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The Air Rifle's history in Weapon Training


This is far from being the most comprehensive information on such rifles, but it should afford an insight into some aspects of their use during the first half of the 20th. Century and beyond.

Air powered rifles have been around for more than two hundred years, from ball-reservoir or butt-reservoir multi-shot rifles for sport and poaching, powerful air-canes for personal protection ......... and more poaching, single-shot piston operated models, to modern PCP rifles and pistols.

An example of early military use of a butt-reservoir rifle was an Austrian design by Giradoni. This was produced in the late 1700s. Operating at 800p.s.i., it held, in a feed tube, eight .46" calibre round balls that would penetrate a 1" pine board at 100 yards range, and was used during the American Civil War.

The rifles with which we are concerned here are mainly those of Webley and Birmingham Small Arms Company manufacture, and a specific Enfield modification of one such of the latter.

Probably the most well known British made air rifle is the George Lincoln Jeffries design eventually built and marketed by B.S.A. & Co.

The Webley & Scott Co. manufactured a plethora of air arms over many years, but their Marks I & II Service rifles, in both No.1 bore and No.2 bore sizes ( .177' and .22" calibres), will particularly concern us here.

Between 1932 and the 1950s even W.W. Greener made a "cam-back" under-lever air rifle at his factory in St. Mary's Row, Birmingham - where M.K. Jurek was also latterly based - in the Gun Quarter of the City.


The B.S.A. Lincoln-Jeffries design air rifle


Whilst not training rifles in the military sense of the term, such air rifles took a major rôle in preparing for war both the youth and working man of the early Twentieth Century. The air rifle was widely employed in schools, cadet forces, and the plethora of Public House teams that morphed into the Society of Working Mens' Clubs and other associations; all this when the Nation was being particularly encouraged to take up rifle shooting in any form practicable. The call was heeded everywhere, and indeed with tremendous enthusiasm.

This subject rifle, initially designed and manufactured by George Lincoln Jeffries, and patented in January 1904, was effectively the first of its kind to be brought into regular use by the many rifle clubs and public house shooting teams that flourished after the Boer War's comparatively disastrous showing by British military riflemen. Lord Robert's call to the country to take up the art of rifle shooting at the earliest possible opportunity was heeded throughout the Nation, and numbers of associations sprang up to answer his call to train the population and better prepare them for any future conflict.

We justify the L.J. patented B.S.A. Improved Model being shown here because it was effectively the precursor to those various rifles later afforded "military" connotation.

Barely one year after Lincoln Jeffries' design was patented, a mutually beneficient contract was made between him and the Birmingham Small Arms Company to the effect that rifles would be produced to his design that would be marketed seperately under both companies' names each model bearing the respective company's trade mark.

At the outset, each company manufactured parts most suited to their production tooling and expertise, but, when a Ladies' model was introduced, its manufacture was almost entirely undertaken by B.S.A. Eventually, practically all rifles were manufactured by B.S.A., although Lincoln Jeffries was still making design improvements and his patents held sway. By 1911, Lincoln Jeffries' own sales were struggling against the popularity of B.S.A. models, now marketed as the "Improved" models, albeit still bearing Lincoln Jeffries patent. By 1912, Lincoln Jeffries announced his intention to retire and emigrate to New Zealand, and his company was passed over to family members. Indebted to B.S.A., it is assumed that part of the arrangement, that left the family with the Lincoln Jeffries Company, included the handing over of all patents to B.S.A., allowing the latter firm to market the rifle entirely under its own name.

A fully comprehensive history of the companies and their air rifles is available in John Knibbs' excellent book "B.S.A. and Lincoln Jeffries Air Rifles" an updated and revised edition of which appeared in 2012, the original copies having already become something of collectors' pieces.

Below is an original air rifle target issued by the Preparatory Schools Air Rifle Association. This organisation came into being in July 1905 but in February 1906 amalgamated with other shooting organisations to form the Preparatory Schools Rifle Association, still extant.

Below are shown the young team from Sutherland House Preparatory School (Nottingham) in 1909 after their fine performance in a P.S.R.A. competiton; the team having scored 592 ex. a possible 600.

The boy front centre is holding a Lincoln Jeffries Patent air rifle, the boy on the left a 1906 Pattern War Office Miniature Rifle probably of .22" rimfire calibre, and the boy at front right a Martini Cadet rifle of either .22, .297/.230 or .310 calibre.

At this time, young men were actively encouraged to partake in rifle shooting, and also to join cadet groups or the Boys Brigade to engender what proved to be a very necessary military addition to their upbringing.

One has to wonder where some Western European countries would be now in the event of a further major call to arms.

By kind permission of the Sectretary of the P.S.R.A.

The little booklet printed by the Birmingham Small Arms Company in 1909

and entitled "The Book of the B.S.A. AIR RIFLE", is an excellent source of information about these fine rifles.

Some of the illustraions from the booklet are used on this page, but the entire contents can be viewed in the flip-page document below.


 

A searchable, flip-page facsimile is available by clicking the image below.


 

The first "pull-out" in the book shows, on one face, the various models produced by the Company; the rear face illustrates the two "Military" models in company with their parent arms, the "Long" and "Short" .303 calibre Service Rifles for comparison. The latter illustration is shown on this page in the following section on the B.S.A. Military Pattern air rifle.

The top rifle shown above is the Standard Pattern, the second is the Light Pattern, the third down is the short-lived Junior Pattern, and the fourth down shows the straight-handed stock, the pistol-grip butt-wrist latterly being the average buyer's preferred option. The bottom rifle illustrates the under-lever in the fully back position as the rifle is cocked.

Below left is a box of the 1909 "Adder" pellets in No.1 bore (.177"), and to the right is a surviving box of slightly later production.

............

The later pellets shown below are practically indistinguishable from the Adder product,

although the 1909 drawings seem to show a slightly more pointed form than the domed later pellet in the centre.

............

All these pellets are now the best part of a century old.


The sectional drawing of the rifle and components

The trigger piston and rod engagement drawing

 


The B.S.A. "Military" Air Rifle

This rifle was first advertised by B.S.A. in 1906 in two models, Long and Short; the "Long" rifle representing the "Long" Lee-Enfield Magazine Rifle of the late 19th. Century, and the "Short" version representing the S.M.L.E. (Short Magazine Lee-Enfield) of the early 20th. Century.

The Long models of the BSA Military air rifle are nowadays few and far between, but the "Short" version seen in the company's advertisements has, to the best of our knowledge, yet to appear anywhere other than on paper. Little more than 400 of the Long Military Pattern air rifles were sold over 8 years of production, probably making the company a loss when development, production and marketing costs were all taken into account.There were effectively three variants of the Long rifle, made in three batches - not fully coinciding. An initial batch of 150 rifles was followed by a second of about 130. The rifles were serially numbered from one.

The rifle illustrated above is one of the later models, Serial No. 323 from the third and final production batch of approximately 120 units assembled between mid 1911 and the commencement of the First World War. It is fitted with the modified under-lever that smooths the profile and reduces the chance of it catching against anything in the field of use; it has an ovoid knurled release button on the left-hand-side. This style of under-lever had also been fitted to some earlier non-military rifles, and was certainly shown on all rifles in the 1911 catalogue. Post the Great War, the Nos. 1 & 2 rifles were on offer with a further modification, in which the under-lever release had become a round button at the front. The rifles shown here on the 1909 brochure pages are fitted with the early downward-hooked under-lever of profile then standard for all models.

The information on the Military Pattern Rifle provided here is both general and far from comprehensive.

Details of dimensioning and weights are to be found within the brochure pages on view.

(Please do not email us solely to ask for such data)

For the definitive history, John Knibbs' book"Lincoln Jeffies and BSA Air Rifles" is without doubt the place to go.

The author worked with the B.S.A. Company for many years, and acquired their remaining records when the factory closed down.

The top rifle above is the mysterious and elusive "Short Rifle" pattern. Even aficionado John Knibbs has yet to set eyes on one, and he suspects that only a small number of prototypes could have been made, one of which was evidently used in the preparation of the 1909 advertising material. This pattern, was a representaion of the then comparatively newly introduced Service .303 Rifle, Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield, ( S.M.L.E No.1, Mk.1 - or "Smellie" as it was fondly known by First World War troops); the latter service rifle is shown below the air rifle for comparison. The Short Rifle pattern of air rifle is illustrated with a different, front-hinged, tangent rear-sight that, as intended, bears a close resemblance to the sight fitted to the Service S.M.L.E., but may not be absolutely identical. The Short model air rifle certainly failed to reach production, and did not figure in B.S.A. advertisements much after 1911.

The third rifle down is the "Long Rifle"pattern, representing the Territorial (or Volunteer) Lee-Enfield Magazine Rifle shown beneath it. That illustrated "parent" Service rifle was the early model without the clip-loading charger-bridge. The series of rifles of this genre all became known colloquially as the "Long Lees", and by 1909 were becoming obsolescent - with the introduction of the S.M.L.E. However, they remained in regular use in many theatres of war by the troops of many and varied Nations over the next few decades.

The "Long" Military pattern air rifle was hoped by B.S.A. to offer an economical training arm both for civilian youth and the military. But although the running costs were the lowest possible, the unit cost was fairly high by comparison with what else was at the time available. In 1911, the Long Military air rifle model cost 80 shillings (£4). The equivalent powder-powered miniature calibre (small-bore) rifles, mainly in .22 rimfire calibre, were the various Martini-actioned cadet models produced by B.S.A. and W.W. Greener.These were highly accurate up to 100 yards, and cost at least 15% less - although ammunition was considerably more expensive. The War Office 1906 Pattern Miniature Rifle in standard .22RF form, at 45/-, cost little over half the price of the Long Military air rifle, and a third of the Short model. Additionally, the cartridge rifles were better accommodated by a considerable number of National competitions, many of which offered valuable prizes for the most successful shooters.

The 1911 catalogue page, below, for the Military model air rifles still offered the Short Rifle - at a price!

This would certainly explain the dirth of short model sales, when that version cost 50% more than the larger, and perhaps more accurate, Long model.

May there here be an implication that the model would anyway have necessitated a special order?

This is not stated, but few dealers would have cared to stock this expensive item on the offchance of a sale.

We certainly await, with baited breath, for news of one of these rifles "coming out of the woodwork" after more than a hundred years.

The rifle illustrated in 1911 was configured as the example photographed on this page, with the cleaner line to the cocking under-lever.

By the onset of the First World War in 1914, all B.S.A. small arms production had already been directed towards service weaponry. Post-war, although the 1919 catalogue advertised the No.1 and No.2 air rifles, perhaps partly remaining stock, there was certainly no mention of the Military Pattern rifle. One unusual and presumably late example of the rifle is to be found, illustrated on the internet, carrying the marks on both barrel and butt for its ownership by the 1st. Battalion, Irish Guards. The stamping on the left hand side of the butt is dated January 1913. The rifle's serial number is 311.

 

The parts drawings and parts list for the various rifle models are shown below.

The right-hand page carries illustrations of those components that are specific to the Military Pattern rifle, as well as a separate listing for same.

...


A very similar contemporary military style air-rifle was marketed by the Westley-Richards Company.

It has to be said that the under-lever appears close in design to that of the early BSA Military model rifle, and while it is not inconceivable there was some licensing link between the two companies, the photograph caption states that it is of Westley-Richards patent, and some variance is apparent on the right-hand side of the "receiver", indicating that the loading system may have been completely different. Perhaps you know something of this.

In 1906, Henry Sharp wrote in his book "Modern Sporting Guns" (Chapter XIII on Miniature Rifles) that -

"Messrs. Westley Richards & Co. have shown me an air- gun with fixed barrel, of a type already described, attached to the breech action and stock of a British Government service rifle. This arrangement retains the service weight of the rifle, its length of barrel, the external shape, form, and dimensions of stock, and the same trigger and guard and magazine, so that the handling of this combination air-rifle is the same as the service rifle, which is of great importance in the training of recruits."

Whether there is any connection between the rifle described by Sharp and the one in the image above has yet to be discovered.


Also in 1906, H. Marks, one of the founders of the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs, and a contemporary of Lord Roberts in the campaign to encourage rifle shooting in Great Britain, wrote an article that appeared in the jurnal of the S.M.R.C. - "The Rifleman".

A searchable, flip-page facsimile is available by clicking the image below.



The Enfield made conversion of a B.S.A. (Lincoln-Jeffries type) air rifle

to an S.M.L.E. training rifle for Anti-Aircraft practice.

The Rifle, Air, No.2, Mk.I, .177 inch / SMLE


This could almost be described as "The rifle that never was". Probably either a unique or extremely low production prototype or trials rifle constructed at Enfield, and for the specifically proposed purpose of anti-aircraft training, this unusual device never went into adopted production; indeed, there is no full specification for the rifle in the archives of the old Enfield "Pattern Room", now held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Such specifications were usually only prepared for weapons that were to go into production after adoption, suggesting that this design failed to reach that point. Thus the rifle does not appear in the List of Changes.

The next two images can be rotated and zoomed, either as initially loaded or full-screen for higher definition.

 

 


 

DATA TABLE - ALL MEASUREMENTS AS VIEWED EXAMPLE
FIREARM
IMPERIAL
(METRIC)
Designation or Type :
Military Training Air Rifle representing Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle No.1 Mk.III
Manufacturer :
R.O.F. Enfield
Date :
1932 - 34
Serial No :
None
Furniture :
Walnut
Action Type :
Taper plug loading tap
Nomenclature or main marks:
Rifle, Air, No.2 Mk.1 ; "D.D. (E) 1358"
Calibre :
.177 inch
4.5 mm
Weight :
9 lbs. 7½ ozs.
4.3 kgs
Length - Overall :
44½ inches
113 cms
Length - Barrel :
19 inches

48.25 cms

Pull :
13½ inches
34.2 cms
Spare row :
-
-

Rifling - No. of Grooves & type:

12
near square lands
Rifling - Twist & Direction :
approx 1 turn in 18 inches - RH
1 : 46 cms
Rifling - Groove width :
0.024 inches
0.61 mm
Rifling - Land width :
0.024 inches
0.61 mm

Rifling - Groove depth at muzzle :

approx .002 inches
.051 mm
Sight - Fore :
standard S.M.L.E. blade
Sight - Rear :
vertically adjustable elevation plate with "U"-notch
Sight - Radius :
20 inches
51 cms

It is quite possible that the rifle was intended for use with a system such as the "Spotlight Projector", which used a spotlight attached to an S.M.L.E rifle to pinpoint a model aircraft sliding down a slanting wire. This taught the technique of applying "lead" to a moving target transiting at various speeds and angles to the firer; i.e., the distance ahead of the aircraft that aim needed to be taken to ensure the arrival of the fired projectile at that point at the same time as the target aircraft.


The rifle's bore will be seen to have very fine rifling, being 12 groove, rather than the more usual 6 of a .22 rifle, with a slightly slower twist of 1:18 than the usual 1:16 for the .22 rifle, to preclude stripping of the soft lead .177 pellet by the extremely shallow-grooved bore lands.

......

See the Measurements table above for dimensions

The rifling land and groove impressions are just visible on the rim of the pellet

Just a 3 round group, shown below, has been fired over a rest at a range of precisely "the whole nine yards" *, and over open sights with septuagenarian Mk.1 eyballs; but the result, while not remarkable in modern target air rifle terms, is a considerable achievement for a rifle that is of the order of eighty years old, and has perhaps had little maintenance or part replacement over that period. The barrel is almost certainly the original B.S.A. unit first fitted, and testimony to the quality of materials, design and manufacture at that time.

The shooter's usual "Six o'clock" aim was taken just below the black, and no sight adjustments were made from whenever the rifle was last used.


The first record of this rare training arm was discovered by dint of the only marking on the rifle, which led to a schedule of the Enfield Royal Ordnance factory's drawings in the hands of a highly knowledgeable volunteer assistant and cataloguer at the Royal Armouries. This schedule listed the first mention of the weapon, at a date in 1932, for a "Proposed design of an Air Rifle for Anti-Aircraft Training".

We are fortunate to be able to show, by kind permission of the Trustees of the Royal Armouries, a slightly later drawing set, dated July 1934, relating to this unusual rifle.

According to the amendment dates on these drawings, the initial design appears to have been laid down on 14th. December 1931, then being first amended in February 1934, before this further amendment in July of that year.

Carrying the typical number of Enfield factory drawings, the set is No. D.D. (E) 1358

and is in six parts. The sheets are numbered, but are here shown in our preferred order.

First: the Side elevation and cross-section of same

Second: the barrel and trigger components, the under-lever clip, and the butt-stock to butt-socket modifications from the SMLE Rifle No.1 Mk.III

Third: the modified walnut furniture - fore-end and hand-guard

Four: the specially made "action" body and components,

with the trigger, trigger-guard and dummy magazine modifications of S.M.L.E Rifle No.1 Mk.III components

Five: the special Duralumin under-lever that links to the standard BSA cocking linkage, the lever's holding clip,

and the unique rear-sight arrangement with offset protector wings, and incorporating a modified B.S.A. blade back-sight element.

The B.S.A. rotating breech loading plug also receives a minor modification.

Six: the numbered parts list, or "Schedule of Details", which is actually "Sheet 1"

The rifle dissassembled into its main component parts as illustrated in the Enfield factory drawings

Click the image below for a full-screen enlargement

Whilst the especially manufactured "action" body is here fitted into the outer components of a Rifle, Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield No.1 Mark III (S.M.L.E.), the profile of the unit bears a far closer resemblance to the action of the later Lee-Enfield No.4 rifle. As this air rifle was conceived and prototyped between 1932 and 1934, its birth would have followed the design period for the Rifle, No1. Mark IV, which commenced in 1924 with experimental rifles linking the S.M.L.E. Mk.V to the interim trials rifles and ending with the production of only 1,025 trials rifles between 1929 and 1930. Trialling of these rifles continued through to the run of 2,500 No.4 trials rifles in 1933, squarely within the years that this No.2 Mk.I rifle was under consideration. It is quite possible that this major component of the proposed training rifle would have been considered for ongoing use in No.4 rifle guise, and patterned with that in mind.

...

The right-hand-side of the unit carries only the number of the Enfield drawing set from which it was constructed. The rifle carries no markings other than the manufacturer's stamps of the various original S.M.L.E. components that were used in the build.

The body viewed from the top, showing the joint between that unit and the cylinder sleeve.

There is a single small staking mark, perhaps originally either a top center-line point, or to locate and prevent rotation between the two parts while the fastening screw holes were drilled underneath

The three preceding images show a feature that is not to be found on the drawings.

The two upper lugs either side of the rear of the "action" are drilled for a pivot-pin, and appear to be intended for fitment of some manner of folding leaf sight, such as that eventually used on the No.4 rifles.

However, at the time this air-rifle was being design and constructed, although the first of the No.4 trials rifles were near at hand - and the rear-sight leaf design for those had been in place since the late 1920s, the width between the air-rifle lugs is insufficient to accommodate the wider No.4 leaf pivot without considerable alteration. A further one-off design would most likely have proved necessary.

A photograph taken from directly behind the butt-socket would barely reveal the differences between the air-rifle and S.M.L.E. No.4 rifle units; it was evidently produced to take the butt-stock from one or the other. A view from any other point clearly shows major variations; the casting was practically unique, although the trigger-guard mounting points are identical.

...

The shorter than B.S.A. standard cylinder and compression spring, in one section, is screwed and staked onto the front section of the "action" body, which contains only the trigger system.

The Duralumin (an aircratft quality aluminium alloy of the period) under-lever, and the one-off "Terry" type clip that holds the underlever in the closed position within the fore-end woodwork and doubles as the barrel-band.

The total length of the Lincoln Jeffries air rifle's air and spring chambers is about 8 inches. That of the B.S.A, Military air rifle is 10 inches, but the unit in the Enfield B.S.A. S.M.L.E. is only eight inches.

............

The otherwise standard B.S.A. cocking linkage has its under-lever supplanted by a Duralumin replacement neatly designed to fit the modified S.M.L.E fore-end woodwork without altering the rifle's profile.

The all but standard loading plug tap is shown below left, with the specially made-from-solid rear-sight mounting block incorporating the protector wings, and strangely offset to the right. The block is soldered to the cylinder, as the cylinder's thin wall precludes dovetailing.

The rear-sight elevation plate is a modified B.S.A. unit with a "U" notch. The elevation wheel is similar to that used on the B.S.A. air rifles. There is no windage adjustment, and zeroing must be achieved by lateral adjustment of the standard S.M.L.E. fore-sight block with the appropriate adjusting tool.

To the right, the tapered plug is shown removed. Its end face contains the spring-loaded plunger that engages with either of two detents on the inside of the end-plate shown below the rifle. These detents locate the tap lever in either the open position for loading - pointing upwards - or in the closed for firing position - pointing rearwards.

In the cylinder of the breech plug can be seen the loading hole drilled right through. The upper end of this hole receives the pelleted projectile when the tap is open, which "chamber" and pellet become aligned between the compressed air cylinder and the rifle's bore when the tap is turned into the closed position.

This system is no doubt most familiar to many of the elders in our society, who were often practically brought up with B.S.A. Lincoln Jeffries type air weapons.

 

...........

The standard No.10 B.S.A. Lincoln Jeffries rear-sight is shown below

A standard S.M.L.E trigger-guard has been modified by blocking off the magazine release catch aperture, and welding a cut-down magazine shell into the magazine-way slot.

The standard trigger, which would have borne on the S.M.L.E. L-shaped sear, has a return spring added instead.

.....

An upper view of the specially machined fore-end wood furniture.

 

The rear section of the fore-end wood underside, cut out only for the special "action" body and modified trigger-guard arrangement.

Note that there is no "through" aperture for a magazine well that would be there in a standard S.M.L.E. fore-end.

The underside of the fore-end wood cut out for the cocking linkage and under-lever

The unmarked standard S.M.L.E. nosecap with front sling swivel

A final image of the right-hand-side of the rifle

* The phrase "The whole nine yards" is a famous one originating from the First World War - or Great War as it was known prior to 1939 - and which referred to a British machine gunner expending the entire belt of .303 calibre ammunition from one box. That belt measured 27 feet in length, at 3 feet to the yard. Later peacetime civilian use of the term came to mean that everything possible had been afforded or achieved in any particular situation.


The Webley "Service" Air Rifle


This is the only air rifle ever adopted for British military use. That privilege was never afforded to the B.S.A. Military Pattern rifle.

 

The contemporary pamphlet issued by Webley, after the introduction of their Mk.II Service model in 1929,

offered the rifle in either .22 or.177 calibre for the price of £4:00,

and their pellets at 2/3d and 1/2d respectively; ( approx 11p and 6p in today's parlance).

The rifle was advertised as having the following measurements;

Length overall: 41.5 inches

Length of Barrel: 25.5 inches

Length of Rifle in case with barrel detached: 26 inches

Tangent to fore-sight radius: 20 inches

Aperture to fore-sight radius: 26 inches

Weight: 6.5 lbs.

 


A final historic aspect of the air-rifles use in training is as a sub-calibre device.

The unit below is held by the Imperial War Museum, and was constructed along the lines of the BSA/Lincoln-Jeffries type tap-loading system.

It was for attachment to an artillery piece for short range practice.

The breech opening lever is shown at the front of the cylinder, and the spring can be seen behind.

The image below shows the mounting block with twin pivots, and the latching lever at the rear.

The Lincoln-Jeffries parentage cannot be disputed. The manufacturer is believed to be BSA, but there are no confirming marks; only inspection marks. Sadly, the weapon to which it was fitted is not recorded.

The above two images are by courtesy of the Trustees of the Imperial War Museum.


 

What of current times? There is now mainly the BSA Scorpion Cadet Rifle which is worthy of note, and which is employed in basic shooting training, including employment for the Weapons Handling Test (WHT) that prepares cadets for progression to cartridge rifles - once the Lee-Enfield Rifle No.8 (which served the military as a training and target rifle for almost fifty years until 2017/8) - but now the L144A1 Small-Bore Cadet Rifle, before moving on to the L81A2 7.62mm full-bore target rifle and the 5.56 mm L98 training version of the SA80 Individual or Personal Weapon.

This fine PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) air rifle has been in use by many cadet units for a few years now.

It was designed and is built by BSA Guns Ltd., at one of the Birmingham Small Arms company's original factories in that very city.

Planned at the outset to be suitable for cadet and training use, the rifle was approved by the M.O.D. (Ministry of Defence) for that purpose, and is one of two so approved air rifles, the other being the Air Arms imported CZ(S)200, of which more later.

 

The next two images can be rotated and zoomed, either as initially loaded or full-screen for higher definition.

 

 

The rifle is very accurate, and of a practical configuration and light weight that make it ideal for use by even the younger and slighter members of the Cadet Forces.

It is technically a "3P" rifle - for 3-Positional shooting; i.e., for use in the prone, kneeling and standing positions, rendering it useful in general field training. The over-action dovetail that carries the rear-sight can also be fitted with a telescopic sight, if such use is deemed desirable.

A multi-shot rifle, it comes in standard form with a ten-round rotating magazine that is removed for loading. It can also be fitted with a single-shot arrangement if desired. When the air-reservoir beneath the barrel is fully pressurised to the maximum 190 bar, which is recommended for accurate and reliable use, up to 170 shots are possible before a re-charge is needed from either a stirrup-type hand-pump, or from a certificated "breathing" or diving quality compressed air cylinder. The recharging is via a brass connector that plugs in under the synthetic fore-end.

The rear-sight is an unusual unit, manufactured from a combination of aluminium alloy (with such parts either turned or diecast), pressure-moulded plastic, and pressed and turned steel components. It has a reasonably substantial feel for such a fabricated sight. It is both windage and elevation adjustable, with ???? minutes of angle per click. There is a plain - non-vernier - calibrated scale for each adjustment direction.


The other current model occasionally used by cadet units is the previously mentioned S200 PCP rifle.

BSA presumably buy in the sights from Air-Arms, as their Scorpion Cadet and the S200 use the same units.

The next two images can be rotated and zoomed, either as initially loaded or full-screen for higher definition.

 

 

The Czechoslovakian CZ 200, or S200 as imported to the U.K. by Air-Arms, is also used in the U.S.A., for the training of juniors in the Civilian Marksmanship Program (See CMP).

 

For those unaware, CZ rifles are manufactured in the Brno factory. The famous British "BREN" Light Machine Gun (LMG) that was a mainstay during the Second World War - 1939-45 - was based closely on a CZ design, and was named for the initials of both the town and factory of BRno and of the well-known town of ENfield where the British Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF) lay beside the river Lee North of London.


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