This curious custom .22 cal self-loading repeater is in the collection of a UK friend and he kindly agreed to the pics here being posted. The mechanism was patented in 1944 by John Maxwell Ball.
It's the sort of thing that gives rise to mixed emotions. On the one hand you have to admire the ingenuity of its repeating mechanism, the fantastic quality of the workmanship and presumably - I wasn't able to verify this, unfortunately - its capacity to fire several shots without reloading.
On the other hand, it seems to be a high price to pay for a slightly higher rate of fire and perhaps the advantage of not having to reload in very cold conditions. The clean lines of the production model have been lost and a strange, alien device grafted onto its back. The added weight is considerable.
There are two strange holes (tapped?) drilled into each side of the lower part of the cylinder just above the cocking link slot. Could there have once been a wood forestock attached here?
The patent is here, as described by the late Dennis Commins:
A superb presentation grade B.S.A Improved Model B
October 23 2010, 12:26 PM
Here are some pictures of a totally superb B.S.A Improved Model B, that was presented by BSA, to the winner of a shooting contest in 1907.
The winner Mr A Dodwell, must have thought all his christmas's had come early, and the gun has been in the winners family ever since until it came onto the market in 1999.
The gun features a silver oval, which has be carefully let into the exhibition grade walnut stock, in order to commemerate the details of the competition and the winners name.
The gun has an un-common barleycorn foresight, however apart from that and the exhibition grade stock, it is a standard Improved Model B, in all other respects. It is smothered in inspection marks (far more than is normal on everyday guns)I can assume that this particular gun underwent strict inspection and quality control so that it was worthy of being a presentation model.
When this gun was purchased directly from the descendants of Mr Dodwell, it was covered in a speckling of light rust,which was subsequently treated with very fine wire wool and light gun oil. I got the opportunity of photographing the gun (by kind permission of the new owner) just after it had had the wire wool treatment, so that is why some of the closeup shots show odd shreds of wire wool.
All in all, a fabulous gun, which would be the centrepiece of any B.S.A pre-war collection, and exceptionally rare to find in such good condition.
All the best
This message has been edited by Winterlake on Oct 25, 2010 10:03 PM
As Lakey wrote in his article about BSA history, Many guns in the past were assembled using "obsolete" parts to use up stocks of spares...ie. when an "improved" model was announced, there was a transition period where guns would have parts or features of both the new and replaced version (this happened with the Mk1 and Mk2 Airsporters as well).
Now basically, If you exclude the Military pattern and Juvenile pattern guns, there were only three sizes of action (by action in this case I mean air cylinder / barrel assy....Actually, being pedantic there are four if you include the "junior" (not to be confused with the "juvenile")...The "junior" is actually a cut down Light or Ladies model!
The names of these guns (especially the largest) changed slightly over the years, so let me keep it simple and concentrate on pre WW1 guns.
The four sizes were;
45.5 inches (sporting model), 43.25 inches (standard model), 39 inches (light/ladies model)...and finally, the "junior"...at 34.25 inches....this last model was actually a light model action with 2 inches chopped off the barrel, and a shorter stock...the air cylinder and all else were essentially a light model.
Anyway.....I came by a 43.25 size Improved model D that was in very poor condition, and that had muzzle damage and a ding in the cylinder...It sat at home destined to be broken for spares until I thought I would try and make my own version of a "junior".
As usual, I made it a bit harder for myself than I needed...I wanted to keep the original stampings and markings, and this obsession caused my some headaches!
First job was to strip down as normal, then separate the air cylinder from the barrel. This is secured by soft solder, and either a commercial heat gun or propane can be used, in conjunction with a strap wrench to separate the parts in moments.
The next job was to shorten the cylinder and lose the part which was dinged....this was simply parted off in a lathe, and a new internal thread cut...the end was then faced off until the cylinder screwed home against the breech in the correct orientation.If I had been taking more care here...the job would have been much easier (more on this aspect of the job later!).
Then I cut off the end of the barrel, and set this up in a lathe as it looked a bit "heavy" to my eyes...so I reduced the size all along, but maintained the taper.(lots of filing and emery cloth work wonders!) It was re-crowned at the new length of 15 .5 inches.
next...I wanted a shorter cocking lever, but wanted to keep the Lincoln patent stamps, so this meant cutting it into 5 pieces, removing the "side fences", then re-welding 3 of them to get the appearance I wanted;
You can see in the above photo that the cocking lever latch position in the barrel is now wrong!....so that was filled with weld carefully, and new dovetails cut for this, and for the fore sight.
With some careful hand finishing,I was quite pleased with the finished lever;
O.K...remember the cylinder....well it was longer than a light one!...so after some head scratching, I came up with using a light piston...with a modified 43" piston rod. The rod had to be shortened, and a new notch machined, as it needed to be in between the length of the two I had (because of not paying attention with the cylinder length...I was more concerned with retaining the rolled, impressed markings on the cylinder to look central, instead of thinking ahead to cocking lever ratios etc.)
Anyway, as luck would have it...the slightly longer cylinder gave an unexpected result when combined with a light model cocking arm...the extra swept volume has made it quite a potent little gun, it runs smoothly at 630 fps with hobbies!
Here is the gun next to a 1920's light model...the difference in cylinder length is not immediately obvious (it is 8mm longer);
And here it is showing a 43" action above, the same as I started with...you can now see the result of all the work changing the barrel profile...compare the diameters at the same distance from the breech....it took hours, but I think it paid off in the finished job.
Re-assembly was as for a normal gun, with the exception of using a bearing fit locktite to hold the cylinder to the barrel...I am 100% convinced that BSA would have used this method if these engineering adhesives had been available at the time...they are widely used in modern gun assembly, by the likes of Air Arms and others. Instead of a re-blue, I went for Birchwood "plum brown", which has proved very durable, and has made the whole thing appear to have a better look IMHO, than a bright, new finish.
I also had a spare BSA number 19 combination foresight at the time, so I treated the little fellow to an upgrade. The actual project was for my girlfriend, who is quite small, and she finds it much easier to handle than a Light model, as well as being a bit more powerful;
The stock is an un-modified 13.25" inch one from the same period (the shorter than normal one was suggested for prone shooting at the time, and was a factory option).
It was not done with any attempt to deceive, as it is different in size to any BSA ever made by the factory....although when shown to one very, very well known expert on BSA guns, he initially thought is was a genuine factory "junior" from around 1910! (the serial is the original that the gun left the factory with in 1910/12...No.32717.
So, there you go....a un-usable gun saved, but an original 43" Improved model D lost...did I do the right thing???...my missus thinks so...she loves it!
This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Nov 1, 2010 4:23 PM This message has been edited by edbear2 on Oct 31, 2010 2:49 PM This message has been edited by edbear2 on Oct 29, 2010 9:23 PM This message has been edited by edbear2 on Oct 29, 2010 3:01 PM This message has been edited by edbear2 on Oct 29, 2010 2:59 PM This message has been edited by edbear2 on Oct 29, 2010 1:59 PM This message has been edited by edbear2 on Oct 29, 2010 1:36 PM
With thanks to Lawrie for these pics of Mike Sharp's extraordinary prototype.
"This is a BSA Air Rifle Patent 4622 circa 1906, Patent taken out by Arthur Harry Butler and Frederick George Clark, (Information:- Commins Patents of Guns Review August 1978).
Length of gun is 45" barrel length is 20" .177 cal. rifled rotating drum magazine, it rotates when the underlever is returned, pellets are loaded waisted end first.
Although the BSA / Lincoln design has been copied, very little of the gun is either, the front sight and rear sight are of unknown origin, the same as the air chamber and underlever , barrel and trigger block.
The stock and butt plate might be Lincoln Jeffries. The trigger guard is early Lincoln / BSA. The jewel in the crown is the massive long flat section spring stamped on the end G.L.J. (George Lincoln Jeffries) this is the only genuine spring of his design seen by me (Mike Sharp) The whole gun is beautifully engineered and is in full working order. Only known example."
Here are some pics and info about the gun laying teacher - a device based on a pre-1919 .177 cal BSA Standard and used to help teach correct targeting of naval and field artillery. According to John Knibbs, who wrote extensively on this subject in BSA and Lincoln Jeffries Air Rifles, 212 were made altogether between late 1913 and 1915, with full production taking place from June 1915. The were supplied to both the Admiralty and the Royal Field Artillery and fitted to both light and heavy field guns.
Mr Knibbs says a version of the GLT was used during WW2 and was still in use by the New Zealand armed forces in 1953, where it was used to train crews for the Valentine tank.
Big thanks go to Chris (from the Melbourne Marksmen) in the UK and Leonard J in Canada for the following.
First off are Chris's GLTs (of which one might have been originally exported by the airgun collector and writer Dr Trevor Adams from New Zealand to the author Dennis Hiller in the UK?) It is marked "NZ".
Secondly is an article by Leonard J written for the US Airgun Magazine dating from 1995. Pics then follow of Len's Admiralty Pattern GLT, mounted in an oak base that he made for it. The gun is now said to be in the Beeman airgun collection.
This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Oct 15, 2012 10:23 PM This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Oct 15, 2012 10:22 PM This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Oct 15, 2011 8:14 PM This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Oct 15, 2011 8:12 PM This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Sep 18, 2011 3:50 PM This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Sep 18, 2011 3:38 PM
With many thanks to Mac Evans for kindly supplying the attached image of his extraodinary reproduction prototype and the patent scans featured below (first posted in the visitors' gallery)
Here is some information on this very interesting rifle - a precis of an article by John Knibbs:
In the December 2010 issue of Airgun Shooter magazine John Knibbs described being loaned a .177 cal prototype rifle by the great grandsons of George Lincoln Jeffries. It had a fixed barrel and was based on a design by GLJ’s son, Lincoln Parkes Jeffries and was made in the early 1920s.
Mr Knibbs restored the rifle, which had been stored in a damp place and had seriously rusted up. Almost miraculously, given what a poor condition it was in, he was able to put it back together using the original parts.
The purpose of the design, according to Mr Knibbs, was to produce a “short, lightweight sporting or target rifle”. It would have a fixed barrel mounted above the cylinder. The prototype was an underlever with an overall length of just 34.5 inches, the barrel at 20.5 inches long, and weighing 4.5 lbs altogether.
The trigger on the prototype was simple and non-adjustable, although Mr Knibbs said an adjustment screw could have been added easily. A rotating tap on the breech, in line with the barrel, exposed a hole into which the pellet was dropped.
When fired, the piston moves rearwards and the air travels up into the breech in much the same way as the pre-War Webley pistols and rifles, which this prototype quite closely resembles.
The sights were missing on the prototype. Mr Knibbs suggested an aperture sight fitted to the stock would have been the most practical.
He speculated that economic depression was a key reason the rifle was never put into production, a situation made worse by the fact that cheap air rifles were coming in from Germany at the time.
Another of Mike Sharp's prototypes. This one is modelled on a pre-WW2 Standard, apparently made in Germany by Haenel. With thanks to Mike and to Lawrie for facilitating.
Here are some extraordinary adverts (thanks to Tantomurata) showing what purports to be a "BSA" repeater on sale in Japan, although you can clearly see the German-style front trigger guard extension. Tantomarata says it was "listed in 1930 by the Tokiwa-Go Arms Co. in Japan".
With many thanks to the new owner for these pics of this exquisitely engraved BSA Air Rifle. The number of precise, individual, highly-skilled actions involved to produce a work of this quality is mind-boggling!
This project was to fit a vintage BSA with an up to date multi link trigger / sear assembly to see how these guns perform without a trigger pull equivalent to nearly half the overall weight of the rifle itself. Anyone who shoots these guns on a regular basis soon adjusts their technique to the crisp let off and will get good results with practise, but when I lend my guns to people who have not shot older weapons, they struggle and dismiss them as inaccurate, despite being told to persevere and see what happens.I suppose people have just got used to match quality triggers on even fairly cheap guns over the last 20 years or so. I had to wait a while until a badly pitted action with a good bore came into my possession, (the pitting being so deep on the cylinder that all impressions were removed when preparing for bluing).
The trigger unit chosen was the well known Air Arms CD unit, I had originally thought about a Rekord unit, but the Airs Arms is better engineered, much more robust, and above all British
The first thing to do was to fit an Air Arms Piston rod into a BSA piston, quite straight forward, just a 10mm thread and secure with locktite (as Air Arms do on the TX). I then made a set up jig to determine the offset of the CD unit in relationship with the cylinder to get the positions for the trigger unit mounting holes in the trigger block;
The trigger was made from a BSA Long Lee Enfield unit attached to a fabricated copy of the Air Arms pivot / adjustment area;
Obviously the CD unit is designed to be fitted to a full stocked rifle, so protruded alarmingly from the trigger block;
The trigger block was created by filing and shaping a curved block of steel with a cut out to match the stock I had chosen, this was from a BSA martini rimfire rifle. At this time I was intending to also use the wooden forend to shroud the trigger.The block was slotted for the trigger unit, and the mounting holes drilled and tapped and screws made.
I decided to go for a trigger guard to keep the half stocked appearance, but this was to prove to be time consuming, I sourced a Long Lee trigger guard and set to work making panels and pieces to fill in the magazine slot and for the mounting bolts, it is made of seven components;
Sides extended, front mount on;
Trial fit (notice the cocking lever cut out in the BSA stock);
Much filing and polishing later;
On the internal side, I reduced the diameter of the piston, and milled seats for large delrin buttons,and fitted a Maccari seal and home made guide;
Then polished all parts ready for the tank;
The gun is dead smooth and silent to cock and runs at about 675 fps, and is a joy to use. The overall look is something that draws strong opposing reactions, but was a necessity due to the trigger design. It is still all BSA in the main, which is what I wanted!
even the butt;
This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Feb 11, 2012 11:36 AM
With thanks to Nifton for these pics. The first 9 pics are of the rifle in 'as found' condition, with a homemade rear sight and some dodgy screws. The remainder are of the rifle after it has undergone a sympathetic restoration.
A recent acquisition, This gun is hard to show in all it's detail, but hopefully you can see the craftsmanship. It is signed "engr. P.J.Spode", and so could be the work of Westley Richards master engraver Peter Spode. I was told it was presented to a BSA manager on retirement, but if anyone out there has encountered this gun, or knows more, please get in touch. I will just add some photos...I have shot it already (it has signs of light use) and it goes well!
Not a gun for the shy and retiring, that's for certain.
This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Jul 7, 2012 8:16 PM This message has been edited by edbearthree on Jul 7, 2012 6:43 PM
Video frame captures copyright Dave 'Ratz', the creator of this modern take on the vintage BSA, which seems remarkably accurate (good shooting!) and harnesses the quality of the superb BSA barrel, plus the fine sighting.
Hopefully Dave will provide detailed pics in due course that will show how he made it.
You can see the video he took of a field trial of his rifle HERE.
I had the privilege of being able to inspect this stunning gun today. It is a one-off special job engraved and inlaid with Gold and other precious metals.
I don't know what else to say...the photos will hopefully explain.
(I have taken many more, but here is an appetizer);
Left hand side;
Cocking lever detail;
Gold barrel inlay;
Left hand side;
Trigger block carving;
Cocking lever pivot area;
Pistol grip chequering;
Colour cased tap;
Colour cased and inlaid trigger block/guard;
This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Mar 31, 2013 6:21 PM This message has been edited by edbearthree on Mar 31, 2013 5:04 PM This message has been edited by edbearthree on Mar 31, 2013 5:02 PM This message has been edited by Garvin2 on Mar 30, 2013 8:27 PM
With many thanks to Mick for supplying these photos of an extraordinary rifle. (BSA revived the pop-up breach concept six decades or so later in the BSA Merlin youth rifle). If you look at the Patents thread in the Resources section of this site, you can seen the 1905 plans for it: