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The serial number is not much help - is it labelled Lee Speed patents - is it a mil-spec target rifle or a sporting rifle - BSA or BSA&M Co - bolt head patent etc.
Metford barrels were an option until the first world war on target rifles.
 

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I am only now becoming familiar with the Lee Speed stuff after examining a BSA No.3 carbine. I was not aware of any dating of barrels but there is a knowable date that BSA & M Co. Became just BSA Co. around 1897 - 98 maybe.

Some models appear to have their own serial number series. That may have extended to different serial number series for different retailers or custom gun makers using BSA metalwork.

The BSA production number on the receiver under the bolt handle is another piece of data that would come in handy when building up s database on these rifles, and be a constant factor for cross referencing.

The Army & Navy CSL sales records would be a great source of info on approximate production dates for the various models/ serial number ranges,as well as telling you the original owner.
 

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Damien is correct regarding the timeline. BSA sold off the munitions end of their business in 1897. Changing the BSA&M label may have taken a little longer. (?)

Take up jc5 on the offer. Markings above and below the wood line.

Not a bad salvage from the RTI dump. At least there was something left to look at and admire after the cleanup.
 

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Obviously pre-1898.

Where on the rifle is 7533 stamped? Right side of the action?

Is the bolt handle numbered?

Have you taken the fore-end off to see any markings underneath?

Any markings on the top-rear flat part of the action (where the bolt slides in)?

Thanks for posting photos of this nice, collectible rifle.
 

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One more question: are there any markings on the wood buttstock? I have tracked a few others in this serial number range and they have some markings there.

Here's a couple pics for comparison.

Brown Wood Amber Flooring Trunk
Cork Cloud Wood Gesture Drinkware
Brown Wood Amber Flooring Trunk

Cork Cloud Wood Gesture Drinkware
 

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Thanks for posting! Congrats on owning this.

Those markings are very useful in comparing to how others were marked during this time. This is a fine example of a commercial contract rifle, with all markings.

It was definitely made 1896-97. Not sure how it got to Ethiopia, or if it was originally part of another contract.
 
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Gritted my teeth and took it apart (never met a screw I couldn't bugger. I blame it on being left handed.)
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David,
great photos!

Here are some photos of the BSA Lee Enfield Trade Pattern Carbine that came across my desk a few weeks ago. The rack number on the butt plate tang was a mystery, as it would be inconsistent with a private individual's purchase. So here is another such rack number, done with the same stamps.
Writing implement Office supplies Wood Material property Lipstick


Wood Tints and shades Bumper Shotgun Font


The Rhodesian connection sounds promising, as Wikipedia reckons the Rhodesian Regiment was raised in 1899 and disbanded after the breaking of the siege at Mafeking in 1900. A rack number of over 2000 sounds large though.

Below is the production number I was talking about earlier. Looks like the same stamps as yours. Sequencing these numbers may be a more reliable way of determining the order of production than serial numbers?
Wood Air gun Trigger Everyday carry Gun accessory


This carbine ended up in the hands of Trooper J Kelly of the Doyles Scouts in 1902, an irregular unit largely made up of Australians that operated in the Transvaal. I'm sure it would have a very interesting story if it could speak...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the info guys, interesting guns. The fact that it's an official antique is good to know. Does anyone have any idea how many Lee Speeds were made?
 

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Working on it.

Rowdy-- need to catch up with you, especially on the Rhodesian contract topic. Just very busy schedule right now.
Not trying to hijack the threat but wanted to share the markings on mine, also from Ethiopia, for those looking for more Lee Speed data. This one does not have any markings on the butt stock or butt plate tang and is Enfield rifled.

Bicycle part Gas Cylinder Auto part Household hardware
Bicycle part Rim Auto part Pipe Cylinder
Wood Gas Close-up Pipe Metal
 
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