The Lee-Enfield Rifle No.7 (British)
see also the Canadian C No.7 rifle equivalent
A .22" training version of the No.4 Rifle Manufactured by the Birmingham Small Arms Co.
for the Royal Air Force
The pattern having been adopted in 1948, the Birmingham Small Arms Co. manufactured 2,500 of a new .22" training version of the No.4 Rifle for Royal Air Force and R.A.F. Regiment use. It was fitted with a solid barrel, and a specially produced long bolt head. A standard No.4 magazine had the spring and loading platform removed and a plate riveted into the top with a slot and channel to hold a modified BSA Sportsman five round .22" magazine. This magazine, which in its original utilisation was fitted into the rifle from below, was now inserted from the top by the simple expedient of inverting its locking clip and spring in their box section at the rear of the unit.
This differed from the Canadian manufactured C No.7 in which the magazine was fitted only with a single loading platform.
For comparison, see collective Images of the bolts for the Rifles Nos. 5, 7 (British), 8 & 9.
The bolt and bolt-head of the C No.7 rifle were, to all intents and purposes, identical to those of the No.9 rifle.
Somewhere over 17,000 of the C No.7 rifles were produced at Long Branch between 1944 and 1947.
The left hand side of the receiver of the British rifle is lightly stamped "No. 7 Mk.I" below which is milled the slot for the ejector plate. It can be seen below that a spring steel auxiliary extractor is fitted in a slot machined in the left hand side of the bolt head. This has a curved lead (see Images below and bolt comparisons) which rides over the cartridge rim when the bolt is closed, and holds the fired case in position against the extractor until the bolt face comes back to the ejector plate whence the case is plucked out of its grip.
One other magazine type was used in the No.7 rifle. Its raison d'être is presently not fully known to us, but it is a single-shot version carrying a Royal Air Force part number "7B/1061/M" electro-pencilled on its base. We hope to soon discover its true origins, but suspect that because of the quite roughly ......machined loading-platform and rather crude trimming of the upper periphery of the magazine shell, on the two examples we have seen, it may well have been an on-station unit armourer's modification using in-house parts made centrally. It certainly does not appear to be of the quality expected from a BSA factory manufactured item. It is possible that these magazines were produced to meet a certain training requirement or, more likely, to cover a deficit of the original units, since the BSA insert magazine can be fairly easily damaged by rough handling or heavy-handed bolt use when a live round or fired case escapes into the 'works' in the well around the insert.
Like the Hiscock-Parker magazine for
the .22 "RF Short Mk.II"
and converted S.M.L.E. rifles,
that preceded the No.7 rifle
by several decades,
the .22 training versions for magazine-fed rifles proved less reliable than their parental counterparts.
The No.7's auxiliary extractor was neither used on the earlier No.5 trials rifle, nor carried forward to the No.8 rifle production. However, in order to reduce the bolt travel of the new No.8 trainer, which was intended to double-up as a target rifle, the bolt head was shortened and the barrel brought back into the receiver a further one and a quarter inches. A further concession to target shooting was that, unlike the No.7 and preceding bolt designs which cocked as the bolt was closed, the No.8 cocked on opening.
On the example of the No.7 Rifle shown above, the left hand side of the butt socket carries the serial number "BS 0341" and the right hand side only the broad arrow and crown stamp of military acceptance. The magazine carries no marking at all. The rear sight fitted to this rifle uses the standard No.4 leaf graduated for 25,50 and 100 yds, with the additional marking "H" high on the left hand side at the rear. When set at this position, the rifle was said to be "Harmonised". This elevation raised the point of impact by 27" at 25 yards, and was for use with the Landscape training targetry. It has been suggested that the 'harmonisation sight' was not an original standard fitment, however, many of these rifles are so configured and it is by no means certain that either the specification did not change at some point during the production period, or that many rifles were not retro-fitted with this sight.
The barrel was an especially made
solid .22 version with,
unlike the C No.7,
the bayonet lugs still in place.
There were probably no more than five BSA manufactured
prototypes of the No.7 Rifle, produced with beech stocking.
On the left hand receiver side plate, these rifles bore the designation
'THE BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS CO.
CARTRIDGE .22" LONG RIFLE
The left hand side of the butt socket of one of these prototype
highest serial number so far seen, was simply stamped "No.5" .
Images and details to follow
View the page for the
In 1962 Parker-Hale were advertising their own commercial No.9 rifles at £15 for the standard example plus a further £5:10s:0d (£5.50) for the PH-5C target rear-sight,along with surplus No.7 rifles, which they had bought in from the War Office, at £16 for the standard rifle plus £6:10s:0d (£6.50) for the addition of a PH-5D rear-sight. Even the No.2 Mk.IV S.M.L.E. conversions were still on offer at £10:10s:0d (£10.50).
The 21st. Century prices for such rifles have increased by a factor of around 25, or even more for a pristine original example of the more scarce magazine-fed Royal Air Force issue No.7. The high value has resulted in a number of rifles, of both marks, being built up from a mixture of spares and re-manufactured parts. Caveat Emptor!
It should be noted that, in 1962, the then more up-to-date Enfield No.8 rifle was described as "unobtainable".
See the Enfield Training Rifle Chronology
As a result of enquiries and requests made of the editor,
here are 16 Images showing detail of the No.7 bolt head;
and below those, detail of the magazine.
Beware the scales, which provide only a rough guide.
Largest JPG file approx. 450 kb
The main extractor pin is too tight to punch out without damage, hopefully enough information for the extractor will be evident when dimensions follow.
A spring circlip can just be seen in the groove ahead of the threaded rear section
EJECTOR DETAILS - 5 more Images for refurbishers
Replacement option for missing magazine insert
Top: the No.7 magazine outer case with rivetted plate to accommodate the insert 5 round .22RF magazine
Lower left: the BSA Sportsman type magazine used for the insert. This is shown, in order to relate to the No. 7 insert, orientated as if it was to be introduced from above into the well of the No.7's modified magazine from the No.4 rifle. In its original usage, the magazine would have been inserted from below the BSA Sportsman rifle, and would have been inverted to the way it is shown in the image. The spring-loaded latching and release lever would have been at the bottom of the magazine below the rifle.
For use in the No.7, the release lever is fitted the other way up, and its fulchrum rivet requires removal, from where it is shown on the left hand image, to where its drilled hole is shown on the centre image. The original rivet hole is removed when the necessary trimming of the case side-plates is undertaken. When the lever and spring are refitted inverted in the case, the release is then at the top of the magazine where it is accessible above the mounting plate in the No.4 magazine shell.
Lower right: An original No.7 insert, partly disassembled, for comparison
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