Lithgow Arms: Please Chamber the LA102 in 303 British
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Potential signatories may not that this petition is large of sentiment, but light on for details.
To address this, and to give the proposal the best possible chance of success, I will be the announcing a defined course of action in the New Year. This will involve establishing a project working group, with the immediate objective of producing a working prototype and the overall objective the delivery to Lithgow Arms of a detailed and compelling proposal.
There will also be a complete redrafting of this petition, making it more polished, comprehensive and compelling.
Thank you for your support so far and keep spreading the word.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Although this proposal and petition was initially met with some amusement and cynicism within the shooting community, the response to this petition has being overwhelming. What is obvious is the 303British round is far from dead and there is an insatiable demand for a modern rifle chambered in 303 not just in Australia, but worldwide.
By signing this petition, you're sending a message to Lithgow Arms that you support their product and their efforts in revitalising the marque in the sporting arms sphere. Furthermore, you're sending a strong message that Lithgow Arms and the 303 British round are inextricably linked in the minds of firearms enthusiasts worldwide.
Although such an offering makes no sense on face value, to produce a special edition in 303 would not only be a canny marketing move, but be met with unprecedented demand.
I ask that everyone signing this petition please spread the word. To give this petition the strongest chance of success, I request that you please re-post the link on your favourite forums, Facebook pages and youtube channels and help create awareness for the petition and generate more signatories.
Lastly, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know where you're from and where you have spread the word.
As I've said before , it is 'the mother of all long shots', but sometimes people power prevails.
The Lithgow Small Arms Factory of Australia has long being associated with quality and reliable military and sporting arms since 1912.
After decades of civilian small arms manufacturing hiatus, Lithgow Arms have released their LA102 Crossover centerfires rifle chambered in 223Rem, 243Win and 308Win. They will be releasing (at time of drafting this petition ) the tactically orientated 'LA105 Woomera' Rifle in 6.5 Creedmore and 308 Winchester in the coming months. Both rifles compliment the existing LA101 range of Rimfire rifles released in 2014.
All Lithgow Arms products have a solid reputation for craftsmanship and out of the box accuracy. They are an achievement of Australian sporting arms production and one that not only the Australian shooting fraternity, but supporters of Australian industry and innovation should be proud of.
My simple suggestion to Lithgow Arms:
Please, as an ode to the Lithgow SAF's history and to commemorate over a century Australian small arms production please consider a limited edition run of LA102 Rifles chambered in the classic 303 British round.
- First and foremost: The Lithgow name is universally associated with the 303 British round. Lithgow Arms should embrace this historical association. In popular shooting culture and arms collecting this is their 'Brand'
- Given the passionate following for the 303Brit round worldwide, such a rifle would generate an unprecedented and universal level of interest not only in the proposed Special Edition, but across the entire Lithgow Arms range.
- The 303 British round is NOT DEAD. Sure, it's not the flavour of the month with the cool kids, but it accounts for a steady number of ammunition sales and is used as a target and hunting round to good effect worldwide.
- Point of difference: In a world of more of the same commercial rifles chambered in all the same 'popular' calibers, no one else is doing it,
- Commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice would be ideal, but this would be too hard a task in such a short timeframe. Obviously, the century of the end of the Second World War and the cessation of production of the venerable No1 MkIII SMLE at Lithgow SAF would be too far away for enthusiast appetites. So, as my Granddad used to say "any excuse is a good excuse"
- No new repeating factory rifle chambered in 303 British has being produced since Bradman was batting at first drop (Cricket reference, folks) But in the time since the last 303 rifle rolled off the production lines, hundreds of newer commercial rounds have being released to fanfare from esteemed writers only to die off and be discontinued. The 303 is still going strong.
Please note that this petition is not a demand, but an impassioned plea on behalf of not only Australian sporting shooters, but fans of the venerable 303British round, worldwide.
In asking you to support this petition I should address some obvious criticisms of this proposal raises.
- The 303 is not ballistically efficient: When constrained to moderate loads in rear locking Lee Enfield rifles manufactured over 70 years ago, this may be so. But imagine it chambered in a modern rifle combined with modern propellants in a solid action?
- There are better, more modern calibers they should be focusing on: With regards to Lithgow Arm standard chamberings, this is true. However no modern chambering has the historical connection to the Lithgow brand, making a limited edition offering a powerful marketing tool with a ready made and passionate market
- Establishment costs: Acknowledging the mechanics of going from rimless to rimmed chambering, I cannot argue that production costs associated with bolt modification, 0.311 spec barrels and the elephant in the room: The Magazine, would make such a rifle a slightly more expensive item compared with the standard LA102, but as a premium product with obvious collector appeal, the costs would be offset by market exposure and desirability. (EDIT 27/11/17: Concept drawings using Detachable Box Magazine Trigger guards designed around aftermarket Lee Enfield magazines theoretically solves the magazine issue. )
- "The 303 is dead, let it go": No it is not. Ammunition sales have being steady with Federal, Winchester, Remington,PPU, Wolf, S&B etc all manufacturing 303 ammunition.
- "I don't like the 303 so I'm not signing it" Fair enough, but you might know someone who does, so please consider supporting as a show of solidarity.
- Why should I sign? A stronger civilian arms industry in Australia equals better protection for Australian shooters. Such a rifle would increase brand awareness for Lithgow Arms equalling more sales which creates more jobs and generates more business tax, making shooters less likely to be a political expedient and an economic stakeholder instead of an end user of imported products. Expansion of locally produced aftermarket parts industry is the cream on top! Overseas shooters, please support Australian shooters in this regard!
- There's enough milsurps to meet demand: Yes, and none of them are getting any younger. The market is crying out for a new rifle chambered in an all time classic round.
- "You're dreaming, won't happen, don't waste your time": Some people say 'why?' I say 'why not?" I argue that if you believe in something, or want something to happen, you've got to get off your arse and make it happen. It might not happen, but at least I've had a crack at it... The support I've received for this petition confirms my belief that this idea has merit.
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