Image Lot Price Description



SN 5. Cal. .303 British. Exceptional Farquhar-Hill Self loading Rifle, chambered in .303, designed by Moubray Farquhar and Arthur Hill. The Farquhar-Hill was one of the first self-loading rifles developed just after the turn of the last century. The design evolved from a long recoil operated automatic aimed at British Army acceptance, with a barrel that recoiled back and forth and utilized a rotary locking bolt. However, early examples were overly complicated and not accepted. Farquhar and Hill then modified the concept ca. 1911 into what is now thought of as a more familiar gas-operated system with a fixed barrel, which resulted in simpler and faster production and an increase in reliability and accuracy. The gas system did not act directly on the bolt carrier to open the action, but initially compressed an actuating spring that effected bolt opening giving a far less violent operation and recoil than might be expected, latches and other springs that were compressed by the piston motion completing the operating cycle. The concept was initially designed for rarely encountered “.303 Rimless” but this was unsuccessful and later examples were made for the standard .303 British. Trials were conducted in 1913, with limited production following later and several of these rifles are said to have been used by British aviators before the widespread fitting of machineguns on aircraft occurred. Then, in 1918 the British Army ordered the weapon into large-scale production, but the close of WW1 ultimately ended the effort. This example is a unique factory-made sporter version of the British Army trials rifle of 1913. The bayonet lug was omitted, it has a lightened stock with conventional sling swivels and is equipped with an intricate micrometer rear sight for precision shooting. The bolt handle is British proofed and the left stock is marked “303”, denoting caliber. Instead of the interchangeable 19 round drum magazine used by the Army trials rifles, this example has an integral 5 round box magazine. One of the very rarest of the early self loaders and only rarely encountered in the very finest collections. PROVENANCE: Ex-Visser Collection, Collection of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess. CONDITION: Excellent overall, all correct and period, retaining 98% bluing. Fit and finish very fine. Stock is also excellent, with lustrous deep brown stain and just a few handling marks and scratches. Bore is bright with strong lands and grooves. Mechanically fine, with tight, crisp mechanism. 4-53220 DW5 (20,000-35,000) – Lot 1145

Auction: Firearms - Fall 2014
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