Unusual Long Branch Rifles

Various rifles were experimented with at Small Arms Limited (SAL) at Long Branch, Ontario, Canada including sniper rifles and lightweight rifles during World War II. 

Two very unusual Long Branch rifles. The top one is serial number J-5550-16 and has a mid-war 2-position "L" backsight. The lower rifle has no serial number and is very similar but had a target back sight fitted.
Two very unusual Long Branch rifles. The top one is serial number J-5550-16 and has a mid-war 2-position “L” backsight. The lower rifle has no serial number and is very similar but had a target back sight fitted.

Here are two rifles in a private collection. The family was friends with Lieutenant Colonel Jolley who headed up Small Arms Limited at Long Branch and it is likely that the rifles came into the present owner’s family via Jolley, perhaps as SAL was winding down and preparing to hand over the facility to Canadian Arsenals Limited.  Both rifles have one piece stocks and triggers mounted on the body rather than a separate butt and trigger mounted on the trigger guard as was done on the No. 4 Mk. I and No. 4 Mk. I* rifles made at Long Branch. Both rifles have lightening cuts in various places. 

Rifle 1 – Mid-WWII “L” type flip sight at the rear.  The rifle has serial number ” J-5550-16″ and the bolt is # 14. This serial number J-5550- has been seen on experimental lightweight rifles. Britain  ended up adopting the Lee-Enfield No. 5 Mk. I (nicknamed “Jungle Carbine”) lightweight rifle instead. It appears that this rifle started out as a lightweight rifle and was then nicely converted to a civilian sporter type rifle appearance with a ramp foresight and shortened stock with a Schnabel “bump” at the fore-end of the stock. The quality of the work appears to be excellent and it is possible that it was done at SAL Long Branch as contracts wound down. 

Rifle 2 – Civilian style rear target sight. There is no serial number. There is a marking on top of the Nock’s Form of the barrel (flat portion over the chamber), consisting of a circle with an as yet unidentified marking inside the circle. It is not a C/|\ and does not appear to be a Canadian Arsenals CA mark. The stock is of the same style as on Rifle # 1 (J-5550-16) The stock is virtually the same as the one on J-5550-16, except that here is a section of the stock cutaway on the right side to provide clearance for the lower part of the target sight.  There is no charger guide on this rifle, and it is similar to the Long Branch experimental Scout Sniper Rifle in that regard. 

SPECIAL STIVER MODEL 303 CALIBRE rifle (from albums link below by Mr. Blakeley. 

Factory WWII photos at Canadian Arsenals Limited and John Inglis Company 

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