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The mark was modified to that shown in Figure II, with D to the left representing 1953, and the B to the right identifying the Birmingham Proof House. Thus the year codes have hitherto been understood to be 1950 - A; 1951 - B; 1952 - C; 1953 - D; 1954 - E; 1955 - F; 1956 - G; 1957 - H; 1958 - J; and so on through to 1974 - Z; ................
The keenest researchers will search manufacturers' records where such are archived or available. civilian production of target and sporting rifles, then purchase a copy of " B. Also be aware of the Birmingham Proof and Birmingham View marks - respectively BP and BV - each under a Crown.* With, for example, the BSA Model 15 or BSA Model 12/15 Martini-actioned rifles, the view mark should be visible both on the barrel and on the action body RHS top. Thus they are usually very obviously stamped on the appropriate pressure-bearing parts where thay can easily be seen.The two markings are shown below, the International to the left, and Century to the right.From 1975 a further modification was made to the mark, as in Figure III, with another adjustment soon after to Figure IV.However, we have been made aware, by a contributor, of two contemporary rifles, a BSA Mk.II Lightweight Martini International and a BSA Century, that each carry what certainly appears to be the letter "I" in the left quadrant (as in Fig. This would suggest that "I" as well as "Q" was no longer deemed to be ambiguous, as had previously been the case with the Fig.1 stamp configuration.It is to be found under the barrel just foreward of the receiver, and requires removal of the fore-end woodwork to view. It is possibly the diminutive size of this mark, and its usually hidden location, which has led to it being described as 'secret'.
In this instance, the code letter is 'M' for 1932-33, indicating that the rifle was manufacture, or at least proved, between July 1932 and June 1933. Post-War rifles such as the BSA Model 12/15 will not carry this mark.This is nothing new, and proof-house date marks from years past may still not indicate the rifle's date of manufacture. Such a purchase additionally supports such researchers and their work, and is, long term, to the benefit of us all.However, if an estimate of the rifle's age from other sources closely matches the date marks, then you probably have pinned down when it was made within a year or so. The ISBN numbers for these reference books are in the bibliography. When inspecting your rifle and comparing marks with reference sources, be careful not to confuse date marks, or "private view marks", with inspectors marks, which usually carry the factory identification, e.g., "E" for Enfield, under the sovereign's crown, below which is the inspector's identification number; usually two figures such as "39". rifles the Proof mark is only on the barrel (and on the action falling-block), and the third mark on the barrel is the 'NP' mark for Nitro-Proof, also below the crown.The system ceased to be used during 1941, since there was practically no civilian firearm production for the next five or six years, and, with war-time production levels reaching unprecedented proportions, almost all military proofing was effected within the various manufacturing facilities by Government inspectors. However, such date codes as there are are still useful in dating the many firearms manufactured between the First and Second World Wars, including much output from the Birmingham Small Arms Company ( see also BSA Rifles), as indeed is true post 1952 for those rifles more recently falling into the classic class. These marks are also not to be confused with the crossed flags stamp of the miltary proof markings, which may carry similar letter codes identifying the country and/or place of inspection.This so-called "secret" marking system was as follows, with the marks illustrated below applying as indicated. From 1921 to 1951 Figure 1 applies, and for firearms proved between mid 1921 and mid 1922 the code letter is A.Date marks for the London Proof House did not commence until 1972 and are therefore of limited value in dating classic rifles.