WW1 BSA  Number 1 Mk lll  1915 dated    .303     Sniper Rifle

The Battlefields and trench lines of WW1 was the ideal environment of this rifle, maybe a little as 50 yards from the British trenches to the German trenches sometime 300 yards almost certainly no longer that 400 yards.  

Unlike todays military sniper system were long distance sniping in places like Afghanistan or Iraq require high powered scopes and heavy weapons platforms for high accuracy and the use of helicopters to be dropped as near as possible to the target.

Back in WW1 the British were slow to pick up the idea of sniping until the Germans gave the British Army (BEF) a hard lesson in a new way of fighting a war. 


No one knows who designed the sighting system for the SMLE but even back as far as 1915 Major Hesketh-Prichard writes from the front line to a friend in England about the failings of the design.

This rifle was manufactured at BSA in very late 1915 and was manufacture as a service rifle that was going been sent out to the troops on the western front.  As a standard production rifle it was nothing special unlike the later WW2 BSA No4 T's which were selected.

At the time R.S.A.F Enfield were in charge of installing telescopic sights to standard service rifles and Major Hesketh-Prichard writes in his book about his visit to the factory and meeting the officer in charge of scoped rifle production in early in the war.

This rifle is fitted with the PP&Co telescopic sight which has windage and a 100 - 600 yard bullet drop compensator.

Periscope Prism co Ltd was based in Kentish town, North London and did supply the British Military with telescopic sights copied directly from a German manufacturer.  Even in the middle of WW1 the British and the Germans were still doing business via Swiss agents.

Periscope Prism co Ltd was a badly run company and in mid 1916 the British  Government took it over.

What made this an excellent sniper rifle all the same was it was 100% suited to the mud of trench warfare,  the British could not have found another military rifle better suited to its working environment.  

The German Mauser clogged up with mud and needed a very high level of cleanliness to keep them working,  the Canadian Ross service rifle was withdrawn from service in 1916 due to mud issues. 

The French Lebel not only got clogged up with mud but had a bad habit of blowing up in the close confines of the French trenches killing others around as well as the owner at the same time.

The last owner had fitted a new barrel and is a very accurate rifle with a very good groupings.  The action is smooth and the rifle is common numbered except for the barrel. 

                                                       A nice looking Rifle



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