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1943 BSA No4Mk1 T Sniper Restoration

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

I won this 1943 T "sporter" configuration from an online auction - the 1943 models are a little more tricky to define as "real" and buyers don't often bid like they trust the markings or photographs. An interesting facet of this year of production is that BSA (Shirley - their rifle producing location) started the year using its traditional "B" makers mark, then received the "M47" war effort manufacturer designation and then added the factory designations "A-B-C" (C for Shirley) nearer the end of the year - so a 1943 rifle could have either of these marks depending on its production month - this one is marked M47C (Midlands region - contractor No 47C - BSA Shirley).

It had had its front wood shortened to the mid band and the butt stock was replaced with a Santa-Fe style 5-round magazine, butt stock and pad. The metal was in great condition and the barrel was uncut. It came complete with a mismatch but original scope bracket and No32mk3 scope with frozen turrets (probably from hardened grease. The triangular sling swivel was of the original War Department type, but had the triangle removed from the stud and used in the rear sling swivel bracket.

The first order of business was to remove all mismatch (Longbranch safety lever) and sporter parts and clean up the metal finish - a light FTR marking was found and this would support the semi-gloss black finish throughout - it was notable that the scope mounting pads were not reattached or re-staked for repairs throughout its service life.

A wood set was selected and bathed in linseed oil to keep it virile and water resistant for its new assembled life. The fore-wood was all Sykes Limited made and NOS, the buttstock is HMCo.

The fore-end was easy to bed in stages, the wood still being straight and easy to work with - hardly any material had to dressed to get the standard bedding pressures and patterns. A good used fabricated S125 contractor code band set was selected as was a good used front sight block and protector - in keeping with an FTR look.

The buttstock needed gentle sanding to shape to grip its socket - this was done in stages to close the fit but not lose the secure grip. A good used / real sniper cheek piece was added to the butt stock, along with the correct alloy (Mazak) buttplate.

The British War Effort regional producer designations were enacted in 1943 - so Hollands may have not have quite started the use of their S51 mark on the buttstock. Similarly the staking of pad and scope cradle screws was not done at that time, now was the triangular sling swivel in the standard build yet (these were added after field service feedback and repair analysis in late 1944 - the staking was probably done to this rifle then). As this is already marked for post-war FTR - I used a fabricated (skeleton) rear sling swivel - which was preferred on sniper rifles as it allowed the 1907 leather sling more room to pass.

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