Quick No.1 Mk. III* question

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by Tartan_Terrier, Nov 20, 2010.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Just spotted a No. 1 MkIII* for sale on a Danish auction site, but I'm a bit perplexed by the markings. It's stamped as being from 1945 and doesn't seem (to me at least) to be Indian or Australian. Is it British? Are the markings legit?

    Lauritz.com Varebillede-detalje
  2. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

  3. It looks like a legitimate 1945 BSA "Dispersal" rifle. Number probably starts with an "N". Looks like it has been restocked by someone, and had the adjustable sight added.

    BSA made "proper" No1 MkIII rifles (with cut-off) until 1940. At this point (a) production had to be "dispersed" due to near miss bombing at their factory that made high-quality military rifles (b) the Government told them to forget "quality" and make as many rifles as possible as quickly as possible.

    BSA started making these "Dispersal" rifles from 1940. These rifles may be made from a mixture of military parts (broad arrow or with government marks) and commercial parts (marked with the BSA "stacked rifles" logo). Initially, the rifles were stocked with walnut as usual, but when No1 wood ran out, they started to use beech instead. BSA were not too happy with being forced to make rifles with less than 100% perfect cosmetic finish (they obviously assumed their export market would resume after the inconvenience with Herr Hitler), so they marked the rifles with a "B" instead of the full "BSA&Co".

    The first batch of Dispersals were made 1940-43, and all bear the letter prefix "L", "M" and "N". These rifles were all built with new parts, but may just look a bit rough. In 1945, another batch was made (as with this rifle). This batch used a lot of "scrubbed" recycled receivers and other parts.

    This rifle should really have

    (a) beech furniture
    (b) probably a No4 butt and buttplate (a wartime substitute)
    (c) a No4 cocking piece and firing pin
    (d) definitely a flat-sided cocking piece and not the button style shown
    (e) a non-adjustable rearsight
    (f) large head nosecap screw (standard on all rifles since 1916)

    Some Dispersals ended up with a very rare 4-groove barrel, as a few were made by one subcontractor in the Birmingham trade.