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Thread: Early R4 Wood Handguard Question

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    Early R4 Wood Handguard Question

    Iím in the process of putting together the parts for an early R4 clone and wanted my parts to be as correct as possible. I tried to research as when was the long wood handguard was incorporated but could not find any info. As I understand it, when SA adopted the R4 in 1975, IMI delivered it straight from their production line which means it had the short handguard. When Lyttleton started tooling in 1977, it was part of the licensing agreement that no changes will be made to the original design of the Galil. After the agreement expired in 1979, thatís when Lyttleton made the necessary changes to fit their needs. My question is, since the long handguard is not an original Galil design, was the long handguard incorporated in 1979 after the agreement expired? I have not seen an early R4 with the the short handguard, itís all long. Pics of early ones Iíve seen have the small front sight, straight gas tube with no flange but with the long handguard. Can someone shed some light on this ? TIA.

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    Registered User Mr Folgers's Avatar
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    The long R4 wood handguard was produced by IMI.
    Initial deliveries were basic Galil ARM rifles made to IDF spec. Subsequent deliveries incorporated the longer handguard, also made by IMI.
    Vektor / Lyttleton production, as far as I can tell, never produced any wood parts or the carry handles.

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    Thank you Seth for the clarification, I know you would come through with the info I need! Those initial deliveries, how were they mark? Israeli markings or SA?

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    After spending several hours online, I haven't seen an R4 with Short Handguards. This means little, however, as I have been more interested in the Israeli varients

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    One more question Seth, those first batch with the long wood handguards, did the receiver have lightening cuts on both sides or lightening cut on one side and scope mount cut on the other?

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    Registered User lcastillo's Avatar
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    I feel safe answering this one. The R-Series rifles did not come with side scope mount cut. Just with lightning cuts on both side. To this day SADF is having to add handguard rails to accommodate scopes.

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    Thank you all, I think I found the answer!

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    Registered User lcastillo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gekishibu86 View Post
    Thank you all, I think I found the answer!
    What did you decide to go with for your solution?

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    I went through my saved pics from the R series pic thread and also found your posting with Ruski’s pic on a shooting competition in SA, and it’s on page 46. I noticed this R4 with wood handguard and I believe it was a very early batch R4 made by IMI. It has a scope mount cut on the left side, low serial number (84811) which is engraved on the receiver and same orientation as IDF issued Galils. So this R4 is a very early batch delivered before 1977 maybe even as early as 1975. This is the batch I’m trying to clone. Unfortunately, I have difficulty posting pics so just check out page 46 of the R series thread.
    Last edited by gekishibu86; 05-07-2021 at 06:25 PM.

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    Funny, I was just talking to a guy on FB on the FAL page about this. He was in the SADF. He’s going to get some of his photos of the early IDF configuration R4’s in use and post. Let you know when he puts them up.

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    Registered User lcastillo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gekishibu86 View Post
    I went through my saved pics from the R series pic thread and also found your posting with Ruski’s pic on a shooting competition in SA, and it’s on page 46. I noticed this R4 with wood handguard and I believe it was a very early batch R4 made by IMI. It has a scope mount cut on the left side, low serial number (84811) which is engraved on the receiver and same orientation as IDF issued Galils. So this R4 is a very early batch delivered before 1977 maybe even as early as 1975. This is the batch I’m trying to clone. Unfortunately, I have difficulty posting pics so just check out page 46 of the R series thread.
    Yes the early R4's being imported from Israel could have very well have a scope cut out, but Vektor/Lytletton never produced a R's with scope cuts for SADF. I could be wrong though, there are many things that I have unanswered in my search for history on R-Series rifle. Keep digging that's how we find out more about these rifles. Lou

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    Registered User lcastillo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubagel View Post
    Funny, I was just talking to a guy on FB on the FAL page about this. He was in the SADF. He’s going to get some of his photos of the early IDF configuration R4’s in use and post. Let you know when he puts them up.
    Dugabel i would love to see those pictures.

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    Lyttleton did made receivers with the scope mount. These were supposed to be exported back to Israel but before they could be shipped, the new SA government were not that friendly to Israel so they stayed in SA and ended up as LM rifles. See Forgotten Weapons R4 R5 R6 where Ian McCollum discussed the different receivers of the LM series rifles. Start at 22:33.

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    Registered User lcastillo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gekishibu86 View Post
    Lyttleton did made receivers with the scope mount. These were supposed to be exported back to Israel but before they could be shipped, the new SA government were not that friendly to Israel so they stayed in SA and ended up as LM rifles. See Forgotten Weapons R4 R5 R6 where Ian McCollum discussed the different receivers of the LM series rifles. Start at 22:33.
    My apologies, let me clarify. I was referring to R Series rifles that entered into service in SADF, those did not have any scope cuts. The LM series is understood to be a civilian version of the R-Series rifle so I do see where Lytletton Engineering produced scope cut receivers to market for civilians (they even made a pump action Galil/R-Series based Rifle called H5). I have never seen a Galil styled scope cut LM rifle (which I would love to see!) picture in any of my research. Lytletton never offered a Galil type scope mount in their catalog for any LM Series rifles that the receiver was cut to accept this scope mount. The LM owners manual does not support any side mount hardware for scopes. I tend to lean towards these rifles not being out there, but then again I have been proven wrong before. That what I love about the R-Series rifle Lou

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    Registered User Ruddiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gekishibu86 View Post
    Lyttleton did made receivers with the scope mount. These were supposed to be exported back to Israel but before they could be shipped, the new SA government were not that friendly to Israel so they stayed in SA and ended up as LM rifles. See Forgotten Weapons R4 R5 R6 where Ian McCollum discussed the different receivers of the LM series rifles. Start at 22:33.
    Ha, I absolutely remember seeing a pic of an LM6 with a scope cut; so this would explain it. Hmm, I might have saved that pic somewhere...

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    Registered User Ady's Avatar
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    The dovetail scope mount was removed from the R4 design as scopes and night vision devices were not issued by the SADF on a scale that warranted the expense of machining the scope mount. Some dovetails also broke out of the machined recess, which weakened the receiver at a crucial section.

    The wooden handguard was replaced by a polymer injection moulded handguard which retained the carry handle cut out. This decision was made to enable any replacement polymer handguard to be fitted to both Galil and any R4 fitted with a Galil ARM handguard retaining bracket as there were still some hybrid rifles in the SADF supply system. These retaining brackets were eventually removed from the system entirely, but the R4 handguard mould remained unchanged. The cost to change the mould was not warranted.

    No wooden hand-guards were ever manufactured in South Africa. Any wooden handguard found on a locally manufactured R4 rifle was imported from Israel.

    The R6 was developed in the late 1980's at the request of a potential client, but the order was cancelled. LEW engineers took the R5 as a basis for the R6. LEW manufactured approximately two thousand R6 rifles. The SAAF and SAP declined the R6. LEW then converted all R6 rifles to semi-automatic LM6 configuration.

    Info taken from the book "Firearms developed and manufactured in Southern Africa 1949-2000".

    I can't see that a LM6 would exist with a scope mount machined in the receiver, but who actually knows.
    Last edited by Ady; 05-08-2021 at 04:36 PM.

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    Will do, and keep you in the loop.

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