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.303 Enfield

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ShaiVong, Mar 29, 2003.

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  1. ShaiVong

    ShaiVong Member

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    I was browsing at the local trading post today, and two enfields caught my eye.

    They're ugly little greasy things, but they have alot of character. Even better, both were going for under $200!

    Does anyone have any experience with the Enfield's? Average MOA? Ammo prices? Magazine prices?

    They just have a certain historical cool factor.
     
  2. JackC

    JackC Member

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    Many feel the Enfield is the BEST bolt action combat rifle ever made. 10 rds in the mag, FAST bolt action, tough as nails.
    I'll never sell mine. Accuracy depends on wear, ammo, and shooter. Just like all rifles. Prices are going up fast too!!
    Jack
     
  3. ShaiVong

    ShaiVong Member

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    Yeah I understand that...

    ...what I'm asking is, with normal ammo (not cheap, but not match), and benchrested on a still day, could i hit a paper plate at 100 yards? 75? 50? 300 :)evil: )
     
  4. 444

    444 Member

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    There is a TON of information available about the Enfiled rifle on the internet. Any thing you want to know about them right down to what is the correct oiler to put in the stock trapdoor. There also have been numerous threads on here and on The Firing Line about Enfields. Check it out, you will be reading for days.

    I have five of them. All are a lot of fun.
    And yes, I do have the correct sling and oiler for all of them.

    I would say with any one of mine (other than the one that is chambered for .410 shotgun shells), I could hit a paper plate every time at 200 yards from a benchrest.
     
  5. ShaiVong

    ShaiVong Member

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    I wouldnt expect anything less, 444 :p
     
  6. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Used to have a MkV Jungle carbine ... that at 100 yds open sights was always a 4" group or better ..... just the std iron sights.

    I have a sporterized - scoped MkIV . (one of the more successful sporterizings IMO) .... and regard this as #2 deer rifle . It is capable of about 2" group at 100 with milsurp ammo ... shoots better than I do.!

    Also . an Ishapore Mk 2a .. in .308 ..... not so accurate but still good to have.

    Many say the Mauser lock-up is superior - slightly stronger maybe .. but IMO the functionality and smoothness of operation of the Enfield action surpasses most others.

    To keep costs down you may have to consider corrosive milsurp ammo ... shoots well usually but of course, more of a clean up to do after.
     
  7. Bostonterrier97

    Bostonterrier97 Member

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    The Enfield is a FINE rifle! I own and shoot them all the time.
     
  8. nemesis

    nemesis Member

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    I'm not a big fan of the No. 1 and wouldn't really recommend it but a No. 4 is an excellent piece and should provide lots of good shooting.

    I have a Long Branch No. 4, Mk 1* and it will put 5 rounds into 2 inches at 100 yards using iron sights.

    Truly a legendary rifle.
     
  9. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Vong,

    Many Enfield rifles are capable of extremely fine accuracy.

    As a class they tend not to be as accurate as the Mauser or the Springfield, but they really don't lose much.

    Can you hit a paper plate at 100 yards? If the gun is in good shape with no barrel or other problems, all day long, and at considerably longer ranges, too.

    Do you know what Marks the shop has?

    The No. 1 Mk IIIs are nice rifles, but generally the sights, mounted far forward, aren't conducive to fine accuracy.

    The No. 4 Mk I has better sights, more like the American receiver apeture sights.

    Generally the No. 4 Mk IIs are considered to be the best of the bunch, with the best sights and extremely fine accuracy potential.

    If you can find a No. 4 Mk II for under $200, buy it. They're generally going for much more than that these days.

    I bought a No. 1 Mk III a few months ago, and now I'm looking for a No. 4 Mk I or II.

    As for magazines, in British use the magazine was ONLY removed from the rifle for cleaning or repair. It was never used the way American magazines for the M14 or M16 are, being changed out when they are empty.

    The magazine was loaded with 5 round stripper clips.

    As for ammo, you can find non-corrosive South African ammo fairly cheaply, as well as surplus ammo from other makers.

    I bought a box of 300 rounds from Midway for $44 or so a few weeks back. It was on special, so I don't know if it's still that price.
     
  10. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    If y our looking for a tack driver you will be sadly disappointed with the Briiths Enfields. They are noted for not being particularly accurate.

    The were very reliable guns but that is about all you can say for them.

    The earlier WWI models were built to better standards than the later models especially those made during WWII.

    Chambers were often oversize to aid in reliablity but give handloaders fits due to short case life unless neck sizing only is done but this is often a problem of another type resulting in a hard bolt cam down.

    The action itself is a realtively weak one and will blow up far sooner than more robust military bolt action designes. Not a worry if the weapon has good headspace and you only shoot quality ammo and do not handload for this weapon. Be aware though that many brand new Enfields have headspace on the generous side.

    Be aware that the gas escape system is not as good as say the excellent 98 Mauser (the standard by which all bolt action military rifles are judged). So I would stay away from questionable military surplus ammo of advanced age or handloads done up by Joe Terrific in the back room of his garage.

    Later model WWII Enfields had replaceable bolt heads to correct excess headspace which was one of the few designs of this weapon that I really admired.

    Bolt throw was very smooth and very fast for a military rifle and it did hold 10 rounds as opposed to the 5 rounds of the ubiquitous Model 98 Mauser.

    You will encounter many variations of these weapons and they are cheap enough in price so that begining collectors will be able to afford a collection of them.

    There will always be a group of collectors that are drawn to collecting economically priced military weapons soley from the price standpoint and they will back their choice up with plenty of excuses for the weapon. Another example would be the crowd that loves the Russian designed Mosin rifles. A real example of an abortion of a military rifle if there ever was one.

    From an historical stanpoint just about every collector may want at least one example of these rifles in his collection by I personally have not collected every variation possible. I chose rather to concentrate on some of the elite , premier series of military rifles viz "The 98 Mauser" which is "Sine qua non" to any military collection.

    The firing pins of the Enfields took a special tool to remove them with , a point of design that I have never been enamored with.

    The late WWII Jungle carbine was a dashing piece of ordinance that was a very handy weapon to use in jungle fighting or close range deer hunting. It was rugged and reliable but also suffered from pedestrian accuracy and some were plagued by a wandering zero although I have had no problems with my own personal Jungle Carbine in regards to a wandering zero.

    In conclusion if I were you and I did not have an example of the WWI or WWII British Enfield I recommend that you buy it, just beware of its shortcomings.
     
  11. jacks308

    jacks308 Member

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    I second the voice for a #4Mk2 ! If you can hold minute of pie plate a 300 so can it . I've only used Greek surplus ammo in mine, But I'm sure handloads tuned to the rifle will make it work well for a long time to come .
    I also have a #1Mk3 that has a groove diameter of .318 and as long as you use the proper size for it , the pie plates are in for a world of hurt with this one too . I use 215 grain cast lead at 1860 FPS in this one .

    Jack
     
  12. Prof

    Prof Member

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    ShaiVong: Go to the website below and those guys will give you the lowdown on Enfields. There are some true "experts" on that particular rifle there, many of them former British soldiers who carried that rifle in combat. Don't let BHP9's review dissuade you. Stories about Enfields being prone to blowing up are like the stories of Glocks blowing up: yes, it probably has happened but it's far from the norm. Also, I think he is dead wrong when it comes to accuracy. The Enfield, especially in it's No.4 incarnation, can be a tack-driver. Out of the box (I got one of the "new" "Irish" No.4's), mine would hold under 1 1/2 inches at 100 yards with iron sights. I recently mounted a scope on it and can't wait to see what it will do with that! :) It's a great rifle and one of the few that still go for decent prices.

    http://www.jouster.com/cgi-bin/lee-enfield/lee-enfield.pl?
     
  13. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    It really depends on the actual rifle. Some are in excellent condition with practically no wear. Others have pretty well worn out barrels.

    Many have reported 2MOA with their Enfields. Best I've done with my scoped Enfield No 4 Mk 1* (with a $10 BSA 22 Special, by the way) is about 3" at 100 yards with South African surplus ammo.

    I admit I was a bit disappointed with this as I have an Ishapore 2A1 which is basically a No 1 Mk III rifle in 7.62x51 NATO and I was able to keep most of my shots in 5" with the iron sights and not taking quite as much time between shots.
     
  14. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    By the way, those nasty greasy rifles clean up quite nicely with some soapy water, CLP, some tung oil and a couple days. ;)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Another website with plenty of information on the Enfields and other MilSurps is: www.milsurpshooter.net
     
  15. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    My $59 Roses special with water damaged stock is able to print respectable groups.
    It's my beater rifle that I loan out, but with decent ammunition, the accuracy surprise most who shoot it.

    After an Advanced Technologies polymer stock facelift:
    [​IMG]

    With decent 174gr South African ammunition at 100 yards:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    A former NRA coworker has a No. 4 Mk I(T) fitted by Holland & Holland that will, with handloads, hold under 1" at 100 yards all day long.
     
  17. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    In his book "A Rifleman Went to War" Mcbride who was a world class sniper if there ever was one regarded the Enfield as totally worthless for sniping. He used a variety of other rifles including a Ross and an American Enfield for serious sniping work.

    Just about every major gun writer that has tested the Enfields over the last 50 years has come to the same conclusion as McBride did over 85 years ago.

    I personally tested one of the elite Enfields many years ago , it was a mint condition WWII sniper in the original wooden box with the orginal scope. Its accruacy was nothing more than a bad joke and the gun was in mint condition. I did not own the rifle but the fellow that did was a crack shot and an ace machinest. After several years of experimentation with the gun he gave up and got rid of it.

    I have had a few Enfields that would fire occasional 1 1/2 groups if shots were limited to 3 round groups and the barrel did not warm up.

    The major falt of the Enfiled series of weapons was one of both a very light weight and flexible action coupled with a very thin diameter barrel. NONE OF WHICH IS CONDUCIVE TO CONSISTANT OR GOOD ACCURACY.

    A heavier barrel on an Enfield does a lot for the improvement of accuracy in this weapon and it has been done in the past to prove the point. But for the run of the mill issue battle rifle it just did not cut the mustard with its standard issue barrel.

    True ,you can often find a silk purse in a sowes ear occasionally but we are speaking of the average accuracy of the average military Enfield and no expert that I have ever read about in the last 40 some years has ever praised the Enfield for its steller accuracy.

    My experiece with these rifles has mirrored theirs. Wishing the gun to be a steller performer just becuase one likes them does not change reality.
     
  18. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    The Enfield rifles are the best bolt-action fighting rifles ever made. The cock-on-close action is lightning fast, and they hold twice as many rounds as most other bolt-action battle rifles. The Enfield was poo-pooed by Mauser purists when it came out, but it has proven to be every bit as capable as the Mauser in practical use.

    If the Enfield has a shortcoming, it's the reliance on a rimmed round. Other than that, it's a fine rifle. I have a shortened No.4 Mk.1 which was my first own rifle.
     
  19. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Member

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    that's funny. my utterly stock number4 mk1 which is not properly bedded turns in 3 inch groups (is that a cruel joke? I'm not familiar with accuracy ratings based on types of humor, so i'll have to be enlightened about that) on demand with PMC ammo (groups with south african ammo were the same size but four inches higher) at 100 yards.


    i don't know what your definition of light is, but i'd not consider my enfield's barrel to be a "light" contour, especially given the muzzle diameter is about the same as my 1903.
     
  20. nemesis

    nemesis Member

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    I will most cheerfully dispute that statement. I fire milsurp Winchester and HFX ammo and then recover the cases for reloading. I neck size only and the cartridges glide smoothly into the chamber with no binding and no resistance to the bolt. I note that cases seem to last forever.

    McBride was an American who enlisted with the Canadians to get into WWI. The No. 1 was in use then but the much improved No. 4 didn't get started until the proposed No. 1, Mk VI in 1926 and didn't go into actual production until the 'thirties.

    To the best of my knowledge, all No. 4's featured the easily replaceable bolt head. Something not found on most other rifles and something which can remedy headspace problems in a few minutes, rather than the rather involved procedures required for most rifles.

    The Lee Enfield No. 4 rifles are durable, reliable and darned pleasant to shoot. Critics may wish to dredge up notions of "soft" receivers and the possibility of KB's but history has shown this to be a reliable piece.

    If you have a No. 4 that you feel is suspect as an unsafe weapon, send it to me. I'll be glad to accept it.
     
  21. John G

    John G Member

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    I've got two Lee-Enfields, a #1, and a Jungle Carbine, and they're great. I got mine at good prices, and buy bulk surplus ammo. I've got some original cleaning kits, slings, dust covers, etc. Its great, because I can collect, and it won't break the bank. Great hobby guns. No complaints here!
     
  22. swingset

    swingset Member

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    Just as your distaste for a rifle doesn't make it a bad rifle, no matter how good the rifle really is. That's reality, too. :D

    I did receive a huge belly laugh at your bold dismissal of the Enfield as an action, tho. I commend you on that. I haven't laughed so hard in months. Bad snipers? Weak action? hehehehe. That's the best. Really.

    May I suggest taking your nose out of the spine of the gun rags once and a while? You might learn something when you're next to my Enfields on the range.
     
  23. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Honestly Wild Romanian... what guns do please you? The Browning Hi Power, I assume from your new name? What else?
     
  24. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    Thanks for being candid. This is closer to the typical accuracy of most British Enfields I have fired. This is an average and although many will ocassionaly shoot a few smaller groups the smaller groups are not the average accuracy of these pieces.

    It must be remembered that as the range doubles so does the accuracy. Small wonder that famous Snipers like Mcbride shunned the Enfield.

    Now contrast this to a good 98 Mauser. It is no be deal to shoot 3 shot 3/4 inch groups at 100 yards and I have fired plenty of 1/2 inch groups with them with quality match grade ammo. If the weapon is scoped or a person has 20/20 eysight shooting 1 inch groups with military ammo is no big deal and it is possible to do this consistantly. The Mauser design was so well thought out that the barrel is stepped which prevents it from walking its shots as the barrel warms up. I have seen plenty of Enfields walk shots as they heated up. Accuracy wise the Enfield is not even in the same ball park as a well built Mauser.

    Its gas escape system is inferior.

    Its take down is inferior.

    Its safety is awkward and difficult to use if one wishes to get it off in a hurry. Contrast this to the lightening quick 98's safety. There just is no comparison.

    The Enfields rimmed cartridge can and does cause feeding problems if the rounds are not loaded properly in the magazine and anyone who denies this just has not ever loaded on of these weapons under stress.

    Neck sizing is only good for a few reloadings. It does not prevent the shoulder from moving forward and when this happens the bolt becomes harder and harder to turn down no matter what type of action or brand of rifle you are using. You rapidly come to a point where you must again full length size your cases and in the case of the Enfield the cases do not last forever or for very long. People who load for the Enfield are well aware that no matter what they do the case life is very short in these weapons.

    A well educated person is quite proud of the fact that he reads all that is available to him. I have never pinched pennies or been miserly when it comes to education. Experience also must be included in the never ending acummulation of knowledge in regards to the firearm, but to shun one for the other or ostracize those that read is pure foolishness and the person who does not read is a person that is less than half educated as a student of the gun. If you were well educated in regards to the history and developement of the military bolt action rifle this debate of the Enfield v/s the Mauser would have not been necessary.
     
  25. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Member

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    My No1 will shoot 2 1/2'' at 100 yrds with my reloads, which I think is pretty good for a 60+ year old rifle. It's not even a proper English made rifle, just a lowly Ishy. On another note, my reloads are done on the same 100 pieces of S&B brass that I started out with 4 years ago. I don't shoot it very often, prefering my Mosins which are better rifles than the Enfield or the Mauser, (that ought to stir things up abit) so I only have 6 loadings or so on the brass but it sems to be holding up rather well.
     
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