Save the No.8s! Minister says .22 rifles will become ‘scrap metal’

27 July 2016 – A defence minister, writing before the post-Brexit change in government, threatened to reduce the nation’s stocks of .22″ No.8 cadet training rifles to “scrap metal”.

Philip Dunne MP, who before Theresa May’s reshuffle was Minister for Defence Procurement, wrote to a concerned shooter, responding to concerns that the No.8 fleet would be destroyed instead of being sold off for future generations.

“The sale of weapons is strictly regulated by the UK Firearms Act 1968 and other legislation such as the International Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Regimes,” wrote Dunne in a letter dated 13th June and seen by UK Shooting News.

“Any small arms not sold to other governments are destroyed in line with tightly controlled procedures and sold as scrap metal,” continued the minister. “As this rifle has been declared unsupportable it will therefore be destroyed. This activity is undertaken by the Disposal Services Authority.”

Dunne is now a junior health minister and has no responsibilities in defence. His replacement as defence procurement minister is Harriett Baldwin MP. A new minister may be more willing to listen to reason.

Although shooters in New Zealand faced the same sort of problems, they wrote to their MPs, organised a campaign and persuaded their government to sell off their stock of No.8s. UKSN’s author now owns one, and it’s just as good as it was when it rolled off the BSA production line 60 years ago.

In spite of UKSN’s calls for the thousands of perfectly serviceable rifles in MoD hands to be saved for future generations to enjoy, the Ministry of Defence is adamant that it wants to destroy them all.

The No.8 is a single shot, hand fed .22″ training rifle. Designed in the late 1940s and built between 1949 and 1953 in its tens of thousands, the No.8 has inspired millions of cadets over many generations to take up the sport of target shooting.

Unlike proper military small arms used in war, the No.8 does not even have a magazine and cannot be modified to accept one. Its release into civilian hands poses no threat to world peace or security.

None of the shooting organisations – the NRA, NSRA, BASC or the Countryside Alliance – nor the various clubs and associations one would expect to have an interest in saving the No.8, such as the Lee Enfield Rifle Association, the Historic Breechloading Small Arms Association, or the Vintage Arms Association – has said anything publicly about rescuing the No.8 from the scrapman’s torch.

5 thoughts on “Save the No.8s! Minister says .22 rifles will become ‘scrap metal’

  1. Andy J

    Likely we’ll see a repeat of the L42A1 saga with the government having no qualms about selling them abroad to Germany and the US for example, with a few being re-imported at many times the price.


  2. Glenn Haldane

    Members of LERA have campaigned hard in the background to preserve these rifles. Making a great deal of noise can be counter-productive.


  3. Anthony Chappell

    They are nice looking rifles!You’d think that a cash strapped government would rather make a few quid selling them off rather than paying someone else to scrap them.



    Well that IDIOT won’t get my No8’s or my L42A1!
    It must never have occurred to him that criminals DO NOT use single shot.22 training rifles!
    He is proof tat you can be brain dead and still be elected to Parliament



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