Interpreting the Markings on an SLR

It has been a couple of years since we looked at my Lithgow produced L1A1 self loading rifle (you can see that post here). Today we are revisiting this rifle, but rather than look at the rifle itself, or the history of the SLR in general which we have already covered, we are going to look at the specific markings and what they can tell us of the history of this specific rifle.

Firstly there is the Australian serial number on the side of the receiver. From the first two digits of this number we can tell the rifle was manufactured in 1970, one of 8700 produced in that year. Looking up this specific number we learn that it was one of a batch produced by Lithgow for export to Singapore.

Note how the serial number has been electropenciled into the bolt and the two stamps indicating that this rifle was deactivated in 1992.

If we turn to the opposite side of the receiver, we can learn more about this rifle as there is a second serial number prefaced with SPF:

This mark indicates the rifle was used by the Singapore Police Force at some point- note also the Australian proof and acceptance marks to the right of this. Following its service in Singapore, at some point the rifle was brought into the UK as a firing weapon and was proofed in the UK, as seen by the markings on the barrel:

These give the calibre in both metric and imperial as well as showing it was British Nitro Proofed to a pressure of 20 tons per square inch. Some of this information is repeated on the receiver:

Then at some point, possibly after the Semi-Automatic weapons ban in the wake of Hungerford, the rifle was deactivated and marked again to show this.

I have thoroughly enjoyed tracking the history of my rifle through the markings on it. Not all rifles can be traced in this manner, but in this case there is a wealth of detail that can be pulled just from the markings and it helps tell this object’s long and interesting history.

One comment

  1. Always prefered the FN to the C7 (our version of the M-16) I’ve always firmly believed that if you find it necessary to shoot something, make sure it stays shot and doesn’t debate the point !
    Shot at the National Matches several times, didn’t quite get close to the Queen’s Medal, although I know someone with seven bars on his !! and I always thought that given the number of ‘very close to the line but not quite’ shots I put in, a .308″ dia bullet would have gotten the higher score many times where the .223″ fell a hair short.
    It still wouldn’t have earned a medal but it might have put me into the second match to try, which I just missed by a few points a couple of times.
    That and even though it was bigger and heavier, it was much more presentable for drill.

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