ND - VERY GOOD- in working condition, 80% finish or better, appreciable wear on working surfaces 80% - 89%, no corrosion or pitting, minor surface dents or scratches. Wood condition commensurable with percent of finish with dings and dents associated with 80% - 89% gun.
This is a super rare and very historic BSA Martini Prototype single shot rifle. This one of a kind rifle was purchased directly from the Freeland family estate after Al had passed away and the gun shop was closed. Information on Freeland's custom "Super Rifles" is included. In it, Freeland notes that his rifles used Eric Johnson barrels and that he only built about 21 of them, and he also notes that BSA contacted him after John Knott used one of his rifles to win the championship at Bisley in 1949. In looking at the rifle we believe it to be the "prototype" for the "Mark Series" Martini rifles manufactured by the BSA Company based on the recommendations from Al Freeland. Al Freeland produced this design in his gun shop by adopting a MK I trigger group/bolt assembly to his newly designed receiver. The receiver actually has no markings and is slightly longer than the MK I; however, the trigger group/bolt assembly is stamped "UF734" on side. At that time he designed it to use two action locking screws, one mounted on each side. Later this was changed to using just one large through bolt screw to secure the trigger assembly inside the receiver. It still retains the larger ejection port on the right side, and it now incorporates a step on the back side of the receiver to keep the buttstock from shifting sideways, which was eventually incorporated into all later BSA Martini designs. During the assembly Freeland fitted a super rare Eric Johnson "8 Star" target barrel. This is the only "8 Star" Eric Johnson barrel this describer has even seen. Certainly this designates this barrel as the best/highest quality barrel produced by Mr. Johnson who in his own right was one of the premier target rifle makers in the 1940-1960s. The top of the barrel is stamped: "MADE BY ERIC JOHNSON/*****8," and towards the breech it is marked "FOR 22 L.R. ONLY". Al Freeland then fitted one of his custom log forends with the double screws on the bottom and a hand stop rail. He also fitted one of his custom three position buttstocks. Both of these became the standard signature patterns for all follow-on BSA Martini Target rifles. The buttstock is also fitted with one of Freeland's adjustable aluminum buttplates with the black sure-grip buttplate pads. As noted, the action is unmarked, and both the receiver and barrel are in the white. This rifle also comes with its original black fiberboard Freeland rifle case. This was the traditional target rifle carrying case used by hundreds of target shooter in the 1950s through the 1980s and was designed and sold by Freeland's gun shop.
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