View Full Version : L85 A1: your thoughts?

March 20, 2009, 03:42 AM
I am considering a L85A1 to be added to my collection. It is a used rifle with original scope.

A bullpup design that is used by the British army. I want to know what are your thoughts on this? If I could hear from members who have used it that will be great, especially the ones who have used it in the Army.


March 20, 2009, 04:42 AM
The brits we were competing against in an international competition a couple years ago said that the latest version is pretty good, but that the first attempt was utter crap.

I don't care for the ergomomics and lack of effective open sights. I also don't like that it's an oddball design with little or no support for spare parts or accessories.

The idea of 20" barrel ballistics from a weapon that's shorter than a 14.5" barrel M4 is a nice one though...

March 20, 2009, 03:31 PM
utter crap...how?

March 20, 2009, 03:39 PM
utter crap...how?

It was notoriously unreliable in most any adverse conditions.

March 21, 2009, 01:56 PM
unreliable in what sense?? FTF, FTE, or what?

Please elaborate as I see these one line answers as opinion utterances.

March 23, 2009, 09:58 PM
By FTE do you mean failure to extract or failure to efect, because the answer is yes, all of those plus stovepipes, double feeds, and head space issues.

March 23, 2009, 10:07 PM
Original SA80 weapons (both L85 and L86) were plagued with many problems, some being very serious. In general, L85 was quite unreliable and troublesome to handle and maintain, so, finally, in the year 1997, after years of constant complaints from the troops, it had been decided to upgrade most L85 rifles then in service.

The upgrade program, committed in years 2000 - 2002, was completed by the famous Heckler&Koch, which was then owned by British Royal Ordnance company (German investors bought the HK back in the 2002). About 200 000 rifles were upgraded into the L85A2 configuration, out of total 320 000 or so original L85A1 rifles produced. While official reports about the upgraded weapons were glowing, the initial field reports from the British troops, engaged in the Afghanistan campaign of 2002, were unsatisfactory. Most problems, however, were traced to improper care and maintenance of weapons, and for now the L82A2 performs fairy well both in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Other than the basic L85A1 variant, the SA80 IW also appeared in the shortened Carbine version, and in the manually operated L98A1 rifle, which got its gas system removed and a larger cocking handle attached. The L98A1 is used to train the army cadets for basic rifle handling and shooting skills, and the rifle is fired as a manually operated, straight pull magazine repeater rifle. The latest weapon in the SA80 family is the recently adopted L22 carbine, which is issued to tank crews of Royal Armoured Corps. This weapon is available in two versions, L82A1 and L82A2, the latter being fitted with additional Picatinny rail on the right side of front grip base.

The current L85A2 rifles are recognized as reliable and very accurate, especially when using standard issue SUSAT telescope sights. The drawbacks of the L85A2 are somewhat poor balance (which can be improved with installation of HK-made 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher), right-side only extraction and rearward placement of the fire mode selector.

Technical description.
The L85 is a gas operated, magazine fed, selective fire rifle of bullpup layout.
The receiver of the L85 is made from stamped sheet steel, reinforced with welded and riveted machined steel inserts. The gas operated action has a short stroke gas piston, located above the barrel. The gas piston has its own return spring. Gas system has a three-positions gas regulator, one position for a normal firing, second for a firing in adverse conditions and the third for launching the rifle grenades (gas port is shut off). The machined bolt carrier rides inside the receiver on the two parallel steel guide rods, with the single return spring placed above and between the guide rods. The typical rotating bolt has 7 lugs that locks into the steel insert in the receiver, just behind the barrel breech. The charging handle is attached to the right side of the bolt carrier, and prior to A2 upgrade caused some problems by reflecting the ejected cases back into the action, thus causing stoppages. In the L85A2 configuration the charging handle was redesigned to avoid such problems. The charging handle slot is covered by the spring-loaded dust cover. The bolt and its extractor claw also were upgraded in the L85A2, to achieve more reliable extraction of the spent cases.
The trigger / hammer assembly of the L85A1 is also typical for a modern bullpup rifle, with the long link from the trigger to the hammer unit, located in the buttstock. The hammer assembly of the L85A2 was redesigned to introduce a slight delay before the hammer release when the gun is fired in the full auto. This did not affected the cyclic rate of fire but improved the reliability and stability of the weapon during the automatic fire. The fire mode selector is located at the left side of the receiver, well behind the magazine housing, and allows for single shots of full automatic modes of fire. The cross-bolt safety button is located above the trigger.
The barrel is rifled for a NATO-standard 5.56mm ammunition, with 1:7 twist, and is fitted with a NATO-standard flash hider, which allows to launch the rifle grenades from the barrel.
The L85 is fed using NATO-standard (STANAG) magazines, similar to M16 type magazines, with the standard capacity of 30 rounds. Early L85A1 steel magazines caused a lot of troubles, as well as a magazine housing itself, which had a thin walls that could be easily dented, thus blocking the magazine way. Both magazines and its housings were upgraded in the L85A2 configuration.
The standard sighting equipment is the 4X SUSAT (Sight Unit, Small Arms, Trilux) telescope, with illuminated reticle. The SUSAT is mounted on a quick-detachable mount at the top of the receiver, and features an emergency backup open sights at tits top. The SUSAT allows for an accurate fire (mostly in single shots) out to 400-500 meters. For a second-line troops an alternative sighting system is available, that consists of the removable front post sight with high base and post protection "ears", and a detachable carrying handle with built-in diopter rear sight.


March 24, 2009, 11:44 AM
You need to buy the Collector Grade Publications book "The Last Enfield, The Reluctant Rifle" if you want every blow by blow change made, problem, problem solved etc...it is the bible on the subject you want to know about.

here is the amazon .com listing for the book


March 24, 2009, 11:50 AM
The publisher's site is www.collectorgrade.com and they are the go to source for information on a variety of small arms.

I'm not sure how much shipping would be to Pakistan but they are well worth it.

April 6, 2009, 09:59 AM
I have heard that accuracy wise it is one the most superior weapons in 5.56 caliber.