YOU ARE VISITING THE PAGES OF THE U.K. N.R.A. HISTORIC ARMS RESOURCE CENTRE - MINIATURE CALIBRE RIFLES RESEARCH SITE - COPYRIGHT © 2009
"Miniature-Calibre Rifle Range" - also home to the HARC-MRL
LEFT - The U.K. Enfield .22RF training / target Rifle "No. 6"
courtesy of the Enfield Pattern Room
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* There are those Enfield historians who consider that the designation 'No.6' given to this model of BSA's .22in. RF training rifle series was an error in nomenclature made at the time the rifle was produced. However, the fact that the Australian version of the No. 5 "Jungle Carbine" , trialled around two years earlier, was also given the number '6' ( although originally they were known as the 'Lightened Pattern' rifles) is not good reason to draw this conclusion. The precedent had already been set when the numbering of the .22in.RF No.5 service trials training rifle had been paralleled with that of its full-bore .303in. centre-fire brother; nobody appears to have argued with that, although it occurred at almost the same time as the Australian No.6 was trialled and two years before the next number in the series was allotted by BSA to their nearest equivalent follow-on design. This numbering series for the small-bore training rifles was, of course, continued through the Royal Air Force's No.7 - 22in. RF version of the No.4 rifle, the No.8 purpose designed service training rifle, and the final No.9 - .22in. RF conversion of the No.4 by Parker-Hale for the Royal Navy. Coincidentally, the early .22in. RF conversion of the No.4 long rifle by BSA was of a lot of three rifles sold at auction when the BSA collection was broken up in 1971. These were originally perceived as the prototypes to the No.7 production rifle, and it is believed that, in fact, they were of a batch of at least five made by BSA . All of these are marked up on the LHS of the receiver body - "BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS" - "ENGLAND" - "No.4 RIFLE" - "CARTRIDGE .22 LONG RIFLE". Strangely, at least one seen of the batch carries the struck designation "No.5" on the left hand side of the butt socket; however, another in the 3 lots sold was struck with "No.3", suggesting that the prototypes were serially numbered in this unusual way. An example carrying "No.5" is illustrated in Ian Skennerton's well known and comprehensive " Lee-Enfield Story". Another carrying that same number ( or more probably it is the same rifle) is currently in the hands of a U.K. collector. The late Herbie Woodend - stalwart guardian of the Pattern Room collection - based his estimate of the minmum quantity of these rifles upon information obtained when they were catalogued for the auction; and the fact that "5" was the highest number actually seen. It could otherwise not unreasonably have been suspected that the designation was intended as a Rifle number rather than a Serial number, since the prefix "No." ahead of a serial number is a quite unusual way for BSA to have marked a serial number. That would have otherwise have perhaps put the 'cat amongst the pigeons'!
The .22in. RF No.5 rifle is oft reported as having been offered, in tens of numbers, to the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs (S.M.R.C.) for trialling by civilian shooters in selected clubs. The fact that they may not all have been returned, or that some were subsequently sold off, is illustrated by the presence of a small number still held by private collectors. The .22in.RF No.6 rifle enjoyed a similar, but rather more restricted, test in civilian hands when, at the main open meetings of the S.M.R.C. in the Summer of 1946. These events were the 'Scottish' in Edinburgh and the 'British National' at Ham and Petersham. The report in the Autumn Rifleman ( Journal of the S.M.R.C.) reads:
"Brigadier Barlow ( J.A. Barlow Jnr.; author of 'The Elements of Rifle Shooting' 1932 - 1941) authorised the loan of the War Office new prototype rifles, known as the No.6. These were used only for competitions at 100 yards range. At Edinburgh the best single shoot was a 99 by D. Harkness, whilst at Ham a more serious single entry triple 100 yards shoot was staged with a £20 prize list. This resulted in a top score of 294 being duplicated by Messrs. M. Bergson of Bradford and D. McGillivray of Glasgow to divide the first and second prizes. Following these there were two scores of 293, two scores of 292, and five scores of 291 to take prizes. The rifle was generally admired and the criticism was constructive The main question was how soon can we hope for production"
The journal "The Rifleman" is today still the prime means of dissemination of all matters relating to the latter day National Small-bore Rifle Association.