Welcome to Bisley, the famous rifle ranges. During the years leading up to war, depots such as Bisley, and many others up and down the country, were used as training depots, preparing soldiers for service overseas. These depots are still used for this purpose today.
Interpreter: Drummer Thompson, I’d like you to meet my rifle here. This is the Short Magazine Lee Enfield. It’s .303-calibre, bolt action. Now, I can’t see any bolt on that. It’s a little smaller, as well. What are you calling that?
Drummer Thompson: This is the SA80 assault rifle. It’s an L98A2. The calibre of the weapon is 5.56. It’s a lot more modern than what you have. It’s a semi-automatic rifle.
Interpreter: How many rounds could you get off a minute? I mean with this, a marksman, a good shot, could get off 15 aimed rounds a minute at a target about 300 yards away, although the firing instructors say they could get off 20 rounds and still have time for a cup of tea at the end of it.
Drummer Thompson: Well, at deliberate rate of fire, you could fire 10 rounds per minute. And you could fire 30 rounds at a rapid rate.
Interpreter: What about ranges? I mean, this has got a maximum range of 2,000 yards, although you’d have to be a good shot to hit a single target. But massed German infantry, you might as well give it a shot. Also, an effective range of anything from 600 yards downwards. That’s a good killing zone. What about your SA80?
Drummer Thompson: Well, as an individual, 300 metres is a maximum effective range. But as a section, it’s 600 metres.
Interpreter: And I see you’ve got the strap, as well.
Drummer Thompson: Yeah, it’s a sling. So you’d be able to just clip this up and you would be able to just carry it around in your harbour area or in your base. And then when you go out on patrol, with the chances of being in a firefight or whatever, you just use the quick release and you’re able to manoeuvre around with your weapon.
Interpreter: And just lastly, what’s the weight of yours?
Drummer Thompson: It’s a little bit more compact than what you have there. But it weighs about the same weight – 9lb.
Interpreter: Fairly evenly weighted, as well. So it’s good for both of us, really. Thank you, Drummer Thompson.