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Thread: Parts and upkeep for British civilian L1A1s?

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    Legacy Member enbloc8's Avatar
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    Parts and upkeep for British civilian L1A1s?

    Today I looked back through a couple of old posts about the days of civilian L1A1s in Britain, and I'm wondering...how hard was it to source parts and/or knowledgeable gunsmiths for them when needed?

    Also, it sounds like the civilian pool was primarily Australianicon rifles from Singapore and Malaya...were there any known (legal) Britishicon-made examples in circulation as well?

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    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    Parts were certainly much easier to get back then, civilian semi automatic military rifles were always a relatively small part of the UK shooting scene, but several dealers specialised in supplying rifles and parts.

    The vast majority were Lithgowicon (including a few semi automatic converted Malay L2A1's) , but mixed in with that were a number of semi automatic converted Fal's and a good number of Ishapore 1A1's.

    I've had deactivated examples of all the above go through my hands over the years.

    I've heard of a few Britishicon examples in civilian ownership, but yet to see any evidence of that.

    Due to the trickle of Straight pull L1A1's being available, by 'far' the best by Peter Sarony, there's actually a good number of BSA L1A1's (a few hundred at least), some Lithgow's and a very small number of Enfield made examples, though some of these are mixmaster reciver and TMH's..

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    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    My two examples, Enfield and Lithgowicon....
    .303, helping Englishmen express their feelings since 1889

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    Legacy Member free1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrclark303 View Post
    Attachment 123426Attachment 123427

    My two examples, Enfield and Lithgowicon....
    very nice rifles sir.

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    Legacy Member GeeRam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrclark303 View Post
    I've heard of a few Britishicon examples in civilian ownership, but yet to see any evidence of that.
    One of our club members had a British made SLR that he surrendered after the Hungerford ban. He is ex-Army NCO and saw service at the end of the No.4 era and into the SLR era.
    Sadly, he's been on a waiting list for a double hip op, and hasn't been able to shoot with the club for 4 years now, and he's not going to get through his renewal process this year, so is selling up, and only last week, found two of his old spare SLR mags in a box of old shooting crap he hadn't looked through for over 20 years!
    Just the thing for putting round holes in square heads.

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    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    Interesting, I've often wondered how Britishicon L1A1's came to be in civilian ownership when it was still a service Firearm ... A little 'slight of hand' on some occasions I'm sure...

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    Legacy Member GeeRam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrclark303 View Post
    Interesting, I've often wondered how Britishicon L1A1's came to be in civilian ownership when it was still a service Firearm ... A little 'slight of hand' on some occasions I'm sure...
    I can't remember exact details as its been 3+ years since I last spoke with him. I remember he said it was a very early production with wood furniture, and he'd only managed to acquire it about 18 months before Hungerford happened, so he was especially gutted that he'd finally found one, only to have to surrender it in within a couple of years. He said he's been trying to find a British one for some time.
    Did we leave any behind in the Far East when we pulled out of Singapore etc., in the early 70's...?
    Just the thing for putting round holes in square heads.

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    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    I'm sure PL has talked in the past about combined stores in the Far East.

    Perhaps a few UKicon examples reached the UK market from various foreign sources?

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    Legacy Member enbloc8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrclark303 View Post
    I'm sure PL has talked in the past about combined stores in the Far East.

    Perhaps a few UKicon examples reached the UK market from various foreign sources?
    I have seen a claim (on a FB group, so take it for what it's worth) that BSA terminated their L1A1 contract around 1962-63 over a financial issue (supposedly they discovered that RSAF Enfield was being paid 18% more per rifle than BSA), and then sold off their last completed rifles and parts stock on the civilian market. The author additionally claimed that some of these rifles were then acquired by a movie production company's prop unit, or an arms supply house for the movie industry, and appeared in many movies and TV shows of the era.

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    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enbloc8 View Post
    I have seen a claim (on a FB group, so take it for what it's worth) that BSA terminated their L1A1 contract around 1962-63 over a financial issue (supposedly they discovered that RSAF Enfield was being paid 18% more per rifle than BSA), and then sold off their last completed rifles and parts stock on the civilian market. The author additionally claimed that some of these rifles were then acquired by a movie production company's prop unit, or an arms supply house for the movie industry, and appeared in many movies and TV shows of the era.
    Interesting, I've never heard that one before.

    I know BSA sold small batches rifles to various foreign countries, India, Jamaica etc.

    I would find it slightly odd that BSA were paid less per rifle, considering ROF Enfield were a government owned factory.

    Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen a BSA example younger than 1963, possibly 1964...

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