaps unsurprising considering where they were made...)

EXACTLY!

You can make steel (Like High Speed steel) with very high carbon content, and it can be made very hard, but it loses it's "toughness" in the process- the property which can be described as variously 'resistance to penetration' or the ability to withstand heavy shock without permanent deformation. (it's a bit more complex than that, but you get the gist of it)Medium carbon steel is intrinsically VERY tough,and can be made very hard in one area, while remaining softer, but tougher, in other areas. The Arisaka bolt face is in the neighborhood of Rockwell 58, while the locking lugs are in the 50 range. Most of the rest of the bolt is in the high 40's. The receiver is incredibly tough, while the feed lips are glass hard and cannot even be polished with normal methods. I would not be afraid to rebarrel this rifle in 375 h&h.

I'd be afraid to stand behind it when it was being shot, but not because I feared it'd blow up- it's a very light rifle and it would be as likely to kill the shooter as the shootee.

Tam said...

Seth,

Yes, there should be a royal cypher below the crown.

Vaarok said...

Somebody said enfauser?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Vaarok/enfauser.jpg

But seriously, those markings are just shy of neon-sign bad if you're a serious C&R junkie.

Ed Foster said...

Quick and dirty, the cast steel "Arisaka" drill rifles had the tangs at the rear cast in place, and even the washboard finished end of the war specials had detachable tangs held in place by the stock and the guard screws.

A gunsmith I know was a student of P.O. Ackley when the famous blow-up test was done on the 6.5mm Jap rifle. It had been rechambered to 30-06 without the barrel being opened up to the larger bore, and the owner wondered why it kicked so hard.

Ackley bought the thing and fired it in a safety cubicle with a long lanyard. It shot. He fired a proof round. It shot, although the bolt was hard to lift.

Finally, he filled a case up with 2400 (a pistol powder) to blow it once and for all.

It cracked the stock, blew out the floorplate, and forced the barrel two threads forward out of the reciever ring. The bolt was brass plated and had to be hammered open.

Powley turned the barrel back in and fired the thing one more time, safely. A serious piece of first rate metallurgy, superior to about anything made in the west, barring perhaps a Czech CZ-24 Mauser. The Czechs also did a differential heat treatment, with a smooth hard case and a deep tough core.

If bullets were whistling around my ears and I had to chose between a Springfield and the nicest Arisaka ever made, I'd grab the '03in a flash. The ergonomics were two generations ahead of the Jap rifle, and the double heat treats and later nickle steel recievers were far stronger than needed.

But the little Nip bassers were tough. Quantico Small Arms Museum used to have a South Vietnamese Arisaka rechambered to 30-06 by haggling out the mag well, grinding a big notch in the back of the reciever ring, and running in a finish reamer.

The Arisaka chamber was considerably wider than the '06, so when the round fired it came out with two shoulders on the fired case. But it came out, and in one piece (if the brass was reasonably fresh).

Incidently, a hunting buddy of my brother's back in Killingworth CT in the late '60's, a kid named Michael Galway, was killed by an exploding Arisaka.

Some G.I. had taken one of the training rifles and screwed a 7.7mm barrel into it. Sadly, they both had the same shank and thread dimensions. The thing was no more than zip carbon content cold rolled steel, damned near soft enough to whittle with a good knife blade.

Tam said...

Ed,

When I worked at Randy's, we had three kids come in looking for 7.7 ammo. We were out of stock at the moment, fortunately, for the rifle they'd brought with them was an Arisaka drill rifle, smoothbore and locking only on the bolt handle.

We tried to explain to them that it wasn't a real rifle and should not under any circumstances be fired, and the owner bowed up and huffed that his g-grandpa had got it off a dead Jap and we were just trying to cheat him out of his valuable heirloom by talking it down. Besides, he said, they'd already fired the one round of ammo out of it (!) and it didn't blow up.

As they walked out the door, I said to my coworker, "There go the three luckiest idiots in Tennessee."

I haven't since read any newspaper stories of somebody getting a bolt through their head, so maybe they never found any ammo.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't doing a decent to good job of faking the markings be one of the easier parts of faking the whole piece? -- Lyle