We start here with the earliest model - the slide or "pump-action" rifle.
The B.S.A. slide action rifle was the British equivalent of the Winchester, Remington and Fabrique Nationale - (FN) Browning pump-action repeating rifles. It was manufactured mainly with the tube magazine as shown in the advertisement below, but early in production, from 1923, a small number (probably a maximum in the very low hundreds*) of these rifles were produced with a box magazine. This version was then little advertised and is rarely come across today. The action is simply marked "Patent Pending" .
A pretty and well balanced design, the operating system was not as reliable as its well-proven American counterparts and sales probably suffered as a result, although prices in the U.K. were fairly well in its favour by comparison with the Remington and Winchester slide or "pump" action rifles, all being only a few shillings either side of £5.00 in 1925. The then newly introduced Browning pump-action rifle was entirely a different matter. This hit the market running at the incredibly competitive price of only three pounds and five shillings (£3.25).
The magazine of rifle s/n 1022 in situ
and shown separately, loaded with six rounds
The rifle "taken-down"
The barrel markings and rear-sight ....
The markings are similar to those of the War Office Pattern Miniature Rifle, i.e.,
The Birmingham Small Arms Co. Ltd.
Cartridge .220 Long Rifle
We have been fortunate enough to obtain the original 1923
patent application by B.S.A. Guns Ltd
for this box magazine action.
Click on the drawing for the complete specification.
See also the comparable Savage Arms design of 1903
The following year saw the introduction of the Tubular Magazine Model, of which around 8,000 were manufactured before the commencement of the Second World War* brought such production to an abrupt close. The manufacture of this design was destined not to be reinstated post-war, effectively leaving the market for slide-action rifles clear for Winchester and FN (Browning).
The rifle above has been professionally fitted with a sophisticated pair of quick release offset claw mounts for a German manufactured "Gnomet" telescopic sight (not illustrated), and the muzzle has been threaded for a sound moderator - the knurled cap at the muzzle being the screw-on thread protector for when the silencing system is not in use.
Below: as advertised in 1925 as a "Take-down" rifle
Below: the patent no. of the main production version with the tubular magazine
Click the patent drawing below to view the complete patent
Below: the tube-magazined rifle shown taken down,
We have not seen one of these in the flesh, but there are photographs of an example of a tubular-fed rifle
with a finely engraved action, chequered wrist and fore-end grip, the latter being of an diameter significantly
enlarged from the standard product; the rifle being BSA's Special De-luxe version, such as was available with
their contemporary models of Martini small-bore rifles, and even the War Office Pattern Miniature Rifle.
For those interested in the rifling of the pump-action models,
here is an image of the whole bore length derived from the stacking of a series of 44 images.
Viewed from the muzzle.
It will be seen to be 8-groove, right-hand twist, with lands little wider than the grooves.
It is interesting to compare this with the wide-groove/narrow-land of the very accurate rifling of the earlier Model 12 target rifle,
of which a BSA drawing is shown about half way down that page.
* John Knibbs -"BSA - the Golden Century" - see Recommended Reading
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