Converting a lee Enfield to accept Bren mags?


February 12, 2009, 12:24 AM
I know it is possible Iíve seen pictures of the Charlton machine gun ( and other heavily modified Lee Enfields, with bren magazines.

But I canít seem to find any info anywhere,
Maybe Iím just crazy but Iíd think everyone would want to do it; the magazines are cheaper than a real Lee Enfield mag and hold 3 times as many rounds.:D

Is there any info anywhere on how to convert, Lee Enfields to accept Bren magazines?

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February 12, 2009, 12:28 AM

February 12, 2009, 12:31 AM
I don't see the point when 20rnd mags are available.

February 12, 2009, 12:36 AM
It's not a Bren mag. There are photos out there of Bren mags next to semi Enfields, and kinda-sorta inserted into the magwells, but all the mags that were actually used were significantly modified for use in Enfield receivers. I say that having handled a real Charlton and its magazine...I know it's shocking, but Wikipedia is wrong here. :)

As for modifying Bren mags for the Enfield, it ain't gonna happen. The mag is just too big and the receiver too small. If you want a bigger mag for your Enfield, you need to either find or reproduce one of the 20-round trench mags used in WWI.

February 12, 2009, 02:18 AM
Iím not surprised Iíve seen so many errors on Wiki it isnít even funny.

Thanks for the info; Iíve never actually handled a Bren magazine, I just thought since it was for .303 ammunition it would be about the same size. Well now Iím educated. :)

You wouldnít happen to be Ian Skennerton would you?

February 12, 2009, 02:59 AM
Ha! Far from it. :) I'm a hippie-looking 25 year old who happened to luck into some very cool friends.

February 12, 2009, 06:18 AM
Wikipedia, never have so many people been slightly misinformed. :D

One thing that occurs to me re Bren Mags, is that the original was used upside down as it were, in which case feeding is assisted by gravity. I'm wondering if using it the right way up as in adapted to a Lee Enfield,(even if it was possible), whether or not the spring would be strong enough to feed reliably all the way to the last round. I know that FN-FALs have been adapted to take the 7.62x51 Nato bren mags but not heard of LEs being so adapted, maybe possible with an Ishipore (?)

February 12, 2009, 07:51 AM
Well now.... now THAT is one ugly :barf: weapon. Gotta admit though, it would kinda fit in with oh, say, some Brit dogface carrying a Webley as a sidearm. Yeah, that creates an image....:eek:

February 12, 2009, 08:56 AM
A number of squaddies used to try and use the LMG (Bren gun 7.62x51 upgrade) magazines in their L1A1's. Very unreliable, the springs were simply not up to the job.

The original Bren gun magazines are "rock 'n lock" and so cannot be directly mounted into the SMLE magwell which is a lever activated straight(ish) drop,

You can, with a loooooot of work, mill out the Bren magazines attachment points and rebuild or cut the top of the magazine off and weld an Enfield magazine top on in replacement.

The reliability would be.........interesting.

February 13, 2009, 10:52 PM
I have 2 L2A2 mags for my L1A1, and both function perfectly well.

February 14, 2009, 05:04 AM
Doug, what is an L2A2? I googled it & got a grenade & a sterling Mk3, neither of which sound correct in this context.:confused:

February 14, 2009, 07:24 AM

You probably have the Canadian L1A1 variant magazines where there a were a small run of dedicatd built from scratch 30 round mags.

February 14, 2009, 02:00 PM
Sorry about that. These are marked MAGAZINE 7.62MM L4A1. They are for the 7.62 BREN, and yes they are for vertical feed. The spring is similar to a #1mkIII or #4mk1 leaf type, only longer. They function in my L1A1 as I said. I don't leave them loaded, only load when at the range. With them, the L1A1 seems to fire forever........

Google L4 BREN and you will find the weapon and the mags.

February 14, 2009, 02:34 PM
If you find a mistake on wikipedia then you should take the time to fix it rather than just complain about it.

February 15, 2009, 12:22 AM
irt Ian:

Too bad, I figured how many Ians could there be that had handled a Charlton? Apparently at least 2, lol

March 16, 2010, 10:15 PM
Anyone know where I can get my hands on some NATO bren magazines? I am building an L1A1.

March 16, 2010, 11:12 PM
The FALFiles:
There were two for sale, but they went quickly. They're usually $80 or so a pop.

John Parker
March 17, 2010, 12:09 PM
If the Charlton kept the skinny Enfield barrel, I bet it sucked on full-auto.

October 20, 2010, 08:29 AM
I was handling a No1Mk3 and a Bren mag last night. The Bren mag is both too wide and too long to fit into the SMLE magwell. The SMLE simply doesn't have anywhere to mill out the extra space, and by the time you finished modifying a Bren mag to fit, you might as well make a new body from scratch and weld it to the top section of an SMLE mag.

Both the SMLE and Bren are double stack, but the Bren's stack is flatter, thus the magazine is wider. It also has a large spine on the back, though that could possibly be altered.

I had a PSL magazine on hand. It is a bit longer than the SMLE magwell, though things might be massaged to fit. But since PSLs only came with 10 (or, so I've heard, a rare 5) round magazines, and the mags cost the same as SMLE mags, it seems pointless.

April 29, 2011, 11:44 PM
Wikipedia got it right for that one, since the two types of Charlton rifle differ :

The Australian version that's based on the SMLE is nothing more than the original rifle with the gas piston slapped on the side, meaning that the receiver and magazine well are untouched. That one uses regular SMLE magazines and would overheat in full auto because of the thin barrel, which is why it is a semi.

The New-Zealander version, which is actually the original design, is based on a Lee-Metford but everything after the front of the bolt face is not from the original rifle, the barrel is heavy and ribbed, the casing around the gas piston encloses the rear of the bolt better and, you'd have guessed it, the magazine well is enlarged to take Bren magazines. This was a design requirement.

The "real" Charltons were all accidently destroyed and the photo on this thread might be of the only surviving example, so if Ian says he has manipulated a Charlton, it's very probably an Australian, into which Bren magazines will not fit.

Standard magazine Charlton : (

The smaller size of the receiver is quite obvious in comparison with the previous photo of the Bren mag-ed gun.

April 30, 2011, 09:30 AM
Yep, the one I've seen was actually a Howell (made in England). There are several other variations on the same theme; the Reider, Huot, Charlton, etc.

I posted some more photos on that particular Howell at Forgotten Weapons:

April 30, 2011, 03:22 PM
Nice ! Looks like the magazine is an extended Enfield type, which is logical. The Bren magazine is longer, has a steeper angle of the base plate and has a bevel. You were right about the modified Bren magazines, there are photos of the normal receiver Howell and Rieder rifles with mags that are undoubtedly Bren, while only the NZ Charlton should be able to use them.

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