UK rifles


LSA .276 self-loading rifle

This rifle was submitted to the Small Arms Committee in 1910, and was developed by Thomas R. Ashton of London Small Arms. It was recoil-operated with a tilting bolt which was engaged by a wedge in the rear interior of the receiver. The chambering was in .276 Enfield and the gun was fed by detachable SMLE-type magazines (there seems to have been no clip-feed guide). The LSA rifle gave bad tests and was considered particularly susceptible to sand and dirt, a common flaw of early self-loaders. It was rejected and no further action was taken.

The use of SMLE-pattern components such as the magazine gives this rifle some compatibility with the standard British service rifle. It would be interesting to see a hypothetical .303 version adopted in limited quantities by the British in about 1915 - 1916 to provide troops with an infantry automatic weapon. Most other militaries in the war investigated the concept of providing increased individual firepower to their troops - the French with the Chauchat & RSC, the Germans with the M.P.18,I, the Austrians with the M.12/P16 & Sturmpistole, and the Italians with the Villar Perosa & Revelli-Beretta. The closest the British had was the Lewis gun. While there is little chance that the LSA rifle would’ve been able to cope with the mud of the Western Front, possible roles for the rifle could be an aerial observer’s weapon or a marksman rifle.

(Side note: I like to imagine that this rifle would’ve been nicknamed the “Lisa” if it were adopted.)


BSA-Norman 7x63mm inclined bolt rifle

The BSA-Norman was designed by George Norman of BSA in 1911. The concept of this gun was to employ an inclined bolt which ran at a lower angle to the firer’s eyeline, so as to allow the user to cycle the bolt whilst remaining sighted on their target. The bolt face was a separate piece that did not rotate with the bolt, and the bolt guide ran down the comb of the stock. Interestingly the rifle was chambered for a proprietary rimless cartridge, 7x63mm Eley. I don’t know of any other guns that were chambered in this round. The cartridge proposed as a possible replacement for .303 but the British Army were more interested in .276 Enfield.


The BSA-Norman rifle was trialed briefly in March 1913 and reportedly gave a “disastrous” performance. Neither the concept nor the cartridge were developed any further, and priority was given to other projects such as the .276 Pattern 13 rifle.


The LSA self-loading rifle looks pretty gangster, I want it.

1 Like