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Lee Enfield VS M1 Garand?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by catinthebat, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. catinthebat

    catinthebat Well-Known Member

    I have a choice between getting a service grade M1 Garand from CMP or a Lee Enfield, and I'm not sure which one I should get.

    From people who have one or the other, or who have experience shooting any of them, which one do you feel has the better accuracy, reliability, etc? People tell me that the M1 has too many moving parts, and that it wouldn't have near as good accuracy because its a semi-auto. They also tell me that the Enfield would be worth more in the future, and that I would be down-grading. Is this true?

  2. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    The key to accuracy in sevice rifles is ammunition. With good ammo, either rifle will shoot to around 2-3 MOA. A plus for the M1 is consistentcy in manufacture -- M1 barrels are held to close tolerances. I have seen Lee-Enfields with barrels so loosely bored that only correctly-sized cast bullets would shoot well.

    Another point is sights. The M1 has the best iron sights ever put on a battle rifle. The No. 4 MK 1 and 2 have good sights, but the old No 1 Mk 3 has the old v-notch-and-barleycorn sight which is not nearly as good.

    A compromise would be a Springfield M1903-A3 -- that's a great rifle with an effective aperture sight mounted on the receiver bridge, where it should be.
  3. AJumbo

    AJumbo Well-Known Member

    I'm fortunate enough to have some trigger time with both the rifles in question. A decent rack-grade example of either arm will shoot better than you can. The Garand has a stellar reputation for reliability, auto or no. The Enfield is probably the fastest bolt-action battle rifle ever issued. Both were made in the millions, so any real collectability difference between the two would lie in rare variations, or in condition.

    What do you intend to do the rifle you choose? Investments, shooting, "just 'cuz"?
  4. AJumbo

    AJumbo Well-Known Member

    Oh, and.... what Vern said!
  5. desidog

    desidog Well-Known Member

    They're both great, and eventually you should acquire both. There are so many of both, that you will encounter good shooters, like laser accurate, and bad shooters.
    Example: I had one shot-out No4 that made worse groups at 100yds with .303BR than my No1mk3 RFI .410 smoothbore shotgun does at 100yds with Golden Bear 410 slugs.

    It seems to me that Enfield prices are climbing faster than Garand prices. A year ago there were still No4's at Classic arms, etc, and now that supply has dried up. (so has the surplus ammo...) As a result, prices are rising.

    I mean, those new-in-the-wrap ones are going for 700 or 800 now, and five years ago they were like 200... You can still find a great example for under 250 -

    Garands it would be nice to find a great example for under 600- They aren't multiplying either; when the CMP supply runs out, those prices will jump too; either way, you really can't go wrong with either.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  6. catinthebat

    catinthebat Well-Known Member

    I want it mainly for shooting, and I also love its historical significance.
  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    You have not stated the price for either but in my opinion, get the Garand.

    You take a look at the prices of Lee Enfields and Garands back in the 60's magazines. Garands were always expensive and have stayed expensive. Lee Enfields are not cheap, though in the 80's I did buy like new Long Branch Enfields for $70.00, but they will never have the resale value of a Garand in similiar condition.

    Your advisers on the reliability of the Garand don't know what they are talking about. I think it was the most reliable battle rifle issued to American troops.

    I remember talking to a Korean War veteran at work. He just up and said that no matter how dirty his Garand, it still functioned. M14's also had a great reputation for reliability.

    While I like Lee Enfields, the Garand is the more advanced battle rifle.
  8. WNTFW

    WNTFW Well-Known Member

    Garand first.

    Points for M1 first.
    - CMP will run out at some point, then both or subject to individual sellers whims.
    - More matches are Garand Friendly
    - Reread what Mr. Vern Humphrey posted.
    - Reread Slamfire1 - He gives good advice.
    - I would rather reload .30-06

    My basis is a shooter that won't resell and ain't in love the the Enfield any way.
  9. Caliper_Mi

    Caliper_Mi Well-Known Member

    Garand, no question. The Garand has better sights, although the no4 Enfields are close. It may be semi auto, but Enfields aren't exactly precision rifles and both will have the chamber cut generously large to feed dirty ammo in battle. Accuracy advantage here will come down to the shooter, the ammo and the condition of the barrel. The Enfield receiver design means that you can never free float the barrel, which can be a bit frustrating if you shoot with a sling a lot.

    Obviously check anything over throughly first, however a CMP service grade M1 will be a good shooter. (you are getting this directly from the CMP, right?)
  10. catinthebat

    catinthebat Well-Known Member

    I was going to order it from CMP, and include a sticky note asking for USGI wood. From what I hear, people always get good rifles. I live way too far away to ever go directly to their store.
  11. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Well-Known Member

    Garand first, no doubt.

    Several more things to consider, since you are looking for a shooter:

    -The Lee Enfield is a great rifle, but there is something truly special about shooting a Garand. When you shoot one, you'll know what I'm talking about.

    -Surplus 30-06 M2 Ball ammo (Greek HXP, which is excellent) is still available for a reasonable price from the CMP.

    -A CMP Service Grade rifle (if it is coming directly from the CMP) is going to be in great shape and CMP customer service is excellent.

    -Whoever told you "the M1 has too many moving parts, and that it wouldn't have near as good accuracy because its a semi-auto" doesn't know what they are talking about. Accuracy between the two types (in good condition) with good ammo is a wash, but the fact that you are looking at a CMP Service Grade guarantees that you are getting a Garand with little barrel wear (my CMP Service Grade 1944 Springfield came with a like-new 1954 barrel).

    -The fact that Garand has considerably better sights than the Lee Enfield means you will likely be able to shoot more accurately.
  12. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Well-Known Member

    When I ordered my CMP Service Grade Springfield, I included a sticky asking for a WWII Serial Number and USGI walnut.

    I got this - a beautiful 1944 Springfield with a like-new 1954 barrel and a new CMP black walnut stock. I couldn't be happier.




  13. catinthebat

    catinthebat Well-Known Member

    @Fishbed77 Wow! Amazing rifle! From all these replies, I think I'm going to go with a M1.
  14. Reloadron

    Reloadron Well-Known Member

    Another vote for a M1 Garand. That would be my choice for all the reasons mentioned. Then down the road if an Enfield trips your trigger get one.

  15. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Well-Known Member

    I have one of each. I would buy the garand first, then buy the enfield as soon as possible. Those are disappearing just about as fast as the M1.
  16. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    They really are two different birds. Feeding the Garand is much easier to do - I'm almost out of my Greek .303 ammo on strippers and the Paki stuff I have is junk.
  17. mokin

    mokin Well-Known Member

    If you don't handload, go for the Garand. I prefer the look of the Lee Enfield, but as a shooter, I want to be able to feed the rifle.
  18. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    I'd take the Enfield if it was a No1 of some variation, Mk1 or MkIII, over a Garand. But that is just me. The M1 is a fine rifle, but my interests is No1s. Not interested in No4s much.
  19. .333 Nitro Express

    .333 Nitro Express Well-Known Member

    I'd take the Enfield. Like Robert says, especially if it's a N. 1, you'd be getting something that has seen both wars and several colonial conflicts.

    I am biased because semi-autos are not my thing--I have owned 2 Garands, and although they are fine rifles (and inherently more accurate than the SMLE N. 1), there's something more personal about cycling a bolt for every shot, feeling the cartridge feed, ejecting it as far or as close as you want it--not to mention the nostalgic appeal of a 100-year-old rifle that you can still perfectly enjoy.

    I put my money where my mouth is, since I own about 8 Enfields.

    Seriously, though, you can't go wrong with either one. I say buy the Enfield and put the Garand on layaway. :evil:
  20. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Well-Known Member


    I have a nice #4mk1, but hardly ever shoot it. Ammo is expensive commercial or crappy surplus.
    I have a couple of nice Garands that go shooting frequently. Ammo from the CMP, surplus is good shooting and economical.

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