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Tell me about Rhodesian L1A1s

Artigas

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A while back, I was lucky enough to pick up a (Century thumbhole) L1A1 lower with RA and ZA serials near the British serial.

Questions:

1) Rhodie inch guns would have been leftovers from the pre-UDI days, correct?

2) Would they have all been wood furniture guns, or was the plastic furniture already in use?

3) Were these guns ever modified for use with metric magazines, or issued to rear-echelon troops, in order to avoid mag compatibility issues?

4) Are there any extant examples of baby poop inch guns?
 

lew

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I don't know if it was the norm but I've seen a few pictures of policemen armed with L1A1's. As best I can remember they had wood furniture.
BSAP usually had R1's after 1970 or so. Being the largest and most important armed force in the territory by far, the police were armed with whatever what was current. SLRs later in the conflict were largely issued to INTAF or Guard Force.

Artigas: Wood furniture; some mags were converted, most weren't; many, but not all, were painted.

Rhodesian L1A1's came from an initial purchase from Britain, and a the majority came from Lithgow.
 

enbloc8

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Rhodesian L1A1's came from an initial purchase from Britain, and a the majority came from Lithgow.
Were the Aussie rifles the majority? My impression was that Britain had provided enough L1A1s through aid for a peacetime army (1960-63ish), and the Aussie rifles (only a few hundred) were purchased after London had given a zillion excuses why they couldn't provide any more small arms in the face of Rhodesia's increasing conflict. Then Australia abruptly cut off the supply, word got back to the Rhodesians that Britain had twisted arms, and things went downhill from there....

I remember asking about SLRs on the New Rhodesian Forum, and a poster said that as of late 1967 (when he began his National Service) all of the military forces that he either was a part of or interacted with/observed had them. Nothing said about FNs/R1s until early 1968, and the police had .303 bolt actions at the time.
 

enbloc8

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Somewhere I have a picture of an AgricAlert (local radio network for farm defense and police contact, from late in the war) field tech crew armed with an SLR and an Uzi.

I've seen at least one SLR lower with black furniture and a ZA number...I suspect at least a few of Rhodesia's SLRs may have been rebuilt/replaced by the Crown during the pre-election British reoccupation, or the early days of Zimbabwe. I also suspect that most SLRs were not marked with a "local" serial number (RA or ZA) until the Zimbabwe era, as they didn't face the same issues of duplicated serial numbers as did FNs.
 

Southern 7.62

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Not that this answers your question(s), but way back in the early 2000’s, I purchased a few wood L1A1 buttstocks, HG’s, and pistol grips from Cheaper Than Dirt. I believe they were like $5 for each part. Anyway, in the mix was a Aussie HG set and butt that we’re covered in baby poop camo paint. I kept the non painted wood, and sold the poo paint wood. They were in rough shape, but knowing what I know now, I should have kept them. Point is, I’ve seen at least a Aussie hg set and buttstock ,both wood,in Rhodie poop paint.
 

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I got a weird rhodie mag..metric converted to inch. I had pics on here once. I will have to look for the mag. It had ST stamped into it I think. And Ive git a brit solid wood hg that has some poop green on it. Only had the one side tho.
 

lew

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Were the Aussie rifles the majority?...
SLRs aren't my focus, so I didn't save anything relevant, but I remember coming across some figures ages ago, and Aussies were the majority, maybe 60/40. If someone wants to dig further and prove me wrong, I don't mind.🥃 I've only talked to a couple of vets who had SLRs, but both said theirs were Lithgow-production. I realize two is an overwhelming sample size.😬
 

Artigas

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As part of the same kit I also got a charging handle with this code on it:

960-2302 B60

I assume this charging handle is a British mismatched? Having trouble understanding exactly where/when it was made, or what the numbers mean.
 

gunplumber

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Artigas

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Eh… good point. Habit, I guess.

The full serial for anyone curious:


2BF8AFA0-B8D5-4D99-8CCF-3DB0A9AB7155.jpeg

It will be headed your way in a couple of weeks to be restored to its pre-import configuration.
 

enbloc8

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As part of the same kit I also got a charging handle with this code on it:

960-2302 B60

I assume this charging handle is a British mismatched? Having trouble understanding exactly where/when it was made, or what the numbers mean.
Birmingham Small Arms, 1960. The 960-prefix number is a NATO stock number. It may have come from a rifle, or as a spare part...armorers just used whatever was next in the bin.

1960 BSAs supposedly constituted most of the first lot of SLRs sent to Rhodesia (also in 1960), followed the next year by a large group of UE (Enfield) 1961s.
 

Artigas

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Birmingham Small Arms, 1960. The 960-prefix number is a NATO stock number. It may have come from a rifle, or as a spare part...armorers just used whatever was next in the bin.

1960 BSAs supposedly constituted most of the first lot of SLRs sent to Rhodesia (also in 1960), followed the next year by a large group of UE (Enfield) 1961s.
Oh, so it could have even been an in–country replacement then. Good to know.
 

Artigas

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Looks like my barrel and gas block are both coded B61. Is this also ostensibly Rhodesian or were all the 61 dated guns Enfields?

The bolt is Lithgow and the bolt carrier is Rhodie-marked South African, which is cool.
 

enbloc8

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Anything 1960-about 1963 could have been sent to Rhodesia. Enfield's and BSA's production all went to the Ministry of Supply, which supplied the British military and foreign aid alike, and filled orders in "next-off-the-rack" fashion. Though I could easily see a large order for foreign aid coinciding with a large incoming delivery from one of the factories, and being sent en masse.

I recall somebody on the old "Fn Fal Owners" FB group lamenting that the British government of the day chose for political reasons to outfit a bunch of former colonies' forces with L1A1s and other modern weapons from stock, at the expense of their own military's readiness.
 

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I got a weird rhodie mag..metric converted to inch. I had pics on here once. I will have to look for the mag. It had ST stamped into it I think. And Ive git a brit solid wood hg that has some poop green on it. Only had the one side tho.
Sarco was recently selling L1A1 inch mags advertised as Bush War used. (Currently oos....no poop paint). I bought one and it too had the ST mark as well. 1654990719490256571280.jpg
 

irish

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I'll put in for a notification and post if I see them up again...
I have several Brit wood buttstocks covered in Rhodie paint. I haven't removed the paint at the wrist to see their production info, but they are Brit size N Type 2 stocks. I believe they came from Tapco back when they sold parts by the pound. I also got a couple very odd L1A1 pistol grips from Tapco about the same time. They're a different profile that standard Brit or Aussie grips but fit / function perfect. I also have a very oddly stamped S/N on a Brit bolt carrier. Definitely not the typical machined UE or UA serial #, this was applied by hand. So, some Rodie Brit L1A1 parts did make it over here.
 

crashmaniac

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The year alone isn't very useful.
Trying to remember totals - want to say around 2K. Might be enough for a police force but not military.
Yep the number purchased from Australia is in the book, Wasnt a huge amount and I believe they got training cutaway too. Not a gigantic military though either. Not to start a political debate but whole war and some of the backstabbing coming out of late is infuriating.

Anyway many units carried nothing but captured AKs and such.All Due to sanctions by the super impartial and and utterly honest United Nations ; ) they used whatever they had until it was broke then they fixed it and used it some more, it was luckily a self sufficient nation before the sanctions. So Im sure whatever SLRs made it into Rhodesia at any point and stayed were used for until the end of Bush War and then were used by Sir Robert Mugabe of the Grand Cross in the Order of the Bath’s minions. Oh I mean just President Mugabe ;British Parliament (Ooopsy) took that ol’knighthood away in ‘94 for sanctioning the massacre of the Metabele to steal their farmland.

Edit: Irish make sure some of those pistol grips if they are polymer and painted arent some of the odd ball NZ ones that were made my NZ lithgow is wearing one now the lizard skin kind. I found one that had been painted black and a collector stripped it is actually more of a wood grain color. Those arent cheap and are worth a pretty penny.
 
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