BSA 1919-1939 light pattern ("L" and "A")
BSA 1919-1939 light pattern ("L" and "A")
Light pattern (1919) serial no. L392
According to John Knibbs, the first two thousand or so "L" prefix rifles were transitional hybrids using pre-WW1 barrel and cylinder assemblies, side button cocking levers, links, breech plugs, straight hand stocks etc. Some had Imp Mod D cylinders, some were photo etched and some had no inscription at all. Mr Knibbs estimated that by serial no. L3000, all the pre-WW1 components had been used up.
BSA Standard 'L' prefix (serial No. L5151) 1919
With thanks to Lakey.
Here is a nice example of an early production Light Pattern dating from 1919
The gun looks to have had very little use, and it is in good condition. It features a two hole trigger block and early cast trigger guard
The walnut stock is of the newly released,rounded semi-pistolgrip type and features hand carved chequering. Shortly after this rifle was made BSA changed over to heat impressed chequering on all their air rifles.
Just for comparison purposes, here is a close up view of the later heat impressed chquering (also on a 1920's rounded semi-pistolgrip stock)
The light Pattern was designed with Teenagers and ladies in mind, and so was shorter that the 45" No.2 Bore (.22) sporting model, which was also available in the 1920's.
The two hole trigger block indicated a none-adjustable trigger. The pull weight was set at the factory at the time of manufacture, and the pull weight was stamped into the stock, just behind the trigger guard. Unfortunately a lot of these small trigger weight stamps are found to have worn off with use, as their position co-incides with the position of the finger of the right hand which get bunched up immediately behind the trigger guard. Here are the remains of the trigger pull weight stamp on this gun
The rearsights were of a new design, on the BSA Standards. The foresight was a very high model,
and the rearsight was of the turret variety, with a centrally mounted large diameter elevation screw.This new rearsight was higher that the pre-WW1 No. 10 rearsight, which it replaced once the war was over.Notice the way the new rearsight overhangs the barrel on boths sides.
Immediately behind the rearsight, you will notice that the BSA piled arms logo (a feature stamped into the barrel, behind the sight of pre-WW1 guns) is now missing. The No.1 denotes No.1 bore (.177), and is followed by the words 'LOAD' immediately in front of the loading hole.
The loading tap arrangement is similar to the pre-WW1 type, however the Patent details are now missing from the keyhole shaped plate which secures the loading plug.
The underlever is now secured by an end button, which was easier to operate that the pre-WW1 side button. Notice the very precise end knurling on the end of the button - such was the attention to detail in those days
There was also stamped cross hatching on the inside of the loading lever to give additional grip for the fingers. This was missing on the side button catches.
The trigger mechanism was a new development by BSA, and consisted of a two part arrangement comprising a sear tumbler, and a separate trigger blade.
In this view you can just make out the rounded sear in front of the trigger blade
Here is a view from the underside showing the spring and tail end of the piston
And moving a bit further forwards here some views of the underside of the breech area showing the auxiliary cocking lever sitting between the two forged trunnions either side.Notice the various inspection stamps on the trunnions.
Model details on these BSA 'Standards' were photo-etched onto the top of the cylinders. These details are often worn away by use, or over enthusiastic cleaning, however as this gun seems to have had only light use, the details are still visible
Another indicator of the light use this rifle has had is the butt of the gun. Pre-WW1 guns featured a steel butt plate, however this changed to cross hatching on the wooden butt (around 1914) They resumed with the cross hatching, and a small oval plate covering the stock bolt hole in 1919 when production resumed. Here is the very light wear on this gun
All in all, a nice example of an early production BSA 'L' prefix Standard No.1 Bore.
All the best
"L" series (c. 1927) serial no. L32761
This rifle has the unusual transitional stock, with "BSA" embedded in the heat-pressed grip chequering like the later stocks but with the rounded bottom to the pistol grip like the earlier ones.
The rifle is complete and appears to have had little use, with screw heads virtually untouched. But it has only the smallest traces of original finish, nearly all in protected areas such as under the cocking lever. Most of the metal surface has pinprick-type rust pitting, although some would probably say it is fine enough still to be described as patina.
There's an extensive range of makers' marks stamped into each part - even the trigger.
One end of the spring:
The other end:
"L" series (c.1920) serial no. L21020 (cased)
With thanks to John M for these pics of this extraordinary set, and to its owner, Kev, for permission to use them.
John said: "The rifle and its its accessories are housed in a contemporary case, presumably made by the original owner. The case is marked with his name 'Nathanial Reid Sharman' and dated 1920, which is presumably the year 'Reid' as he was known originally acquired the rifle.
Reid was born on 24 December 1904 and died on 15 July 1989 as the age of 84. It is possible the rifle may have bought with the proceeds of a first wage packet but I suspect there was a period of saving beforehand!
Accessories include some interesting original BSA target cards, which must date from around 1920, judging from the rounded pistol hand stock on the rifle illustrated on the cards. Reid has shot at on
The etching on the rifle is among the best I have ever seen and spares in the set include spare mainsprings wrapped in newspaper from 1921, spare Parker Hale retailed piston washers and a spare PH retailed mainspring from 1950.
This was clearly a much loved possession that was well looked after and it is a wonder the family parted with it after Reid's death in 1989."
"L" series (c.1929) serial no. L34988
With thanks to Lakey.
Here we have a recent addition to the collection in the form of a late 1920's "Light pattern " .177 bore rifle. It is in average condition,with more brown patination to the surface of the metal than blueing, however does have a couple of more unusual features, so I thought I would give it a home.
It has the rare transitional stock shape, which combines the flowing, rounded pistol grip of the 1920's stock, together with the letters BSA within the checkering panels (The letters "BSA" are not present in the checkering panels of earlier 1920's stocks).
As you can see from the detailed photographs, that the wear to the checkering is not even. The left hand side panel is far more worn than the right hand side panel. Perhaps the previous owner was left handed, and so gripped the stock more on the left hand side.
You can see from the close up of the trigger block, that the serial number is in the usual place for guns of that period. The letters being heavily impressed into the trigger block above the pivot pins. This trigger block, has the internal trigger adjustment typical of the period, with the adjustment screw on the left hand side, clearly marked with "Adjust H & L".
The corresponding hole on the right hand side of the block has the locking screw present, which has to be slackened off, before trigger adjustment can take place. (Warning - it is not recommended to try and adjust the trigger too light, otherwise the trigger lock up may become uncertain, resulting in a dangerous gun)
Notice also the flowing, rounded shape of the pressed trigger guard with the long tang let into the wood of the stock.
A past owner of this gun, has taken a lot of time and trouble to add his initials to the top surface of the trigger block. He clearly thought a lot of the gun, as the letters have been added in a very professional manner. Some collectors might not like this feature, however to me it is part of the gun and its unique history, so it will be left as it is.
Next we have a shot of the top of the breech block together with the loading tap and rear sight. The letters
"1 Load" show that it is a .177 caliber (No.1 Bore)
Here is the breech block left side, and right side. Screws in this area are prone to showing wear, as they can often work loose over time. The screws on this gun show some evidence of use.
Notice the lack of a keeper screw on the auxilliary cocking lever pivot screw. Prewar guns such as the Improved model D, had a keeper screw fitted here, but the later postwar "Standards" did not. This screw often works loose with prolonged use, so it is interesting that the end of these keeper screws were machined with a hollowed out end. Maybe BSA intended to fit a keeper screw after all?
Here is a nice close up of the distinctive raised letters of BSA, within the heat impressed checkering panel, combined with the rounded pistol grip contours, making this gun quite a rare variation.
Finally here is one last shot of the whole gun
"A" series (c.1938) serial no. A3268
Thanks to a collector friend for letting me photograph this rifle.