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[Closed] ARCHIVE: Welcome to Vintage BSA Airguns October 12th 2010

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ARCHIVE: Welcome to Vintage BSA Airguns October 12th 2010 

The purpose of this forum is to pull together as much information about vintage BSA and Lincoln Jeffries airguns as possible into one place. It's main focus is BSA's pre-1939 output, but it will cover later models too.

Many tens of thousands of tap-loading underlever air rifles, first designed by Lincoln Jeffries, were made between 1905 and 1939; all but a small percentage by the Birmingham Small Arms factory in the Midlands of the United Kingdom.

BSA was the first company to use mass production methods to produce military rifles for government contracts and in early 1905 turned their attention and vast engineering resources to the production of an air rifle of a new and revolutionary design. This new rifle was produced using the finest materials and made on machinery designed by BSA themselves for air rifle production, so it was nothing like the inferior designs which had gone before.

Superior manufacturing quality meant they were expensive, but also that they were built to last, which is why so many still survive and indeed why so many are still in regular use today, even though some of the earliest examples are over 100 years old. The basic fixed barrel design was so successful in terms of accuracy, power and efficiency that the guns began selling well both in the UK and abroad.

The British government of the day was only too aware of the lack of marksmanship shown by British troops in the recent Boer War in South Africa and actively encouraged schools and cadet forces to teach rifle shooting in a bid to improve standards of marksmanship. The BSA/Lincoln Jeffries rifles proved themselves to be amongst the most accurate rifles available and this led to even greater sales.

BSA air rifles soon became the market leader and other manufacturers quickly copied them. At least two German manufacturers made copies and sold them back to the UK at a discount on the BSA variety, forcing the Birmingham company to lower its prices. In the 1920s and '30s both Mayer & Grammelspacher and Haenel in Germany adapted the underlever design and improved on it somewhat by adding half stocks.

The BSA underlever air rifles were made continuously until the outbreak of the Second World War, when production ceased in 1939. But Lincoln Jeffries' basic design lived on in the Webley MK3 (itself a copy of a Diana 45) right up to the mid-1970s, and even later in the Air Arms sidelever tap-loaders.

This forum is designed by enthusiasts for fellow enthusiasts, in the spirit of sharing information to promote the hobby of collecting and the joy of keeping, maintaining and shooting vintage BSAs. The forum is free, non-commercial, non-profit-making, not-for-profit, amateur and amateurish.... you get the idea! The only people making any money from it are Network54.

There are other forums on the internet that have excellent BSA resources, including expert members, and it's the intention of this forum to complement them, not to compete with them for attention. Particuarly useful forums include the UK-based Airgunbbs (, the Airgun Forum ( and the BSA Owners Group (, and the US-based American Vintage Airguns forum (

Many of the same questions arise again and again on these forums, concerning identification, dates, features, modifications etc and it is often left to the same people to deal with the enquiries.

Hopefully the resources available on this forum will help provide key information for owners and enthusiasts and help to keep these engineering marvels treasured and in regular use for many years to come.




Posted : 23/12/2017 21:47:46