BSA/Lincoln Jeffries-related articles
BSA/Lincoln Jeffries-related articles
The BSA Norman air pistol, by John Griffiths
With thanks to Prof John Griffiths, author of The Encyclopedia of Spring Air Pistols (2008), for this fascinating article on the 1911-12 Patent air pistol that BSA never made.
Judging by its reported performance, it's perhaps just as well the gun didn't go into production, although BSA may have been able to iron out its flaws.
The prototype pistol pictured was made from the patent drawings by Mac Evans, the man who also built the BSA 1913 Patent lever cocking rifle pictured in the Gallery.
See also the Patent applications and drawings for this pistol on this thread.
Lakey's variations and anomalies article
I'm copying this over from the "Talk" section so it doesn't get lost over time:
<b>Guns that don't correspond to regular models
In the sphere of vintage BSA collecting, there are certain things that can be relied on as fact, and there are certain things that follow more or less a given rule. Howaever, occasionally guns turn up that don’t fit in to established patterns.
One of the main design remits of the Lincoln Jeffries/B.S.A air rifle was that of mass production. Up until 1905, very few manufacturers made airguns on a mass produced basis. There were one or two, mostly continental makers that had just started to embrace mass production. But most airgun manufacturing operations were fairly small scale ones.
Lincoln Jeffries changed all that with his proposal to Birmingham Small Arms Company to mass produce his new design of airgun and to ensure that all parts were interchangeable. This interchangeability of parts has led to much confusion over the years on the part of vintage airgun enthusiasts, as airguns turn up that do not conform exactly to established models.
Another thing to bear in mind is that in the early years of the design, after the initial launch of the gun (prior to World War 1), the airguns were under constant review and development, with small changes being made to the design. These changes meant that at various points in the guns' manufacture, new improved parts were introduced into the production line.
John Knibbs, in his book 'BSA and Lincoln Jeffries Air Rifles' (1986) explains it thus: "There was never any definite point in either time or production when any of these changes were made. A stage in production would be decided upon by the production manager at which various parts would be modified or replaced. Existing old parts would not be scrapped, but would be used up entirely before the new revised parts were issued for assembly. It is for this reason that seemingly obsolete parts are found on guns of a much later date."
Another point which must be borne in mind is that although faulty and broken guns could for many years after purchase be returned to BSA themselves for routine servicing and repair, eventually these vintage BSAs became obsolete and were no longer easily repaired. Original parts became harder and harder to obtain and before 'specialist vintage airgun spares suppliers' such as John Knibbs and Chambers came into being, guns were often repaired using old spare parts salvaged from other guns. So it is common to find guns with period replacement parts from other similar models.
An example of this might be a 43" .177 air rifle with an 'A' prefix to the serial number, where someone has matched a CS prefix Club No.4 barrel and cylinder to the trigger block from a 1936 Light Pattern. The gun would work perfectly but it would not conform to an exact model type.
Another example might be a 1920s B.S.A 'Standard' Air Rifle with pre-WW1 side button cocking lever and ring catch plate. Or again a 1933 rifle with a pre-WW1 'pistol hand' stock added.
You can see what confusion might be caused when these guns are encountered.
Rear sights are a special point in fact here, as windage adjustment to these sights could only be made by tapping the sight along in its machined dovetail to move the line of sight right or left, thereby adjusting the shot impact point onto target. Over the course of time, this adjustment loosened the sights to a point where they often just fell off the gun and were lost.
Many people replaced these sights with similar (but not exactly right ) sights from later guns, such as the Cadet Major and Airsporter Mk1. These sights did the job, but were not contemporary with the given airgun model in question.
We hope to give a detailed description of each major model development as time allows......... Watch this space</b>
Edward Stokes airguns article (1950s?)
With thanks to Dean for first posting these scans. The article was originally published in <i>The Marksman</i>
The author mentions a feature on the BSAs in the very first issue of <i>The Marksman</i> in July 1950. If anyone has a copy,
please let us have scans of it.
The 1903 Birmingham airgun 'riot'
Here is an extract from Frank Spittle's wonderful book , BELL TARGET SHOOTING: an old Black Country sport
about the extraordinary outcry that followed an attempt to ban the shooting of air rifles in licensed premises,
which is known as the Birmingham airgun 'riot'. There follows some contemporary accounts taken from newspapers at the time,
which show that licensing authorities in other areas weren't above trying for a ban in the years to come.
<b>This explosion of the popularity of shooting in the licensed houses, had a marked impact and effect on the
City Fathers of Birmingham. They looked upon it as a means of gambling and drunkenness in the
crowded pubs, such that the magistrates decided that they would not issue a drinking licence to pubs with
airgun shooting in, or in any part of, the premises. Up to this time, no one had ever heard of a complaint
against the sport, apart from by a few members of the clergy and the Temperance Society.
A petition in favour of the pub shooters, signed by 47,000 people, half of the male population of the city
at that time, drew a thumbs down from the eighty or so justices, with only a couple in favour of the
pastime. That is all it was, a pastime that the hard-working man of the day had accepted into his daily life,
in exactly the same way that the higher echelon of the self-employed in the Rifle Volunteers had taken to
the enjoyment of long range rifle shooting on their county rifle ranges, at Wimbledon, and then at Bisley.
They shot the army rifle in their role as back up Volunteer marksmen for a Government that had perceived
that Napoleon could invade Britain in his new steamships should he wish to do so, without waiting for a
favourable wind or excuse.
What the magistrates thought, and what they could prove, was different matters; no evidence could be put
forward to back up their decision. It seemed that they were just "agin it", on principle, believing that the
lower orders should not be trained to use guns, even if they were only airguns, as one thing could lead to
another. The possibility of anarchy in the streets was the only explanation for the draconian measure to
stamp it out. The official reasons put forward by the magistrates - "drunkenness and gambling" - could not
have been further from the truth.
Today, as in those far off days, one does not have to be reminded that it is impossible to shoot straight if
one is in any way inebriated. Alcohol is a depressant which could lower the pulse rate of a nervous
competitor, but it would most certainly not help his stance or vision. For the first time in years, these pub
shooters had a taste of the discipline that shooting demanded then, and still does today: safety, sobriety,
and sportsmanship. All had to be learned and applied if they were to succeed in a team, or individually.
Some of the areas of Birmingham at that time were pretty rough to say the least, and so were some of the
inhabitants. The landlords themselves knew that their licence was at risk if everything did not meet the
highest standards that soon became the norm, and they readily made available a room or backyard. The
last person both shooters and landlord wanted anywhere near the pub on a match night was a drunk.
But the Birmingham magistrates did not back down. They stood their ground until something happened
that even they could not just ignore. The shooting community had called a meeting with the Mayor at the
old Town Hall in the Bull Ring. What then occurred is something that should have been written in the
annals of shooting sport for all time, something that the shooting community, whatever its disciplines, has
very little knowledge of.
On that day, over 90 years ago, 10,000 airgunners turned up to put their case personally. They filled the
streets and they could not be shown to be drunks or ne’er do wells. Their demeanour and strength of
purpose for what was, after all, their right as citizens, was so apparent that it could not be ignored.
A special meeting of the whole of the magistrates was called, and the highly offending resolution was set
aside. Shooting began again in the pubs
Mr. Hirst took quite an amount of flak afterwards, from people who did not approve of shooting. Some
would call unannounced at his home, to berate him on the evils of drink and guns. He would convince
some of these people of the harmless nature of the sport by taking them to see a match in progress, having
an excellent success rate of changed opinions by doing so.</b>
Worcester Chronicle 7.3.1903
Nottingham Evening Post 9.3.1903
Coventry Evening Telegraph 2.4.1903
Dundee Courier 2.4.1903
Nottingham Evening Post 3.4.1903
Manchester Evening News 8.4.1903
Nottingham Evening Post 20.11.1903
Nottingham Evening Post 5.2.1907
Litchfield Mercury 15.7.1910