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1943 BSA Shirley No4T Sniper Rifle

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

This rifle is part of the ArtioZen collection and the scope and rifle numbers are matching throughout.

1943 brought the decision for Hollands to have only rifles selected for precision at BSA Shirley - previously taking source rifles from 4 factories at the start of the program had presented observed variation in execution which added time for conversion to the scoped standard - war production numbers were now the goal and the Shirley rifles were deemed the best for this. 1943 also saw the deployment of the War Department contractor codes - broken into region (South, Midlands and North) - a 1943 could have a couple of variations of these codes and at least 3 distinct manufacturer codes evident - one from each region. S51 (Southern region, supplier 51) was the code given to Hollands - they were asked to apply it to the butt heel. BSA was originally assigned "M47" - Midlands region, supplier 47 - this M47 code was applied to their rifles on top of the the left wrist from mid summer until around November - when an update was issued.. BSA had 3 factories in the Midlands region - so Shirley rifle factory became M47C (the first BSA factory in the Midlands region). There were two foundaries casting the scope bracket - these were both in the North region and their marques are easily observed on genuine wartime scope bracket castings. This rifle was made towards the end of 1943 - so has the full M47C designation for BSA Shirley.

It does not have the triangular sling swivel as this was specified in late 1944 and from then on to be added by armourers when found in maintenance / service. It did remain in service beyond 1946 as it was updated by the armourers to have the scope bracket pad screws peened to further lock them in place (a result of war and field / repair feedback). The woodwork is all walnut, high sided format and made by Sykes Limited and HMCo.

The milled micrometer rear sight is marked for Singer Machine (not their S code yet- due to stockpiles in place by this date) - this was fitted by BSA and modified to T spec by Hollands - the front right receiver lug does not have the "S" stamp to support this (not needing front sight recalibration -when owed to a rear sight change). The No4T specification had been adapted by field learning to specify the Mk2 solid base front sight mount, but use the new specification sight elements which had a downward facing lower block rear face - this was found to stop reflecting light into the scope during the Africa / Italy campaigns. This sight specification remained throughout the whole No4T program and life cycle. This scoped rifle design has a uniquely low mounted optic - so low that the front sight protector ears are observable at the bottom of the sight picture - a blurry distraction to the inexperienced.

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