A number of images were shared with us which originate from one of the more famous dealers in the long running manufacturing and arms trading town of the ‘Khyber’ region in Pakistan – Darra Adam Khel. These images showed a bunched-up pile of non-barrelled actions for a number of bolt-action patterns, a dream for many collectors and shooters in places such as Europe and the USA.
In these images, we can make out multiple .303 chambered Lee-Enfield pattern bolt-actions, some of which still contain the rear buttstock screw. Interestingly, a couple of these were Remington marked and produced M1903A3 bolt-actions chambered in .30-06 including the built-in magazine and were also mixed into this pile.
The main question asked by many is why the barrels, magazines and the wood stocks are missing? The short answer is these rifles were either damaged and too expensive to repair or more recently, they utilised cartridges of which original factory loads are no longer available – both the .303 and .30-06 are such cartridges. The person in possession of these would look them over and see what could be reused; he would have seen that some of the wood was either damaged beyond repair or could be reused in another build – not only that, the barrels themselves could be repurposed and/or rechambered for a variety of other cartridges thus being able to be used in another firearm build or repair – plus the magazines themselves could be resold as replacement parts too. A long barrel could also be sectioned into shorter pieces and used for arms requiring shorter barrels, i.e. for a handgun, thus making them some money off of an otherwise expensive repair job on a rifle that was no longer easy to sell.
As always, there is rhyme and reason to why things are done as such in the region. It may not always be so apparent at face value but the thinking behind it all actually makes sense to those involved. This may seem like sacrilege to collectors and people who wish to keep more vintage or antiquated arms all original but not everyone thinks in those terms although the region has its far share of collectors also. The fate of these non-barrelled actions is unclear, perhaps they will be further cannibalised for individual spare parts or if they’re lucky eventually become the basis of a new weapon.