Like all American gun makers, Savage was doing it's part for the U.S. war effort during World War II. They made weapons, naturally, and most of these were Thompson sub-machine guns, fifty caliber machine guns, thirty caliber machine guns, various twelve gauge shotguns, and bomb fuses. Almost three million items were turned out by the Savage Arms Company and it's divisions from 1941 to 1945.
Another weapon of war they produced was never issued to U.S. troops, British battle rifles. From 1941 to 1944, Savage made a little more than one million rifles for Great Britain through the Lend-Lease agreement. This was to get as many rifles as possible to the U.K. without requiring the U.K. to purchase the rifles. When Savage began building the rifles, the U.S.A. was not yet at war, therefore the rifles are marked with US PROPERTY and had an US Ordnance "flaming bomb" proof mark.
The rifle Savage produced was the Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk.1*, a British military design that was adopted by the U.K. just a few years before World War II began. It is a bolt action repeating rifle with a 10 round box magazine and free floating barrel, and is chambered for the venerable Mk.VII ammunition in .303 caliber. It has a three piece full length wood stock of either walnut or birch that has a compartment in the butt stock for a cleaning kit. These rifles featured a post front sight that is adjusted for windage and either flip style rear aperture in 300/600 yard options, or a ladder-style rear aperture graduated from 200 to 1300 yards. The bayonet is a small, lightweight steel spike that attaches to the barrel. Typical accuracy is about 2.5MOA with standard 174gr bullets at a muzzle velocity of 2550 fps.
All No.4 Mk.1 and No.4 Mk.1* rifles were marked with codes signifying the builder. The parts that were made and/or used by Savage are marked with a squared "S". The serial number has a "C" to denote Chicopee Falls as it was made at the Stevens factory in Chicopee Falls, MA. The serial numbers are located on the left wrist and on the rear of the bolt handle. They look similar to this: 12C4567
The rifle I have was recently purchased from Southern Ohio Gun (SOG). It features a birch stock, good bluing, bright bore and smooth magazine. The bolt handle and receiver serial numbers do not match, which is very common on battle rifles that were rebuilt after the war. All parts are "S" marked however. It also included the cleaning kit and plastic oil bottle in the butt stock. With the rifle came a standard spike bayonet made by Savage and also "S" marked. The rifle is in good condition but the bayonet is fair. The cleaning kit wasn't advertised so that was a special little treat.
Submitted by Jody Calhoun