Any purchase of a type of firearms by a military will also include a stock of spare parts. Weapons get damaged and certain parts wear put so spares are needed to allow repairs to be undertaken by armourers. The range of spares and the quantities of each will be carefully set by experience. Some items are known to be more prone to breakage and so will be ordered in larger numbers- screws, springs, firing pins etc. Other items that are less likely to need replacement are acquired in lesser amounts. Regardless of the numbers of a spare part held in stock, when that weapon is dropped from service, huge quantities of spares will remain in stock and these are then disposed of on the surplus market.
Today we are looking at a spare butt plate for the Canadian version of the SLR/FAL, the C1 rifle. The C1 had been introduced in 1954 and would remain in service until 1984 when it started to be replaced with a locally produced version of the M16. The butt plate comes in a small cardboard box:
The box is labelled at one end with stores number and a date of 1971:
In order to prevent the butt plate from rusting whilst it is in store, it is carefully wrapped in a water resistant heavy duty paper:
Opening this up we can see that the butt plate itself is made of steel with a blackened finish and with a healthy coating of oil to protect it from corrosion:
As it is very likely that screws will break, strip or become lost when a rifle comes in for repair, a pair of the correct screws are also included in the package:
My gut feeling is that this is one of those spares that were only infrequently used on the C1 rifle. The butt plate does get some wear in rifle drill, but has few things to go wrong with it and is one of the most robust areas of the rifle due to the pounding the manufacturer knows it will receive. As such it is likely that few ever needed to be replaced and most spare plates such as this would have spent their life on the armourer’s shelf without being used. It is nice however to have this example, complete with all its packaging, in the collection.