View Full Version : Ident: South African/Rhodesian R1/R3

October 21, 2003, 13:07
I already have my carbine FAL that's decked out just how I want. And recenlty I've become very interested in the Rhodesian conflict, of which I know very little about. Now I've decided that my next project is to build my Double G R3 kit to resemble what it looked like originally. I'm looking for a site that has good detailed photos, in color would be nice so I can match the camo colors. I've searched here but not quite found what I needed. Any help is appreicated.

October 21, 2003, 13:36
Some of the bast color pics I've found are posted here (http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=86098). Also, I'd be glad to e-mail you some photos of my R1 build. I did a camo job with Gunkote that is a pretty close match to the original.

The pics are in bitmap format and I can't seem to convert them for posting here.

R4 fan
October 21, 2003, 15:30

E-mail me your pics, and I'll post them here. I'd like to see your R1 as well. :)

R4 fan
October 21, 2003, 18:11
Here's cliffy109's R1. This is a fantastic looking rifle! I need one of these myself! Cliffy, only thing I have to ask, is the wood/camo your idea, or are there some R1's out there like that? Either way it looks good. :bow:

R4 fan
October 21, 2003, 18:18

R4 fan
October 21, 2003, 18:19

R4 fan
October 21, 2003, 18:21

R4 fan
October 21, 2003, 18:22

October 21, 2003, 18:32
Thanks R4Fan! I appreciate the help with the photos and the compliments. The wood on camo idea wasn't so much a flash of inspiartion. Rather, it was just because I couldn't bring myself to deface the wood on the stock. It did have one gouge in it that I filled, but it actually has some nice grain.

R4 fan
October 21, 2003, 19:08
I understand. I wouldn't have been able to paint over the wood stock myself. You can get a synthetic one though and paint it if you wanted. After looking at yours, I need to build one. :biggrin:

Farmer from Hell
October 21, 2003, 19:12

R1's had wood humpback stocks, vert take down levers, non bipod cut HG's, and type 1 receivers.

R3's were basically just like the Imbel guns/Belgian 50's

As far as camo goes they just spray/brush painted them with some green.

Camo tech (http://www.camotech.com/) can do this............


if you want to spend the money.


R4 fan
October 21, 2003, 19:41
And here it is fully camo'ed... because I have nothing else better to do...

October 22, 2003, 08:36
No photoshop needed. Here is a picture of my other R1. The paint job was a bit strange on this one, as I described in another thread. When I started using the green, I inadvertantly failed to shake the bottle enough. I was painting in a poorly lit garage and didn't notice just how light it was turing out. Then, I needed to refill the small bottle on my airbrush and I shook the can of GK vigorously. This resulted in the much darker green. I went back and hit my previous lighter stripes and the end result is a dark on light pattern, Its not "correct", but I like the results.


October 22, 2003, 08:51
I was painting in a poorly lit garage am going to see if i can do some thing about that:D

Timber Wolf
October 22, 2003, 09:01
Looks good, but how well does it shoot without a locking shoulder? :D

October 22, 2003, 09:07
You don't want me started on the LS issue. You can read all about it here (http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=88594) and here (http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=89688) and finally, here (http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=89910).

I'm in the process of ordering a custom .247 LS from Venden Berg now.

October 22, 2003, 09:11
Great pics. Anyone have some good color pics of SA rifles in use? I'm considering trying to go with the "used" look on the camo pattern. Make this thing look like it's been though a fight and itching for more. What's the correct type upper on a R1 and R3?

October 22, 2003, 09:22
The correct upper is a type 1. There is a widely held misconception that the R3 has a type 3 receiver. This is not true. The R3 is simply an R1 with a semi-selector installed. When they removed this selector they reverted to the R1 designation. The type 3 lowers we are getting on these "R1" kits are a bit of a mystery. In theory, they shouldn't exist but they obviously do.

As far as pics, the one I posted is as good as you're going to find on-line. There are others but not as clear as those. Also, take a look in the marketplace section. NHbandit is working on a batch of "authentic" paint. The Rhodies didn't use Gunkote or an airbrush. They used the same green and tan paint they used on the trucks and applied it with a paint brush. here is NHbandit's thread (http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=89562)

If you want more information that you can imagine, take a look at this site (http://www.saaaca.org.za/links/SIG/fal/fal.htm). Also, look through the reference forums here and do some searches for the R1.

October 22, 2003, 09:23
Oops. I just realized that I didn't post the pic here.


October 22, 2003, 10:12
Here's a matching number kit that I have. I was thinking about selling it but keep talking myself out of it.
Is it Rhodesian or Memorex?

October 22, 2003, 19:12
What is going on with the back end of that barrel? Seems to be missing some threads.

October 22, 2003, 20:56
Threads are fine it's an optical illusion.
Don't know why they look that way in the pic .

October 23, 2003, 00:46
"Back in the day" FAC used to sell "R1" kits for $99 each. I got a bunch. Some were wood R1s and some were plastic R3s; some had grenade-launcher gas plugs and some had the long buttstock. I have good examples of each, some were numbers-matching kits and some were pretty beat.


I don't see that fitting into the explanation above.


Farmer from Hell
October 23, 2003, 06:21
Originally posted by cliffy109
The correct upper is a type 1. There is a widely held misconception that the R3 has a type 3 receiver. This is not true. The R3 is simply an R1 with a semi-selector installed. When they removed this selector they reverted to the R1 designation. The type 3 lowers we are getting on these "R1" kits are a bit of a mystery. In theory, they shouldn't exist but they obviously do.

Sorry man but per page 270-271 of the FAL bible the R3 designation had little to do with the selector. The R3 designation had to do with buidling them in country, horizontal takedown, and furniture. If you know of some better source of info let us know.


October 23, 2003, 07:09
Check the first pictures, am I mistaken or is there the handle cutout without a handle nor a washer to cover up the hole?
I was under the impression that if you have a cutout you have to install a washer. Right?

October 23, 2003, 13:06

Rule #1: Whether there is a cutout for a carrying handle, or not, does NOT have any significant functional impact on the strength of the receiver.

Rule #2: If a builder/owner decides to eliminate the carrying handle, there is NO need for a spacer/washer/plug in that area to replace the handle. Use of same is STRICTLY for COSMETIC reasons.



October 23, 2003, 22:26
Farmer from hell,
Peter Wells is a wealth of info on the R1/R3 rifles and the selector is the difference. And they are type 1 with a type 2 radius on the cut. And if it came with a wood buttstock it was a contract rifle from FN. Armscorp were all plastic but number one.

Peter Wells
October 24, 2003, 02:19
Ha, my favourite subject again.

I have attached an image of the 'recoil plates' of an early FN built FAL (lower item) and an SA built R1/R3 (upper item). Please note the differences in the radii of the areas highlighted (as mentioned by Floating FAL).

Based on the above alone I would also suggest the upper item is a Type 2.

The problem is that the SA made receivers are definitely Type 1 (no reinforcement at the locking lug) but with the cross-section similar to a type 2 - matching the lower (concave portion of chamfer more 'rounded' as in the pic).

They should, therefore, possibly be classed as a hybrid - Type 1/2?

BTW (to adress the R1 vs R3 issue) - the R3 (despite what Blake's book says - remember that was written in 1978 when SA info was scarcer that RHS over there) was just a semi-R1 built for the commandos, all of which were converted back to R1 config in the mid 70s. From then on all official literature (eg. my 1975 Army Small Arms List) differentiated only between FN-M1, FAL, FALO, Para, Sniper and R1 (no R3 - as mentioned by Cliffy)

The 'R2', as a matter of interest, was the local tag for the unloved G3

Peter Wells
October 24, 2003, 02:33
Forgot the pic (AH!)

Farmer from Hell
October 25, 2003, 08:42
Originally posted by floatingFAL
And if it came with a wood buttstock it was a contract rifle from FN. Armscorp were all plastic but number one.

So your saying the R1 kit I have with the wacky unknown type wood buttstock is a FN contract gun not SA built?


October 25, 2003, 10:43
Long time lurker first time poster!
I served in the SADF during 1966 and 1967. My issue weapon was a Belgian contract "FN' with wood butstock, This was a rather rare item, being one of only about 3 or 4 out of more than 1000 or so rifles in our Battalion. Having the "Original" made me feel a bit superior even way back then. All the other rifles were the new locally manufactured "R1"s, all with plastic handguards and wood butstock. The only visible difference was the slots cut in the bolt carrier or "mouse" as we used to call it, to suposedly improve functioning in sandy conditions. I spent 6 months in the Namib desert in SW Africa currently "Namibia" and trust me, if the rifle got sand in it, it would jam, slots or no slots.
Having started a new life in America 12 years ago and recently been infected with "FAL fever" by my friend Thomas (Highly contagious!!) My first project is a STG 58 from FAC on a Coonan reciever. Can't speak highly enough about the quality of the STG kit and reciever. Looks like unissued brand new with very minor cosmetic flaws, probably from the sawing in half deal and subsequent handling. Overcome by nostalgia, I get the urge to own a R1, something virtually impossible to do in South Africa, well it was when I left and I doubt things have changed all that much, no more licensing of semi auto long guns! I got one of the last R1 kits from Gunthings, and was surprised to find that it is virtually indistinguishable from an Imbel!!! No slots in the bolt carrier and the horizontal locking lever instead of the vertical for starters! I will be doing a side by side comparison with Thomas's Imbel this weekend. Unlike my STG this one has a LOT of character, probably a lot of history too, but no cammo paint job. Back in the 60s rifles were not painted, but our Vickers MMG was painted with the same paint used on trucks, a flat Duco style laquer based paint in two colors, Olive green for bush use and Light stone for desert, not very durable, but in plentiful supply so just repaint when necessary. Would imagine the rifles got the same paint when the bush war hotted up.
So to cut a long story short, early R1s all had wood butstocks, maybe replaced with plastic later during service.

October 25, 2003, 13:46

Welcome to the board!
Thanks for an enjoyable and informative post. It's always great to hear from someone who has actually been there/done that. I look forward to hearing more from you about fals in the southern portion of the African continent.

My first three builds were on SA donor kits and I tried to make them as authentic as possible, sans camo. The experience really sparked my interest in not only the weapons in that part of the world, but the history as well.

October 25, 2003, 14:06
Yeah, that is a pretty good first post isn't it? Beats the hell out of the usual, "I just bought a kit, what do I do now?" for post #1. LOL

Seriously, welcome to the board and the addiction. We're glad to have another member with a hands-on perspective.

October 26, 2003, 07:15
Very interesting thread.

What's most curious is that 2-3 yr ago, everybody was trying thier damm'dest to get rid of the "nasty" cammo on these R-1 SA kits! :D

A few back then wondered how they were done, and conjectured that they were daubed w/paint, passed thru Elephant dung, and dragged behind a truck for a few days. I don't recall anyone then "restoring" one to it's previous splendor..but NOW!.....

Yeah! I wish I would have stocked up on those $99 specials. I'd prolly still have a couple of "dirt-n-all" cammo'd stock sets!

What goes around..comes around, I guess


October 26, 2003, 07:51
I.ve got a SA para kit I bought from Vorbeck recently. Has original camo paint remaining, lightweight lower, 21" bipod cut barrel but non bipod cut HGs, all Belgian proofs. Serial number prefix is Z, not ZA or RA as on all the others I've seen. Can any of the experts shed a little more light on these ? Who were they issued to ? How many were issued, etc ? By the way, thanks for the plug for my paint. It matches perfectly with the other R1 camo parts I have but is not grey & green. More like a light green/mustard color and a dark green/grey color.

Peter Wells
October 27, 2003, 01:26
NHBandit, that looks very much like a Rhodesian Para from the paint job - correct colours (clearly seen on mag) and application. Sourced from who knows where by the Rhodie Govt!

Definitely not SA Para as it has the standard 'L' Para rear sight rather than the 200 - 600 sight on the SA Paras. Can't see the rear sling swivel but it is probably mounted high, just below the rear sight whereas the SA Paras have the swivel mounted lower down.

A really nice rifle that's guaranteed to have been around the block a few times - ideal to re-build wothout touching up the existing paint work.

October 27, 2003, 07:39
Peter thanks for the info. The rear swivel is mounted directly behind the rear sight on the left side of the pivot block.

October 27, 2003, 07:46
Originally posted by TaranScorp
Here's a matching number kit that I have. I was thinking about selling it but keep talking myself out of it.
Is it Rhodesian or Memorex?
Looks like it's VERY close to that of the Troop on the left in the pic above yours.

Peter Wells
October 27, 2003, 08:34
Shooter1911 - VERY interesting post. Need further explanation please.

You state that you were issued a FAL but balance of Bn were largely issued with R1s with wooden butts. No offence but are you 100% certain of your memories?

Why I ask is that I did my NS in 1968 (1 SAI Bn, Oudtshoorn) and the entire Bn was issued new SA Contract FALs (with wooden butts). There were, in addition, a few poked early FN snipers (with side mounted OIP 3.6X scopes) around but not a single R1 as I recall. I'm not sure when I came across my first R1 but am pretty sure I never saw one with a wooden butt (other than ser. no 000001 which is in our War Museum).

You also mention sand-cut mouses/mice (?) - do you remember which model/s they were in? I do recall seeing some sand-cut items at the time but now can't remember which rifles they were in. If I had to take a guess I would say they were in the sniper models.

I have been trying to get production info out of LIW and Armscor for some time now but the paranoia still exists throughout the system (remember?). No luck yet so any further info/clarification will be appreciated.

October 27, 2003, 08:50
Graduated to R&D, for what I hope are obvious reasons!

October 27, 2003, 19:43
Peter Wells asked for more info about early R1s,
I was called up for National Service July 1966, basic training at 1SSB Tempe Bloemfontein, Transvaal Scottish 2bn, we were issued R1s with wood "humpback" butstocks, plastic PG and HG. As I said before I was one of the very few to get an original Belgian contract FN. All the R1s I saw had the sand cut mouse, at the time I thought this was pretty standard for the R1. All had steel butt plates, useful for wacking onto the ground during rifle drills and all had plastic handguards with the mounting screw loosened just enough to rattle when slapped during the same drills! During this time I saw several Parabats also stationed at Tempe, with FNs without flashhiders, thought this a bit curious but didn't bother to investgate further. Our regiment consisted of about 40 troops, during basic, and we pretty much lived with our rifles and on top of each other and I did not see anything other than as I have described above with regard to R1 variances. I was then mustered as a Vickers machine gunner, and eventually posted to 2SAI Bn. Gp. Walvisbay SWA, HQ Company. We were part of the largest contingent sent up to SWA at that time, due to the threats from the UN to take SWA from SA by force, so we dug in and waited for the UN to try their luck, well as usual it was all talk and no action from the UN!!
In our Vickers platoon, part of HQ company, we had troops from a lot of different citizen force regiments, Tvl. Scottish, Wits Rifles, Durban Regiment, Natal Carbineers, Cape Town Highlanders are some of them I remember, the Cape town guys at least did their Basic at Oudtshoorn, and also had R1s issued to them as described. All the issue rifles had the pinned selectors, to prevent switching to full auto, and another interesting thing about the selector was that it had a hole drilled thru it and a cotter or split pin inserted to prevent it from being removed so disassembly of the hammer/ trigger group was impossible and also not allowed! Well, it was possible if you "lost" the split pin, don't ask me how I know! OK round about now I got to see a lot of rifles up close, I had figured out how to get full auto out of a pinned rifle with a matchstick! The trick was to take a wooden "Lion" match, bend about a quarter inch of it at right angles and then jam this end of the matchstick between the top of the trigger and bottom of the seer, this now totally disengaged the seer when the trigger was pulled and the fun was on! We used to do informal training called "Veld Skiet" where the targets were mostly small piles of 50 gallon drums at various ranges and target designation was handled by our JL... trainee 2nd Leutenant, firing was at will and fast and furious, the faster you shot the more ammo you got, things were not closely supervised, and during these exercises I did a roaring business of sticking matches in anyones gun who wanted to try living in the fast lane! My opinion at that time was that full auto was a HUGE waste of ammo but a LOT of fun, I weighed in at 120lb soaking wet in those days and control of the weapon was a MAJOR problem! Most of the other guys seemed to have the same problem, so the pin was considered not such a dumb idea after all. Heat was another problem, after a couple of mags the rifle got pretty hot!
OK so all that aside, during all these unauthorised modifications, I didn't see anything that I haven't allready described. Too late to cut a long story short, now to what I found out this weekend! I compared my R1 with an Imbel kit and found several difference, First the Imbel lower is painted, the R1 is black oxide and also has a few minor difference that are visible in side by side comparison, but nothing really major. Both are marked S R A on the selector, the R1 barrel has 7.62mm stamped on it and a few "proof" marks?? and a P on the wrench flat. The Imbel has nothing stamped on the barrel. The R1 selector lever has been ground by hand to allow it to go to full auto, the pin is still in the reciever. They both have the horizontal take down lever, and of course no sand cuts in the mouse. The selector has the hole drilled in it for the split pin, but no pin. So in conclusion, I think "Farmer from Hell" is correct in stating that the R3 is a later model of the R1, but not sufficiently different to cause any confusion or problems, so maybe that's why the R3 designation was dropped when the only difference of any interest is the takedown lever. Maybe the sand cuts were dropped because of cracking or other problems or maybe the extra cost of manufacture wasn't worth the negligible advantage. I tend to favour the cracking theory, as it would suport the rarity of sand cuts today, and maybe the original sand cut mice were replaced along with the wood butstock.
We also had a few HB FNs in HQ company, Std Belgian contract, so no useful information there. I took quite a few photos during my time in SWA, not easy, the paranoia was everywhere! Unfortunately the color pictures are fading real bad, well it was nearly 40 years ago! and the B&W are OK but were all shot with an Instamatic so hardly professional. I will dig them out and see if I can find anything of interest regarding rifle IDs
Sorry for the Looong reply, but when I'm on a roll its hard to shut up!!

Peter Wells
October 28, 2003, 01:38
Thanks Ken - we are trying to put the puzzle together and occasionally find that we have the pieces wrong.

Yesterday I discovered a Mnr Pieter De Wet who, it seems, was part of the original team that evaluated the FAL and visited FN to sort out the contract purchase and specs etc. etc. on behalf of the SADF/Armscor. He is an old toppie now but am going to visit him in the next few days and hopefully get some early info.

I am also trying to contact a Derek Snyman who ran the LIW R1 production line - apparently from beginning to end of production. Another potential source of info.

October 28, 2003, 07:19
Question for Peter Wells. I also have a set of wood Aussie handguards that have the same camo paint as all the other R1 stuff I have. Picked them up at a gunshow and the seller knew nothing about them. I've since donated them to Kevin Adams for his book but I was wondering if you can shed any additional light on their history. http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=85274&highlight=R1+wood

Peter Wells
October 29, 2003, 02:19
NH - It is entirely possible that they are ex-Rhodie kit as they sourced their 'FALs' from all over the world - Brit, India, Belgium, Australia et al.

I believe that it is hihgly unlikely that any other country in the world would use the exact same two-tone paint paint jobs as the Rhodies. The mustard/tan is distintive as is the blue/green.

Only when the UN arms embargo really tied down their supply (around '65/'66 I reckon) did they rely solely on SA to supply them with a variety of FALs and R1s ex SADF stocks but, by then, there were already thousands of other odds and sods in service. In addition, it is common knowledge that there were other countries (apart from SA) who supplied arms in contravention of the embargo.

If anybody has the ability to trace these kits back thru the system to find out who is de-milling them we may get a look at the cut receivers and learn more from that source. If in Zim I have contacts there who can do the necessary.

October 30, 2003, 21:28
The attached pic is an original R3 Simi-Selector with the C-Clip attachment. I acquired this and a few other small parts from a friend (who shall remain unnamed) when I was getting my R1/R3 kit put together. The C-Clip may not be original as the unit would install and function properly, but the clip did not hold it in tight enough for the selector to snap smartly into the detents. It may need a thicker/heavier clip to function properly.

October 30, 2003, 21:32
Here is another angle.

I'm extremely happy to finally find out that the "Type II" lowers were really S.A. manufactured to mate up to the hybrid Type I uppers.

October 30, 2003, 21:50
And the final product (S.A. mfg'd and with matching Rhodie S/Ns):
I think they look good with or without camo. Maybe I'll get a chance to do another some day. I still have the long plastic stock and HGs (painted) that came with this one, but they are beaters.

More pics here: http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=89594

October 31, 2003, 08:31
VERY handsome.

our Saudi-issed FAL were configured like this: plastic HG and PG, wood everywhere else.

October 31, 2003, 20:21
News! (?)
Today I saw a boxful of stocks painted in Rhodesian cam pattern. Old, absolutely orignal paint on WOOD stocks. Here's the kicker: they were L1A1 stocks!

Probably 25 in the box, and more on the shelf above. What do ya think about that:?

November 03, 2003, 01:34
Maybe they were for my ZA marked Brit lower. Look here (http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=765047#post765047)

November 05, 2003, 00:37
Originally posted by EMDII
News! (?)
Today I saw a boxful of stocks painted in Rhodesian cam pattern. Old, absolutely orignal paint on WOOD stocks. Here's the kicker: they were L1A1 stocks!

Probably 25 in the box, and more on the shelf above. What do ya think about that:? They probably would go nicely with these.:uhoh: http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=85274&highlight=wood+HGs

Peter Wells
November 05, 2003, 04:32
Hello to all who have been involved in this topic.

I have just got off the 'phone to a friend, Bruce Wentzel, who was an armourer in the Rhodesian Army in the good old days. Between him and a few other guys of similar vintage (Phil Spencer and Phil Morgan - ex Selous Scouts and SAS armourers respectively) thay are going to put together a detailed essay on this subject ie. take-on, inspection, como-ing, re-numbering etc. of FALs and G3s in Rhodie. I will get it published for posterity on the SAAACA site. WAIT, OUT!

BTW - I occassionally see some confusion in various posts about our local geography. For those not too well versed in the subject (and with apologies to those many of you who are!) - South Africa (The Republic of South Africa or RSA) is a sovereign state/country bordered on tha NW by Namibia (previously South West Africa), the North by Botswana (Bechuanaland) and Zimbabwe (Rhodesia/Southern Rhodesia) and NE by Swaziland and Mocambique. This entire region, incl Angola and Zambia (previously Northern Rhodesia) and Malawi etc. is known as 'Southern Africa' therefore Rhodesia/Zimbabwe is in Southern Africa but is not, never was and never will be synonymous with, or part, of 'South Africa'.

Apropos the 'Parts Kits' now selling in the USA - The R1 and R3 were manufactured only in South Africa under licence to FN. Some earlier 'SA contract' FALs and R1s (amongst other things) were provided to Rhodesia in their hour of need (post 1965 UDI) as they had/have no adequate manufacturing capability. Post-1980 independence (probably around 1982/3 but my memory fails me here) Zimbabwe sold off all their non-Warsaw Pact military small arms (incl all their various FALs and R1s) and piles of confiscated civilian arms to a South African civilian, Richard Beck, on condition that they be exported from Africa en masse never to return.

We must assume that this motley collection of FALs has been warehoused somewhere in Europe or USA since then until demilled & released onto the USA market as 'parts kits' fairly recently. If anybody can shed any light on their whereabouts for the last ~20 years I would love to add it to the story.

PS. The fact that the kits don't have receiver stubs may also mean that there is a huge haul of receivers lying somewhere - a true treasure trove!

November 05, 2003, 09:50
Originally posted by Peter Wells
Hello to all who have been involved in this topic.

I have just got off the 'phone to a friend, Bruce Wentzel, who was an armourer in the Rhodesian Army in the good old days. Between him and a few other guys of similar vintage (Phil Spencer and Phil Morgan - ex Selous Scouts and SAS armourers respectively) thay are going to put together a detailed essay on this subject ie. take-on, inspection, como-ing, re-numbering etc. of FALs and G3s in Rhodie. I will get it published for posterity on the SAAACA site. WAIT, OUT!

Now this should be interesting. Thanks Peter.

November 05, 2003, 15:09
Thanks, Peter. :bow:

I am greatly looking forward to this. :smile: :fal:

November 05, 2003, 20:50
Thanks Peter, the saga gets more interesting all the time!
Couple of questions to the list.... Has anyone got an R1 that does NOT have the RA or ZA markings showing either Rhodesia or Zambia service?
My recently aquired R1 has RA numbers on both the lower rec. and bolt carrier, they don't match and the bolt carrier was numbered free hand with an electric pencil, while the rec. looks like it was numbered with a stencel and the electric pencil again. Up until I left SA in 1990, civilian ownership of an FN was virtually impossibe, I knew of only two legally licenced, one a folding stock para. The ban on the licensing of semi auto long guns was still enforced so the sale of SA R1s to anyone was highly unlikely. Did things change during the 90s?
Rhodesia was a whole nuther story. Imediately after Ian Smith threw in the towl, a huge amount of arms were flown out of the country to SA, probably to prevent their use by Magabis new government, what was included in this airlift, I don't know for sure but was just told there was a "lot" of stuff brought back to SA. The new Zimbabwe govt. rounded up civilian firearms during some sort of amnesty and held on to these guns for 10 years, after which they were returned to their owners, the guns were in a terrible state, having being stored in piles and suffered broken sights and cosmetic damages. During the 10 years a lot of the original owners had left the country so did not get their guns back, this could be the source of some of the civilian guns included with the R1 sale to Richard Beck. I was a licensed fire arms dealer and gunsmith in Johannesburg and knew Richard, who was pretty famous as a gun runner, mostly getting guns into SA in the face of the UN imposed arms embargo, rather than getting them out! As far as I know, he retired to a farm in Natal near Port Shepston, you may be able to look him up.
Your theory about the mother lode of recievers out there somewhere is pretty valid. SA law used to regard the BARREL as the firearm not the frame or reciever, so they could legally be possesed anywhere in SA and would be just regarded as scrap metal. The barrels without proper numbers would be a nightmare! So how the Rhodie guns got to the States and where they were stored for all those years get very interesting! I guess Richard Beck would know.
Another guy you should try find is Ricky (Richard) Pascoe, used to be in the Jhb area, worked originally for Field & Stream in Commisioner St. and later for "Gun Runner" somewhere in the Northern suburbs of Jhb. He has a lot of useful firearm info and might be of some help.

Peter Wells
November 06, 2003, 01:46
Thanks for the encouragement guys. We'll get this thing nailed down for once and for all if we pool all our source and resources.

Ken, you are right about the scarcity of FALs/R1s in civvy hands here but we collectors are a resourcefull lot and we have been able to posess many things which are denied to non-collectors. The only R1s that were officially made available to civilians are the single rifle given each year to the winner of the National Service Shooting Championships but there are a number of somewhat less official ones around and all sorts of other FAL types.

ps. I know Ricky well (also from F&S days - now that was a great shop!) and last spoke to him a few weeks ago. He has quit gunsmithing and now does training etc. down in Knysna - lucky sod! I will get him involved too.