AIR RIFLES

John Knibbs

Your .177 BSA Merlin air rifle was despatched from the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) factory in Shirley, Warwickshire on August 20, 1965.

It is a Mk II model which was introduced in 1964 and was an updated and improved model of a junior air rifle that launched in 1962.

It was produced to compete with the small Original Model .22 and .23 rifles so popular in Europe and which became good sellers in Britain alongside Webley & Scott’s Junior and Ranger rifles.

The Merlin Mk II had some unique features which helped its popularity.

It was of fixed barrel design and underlever cocking.

It was loaded by means of a sliding pellet transporter, which was a great safety feature because the rifle had to be pointed at the ground to load a pellet.

It was also fitted with a safety sear to prevent accidental discharge during loading.

In .177 calibre it was quite a powerful little rifle which could easily be fitted with a small low-powered scope.

Its open sights were fixed and not adjustable.

Production ceased in 1968 following the transfer of the gun manufacturing plant to Redditch, Worcestershire.