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  1. #1
    Member gerard488's Avatar
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    1944 Dispersal Rifle?

    I have a 1944 BSA No1 MkIII rifle with an A prefix in serial number. Lots of matching numbers on wood and metal, was FTR in 1953. I am curious about the A, can't find any info on it.






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    Senior Member capt14k's Avatar
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    I would assume it is the serial prefix. Often serials run in blocks from 1-9999 starting with A. Then when they get to 9999 numbers start over with B. Not positive about that particular rifle but that would be my guess.

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    It looks like the nose cap has been recycled from another rifle that had '23' as its final two digits. Mind you this wouldn't surprise me on these late assembly rifles. The barrel is also of BSA commercial mfr., but again this is a common finding on WW2 dated BSA rifles.

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    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Payneicon View Post
    The barrel is also of BSA commercial mfr., but again this is a common finding on WW2 dated BSA rifles.

    Up until 1940, BSA made normal high-quality No1 MkIII* on limited military contracts, marked with the usual Crown and BSA&Co, as well as identical rifles just marked "BSA&Co" for commercial sale and export.

    With the invasion scare, the Ministry of Supply ordered BSA to make rifles out of whatever parts it could get together. Hence the rifles were made of mixtures of commercial and military parts, mixed walnut and beech wood (or all-beech), later on No4 butts and firing pin/cocking pieces. A second wave of production in 1945 even used recycled and re-dated receivers.

    About the same time the emergency rifle production was started, BSA was ordered to disperse its many Birmingham factories away from the bomb-target central area, and also to increase war production by diluting experienced staff with war staff. BSA was a huge engineering group, and this "Dispersal" programme led to 70 seperate factories being set up, moved and/or expanded. Rifle production involved several of these factories (both No1s and No4s), and this type of "all available parts" No1 has become known as a "Dispersal rifle". Technically, even the No4s were Dispersals, as well as motorbikes, bicycles, aircraft parts, machine guns and heavy weaponry...

    BSA marked these rifles with just the first "B" of BSA&Co. Presumably this was to dissociate the company from these slightly less-than top quality peacetime rifles!
    Mine are not the best, but they are not too bad. I can think of lots of Enfields I'd rather have but instead of constantly striving for more, sometimes it's good to be satisfied with what one has...

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    The last two digits of the date have been added later to the main bunter details, as well. But again, not surprising.......& not restricted to dispersal rifles. Many 1930's dated BSA bodies I have are of earlier manufacture that have had the date completed (or amended) at the time that they were actually built up into rifles.
    Last edited by Roger Payne; 05-23-2020 at 12:22 PM.

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    The 1944 "Dispersal rifles" all have the FTR mark and can have any serial number.

    I have never seen a 1945 "Dispersal" even in pic. I'd like to see soma pics of a 1945 Dispersal.

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    Likewise, never seen one dated later than 1944.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by giove View Post
    The 1944 "Dispersal rifles" all have the FTR mark and can have any serial number.

    I have never seen a 1945 "Dispersal" even in pic. I'd like to see soma pics of a 1945 Dispersal.
    A friends estate that I helped with had a 1945 dated "Dispersal rifle"

    I likewise believed it was a poorly struck "43" until i examined it closely - it was indeed dated 1945.

    I will see if I can find pics, or track the rifle back down.

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    Really Senior Member Alan de Enfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Payneicon View Post
    Likewise, never seen one dated later than 1944.....
    I have only seen this picture and the consensus on the date (43 or 45) is about 50/50


    It seems to depend on how you look at it, and how many times you look at it, and what date you already think it is.
    Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	1945 Dispersal Rifle.jpg‎
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ID:	108421   Click image for larger version

Name:	BSA 1943 Dispersal.jpg‎
Views:	86
Size:	225.8 KB
ID:	108422  
    Last edited by Alan de Enfield; 05-24-2020 at 11:53 AM.
    Mine are not the best, but they are not too bad. I can think of lots of Enfields I'd rather have but instead of constantly striving for more, sometimes it's good to be satisfied with what one has...

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    Aren't those two different rifle butt sockets Alan? The first does look like it could be 1945, but the second definitely looks like 1943, at least to me.

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