The BSA MODEL 12/15 TARGET RIFLE
In the Parker-Hale 1935 catalogue, the rifle is introduced as the " B.S.A. - PARKER MODEL 12/15".
In 1940, the year following the commencement of the Second World War, the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs were still offering the familiar range of .22 RF Martini actioned target rifles for sale; these included the oldest conversion of the full-bore Martini service rifle, now in the form of the Parker-Hale CMT2, the Vickers Jubilee and Empire Models, Parker-Hale's 'Dewarifles' and the ubiquitous BSA Models Nos. 12, 15, and here illustrated 12/15.
Also then present was the BSA Model 13, in the company of the bolt-actioned Model 1 and Model 2 rifles, which three were advertised as suitable for use by Preparatory Schools and youth target shooting.
Renovated War Office Pattern minature rifles were made available, and the long-standing conversion of the still in service S.M.L.E. - the .22RF (rimfire) No.1 Mk.III - was, for obvious reasons, making something of a comeback, either as freshly converted brand-new B.S.A No.1 Mk.III rifles, or as 'Parkerifled' conversions of service rifles.
Imported target and sporting rifles were still advertised, although expensive. Winchesters formed the back-bone of such stock; namely the Winchester 52 with Marksman stock, heavy barrel and speed-lock mechanism, or the heavier Bull-barrel Model, plus the Model 75 and Model 677 with scope. The Mossberg M35 ended the list of then available target-shooting related rifles.
Many small-bore rifles have been drawn into service in times of war, occasionally for quite unusual tasks although, in the main, basic training and, of course, latterly Home Guard use, were the most common official duties between 1939 and 1945. Such rifles as were present with their owners at Home Guard parades, in common with shotguns, also played a significant part in putting food on the table in times of strict rationing and considerable austerity. (See Winchester auto rifles).
Within months, the availability of firearms for civilian purposes had been brought to a rapid and dramatic close. Indeed, no small-bore rifles would again be made publicly available until well after the war. The notably slender 1945 edition of the Parker-Hale catalogue (no doubt prepared during 1944 whilst the outcome and time of conclusion of the War were still less than certain elements) offered not a single rifle, solely ancillaries were available.
The company declared, on the inside front page, that:
As a compromise between the wide demand for our catalogues and the paper shortage, this abridged edition has been compiled from our Service, Sporting and Small-bore Sections which were previously printed separately. When conditions permit these sections will appear in their original form.
In presenting this catalogue we have endeavoured, for the convenience of our customers, to list only those articles which are at present available, or can be obtained from time to time. However, it will be readily appreciated that any publication of a similar type issued during wartime conditions can only be a general guide to both the items and the prices advertised therein, owing to constantly diminishing supplies and increasing costs.
Matters had improved somewhat by the time Parker-Hale issued their next catalogue available to us, that of 1947, although rationing of many commodities was to continue into the 1950s. The frontispiece now noted:
Second Post War Catalogue 1947
In our first post war catalogue issued in 1946, we had to deplore the deficiencies in supplies of available goods and the uncertainty both as regards materials and prices.
Unfortunately, in the interval, conditions have not much improved and at the time of writing, raw materials are in shorter supply than ever, whilst rifles and sporting arms are bespoken for months ahead, leaving none available for gunsmiths to exhibit.
Fortunately, as regards Service rifle shooting, which can be said to be the most interesting of the sport of marksmanship, the Government have released supplies of the new No. 4 Mark 1 Service rifles, and we have also secured good supplies of the No. 3 (Pattern '14 Enfield rifle) which are both reliable target weapons.
.303" Service rifle ammunition is available in large quantities at cheaper rates than ever previously obtainable.
Rifle Ranges are also readily available to Rifle Clubs affiliated to the National Rifle Association whose Offices are at Bisley Camp, Brookwood, Surrey.
Anyone interested in forming a Service Rifle Club should write the Secretary, of the N.R.A. at the above address.
It has been proved beyond doubt that the value of rifles in modern warfare has in no sense diminished as a result of the increasing use now being made of the machine-gun and machine carbine. On the contrary, a German report intercepted during the North African campaign admitted that the deadly accuracy of Australian riflemen was a constant menace to their troops. It is not generally recognised that these Australians were previously members of civilian rifle clubs, who took up marksmanship for its sporting interest and were practically self taught.
Furthermore, it is generally recognised that marksmanship reaches its peak in the art of the rifleman, and that maximum efficiency in the use of heavier and automaticweapons can best be attained through preliminary rifle training.
It is therefore with the conviction that we are filling a National need that we present this catalogue devoted to rifles and the care of rifles, together with the best devices and aids for the training of riflemen.
It has not proved possible to ascertain for certain, details of pre-war production quantities and serial numbering of the BSA Model 12/15.
We suspect that it is likely that some rifles without the 'P' prefix are hybrids, especially since British gunmakers, particularly Parker-Hale, were known to offer upgrading of earlier rifles, to a similar specification to that of the 12/15, by adding the long fore-end, pistol grip butt-stock and also by changing such internals as were necessary to complete the conversion; e.g. the under-lever. Both A.J. Parker and Parker-Hale offered all the spares necessary in their catalogues; thus any enterprising and competent shooter could embark on this work.
John Knibbs, in his excellent reference book "The Golden Century - a hundred years of BSA manufacture"-(see Recommended Reading), reports that 13,260 Model No. 12/15 rifles were sold by B.S.A. up to the 'last' leaving the factory in late 1951 - all within the serial range P60001 to P 73260. However, a further reference is made, at the end of chapter 15, noting that a further 5,396 rifles were despatched in the three and a half years following on from November 1951, with the last serial number being P76006. He then confirms, in a later chapter, that a total production of 18,662 was achieved over an eight year period, from which one would infer an end to final production in 1955 (remember that post-war production recommenced in 1947). We have received details from at least two readers who possess Model 12/15 rifles with late serial numbers; the highest of these to date is P74895. If the believed total production of over 18,000 is added to the first known serial number, then serial numbers exceeding P78000 should theoretically be possible. Disregarding the forced break during the War years, the rifle was actually in production, in one form or another, over a minimum of a sixteen year period. What has yet to be determined is the starting serial number around 1935 and detail of how pre-war rifle production filled the number-set between that and 60,000, if indeed it was part of that series.
Do you have the latest known off the production line? Let us know at Miniature-Calibre-Rifles@Rifleman.org.uk
Above is an " as marketed" example of the Post WWII Model 12/15, with the Parker-Hale No.7a rear sight, which permitted cleaning of the barrel without need of the sight's removal ( a design shared with the Vickers Martini "Perfection" rear-sight) and the PH No.2 tunnel fore-sight with interchangeable sight elements permitting quick alteration of post height or ring diameter; the only non-standard addition here being the Parker-Hale ten round "Quickloader" ammunition block to facilitate rapid fire.
This particular ammunition block is the second pattern, the "QL2", and affixes, without gunsmithing, to the action securing pin. The alloy block's split lug locates behind the knurled knob of the action pin.
The action block of this little used example of the
single-shot rifle still shows the
colour case-hardening either side of the groove of the loading slide.
The BSA "Piled Arms" motif is stamped on the LHS of the action
side plate. The aperture rear-sight of the 12/15 is still virtually a
retro-fit, although a standard item when the rifle first went into
production post-war in 1946/47.
There is no longer a barrel-mounted tangent leaf rear-sight as had been fitted
The rear-sight used was the Parker-Hale Model 7A.
The Model 12/15 rifles were, at least from 1947, given serial
numbers prefixed wth the letter "P",
which makes them easily identifiable.
A corresponding dealer and enthusiast from the U.S.A. believes he has had 12/15 rifles, in the 60,000 range, pass through his hands with serial numbers not so prefixed. We're less convinced on this one; however, we wouldn't be so pedantic as to deny any possibility - to do so in such circumstances is usually a mistake. Suffice it to say that we believe that the 12/15 was certainly initially manufactured with some input or production assistance, particularly with the sights, from Parker and Parker-Hale, perhaps leading to the "P" prefix. Any pre-war, or pre- 1947 production there might have been could have been separately defined, but we have found precious little data on early models and their numbering and production quantities. Can you perhaps help? The lowest serial number of which we have to date been advised is in the P 53,000 range, seemingly in contradiction of John Knibbs' documentation that the serial numbers commenced with 60,001.
In common with most early Martini actions, the trigger on the 12/15 was not adjustable other than by careful fettling of the sear and bent engagement. Removal of too much material would reduce the height to which the action block would be raised for loading. It was quite possible, with the stoning away of only a few thousand's of an inch, to render the chamber impossible to load. With the typical minimum Service competition weight of 5 lbs., the converted full-bore Martini Henry rifles' triggers were expected to be heavy-weight. For many years, the minimum trigger weight permitted by the rules of the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs, was 3 lbs. This was mainly because any attempt to lower the trigger weight of a Martini action below certain limits resulted in an unsafe firearm that could be unintentionally fired by only a minor jolt. As other rifles became available, including the American Winchester 52 and Remington 37 bolt-action target rifle models with fine adjustable triggers, rules were relaxed and there came a requirement for lighter triggers on the old Martini target rifles - simply as a post-war ( 1939-45) economic expediency.
Parker-Hale produced a modification to permit trigger adjustment. This was only available as an 'in-house' alteration and required just the posting of the easily removed action to the factory. Quite a number of Model 12/15 and 15 rifles will be found to have been fitted with this comparativly simple after-market spring weight adjustment. To make any adjustment properly, it was still necessary to remove the action from the rifle, drift out the falling-block and extractor fulcrum pins, make the adjust with the now accessible slotted screw, and reassemble. Obviously, if the weight was still not to the shooter's liking, it was necessary to repeat the process. Whilst perhaps a rather tedious process, it did at least offer a safer, easier and more reliable way of adjusting pull-off.
See page on the .22 MARTINI and the LEE_ENFIELD TRIGGER PULL
The vital statistics quoted in 1940 for the Model 12/15 were as follows:
Length of barrel: 29 inches
Length Overall: 44 inches( interestingly, this shows as 44¾" post war)
Length of stock from trigger: 14¼ inches
Length of fore-end: 16 inches
Weight: 9¼ lbs.
It can be seen that, on its introduction circa 1935, the standard rifle was priced at £7-17s-6d, and thirty shillings more, at £9-7s-6d, with the Centurion barrel supposedly guaranteeing 1½ inch groups ( but it is not noted at which range!).
By 1940, these prices had risen to £8-12s-6d and £11-0s-0d repectively. Post-War the standard rifle had almost doubled in cost to £17-10s-0d.
The rifle was still offered in the 1951/52 catalogue, but was missing from that of 1954, but would still have still been available with retailers around the country, not least because the last of production is reported not to have left the factory until around the middle of the decade, although, obviously, not all production was destined for the home market.
Below we reproduce an article written by Dave Parish for target Gun, Nov/Dec 1979. Reproduced here with his kind permission.
Generally speaking, the advice given is as good today as it was then. However, with the current use of these rifles in historic competition, some of the alterations would be ill-advised in the light of year 2001 rulesand in the interest of maintaining the originality of what have become classiccollector's pieces.
We found this example of the BSA 12/15 in a gunshop and, although it had been privately owned, it proved ideal to illustrate avid Parish 's points about the club 12/15.
It was basically in good condition, but required a few detail points of attention as outlined in the article.
"How those old 12/15s can live again."
By DAVID PARISH
CALLED many things, some not very complimentary, the club rifle is generally referred to as the "Club Gun". As in very many cases this rifle is a B.S.A. 12/15, or one of the various Martini actioned B.S.A. rifles from which the 12/15 was derived.
A little history for the younger members of our sport: time was before the Second World War when if you used a British-made rifle it would most likely have been a B.S.A. or a Vickers, whilst the "Club Gun" was a Martini; converted from full-bore.
The majority of the B.S.A. rifles were the Model 12 which, according to the advertisements of the time, had "Consistent accuracy, perfect balance and ease in loading"--"The Champion's Rifle". It then went on, "Add to these the remarkably long life of the weapon, the low prices--with open sights five pounds, or on Easy Payment Terms 12 monthly instalments of 9/4d.... That's enough, and unless compared to the average wage, prices don't mean very much.
The "remarkably long life" was very true and many are in use today, along with the No 8, a lighter model with 25 in. barrel and the No. 13 with 25" barrel but lighter still at 6 Ib 7 oz. The No. 15 had an action body with the rearsight mounted directly on a dovetail cut in the rear of the body, a pistol grip stock and a long forend. Parker-Hale also would fit a new lever, pistol grip stock and if required, the long forend to the B.S.A. No. 8 or No. 12.
Some time in late 1935 or early 1936 Parker-Hale Ltd. offered the B.S.A.- Parker 12/15, and so this best-known of all British club rifles came into being. It was continued in production by B.S.A. after the war, finally being superseded by the B.S.A. version of the Al Freeland "Super Rifle" known as the Martini International.
Is the 12/15 competitive nowadays? If you mean in the highly competitive sport of prone shooting, no of course it is not, but if you refer to its use as a rifle to teach beginners or for those who prefer shooting as a recreational sport and to whom high scores are pleasing but not primary, it has no equal at its price.
Can it be improved? Taking into account up to date techniques - certainly, and at little cost, and I will give you a few ideas as we proceed. However the biggest failing of those that I have observed is neglect.
"Inner cleanliness comes first", so a well known advertisement says; so when was the last time your club rifles were cleaned, with solvent and if necessary a bronze brush? This year, last year, sometime - NEVER? The Martini action is very easy to clean, and also gets very dirty in areas where we don't want dirt.
Now let us look at the typical club 12/15. Is there anything that can be removed from the rifle before we add anything to it? Ah ha!--a two point sling!
Very nice for carrying the rifle over your shoulder but not much good for anything else. Take it off and hide it where nobody is likely to find it in a hurry.(Not in 21st. Century historic Service, Classic Veteran Classes you don't! - website Ed.)
A quick loader?, for those who do not know, a device attached to the side of the rifle to hold cartridges. I used to think they were all right, but learnt that they were a nuisance 25 years ago. (They still are a further 20 odd years on - Ed). If there is an ancient handstop with a strap over the barrel throw it away or give it to the chap who looks after the club archives. Any frontsight elements of 3.0 mm or below; no good for our present TARGETS . (All still excellent advice - Ed).
I do not intend to to into any detail that requires skill to effect a repair as that would be out of the scope of this article, but let us proceed to remove the action from the rifle and the buttplate from the butt. Gee-whiz, still got one of those rubber boots over it? Give it to the chap in the last paragraph who had the handstop.
Now remove the forend from the barrel. Using a long screwdriver ensure that the butt Is securely fitted by tightening the stock bolt. It should now be impossible to move it. If, however, it is still loose see if a few washers under the stock bolt head do the trick or see if the stock is loose in the socket in the action body. If so, it can be built up by using "Devcon" or similar. Most only need the stock bolt tightening - a loose butt is not at all helpful to accurate shooting.
With the mechanism cocked you can
check the trigger sear engagement Make
sure it hasn 't been stoned almost out of
existence and, above all, check that the
firing pin does not fall when the action Is
closed sharply. Without expensive
modifications, you can't get the trigger
pull much below the old standard of 3 Ib.
Place the barrel in the padded jaws of your vice and, using a bronze bristle brushand a solvent such as Hoppes, give the barrel a good scrub. The brush wont hurt the barrel at all. Pass a couple of clean patches through to remove the loosened fouling and look at the bore. You will probably be pleasantly surprised at how good it looks.
Then look at the muzzle under a strong magnifying glass. Look for any burrs or nicks. See if you can observe any damage to the barrel inside for an inch or so back.
If there is a nick or burr at the muzzle or any cord wear from a pull-through, then this must be seen to by somebody who knows what they are doing. If there is any wear at the muzzle it should be shortened and recrowned. The average firearms dealer may not be skilled enough to do this but should know of somebody who
The firing pin and spring mechanism as
viewed from the underside of the breech
block. The internal mechanism is
removed by unscrewing from the rear.
can do a first class job if he is unable to do it himself. Like everything else it is not difficult when you know what you are doing, but a poor job can make things worse. If the bore at the muzzle appears satisfactory, go back to the breech. Fortunately rod wear does not occur very often; partly because most of them are rarely cleaned but also because the rod is guided pretty well. On a bolt action rifle rod wear in the lead and on the edge of the chamber can occur if a rod guide is not used.
Any bad wear in the barrel is expensive to put right, as shortening at the breech involves a lot of work and if the barrel is this bad it is not worth spending a lot of money on the rifle, as it could well be more than the cost of replacing it with another rifle with a better barrel.
If all looks well, clean the inside of the action body and pass a patch well soaked in solvent through the barrel and store overnight, muzzle down in a tin to collect anything that comes out. Next day use the bronze brush again once or twice through the bore and dry with clean patches.
Now that the barrel is clean keep it that way. Before each night's shooting use a chamber brush and after say 250 rounds clean with an ordinary bristle brush,
solvent and dry patches. Never leave the barrel dry but fire a few rounds through it, or clean before the evenings shooting, or oil lightly until next time when this oil must be dried out.
Look at the breech end of the barrel where it acts as an anvil for the firing pin. This must not be dented or ignition will suffer. However the metal may be able to be peened to repair the damage. Possibly someone in the club is skilful enough, but if in doubt get someone who knows what they are up to. If there is an indent this indicates a too-long firing pin at some time and perhaps it may still be in.
Take the action apart and thoroughly clean it in solvent. Keep the solvent off your hands as much as possible as it is not too good for them. If the firing pin
spring is broken or "tired" replace it with a new one. Examine the firing pin, ensure that it moves freely in the block and that the protrusion is correct. This can be checked either with a gauge or against a couple of new rifles. Very few are at fault, but again adopt a policy of safety first and do not attempt to alter unless you are absolutely sure you know what to do.
Reassemble the clean action and observe the trigger and sear engagement, using a glass. This must be ample for safety as if the angle is incorrect or engagement insufficient the firing pin can fall when the action is closed. With the action in the hand close the lever smartly a number of times to ensure that this does not happen.
These rifles were designed for a heavy trigger pull and without extensive modifications will not safely go down much below 3lb. If the trigger and sear are badly worn or more likely stoned out of existence it is simpler to replace them.
There were a number of modifications available for these rifles to enable the trigger to be adjusted Some were better than others but In all cases they were not designed to enable the weight to be reduced, only to provide easy adjustment of weight, and on some engagement.
This rear sight was quite tight and smooth
in operation throughout the full range of
its adlustment for both elevation and
windage. "Sloppy" sights can be
tightened by very careful tapping.
Take out the foresight element by
unscrewing the knurled ring at the rear.
Owing to the size of present-day TARGETS ,
elements of less than 3 mm are of little
How about somebody marketing a low-cost conversion for both the 12/15 and Martini International to enable a safe, lighter two stage trigger to be installed? However 1 believe that costs may be far too high for it to be commercially feasible. (This retrofit basic adjuster was available from Parker-Hale for the models 12 and 12/15, and later a more sophisticated version for the International - now commonly known as the Mark I. The system was introduced as standard on the Mark II - Ed).
Replace the action into the rifle and see if the extractor has dropped. Most are a little low and give the characteristic bulge to the case, if it is very bad see what is the cause. A combination of wear on its pin, the screw which holds the action into the body, and the extractor itself being worn is the probable cause. New pins may effect a partial cure and certainly the action screw should fit well as this can also lower the strike of the firing pin.
At some time during "our" 12/15's
history, someone had inletted this drilled
and tapped metalplate into the forend.
David would not approve of the handstop
on this rifle, but the idea of the metal plate
is a good one, and the only better thing is
a "T" slotted rail.
Look at some cases which have been fired in the rifle and see if the firing pin is striking in the correct position. Your club instructor should be able to tell you from his notes as he should have been on a course. If the bulge is not too bad it is as well to leave alone, as fitting new pins to oversize reamed holes takes time and could cost a fair bit of money. If at any time the bulge is bad or a case has split then it must be seen to before the rifle is shot again.
Next lightly oil the action, and keep it clean and lightly oiled. On a few rifles there is a take-down screw on the left of the action body which enables, once it is removed, the barrel to be unscrewed. Naturally this must be tight and if any play develops at all clean the barrel threads and threads in the action body and use something like Loctite or Devcon Super Lock and reassemble. Do not use high-strength screw locking compounds as it may be necessary for some reason to remove the barrel.
Look at the foresight. Is it a tight fit in its dovetail so that it cannot move? The Parker-Hale foresights have elements available from a number of sources but the earlier B.S.A. style with the bottom lug are less easy to find, especially in the larger sizes. If the B.S.A. sight is fitted it could be replaced at a low cost with a second-hand Parker-Hale model and if an even earlier foresight with tip-over elements is fitted then it must be replaced.
(Beware, this is not the case if you wish to shoot some 21st. Century Classic events - Ed).
Each shooter should have his or her own element if they do not have a rifle of their own. For the absolute beginner a foresight can be left in the rifle which enables, at 25 yds on the centre two aiming marks, the maximum white to be seen without the other aiming marks intruding. Even this is artificially small, restricted by the style of card. If the tunnel of the foresight is shiny it could be oil blacked or even painted with camera black paint.
Rearsights of the folding pattern-and there are plenty of those still left - are usually pretty badly worn. Most are model 8 and 8a, and these should be discarded unless funds are very low. Similarly the B.S.A. sights on the No. 15 should be replaced, although many were replaced by Parker-Hale sights and a few are still in good condition. They are less easy to tighten that the Parker-Hale as the dovetail is part of the action body.
A sloppy sight can be tightened by judicious tapping, and experimenting on a really bad one can give experience. It is not as difficult as it seems but go slowly, tightening is much easier than loosening the slides when it has been over-done. If you are unable to do this and the sight is very bad, a number of dealers, including the N.S.R.A., usually have a selection of used sights in stock and at low cost.
The local Model Engineering Society can often be very helpful at times like these, as many of their number have considerable skills. Springs can be installed to reduce lost motion, and as most of these rifles are used only at 25 yards it is relatively simple to get the right length over the elevation and windage screws. Ensure that the sight is rigidly mounted, that it seats down well, and the screws are tight. If the aperture is O.K. use it. If not get a l.l mm single hole which will be adequate for almost all needs.
Now for the forend. The number of times shooters used to scratch away at the barrel channel when they had a bad shoot was amazing, as was the weird and not very wonderful packing that was used !
Removing the 12/15 action is simplicity
itself, and you can get this far by taking
out the single screw with a coin. The
action must be cocked in order to get it
out, and the removal of three pins further
strips it into its basic elements.
The wood on 12/15 is pretty well-seasoned now and all that is necessary is to ensure that it does not bear on the barrel unevenly, and from two inches in front of the forend screw it can be cleared so that a card can be passed between the barrel channel and the forend: The rear part of the forend must be a nice fit to the barrel and this can be achieved by means of coating the barrel with something that will leave a mark on the wood and carefully removing the high spots from the wood. Do this until a very good fit is obtained. Glass bedding could be used, but in this instance working on the wood is so simple that such additional expense is not necessary and in any case would not be any better than a good wood job. Make certain that the bushing for the forend screw, does not touch the barrel and that the attachment screw does not bottom in the hole in the barrel, otherwise the forend will be loose. Ensure that the rear of the forend does not bear unevenly or with any force against the action body, in fact a slight gap will do no harm.
Now for perhaps the most obvious modification to the factory rifle. Inlet the forend for a either a "T" slotted rail or a metal plate drilled and tapped for various positions to hold the handstop and/or sling swivel. (in 2005, this is an absolute no! - ed)
The "T" slotted rail is the better of the two but more expensive. Mount this in front of the forend attachment screw to give adequate adjustment for all lengths of arm. If a "T" slotted rail is used, a short filler to prevent discomfort on the hand should be used and both patterns must be inletted flush to the forend.
Apart from the presence of a little dirt,
there's not a lot wrong at the breech end of
this barrel. The area that acts as an anvil
for the firing pin (circled) is in good
shape, and the extractor has not dropped
low enough to cause bulged cases.
If a separate handstop is used the sling swivel must be just in front of the handstop not at the end of the forend. A cheap handstop is a cotton reel. A round handstop is the logical shape and one of those angled affairs which is apparently to fit the hand, on closer inspection does not do so well as the small round pattern.
This adjustment for the handstop and/or sling swivel is a MUST on a club rifle. As the two point sling has been done away with, a single-point sling must be obtained and every shooter, even if they do not have their own rifle, should obtain a sling. The exception of course is the absolute beginner and there are a number of slings on the market of simple pattern which are suitable for club use. Ensure that it conforms to U.I.T. rules. The old U.S. Govt., so called "Springfield" sling is ideal and is in fact commercially available.
Trigger shoes are not really necessary. Most of them which have been fitted to these rifles over the years are flat-faced and do little to improve the feel of the trigger and although the trigger is a little narrow it is better without a bad trigger shoe than with one.
The buttplate is still off at this stage and it should be decided whether there are enough club rifles or conversely enough young members or ladies in the club to warrant shortening the butt on on or more rifles, as the factory length is rather long for anybody under 5 ft 8 in. It is of course a simple matter to cut off one or more "slices" and trim the buttplate to fit.
Have a look at the buttplate and see if it is badly worn. If necessary recut the grooves or if it is beyond this obtain some fairly hard rubber and face this with a thin piece of grooved material such as many of the full-bore stocks are fitted with. This can then be fitted with the original screws or glued on.
To refinish the woodwork and the metalwork is of course not essential but how much nicer, particularly to newcomers, if they find not only an accurate rifle but an attractive one as well. There are many preparations on the market and that come with details of how to use them.
What accuracy should be expected from these rifles? Well, this depends on what abuse they have had, the work done o put right any faults and the quality and compatibility of ammunition fed to them. When new some 50 years ago the best British rifles were guaranteed to give 1 inch groups at 100 yards. Ammunition has improved considerably since then and as one leading shooter said: "They had to make better barrels then, as the ammunition was not so good".
The firing pin protrusion should be
carefully checked. If it is wrong, or the pin
is damaged, or the spring is broken or
tired these parts can be replaced.
The barrels were certainly good, not necessarily better than nowadays but I know what that gentleman meant. A good rifle, tight action and good barrel with forend bedding as it shold be, will give 1 inch groups at 100 yards with good ammunition. I have obtained this standard of accuracy from rifles I have rebuilt whose barrels, on inspection, would not pass as being all that good. Many of you will be surprised at what fine accuracy is locked up in that beat up old "Club Gun".
Oh, I nearly forgot: can that unknown gentleman - or should I say gentleperson - testing this refurbished club rifle shoot 1-inch groups at 100 yards? That is
another story altogether...
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