"H" The Lincoln Air Rifle
"H" The Lincoln 3rd batch serial no. 4944
This example has seen better days. Fine pin pricks of rust pitting cover the metal surface and the stock has some damage where it meets the trigger block - probably the result of oiling then standing the rifle up so the oil runs down and soaks into the wood. The lettering stamped in the top of the cylinder is faint yet readable. The LJ trademark standing rifleman is partly visible.
The upsides? The rifle is complete, works perfectly and is still quite powerful and very accurate!
According to Mr Knibbs, the third batch ran from serial number 4830 to 5829.
"H" The Lincoln 4th batch serial no. 8334
These beautiful pics courtesy of Eddie. He says this about the rifle: "Believed to have been used in the Aberdare area of Wales in the bell target league in the early part of the 20th century.....gun is stamped "W PRICE
"The serial number of this gun is 8334, making it a fairly early (the batch started with serial number 8330) fourth batch Lincoln. These were despatched during October through November in 1906, and are recorded as having a variety of breech plug securing types."
"H" The Lincoln 3rd batch, serial no 5756
With thanks to Eddie for these pics.
This is a fairly late in the 3rd batch, (last serial recorded is 5829), Straight hand stock H the lincoln, and was despatched from the BSA factory between June and September 1906. It seems to be complete and correct, with the original smaller type, rear sight and foresight present (see Lakey's excellent sight article elsewhere on this website). The stock has some nice figuring, and a retailer's stamp for "Edward's, Commercial St., Newport (I am based fairly close to the Welsh border, so seem to be acquiring these Welsh guns!)
The retailer could have been a bit more careful in his positioning of his stamp!...perhaps on the opposite side would have looked less "cluttered", (As Ramsbottoms of Manchester used to do) and also you will see to the right a knot in the grain of the wood....this is unusual on early guns, which seem in most cases to have better quality woods employed than the post WW1 guns.
Under barrel inspection marks;
Trigger block area;
This gun is fitted with an original flat wound spring, and using a "fine" sight picture, with the rear sight fully depressed, is absolutely "bang on" at 18 feet / 6 yards, making it a fine Bell Target shooter.
"H" The Lincoln 3rd batch, serial no. 5102
With thanks to Lakey.
Here is an example of a Lincoln Jeffries, 'H' The Lincoln Air Rifle from the third batch of guns that B.S.A manufactured for Lincoln Jeffries. It is in No.1 (.177) bore and is in the "ordinary" or "standard" length of 43 1/4".The gun was manufactured during the period Jan-Mar 1906, and all the batch had left the BSA factory by July 1906.
Here is a close up shot of the trigger block and stamped serial number,notice the shiney line just ahead of the trigger block, on the joint of the cylinder itself. This is a buildup of muck and oil which has deposited itself over the generations.It is due to the different height of the trigger block compared to the cylinder.This deposited oil/muck is often present on guns of this age. This is an impossible thing to forge/reproduce and is an original feature that I like to see on old guns.
Next are a couple of pictures of the trigger area in general showing the early long tang trigger guard. This was a cast component, which was notoriously brittle and difficult to fit.Breakages during fitting were frequent, and it was replaced quite quickly with a much simpler trigger guard. Two different long tang guards were required - One for the pistol hand stock, and a different one for the straighthand stock.Please notice also the grooved trigger blade. This was also a feature dropped by the time the Improved Model D came out in 1908.
Here now are some views of the wooden stock of this gun. It is in the pistolhand configuration (or what Lincoln Jeffries called it,his "Registered Stock") Notice the way the long tang trigger guard follws the contours of the pistol grip.
Next is a close up shot of the right hand side of the stock showing what remains of the Lincoln Jeffries logo, and trade mark. Notice also the Steelhouse lane address, where the Lincoln Jeffries factory was located.
These early rifles had the first pattern loading tap fitted. Here are some close up shots of the breech plug or loading tap,showing the long elegant tap lever on the left had side. The right hand side of the tap shows the large washer and tiny keeper screw, which was used to secure the loading tap in place.
Next picture shows the loading area from above. Notice the B.S.A piled arms logo behind the rearsight, showing the gun to be of B.S.A manufacture, and the size and depth of the loading hole itself. This was due to the narrow width of the tranverse breech plug , and meant that pellets had to be pushed down to the bottom of the deep hole, using a seating pin - each time the gun was loaded. A combination seating pin, and trigger adjustment spanner was issued with each rifle sold.The hole was enlarged and the breech plug made fatter, on the later style of improved loading tap.
As we have already seen, the Lincoln Jeffries stock logo was extensive, however the cylinder inscription on the earlier guns is quite simple by comparison.
Next up are closeup shots of the sights on this particular gun. The foresight is a later replacement, as is the rearsight bar or slide, which shows a very poor fit. It is sadly very common to find wrong sights on these early guns, due to the fact that they were and are easily lost. adjustments to windage can only be made by tapping the rearsight along its dovetail, and this in turn can make the sights very loose.
Lastly is a picture showing the bayonet underlever, and its relationship with the rest of the gun. The first pattern bayonet handle was just a simple bend with plunger catch, which located into a catchblock dovetailed into the underside of the barrel. When wear took place in this component, lock up could become a little uncertain, so strengthening fences were added on the later (Mk2) bayonet underlever. You can see from the pictures that this example has become slightly bend downwards over its life. This component was forged from solid steel billet, and is built to last several lifetimes!
All the best
"H" The Lincoln 1st batch, serial no. 173
With thanks to Lakey.
Here we have a very early production (first Batch) 'H' The Lincoln Air Rifle (Serial Number 173) from 1905. This was the rifle, patented by George Lincoln Jeffries, which launched the range of air rifles which were manufactured more or less continuously by BSA until 1939.
The first batch of 1000 'H' The Lincoln air rifles commenced production with serial number 130, so you can see that this rifle is one of the very first 50 production air rifles ever made by The Birmingham Small Arms Company for Lincoln Jeffries. Being made in 1905, the rifle is 106 years old! and still going strong. In 1905, this 'new design of air rifle was quite simply revolutionary, and it forever changed the public perception of the air rifle, from childs toy to serious adult proposition capable of accurate target shooting at extended ranges of up to 30 metres or more.
This gun has a walnut 'pistol grip' stock, called the "Registered Stock" by Lincoln Jeffries
The stock shows the George Lincoln Jeffries trade mark of a shooter wearing a bowler hat, impressed on its right hand side. This is the first pattern trade mark, which changed slightly on later production batches, by including the address, and the words 'inventor and patentee' after the name.
The stock also features top quality hand chequering to the pistol grip. I think this was done in the Lincoln Jeffries factory, as it always seems slightly finer quality to the early BSA stocks.
Here are some views of the trigger block area showing the very narrow one piece trigger, complete with the three grooves cut into its leading edge for grip. It also shows the cast trigger guard with the characteristic long tang, let into the stock. Also on the left hand side you can also see the serial number impressed into the trigger block just above the trigger.
Here are some further views showing the type and fit of the long trigger guard tang. This component was very brittle and difficult to fit and so was dropped, in favour of a simpler trigger guard in later production.
Notice also the rounded head of the trigger adjusting screw. This type of screw was often used in early 'H' The Lincoln production. Again I believe this was fitted at the lincoln Jeffries factory. Later Lincoln production has a normal hexagonal bolt head to the screw.
Notice in this shot, you can see the underside of the trigger guard. This is often found to be untypically rough and unfinished when compared to the rest of the rifle. This is a typical example of just such a rough casting.
These very early air rifles featured the first pattern breech with the long slender loading tap (without the later style keyhole shaped retaining plate) and the large screw and washer on the right hand side. Travel of the tap is limited to 90 degrees by a little block which is screwed into place on the left hand side of the breech, just below the tap itself.
Here is a view of the breech area looking down from the top.You can see the BSA piled arms logo (denoting a rifle produced in the BSA factory) just behind the rearsight.
The load tap (breech plug) that went through the breech block was very narrow in these early rifles, which resulted in a very deep narrow loading hole. Bacause of this a loading pin or probe was needed in order to properly 'seat' the pellet at the bottom of the loading hole.
Here is a view showing the depth of loading hole in these arly rifles. Later production featured an 'improved breech' with a much larger tapered loading hole which made the loading process easier and effectively did away with the need for a loading pin/probe.
These early rifles featured low sights which are now known as 'first pattern' sights.
Here are some shots of the 'first pattern' bead foresight , followed by a shot of the low level 'first pattern' rearsight with the small elevation wheel.
As I said the gun featured a walnut 'Registered Stock' which had a steel butt plate fitted. Here are a couple of shots of the metal butt plate as fitted to this gun. Please notice the truely astonishing fit of the steel butt plate to the wooden stock WONDERFUL !
The gun was cocked by means of a long cocking lever held under the barrel. The levers on these early guns featured a bayonet handle and a plunger catch which fitted into a triangular block dovetailed to the underside of the barrel
Finally here is a picture of the cylinder inscription (legend) on this gun. It is unique to the 'first batch' production guns, and became a lot less complicated on subsequent batches of guns. Hence it is known as the 'first pattern' cylinder inscription for the 'H' The Lincoln Air Rifle.
Hope you have enjoyed the pictures.
"H" The Lincoln 6th batch, serial no. 13418
With thanks to Lakey.
Here we have a well used example of a Lincoln Jeffries "H" The Lincoln Rifle in Standard Length form dating from 1907.
The exact batch details are as follows
Serial numbers for the batch 13230 - 13729 Date of Manufacture = June - Oct 1907
Dates of dispatch between June 1907 and Sept 1908
Batch details were that all the guns comprised the sixth batch of Lincoln Rifles produced by B.S.A for Lincoln Jeffries and were all either Standard length or the shorter Ladies length.
You will instantly see that the straight hand stock has been adapted or added to, with a pistol grip in the form of a contoured block screwed onto the lower edge of the stock behind the trigger guard. This block has certainly been on the gun a long time and looks to be a semi-professional job.
Clearly one of the gun's past owners, thought enough of the gun to spend out on having a made up pistol grip added to the stock, presumably to make the gun more comfortable to hold whilst shooting and therefore more accurate. As these guns were expensive to buy, they would have been used by serious marksmen, and I would say that a lot of thought has gone into this adaptation.
The gun has a cast trigger guard with the small locating peg in the rear to locate into the trigger block
Also notice the degree of wear on the checkering of the straight hand stock. Maybe this was a club gun that got a large amount of daily use? We will never know. Notice the fine line of the trigger with the deeply cut ridges in its leading edge to aid grip and also trigger adjustment was by the screw passing through the front of the trigger guard.
Here is a view of the right hand side of the stock showing the registered trade mark of Lincoln Jeffries
Moving onto the compression cylinder of the rifle, this area shows some pitting and wear however there are still traces of the "H" The Lincoln legend which was stamped into the stock
Moving on towards the barrel, we next see the fine first pattern loading tap. This is without the keyhole shaped cover plate that were by that time already in production on B.S.A 'own brand' guns. In contrast, later "H" The lincoln guns were still using up old parts such as this early style loading lever arrangement. B.S.A had to specially keep these older parts in stock for Lincoln Jeffries production.
This gun would have differed from the normal style early breech by having the later style round knurled compensating nut on the right hand side of the loading tap. This nut secured the tap in place, and also offered a way of taking up any wear in the tap as an when it occured. Sadly this knurled nut is missing in this example and has been replaced by a flat washer and roundhead screw in order to hold the tap in place. I believe that the coiled spring is original, and would have been enclosed by the original knurled nut, in order to provide tension for the loading tap assembly
Sadly this highly used example has a sheared off auxilliary cocking link pivot screw, and the rearsight has also taken a knock or two in its time which has slightly bent the corner of the rearsight bar.Interestingly, not long after this batch of rifles was produced BSA started fitting a keeper screw to the auxilliary cocking link pivot screw, to stop the pivot screw from constantly working loose.
Here is a view of the first pattern bayonet style handle on the cocking lever.Connection with the triangular catch block became uncertain when wear occured so this particular style of bayonet end was changed by adding strengthening fillets to the bend of the hand to make connection with the catch block more certain.
Finally here is a picture of the early style bead foresight, which could be tapped in its dovetail to allow for windage changes.Too much tapping however and the foresight could become loose and fall out.
Finally in conclusion, this is a well worn and patinated example of a late "H" the Lincoln Rifle with a very unusual stock adaptation. It makes an unusual addition to the collection.
Hope you liked the pictures
P.S If anyone has an original knurled breech nut, I would be very interested ;^)
"H" the Lincoln (late production) serial no. 61605
This is a beautiful late production Lincoln "H" in superb original condition.
John Knibbs' list suggests its serial no. would have been issued around 1912 (except this number falls within a batch of serial numbers that are not listed).
Mr Knibbs reports that the final (8th) batch of Lincolns were numbered between 35030-35529 and were made between August 1910 and July 1912.
This rifle's owner, Reg, says it is 45.5in long, in .22 cal, and was once owned by the famous airgun writer L Wesley.
Note the trigger block locking screw through the top of the cylinder.
On this example, Lincoln Jeffries' shooting man trademark looks more like a firing squad!
With thanks to Reg and to Mark for facilitating, and to David, Reg's grandson, for the pics.
"H" The Lincoln 1st batch, serial no. 752
With thanks to Dave R for these pics. Dave has discovered a strange square lug on the trigger guard.
"H" The Lincoln 7th batch, serial no. 22559
With thanks to a collector friend for permission to take these pics.