The sling issued for use with the Self Loading Rifle was an update of the design that had been in service with the British Army since before World War One. Although the basic design did not change, instead of pre-shrunken cotton webbing, the new sling used heavy duty woven nylon that was dyed a dark green:This material had a distinctive shine to it, making it easy to distinguish from the earlier patterns which had a Matt finish. The brass fittings at either end of the sling remained unchanged except they were now blackened rather than being left as plain brass, they were however still attached with a pair of brass rivets:Like most rifles, the SLR had a pair of sling swivels. One securely attached to the butt which could only move back and forth:And a second one towards the front of the rifle, just in front of the gas block, which was on a swivel so could rotate around the axis of the barrel:In Northern Ireland it became common to attach the sling to just the rear sling swivel of the SLR, the free end being strapped around the soldier’s wrist to prevent someone from snatching the rifle and trying to run off with it. Alistair Mackenzie was a soldier in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s with the Parachute Regiment and in his book ‘Pilgrim Days’ he remembers:
The primary weapon was the 7.62 SLR, and one end of the sling was attached to the butt of the rifle, with the other end attached to the holder’s wrist. This was to stop the weapon being snatched away in a melee.
This sling has the faintest indications of a black ink maker’s stamp on it, but it is too faint to read and doesn’t provide enough contrast for the camera to pick up.
The L4, like the Bren before it, had a dedicated spare parts wallet containing items that were used to clean the LMG and make simple field repairs to keep the weapon in action. The wallet was very similar to its predecessor, but with different pockets and contents to reflect the different needs of the L4. The wallet was made of webbing, pre-dyed green:The wallet rolls up and is secured with two staples and tabs:A number of pockets are inside the wallet to hold the various contents:Inside the wallet are a number of different accessories:Like the earlier Bren wallet, there is a pocket for the oil bottle:An un-flapped one for the pull-through:One pocket for the takedown tool:And one for the spare parts tin:The spare parts tin is now made of plastic rather than metal. The big change from the earlier design however, is that there is a pocket to carry the multi-piece cleaning rod:The L4 had a chromed barrel so no spare was carried and the spare barrel bag often ditched in favour of just the spares wallet, hence the need for a multi piece cleaning rod in the spares wallet to allow it to be maintained with just the smaller wallet.
The 1978 army pamphlet on the L4 lists the contents as:
Spare parts wallet
Top left – Combination tool
Centre – Oil can containing rifle oil
Top right – Pull through, flannelette and tube of graphite grease (if carried)
Bottom – Spare parts tin
Inside flap – Cleaning rod in two sections for cleaning the barrel and chamber.
Spare parts tin. This contains the following items:
Extractor, extractor stay and extractor spring.
Firing pin spring
In addition the following SLR spare parts may also be carried in the spare parts tin:
Extractor, extractor spring and extractor plunger
A blank firing attachment is a device that fits over the muzzle of an automatic or semi-automatic firearm when firing blank ammunition. It serves two purposes, firstly it prevents any material such as wadding or unspent propellant being forced out of the muzzle of the weapon, secondly it forces gases back down the gas system of the weapon to allow it to automatically cycle, sealing the end of the muzzle in the same way a projectile normally would. The FN FAL/SLR rifle in British and Commonwealth service used a wide variety of blank firing adaptors:From left to right these are Canadian C1 BFA; Canadian C1A1 BFA (also British L1A1 BFA); British L1A2 BFA; British L1A2 modified BFA; British L6A1 BFA; Australian BFA. Tonight we are taking a closer look at the L6A1 blank firing adaptor:The technical manual describes this device as:
The L6A1 blank firing adaptor serves as a choke when fitted to the rifle and comprises inner tube, fluted sleeve, main spring and housing. The housing is painted bright yellow. An aperture in the housing engages over the bayonet lug to locate the assembly on the flash eliminator, and when the fluted sleeve is tightened, secures it in position. It is particularly important that the tube is kept clear of carbon deposits. The attachment is to be used only in conjunction with blank ammunition and before firing a check must be made to ensure it is securely fitted to the rifle.Fitting the attachment. Unscrew the fluted sleeve until the threads on the inner tube are completely disengaged from the housing. Insert the inner tube into the flash eliminator and pass the rectangular hole in the housing over the bayonet lug. Screw up the inner tube using the fluted sleeve, until the attachment is tightly locked on the rifle; the serrated teeth will commence to engage before locking is completed. Check that the fluted sleeve is fully tightened and then unscrew two clicks; this action will facilitate removal of the attachment after firing.
A large knob is fitted to the end to make it easier to screw down tight:An NSN number is stamped into the body of the blank firing adaptor, but is very hard to make out due to the thick layer of yellow paint:The SLR manual helpfully includes an exploded diagram showing the internal parts of the L6A1 BFA:The L6A1 seems to have been introduced due to safety concerns about the earlier pattern, with reports of it working loose and being fired off the end of the muzzle in some circumstances. Whether this is true or not is unclear, but something did prompt the army to develop a new and more substantial design of BFA and this pattern would remain in service until the SLR was withdrawn and replaced with the SA80, which itself had a dedicated BFA available.