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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Because I was a Ordnance guy and small arms instructor in the Navy, have a ton of guns, build a 45 or AR now and then.....everyone thinks I'm some sort of expert on all things guns....NOPE. I have no problem telling folks that. For some reason they are shocked. I probably know as much as any other avid shooter/hunter/collector/basement gunsmith...maybe less. Ok to the point...

My Son (9yo) came up to me and said he wants a Lee Enfield. Hate to say it but it's his favorite rifle on a Xbox game. I know nothing about that Xbox thing...I had little interest in the family Atari way back when. Anyway, this kid loves to shoot and has a huge interest in WWII weapons/aircraft.

I know nothing about Enfield rifles....I know I see tons of them at gun shows. A large show is around the corner and I would like to find one for him.

Besides the common sense approach of what to look for in a used rifle......what do you look for in a Enfield?......my pencil and notepad is standing by.....
 

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I would say a good clean bore and matching serial numbered parts would go long way to having a good shooter and a collector if you take care of it.GI2
 

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Personally, I like the Long Branch guns.
These were produced in Canada and seem (just from my experience) to show up in better overall condition. Maybe they typically did not see as much action. Enfield takes a particular stripper clip also so try and secure some of those. I have only one of these and a Jungle Carbine (kicks like a horse).
Garand sling will work on it if you don't want to buy or can't find the Enfield sling.
 
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I would look for the 2A or 2A1 Enfields made by Ishapore in India. They were the last of the Enfields produced and fire the 7.62 NATO round which is much easier to find and load for. They are not conversions of a .303 British but were purpose built to fire 7.62. I have a vast collection of Enfields dating from the late 1880's up to the last ones made in the 1960's. For a robust bolt action with a 10 to 12 round magazine they are hard to beat. Most you find at the gunshows will look like hell. However they normally will clean up nicely and make a good gun for use in the field.
 

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Look for a No. 4 Mk 2 if you want a full length rifle, or a No. 5 Mk 1 if you want a carbine. They were the later manufactured and have the "latest" upgrades from earlier models. There is a 7.62x51 version that was made in the '60s, it is designated as L8 with variants.

Enfields have a nice action; the bullet is actually 0.310-0.312 diameter. The caliber was designated using measurements across the lands rather than the grooves, as was the practice then with black powder guns.

I'd stick to modern factory ammo, milsurp can vary a lot, some older stuff has corrosive primers, and wartime cartridges were loaded using cordite.

There seem to be a lot of sporterized Enfields out there; personally, if I want an old military rifle, I want it in its military configuration, no modified stocks or sights for me. Main thing to look for, as you'd know, is a smooth working action and a barrel that isn't shot out.
 
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The .303 cartridge is easy to reload, and I use cast bullets for younger shooters. My 12 yo grandson shoots the crap out of my Jungle Carbine with ball ammo. All SMLE rifle bolts lock up at the rear, so case life is short. I have a No1 MkIII that was rebored to 3 inch .410. Lots of possibilities. I will gladly reload for you if the shipping doesn't eat us up. Welcome to the SMLE world. The action cocks on closing, which is backward to us on this side of the pond. The magazine is not designed to be removed/replaced in combat, only for cleaning. Stripper clips go for about $3 a piece, but you don't need a bunch. A bandoleer holds ten 5 shot clips for 50 rounds. Look for a 'z' on the headstamp, which means nitrocellulose powder, similar to IMR. No 'z' means cordite, which is extremely hard on barrels, particularly throats. All military UK ammo since 1907 is Mk VII, which has a larger than normal primer and is Berdan. Brass can be bought from Graf and sons, made from 30-40 Krag, or maybe someone here has extra. .308 diameter bullets work well, especially in heavier weight (165 to 220). Be sure to replace the sizer ball in the die to a 308/3006/30-40 or the bullet will be loose. I use 2400 for cast bullets and reduced jacketed loads. Because of the short case life, it isn't economical to bother with Berdan primers. Sportsman's Guide may still have adaptors which will allow .32 ACP to be fired in the 303 chamber. I'll hush now. dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks fellas......screw the pencil and notepad I'm printing this....lol

It will be neat to learn about a rifle together with my Son....I will let him be the teacher.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The .303 cartridge is easy to reload, and I use cast bullets for younger shooters. My 12 yo grandson shoots the crap out of my Jungle Carbine with ball ammo. All SMLE rifle bolts lock up at the rear, so case life is short. I have a No1 MkIII that was rebored to 3 inch .410. Lots of possibilities. I will gladly reload for you if the shipping doesn't eat us up. Welcome to the SMLE world. dave
I reload so this is interesting. If I find a rifle I will be picking your brain for loads he can handle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One big waring you should know before buying an Enfield. One is not enough and you will want more variations once you start shooting them. GI1

I'm sure like anything else...lol.....but my Son has really become a WWII buff...not just games but reading about it and movies. He loves the Garand and Thompson also....glad he decided on the less expensive rifle (as I see it so far) in the Lee Enfield......he's teaching me about the rifle ... pretty neat actually....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would look for the 2A or 2A1 Enfields made by Ishapore in India. They were the last of the Enfields produced and fire the 7.62 NATO round which is much easier to find and load for. They are not conversions of a .303 British but were purpose built to fire 7.62. I have a vast collection of Enfields dating from the late 1880's up to the last ones made in the 1960's. For a robust bolt action with a 10 to 12 round magazine they are hard to beat. Most you find at the gunshows will look like hell. However they normally will clean up nicely and make a good gun for use in the field.
......if you only knew what reaction you got from my Son when he saw that pic!

....."Dad! are you buying all that???!!".......throttle back some there Son....LOL
 

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I'm sure like anything else...lol.....but my Son has really become a WWII buff...not just games but reading about it and movies. He loves the Garand and Thompson also....glad he decided on the less expensive rifle (as I see it so far) in the Lee Enfield......he's teaching me about the rifle ... pretty neat actually....
I'm a big fan of the M1 Garand as well as the Enfield. Learned to shoot as a kid in ROTC with Garands. Boy how times have changed. We had 80 fully functional M1's plus several machine guns on campus and nobody ever got shot. Good luck on your search for an Enfield.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm a big fan of the M1 Garand as well as the Enfield. Learned to shoot as a kid in ROTC with Garands. Boy how times have changed. We had 80 fully functional M1's plus several machine guns on campus and nobody ever got shot. Good luck on your search for an Enfield.
Now we are both drooling.......
 

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I'm a big fan of the M1 Garand as well as the Enfield. Learned to shoot as a kid in ROTC with Garands. Boy how times have changed. We had 80 fully functional M1's plus several machine guns on campus and nobody ever got shot. Good luck on your search for an Enfield.
When and where was this?

Once I invent time travel I will be sure to make a stop!!
 

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When and where was this?

Once I invent time travel I will be sure to make a stop!!
High School from 1966 - 1969 in Long Beach California. All five schools had ROTC programs. 3 Army and 2 Navy. We went to range fire twice a year and every Easter break one week of desert training at Fort Irwin. Two of the schools had rifle ranges under the grandstands for shooting .22 trainers. Now all they can have is sticks that kind of look like a rifle. I ran into some of the current cadets at an air show and they had long hair and looked pretty sloppy. How things have gone down hill in the passing years.
 
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