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I don't know if you saw the rifles that turned up on an Enfield forum a while back:
Someone wrote in to say they'd picked up a couple of rifles out of the "u fix 'em" bin at a small gunstore, and they couldn't identify them. The pictures posted were of two Mauser-action SMLEs with one-piece stocks, or Mausers fitted with SMLE parts - quite similar to the experimental 1903 in the Springfield Armory photo.
Most people guessed that they were simply Turkish capture bodge-jobs (Enfausers), which are fairly common. However, someone more knowledgable chimed in and advised the owner to go and take out a $verybig insurance policy: the rifles were super-rare prototypes made up by Savage in response to a WW1 technical request for an SMLE-substitute from the UK government - ie at the same time as the P13/P14s were also ordered into production. They had standard SMLE mags, sights, nosecap, bands and butts, but were built on a 1903? action and a one-piece P14-style stock. The Springfield 1903s are presumably a response to the same contract enquirey.
What a discovery! Rumour has it that the rifles - bought for about $10 each - were snapped up by a private collector for seven-figure sums.... Groan... if only I had that luck when i buy junky old rifles.... LOL
Sounds more like the bannerman cock ups the bodge where the dodgy heat treated rejected 03 actions were bought by Bannerman, fettled and chamber reamed out to take a .303. The lot were shipped over to equip the Home Gd but stamped DP on arrival. Thats Skennertons take on it. If these are genuine then its more likely to be on record somewhere, Small arms committee minutes etc, savage order book for example. These wouldnt exist without some proof. A bit like the Greek Jungle Carbines and the so called SMLE Tanker Carbines that are copies in a way of the Australian lightening trials.
Post a link if you can as I would love to see. Remember that even Enfield kept immaculate production records for all its trial and develoment work. It was a Govt factory and god help us if the paperwork was lost!
The Savage SMLEs were indeed genuine: backed up by Savage records, which I recall showed up to a dozen prototypes built in slight variations. I'll try and find the link. I believe its all to be included in Skennerton's update of his bible (this year?), along with a few other Enfield things which have come to light recently.
Aye Herb was a remarkable bloke, even if he did consider the Enfield Collection his own !
His own speciality was clips & link, and he had some very esoteric stuff at home.
Reference the Springfeld Museum, is it me or are a couple of the photographs mislabelled ?
For example this one:
I'm pretty sure that the Ljungman was neither in service nor produced in Switzerland, though if someone knows better please inform me.
There are a few other misidentifications which I find surprising from such an impressive museum.
Not sure about you but all I see are swiss rifles, K31, Stg57 and some other stuff, was the photo mislabelled? If so I'll email the person who went!
Bill Harriman from antiques Roadshow and Shooting Times did a great lecture to the HBSA at the Royal armouries on clips and chargers. very informative!
edited to add I see what you mean, a KIWI mate has one so I'll check withhim next month. It actually looks like a Lungman in a K31 stock, maybe they had it on trial? The .303 was developed from Colonel Rubins bullet if I recall so we would have similar pieces labelled as UK but looking swiss etc.
I think that Springfield trialled all sorts of different options which included jonsons mag system on the Garand reciever. This is nothing new, a glance at the "Lee Enfield Story" By I Skennerton shows all sorts of wonderful trials, The Lee-Burton on page 35 is one classic of a commitee trying to have al the so called best ideas on one rifle. Page 45 shows the Muaser Metford trials rifles.