It may not be immediately obvious, but careful observation may provide you with the information for which you are looking.Such research is a major part of the joy of owning, collecting and shooting classic or historic rifles.There is therefore an undeniable possibility that year letters after 1958 may each represent dates that should be advanced one year, with "Z" falling in 1975, although this would then conflict with the 1975 commencement of the next series. Conjecture may suggest that perhaps there was even indecision at the Birmingham Proof House, and only a few rifles were stamped with an "I" in 1958 before "J" was substituted, or, a long shot, the 1957 "H" stamps wore out before the end of the year.
The problem here is that, unlike silver hallmarking, the Proof House codes were only introduced in 1921 and have been only intermittently applied since then, almost on the whim of the Proof Master incumbent at any particular time. production was proved at Birmingham and the marks should therefore comply with these series.Date marks for the London Proof House did not commence until 1972 and are therefore of limited value in dating classic rifles.Clockwise, from top: skyline of Birmingham City Centre from the south, Birmingham Town Hall, St Martin's church and Selfridges department store in the Bull Ring, the University of Birmingham viewed from afar with the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower in view, St Philip's Cathedral and the Library of Birmingham A market town in the medieval period, Birmingham grew in the 18th century Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw advances in science, technology, and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society.Lest they were confused with other characters, I and Q were not utilised, so the date letters to 1941 were as follows 1922/23 - B; 1923/24 - C; 1924/25 - D; 1925/26 - E; 1926/27 - F; 1927/28 - G; 1928/29 - H; 1929/30 - J; 1930/31 - K; 1931/32 - L; 1932/33 - M; 1933/34 - N; 1934/35 - O; 1935/36 - P; 1936/37 - R; 1937/38 - S; 1938/39 - T; 1939/40 - U; 1940/41 - V.The alphabet was restarted several years post-war in 1950 with A, but now each letter change was made at the beginning of the year.Many, but not all, of our pages carry date information on the various rifles illustrated or discussed, where it has been possible to be sure of data.There are a number of methods by which a rifle can be dated, or at least bracketed between certain years of manufacture.For BSA and Greener rifles view complete catalogues from 1908 to the mid 1930s on our CATALOGUES PAGE As far as civilian rifles are concerned, some manufacturers have their own dating systems, with, for example, prefixes or suffixes to serial numbers providing that information.Anschutz target rifles fall into this category, and their system is given on the page for these rifles.This is nothing new, and proof-house date marks from years past may still not indicate the rifle's date of manufacture. Such a purchase additionally supports such researchers and their work, and is, long term, to the benefit of us all.However, if an estimate of the rifle's age from other sources closely matches the date marks, then you probably have pinned down when it was made within a year or so. The ISBN numbers for these reference books are in the bibliography. When inspecting your rifle and comparing marks with reference sources, be careful not to confuse date marks, or "private view marks", with inspectors marks, which usually carry the factory identification, e.g., "E" for Enfield, under the sovereign's crown, below which is the inspector's identification number; usually two figures such as "39". rifles the Proof mark is only on the barrel (and on the action falling-block), and the third mark on the barrel is the 'NP' mark for Nitro-Proof, also below the crown.