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Lee Enfield No.4 Mk1

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by dak0ta, May 2, 2010.

  1. dak0ta

    dak0ta Well-Known Member

    Hi everybody,

    I'm looking into getting one of these for a target/hunting rifle. What should I look for in buying one? What parts should be matching? When were the best dates of manufacture? Factory of origin i.e. England vs Canada vs Australia? Markings I should look out for? Price range? What does 2 bore or 5 bore mean? So many questions and I probably aren't asking all of the ones I need to be asking.

    Any help would be appreciated!
  2. jem375

    jem375 Well-Known Member

    I have a 1950 Long branch made in Canada, but as far as a hunting rifle, could be used but there are better rifles for hunting... with my aging eyes it will be with a scope now on my hunting rifles and pistols... It is plenty accurate enough for the job within reasonable hunting distance, but mine will just be for target, plinking, and collection with my other WW2 rifles..
  3. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    I believe the No 4 Mark 2 are the best version of these rifles. Of the wartime versions that I have owned and handled, the Long Branch No 4's have the least tooling marks and best finishes.

    You want to find something with matching bolt and receiver numbers. Wartime chambers are huge and are inconsistent in terms of shoulder location. Wartime barrels have a reputation for wide variations in groove diameters.

    A Savage lend lease I own has a two groove barrel. It shoots cast bullets better than my five groove MK 2. I had to bed the stock on the Savage as it was so loose the foreend just fell off when the action screws were taken out.
  4. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Well-Known Member

    Pay particular attention to the condition of the bore and the crown. A barrel with some pitting may still shoot OK, but if the crown is dinged it'll need to be recrowned to shoot well.

    Also make sure that the ejector screw is present (I was in a shop last week which had a few No.4s on the rack which were missing the ejector screw). It's a screw on the left side of the receiver which slightly protrudes into the bolt raceway and bumps the edge of the cartridge rim when the bolt is retracted.

    Headspace on the No.4 was adjusted by changing the bolt heads, which were made in different lengths. The case headspaces on the rim, which allowed the rifles to be made with what would appear to be an oversize chamber. This was done to make sure the gun would still function on the battlefield with dirty ammo. If you reload for Lee-Enfields you'll want to neck size only to maximize case life, and segregate brass by rifle to prevent getting stuck cases.

    No.4s were made in England by several arsenals, Canada by Long Branch and in the US by Savage. Australia never made the No.4, they kept making the No.1 (the SMLE). Most No.4s have barrels with 5 rifling grooves. Some were made with only 2 grooves to speed production. IIRC, all the two groove rifles were made by Savage, but some may have been made by Long Branch.
  5. cjl8651

    cjl8651 Well-Known Member

    You might want to consider the ones currently made by Australian International Arms. All-new parts and a mount for a Picatinny rail. Instead of the .303 British, it fires the 7.62x51.

  6. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Well-Known Member

    The AIAs are not imported into the US currently.
  7. hank327

    hank327 Well-Known Member

    There are quite a few of the No 4 Mk 2s that were imported into the US unissued and new in the wrap back in the 1990's. These were manufactured in the 1950's and are often called "Irish Contract Rifles" but only some of them were actually such. I bought one of these new, in the wrap Mk 2s back then for about 250.00 IIRC and it's great. I suspect they are bringing quite a bit more now, but they are the best Lee-Enfields available.
  8. nathan

    nathan Well-Known Member

    Many have experienced keyholing with two groove barrels mostly in Savage and WW 2 era Brit No 4s when shooting spitzer boattailed bullets (like the Prvi Partizan 303s). But if they use flatbased 303s , they are okey. The 5 groove barrels on the other hand shoots fine with boattailed and flatbased.
    Last edited: May 2, 2010
  9. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    I have not had any issue with spitzer boattail bullets in my Savage MK4 No1* some are great shooter others are pretty much worn out. If you really want a good target / hunting rifle a new inexpensive rifle from Marlin or Savage may be more of what you want. Most of these old rifles aren't going to do much better than 2 or 3 inch groups.
  10. Alabama2010

    Alabama2010 Well-Known Member

    No longer the case.
  11. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    The No4 MkI were made by Fazakerley, Maltby , BSA Shirley in Britain, Long Branch in Canada and Savage-Stevens in the USA. 99%+ of the LB and Savage No4's are the MkI* variant, that's a war time expedient bolt release. Most of these are a two groove barrel as do some Brit MkI's. The late production LB's have a parkerized finish, LB and Savage exchanged parts and you well see LB parts on Savage and Savage on LB.

    If you want a LE for it's war time history look for a Brit MkI. If you want one more as a shooter then one of the post war Mk2's would be a good choice. The Mk2's were made by Faz and can be found new in the wrap or like new. These run from $350 up to $700 plus. These well have either a UF or PF serial number prefix, the PF 309348-PF359347 are the "Irish Contract" rifles. There are several other "Contract" sets of serial numbers with the PF prefix. The "Irish" is the most common and well known.

    The UF series are known for tight five groove barrels and can take a few hundred rounds before they settle in on accuracy. These rifles can be made to shoot moa or better and make an excellent choice for mil-surp comp or hunting. There are a variety of after market peep sights, Parker-Hale and AJ Parker, plus no drill scope mounts available. Your pretty much guaranteed a #0 or #1 bolt head and good head space with these Mk2's. The furniture is either Beech or Birch and is blond in appearance, and the metal is a oil black finish.

    Top is a PF series Irish contract Mk2, bottom is a UF series Mk2.

    Early Savage MkI(no star)

    Late Savage MkI* with a S&K mount and Weaver K2.5 scope.

    Most of my heard.

    Be careful now, buying one Enfield is just the start.

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