Instructions for Armourers


[N.B. Whilst the extract is from the Instructions for Armourers of 1931, the Boys ATR details were a later 1939 amendment :Ed]

Issued with A.C.Is. for the week ending 29th March, 1939


The information given in this document is not to be communicated, either directly or indirectly, to the Press or to any person not holding an official position in His Majesty's Service..





(•55-in. Anti-Tank)


Printed under the Authority of HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE
by William Clowes & Sons, Ltd., London and Beccles.


SEC.                                                                                                                                      PAGE

  1. Cleaning, etc. ...      ...       ...       ...      ...       ...       5
  2. Examination ...      ...       ...       ...      ...       ...       6
  3. Repairs and adjustments... ...      ...      ...       ...       9
  4. Re-browning and oil blacking ...                    ...           ... 10
  5. Description and use of tools and gauges—

Rod, cleaning, Rifle, Boys, No. 2, Mk. I      ...       ... 12
Spanner, tubular, Mk. I         ...       ...      ...       ... 13
Tool, combination, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I...      ... 13
removing, foresight bracket, Mk. I     ...       ... 13
Gauges, armourers...     ...       ...      ...       ...    13

Box, magazines, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I          ...      ...       ... 14
Brush, bristle, Mk. 1...    ...      ...       ...    14
Cover, breech, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I ...       ...      ...       ... 14
muzzle, „    „       Mk. I ...                   ... 15,,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ...                                          ...
Magazine, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I         ...       ...      ...       ... 15
Rod, cleaning, Rifle, Boys, No. 1, Mk. I ...          ...           ... 15
                               Tool, combination, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I ...           ...         ... 16
List of parts—

  1. The rifle       ...      ...       ...                ...       ...    ...              17
  2. Accessories            ... ...     ...      ...       ...    19

(•55-in. Anti-Tank)
Drawing Nos. D.D.(E) 1926 and D.D.(E) 2029
(enclosed in docket for plates issued with " Instructions for
Armourers, 1931 ")
(Note.—The general description, stripping and assembling, etc., is given in detail in the Handbook for the Rifle, Boys, Mk. 1.)
Section 1. Cleaning, etc.
Cleaning and oiling will be carried out as for machine guns (see Part III, Chapter I, Section 3).
The following instructions refer only to the components and tools special to this rifle.
Normal cleaning.—As laid down in Small Arms Training, Vol. 1, Pamphlet No. 5, with the exception that the No. 2, Mk. 1 rod can be used in lieu of the No. 1, Mk. 1. Ensure that the bush is assembled in the recoil reducer deflector to prevent wear at the muzzle end.
Rust or metallic fouling.—When rust or metallic fouling is found to be present it should be removed with the Pull-through, c5-in., Mk. I " A " (introduced as Pullthro ugh, Vickers, •5-in. M.G., Mk. I " A ").

Remove the breech bolt, shoulder-piece and recoil deflector. Insert the pullthrough from the breech end, pass the end through the deflector, and reassemble the deflector to form a guide to prevent cord wear at the muzzle ; use as laid down for 303-in. barrels.
Recoil reducer.—Fouling, which is principally metallic, adheres firmly to the body and deflector and must be removed either by scraping or chipping, care being taken to leave the surfaces as smooth as possible.
Bolt.—Clean thoroughly, paying particular attention to the bolt face. Leave all components lightly oiled.
General.—See that the body is clean internally, especially the bolt-way and locking shoulders, using the bristle brush where necessary.
Ensure that all operating surfaces are free from grit or foreign matter and sufficiently lubricated.
Section 2. Examination of the rifle
The following instructions are for general guidance. Cir­cumstances may arise that necessitate a change in the sequence of examination, e.g., when a particular defect due to unfair wear or other cause is prevalent, or when a brief examination only is required.
SEE THAT THE RIFLE IS UNLOADED. Record the rifle number (on the left side of the body) and ascertain that the number and series letter on the body, barrel and bolt correspond and that the rifle is complete.
Barrel with body.—Remove the shoulder-piece and buffer, and ensure that the barrel with the body slides freely in the trunnion and on the rear slide. Remove from the cradle frame.
Backsight.—Test the fitting of the body in the dove-tail slot, and the free movement of the aperture sight when the lever is rotated. See that the aperture is not damaged.
Barrel.—Examine the thread at the muzzle end, the trunnion keyways, keys and bearing journals for any damage or burrs. Examine internally for condition and wear and, if badly worn in lead and bore, report for accuracy test in accordance with Equipment Regulations, Part I. See that the chamber is clean and undamaged and that sound dummy cartridges enter freely.
Body.—Examine for fractures or damage, special attention being given to the bolt guides, locking shoulders, rear slide guide and the buffer cylinder seating. All operating faces should be smooth and free from obstruction. Ascertain that the breech bolt slides and rotates freely in the bolt-way. See that the magazine assembles freely.
Magazine catch.—Test for free movement and functioning by inserting several magazines into the rifle.
Ejector stop.—Examine for fractures along the side of the nose and for burrs on the operating surface.
Sear.—Examine the bent for damage or burrs.
Safety catch.—Examine for burrs on the cam, and ensure that the catch operates correctly in the cocked and fired positions.
Bolt, breech.—Examine generally for damage or burrs on the locking shoulders, cannelures, bolt face and helical cam. Also see that the interior and vent holes are free from grit or dirt.
Extractor.—Examine for fracture or damage, special attention being given to the claw. See that it engages correctly on the ring and in the cannelures of the breech bolt.
Ejector.--See that it is correctly retained and free to operate on the lugs of the breech bolt ring.
Cocking-piece.—Examine the bent and cam for damage or burrs, and the stem for straightness. See that the spring sleeve, cocking-piece sleeve and striker assemble freely, and that the ring is free from burrs.
Striker.—Examine for erosion, and the point for damage.
Cocking-piece sleeve.—Ascertain that the cocking-piece slides freely, and that it assembles correctly in the bolt. Examine the threads for damage or burrs.
Cradle.—Examine the cradle generally for fractures at the joints and around the lug on the rear slide bracket and for any distortion of the tubes.
Foresight bracket.—Examine for damage, and for fit of the foresight blade.
Recoil reducer.—Examine the thread in the body, the thin boss on the concave side of the deflector for indentations, and the lug recesses for burrs.
Trigger guard.—Examine generally for damage or slack screws, and ensure that the trigger is free and smooth in operation.
Buffer spring and cylinder.—Examine the cylinder for freedom in the rear yoke, and ensure that the spring is well greased and free from grit.

Pistol and shoulder-piece grips and cheek rest.—Examine for splits and for damage liable to cause injury to personnel.
Front support.—Ensure that the support rotates freely in the pivot bearing and about the axis screw.
Check the catch, under the force of its spring, for smooth action.
Examine the hinge for damage, and the slots in the pivot for burrs that may prevent the entrance of the catch.
Examine the elevating screw for damage, and ensure that the sleeve rotates freely for the full extension of the support.
Examine the retaining pins and the slots in the stem for burrs that may affect stripping and assembling.
Assembled rifle
Pull-off.—With the trigger tester check the pull-off which should be within the limits of 10 to 15 lbs.
Ensure that the sear spring holds the sear against its stop, thereby giving the full height of bent. Test the safety of the engagement of the sear nose with the bent of the cocking-piece by rotating the bolt lever downward as sharply as possible.
See that the trigger returns freely to its initial position.
Cartridge head space (testing).—To check the distance of the bolt face from the cartridge belt seating remove the ejector, extractor and bolt ring from the breech bolt. Insert the head space gauge, through the ejection opening, into the chamber of the barrel, assemble the bolt into the bolt-way and push forward. Rotate the bolt into the locked position by applying light thumb pressure to the lever.
The head space is satisfactory when the locking action is completed when using the •4-in. gauge and incompleted when using the •41-inch gauge.
It is insufficient when the locking action is incompleted when using the •4-in. gauge, and excessive when locking is completed when using the •41-in. gauge ; the former condition is probably due to burrs or foreign matter and the latter to excessive wear.
Hand functioning.—Assemble a magazine filled with dummy cartridges and test the rifle for functioning, special attention being given to feed, extraction and ejection.
The action of the bolt lever on the cam at the rear of the body withdraws the bolt approximately Fin., and with this amount of draw it should not fail to extract the cartridge case if the action is otherwise correct. Should it fail, the spring tension at the claw of the extractor, which should be 5 to 7 lb. to move, must be checked.
Finally ascertain that all fixing pins and screws are secure and that the rifle is complete and in working order.
Section 3. Repairs and adjustments
For parts that, when unserviceable, necessitate sending the rifle to store for exchange or factory repair, see Equipment Regulations, Part 1.
The annual allowance of parts for repair of rifles is laid down in Equipment Regulations, Part 1.
When parts are of necessity withdrawn from the rifle spares, indents must immediately be put forward for their replace­ment.
Parts, other than those referred to, that may be required for replacement purposes must be indented for as necessary.
Testing and adjusting of cartridge head space.—The method of testing the head space and the procedure to be adopted is described in the " Examination of the Rifle ". There is no method by which an armourer can adjust the head space. If excessive, the breech bolt must be exchanged, and if still not reduced, the rifle should be reported for exchange (factory repair).
Barrel and body.—When the barrel or the body becomes unserviceable the rifle must be reported for exchange (factory repair).
Any part which is damaged or burred should be carefully adjusted with a smooth file or oilstone.
If the bolt is found to be tight in the bolt-way, and upon examination no burrs or damage to the guide grooves is apparent, place a small straight-edge on the outside faces of the body to check that the bolt-way between the magazine and ejection opening has not been closed in. Should this be the cause of gripping the bolt, the rifle should be reported for exchange (factory repair).
Aperture backsight.—Should the aperture be closed in or otherwise rendered unserviceable, it should be replaced, care being taken that a sight of similar " offset " is fitted.
Bolt, breech.—When bolt components are replaced the newly issued parts should not require adjustment ; but when a complete breech bolt is replaced the rifle must be shot for accuracy in accordance with Equipment Regulations, Part 1, and the bolt lever marked with the body number and series letter.
Cradle.—Any distortion should be rectified where practicable, but if distorted to such an extent that the recoil of the barrel and body is affected, the rifle should be reported for exchange (factory repair).
Recoil reducer.—If it is found that the reducer body is badly distorted it must be exchanged. If caused by indenta‑

tions in the thin boss of the deflector, slide over a steel rod held in a vice and lightly pane until removed, finally dressing off with a smooth file.
Note.—Any roughness or irregularities will assist in the accumulation of fouling.
Pull-off.—To increase the weight of the pull-off, reduce, with an oil-stone, the angle made with the vertical by the faces of the bents on the cocking-piece and sear, keeping both faces equal to maintain the area of bearing surface.
To reduce the weight, increase the angle.
Spring, sear.—Should the sear not be held against the stop by the sear spring, remove the fixing screw and reverse the spring. If this does not effect a remedy the spring should be exchanged.
Extraction and ejection.—If in any way impaired the faulty components should be replaced.
Missfires.—When missfires have been reported, the protrusion of the striker should be gauged, and if below the low limit, the striker should be exchanged. Accumulation of dirt or fouling in the striker spring and sleeve will reduce the force of the striker blow ; strip completely and thoroughly clean.
Section 4. Re-browning and oil blacking
Browning will be carried out under the same conditions as for small arms (see Part 1, Chapter III, and Appendix I).
The following lists give particulars of components that are browned or oil-blacked, and also where polished after treat­ment. Components not mentioned in the lists are either polished, left as from heat-treatment, or sandblasted.
When cleaning off before browning, or polishing after browning, care must be taken not to reduce the dimensions of any component.
To avoid unnecessary work in adjustment after browning it is advisable to keep the parts, as far as possible, with the rifle from which they were stripped.
Browned and Polished
Component                                                          Surfaces polished
Bearing, trunnion ...       ... Inside bearing hole.
Body, backsight              ... Lever bearing and slide way.
Bolt, breech ... Polished generally, necessary
only to brown at the reduced diameter including the bolt lever.
Browned and Polished—continued
Bracket, foresight ...        ... Inside barrel bearing.
Catch, front support        ... Working surfaces.
      „ magazine ...      ... At sides and nose of bent.
      „ safety                ... Cam and working faces of
Cocking-piece           ... Polished generally, necessary
only to brown ring.
Cylinder, buffer   ...       ... External working surfaces.
Hinge, front support        ... Working surfaces.
Lever, backsight        ... Polished generally, necessary
only to brown thumbpiece.
Pin, sear ... ... Polished generally, necessary only to brown outside face of flange.
Pivot                                              Working surfaces.
Sear                              ... Underside and bent.
Slide, backsight              ... Working surfaces.
Stop, ejector                  ... Inside       slot         and    outside
working surfaces.
Trunnion ...            ... Internal face and journals.
Barrel with body ...         ... Working surfaces.
Body, recoil, reducer.
Cap, grip, shoulder-piece.
Deflector, recoil reducer.
Foot, front support.
Guard, grip, shoulder-piece.
Pin, axis, magazine catch.
Pin, stop, ejector.
Plate, cheek rest, lower.
Sleeve, cocking-piece       ... (Rear end only).
front support     ... (Externally)
Spring, safety catch.
Washer, pivot, spring.
Tube, shoulder-piece.
Oil Blacked
Blade, foresight.
Guide, spring, magazine catch. Nut, slide, cradle frame.
„ screw, buffer.

Oil Blacked—continued
Screw, blade, foresight.
„ bearing, trunnion.
„     buffer.

PP                                       cheek rest.
„ shoulder-piece.
PI                                     trigger guard.

„ retaining, backsight lever.
„ sight, aperture.
„ sleeve, front support.

„ spring, trigger pawl.

Sight, aperture backsight. Washer, pivot, plain.
Oil Blacked and Polished
Component                                      Surfaces polished
Screw, hinge, front support External diameter, excluding
head and screwed portion.
Trigger                     ... Working surfaces.
The protruding ends of the " Stiffener, pad, shoulder-piece ".
Section 5. Description and use of tools and gauges
Rod, cleaning, Rifle, Boys, No. 2, Mk. I.—This is of steel, approximately 43-in. long, and has a rotating handle. The end is screwed for assembling, alternatively, the loop or wire brush as for the No. 1 rod. A sliding steel bush, provided for insertion in the recoil deflector to prevent muzzle wear, is secured to the handle by a chain and steel clip.
It is also arranged so that the •55-in. plug may be assembled to the rod when gauging the bore of the barrel.
Spanner, tubular, Mk. I.—This is for use when removing or assembling the hexagon-headed nuts and screws on the rifle. It is single-ended and approximately 2k-in. long, the plain portion being provided with a lateral hole for a tommy bar.
Tool, combination, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I.—Is in the form of a flat spanner, for use when removing the recoil reducer body, with the handle end turned over to form a screwdriver for removing the recoil reducer screws.
Tool, removing, foresight bracket, Mk. I.—This consists of four components—Body ; screw ; pad and pad retaining pin.
The body is formed by a bridge-piece, drilled and tapped centrally, extending into two arms with semi-circular lugs at the ends.
The screw is approximately 4-in. long and has a hexagon head through which a hole is drilled to take a tommy bar. The opposite end is reduced to fit a recess in the pad and is provided with an annular groove for the assembly of the retaining pin.
The pad is cylindrical, one end being reduced to fit the bore of the barrel and the other recessed to house the end of the screw. The recessed end is drilled laterally for the assembly of the retaining pin, which, when assembled, allows the pad to remain stationary when the screw is rotated.
To use the tool.—Remove the recoil reducer and rotate the screw in an anti-clockwise direction until the maximum extension is obtained. Slide the arms of the tool behind the foresight bracket, positioning the semi-circular projections into the corresponding recesses in the enlarged diameter of the barrel, and rotate the screw in a clockwise direction until the pad enters the bore of the barrel. Further rotation will withdraw the foresight bracket from the barrel.
Gauge, armourers : Plug, •55-in.—This is screwed internally at the rear end to assemble to the No. 2 cleaning rod, and is for gauging the bore of the barrel, through which the plug must run.
Gauge, armourers : Striker point, No. 3.—This is used to check the protrusion of the striker point through the face of the bolt. It is a plate gauge similar to that used on the 303-in. rifles, •068-in. and •062-in. being the high and low limits respectively, and •038-in. the radius of the point.
Gauges, armourers : •4-in. and •1-in.—These are for testing the cartridge head space, i.e. the distance from the breech bolt face to the cartridge belt seating, and are similar in shape to the base of a cartridge. The gauge distance is taken from the base to the chamfer, the front end acting as a guide.

Box, magazines, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I
Examination.—Examine the box for damage and distortion, special attention being given to the welded corners, joints, separators and hinge. Test the carrying handle brackets, catch and catch hook for security. Examine the carrying handle for wear, serviceability and security. Fill the box with serviceable magazines, and whilst doing so, test the separators to ensure that the magazines assemble freely and are correctly retained. See that the lid closes correctly, and that the catch and hook function satisfactorily.
Repair.—Should the box be slightly distorted, it can be adjusted by suitably supporting the distorted part and straightening with a raw-hide mallet, care being taken not to strain the welding. If the projections of the separators are bent or distorted, cut a suitable size slot in a piece of hard wood and with this as a lever, straighten the projections, using a magazine as a gauge to ensure that the correct distance between the separators is maintained.
If a carrying handle becomes unserviceable, a new one must be fitted, the ends being so riveted as to be positioned on the underside.
Should a catch hook be distorted or bent, it should be adjusted until the catch functions correctly. If badly dis­torted, excessively damaged or broken away at the joints, or when either the catch link bracket or carrying handle bracket is broken or otherwise unserviceable, the box must be exchanged.
Enamelling.—Where chipped, so as to expose metal, the part should be painted with the service air drying enamel after removing any rust present.
Brush, bristle, Mk. I
Examination.—Examine generally for serviceability.
Cover, breech, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I
Examination.—Ensure that the quick-release fasteners and strap are securely stitched to the cover and that the material surrounding the press-studs is not frayed or weak.
Repair.—Where practicable. Cover, muzzle, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I
Examination.—Ensure that the quick-release fastener, zipp fastener and strap are securely attached to the cover and that all stitching is in a serviceable condition.
Repair.—Where practicable.
Magazine, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I
Examination.—Examine the platform and ensure that the cartridge face is smooth and that it is positioned correctly by the pressure of the spring.
Test the functioning of the spring by compressing it in the case, using a piece of hard wood. The action should be smooth and free.
Note.—Do not suddenly release a compressed spring or damage to the lips of the case will result. Should the action be tight or irregular the platform, spring and case should be examined for burrs and distortion.
Examine for distortion of the lips and the engaging flanges for the top plate. Examine generally for damage or burrs.
After detail inspection, fill the magazine with dummy cartridges and assemble to a rifle to test functioning.
Repairs and adjustments
To adjust distorted lips.--•Prepare a piece of hard wood to assemble in the magazine case and shape one end to fit the internal radius of the lips of a correct magazine. Position the case on the wood, grip the latter in a vice and with a raw­hide mallet restore the shape of the lips to their original form.
After adjustment, the magazine must be tested for func­tioning.
Re-browning.—Re-browning as necessary will be carried out under the same conditions as for small arms—see Part I, Chapter III, and Appendix 1.
Rod, cleaning, Rifle, Boys, No. 1, Mk. I
Examination .—Ensure that the coupling sleeves inserted in the brass tubes are securely held. Examine the threads on the screwed coupling and adaptor for damage, the cord for wear, and the handle for splits at the bottom of the cord retaining slots. Examine the ends of the tubes for burrs and see that the coupling sleeves slide freely into the brass tubes when the rod is assembled.
Repair.—Should the coupling sleeves work loose, tin the end that fits the tube and sweat into position, leaving the end extending approximately 1-in.

If the cord is unserviceable, replace with a new length as follows :‑
Remove the old cord. Tie a knot in one end of the new cord, insert the unknotted end through the hole in the handle and push through the tube. Assemble the brass tubes and screwed coupling with the coupling sleeves and plain end of the screwed coupling foremost, finally knotting the free end of the cord suffi­ciently small to allow the assembly of the adaptor.
If the handle is split or loose, a new handle complete with length of tube should be fitted.
Brush wire
Examination.-Examine generally for serviceability.
Repair.-Should the loop be bent or distorted, repair where practicable, care being taken to remove burrs and to leave all surfaces smooth.
Tool, combination, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I
Examination.-Ensure that the spanner fits the body of the recoil reducer and that the screwdriver end is free from burrs or damage and fits the slots in the recoil reducer screws.
Finish.-Re-browned as and when necessary.

List of Parts
(for identification purposes in conjunction with drawing
No. D.D. (E) 1926)
        No.                                                                                                                                                          No
                       Designation              Part                Designation
Group A.                                            Group D.

(2).                                                   catch.

guard.                                 34.        Slide, cradle.

                                                           40.        Sear.
                             Group B.               41. Trunnion.

sight lever.                    43. Screw, bearing, trunnion

lever.                                 48.     Screw, blade, foresight (2).

Group E.

                             Group C.                    56. Screw, fixing, cheek rest.

    27.              Screw, recoil reducer (3). 58.      Plate, cheek rest, upper.

APPENDIX I-continued
Part                                                  Part
Designation                                                              Designation
No.                                                    No.
Group F.                                                                      Group H.

(2).                                                          88.            Ejector.
66.           Cradle.                                  89.          Sleeve, striker.

Group G.                               92.         Sleeve, cocking-piece.

piece.                                  94.            Foot, front support.

piece (2).                             97.           Catch, front support.

piece.                                                 port.

(2).                                     101.         Hinge, front support.

piece.                                  103.                     Washer, pivot, plain.

80.                        Brush, oil.                            105.       Sleeve, front support.

List of Parts
(for identification purposes in conjunction with Drawing
No. D.D. (E) 2029)
Box, magazines, Rifle, Boys, Rod, cleaning, Rifle, Boys-contd.
Mk. I.                                                    No. 1, Mk. I.
Brush, bristle, Mk. I.                               No. 2, Mk. I.
Cover, breech, Rifle, Boys,            1. Rod.
Mk. I.                                                      2. Bush
Cover, muzzle, Rifle, Boys,                With " S " hook and
Mk. I.                                                                  M.G. chain.
Pullthrough, •5-in., Mk. I                          3. Clip, spring.
Gauze.                                               4. Sleeve, handle.
Magazine, Rifle, Boys, Mk. I                      5. Nut, retaining, handle.

With pin.                                                                  Mk. I.

Complete with guide         bracket, Mk. I
plate and stud.                           1. Pin, retaining, pad.
Rod, cleaning, Rifle, Boys                          2. Pad.
Brush, wire.                                             3. Body.
Lodi).                                                      4. Screw.

(475) Wt. 27671-8O40. 3,500. 3/39

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