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BSA No1 rifle

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evanguy View Drop Down
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    Posted: January 10 2017 at 3:27pm
well i finally have a rifle worth posting about lol, 
i have 3 long lee MLE's and a Lee Speed II{Metford} im working on restoring and also my LEC im waiting on the wood set to come and a 1916 Enfield no1mkIII i just got that only need a new forend and a nose cap. ill get pics of them as i finish them up and ill post them but as of now they all just look like sporters and a pile of parts beside them so ill post them after they look like they should.  but even with all that restored stuff its not as cool as this old NON[UN?]-restored...Confused...original  girl.

so today i bought this rifle,  i know its pitted pretty bad and in ruff shape, but i love the look of it and i love the old ruff looking lee Enfields a lot more then the new looking ones. as soon as i seen it i loved it. i also got a damned good deal i think, so i cant complain about the pitting..... and there goes my mag fed semiauto shotgun fund

the barrel, receiver, rear sight and nose cap all match numbers  the bolt is a miss match but only a few numbers off. the rifle is No27 and the bolt is No75

this is my first full wood No1 rifle and i know its a commercial rifle not a military one, in saying that i know almost nothing about the commercial rifles. i also know very little about my LSA Lee Speed II i have too,

basically im just showing this off and trying to find some info on it, i have no idea who it was made for, where it went, when it was made, was there different pattern that could be ordered? also what sling is on this rifle?

i was the first person to view this rifle FS and i took it as soon as i open the pics. it was posted for about  10 minutes before he had my EMT and we were figuring out address.

here are the pics














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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 10 2017 at 5:42pm
it looks a nice complete no1 mkIII but i have a question on the right wrist markings - what are they ? this era of rifle would have a certain list of notations - they do not appear to be there , 
the stock looks nice , the cutoff is great , 

i have no issue with the condition , i rather like the older ones with character , im just not real comfortable with commenting further on this one 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evanguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 10 2017 at 6:07pm
Thanks!! Im pretty excited to have it. Its a commercial built Lee Enfield.

 I believe this is what they call "lee speeds" maybe. My lsa says "lee speed" on the bolthead . I have a LSA commercial built lee metford that looks the same and just has the maker and nothing else. Also lsa didnt date their barrels so its extra hard to figure out the date. Bsa has a date code stamped on the barrel.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 10 2017 at 6:14pm
ah . that explains the lack of markings , im not really up on these so cannot contribute a lot , im a military collector , i do appreciate what you may have tho , i hope others with more knowledge will jump in and contribute to the thread , 

i would enjoy learning more , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paddyofurniture Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2017 at 9:02am
What is the "U" mark on the bolt head?

South African?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evanguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2017 at 9:28am
A square 10- yeah im not really up on these either and basically know nothing about them, i just collect "Lee Enfields" so this came up and i bought it, i would prefer it be a military rifle but im  perfectly happy with this, also this is the first full wood No1 i own, and i alot of sporter No1's so im Great with it being a commercial rifle lol

Paddyofurniture - Im not sure what that means, i went through my sporters and parts collection and i have 4 bolt heads stamped with a "U" that look the same, no idea what it means but i did read the BSA no1 commercial rifles were sold to South Africa, so that makes sense. or at least a conquincidence
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2017 at 10:57am
Nice one!!

I believe that this one has a South African connection? A nice variation to add to a collection. Not everybody has one of those, very interesting.

It is a commercial rifle built by BSA post 1914. Previous to that, all commercial rifles had to acknowledge the patents of Lee and Speed. The patents expired in 1914 and arms no longer had to be marked.
LSA also made commercial rifles arms, they too were required to show the Lee Speed patent banner on their rifles. So both factories made Lee Speeds.

So technically, to be correct, if it don't say Lee Speed, it aint a Lee Speed.

The current use of the term nowadays seems to refer to any commercial version of sporter from the factory.

Just because it is a commercial rifle doesn't mean that it has seen only civilian use. Many contracts were sold to arm overseas armies because they had a need and a use for them. Many commercial arms saw action and have a lot of history.

I had a similar BSA rifle sold to the King of Siam. It was one of the smiling tiger marked units. I am pretty sure that it had the impression of human teeth in the wood from when somebody got butt stroked in the mouth.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2017 at 10:59am
'U' on the bolt head refers to non conformity to material spec. Don't really understand what or why, but it does refer to the metal composition.'

Other markings sometimes seen on bolt heads would be 'M', which denotes that they are composed of Malleable iron.

Also sometimes seen is 'NS', which signifies a Nickle Steel content.

So a U marked bolt head is a good as any other, just metal of a different spec.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2017 at 12:18pm
Interesting info on the bolt head markings. Thanks for that !

Beautiful rifle by the way. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evanguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2017 at 2:46pm
Englishman_ca
Thanks im excited to have it, and you're right, you don't see these around that often.
and ok, i think i get this "Lee Speed" thing, its not that they were specific rifles that were made, they were all commercial  rifles made before 1914 that used the Lee and Speed patents, then that has to be stamped on the rifle and then people just used that term to describe all commercial lee Enfield/Metfords, even after they stopped being stamped "Lee Speed"

so yes, this is not a Lee Speed. [but my LSA Is!]thanks.  ohh yeah that is true, it could have been used in conflicts. and that's an interesting story about the BSA also i would like to get my hands on a smiling tiger action, i seen a barreled smiling tiger action sell for 60 dollars a few months ago, i miss it by a few minutes.

where its no27 rifle, would it be the 27th rifle build from that run of rifles, or were serial numbers not based of the order they were made. or is it just rolling numbers that keep starting over. 
Im wondering if I'd ever be able to find out who this rifle was sold to. or where it went after it was made.

Thanks for the info on the bolt heads, most of mine are stamped with an "M" but  a few with "NS" and a few with "U". also i have a few with no marks on them at all anywhere on them, i believe they were used on commercial rifles.



Thanks Zed!!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2017 at 4:55pm
If it did serve with some country one would think that it would be marked as such. There was talk of a contract to South Africa. If this was sold to a govt, it would be marked with acceptance markings of some kind. maybe a U on the nocks?

If it was in civialian hands legaly in recent years, it would have a South African Weapon Registry number stamped somewhere. This would be an additional serial number prefixed with WR.

If it had import marks on it, it might have found its way up from the states.

The Birmingham Military proof marks would allow it to be sold through the British Gun Trade.

No other markings? It is all detective work. Take a swap sample of dirt under the wood and have it analised by CSI. Find out where it has been.

As far as I know, with commercial arms, the serial number just rolled through the sequence.
I don't know if the clock just reset when it got to the end or if there was a prefix/suffix used.
That is a good question. I'll try to get back to you with an answer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2017 at 7:09pm
so much info on this is extremely rewarding , i had no idea , im learning so much by default , thank you for posting and thank you for asking , its what keeps this site vital , i will be the first to admit i have no knowledge of commercial arms at all , it does not mean i do not wish to hear and understand , thank you again , 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2017 at 10:53pm
You could make a lot of money through royalties if a large government contract involved one of your patents. 

On early rifles, the nickname could have been longer. 
Lee for the bolt action, Speed for the box magazine, Deeley for the bolt head, Whitworth for the rear sight, Baddely for the barrel band, Rigby for the nose cap.

A 'Lee Speed Deeley Whitworth Baddely Rigby' just doesn't have the same ring to it or mystique as just  'Lee Speed'
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evanguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2017 at 9:17am
haha can you imagine us all talking about LSDWBR rifles, i must admit i like the sound and tune of 'Lee Speed' rifles a lot more

and i don't think any company could get more money then mauser did through royalties from the Americans and the Brits, they had the biggest two [good guys] militaries paying them
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evanguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 19 2017 at 7:28am
so the rifle showed up yesterday, and as i thought the rear hand guard was a replacement one, turns out its from Australia and its quite a bit lighter/redder in person then the rest of the rifle, so i have started to stain it darker, ill get pics of that when it is finished.

also i knew about this before i bought it, so i have no issues with it but im wondering what i should do about it. basically one of the tabs on the front hand guard is broken off, now i  figure i have 3 options, i can leave it as is, or i can fix the hand guard by adding a new tab then staining it to match, or i can just replace the hand guard with the extra one i have here and stain it to match the rest of the rifles color. you will see in the pics.

and i got a pic of the top of the knox forum, there is the normal BSA rifle stack and then there is another symbol im not sure of what it is and also the letters "R P G" im wondering if the symbol and the three letters are telling me something about this rifle.

there are no other markings on the rifle anywhere, well there is a "R" stamped on the face where the Fore-end bolts to the receiver and on the bottom of the knox forum there is inspector marks and possibly a BSA date code mark, ill get pics of that later on, along with the rear hand guard ive been staining.

pics add in a few minutes
















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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evanguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 20 2017 at 4:48am
so i have pics of all the other markings on the rifle other then the serial numbers, (which are all 27)

turns out according to the date code ( a "P" over the swords means) it was made in 1935-1936 that's not as old as i thought it was but that makes no difference, its neat it still has the mag cutoff even being made that late.

so i guess the only question about this rifle i still have are what are the marks on the knox form, and im thinking ill probably just leave the front hand guard as is for now, i have the rear one a lot darker so it looks better now.
















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