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The proposed service rifle was the .303"CF No.5 carbine, colloquially known as the "Jungle Carbine" because of its employment in the Pacific theatre, for which ilk of combat it had initially been designed. So handy did this rifle prove in the field, that it was mooted for general issue in place of the little more than a decade old Rifle No.4. The pattern of the rifle 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. 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.
Only the failure of these lightened rifles to reliably hold zero prevented the demise of the No.4 as the principal rifle of the British services. General Arrangement drawing of the No.7 rifle and a facsimile of the Air Ministry AP (Air Publication) No. This document formed the basis for the final handbook, which document is nowadays in the same category as hen's teeth. Somewhere over 17,000 of the C No.7 rifles were produced at Long Branch between 19, with a small batch reported to have been assembled in the early 1950s, but the Royal Airforce's contract was for less than one seventh part of that figure The left hand side of the receiver of the British rifle is lightly stamped "No. I" below which is milled the slot for the ejector plate.
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 spring-loaded latching and release lever would have been at the bottom of the magazine below the rifle.
In 1962 Parker-Hale were advertising their own commercial No.9 rifles at £15 for the standard example plus a further £s: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 £s:0d (£6.50) for the addition of a PH-5D rear-sight. 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.
It certainly does not appear to be of the quality expected from a BSA factory manufactured item. 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.
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. 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. 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.
Cheong (aka "Bill") lived, studied and worked in Winnipeg, MB for five years and fondly remembers the natural beauty of province.
Thus the No.4 rifle retained its supremacy for general issue, and remained in service, in one guise or another, right through until the early 1980s, when, having been re-barrelled to the new N. These superb rifles had been re-built on Second World War vintage No.4T actions. This has a curved lead (see images below 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.It has, we hope, been useful to give a brief run-down on the progression of the post WWII training rifles, but the subject of this page is just one of that progression, and it behoves us to cover it in greater detail. This machining received further slight modifications before its introduction as the production item for the finally issued rifle No.7. Its holding action is clearly illustrated below left, whilst the ejection manner of the prototype is viewed, right, from beneath through the magazine well with the magazine removed.We are grateful to have been afforded access to one of the early .22RF No.4 prototypes, shown below. Both this design, and the associated No.5 and No.6 trials rifles, heralded a sea-change from the long-serving offset two-part firing pin and striker arrangement used for the early conversions of Lee-Metford and "Long" Lee-Enfield rifles, latterly fitted to rimfire S. It is evident that the case has a tendency to tip towards the main extractor before it reaches the ejector spur, reducing the pressure of grip that would send the case well clear of the action on contact with the ejector. It was fitted with a solid barrel, and a specially produced long bolt head. The prototype above carries only a No.4 magazine case, with the spring and follower removed, which conveniently receives the fired cartridge cases on extraction, but renders feeding a round into the chamber, with finger and thumb, a fiddly process often resulting in live rounds dropping amongst the empties in the magazine casing. In essence, the Canadian C No.7 rifles were of the configuration used little more than six years later for the Royal Navy's "Rifle, N.9" which was the Senior Service's specifically contracted .22RF conversion of the No.4 rifle, more commonly (and mistakenly) known as the Rifle, No.9.