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Copyright 1990

National Rifle Association of America

11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, Virginia 22030-9400

Eleventh Printing, September 2004

The Cover:
Lee-Enfield rifles from the collection of the
National Firearms Museum, Fairfax, Virginia

Uniforms and accoutrements
from National Capital Historical Sales, Springfield, Virginia

Design by Michael R. Bloom

Photograph by John R. Lamson

CAUTION: The material contained herein is reprinted from past issues of
the AMERICAN RIFLEMAN magazine, a copyrighted publication of the
National Rifle Association of America (NRA). Therefore, while technically
sound and historically relevant, it may have been updated by research more
recent than the original date of publication. All technical data in this
publication, especially for handloading, reflect the limited experience of
individuals using specific tools, products, equipment and components under
specific conditions and circumstances not necessarily reported in this
publication, and over which the NRA has no control. The data have not
otherwise been tested or verified by the NRA. The NRA, its agents, officers
and employees accept no responsibility for the results obtained by persons
using such data and disclaim all liability for any consequential injuries or
Enfield - -
Britain's Springfield - -
And Its Rifles
Its products have served well in wars over the globe, including ours, in 1861-65



For 14 years, Major E. G. B. Reynolds was a Technical Officer on the Inspectorate of Armaments Headquarters Staff, and dealt
chiefly with the inspection and development of rifles and other small arms.
Major Reynolds was closely connected with the inspection and development of the No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifle since first it went into
production in 1941.
He was a member of 10 British Dewar Trophy teams and was the first person to fire 400 x 400 in this match.

British laborers planting numerous walnut trees in 1800 and musketry in the American Civil War were an ocean and more than a
half century apart. Yet a relationship exists. It is part of a firearms kinship which has extended, in one way or another, through a series
of wars into the present time.
The trees set out in quantity around Enfield Lock, a canal lock in the Lea waterway in Middlesex, were a source of gunstocks for
more than 500,000 muzzle loading Enfield rifled muskets bought by both the Union and the Confederacy. This arm was, in fact, more
used by infantry of both sides than any other except the M1861-63 Springfield.
The muzzleloaders were mass-produced in part with imported Yankee machinery. In World War I, private industry in the United
States manufactured Pattern 14 bolt-action Enfields in caliber .303 and then changed, after America's entry, to producing them in .30-
'06 as the U. S. Rifle, Model 1917 still popularly called the Enfield. Large quantities of surplus British Enfields of World Wars I
and II are doing duty in the United States, Canada and elsewhere today as sporting arms, usually somewhat modified. So it is very
much in order to take a look at the origin and development of this rifle.

First arms works

The first British Government arms works at Enfield Lock, a location affording both water transportation and water power from the
lock fall, was established in 1804 largely to assemble Brown Bess flintlock muskets, the principal arm of British infantry for over 100
years. Parts, excepting stocks, were manufactured privately in London and Birmingham "by men working by hand in wretched cellars
and attics," as one ordnance report put it. Standardization and what is modernly called quality control were largely lacking.
Meanwhile efforts were being made to find a better infantry arm for the British Army. The choice lay between smoothbore with
reasonably fast loading but little accuracy beyond 100 yds., and rifled weapons that were more accurate but slower to load. The first
serious rival to the smoothbore Brown Bess was the Baker flintlock rifle. In 1823, Enfield received an order for 5,000 and the rifle
continued in service, with modifications, for nearly 40 years. By 1839, Enfield was converting 30,000 flintlock muskets to the
percussion system.
George Lovell, a storekeeper in 1823, played a prominent part in the conversion program and was promoted in 1840 to the post of
Government Inspector of Small Arms. Largely due to Lovell, the Brunswick rifle, first rifled arm to go into full production, had its
early back-action lock replaced with an improved bar-action lock in 1841. A fire gutted the rifle workshops in the Tower of London
that same year, so much work was transferred to Enfield. Lovell designed the first British percussion musket, which went into
production at Enfield in 1842. In 1852 the first British Minie rifles, outwardly resembling the Percussion Musket, 1842, were
manufactured at Enfield.

New rifle adopted

In 1852 Lord Hardinge, then Master-General of Ordnance, invited the leading gunsmiths to enter into competition with the object
of finding the best possible weapon for the British Army. A special committee, assembled at Enfield to survey the numerous weapons
submitted, wisely chose the best features of the various weapons, including a smaller bore, and 2 experimental rifle-muskets were
made at the Royal Enfield Manufactory. After numerous trials, the new rifle was adopted and officially introduced as the Rifle,
Musket, Pattern 1853. It was more commonly referred to as The Enfield 3-groove Rifle, and the initial contract for 20,000 was placed
with the Enfield factory. The improved Pritchett bullet for this rifle was adopted 2 years later.
The Enfield rifle, the first rifled arm to bear the factory's name, quadrupled the effective fire of the English regiments in which it
replaced the Minie rifle in the Crimean War. It was generally agreed that it was superior to almost all rifles in the Continental armies.
When it went into production the Enfield factory, largely due to the efforts of Lovell, expanded in stature. New workshops and a new
rolling plant and other machinery were installed, and the factory reached an annual capacity for 50,000 muskets and 5000 swords.


Assembly of cal. .753 Brown Bess smoothbore flintlock muskets was first important task carried out at Enfield establishment. Brown Bess musket was standard British
infantry arm for more than 100 years.

Baker rifle was capable of making groups 1 ft. wide by 2 ft. deep at 100 yds. It was most accurate British military arm at time of its introduction.

An early type of back-action Brunswick rifle made at Enfield. Named after Duke of Brunswick, this rifle was first made with 11-groove rifling, later changed to 2-
groove for use with belted spherical ball. A standard rifle for 40 years, Brunswick rifle was difficult to load when bore became fouled.

Cal. .753 Percussion Musket of 1842 was designed by George Lovell, Government Inspector of Small Arms.

The Minie Rifled Musket introduced in 1851 was first British Service rifle to be sighted up to 1000 yds. More accurate than its predecessors, this cal. .702 rifle was
used in Kaffir and Crimean Wars.

In 1855, a number of Enfield rifles were made with shorter barrels and long sword bayonets, and were issued to the 60th Rifles
(King's Royal Rifle Corps) and the Rifle Brigade. Carbines on the same principle were made at Enfield and issued to the Artillery and
Cavalry. Three years later another shortened version was made for the Royal Navy to replace the Pattern 1842 Sea-Service muskets. A
similar arm was made for Sergeants of Infantry. It was more accurate than the long rifle and, as sergeants were thought to have less
time than the lower ranks for actual firing, it was considered imperative that they have the most accurate weapons.
Although improvements had been effected, there was still dissatisfaction in Government circles regarding the supply of small arms to
the British Forces, and the weapons generally were considered inferior to those made in America. Even at Enfield the system was bad.
Some of the work was done under contract, and tools were often the property of workmen. The situation improved and, by 1860, the
first Enfield rifle was in full production. In 1861 it was proudly acclaimed in the House of Commons that 90,707 rifles had been made
in the factory that year. Largely due to the visit of a British Commission to the U. S. Government Armories at Harpers Ferry and
Springfield, the Enfield factory was modernized by American machinery.
For some years the British Army had pressed for a breech-loading rifle and, in 1867, it was decided to convert existing stocks of
the 1853 muzzle-loading Enfield by a method submitted by an American, Jacob Snider. The work of conversion, and eventually the
manufacture of new Sniders fitted with steel barrels (earlier Enfield weapons had wrought-iron barrels), was carried out at Enfield.
The rifle was called the Enfield Snider and, with the Boxer cartridge, the rifle's accuracy improved.

British Breech-Loading Service Rifles Made Or Designed At The Enfield Royal Small Arms Factory 1871-1944

Model Designation & Year of Adoption Caliber Action System
(Magazine Capacity)
Rifling Form &
Twist Rate
Martini-Henry (1871) .45 Pivoting-block
9 49.5 33.2 Henry 7-groove
Right, 1 turn in 22"
Rear: 100-1450 yds.
Lee-Metford (1888) .303 Lee bolt-action
(8 rounds)
9-8 49.5 30.2 Metford 7-groove
Left, 1 turn in 10"
Rear: 300-1900 yds.
Dial: 1800-3500 yds.
Lee-Enfield (1895) .303 Lee bolt-action
(10 rounds)
9-4 49.5 30.2 Enfield 5-groove
Left, 1 turn in 10"
Rear: 200-1800 yds.
Dial: 1600-2800 yds.
Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (1902) .303 Lee bolt-action
(10 rounds)
8-2 44.5 25.18 Enfield 5-groove
Left, 1 turn in 10"
Rear: 200-2000 yds.
Dial: 1600-2800 yds.
Pattern 1914 Enfield (1916) .303 Mauser-type bolt-action
(5 rounds)
8-11 46.3 26 Enfield 5-groove
Left, 1 turn in 10"
Rear: 400-1900 yds.
Dial: 1600-2800 yds.
No. 4 Rifle (1939) .303 Lee bolt-action
(10 rounds)
9-1 44.5 25.18 Enfield 5-groove
Left, 1 turn in 10"
Rear: 200-1300 yds.
No. 5 Rifle (1944) .303 Lee bolt-action
(10 rounds)
7-2 39.5 18.75 Enfield 5-groove
Left, 1 turn in 10"
Rear: 200-800 yds.
British Army Muzzle-Loading Arms Made At Or Associated With The Enfield Royal Small Arms

Name &
Approximate Year of
(grs.) 1
(grs.) 1
Brown Bess
(About 1790)
.753 10-2 55 39 Smoothbore 200 .683 480 164
Baker Rifle
.628 9-7 45 302 7 turn
in 30"
200 .625 350 110
Brunswick Rifle
.704 115 46 30 2 1 turn
in 30"
300 .696 557 68
Percussion Musket
.753 9-14 54 39 Smoothbore 150 .683 480 123
British Version Minie Rifle
.702 9-13 55 39 4 1 turn
n 78"
1000 690 680 68
Enfield Rifle
.577 8-14 54 1/8 39 3 1 turn
in 78"
900 .568 530 68
Short Enfield Rifle
.577 8-11 48 333 5 1 turn
in 48"
1200 .568 530 68
(1) These figures are approximations.
(2) Some Baker rifles with 20" barrels were made for British Cavalry.
(3) The Short Enfield Rifle of 1855 had 29" barrel.

The Enfield Snider was intended as a stop-gap pending development of a new breech-loading arm. In 1869 a special War Office
committee appointed 3 years earlier recommended a development of the Peabody breech-mechanism entered by Friederich von
Martini of Switzerland. The barrel was designed by Alexander Henry of Edinburgh. The new arm was called the Martini-Henry, and
200 were made at Enfield and issued for troop trials. In introducing this cal. .45 rifle, the committee had achieved a reduction in bore
at that time believed impossible for this class of military arm. Much of the development work was carried out at Enfield and numerous
modifications were effected before the rifle and a new bottleneck cartridge were adopted. In 1871 they were officially introduced for
the British Army and the Royal Navy. Later, about 70,000 Martini rifles embodying Met-ford rifling were made at Enfield. They were
called Enfield-Martini's, but were never officially adopted; they were eventually fitted with Henry barrels at Enfield and became the
Mark IV pattern Martini-Henry.

(Top) Rifle, Musket, Pattern 1853. Snider hinged-breech action used in converting Pattern 1853 for breech-loading. Lower arm is Snider carbine issued to cavalry and
artillery units. Introduced in 1867, Snider conversion was a stop-gap development. Conversion and manufacture of cal. .577 Snider arms were carried out at Enfield.

Shortened version of Model 1853 Enfield rifle designated Sergeant's Fusil, Model 1856. It proved more accurate than long rifle.

Experimental Service Pattern cal. .45 Whitworth rifle made at Enfield. Hexagonal-bore Whitworth, popular for target shooting, was not issued generally for Service

Principal difference between Martini-Henry rifle (upper) and Enfield-Martini (center) was in form of rifling. Enfield-Martini rifle had longer action lever to improve
extraction power. In 1895 many of these cal. .45 rifles were fitted with cal. .303 barrels and redesignated Martini-Enfield. Martini-Henry carbine (bottom) was issued to
cavalry and artillery units.

Lee-Metford Mark I cal. .303 rifle (upper) adopted in 1888, with Lee-Enfield rifle (lower) adopted in 1895. The introduction of cordite smokeless powder led to
adoption of deeper Enfield rifling form in 1895.

For a number of years the British Royal Navy had pressed for a magazine rifle, and much experimental and design work was
carried out at Enfield before the Lee-action magazine rifle was approved for manufacture in 1888. This weapon, embodying the
shallow Metford form of rifling, which had shown a great advance in accuracy in competition shooting at Wimbledon, was a further
considerable reduction in caliber. It was destined to remain in the British Regular Army for nearly 70 years. Introduced as the
Magazine Rifle, Mark I, in 1889, and changed to the Lee-Metford 2 years later, it became the Lee-Enfield in 1895, after a change of
The Enfield rifling form was designed and developed at Enfield to ensure a longer barrel accuracy life by rendering greater
resistance to the destructive erosion of cordite than did the shallow Metford grooving. It was therefore the rifling that brought back the
name of Enfield into the rifle's designation.
A few years earlier, an important change in procedure had taken place at Enfield. The inspection of small arms was divorced from
production and became the prerogative of a separate body known as the Small Arms Inspection Department. It was established at
Enfield under the control of the Master-General of Ordnance, and was supervised largely by military officers under a Chief Inspector
of Small Arms. It eventually became responsible for technical trials, sealing of patterns to guide manufacture, inspection of troop
arms, and other duties. Enfield was also the training ground for Service armorers.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Enfield was working to capacity making weapons for the British forces in South Africa. The
Lee-Enfield rifle, and Lee-Enfield carbines for the Cavalry and Artillery were in full production. An error in the sighting arrangement
of the Lee-Enfield necessitated a modification to the rear sight leaf of thousands of rifles, many being hurriedly returned from South
Africa for the purpose. Another serious fault which had to be dealt with was the unequal bearing of receiver and bolt. The sighting
trouble caused the establishment of an accuracy shooting test for every rifle, on much the same lines as prevails today.

Lee-Enfield cal. .303 carbine was shortened version of Lee-Enfield rifle. After 1902, this and other carbines gradually disappeared from the British Services.

Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) cal. .303 rifle adopted in 1902 was later redesignated No. 1 Rifle. Probably the most famous rifle ever produced at Enfield, it was
lighter and shorter version of the long Lee-Enfield rifle. It embodied charger loading, better sights, and other improvements.

Short Magazine Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mark V cal. .303 rifle was experimental arm developed at Enfield after World War I. The first Lee-Enfield rifle designed with
aperture rear sight, it was superseded in development stage by SMLE No. 1 Mark VI rifle.
Introduction or Adoption Date Designation Some Features of New Pattern
Dec. 22, 1888 Magazine Rifle, Mark I
Aug. 8, 1891 Lee-Metford Magazine Rifle, Mark I Same rifle, renamed.
Jan. 19, 1892 Lee-Metford Magazine Rifle, Mark I* Safety catch omitted. Altered sighting, magazine, handguard, mainspring.
Jan. 30, 1892 Lee-Metford Magazine Rifle, Mark II New 10-round magazine. Lighter barrel. Weight reduced to 9 lbs., 4 ozs.
Apr. 22, 1895 Lee-Metford Magazine Rifle, Mark II* New pattern safety catch fitted to cocking piece.
July 1, 1907 Charger-loading Lee-Metford Magazine
Converted to charger-loading.
Nov. 11, 1895 Lee-Enfield Magazine Rifle, Mark I Same as Lee-Metford, Mark II* but fitted with Enfield barrel.
May 11, 1899 Lee-Enfield Magazine Rifle, Mark I* Cleaning rod, and provision for rod in fore-end omitted.
July 1, 1907 Charger-loading Lee-Enfield Magazine
Rifle, Mark I*
Converted from Lee-Enfields and Lee-Metfords.
Dec. 23, 1902 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark I
A new rifle.
Jan. 16, 1903 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Converted Mark II
Converted to Mark I pattern from Lee-Enfields and Lee-Metfords.
July 2,1906 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark I*
Deeper magazine case, etc. Weight of rifle 8 lbs., 7 ozs.
July 2, 1906 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Converted Mark II*
Deeper magazine than converted Mark II. Pull-through accommodated in
Jan. 26, 1907 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark III
Bridge charger guide fitted to body. Weight of rifle 8 lbs., 10 ozs.
Sept. 1,1907 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Converted Mark IV
Converted to Mark III pattern from Lee-Enfields and Lee-Metfords.
Jan. 4, 1908 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark I**
Sighting altered for Mark VII cartridge. Converted from Mark I for Royal
Jan. 4, 1908 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark II**
New sighting, etc. Converted from converted Mark II rifles.
Jan. 4, 1908 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark II***
New sighting, etc. Converted from converted Mark II* rifles.
Apr. 22, 1914 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark I***
Sighting altered for Mark VII cartridge. Converted from Mark I* rifles for
Royal Navy.
Jan. 2, 1916 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark III*
Long-range sights, cut-off omitted.
1922/23 (Not adopted) Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark V
Aperture backsight. One-piece handguard, etc.
1930/31 (Not adopted) Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle,
Mark VI
Heavier barrel. Two-piece handguard. Similar to later No. 4 Rifle.
Nov. 15, 1939 No. 4 Rifle, Mark I Development of No. 1 Rifle, Mark VI, but with strengthened body.
Nov. 15, 1939 (Adopted 1939. Officially
introduced Nov. 11, 1946.)
No. 4 Rifle, Mark I* Alternative method of manufacture to Mark I. Differs in body ribway, bolt-
head catch, and bridge piece.
Feb. 12, 1942 No. 4 Rifle, Mark I(T) Mark I or Mark I* fitted with Telescope No. 32 for snipers.
Mar. 31, 1949 No. 4 Rifle, Mark II Trigger pivoted on body, and not hung on trigger guard.
Mar. 31, 1949 No. 4 Rifle Mark I/2 Mark I converted to Mark II pattern.
Mar. 31, 1949 No. 4 Rifle Mark I/3 Mark I* converted to Mark II pattern.
Mar. 31, 1949 No. 4 Rifle, Mark l/2(T) Mark I (T) with trigger pivoted on body.
Sept. 12, 1944 No. 5 Rifle, Mark I A lightened No. 4 Rifle. A Mark II pattern was made but not produced.
There never was a Mark I*.
1946/47 No. 7 Rifle Similar to No. 4 Rifle, but fitted with cal. .22 barrel. Issued to R.A.F.
Sept. 7, 1950 No. 8 Rifle Cal. .22 rifle. For Military Forces
Sept. 7, 1950 No. 9 Rifle No. 4 Rifle fitted with cal. .22 tubed barrels. Issued to Royal Navy.

Experience in the South African campaign led to the development and ultimate adoption in 1902 of the Short Magazine Lee-
Enfield (SMLE), now known as the No. 1 Rifle. Shorter than its predecessors, it was designed for use in all branches of the British
Army and eventually superseded the many types of carbines in use.
In 1910 a new rifle, modeled largely on the M1903 Springfield, was developed at Enfield, where 1000 were made for troop trials.
Its development was delayed by ammunition troubles. By 1914 these were largely overcome and. but for the outbreak of war, it would
probably have gone into full production. It was designed for a cal. .276 rimless cartridge but, during the war, it was produced in large
numbers in the United States in cal. .303 British. It was known as the Pattern 1914 Enfield Rifle, but is now known as the No. 3 Rifle.
When war broke out, the Enfield factory was faced with difficult production problems. Fortunately it was engaged on a high
output before the war, and machinery and workshops were in excellent order and ready for the immediate expansion which took place.
Between August 1914 and November 1918 over 2 million SMLE rifles were made and many other weapons were repaired or

Experiments continue

Immediately after the war a much smaller production satisfied requirements, but a good deal of experimental work was carried out
in the factory. This included development of 2 more versions of the SMLE, the Mark V and the Mark VI. Both were produced in
considerable numbers for troop trials, but never went into full production.
On the outbreak of World War II, the last of the Lee-Enfield rifles, the No. 4 (a development of the Mark VI), was divorced from
the Enfield factory and made elsewhere. Capacity was taken up by the manufacture and repair of the Bren light machine gun, the cal.
.38 revolver, the Sten machine carbine, and numerous other weapons. Over 200,000 Bren guns and nearly 300,000 revolvers were
produced at Enfield during the war period.
Enfield no longer produces a weapon which carries its name, and its activities are now largely concerned with the production of
the cal. 7.62 mm. self-loading rifle. The Royal Small Arms Factory is still a busy place, but not so closely connected with the British
Army as it was in the days when its traveling examiners paid regular visits to units to examine and repair their arms. It still has many
links with the British Forces.

Short Magazine Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mark VI cal. .303 experimental rifle was never adopted, but both prototype and troop trial versions were made at Enfield. Troop trial
rifles featured a checkered fore-end. Prototypes (shown) did not and, except for the magazine cutoff and marking disc on the buttstock, are nearly indistinguishable
from later No. 4 rifles.

Rifle No. 4 Mark I was both designed and
developed at the Royal Small Arms Factory,
Enfield, but was mass produced at other
factories in Great Britain, Canada and the
United States. It was adopted in November
1939, and was chambered for the cal. .303
British Service cartridge.

Rifle No. 5 (Jungle Carbine) was also
designed and developed at the Royal Small
Arms Factory, Enfield. A lightened version of
the No. 4 rifle with a shorter barrel, it was
fitted with a flash hider, the only Lee-Enfield
rifle with this accessory.

No. 8 Infantry Model (upper), cal. .22 rimfire
training rifle was developed at Enfield and
introduced in 1950. Its success led to the
production and use of the Enfield "Envoy"
(lower), a full bore rifle in 7.62 mm NATO.

Pistol, Revolver No. 2 was in full production at Enfield during World War II.
This cal. .38 revolver superseded the cal. .455 Pistol, Revolver in British service.

Czech-designed BREN (Brno-Enfield) cal .303 light machine gun went into production at Enfield in 1937. After World War II many were converted at Enfield to fire
the 7.62 mm NATO cartridge. Czech-designed BESA machine guns were also made at Enfield for the British Army.


Cal. .276 1913 experimental cartridge (r.) with cal. .303 British cartridge for which Pattern 1914 Enfield Service rifle was adapted.


Adopted by the British Army, this weapon became known for its accuracy but its service use
was limited


he Pattern 1914 Enfield Rifle, familiarly known as the P. 14, and in British Service nomenclature as the No. 3 Rifle, enjoys the
distinction of being the only rifle with Mauser-type action ever adopted by the British Army. Its actual service, though partly of a
distinctive nature, was very limited for so excellent a weapon.
When the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) rifle was approved for the British Services in 1902, it met with instant opposition,
mostly on the grounds of inaccuracy. Although it proved itself a first-class Service weapon, opposition persisted and a few years after
its adoption the Government Design Department at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield was considering design of a rifle
ballistically more efficient.
In August 1910, the British War Office decided that a new rifle was needed. The requirement was put to the Small Arms
Committee, a body of experts including representatives of manufacture, inspection, and users of small arms and ammunition. On Sept.
2, the following points were agreed on:

1. The rifle to be for Cavalry and Infantry.
2. Length and weight as near as possible to the SMLE.
3. A one-piece stock.
4. A trapped buttplate as on SMLE.
5. The nosecap to be lighter, providing sufficient support for the bayonet was assured.
6. Handguard to be full length of barrel.
7. If possible, barrel to weigh 2 lbs. 14 ozs.
8. Recoil about the same as SMLE.
9. Detachable magazine to hold 10 rounds.
10. Charger-loading and no cut-off.
11. Action to be of Mauser type.
12. To fire rimless cartridges.
13. Trigger to be directly connected to body of rifle.
14. Safety-catch to operate in both fired and cocked positions.
15. Striker to be controlled by cocking piece.
16. Aperture back sight, and dial sight for distances beyond 1600 yds.

It was decided to make up an experimental rifle embodying as many of the recommendations as possible, and the development
work was carried out at Enfield. Meanwhile, a new cartridge in cal. .276 was being developed at Woolwich Arsenal.

It was intended to stock the new rifle on
the lines of the U. S. M1903 Springfield, and
it was eventually decided to alter a
Springfield to comply, as far as possible, with
the Committee's requirements. A number of
experimental rifles was prepared subsequently
for trials at Enfield and the Small Arms
School at Hythe, Kent. At the same time other
patterns were put forward for trial, including 2
from the Birmingham Small Arms Company,
one of which had an inclined bolt, but they
were not recommended. As a result of the
trials at Enfield and Hythe, it was decided to
manufacture 1000 of the Enfield pattern for
troop trials. A big problem had still to be
solvedexcessive metallic fouling of the
barrel. Its seriousness can be judged from a
Small Arms Committee minute dated May 10,
1912, which read:
"The Committee desire to point out that no
cartridge has yet been produced for the .276-
in. rifle which does not give such metallic
fouling as to quite preclude its being tried by the troops in the 1,000 rifles about to be manufactured, and the Committee see little
prospect of arriving at a satisfactory solution of the problem by the time when a decision as to the cartridge will be required if the trial
of 1,000 rifles by the troops is to be carried out next year."
The Committee's opinion was that the main cause of the fouling was the high pressure, combined with the high temperature of the
Cordite M.D.T. propellant charge. Certain modifications to the cartridge were put forward.

Ammunition trials

Various ammunition trials were carried out at Woolwich and Hythe and, although some improvement was made ballistically and
in the reduction of metallic fouling, the cartridge provided for the troop trials was still not entirely satisfactory in performance.
The case was rimless. Over-all cartridge length was 3.230". The 165-gr. pointed bullet had a lead-antimony core and was jacketed
with mild steel plated with cupro-nickel. The 49.3-gr. charge of Cordite M.D.T. gave a muzzle velocity of 2785 f.p.s. (feet per
The trial rifle, which featured a one-piece stock and integral 5-round box magazine, weighed 8 lbs. 11 ozs., and had an over-all
length of 46.3". The action was of Mauser type with dual front locking lugs engaging locking recesses within the receiver ring. The
26" cal. .276 barrel weighed 2 lbs. 15 ozs., and was rifled with left twist at the rate of one turn in 10". Groove depth was .005". Barrel
lands and grooves were .0853" wide.
The aperture-type folding leaf rear sight was adjustable for elevation only. The leaf was graduated from 400 to 1900 yds. The
movable slide containing the .10" aperture locked into detents on the right side of the leaf. A fixed .10" aperture battle sight for ranges
up to 600 yds., was exposed when the leaf was turned down. A dial sight was fitted to the left side of the rifle for long-range 'barrage'
The 1000 troop-trial rifles were made at the Royal Small Arms Factory and, early in 1913, were issued to British troops in the
Aldershot, Southern, Northern, and Irish Commands, in South Africa and Egypt, and to the Small Arms School (then called the
School of Musketry) at Hythe. In June the trial was suspended in the Aldershot Command when it was found that the ammunition had
a great heating effect on the rifle, and dangerous pressures developed if a round was left in a heated chamber for only a short time.
The program was amended so that rifles were allowed to cool after not more than 15 rounds had been fired.
Besides the heating effects, the reports from the Commands contained several small adverse criticisms, but generally speaking the
rifle performed well and was popular with the troops. One complaint is of particular interest in view of subsequent events. It was that
there was a tendency to pick up sand in the muzzle when loading on sandy soil.
In World War II, when the rifle (then the P. 14) was for a time in general use in several units of the British Army, there were many
instances of split barrels due to obstructions being picked up in the protruding muzzle during training. Investigation of many damaged
rifles showed a high sulphur and phosphorus content in the steel as causing a tendency to split when a round was fired with any slight
obstruction in the bore. The highest percentage of split barrels was of Eddystone manufacture.
The troop trials were followed by an investigation of the reports by the Small Arms Committee and, at the beginning of 1914, six
rifles were manufactured at Enfield to an improved design. Most of the troubles were easily dealt with, but the complaint of excessive
flash had no easy solution. This was reported to be visible at night for a mile, and an accompanying loud report was also considered
serious. Barrel wear was another serious problem; accuracy was often bad after only 1000 rounds and was seldom retained after 3000.

War ends experimentation

Experiments with new barrel steels and new propellant charges were being carried out when the start of World War I put an end to
most of them. Plans for the new rifle replacing the SMLE were dropped. Arming the rapidly increasing fighting forces presented a
problem with which British armament manufacturing resources could not cope, and Britain turned to the United States. U. S.
manufacturers agreed to produce the new British rifle, with certain modifications, in cal. .303 British, and large orders were placed
with the Winchester, Remington, and Eddystone firms.

Cal. .276 experimental rifle issued for troop trial in 1913 and identified by diagonal grooves on sides
of stock fore-end. A total of 1000 rifles was made.
On June 21, 1916, the new rifle was
officially introduced in the British Service as
the Pattern 1914 Enfield Rifle. It was fitted
with the Pattern 1913 Sword Bayonet Mark I
and was issued to Home Service units in
Great Britain. The superior accuracy of the P.
14 to the SMLE as issued to the Services was
soon established, and it was decided to equip
a number of these rifles with Aldis offset and
Pattern 1918 telescope sights and issue them
to snipers in the various theaters of war. A
high standard of accuracy was obtained with
this equipment, and they would have been of
inestimable value had they been available in
the earlier years of the war. After the war,
they were issued on the scale of 8 to a
battalion of infantry.
In 1935, the P.14 entered a new phase of
its history. In the United Kingdom and British
Dominions, the SMLE had achieved a bad
reputation in target-shooting circles for
instability of accuracy. Packing, regulating,
and the use of small metal parts in restocking
had proved palliatives, but not cures, and the War Office decision to release a number of P.14's for target shooting was greatly
welcomed by the National Rifle Association (of Great Britain) and its members. The P. 14 which was sold to marksmen for only 3,
immediately became popular and for a time gained almost universal praise. Unfortunately, many were stocked with poorly seasoned
wood and, after a period of shooting and weathering, the fore-ends warped, some beyond rectification.

Proper stocking method

Doubts regarding the consistent accuracy
of the rifle were expressed at the 1936 Bisley
Meeting, and an investigation was carried out
by the Chief Inspector of Small Arms at
Enfield. The troubles were not all due to
faulty woodwork and it was found that many
of the complaints arose from rifles which had
been adjusted in a manner contrary to the
accepted Service method of stocking. This
provides that the action should be so bedded
that the following parts bear on the stock:
(a) The rear face of the recoil lug.
(b) The underside of the receiver at the front
and rear ends.
(c) The barrel reinforce.
(d) The barrel at the muzzle end should bear
lightly against stock when receiver and
reinforce bearings have been correctly

The important part of correct stocking of the P. 14 is the bedding of the action. Alternative methods of stocking are permitted for
target shooting. The barrel may be completely free at the muzzle, the clearance being kept to a minimum. A bearing may also be
obtained about 6" forward of the receiver by building up the fore-end at this point by a light metal shim or wood insert glued in
position. With this method the barrel, forward of the bearing, should be clear of the woodwork.
World War II had been in progress several months before there was any real interest in the possibility of snipers being again
required. In May 1940, a Sniping Wing of the Small Arms School was formed at Bisley, largely on the initiative of Maj. Gen. Sir
Alan Hunter, then Secretary of the National Rifle Association (of Great Britain). Sniping was almost a lost art and its restoration
centered around the P. 14, the only sniping rifle then in the British Army. The P. 14 continued in this role until 1942, when it was
superseded by the No. 4 Rifle, Mark I (T). The P. 14 rifle, without a telescope, remained in the hands of Home Defence forces
throughout the war.
It is sad to record that so fine a rifle as the P. 14 should have received such unfortunate treatment as was accorded this accurate
weapon after the war. Many thousands were dumped in Ordnance Depots throughout the United Kingdom, and so carelessly were
many of them stored that they rapidly deteriorated into scrap. Eventually a few were sold to rifle clubs but most were broken up and,
in official jargon, 'brought to produce'. Thus the P. 14 went the way of many wartime stores in the urge to destroy and clean up,
regardless, which always seems to follow in the wake of a war.
There are still some marksmen who regard the P. 14 as the most accurate British full-bore rifle, though the number seen on Bisley
ranges is now comparatively small largely due to the difficulty of obtaining replacements for shot out barrels. Whether those that have
survived will ever be converted to take the 7.62 mm. NATO cartridge when the target-shooting changeover from cal. .303 British
takes place is a matter for conjecture. If it is eventually converted, the P. 14, though limited in numbers, could again become a serious
contender for major British and Commonwealth target-shooting honors.

Close-up of Pattern 1918 telescope sight on Pattern 1914 rifle.
Pattern 1914 Enfield Service rifle fitted with Aldis offset telescope sight. This sight has a lower
silhouette than Pattern 1918 sight. Lateral adjustment is embodied in the mounting.


Lee-Enfield Rifle No. 1, Mark III
Parts Legend 14. Safety spring 27. Magazine catch 40. Buttplate 52. Ejector screw
15. Safety spring screw 28. Retaining 41. Buttplate 53. Striker screw
1. Barrel 16. Back trigger guard spring screw trap spring 54. Cocking piece
2. Foresight blade screw 29. Sear spring 42. Buttplate trap 55. Breechbolt
3. Inner band 17. Stock bolt plate 30. Sear spring screw 56. Mainspring
4. Inner band screw 18. Swivel screw (3) 31. Trigger pin 43. Outer band 57. Striker
5. Backsight assembly 19. Butt swivel bracket 32. Trigger 44. Fore-end stud spring 58. Breechbolt head
6. Backsight protector 20. Swivel bracket 33. Front trigger 45. Fore-end stud 59. Extractor screw
7. Backsight protector screw screw (2) guard screw 46. Back nose cap screw 60. Extractor
21. Sling swivel (2) 34. Trigger guard 47. Piling swivel 61. Extractor spring
8. Fore-end collar 22. Stock bolt washer 35. Magazine 48. Nose cap 62. Cutoff
9. Protector nut 23. Stock bolt 36. Front trigger guard 49. Nose cap nut 63. Cutoff screw
10. Action body 24. Stock bolt wad screw bushing 50. Front nose 64. Buttstock
11. Safety catch (leather) 37. Buttplate trap cap screw 65. Fore-end
12. Locking bolt 25. Magazine catch pin 38. Buttplate trap pin 51. Inner band 66. Rear handguard
13. Safety catch washer 26. Retaining spring 39. Buttplate screw (2) screw spring 67. Front handguard

he cal. .303 British Short Magazine Lee-
Enfield Rifle, Mark III was approved for
the British Service on Jan. 26, 1907. It was an
evolutionary development of the Short
Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle, Mark I, which
was adopted on Dec. 23, 1902.
The Mark III version is dimensionally
similar to the earlier Mark I but is heavier. It
weighs 8 lbs. l0 ozs., as against 8 lbs. 2 ozs.
for the Mark I. (The weights given do not
include the bayonet.)
The Mark III is fitted with a magazine
cutoff so that contents of the 10-shot
detachable box magazine could be held in
reserve while the rifle was used as a single-
loader. The receiver or body is fitted with a
bridge-type charger guide with slots sloped to
the front so that the empty charger is
automatically ejected from the charger guide as
the bolt is closed.
The U-notch rear sight is fully adjustable
for windage and elevation. The front sight is of
square-blade Patridge-type. An additional dial
sight arrangement is provided for long-range
firing. This is a carry-over from the Mark I.
There were many changes made in
establishing specifications for the Mark III
rifle, and those interested in a detailed history
of this and other British Lee-Enfield Service
rifles are referred to the book entitled The Lee-
Enfield Rifle by Maj. E. G. B. Reynolds.
In May 1926, British Service rifles were
redesignated by number, and the Short
Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle, Mark III became
the Rifle No. 1, Mark III.

No. 4 Rifle Disassembly

1 Commence disassembly by first removing
magazine (35) and then rotating breechbolt (55)
counterclockwise and withdrawing rearward as far as
it will go. Disengage breechbolt head (58) from
retaining spring (26) by rotating it as shown. It will
disengage with an audible click. Withdraw bolt from
action body (10)
2 Disassemble breechbolt by removing striker screw
(53), and then unscrewing breechbolt head from the
other end of the breechbolt
3 To remove striker (57), it is necessary to have an
Enfield bolt stripping wrench or improvise one as
shown using a 8" O.D. brass tube approximately 6"
long. File 2 opposing keys or notches in one end of
tube and affix wooden ball on other end to serve as
handle. Drill through handle and tube with " drill
and insert pin to prevent slippage. Insert tool into
front end of breechbolt until notches engage
corresponding notches in striker collar. Unscrew
striker from cocking piece (54) maintaining steady
inward pressure to prevent mainspring (56) from
expelling striker when it becomes fully unscrewed
from cocking piece

4 Remove back and front trigger guard screws (16
and 33, right and left arrows respectively). Lift away
trigger guard (34). Remove back and front nose cap
screws (46 and 50 respectively) and pull nose cap
(48) forward off rifle. Remove inner band screw (4),
and swivel screw (18) from outer band (43). Open
and lift away outer band. Front handguard (67), fore-
end (65), and rear handguard (66) may now be
removed in that order
5 Remove retaining spring screw (28, left arrow) and
lift away retaining spring (26), sear (30), and sear
spring (29). Drift out magazine catch pin (25, right
arrow), remove magazine catch (27)
6 Should removal of buttstock (64) become
necessary, open buttplate trap (37) and with a piece
of bent wire fish out leather stock bolt wad (24).
Insert long, square shanked screwdriver and engage
slot in stock bolt (23). While applying downward
pressure, place an appropriately sized open-end
wrench against screwdriver shank and turn out stock
bolt. A small quantity of penetrating oil may aid this
operation as the bolts are often rusted in. Reassemble
rifle in reverse

I want to remove the extractor spring from my British .303, No. 4 rifle so that I can clean inside the extractor slot on the bolt head. How is this
spring removed from the rifle?
Answer: Make sure that the rifle is unloaded, and remove the bolt. Them clamp the bolt in a padded vise and insert a drift punch of less than
0.04" diameter into the small hole in the sideward projection of the bolt head. Press the punch inward against the extractor spring and push the spring
forward, out of the bolt head using a screwdriver. Hold a finger over the extractor slot while doing this to prevent loss of the spring. In reassembly,
simply push the spring into the extractor slot until the small projection on the spring engages in its seat in the bolt head.
These instructions also apply to the No. 1, rifle. L.O.

Punch is inserted through the hole (a) in the bolt head. Extractor spring (b) is of V type.


Shooters examining the British .303 Lee-Enfield rifle soon find the bolt head can be unscrewed by
hand from the bolt body, but remaining disassembly is not so easy.
The Lee-Enfield firing pin is screwed into the cocking piece and is removed from the front. With
the bolt head off, look into the front of the bolt and note the 2 notches on opposite sides of the firing
pin shoulder, about 1" back from the point. These provide means for grasping the firing pin with the
necessary tool, which is not hard to make. The picture shows the bolt of the No. 1 rifle, and that of the
No. 4 rifle is practically identical.
To disassemble, turn the cocking piece to the lower of the 2 notches in the bolt (this takes almost
all compression off the firing pin spring). Remove the firing pin locking screw in the rear face of the
cocking piece. Turn out the firing pin from the front, with the tool shown.E.H.H.

Removing the firing pin from a .303 Lee-Enfield rifle bolt ordinarily requires a
special tool. To remove pin with common tools, unscrew bolt head and remove
lock screw (1) in cocking piece. Then pull cocking piece (2) back and turn it to
right to lock it back. Hold cocking piece in wrench or vise, and unscrew firing
pin with self-clamping pliers grasped at (3). In reassembling, push firing pin
rearward against mainspring with " dowel which has hole drilled in end to
clear firing pin tip.W. Edward Hay

For the necessary reinforcement of rear ends of Lee-Enfield sporter fore-ends I
form a staple of " spring wire as shown and drive it into place. Inlet " to
accommodate head of staple.Thomas E. Sisson

Lee-Speed Rifle
A British army rifle in my collection is marked Lee-Speed. The Speed marking seems appropriate for the Lee since it can be operated faster than
most bolt-action rifles. However, I lack proof that the marking has reference to fast operation, and would appreciate information on the subject.
Answer: The word "speed" is appropriate in connection with the Lee rifle, but has reference to a co-developer of the arm rather than rapidity of
operation. Mr. Joseph Speed was the Assistant Manager (later, the manager) of the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock in the 1880s, and
developed the magazine cutoff, two-piece stock, and several other mechanical features of British Lee rifles. The Lee-Speed marking appeared on
some early long Lee rifles, and especially on specimens intended for the commercial market. L.O.

Mk IV SMLE Rifle
In what way was the Mk IV British SMLE improved over the Mk III? The only differences 1 can see in these rifles are that the Mk IV has no
marking disc on the stock, and its buttplate tang is longer than that of the Mk III.
Answer: The Mk IV is not an improved SMLE, but simply an early long Lee rifle converted to conform to the pattern of the Mk III. Since it is a
converted arm and the model following the Mk III, it is called Converted, Mk IV.
The long buttplate tang and lack of a marking disc are characteristic of the long Lee rifles from which Mk IVs were converted. The buttplate tang
was used for organizational markings and served the same purpose as a marking disc. L.O.

Double F Marked SMLE
I have a British Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle (SMLE) which is dated 1918 and was, according to its previous
owner, issued in England after the Dunkirk evacuation. The buttstock is a replacement, and the original and still
legible serial number has been struck through with a new number stamped above it. With the new number, on
barrel and receiver ring, is a capital F superimposed on another capital F and enclosed in a circle.
After considerable research, I can find no reference to the double-F-in-a-circle marking. Can you tell me its
Answer: When the Republic of Ireland organized its army in 1923, much of its equipment, including SMLE
rifles, was obtained from England. When the rifles were received, the Irish placed their own identification mark on
them and crossed out the original serial numbers, replacing them with new numbers.
The mark of "FF" within a circle is the Republic of Ireland Army property mark. "F.F." signifies "Fianna Fail."
"Fianna" is the name of an ancient military organization forming what then corresponded to the standing army of
the country; "Fail" means "destiny." One of the ancient names of Ireland was "Innisfail" (The Isles of Destiny) and "Fianna Fail" thus signifies the
"Fianna (or army) of Destiny," or it may be rendered as "The Fianna (or army) of Ireland."
The above information was obtained from the Republic of Ireland Army.
As the British Army lost much equipment at Dunkirk, rifles were obtained anywhere they could be found, and they probably got a lot of the older
dated rifles from the Irish Army.C.H.Y., Jr.

I have read that the .303 Lee-Enfield rifle is 'compensated', which improves the accuracy of the rifle at long range. What is this compensation?
Answer: British long-range target shooters noticed many years ago that the .303 Mark III SMLE rifle and .303 Mark VII ammunition gave less
vertical dispersion on 900-yd. and 1000-yd. targets than would be expected from the velocity variation of the ammunition. This was explained as due
to the rifle delivering shots of above-normal muzzle velocity at a lower angle of departure than shots of low muzzle velocity (there is always some
shot-to-shot variation in velocity). This unintentional 'compensation' in design of the rifle and its mating to the ammunition thus resulted
advantageously in long-range shooting.
This matter received a great deal of discussion among British Commonwealth shooters, and on adoption of the .303 No. 4 rifle, the Lee-Enfield
which was standard during World War II, the subject was brought up again. Several experiments were made to establish the existence and actual
amount of compensation, but they were not carried to a conclusive result. Information on compensation in the Mark III rifle was given in the British
Textbook of Small Arms 1929, now out of print; and for the No. 4 rifle in the book The Lee-Enfield Rifle by Maj. E. G. B. Reynolds.
Now it appears that such an effect may exist to some degree in many rifles. Shoulder rifles of usual configuration suffer bending by the stresses
of discharge, and seldom deliver their bullets in the nearly invariable direction given by heavy test barrels in sliding mounts. Test of a large sample
of U. S. M14 rifles showed that they gave this effect consistently and in a direction to improve their long-range vertical dispersion. On the other
hand, if many models and types of rifles were investigated it might be found that some give it an unfavorable directionthat is, high-velocity rounds
might be delivered at a higher angle of elevation than low-velocity rounds, with resulting very unfavorable effect on the shooting accuracy. Since no
such broad investigation of the matter ever has been made, the proportion of favorable and unfavorable situations which exist is not known.
The mechanism of this compensating (or mutually reinforcing) action of jump and drop is explained in detail in the article "Dispersion And
Range" in the September 1962 issue of The American Rifleman. There are no further authoritative available references known.
It might appear attractive to design a target rifle intentionally to provide variation. There has been no thorough attempt to do so for any non-
military weapon. It would be a considerable undertaking, and even if successful the desired action could be counted on only with exactly that design
and construction of rifle and ammunition.E.H.H.


.303 Rifle No. 5, Mk I or "jungle carbine."
303 Jungle Carbine
Can you identify the following military rifle? Its markings are:
England 1/47
No. 5 Mk I (F) .303" 2.22" 18.5 tons Serial Number beginning with "Z" Some cartridges with it are .303 British.
Answer: This is the Rifle No. 5, Mk I, a modified form of the Rifle No. 4 which was the British infantry rifle of World War II. The markings
indicate the caliber, the length of the cartridge case, and the service pressure in long tons per square inch as measured by the British base crusher
method. Ammunition was the standard .303 Ball Cartridge, Mk VII.
The No. 5 had the same action as the No. 4, the final form of the Lee-Enfield, but the No. 5 was a shortened and lightened model intended for
jungle use. The barrel was shortened to 18.75" and equipped with a bayonet stud and short conical flash hider, the fore-end was shortened and the
front handguard removed, and the butt was equipped with a small recoil pad. The piece was commonly called the jungle carbine. It is reported to
have been popular with the troops in that role despite a rather heavy recoil. By the end of 1944, 50,000 had been accepted for service. It was declared
obsolete in July 1947. Thus only a limited number were produced and the rifle is comparatively scarce.
One reason for its obsoletion was a troublesome defect, a "wandering zero" which made it difficult to keep the rifle correctly sighted. Much work
was done in an effort to eliminate this problem but eventually it was concluded that the defect was an inherent one. C.R.S.

Cord-Wrapped SMLE
While stationed in England during World War II, I saw some British SMLE rifles with cord-wrapped forearms. There was wrapping around
forearm and handguard just behind the nosecap and also between the lower band and the receiver. Only a few of the many SMLE rifles I observed
were so wrapped, and I wonder why it was done.
Answer: Wrapping of SMLE forearms with whipcord or copper wire was done to reinforce rifles for grenade launching. The practice was
instituted in World War I as a means of using rifles that were badly worn and generally not repairable short of rebuilding. The original intent was that
standard-issue rifles would be used for grenade launching in the field, and "strengthened" rifles would be used for training only, and not fired with
Ball cartridges except in emergency. Rifles in this training category are marked "E.Y." on the barrel reinforce and on the stock.
In Australian and Indian practice, rifles intended for front line service were routinely adapted for grenade launching by wrapping the fore-ends
with wire or cord, and these rifles saw much use during World War II. Indian rifles, particularly, may be found with an additional reinforcement, a
wood screw transverse through the fore-end just ahead of the front trigger guard screw.
Some U.S. M1917 rifles in British use and Pattern 14 Enfield rifles were similarly wrapped, but with copper or galvanized steel wire instead of
whipcord. Pistol grips as well as fore-ends of these latter Enfield rifles were wrapped, and steel reinforcement plates connected into the top and
bottom of the pistol grip. L.O.

In what way does the British Mk V Short Magazine
Lee-Enfield differ from earlier models of the SMLE?
This rifle is mentioned in the 1929 edition of the British
Army's Textbook of Small Arms, but a detailed
description, and illustrations, are lacking.
Answer: The Mk V (officially the Rifle, Short,
Magazine, Lee-Enfield Mark V) differs from preceding
models of the SMLE in that it has an aperture rear sight and a reinforcing band at the rear of the nosecap. The sight is located at the rear of the
receiver in similar fashion to that of the British Pattern 14 (No. 3) and U.S. Model 1917 Enfield rifles. The idea for the reinforcing band was
apparently taken from the Norwegian Model 1912 Krag carbine, and this component facilitates recognition of the arm. The 1929 British Textbook of
Small Arms describes this rifle as having a one-piece handguard, but the handguard of a specimen available for examination is of the two-piece
Development of the Mk V was prompted by battle experience of World War I, and a relatively small number were produced in the 1920s for test
purposes. It was superseded by the Mk VI SMLE, a limited-production model which was the direct forerunner of the Rifle No. 4, a principal shoulder
arm of British forces during World War II. Due to the small number produced, the Mk V is one of the rarest of the SMLE rifles, and a choice
collector's item. L.O.


Name: Lee-Enfield Carbine
Model: Mark I
Manufacturer: British Government Armory at Enfield
Caliber & Cartridge: .303 British
Barrel Length: 20"
Overall Length: 39-5/16"
Weight (Empty): 7 lbs. 7 ozs.
Finish: Blued
Magazine: 7-shot, removable box
Stock: 3-piece plain wood
Rifling: Enfield type, 5-groove, left-hand, 1 turn in 10".
Bore Diameter: .303"
Groove Diameter: .316"
Sights: Fixed blade front with wing guards. V notch rear, adjustable elevation to 2,000 yds. with leather cover protector.
Marking: Left-hand side of butt socket: Crown over V R ENFIELD 1896 L. E. C. I
Remarks: This Lee-Enfield carbine was officially adopted by the British War Office in 1896, replacing the Lee-Metford carbine of
1894. The gun is similar to the Lee-Metford Mark II* Rifle and Lee-Enfield Mark I and Mark I* Rifles except for a shorter barrel,
wood handguard, winged front sight, and the omission of the long-range rear sight.
This carbine was issued especially for the use of cavalry units and was gradually replaced in the British Service after Dec. 23,
1902, the date marking the official approval of the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mark I Rifle. The latter weapon was a design for use
of both cavalry and infantry.H. P. White Laboratory.
Development and modifications of a British Service arm for snipers


mmediately following World War I, the British War Office Small Arms Committee spent much time and thought on the question of
a new rifle. There were differences of opinion as to whether the proposed new arm should have automatic loading, bolt-action with
forward locking, or whether the Lee action should be retained.
It was decided that there should be no reduction in caliber, as seemed likely before the war, and that an aperture rear sight would
be used. It was also agreed that the standard of accuracy should be at least as good as that of the Pattern 14 rifle.
Largely on the grounds of economy, efforts were devoted to designing a pattern to which the existing Service rifle, the Short
Magazine Lee-Enfield, could be modified.
Manufacturing difficulties in times of emergency had to be considered and it was eventually decided to design a new rifle on the
S.M.L.E. pattern which would lend itself to mass production and would embody the new requirements.
The ultimate result was the rifle known as the No. 1 Mark VI (Fig. 1). The best features, based on wartime experiences, of the No.
1 (S.M.L.E.) rifle were retained. Improvements included a stiffer, heavier barrel to give a high standard of accuracy suitable for
sniping, a smaller and lighter nose-cap, and an exposed muzzle on which a bayonet could be fitted. An aperture rear sight embodying
a fixed or battle sight for ranges up to 400 yds. was fitted. Receiver and bolt-head were made more compact and of cleaner design, to
save weight and reduce the liability to catch clothing and equipment. Other small modifications were embodied, and a number of
weapons were thoroughly tested by the Small Arms School at Hythe. Further modifications arose from these trials and, by 1926, six
finalized No. 1 Mark VI rifles were ready for further testing. These were first shot for accuracy at the Small Arms Inspection
Department, Enfield Lock, and a disturbing feature emerged.

Shot low with bayonet

With bayonet fitted, the mean point of impact on the target came down by about 9 minutes, or about 18" at 200 yds. Service trials
confirmed this result. The rifles also showed a tendency to string out their groups in the vertical plane, while keeping an extremely
good lateral angle. The trouble was traced to the receiver of the rifle. This was strengthened, and accuracy immediately improved.
Many methods of stocking-up were tried out and the one adopted (Fig. 2) was as follows:
The fore-end fitted firmly at the rear, between the sear lugs and face of the receiver butt socket.

1 The No. 1 Mark VI rifle, developed following World War I. was never adopted for service, though the later No. 4 Mark I is nearly identical in appearance, except for
the magazine cutoff. Prototype Mark VI rifles had plain fore-ends; troop trial rifles featured a cross-hatched grasping surface on the fore-end, forward of the receiver.

2 Conventional method of stocking the No. 4 rifle. Good bearings between the metal parts and fore-end are essential at (A) muzzle; (B) receiver reinforce; (C) receiver
seating; and (D) the "draws" between sear and socket face. It is extremely important that the collar (shown below fore-end) is of correct length. If too long, the bearing
at (C) will be too light. If the collar is too short, the wood work will be crushed when the trigger guard screw is tightened, and this will affect the reinforce and muzzle
bearings. The trigger guard screw must be kept tight.

It seated on the receiver surfaces around the front trigger guard screw-hole and extended rearward along the narrow ledges on each
side of the magazine opening for not less than 1". The resistance of the receiver to the fore-end was equal on each side of the trigger
guard screw. There was a clearance between barrel socket of receiver and stock fore-end on each side.
There was a firm bearing on the barrel reinforce, extending the full length of the reinforce and about one-third of its radius in
width. The bearing was in the center of the radial clearance of the fore-end, and the sides of the barrel were entirely clear of the wood.
The barrel rested on the raised seating at muzzle end of the fore-end. The bearing extended the full length of this seating, with the
barrel positioned centrally. The clearance on each side was not less than .02", and the lift required to raise the barrel from its seating
was between 3 and 5 lbs. If the lift was below 3 lbs., the bearing at the reinforce was lowered slightly and the collar on the front
trigger guard screw was shortened if necessary. If the lift was above 5 lbs., the bearing of the receiver seating was lowered, and the
collar shortened the desired amount.

Barrel free of fore-end

It was necessary for the barrel to be entirely free from influence of the fore-end except at the points specified, and the clearance
was about .05". The hand-guards were also clear of the barrel by the same amount, except at the muzzle end, where the clearance
could be less providing the barrel was free.
In 1926, a new system of nomenclature was introduced in the British Service and the rifle became known as the No. 4 Mark I. Five
years later 1000 rifles were manufactured at Enfield for troop trials. The following year more rifles were made and issued to units for
trial. Reports were favorable and on Nov. 15, 1939, official approval for manufacture was announced.
The No. 4 Mark I rifle was chambered for the cal. .303 British cartridge. It weighed 8 lbs. 13 ozs. without bayonet and its over-all
length was 44". The 25.2" barrel was rifled with 5 grooves with left twist of one turn in 10". Rifles of this pattern were made later
with 2 and 6 groove barrels also. Stocks were made initially of walnut, but beech, birch, and maple (in Canada) were used in later
Whereas rifle manufacture had previously been practically confined to the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield, and the B.S.A.
Company at Birmingham, the outbreak of World War II found capacity at Enfield stretched to its limit in making Bren guns, cal. .38
revolvers, and other machine guns and accoutrements. New ordnance factories were built at Shirley (Birmingham), under the control
of the B.S.A. Company, and at Maltby (Yorkshire) and Fazackerley (Lancashire). A number of the more senior employees from the
Enfield staff were diverted to the new factories, but most of the workers, especially at Maltby and Fazackerley, were completely
unskilled and included a large percentage of women. Throughout the war most of the accuracy testing was done by women. It was not
surprising that some of the early production did not bear comparison with prewar rifles of Enfield manufacture.
Meanwhile, arrangements were made in Canada and the U. S. for manufacture of the No. 4 rifle. Eventually nearly a million were
made at Long Branch, near Toronto, and over a million by the Savage Arms Corp. in the U. S. The rifle was made to an alternative
design of receiver and was designated the No. 4 rifle, Mark 1*. It differed from United Kingdom production in several respects.
A slot was cut in the receiver ribway, through which the bolt-head was released for disassembly. Machining for the bolt-head
catch was omitted. The bolt-head catch, and the spring and plate, were omitted. A new pattern bridge-piece was incorporated in the
receiver to permit removal of the bolt. The magazine catch screw was replaced by a pin, and the sear pin was increased in length.
Some rifles made in the United States were fitted with 6-groove barrels.
On the outbreak of war the Pattern 14 Mark 1 (T) was the only sniping arm in the British Army, and the so-called "Phoney War"
created an impression that sniping was no longer a requirement. As the war progressed, ideas changed and the need for new British
sniping equipment became a very real one. Plans were made to equip No. 4 rifles for this purpose.

3 Methods of adjusting the No. 32 Telescope
sight. Marks 1 and 2. The range (elevation)
drum is inscribed with numerals 0 10,
representing yards in hundreds, i.e., zero to
1000 yards. The deflection drum is inscribed
16, 12, 8, 4, 0, 4, 8, 12, 16. These drums are
inscribed at (A). The "0" is the zero mark, and
the numerals on either side represent minutes
of angle. For sight setting, a small arrowhead is
inscribed on the drum mountings at (B).
When an adjustment is made to the drums,
the clamping ring (C) is loosened by turning it
in a counter-clockwise direction, at the same
time the central pin (D) and the drum must be
held firmly and not allowed to move. When the
clamping ring is loosened, the drum can be
moved until the required figure is exactly
opposite the arrowhead on the drum mounting.
The pin (D) must be firmly held while the
drum is moved. Pin and drum must be firmly
held when the clamping ring is tightened again.
Mark 3. The range and deflection figures are inscribed on metal bands which fit around the drums at (A). Adjustments are made
by merely inserting the point of a bullet in a small recess in the band and moving it to the required setting: at the same time holding
the milled edge of the drum to prevent the drum from moving.

Prior to the war a telescopic sight had been developed for use on the Bren gun. This plan was discarded and, in March 1940, it was
decided to use the sight, designated the No. 32, Mark 1, on the new sniper rifle. Compared with modern telescope sights, it was a
rather cumbersome instrument. This is understandable considering the purpose for which it was designed. The sight was graduated
from 0 to 1000 yds., and embodied vertical and lateral adjustment. (See Fig. 3.) It was adjustable for elevation in increments of 50
yds., achieved by turning the range drum in the required direction. In the drum was a clicker device, each click recording a movement
of 2 minutes of angle. Lateral adjustment was effected by means of the deflection drum, which also embodied a 2-minute clicker
device. The drums had milled edges for easy adjustment. The range drum was turned in a clockwise direction to raise the elevation.
Errors to the right were corrected by turning the deflection drum clockwise. The magnification was 3X, and the field of view 9
As it embodied easy lateral adjustment, the sight was an improvement on the Pattern 1918 used on the Pattern 14 rifle, but the
clicker plate was too widely spaced; finer adjustments than 2 minutes of angle were necessary for a sniper. The method of zeroing the
sight was also unsatisfactory. It was too complicated, and required a special tool. Three operations had to be carried out at the same
time and the adjustment required 2 men to perform it.

Introduced in early 1942

The No. 4 rifle Mark 1 (T) (in Fig. 4) was introduced as the new sniping equipment for the British Service on Feb. 12, 1942. The
first rifles to be equipped were a number of pre-war Enfield manufacture, and the conversion was carried out at the Royal Small Arms
Factory, where the rifles were carefully stocked-up and shot for accuracy.
The conversion consisted of fitting 2 steel pads to the left of the receiver, and fitting a bracket for the telescope to the pads. The
job required skill.
Perfect fitting of bracket to pads was necessary to insure correct positioning of the telescope every time it was fitted to the rifle.
This did give a certain amount of trouble in the Service, and eventually a procedure was laid down whereby, in fitting the bracket
(with telescope) to the rifle, the final tightening to the maximum amount possible was always on the rear clamping screw.
The rifle, with telescope fitted, was finally submitted to an accuracy test in which 7 out of 7 shots had to be within a 5" circle at
200 yds. When weather permitted, the rifles were also tested at 400 yds., when 6 out of 7 shots had to go inside a 10" circle. It was
seldom necessary for equipment to be returned to the factory for adjustment. Each rifle was zeroed with the telescope, and also with
the Mark 1 backsight, with which all sniper rifles were equipped.

Prewar stock exhausted

The supply of pre-war rifles was soon exhausted and, as the first consignment of American manufacture which arrived at the
Central Ordnance Depot at Weedon appeared to be of a higher standard than early United Kingdom production, a number were
selected and sent to Enfield for conversion. These had 6-groove barrels, and all needed careful re-stocking. Meanwhile, B.S.A. at
Shirley had overcome most of their teething troubles and were turning out an excellent rifle; and it was decided that only rifles from
this factory should be earmarked for sniper conversion. With resources at Enfield taxed to the limit, the work of conversion was
transferred to Holland & Holland, the old established London firm of gunsmiths. From Sept. 22, 1942, until the end of the war, this
firm dealt with nearly 25,000 equipments and maintained a very high standard of conversion. The brackets were made by private
manufacturers, with final machining operations carried out by Holland & Holland.
The first issue of the new British sniping equipment was made in December 1941 to No. 3 Commando. Within the next 2 months
over 150 equipments were dispatched to units, mostly in the Far Eastern theater of war. A number of them, owing to enemy action,
never reached their destinations.
An improved sight, the No. 32, Mark 2, was introduced on Apr. 23, 1943, in which the clicker plate was graduated in intervals of 1
minute of angle. The magnification was the same as the Mark 1 but the field of view was slightly less, i.e., 8 degrees 20 minutes. The
new clicker plate enabled finer adjustments in sighting to be made, but the old zeroing adjustment problem remained.
The answer to the zeroing problem was soon forthcoming, and took the form of thin metal bands, known as 'slipping skins', around
the range and deflection drums. A new sight embodying this feature was introduced as the Mark 3 on Oct. 7, 1944. It was similar in
other respects to the Mark 2, except that the field of view was increased to 8 degrees 30 minutes. The new sight was later made
watertight and the lenses were coated to give them greater light-gathering power.

Equipment became popular

The equipment now became very popular with British snipers and it was undoubtedly one of the most efficient in use in any army.
At Enfield, comparative trials were carried out from time to time with captured enemy sniper rifles, and in every instance the No. 4
(T) proved the more accurate. In September 1945, two M1C American sniping rifles were tried out in comparative trials and, although
recording a good standard of accuracy, were inferior to that of the British equipments. In maintenance of M.P.I, (mean point of
impact), ease of aim, and manipulation of sight, the No. 4 (T) rifle also showed to advantage in comparison with the M1C.
A trial was carried out by the Small Arms Inspection Dept. at Enfield in 1945 with the object of determining, if possible, the effect
of the telescope on the angle of jump of the rifle. Twenty-six equipments which had passed their normal acceptance tests were taken
at random from run-of-work and were fired at 200 yds. with, and without, telescopes. Without telescopes, the mean angle of jump was
plus 8.95 minutes, and varied from plus 4.5 minutes to 12.5 minutes. With telescopes assembled the jump varied from minus 2
minutes to plus 4.75 minutes, the mean figure for the 26 rifles being plus 2.27 minutes. The telescope seemed to have a steadying
effect, the rifles giving a mean decrease in jump of just over 6 minutes. Whether the telescope improved the accuracy of the rifle
was not established as no further trials took place but, throughout the war, the sniper equipment invariably passed its accuracy test
well within the required acceptance limits.


4 The No. 4 rifle Mark I (T).

5 Center-bearing method of stocking the No. 4 rifle. An even bearing should be obtained at (A), between the center and rear lightening cuts. The bearing should extend
for about 1", and its center should be about 5" forward of the front end of the receiver seating (E). The bearing is obtained by building up the fore-end at this point by
a wood insert glued in position. From the center bearing forward (F), the barrel must be entirely free of the fore-end. A clearance of at least .10" should be maintained.
The bearings at (B), (C), and (D) are the same as in Fig. 2.

In 1952, a new method of stocking-up the No. 4 rifle emanated from India, and was suggested as a possible alternative for the
sniper equipment. It was easy to achieve and had been found particularly effective in maintenance of zero over a long period. It
embodied a new bearing between barrel and fore-end at a point about 5" forward of the reinforce. The normal receiver and reinforce
bearings were maintained but the muzzle bearing was dispensed with. The step on the muzzle end of the fore-end was floated out and
there was no contact between barrel and woodwork forward of the new bearing. The new bearing, later to become known as the center
bearing, was obtained by a metal shim. The shim had retaining points which were pressed into the fore-end between the 2 lightening
cuts. This, and several other forms of stocking-up, were tested in comparative trials at Enfield, but none showed any improvement on
the normal sniper method. It was found difficult to retain the necessary bearing on the metal shim. Barrel vibrations drove the shim
retaining points deeper into the wood, thus reducing the height of the shim and the rigidity and pressure of the bearing. Further
experiments were carried out with a wood bearing in place of the metal shim and, although results were satisfactory, there was no
definite improvement over the normal stocking-up.
Although the center-bearing method was never adopted for the sniper rifle, it has since been approved by the British National Rifle
Association as an alternative method of stocking-up the No. 4 rifle used by its members in competitive target shooting. (See Fig. 5.) It
has steadily grown in favor and is probably the most popular form of stocking-up used now by Bisley marksmen. With either form of
stocking-up, the No. 4 rifle, given good ammunition, is capable of consistent grouping inside 2 minutes of angle at any range from
200 to 1000 yds. Ample proof of this is regularly provided at the Bisley National Prize Meetings. Even better accuracy may be
forthcoming when the conversion to the 7.62 mm. NATO round is finally established.

Surplus "Enfield" Warning

The following notice came to us from the United Kingdom Liaison Office, Armament Research, Development and Engineering
Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
"1. In July 1987 a UK MOD ban was placed on the firing of ball rounds from .303 (cal.) No. 4 rifles in UK service as a result of
two explosions which occurred in the chamber area of the weapons and resulted in burst barrels.
"2. UK MOD investigations found that the barrel explosions were as a result of severe 'craze cracking' of the two barrels which
were of indeterminate age and life.
"3. UK MOD have initiated a study into why some barrels suffer craze cracking and others do not, but results of this are not
expected to be complete for some time, and even then might not be conclusive.
"4. Because, in peace-time, .303 No. 4 rifles are only used in Cadet units, it has been decided that it is not cost-effective to carry
out detailed examinations of all barrels, particularly as the cadets are being issued with the new L98A1 Cadet GP Rifle. The firing ban
will therefore remain in force.
"5. Users of the No. 4 rifle worldwide, whether civilian or military, are strongly advised to have the weapons closely examined for
signs of craze cracking and condemned accordingly. Thereafter, it is recommended that any barrels which have passed such inspection
should be examined regularly for such signs and condemned if necessary."

Owners of the .303 No. 4 rifles should certainly heed the advice in the UK safety notice to have them "closely examined" before
firing them again. The examination should be conducted, preferably with the aid of a good optical bore-scope, by an experienced
gunsmith who is familiar with the signs of erosion in gun barrels. If there are any signs of roughness from erosion in the barrel
immediately ahead of the chamber, or any other visible defects in the barrel or chamber walls, then the barrel should be regarded as
suspect and the rifle should not he fired until it has been properly fitted with a new barrel.

Removing Lee-Enfield Stock
I have obtained a spare buttstock to replace the
damaged one on my .303 No. 1 Mk III Lee-Enfield
rifle. But even with a large screwdriver I can't turn
out the through stock bolt. It moves a trifle so I know
it is not frozen, but I dare not force it any farther lest
I damage something. What do I do now?
Answer: Because of experience of butt-stocks
loosening in early trials, No. 1 Lee-Enfield rifles for
many years were provided with a positive lock for
the stock bolt.
This was accomplished by squaring the end of
the stock bolt and making it long enough to protrude
through the butt socket in the receiver, where it was
held against turning by a keeper plate fitting in the
rear of the fore-end. In assembly the buttstock was
installed first, tightening the stock bolt to a final
position with its end square with the receiver. Then
the fore-end was installed, a square notch in the
keeper plate fitting over the end of the stock bolt and
securing it positively against turning.
So to turn the stock bolt to remove the buttstock
of these No. 1 rifles, you must first remove the fore-

Lee-Enfield .410 Shotgun
I have purchased a gun advertised as an Enfield .410 shotgun made for use by British officers in India. I find that it will not chamber a .410
shell. Can you tell me what caliber it is?
Answer: Enfield .410-bore shotguns, or more properly ".410 Muskets", were converted from World War I-vintage SMLE rifles that had been
otherwise downgraded from normal service categories. The work was done at the Indian Rifle Factory at Ishapore from the 1920s until at least the
start of World War II. The conversion consisted of smooth-boring the rifles' barrels to .410 - .412" diameter and filling the magazine well with a
wooden plug, pinned in place and capped with a thin steel pressing to serve as a loading platform.
SMLE .410 Muskets were intended for use by police or by military guards in urban areas where firing a regular .303-in. Ball cartridge might
cause injury to innocent bystanders.
Cartridges for the .410 Musket were made from .303 British cartridges, left un-necked, which accounts for the similarity in rim and case body
dimensions between .410-bore shotshells and the correct cartridges. An un-necked .303 British cartridge is, however, approximately 0.3" shorter
than even the shortest .410 shotshell, which accounts for the failure of factory .410 shotshells to chamber. E.H.H.

Lee Headspace
I heard that the bolt head of a British Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifle can be replaced by a longer or shorter one to correct improper headspace. Is this
Answer: You heard correctly. Bolt heads of Lee-Enfield No. 4 and No. 5 rifles are available in four sizes that differ in length in 0.003"
increments. No. 0 is the shortest bolt head, and No. 3, the longest. They are numbered for identification.
It is more economical to replace the bolt head than the entire bolt, and this is an advantage of the two-piece bolt design. L.O.

In reference to British service rifles, what does the abbreviation "S.M.L.E." mean?
Answer: The abbreviation refers to the Rifle Short Magazine Lee-Enfield.
The word "Short" indicates the rifle approved by Great Britain in December 1902, which had an overall length of 44.5". It was designed to
replace longer rifles as well as carbines then used by British troops. The word "Magazine" is self-explanatory but was pertinent at the time of
adoption as single-shot rifles of Martini type were in limited use along with magazine-fed rifles and carbines.
The word "Lee" refers to James Paris Lee, the inventor of the action. The word "Enfield" indicates the type of rifling, which was somewhat
deeper than the Metford rifling of previous British service rifles. M.D.W.

Square end of stock bolt (arrow) in No. 1 Lee-Enfield rifle is engaged by keeper plate in fore-end to
prevent loosening.
No. 4 Rifles
While attending the 1964 Canadian National Matches, I noted that some No. 4 bolt-
action rifles have 2 wood plugs in each side of the fore-end. These plugs are light-color
wood, and are in that part of the fore-end which covers the sides of the action. What is
their purpose?
Why do some of these rifles have bayonet lugs on the barrels while others do not have
Answer: In some No. 4 rifles, there is a slight lateral clearance between the receiver and
fore-end. Where such clearance is present, it is possible for the receiver to shift sufficiently
to upset the bedding. The plugs are dowels cemented into the fore-end, and they contact
the receiver sides to prevent lateral shifting. They were installed by Canadian armorers in
many No. 4 rifles used in the 1964 Canadian National Matches. The idea for the plugs is
that of W.O.1 H. L. Keech, a vete ran armorer of the Canadian Army.
No. 4 rifles without bayonet lugs are cal. 7.62 mm. NATO. They were rebarreled to this
caliber by Canadian Arsenals, Ltd. No. 4 rifles with bayonet lugs are cal. .303. The lugs
thus serve as a means of identifying caliber in Canadian rifles.
The barrels in cal. 7.62 mm. NATO have 4 grooves with right twist.L.O.

Magazine Defect
I am using military surplus .303 Mk VII Cartridges in my British No. 4 Lee-Enfield. However, this ammunition does not seem to feed reliably
through the magazine, often jamming with the bullet nose against the back of the barrel. Is this the correct ammunition? If so what is the problem
and how do I fix it? Would round-nose bullets work?
Answer: The ammunition you are using is of the correct type for the No. 4 rifle. The problem is likely that the forward lips of the magazine are
damaged or bent. Such a thing can happen if a magazine is dropped or otherwise mishandled. Begin by comparing the lips on your magazine with
those on a magazine that feeds properly. If the lips on the defective magazine appear bent too far downward, bend them up, slightly, using a pair of
pliers. Do this carefully, as only a small amount of bending is necessary. Check often to see if the magazine feeds properly. When it does, clean up
any burrs or nicks using stones or a small file. No. 4 rifles were designed to feed pointed bullets such as were loaded in Mk VII ammunition. Round-
nose bullets should feed equally well, however, provided the magazine is in good condition. L.O.

Lee-Enfield Sight
What is the purpose of the roller on the open rear sight of the British No. 1, Mk III rifle?
Answer: The grooved roller, properly called the backsight, fine adjustment worm wheel, enabled
the shooter to make elevation adjustments in increments smaller than those inscribed on the elevation
leaf (25-yd. increments on the left side, 100-yd. on the right).
Fitted in the right side of the elevation slide, the fine adjustment worm wheel engages screw
thread notches on the right of the elevation leaf. The periphery of the wheel is divided into 10
longitudinal segments, or notches. Turning it one notch gives a 5-yd. adjustment for elevation. In this
fashion turning the worm through five notches adjusts elevation by 25 yds., or one graduation on the
left side of the leaf. Likewise, a complete turn gives a 50-yd, adjustment. The wheel can be turned
with the thumbnail.
By pressing in the slide catch on the left side of the elevation slide, the fine adjustment is released
and the slide may be moved along the leaf with the thumb. This is done for large changes in
elevation. L.O.

Modified No. 4 Rifle
The marking "No. 4 Mk. I*" on the left receiver wall of my British .303 No. 4 rifle has been lined
through and above it has been marked "No. 4 Mk. I/3." Does the changed marking mean that this
rifle was modified and. if so, what is the modification?
Answer: Considerable trouble was experienced with No. 4 rifles in keeping the trigger pull
weight constant. The trigger was pivoted on the trigger guard, and swelling and contraction of the
fore-end acted on the guard. This, in turn, changed the relative position of the trigger and sear, and
caused a the weight of pull to vary.
The difficulty was overcome by a trigger modification introduced in 1949. A bracket was brazed
to the receiver forward of the butt socket and the trigger was pivoted to this bracket instead of the
trigger guard. A new trigger guard was fitted, and a new fore-end with a transverse reinforcing
screw at the rear replaced the earlier fore-end.
No. 4 rifles with the above modification were redesignated No. 4 Mk. I/2. The modified No. 4
Mk. I* rifle became the No. 4 Mk. I/3, and the No. 4 Mk. I(T) with telescopic sight became the No. 4
Mk. I/2(T). No. 4 rifles made following the introduction of this change have the trigger bracket
integral with the receiver, and are designated No. 4 Mk. II L.O.

British Long Range Sight
I just bought a .303 British Enfield Rifle and would like to know what the arm peep is for on the
forearm and receiver. There happens to be two of them.
Answer: Those two pivoted arms on the left side of your British military rifle are long range
musketry sights. They are found on Lee-Enfield rifles up to and including the No. 1, Mk III, and on
the .303 caliber. Pattern 14 rifles that were made in this country by Remington, Winchester and
The plugs (arrows) prevent the receiver from
shifting laterally.
The backsight fine adjustment worm wheel
(arrow) is on the right side of the elevation
No. 4 Mk. I/3 rifle (at top) has the trigger
pivoted to bracket on receiver. No. 4 Mk. I*
rifle (below) has the trigger pivoted to the
trigger guard.
At the time these sights were designed and put on the rifle they were intended to permit a platoon of infantrymen to place massed rifle fire on
objectives that were too far away for individually aimed shots. This function has since been taken over by crew-served weapons such as machine
guns, and long range musketry sights are obsolete. The English sights consist of an aperture on the left rear end of the receiver, close to the shooter's
eye, and a foresight pivoted on a metallic plate about
half way forward on the left side of the stock. Both
sights fold down when not in use. When it is desired
to use the long range sights the rear arm containing
the aperture is folded up into a standing position and
the foresight is rotated until the pointer indicates the
desired range shown by graduations on the plate to
which it is pivoted. These graduations run from
1600 to 2800 yds on some models and from 1600 to
2600 yds. on other models
If such long ranges were attempted with an
ordinary rear sight the sight would be high and the
eye would be so far above the receiver that the
buttstock would be down off the shoulder. The
advantage of the British long range sights is that line
of sight is lowered so as to avoid craning the neck or
bringing the butt below the shoulder at longer
As indicated in the accompanying illustration, the rear aperture remains at a fixed height and changes in elevation are made by moving the front
sight. J.S.H.



Parts Legend
1. Striker screw 27. Sear hinge pin
2. Cocking piece 28. Magazine catch
3. Breechbolt (stripped) 29. Sear spring
4. Mainspring 30. Sear
5. Striker 31. Body, No. 4 Mk. I (receiver)
6. Breechbolt head 32. Trigger
7. Extractor 33. Trigger pin
8. Extractor screw 34. Trigger guard
9. Extractor spring 35. Magazine
10. Bolt (assembled) 36. Front guard screw
11. Locking bolt screw 37. Guard screw lock washer
12. Locking bolt spring 38. Fore-end
13. Locking bolt 39. Handguard, front
14. Safety catch 40. Swivel band
15. Rear guard screw 41. Swivel band screw
16. Magazine catch screw 42. Sling swivel
17. Ejector screw 43. Upper band screw
18. Mk. Ill rear sight 44. Upper band
19. Spacer 45. Handguard, rear
20. Rear sight hinge pin 46. Foresight protector screw
21. Sight detent plunger 47. Foresight protector (Mk. II)
22. Detent spring 48. Stock bolt
23. Hinge pin lock pin 49. Stock bolt lock washer
24. Bolt release stop 50. Buttplate
25. Bolt release 51. Buttplate screw (2)
26. Bolt release spring 52. Lower band

ew weapons in history can match the
long and illustrious story of the
British bolt-action Lee-Enfield rifles.
The original Lee-Metford rifle,
adopted in 1888, was based on the design
of an American gun designer named
James Paris Lee. The Lee-Metford went
through a bewildering maze of marks and
models until it emerged in World War I as
the SMLE Mk. III*.

Nomenclature changed

As a result of service in World War I
the shortcomings of the Mk. III* were
recognized and, in the 1920's, the SMLE
Mk. VI was designed to replace it. The
British changed their system of rifle
nomenclature and the SMLE Mk. VI
became known as Rifle No. 4 Mk. I.
The Rifle No. 4 Mk. I features an
aperture rear sight, a heavier barrel, a
simplified stock, and an improved bolt-
retaining system. As World War II
progressed, the Rifle No. 4 Mk. I was
further simplified by eliminating the
separate bolt release. The simplified gun
is known as the Rifle No. 4 Mk. I*.
Since England's small arms production
was greatly strained by wartime demands,
the Stevens Arms Co., division of Savage
Arms Corp., Chicopee Falls, Mass.,
manufactured the No. 4 rifle under the
Lend Lease Act. These rifles are the ones
that are found with the marking "U. S.

Variety of finishes

Like other military rifles, the No. 4
rifle will be found in a variety of finishes,
ranging from the usually finely made
Canadian Long Branch Arsenal guns to
the cruder Lee-Enfields turned out in
England right after Dunkirk. A modified
No. 4 rifle, shortened and lightened for
jungle fighting, was designated Rifle No.
5 Mk. I. It has exactly the same
mechanism as the No. 4 but is far handier.
The Rifle No. 4 Mk. I (T), designed for
sniping, was fitted with a cheekpiece and
the No. 32 telescope sight.

In an effort to improve the trigger arrangement, the Rifles No. 4 Mk. I/2 and Mk. I/3 had the trigger pivoted to the body (receiver)
instead of to the trigger guard.
From a military point of view the Lee design was superior to many of its bolt-action contemporaries. It has a 10-shot magazine and
a 20% shorter bolt stroke than the Mauser or Mannlicher, plus about 20% less bolt rotation. These features, combined with a smoothly
working bolt, make the Lee-Enfield excellent for rapid-fire. From another point of view, the Lee-Enfield has a few drawbacks. First,
the rear locking arrangement is not quite so favorable for accuracy as the front locking type. Second, the 2-piece stock adversely
affects accuracy. Last but not least the .303 British cartridge is rimmed, making feeding critical although it simplifies the headspace
problem. These shortcomings, whether real or imaginary, cannot detract from the Lee-Enfield's enviable reputation for reliability and
rapidity of fire.

1 There are 2 types of bolt release in No. 4 rifles. To
operate the type in the No. 4 Mk. I rifle, the rear sight
(18) is lifted first and then the bolt release (25) is
depressed. Pull the bolt all the way back and release
the bolt release. Rotate breechbolt head (6) up in line
with rib on bolt and pull it free of gun
2 The bolt release in the No. 4 Mk. I* rifle is far
simpler and eliminates 3 parts. Simply open the bolt
and ease it back until breechbolt head rides out of its
guide groove into the milled-away portion " back
from the end of the receiver ring. Rotate the
breechbolt head upward and pull the bolt free of the
gun. Flip up the rear sight if necessary
3 To remove striker (5), unscrew breechbolt head and
striker screw (1) in cocking piece (2). Unscrew
striker with a simple tool made for the purpose as
shown (do not attempt to remove striker with pliers).
This tool engages in the notches on striker shoulder.
Striker can only be removed from front of bolt

4 The locking bolt (13) has a multiple thread to move
the safety catch (14) in and out of engagement. To
operate properly, the pieces must line up when
tightened together as shown in insert. To align the
pieces, be sure flat on safety catch is roughly parallel
to flat on locking bolt pin before engaging threads
5 To remove buttstock, clamp rifle in padded vise,
open trap in buttplate (50), remove felt wad, and
unscrew stock bolt (48) with long screwdriver
6 To remove magazine follower and spring, push rear
of follower down far enough for the front end to clear
tab-like projections on the magazine, then ease out
follower and spring

U.S.-Made No. 4 Rifles
I have a cal. .303 No. 4 British Service rifle which is marked "U. S. Property" on the left side of
the receiver. It also has the following marks "S No. 4 Mk I*". I have been told that this gun was made
by Savage Arms Corp. Is there any truth in this?
Answer: Yes, you have been correctly informed. During World War II, Savage Arms Corp.
turned out about a million and a quarter cal. .303 No. 4 rifles. The first 200,000 were made on a
direct order for the British, and were not U. S. property. The remaining million or more were made
on orders from our government, and furnished on lease-lend. These have the markings described by
you, as well as the flaming bomb ordnance inspection stamp.
The earlier guns produced had the original Enfield ladder-type adjustable rear sight, and the
Enfield-type bolt release at the back of the bolthead raceway.
Sometime during the production of the guns for the U. S. account, the ladder-type rear sight was abandoned in favor of a 2-height tip-over peep
sight. About the middle of that contract, one of the Savage engineers suggested simplifying the bolt release by doing away with the bolt locking slide
at the rear of the bolthead raceway and. instead, cutting a clearance about " behind the front receiver ring. If the bolthead was stopped at this point,
it could be rotated upward and the bolt removed from the rifle.J.S.H.

Six-Groove No. 4 Rifle
I recently saw a .303, No. 4 Mk I* rifle with a six-groove barrel. It had right-hand twist rifling. This rifle is marked "Long Branch 1950". Where
was it made? Is this rifle more accurate than No. 4 rifles which have two- or five-groove barrels?
Answer: The rifle is Canadian, and was made in 1950 at the Long Branch Arsenal.
According to veteran armorer, WO1 H.L. Keech of the Canadian Army, there was a number of six-groove rifles made at Long Branch in the
1950s. Bren light machine gun barrels with six grooves were produced at the same time as the No. 4 rifles, and using the same type of rifling helped
standardize manufacture. The six-groove rifle barrel is designated "C Mk. 4".
Many Canadian target shooters believe that the six-groove barrels are slightly more accurate than five-groove or two-groove.
A number of .303 No. 4 rifles with six-groove barrels was produced in the U.S. during World War II by Stevens Arms Div., of Savage Arms
Corp. These rifles were made for Lend-Lease, and are marked "U.S. Property". L.O.
Marking on U. S.-made No. 4 rifle


he British Short Magazine Lee-Enfield
(SMLE), or No. 1 Rifle, possesses a
reputation for serviceability but not for target
accuracy. During World War II, the No. 4 Rifle,
its successor, soon established itself in both
respects; its greater accuracy being due to a
heavier barrel, stronger receiver, and better sights.
It became popular after the war, when Bisley
gunsmiths learned how to adjust it properly.
Correctly bedded, a No. 4 Rifle is capable
of consistent grouping inside 2 minutes of
angle at ranges from 200 to 1000 yds., and is
far less likely to lose its zero than its
predecessor. At 200 to 500 yds., where wind
is less of a problem, large numbers of
possible scores are regularly recorded at the
Bisley National Matches. The bullseye at
most ranges subtends slightly less than 2
minutes of angle.
To attain a high standard of consistent
accuracy, the No. 4 Rifle must be bedded to
one of 2 methods (called muzzle-bearing and
center-bearing) found to give the best results.
Fig. 1 shows the common points at which the
No. 4 Rifle is bedded for the 2 methods:
1. At (a) between the sear lugs and
receiver butt socket.
2. At (b) on receiver around front trigger-
guard screw hole and along narrow ledge on
sides of magazine opening, extending for not less than 1" in rear of
trigger-guard screw hole. Bearing should be even throughout, and
fore-end should be clear on either side of barrel socket, i.e.,
immediately in rear of reinforce.
3. At (c), extending the full length of the reinforce, approximately
one-third its width, and in the center. (Depth of trigger-guard screw
collar should be such that guard is tightened against face of collar
and also stock. It is better to dispense with collar than to have one
that is too long.)
In addition to these bearings, the muzzle-bearing method has a
bearing at (d) which extends the full length of the raised seating.
With the barrel centered in the seating, maintain a clearance of not
less than .02" between the barrel and either side of fore-end. A lift of
3 to 5 lbs. is required to raise barrel from seating. The barrel must
otherwise be free from influence of the fore-end. If lift is less than 3 lbs.,
lower reinforce bearing (c) and shorten trigger-guard screw collar if
necessary. If lift is more than 5 lbs., lower receiver bearing (b) and shorten trigger-guard screw collar.
The center-bearing method, favored by Bisley marksmen, is easier to achieve. It requires a bearing at (e) between center and rear
lightening cuts in fore-end, approximately 5" forward of receiver. Build up fore-end at this point with either l" metal shim or wood
insert glued in position. Plastic wood may be used. From this bearing forward, maintain a clearance of about .1" between barrel and
Also necessary for accurate shooting is a clean, definite pull-off, devoid of creep or drag. It should not be heavier than 5 lbs. nor
lighter than 5 lbs. If less than 5 lbs. it is liable to release completely on the first pressure. Fig. 2 shows the relative positions of trigger
(a), sear (b), and bent (c) on the first and second pressures. To reduce pull-off weight, increase, with an oilstone, the angle made with
the vertical by the face of the bent. Reduce the angle to increase pull-off weight. If the sear is drawn off the bent by the first pressure,
reduce the height of the lower nib (d) with oilstone or emery cloth until sear assumes correct position as shown at (c). Take care to
maintain its shape. If the first pressure is too short, reduce the height of the upper nib (e).

Fig. 1: Stock of No. 4 Rifle, showing points at which it is bedded.
Fig. 2: Positions of trigger (a), sear (b), and bent (c).
Fig. 3: Loosened band screw can cause front handguard (arrow) to
work forward and foul front sight protector.

Match quality rear sight

A match-quality micrometer aperture rear sight giving at least -minute click adjustments for elevation and windage, and an
undercut blade front sight of about .06" to .08" widththe wider blade for older eyesare necessary for target shooting. British-made
target rear sights are graduated in S.R.(b), or Service Rifle Class B, minutes of angle which are not true minutes. An S.R.(b) minute
gives a movement on the target of 1.2" per 100 yds. of range whereas a true minute gives a movement of 1.047". The difference is
small, but is significant at long ranges. For instance, a 10-minute allowance at 1000 yds. for a crosswind blowing at about 8 miles per
hour, would move the M.P.I, (mean point of impact) about 8 ft.; a rear sight graduated in S.R.(b) minutes would move the M.P.I. 10
The following are a few suggestions which should help maintain accuracy:
1. Test screws regularly for tightness, especially the front trigger guard screw which provides the main anchorage of receiver to
2. Keep upper and lower band screws tight. If these become loose as shown in Fig. 3, the front handguard (arrow) may graduall y
work forward and foul the front sight protector. This easily overlooked condition will cause displacement of zero. Groups will spread
but will follow no definite pattern.
3. A loose buttstock may cause the shots to spread laterally.
4. A loose cocking piece will cause an irregular pull-off.
5. The effect of firing with wet cartridges or with a wet chamber is considerable, and is much the same as firing with oiled
cartridges. When a wet cartridge is fired, the expanding case does not grip the inner walls of the chamber and the backward thrust on
the bolt head is increased. This excessive pressure on the receiver upsets barrel vibrations to the extent that the angle of jump
increases about 3 to 5 minutes and possibly more. This is due to the rear-locking Lee-Enfield action.

BSA-Enfield Rifle
I have been corresponding with a hunter who wants
to sell his BSA-Enfield sporting rifle. He claims that this
rifle is chambered for the 7.9 mm Mauser cartridge, but
I have never heard of an Enfield in this caliber. Do you
think he is correct?
Answer: The hunter is correct. The BSA firm in
England produced Enfield sporting rifles in Cal. 7.9 mm
Mauser between the World Wars. These were made by
using modified Pattern 14 Enfield (not Lee-Enfield) military rifle actions and stocks, and fitting them with new barrels. The 24.5" barrels were
equipped with sporting-type, open sights.
The reason for chambering this rifle to fire the 7.9 mm (8x57) Mauser cartridge was that this round was universally popular and obtainable in
most parts of the world. Some British hunters were particularly fond of this cartridge, and used it extensively in Africa on medium-sized game. A
second reason for the 7.9 mm Mauser chambering was that use of the .303 British cartridges in India for sporting purposes was prohibited.
Another chambering for this rifle was 9.5 mm (9.5x57) Mannlicher-Schoenauer. This round, also known by the British as the .375 Rimless Nitro-
Express, was popular in Africa for big game hunting.
BSA sporting rifles with Pattern 14 actions were also offered in two high-performance proprietary calibers: .26 Belted Rimless Nitro-Express
(BSA), and .33 Belted Rimless Nitro-Express (BSA). Rifles chambered for these proprietary cartridges features a new sporting stock and an aperture
sight on the receiver bridge. A folding-leaf type open rear sight on the barrel was also provided. L.O.

Lee-Enfield .22 Rifle
I have a British Lee-Enfield rifle adapted to the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. This rifle has the .303 magazine, but with the follower and spring
missing. The left side of the magazine is marked ".22", and one of the markings on the receiver is "IV*". Is this rifle a single-shot or a repeater? Is it
a service model? Please identify it.
Answer: You have the British No. 2, Mk IV* rifle (earlier designation .22-in. R.F. Short Rifle Mark IV) which was used by the British Service
for recruit training and low-cost target practice. It was a conversion from the cal. .303-in. SMLE (Short Magazine Lee-Enfield) Mk III and Mk III*
rifles, the conversion consisting of rebarreling to .22, fitting a bolt head with an offset striker, replacing the firing pin with a shorter one, and
removing the spring and follower from the .303 magazine. The magazine box is a receptacle for fired cartridge cases, which fall into it from the face
of the bolt head as the bolt is moved rearward. No ejector is provided. The rifle is a single-shot and cannot be readily changed to a repeater because
of the bolt head design and lack of an ejector.
According to the excellent book, The Lee-Enfield Rifle, by British Major E.G.B. Reynolds, this rifle was adopted by the British Service in 1921
and was used for many years. In 1950, the British Service adopted the Cal. .22, Rifle No. 8, Mk I, for training purposes, and during the past several
years, many No. 2, Mk IV* rifles were sold at low cost in the U.S.
While the No. 2, Mk IV* is not a valuable collector's item, it is interesting and suitable for informal target shooting. L.O.

Lee-Enfield Stocks
My British .303 Lee-Enfield rifle has a buttstock which is too short for me. Is a longer stock for this rifle available, or would you suggest that I fit
a thick recoil pad to obtain the proper length?
Answer: Buttstocks for Lee-Enfield rifles were made in four lengths, and evidently you have one of the shorter ones. Length of pull (distance
from the center of the buttplate to the center of the trigger) is about 13.25" with the standard-length Lee-Enfield buttstock. Buttstocks " shorter and
" longer than standard are available. These are marked "S" and "L" respectively, on top of the buttstock just forward of the buttplate. There is also a
Bantam-length Lee-Enfield buttstock for soldiers of extremely small stature. Bantam length buttstocks are marked "B", and are one full inch shorter
than standard. Lee-Enfield buttstocks of varying lengths may be available from surplus arms dealers who sell spare parts. You could also fit a thick
recoil pad, as you mention, or purchase a sporting buttstock from Reinhart Fajen or E.C. Bishop & Sons, both located in Warsaw, Mo.
The service buttstock can be easily removed by using a long screwdriver to turn out the stock bolt. The stockbolt is accessible after opening the
trap in the buttplate and removing the fiber wad on top of the stock bolt. The stock bolt of the Lee-Enfield No. 1 rifle is square at the front and
engages a keeper plate in the fore-end. It is therefore necessary to remove the fore-end before the stock bolt can be turned. This is not necessary with
the No. 4 rifle.
If a recoil pad is fitted, use screws instead of adhesive to fasten the pad to the stock so that the pad can be removed if tightening the stock bolt
should become necessary. L.O.
BSA-Enfield rifle in cal. 7.9 mm Mauser. Illustration from a 1935 Parker-Hale catalog.
A Target Rifle For The British Army
L39A1 satisfies both the ammunition and accuracy requirement


ince target shooting became an approved sport in the British Army in 1969, there has been a considerable Service interest in
competitive shooting.
The British Service arm, the 7.62 mm. Self-loading Rifle, being unsuitable for serious competitive shooting under British National
Rifle Association rules, there arose a requirement in the armed forces for an accurate target rifle firing 7.62 mm. NATO ammunition.
This requirement has now been satisfied by the introduction of the L39A1, which is a conversion from the .303" No. 4 Rifle, Marks
and 2, to 7.62 mm. These forms of the No. 4 were chosen for conversion because they have the trigger mounted on the body (receiver)
and not on the trigger-guard, as in earlier Marks of this rifle. Due largely to woodwork influence, the trigger-guard mounting does not
ensure a consistent pull-off.
The conversion consists of fitting a heavy 7.62 mm. barrel manufactured by the Enfield Royal Small Arms Factory, modifying the
body and extractor to accommodate the 7.62 mm. cartridge, and restyling the woodwork. Fitted with commercial pattern match sights
to suit target shooting requirements, this new member of the Enfield family of rifles is capable of a high standard of accuracy and can
hold its own against the much more expensive purpose-built target rifles now in use in British target shooting. Already a pool of 200
rifles is available for issue free on loan to units from Ordnance store.
The barrel, which protrudes from the stock fore-end for 15 inches, is not machined in the conventional way, the rifling being
formed by cold swaging over a suitable former. The bore is not lapped after manufacture, but the appearance is identical to a
machined barrel.
The fore-end is the No. 4 Rifle fore-end shortened to within about half an inch of the lower band. The butt is the same as that of
the No. 4 Rifle, except that a recess is machined under the knuckle to hold spare foresight elements in a suitable container. The
handguard is a modified form of that on the No. 8 .22 Rifle.
Magazines which function with the 7.62 mm. cartridge are available, but as only single loading is permitted under British National
Rifle Association rules, the original .303 magazines are retained in these target rifles and permit only single round loading.
The principal requirements in stocking up are that the fore-end should seat firmly in the following places:
1. On the body (receiver) at its rear end, between the sear lugs and the face of the butt socket.
2. On the body at its front end around the front trigger-guard screw. The seating should extend uniformly rearward on each side
of the magazine opening.
3. The full length of the barrel reinforce. The bearing should be central, and the sides of the fore-end clear of the barrel. A
minimum clearance of 0.045 inch should be maintained around the barrel at the front end of the fore-end and handguard.
From the reinforce forward, the barrel should be clear of the woodwork.
There are four sizes of bolt-heads available, marked 0, 1, 2, and 3 (the longest), for ensuring correct headspace.

Specifications, L39A1 Rifle
Caliber ......................................... 7.62 mm. NATO
Length (with normal butt) ........... 46.5 inches
Weight ......................................... 9.75 lbs.
Length of barrel. .......................... 27.5 inches
Number of rifling grooves ........... 4
Depth of grooves ......................... 0.004 inch
Width of grooves ......................... 0.170-0.175 inch
Twist of rifling ............................ Right hand, one turn in 12 inches

The new L39A1 thus fills in a simplified way the same role as the new Enfield Envoy (see "BNRA Picks New Enfield For Palma",
The American Rifleman, Apr., 1970, p. 8). The Envoy, also produced by the Enfield Royal Small Arms Factory, differs in being fitted
with a 7.62 mm. magazine for full 7.62 mm. operation, a special buttstock dimensioned according to current preferences for match
shooting, and match sights already installed. The Envoy was used by the three teams (British, Canadian, and U. S.) in last year's
Palma Match, fired at Bisley with excellent scores.

7.62 mm. L39A1 rifle adopted for target shooting by the British Army.

L39A1 rifle is converted from .303 No. 4 Mks. and 2, by rebarreling for 7.62 mm. NATO, shortening fore-end and handguard, and installing commercial match-type

The .303 British cartridge was adopted by Great Britain in 1888. In the countries of the former British Empire, the .303 British
cartridge achieved popularity comparable to that of the .30-06 in the United States. Originally loaded with a compressed blackpowder
charge and a 215-grain jacketed round-nose bullet, the cartridge was converted in 1892 to a smokeless load using the famous British
cordite propellant. The round-nose 215-grain bullet was replaced by a 174-grain pointed bullet in the general-purpose military round
about 1914, and this load continued in use until the cartridge became obsolete with the adoption of the 7.62mm NATO cartridge by
British forces in the 1960's. A great variety of special-purpose military loads was also used, including one containing a pointed
boattail bullet and single-base smokeless powder similar to the Du Pont I MR types. This cartridge, called the Mark VIIIZ, was
intended especially for machine guns, in which the boattail bullet provided improved long-range effectiveness, and the single-base
powder produced less erosion than did the British cordite in the machinegun barrels.
The working chamber pressure of the .303 British cartridge is about 45,000 c.u.p., in equivalent U.S. units, and it therefore
produces more energy than the contemporary .30-40 Krag which is limited to about 40,000 c.u.p. Jacketed bullets for the .303 British
should be of .311 to .312 of an inch in diameter.
The maximum product average chamber pressure for the .303 British cartridge, as loaded for sporting use by U.S. manufacturers,
should not exceed 48,200 c.u.p.

Max. Case Length: 2.222" Trim-To Length: 2.212" Max. Overall Length: 3.075" Primer Size: Large Rifle Bullet Dia.: 311"


1 100 SPR RNN SP 44.0 IMR 3031 2933 CIL CCI 200 25 SPR
2 150 SPR PTD SP 31.0 HER RE7 2400 41,200 WIN WIN WLR 2.935 24 HER
3 150 HDY SPP SP 44.0 IMR 3031 2787 44,900 REM WIN WLR 2.840 26 NRA
4 150 HDY SPP SP 41.8 HOD BLC2 2600 REM FED 210 3.035 25 HDY
5 150 45.5 ACC 2230 2620 REM CCI 200 24 ACC
6 150 SRA PTD SP 48.5 IMR 4320 2808 43,830 REM WIN WLR 2.945 26 NRA
7 150 HDY SPP SP 45.6 HOD H380 2600 REM FED 210 3.035 25 HDY
8 150 SPR PTD SP 45.0 HER RE12 2700 42,900 WIN WIN WLR 2.935 24 HER
9 150 HDY SPP SP 50.0 WIN 760 2600 REM FED 210 3.035 25 HDY
10 150 SPR PTD SP 50.0 IMR 4350 2584 CIL CCI 200 25 SPR
11 174 HDY RNN SP 43.1 HOD H380 2400 REM FED 210 2.975 25 HDY
12 174 HDY RNN SP 47.2 WIN 760 2400 REM FED 210 2.975 25 HDY
13 174 HDY RNN SP 46.5 IMR 4350 2400 REM FED 210 2.975 25 HDY
14 180 SPR RNN SP 30.0 HER RE7 2050 39,600 WIN WIN WLR 2.940 24 HER
15 180 SRA PTD SH 42.0 IMR 3031 2533 44,220 REM WIN WLR 3.075 26 NRA
16 180 40.0 ACC 2230 2300 REM CCI 200 24 ACC
17 180 SPR RNN SP 40.0 HER RE12 2340 42,600 WIN WIN WLR 2.940 24 HER
18 180 SPR RNN SP 47.0 IMR 4831 2421 CIL CCI 200 25 SPR
19 180 46.0 ACC 3100 2350 REM CCI 200 24 ACC

Abbreviations: ACC - Accurate Arms Co.; CIL - Canadian Industries, Ltd.; HDY - Hornady Manufacturing Co.; HER - Hercules Inc.;
HOD - Hodgdon Powder Co.; IMR - IMR Powder Co.; PTD - Pointed; RNN - Round nose; SP - Soft point; SPP - Spire Point; SPR -
Speer; SRA - Sierra Bullets