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How common or uncommon are these Fianna Fail rifles? The one on the trader is pretty nice and hasn't sold yet. Gosh people are getting $400 for pretty common rifles these days.
1. Were they purchased or issued to the Irish Free State? When?
2. Were they FTR'd prior to transfer or did the Irish renumber them?
3. How many rifles were involved?
Since there is zero in Skennerton about them, where is the history behind these guns? Regards, Rick.
 

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Not terribly rare..."scarce-ish" might be apt. I'd bet Fritz has more precise numbers, at least on how many the Irish army started with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello Fritz. I still found no answers to my basic questions. I understand you have some 80 of them in your data base. Are there any similarities? It looks like they are mostly BSA'a that I assume were reworked and issued between 1936 and 1938? Thanks for the work you have done one these. Perhaps you could summarize your findings and any conclusions you may have drawn. I was amazed that there is a SSA with the FF mark....pretty low odds I would say! Regards, Rick.
 

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A quick add on question here Fritz...I'd be interested to know how many of the rifles in your sample have both been renumbered, and have the FF mark. The FF mark as an Irish government property mark wouldn't have come into being before circa 1936 when DeValera's Fianna Fail party gained power. During the civil war they were the anti-treaty side, and thus not very likely to receive aid from the Brits. I've got a renumbered (ER) MkI***, and a renumbered (V prefix, IIRC) MkIII* in my collection. Neither have the FF stamp.

Be interesting to find out if the FF marked rifles came into Irish service later than the civil war era military aid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your outstanding recap. If I come across any of these I will be sure to pass the data along. The letter prefix seems odd....how many were there? Regards, Rick.
 

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I'd be very interested in seeing what you have.
 

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Mine has a 1927 dated barrel IIRC and what looks like an incomplete Enfield Lock stamp dated '45. Mine is FF marked under the handguard like the one on the trader.
 

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Irish also received a big batch of SMLE's in c.1942 from Brits to repel possible Nazi landings. Once again, usual mix of manufacturers, all marked 'FF' marking on barrel shank or receiver ring. Believe the 'FF' dates to this time period.
 

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Irish also received a big batch of SMLE's in c.1942 from Brits to repel possible Nazi landings. Once again, usual mix of manufacturers, all marked 'FF' marking on barrel shank or receiver ring. Believe the 'FF' dates to this time period.
My feelings on the matter as well.
 

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Fritz

I think you might to on to something here. The British might very well supplied stripped SMLE barrelled actions as this was the way they were issued to their own armorers during WWII, for them to cannibalize parts from existing unserviceable rifles. This would account the large number of these Irish rifles I have examined with a mix of beech and walnut furniture. Shared common factors also include post WWI rebarrel dates (late 30's through 1942 approx.) and the 'FF' marking on the breech and no special 'Irish' serial number like the earlier rifles. 'FF' markings appear to be UNDER the blue and not stamped through an existing finish meaning the rifle already had the marking when reworked and were then reblued.

Thanks for the info!
 

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Well done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This is good stuff and I know you have spent many hours on the project. Sound logic and empirical evidence....what more could anyone ask? Great job. You might want to add what details you are looking for in the reports....markings, cartouches and condition come to mind. Regards, Rick.
 

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Re-posted from Lee Enfield Forum. Some other background for members who may want to learn more about rifles with this marking ... ;)

Member Ingstrt published in an old thread from 2009 (click here)http://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=16477&p=87879&viewfull=1#post87879 a pic of his 1916 Enfield Mk III which has the Irish Free State marking (Fianna Fiel) marked on top of the knox form and receiver, as well as FB23 (Firth Brown steel batch number).



Although not a SMLE, the FF marking also appeared on other rifles. If you check the MKL and with thanks to Advisory Panel members Lance and Wheaty, there's an entry in the England section complete with a 182 picture photo montage.

No.3 MkI* (T) Rifle (BSA Scope) (click here)http://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=3701
c/w matching Model 1918 (3x) Scope Serial #226763 (Mfg by B.S.A Guns)

This is one of only 79 rifles converted by B.S.A Guns, contracted between July 27, 1935 and completed by Dec 9, 1938. The scope and rifle are "all matching" with "all correct" fonts and markings for collector comparisons.

All those specimens noted from the B.S.A. contract have had the Irish Free State marking (Fianna Fiel) on the back of the left rear telescope mount, so it would appear that these sniper rifles were assembled for an Irish contract.

Irish Free State marking (Fianna Fiel)


(Click PIC to Enlarge)(Click PIC to Enlarge)


Regards,
Doug
 

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At the Kamloops gun show in 2012, I bought this 1916 BSA No.1 Mk. III* and found the FF under the rear handguard. Here are some of the many pictures I took:





















On that last one, that Firth Brown number is 53. I have more pics if needed.
I picked this up for $250, and it included a Pattern 1907 bayonet. A steal of a deal. :) I hope this helps...
 

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Lets not forget that german submarine sunk off the Irish coast with 98 mausers they were going to supply to the IRA. It is said you can still see a bit of it sticking out of the water at low tide;)
 
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