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Help Identifying a GR BSA Co 1916 SHTLE III*

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duffbeer1212 View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 23 2017 at 4:33pm
Looking for information on a rifle my wife's grandfather gave me several weeks ago.  I've done a little research on it, but I am not sure what all of the specific markings on it mean.  Was hoping maybe someone on here would be able to translate what some of these are specific to.  It has the same serial number (73281) on all parts.  Any help would be much appreciated... thank you!

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Bear43 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2017 at 6:46am
Most of the small marks are inspection marks. On the right side of the barrel, above the serial number, those are the proof marks from when it was sold out of service. The mark on the butt stock indicates it was in India and some of the inspection marks indicate that too. Other than that it's a pretty standard Mk III* that was cut down into a sporter. Looks to have been nicely done overall.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2017 at 8:04am
Your rifle has some interesting reading in the markings. On the left hand side of the barrel reinforce are the military proofs and inspection markings. kinda globbed up with grease. It has a marking of '15 which would be the year of the barrel was originally fitted to a rifle. But since this is a 1918 made rifle, that has me puzzled.

On the right side of the barrel reinforce are the serial numbers. At the factory, one of the last processes is to serial number the rifle. This is done on a roll die machine, the same die is used on the receiver and barrel therefore the font of the numbering should be identical. Your serial numbers on barrel and receiver are slightly different to each other which tells me that they were not made with the same die, which would suggest the barrel has been replaced at some time. This might explain the 1915 dated barrel on a 1918 receiver.

There are commercial proof marks on the right side too. The 2.22" 18-1/2 tons, .303" appear to be London Proof House markings applied some time pre 1956. The ENGLAND marking is for export to the USA dating pre 1968. All arms sold on the UK market have to be proofed by law,  so your rifle was surplused and sold through the British Gun Trade at some time.

The butt stock has some interesting markings. The SIA roundel is from India's Inspectorate of Small Arms. There is also a KKD mark which denotes it was at one time in Kirkee Arsenal, looks to be dated 1944. The butt could easily have been changed, but it can at least be determined that the butt was at one time doing service with the Indian Govt.

So you have a British rifle that has been rebuilt with a replacement barrel and has spent time in India before being returned to England where it was sold as surplus through the British Gun Trade and subsequently sold to a dealer in the uSA.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2017 at 11:50am
The date on the wrist look's like 1916 to me. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2017 at 12:02pm
Yes. You are right. It could indeed be 1916.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2017 at 4:03pm
i thought so as well but dont trust my eyes that much anymore unless i can blow them up a bit , 15 bbl fitted to a 16 receiver is not so unusual , i think it could be original 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 28 2017 at 6:00am
I agree with a 1915 date it could be the original barrel, however, the font of the two serial numbers looks different to me, two different sets of dies were used. 

Not conclusive proof of a replacement, but a strong clue that something was going on with the barreling.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 28 2017 at 5:06pm
good point , i missed that nuance , 

i find it interesting where the backsite is numbered as well , mine are numbered at the back of the ladder , but the numbers match so im thinking all done at the same time , like to see the back of the bolt handle numbering , 
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