SMLE No.4 or K31. Issue is: Money.


October 14, 2009, 09:08 PM
I tried as hard as I could not to post a thread about this. But even making a chart didn't put me in one or the other's corner.

I was looking for a K-31. I found one. I also found a Lee-Enfield No. 4 mk II that needs a stock (original one is toast).

The K-31 is a complete rifle: $300.
The Lee-Enfield is in need of a stock: $80. :what:

There is the problem. I know the Lee-Enfield will not be as accurate as a K-31, way to many people who own both on these forums have placed the K-31 on a pillar of "I can't believe it's military surplus!" surplus. I know BOTH rifles will need to be reloaded for. Rarely do you find 7.5x55 or 7.7x56R ammunition, or brass.

But the Lee-Enfield is $220 CHEAPER than the K-31. A stock will be what? Less than $100? Plus since it's already missing a stock why not just go ahead and scope the sucker?

I hate decisions like this. Either way I'm getting a classic rifle, it's just one way I'm risking having a non-working firearm, the other I'm spending to much money! :cuss:

So what would you do in this situation?


Yes I screwed up "Virtue" in the poll. Don't know how to fix it.

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October 14, 2009, 10:07 PM
Tough call ...

You can get a synthetic stock from J&G for $50.
You can also get a K31 from Widener's for $195.

I hope that helps with your decision.

October 14, 2009, 10:10 PM
thats pretty cheap for a k31.

October 14, 2009, 10:10 PM
I voted for the K-31, just a much nicer rifle in my opinion...however if funds allowed, I would get the SMLE now and wait a couple weeks for the K-31, or if you really make the big bucks invest in both now. :)

October 14, 2009, 10:23 PM
I know BOTH rifles will need to be reloaded for. Rarely do you find 7.5x55 or 7.7x56R ammunition, or brass.

I agree that reloading would certainly benefit either rifle, but .303 British factory ammo & components are relatively common from a number of manufacturers. The 7.5 Swiss is also available factory loaded from Prvi. Of course, mil-surp ammo is available for both, though the .303 British is getting a bit harder to find.

Maj Dad
October 15, 2009, 12:02 AM
They had a major fire/blow-up recently & are totally off-line for several months. I'm sure it's been reported on here, but here's another brief news bit. I understand it was confined to a packaging or non-manufacturing area and the major portion was not damaged.

7 dead, 14 injured employees in explosion at Prvi Partizan
04. September 2009. | 07:26 09:31

Source: EMportal, Beta

At least 7 people have died and 14 injured in an explosion at a munitions factory ‘Purvi Partizan' in the Serbian town of Uzice.An investigation into the incident had been launched to determine the cause of the series of explosions.

Four explosions ripped through the Prvi Partizan munitions factory in the evening of Sept. 3, killing seven people, stated the assistant interior minister in charge of emergency situations, Predrag Maric.

At least 14 ipeople were injured in the blast and they are not in a life threatening condition.

The fire that followed the explosions has been localized, Maric said. According to BETA's correspondent in Uzice, the fire brigade received the call at 9:20 p.m. Unofficial sources have said that the explosion took place in the gunpowder propellant production unit.

Serbian Interior Minister, Ivica Dačić, stated that the Uzice explosion happened in four underground tunnels of the factory at 21:30 local time, tanjug news agency reported.

An investigation into the incident had been launched to determine the cause of the series of explosions.

Prvi Partizan, which employs around 600 people, has been Serbia's major ammunition factory for 80 years, producing military and hunting ammunition as well as gun powder and explosives.

October 15, 2009, 12:17 AM
I have both. The K31 actualy cost me less based upon the No 4 Mk 1* being so nice! I like them both lots. If money is an issue why not a Mosin Nagant?

October 15, 2009, 12:20 AM
Since I don't want either myself for various reasons, if I had to get 1 I would go with the more accurate rifle. K31 please. I would wait & save for it.

Ignition Override
October 15, 2009, 12:41 AM
Prvi Partizan .303 (bullets are .311 width) can be easily bought on-line for about $.60/round before shipping, and reportedly having better, thicker brass than US-made .303, can be reloaded more times.

Also, the LE SMLE is Not a #4 (whether 4/1 or 4/2). A friend who retired from a military rifle team tried out a few shots with my common #4/1 (iron sights) from 50 yards.

Mike's first and only shot from 100 yards was taken sitting on the ground (no LE shooting in a long time-if ever), with only his arms/knees for support.
This single shot was in the middle of the bull's eye, on the black plastic target (green outlines on holes). His comment: "I quit".
The rifle helped win WW2 and still takes large game around the planet.

October 15, 2009, 05:38 AM
Wow Both fantastic rifles! Guess since you will have damn near $200 in the SMLE versus $300 in K-31 and you want a "shooter" I would pony up the extra scratch for the K-31. Every collection should have both eventually

October 15, 2009, 06:06 AM
My pick would be the 6.5 Swede M38. :D

October 15, 2009, 06:21 AM
I have both and can't say I like one over the other. Both have stocks that have been completely refinished and the metal on the Enfield was also refinished (the blue on the K31 was already near pristine).
I find the K31 more accurate, but I actually enjoy the Enfield a bit more. That might have something to do with the gobs of Greek HXP ammunition I was given a few years ago.

If you're looking for something to have fun with, I've vote for the Enfield. If you're looking for a surplus tack-driver, the K31 is your answer.

October 15, 2009, 06:33 AM
Greek .303?

October 15, 2009, 07:36 AM
You betcha

October 15, 2009, 07:42 AM
Plenty of ammo for the Swiss, definitely the better of the two. Also not sure what a Virture is.

October 15, 2009, 03:39 PM
Other points to consider:

The Swiss K31s never saw any wartime service (Switzerland was/is neutral), and therefore have no "history."

Lots more parts available for the Lee-Enfield. (Which has a tremendous military history.)

(My own gut feeling) I think 7.5 Swiss ammo is going to dry up a lot quicker than .303 British, which you can get at Walmart.

Now, having said that, I own multiple examples of both. They are both a lot of fun to shoot, but I still prefer the Lee-Enfield over the K31.

October 15, 2009, 03:41 PM
Greek .303?

Yes, the Greek Army used No. 4 Lee-Enfields extensively after WW II.

Maj Dad
October 15, 2009, 08:48 PM
Eta Chi Rho, for Pyrkal munitions factory, same source as the CMP 30-06. I bought several hundred rounds a few years back & it is excellent, and reloadable, though I consider the 303 to be less desirable from a handloader's perspective (for all the same old reasons - case stretching, mostly). I love to shoot my two, stretching & all... :D

October 15, 2009, 10:30 PM
I've never seen one in any condition that didn't shoot amazingly well. I've often wondered about a K31 Sporter.

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