*EXTREMELY RARE BSA-HOWELL M1915 SELF-LOADING CONVERSION OF THE SMLE RIFLE.
SN D43787. Cal. .303 British. 25.2″ bbl. Exceedingly rare M1915 BSA Howell self-loading conversion of a standard SMLE No. 1 Mk III as seen in Ian’s Skennerton’s reference book The Lee Enfield, pg 541. This is the 4th conversion in the sequence, circa 1940, marked with number “4” on hand guards, buttstock and right side of stock forward of magazine well. All matching numbers except nosecap. It includes a Parker Hale bi-pod attached just to the rear of the forward sling band and features a WWI era 20-rnd magazine. Modified nosecap with fold-out bar sights with no provision for bayonet. Distinctive hand grip and hand protector must have provided some sense of security, however, it must have been rather disconcerting for the bolt to cam upwards and come back towards the firers face when firing this rifle. Orig web sling attached. The Howell Automatic Rifle design was one of the first attempts at making a functioning semi-automatic rifle, tapping gas from the barrel with a simple gas piston bolted onto the right side of the rifle which engaged an ingenious contoured cam at the rear to cycle a modified SMLE bolt. To protect the user, a crude stamped hand guard and face guard were added in addition to a stamped tubular pistol grip. Howells were used during WWII, mainly as an AA weapon for the Home Guard due to the shortages of weapons in 1940-41. Surviving specimens are exceedingly rare. PROVENANCE: From the Estate of World Renowned British Rifle Collector Robert W. Faris. CONDITION: Overall condition and finish very good to extremely fine with about 75% finish remaining overall with most of it on the gas cylinder and forward metal parts, otherwise thinning to a pleasing gray patina or turning brown on the magazine and trigger guard. Bi-pod retains over 95% green paint. Rear sight and receiver mostly a grey patina. Hand grip also thinning to a grey-brown patina. Bore has shiny lands and dark in the grooves. Wood very good to extremely fine, completely serviceable with numerous dings, bruises and handling marks and with a very noticeable deep gouge on the right side just to the rear of the bi-pod attachment. A very interesting and extremely rarely encountered example of the evolution of small arms in the 20th century. 51608-9 JWK (10,000-15,000) C&R – Lot 1653
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