Lee-Enfield
Overview
 
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle
Repeating rifle
A repeating rifle is a single barreled rifle containing multiple rounds of ammunition. These rounds are loaded from a magazine by means of a manual or automatic mechanism, and the action that reloads the rifle also typically recocks the firing action...

 was the main firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

 used by the military forces of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 during the first half of the 20th century. It was the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

's standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957.

A redesign of the Lee-Metford
Lee-Metford
The Lee-Metford rifle was a bolt action British army service rifle, combining James Paris Lee's rear-locking bolt system and ten-round magazine with a seven groove rifled barrel designed by William Ellis Metford...

 which had been adopted by the British Army in 1888, the Lee-Enfield superseded the earlier Martini-Henry
Martini-Henry
The Martini-Henry was a breech-loading single-shot lever-actuated rifle adopted by the British, combining an action worked on by Friedrich von Martini , with the rifled barrel designed by Scotsman Alexander Henry...

, Martini-Enfield
Martini-Enfield
Martini-Enfield rifles were, by and large, conversions of the Zulu War era .450/577 Martini-Henry, rechambering the rifle for use with the newly introduced .303 British cartridge...

, and Lee-Metford
Lee-Metford
The Lee-Metford rifle was a bolt action British army service rifle, combining James Paris Lee's rear-locking bolt system and ten-round magazine with a seven groove rifled barrel designed by William Ellis Metford...

 rifles. It featured a ten-round box magazine which was loaded with the .303 British
.303 British
.303 British, or 7.7x56mmR, is a .311 inch calibre rifle and machine gun cartridge first developed in Britain as a blackpowder round put into service in December 1888 for the Lee-Metford rifle, later adapted to use smokeless powders...

 cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

 manually from the top, either one round at a time or by means of five-round chargers
Stripper clip
A stripper clip or charger is a speedloader that holds several cartridges together in a single unit for easier loading of a firearm's magazine. A stripper clip is used only for loading the magazine and is not necessary for the firearm to function...

.
Encyclopedia
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle
Repeating rifle
A repeating rifle is a single barreled rifle containing multiple rounds of ammunition. These rounds are loaded from a magazine by means of a manual or automatic mechanism, and the action that reloads the rifle also typically recocks the firing action...

 was the main firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

 used by the military forces of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 during the first half of the 20th century. It was the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

's standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957.

A redesign of the Lee-Metford
Lee-Metford
The Lee-Metford rifle was a bolt action British army service rifle, combining James Paris Lee's rear-locking bolt system and ten-round magazine with a seven groove rifled barrel designed by William Ellis Metford...

 which had been adopted by the British Army in 1888, the Lee-Enfield superseded the earlier Martini-Henry
Martini-Henry
The Martini-Henry was a breech-loading single-shot lever-actuated rifle adopted by the British, combining an action worked on by Friedrich von Martini , with the rifled barrel designed by Scotsman Alexander Henry...

, Martini-Enfield
Martini-Enfield
Martini-Enfield rifles were, by and large, conversions of the Zulu War era .450/577 Martini-Henry, rechambering the rifle for use with the newly introduced .303 British cartridge...

, and Lee-Metford
Lee-Metford
The Lee-Metford rifle was a bolt action British army service rifle, combining James Paris Lee's rear-locking bolt system and ten-round magazine with a seven groove rifled barrel designed by William Ellis Metford...

 rifles. It featured a ten-round box magazine which was loaded with the .303 British
.303 British
.303 British, or 7.7x56mmR, is a .311 inch calibre rifle and machine gun cartridge first developed in Britain as a blackpowder round put into service in December 1888 for the Lee-Metford rifle, later adapted to use smokeless powders...

 cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

 manually from the top, either one round at a time or by means of five-round chargers
Stripper clip
A stripper clip or charger is a speedloader that holds several cartridges together in a single unit for easier loading of a firearm's magazine. A stripper clip is used only for loading the magazine and is not necessary for the firearm to function...

. The Lee-Enfield was the standard issue weapon to rifle companies of the British Army and other Commonwealth nations in both the First
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and Second World Wars
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (these Commonwealth nations included Canada, Australia and South Africa, among others). Although officially replaced in the UK with the L1A1 SLR
L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle
The L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle, also known by the Canadian Army designation C1, as the SLR, or as the "inch pattern" FAL,especially on the American surplus market is a British Commonwealth derivative of the Belgian FN FAL battle rifle, produced under licence...

 in 1957, it remained in widespread British service until the early 1960s and the 7.62 mm L42 sniper variant remained in service until the 1990s. As a standard-issue infantry rifle, it is still found in service in the armed forces of some Commonwealth nations, notably with the Indian Police
Law enforcement in India
Law enforcement in India by numerous law enforcement agencies. Like many federal structures, the nature of the Constitution of India mandates law and order as a subject of the state, therefore the bulk of the policing lies with the respective states and territories of India.At the federal level,...

, which makes it the longest-serving military bolt-action rifle still in official service. The Canadian Rangers military service is still issued Enfield 4 rifles as of 2011, with plans announced to replace the weapons in 2014. Total production of all Lee-Enfields is estimated at over 17 million rifles.

The Lee-Enfield takes its name from the designer of the rifle's bolt system—James Paris Lee
James Paris Lee
James Paris Lee was a Scottish-Canadian and later American inventor and arms designer, best known for inventing the bolt action that led to the Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield series of rifles.-Early Life and Career:...

, and the factory in which it was designed—the Royal Small Arms Factory
Royal Small Arms Factory
The Royal Small Arms Factory was a UK government-owned rifle factory in the London Borough of Enfield in an area generally known as the Lea Valley. The factory produced British military rifles, muskets and swords from 1816...

 in Enfield
London Borough of Enfield
The London Borough of Enfield is the most northerly London borough and forms part of Outer London. It borders the London Boroughs of Barnet, Haringey and Waltham Forest...

. In Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa and Canada the rifle became known simply as the "303".

Design and history

The Lee-Enfield rifle was derived from the earlier Lee-Metford, a mechanically similar black powder rifle, which combined James Paris Lee
James Paris Lee
James Paris Lee was a Scottish-Canadian and later American inventor and arms designer, best known for inventing the bolt action that led to the Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield series of rifles.-Early Life and Career:...

's rear-locking bolt system with a barrel featuring rifling designed by William Ellis Metford
William Ellis Metford
William Ellis Metford was a British engineer best known for designing the Metford rifling used in the .303 calibre Lee-Metford and Martini-Metford service rifles in the late 19th century....

. The Lee action cocked the striker on the closing stroke of the bolt, making the initial opening much faster and easier compared to the "cock on opening" of the Mauser
Mauser
Mauser was a German arms manufacturer of a line of bolt-action rifles and pistols from the 1870s to 1995. Mauser designs were built for the German armed forces...

 design. The rear-mounted lugs place the operating handle much closer to the operator, over the trigger, making it quicker to operate than traditional designs like the Mauser.
The rifle was also equipped with a detachable sheet-steel, 10-round, double-column magazine, a very modern development in its day. Originally, the concept of a detachable magazine was opposed in some British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 circles, as some feared that the private soldier might be likely to lose the magazine during field campaigns. Early models of the Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield even used a short length of chain to secure the magazine to the rifle.

The fast-operating Lee bolt-action and large magazine
Magazine (firearm)
A magazine is an ammunition storage and feeding device within or attached to a repeating firearm. Magazines may be integral to the firearm or removable . The magazine functions by moving the cartridges stored in the magazine into a position where they may be loaded into the chamber by the action...

 capacity enabled a well-trained rifleman to perform the "Mad minute
Mad minute
Mad minute was a pre-World War I term used by British riflemen during training to describe scoring 15 hits onto a 12" round target at 300 yd within one minute using a bolt-action rifle . It was not uncommon during the First World War for riflemen to greatly exceed this score...

" firing 20 to 30 aimed rounds in 60 seconds, making the Lee-Enfield the fastest military bolt-action rifle of the day. The current world record for aimed bolt-action fire was set in 1914 by a musketry instructor in the British Army—Sergeant Instructor Snoxall—who placed 38 rounds into a 12 inches (304.8 mm) target at 300 yards (274.3 m) in one minute. Some straight-pull bolt-action rifles were thought faster, but lacked the simplicity, reliability, and generous magazine capacity of the Lee-Enfield. First World War accounts tell of British troops repelling German attackers who subsequently reported that they had encountered machine guns, when in fact it was simply a group of trained riflemen armed with SMLE Mk III rifles.

The Lee-Enfield was adapted to fire the .303 British service cartridge, a rimmed, high-powered rifle round. Experiments with smokeless powder
Smokeless powder
Smokeless powder is the name given to a number of propellants used in firearms and artillery which produce negligible smoke when fired, unlike the older gunpowder which they replaced...

 in the existing Lee-Metford cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

 seemed at first to be a simple upgrade, but the greater heat and pressure generated by the new smokeless powder wore away the shallow, rounded, Metford rifling after approximately 6000 rounds. Replacing this with a new square-shaped rifling system designed at the Royal Small Arms Factory
Royal Small Arms Factory
The Royal Small Arms Factory was a UK government-owned rifle factory in the London Borough of Enfield in an area generally known as the Lea Valley. The factory produced British military rifles, muskets and swords from 1816...

 (RSAF) Enfield
London Borough of Enfield
The London Borough of Enfield is the most northerly London borough and forms part of Outer London. It borders the London Boroughs of Barnet, Haringey and Waltham Forest...

 solved the problem, and the Lee-Enfield was born.

Models/marks of Lee-Enfield Rifle and service periods

Model/Mark In Service
Magazine Lee-Enfield 1895–1926
Charger Loading Lee-Enfield 1906–1926
Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk I 1904–1926
Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk II 1906–1927
Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III/III* 1907 – present
Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk V 1922–1924 (trials only; 20,000 produced)
Rifle No. 1 Mk VI 1930–1933 (trials only; 1,025 produced)
Rifle No. 4 Mk I 1939 – present (officially adopted in 1941)
Rifle No. 4 Mk I* 1942 – present
Rifle No 5 Mk I "Jungle Carbine" 1944 – present
Rifle No. 4 Mk 2 1949 – present
Rifle 7.62mm 2A 1964 – present
Rifle 7.62mm 2A1 1965 – present

Magazine Lee-Enfield

The Lee-Enfield rifle was introduced in November 1895 as the .303 calibre, Rifle, Magazine, Lee-Enfield, or more commonly Magazine Lee-Enfield, or MLE (sometimes spoken as "emily" instead of M, L, E). The next year a shorter version was introduced as the Lee-Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mk I, or LEC, with a 21.2 inches (538.5 mm) barrel as opposed to the 30.2 inches (767.1 mm) one in the "long" version. Both underwent a minor upgrade series in 1899, becoming the Mk I*. Many LECs (and LMCs in smaller numbers) were converted to special patterns, namely the New Zealand Carbine and the Royal Irish Constabulary Carbine, or NZ and RIC carbine
Carbine
A carbine , from French carabine, is a longarm similar to but shorter than a rifle or musket. Many carbines are shortened versions of full rifles, firing the same ammunition at a lower velocity due to a shorter barrel length....

s, respectively. Some of the MLEs (and MLMs) were converted to load from chargers
Stripper clip
A stripper clip or charger is a speedloader that holds several cartridges together in a single unit for easier loading of a firearm's magazine. A stripper clip is used only for loading the magazine and is not necessary for the firearm to function...

, and designated Charger Loading Lee-Enfields, or CLLEs.

Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk I

A shorter and lighter version of the original MLE—the famous Rifle, Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield, or SMLE (sometimes spoken as "Smelly", rather than S, M, L, E)—was introduced on 1 January 1904. The barrel was now halfway in length between the original long rifle and the carbine, at 25.2 inches (640 mm).

The SMLE's visual trademark was its blunt nose, with only the bayonet boss protruding a small fraction of an inch beyond the nosecap. The new rifle also incorporated a charger loading system, another innovation borrowed from the Mauser rifle; notably the charger system is different from the fixed "bridge" that became the standard. The shorter length was controversial at the time: many Rifle Association members and gunsmiths were concerned that the shorter barrel would not be as accurate as the longer MLE barrels, that the recoil would be much greater, and the sighting radius would be too short.

Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III

The iconic Lee-Enfield rifle, the SMLE Mk III, was introduced on 26 January 1907, along with a Pattern 1907 (P'07) Sword bayonet
Sword bayonet
thumb|300px|right|[[Ishapore 2A1]] Lee-Enfield w/ P1907 sword bayonetA sword bayonet is any long, knife-bladed bayonet designed for mounting on a musket or rifle. Its use is thought to have begun in the 18th century and to have reached its height of popularity throughout the 19th and into the early...

 and featured a simplified rear sight arrangement and a fixed, rather than a bolt-head-mounted sliding, charger guide. The design of the handguards and the magazine were also improved, and the chamber was adapted to fire the new Mk VII High Velocity spitzer
Spitzer (bullet)
A spitzer, also commonly referred to as a spire point bullet, is an aerodynamic bullet design used in most intermediate and high-powered rifle cartridges...

 .303 ammunition. Many early model rifles, of Magazine Lee Enfield (MLE), Magazine Lee Metford (MLM), and SMLE type, were upgraded to the Mk III standard. These are designated Mk IV Cond., with various asterisks denoting subtypes.

During the First World War, the standard SMLE Mk III was found to be too complicated to manufacture (an SMLE Mk III rifle cost the British Government £3/15/-), and demand was outstripping supply, so in late 1915 the Mk III* was introduced, which incorporated several changes, the most prominent of which were the deletion of the magazine cut-off, and the long range volley sights. The windage adjustment capability of the rear sight was also dispensed with, and the cocking piece was changed from a round knob to a serrated slab. Rifles with some or all of these features present are found, as the changes were implemented at different times in different factories and as stocks of existing parts were used. The magazine cut-off was reinstated after the First World War ended, and not entirely dispensed with until 1942.

The inability of the principal manufacturers (RSAF Enfield, Birmingham Small Arms, and London Small Arms) to meet military production demands led to the development of the "peddled scheme", which contracted out the production of whole rifles and rifle components to several shell companies.

The SMLE Mk III* (redesignated Rifle No.1 Mk III* in 1926) saw extensive service throughout the Second World War as well, especially in the North African, Italian, Pacific and Burmese theatres in the hands of British and Commonwealth forces. Australia and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 retained and manufactured the SMLE Mk III* as their standard-issue rifle during the conflict, and the rifle remained in Australian military service through the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, until it was replaced by the L1A1 SLR in the late 1950s. The Lithgow Small Arms Factory
Lithgow Small Arms Factory
The Lithgow Small Arms Factory is a military small arms factory located in the town of Lithgow, New South Wales in Australia.- History :Opened on 8 June 1912, the factory initially manufactured Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield Mk III rifles for the Australian military during World War I...

 finally ceased production of the SMLE Mk III* in 1953.

Pattern 1914/US M1917

The Pattern 1914 Enfield and M1917 Enfield rifles are Mauser 98 derivatives and not based on the Lee action, and are not part of the Lee-Enfield family of rifles, although they are frequently assumed to be.

Inter-War period

In 1926 the British Army changed their nomenclature; the SMLE became known as the Rifle No. 1 Mk III or III*, with the original MLE and LEC becoming obsolete along with the earlier SMLE models. Many Mk III and III* rifles were converted to (.22 rimfire) calibre training rifles, and designated Rifle No. 2, of varying marks. (The Pattern 1914 became the Rifle No. 3.)

The SMLE design was fairly expensive to manufacture because of the many forging
Forging
Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. Forging is often classified according to the temperature at which it is performed: '"cold," "warm," or "hot" forging. Forged parts can range in weight from less than a kilogram to 580 metric tons...

 and machining
Machining
Conventional machining is a form of subtractive manufacturing, in which a collection of material-working processes utilizing power-driven machine tools, such as saws, lathes, milling machines, and drill presses, are used with a sharp cutting tool to physical remove material to achieve a desired...

 operations required. In the 1920s several experiments were carried out to help with these problems, reducing the number of complex parts. The SMLE Mk V (later Rifle No. 1 Mk V), used a new receiver
Receiver (firearms)
In firearms terminology, the receiver is the part of a firearm that houses the operating parts. The receiver usually contains the bolt carrier group, trigger group, and magazine port. In most handguns, the receiver, or frame, holds the magazine well or rotary magazine as well as the trigger mechanism...

-mounted aperture sighting system, which moved the rear sight from its former position on the barrel. The increased gap resulted in an improved sighting radius, improving sighting accuracy, and the aperture improved speed of sighting (making it also known as a "battle sight"). The magazine cutoff was also reintroduced, and an additional band was added near the muzzle for additional strength during bayonet use. Unfortunately, this design was found to be even more complicated and expensive to manufacture than the Mk III, and so was not developed or issued beyond a trial production of about 20,000 rifles between 1922 and 1924 at RSAF Enfield
Royal Small Arms Factory
The Royal Small Arms Factory was a UK government-owned rifle factory in the London Borough of Enfield in an area generally known as the Lea Valley. The factory produced British military rifles, muskets and swords from 1816...

. The No. 1 Mk VI also introduced a heavier "floating barrel" that was independent of the forearm, allowing the barrel to expand and contract without contacting the forearm and changing the zero of the rifle. The receiver-mounted rear sights and magazine cutoff were also present, and 1025 units were produced between 1930 and 1933.

Rifle No 4

By the late 1930s the need for new rifles grew, and the Rifle, No. 4 Mk I was first issued in 1939 but not officially adopted until 1941. The No. 4 action was similar to the Mk VI, but lighter, stronger, and most importantly, easier to mass produce. Unlike the SMLE, the No 4 Lee-Enfield barrel protruded from the end of the forestock. The No. 4 rifle was considerably heavier than the No. 1 Mk. III, largely due to its heavier barrel, and a new bayonet was designed to go with the rifle: a spike bayonet
Spike bayonet
A spike bayonet, also known as a pigsticker in informal contexts, is a blade attachment for a firearm taking the form of a pointed spike rather than a knife. Most early musket bayonets were of this type. From around 1800 knife- or sword style bayonets began to appear, which could also be wielded by...

, which was essentially a steel rod with a sharp point, and was nicknamed "pigsticker" by soldiers. Towards the end of the Second World War, a bladed bayonet was developed, originally intended for use with the Sten gun—but sharing the same mount as the No. 4's spike bayonet—and subsequently the No. 7 and No. 9 blade bayonets were issued for use with the No. 4 rifle as well.

During the course of the Second World War, the No. 4 rifle was further simplified for mass-production with the creation of the No. 4 Mk I* in 1942, with the bolt release catch replaced by a simpler notch on the bolt track of the rifle's receiver. It was produced only in North America, by Long Branch Arsenal in Canada and Savage-Stevens Firearms in the USA. The No.4 Mk I rifle was primarily produced in the United Kingdom.

In the years after the Second World War the British produced the No. 4 Mk 2 (Arabic numerals replaced Roman numerals for official designations in 1944) rifle, a refined and improved No. 4 rifle with the trigger hung from the receiver and not from the trigger guard, beech wood stocks (with the original reinforcing strap and center piece of wood in the rear of the forestock on the No.4 Mk I/Mk I* being removed in favour of a tie screw and nut) and brass buttplates (during World War II, the British replaced the brass buttplates on the No.4 rifles with zinc alloy (Zamak
ZAMAK
Zamak is a family of alloys with a base metal of zinc and alloying elements of aluminium, magnesium and copper. Zamak alloys are part of the zinc aluminium alloy family; they are distinguished from the other ZA alloys because of their constant 4% aluminium composition...

) ones to reduce costs and to speed up rifle production). With the introduction of the No. 4 Mk 2 rifle, the British refurbished many of their existing stocks of No. 4 rifles and brought them up to the same standard as the No. 4 Mk 2. No. 4 Mk 1 rifles so upgraded were re-designated No. 4 Mk I/2, whilst No. 4 Mk I* rifles that were brought up to Mk 2 standard were re-designated No. 4 Mk I/3.

The C No.7 Rifle is a .22 single shot manually fed training version of the No.4 Mk I* rifle manufactured at Long Branch.

Rifle No 5 Mk I—the "Jungle Carbine"

Later in the war the need for a shorter, lighter rifle led to the development of the Rifle, No. 5 Mk I (the "Jungle Carbine
Jungle Carbine
Jungle Carbine was an informal term used for the Rifle No. 5 Mk I which was a derivative of the British Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk I, designed not for jungle fighting but in response to a requirement for a "Shortened, Lightened" version of the No.4 rifle for airborne forces in the European theatre of...

"). With a severely cut-down stock, a prominent flash hider, and a receiver machined to remove all unnecessary metal, the No. 5 was shorter and 2 lb (0.90718474 kg) lighter. Despite a rubber butt-pad, the .303 round produced too much recoil for the No. 5 to be suitable for general issue, and production ceased in 1947 due to an "inherent fault in the design", often said to be a "wandering zero" and accuracy problems. However, the No. 5 Mk I was popular with soldiers owing to its light weight, portability, and shorter overall length than a standard Lee-Enfield rifle. The No. 5 was first issued to the British 6th Airborne Division and in use during their occupation of Denmark in 1945.

An Australian experimental version of the No. 5 Mk I, designated Rifle, No. 6, Mk I was also developed, using an SMLE MK III* as a starting point (as opposed to the No. 4 Mk I used to develop the No. 5 Mk I). The No. 6 Mk I never entered full production, and examples today are extremely rare and valuable to collectors. A "Shortened and Lightened" version of the SMLE Mk III* rifle was also trialled by the Australian military, and a very small number were manufactured at SAF Lithgow during the course of the Second World War.

In Britain, a .22RF version of the No.5 Rifle was prototyped by BSA and trialled with a view to it becoming the British Service training rifle when the .303"CF No.5 was initially mooted as being a potential replacement for the No.4 Rifle.

The term "Jungle Carbine" was popularised in the 1950s by the Santa Fe Arms Corporation, a U.S. importer of surplus rifles, in the hope of increasing sales of a rifle that had little U.S. market penetration. It was never an official military designation, but British and Commonwealth troops serving in the Burmese and Pacific theatres during World War II had been known to unofficially refer to the No. 5 Mk I as a "Jungle Carbine". Both the No. 4 and No. 5 rifles served in Korea (as did the No.1 Mk III* SMLE—mostly with Australian troops).

Sniper rifles

During both World Wars and the Korean War, a number of Lee-Enfield rifles were modified for use as sniper rifles. The Australian Army modified 1,612 Lithgow SMLE No1 Mk III* rifles by adding a heavy target barrel, cheek-piece, and a World War I era Pattern 1918 telescope, creating the SMLE No1 Mk III* (HT). (HT standing for "Heavy Barrel, Telescopic Sight), which saw service in the Second World War, Korea, and Malaya and was used for Sniper Training through to the late 1970s. There is evidence that some SMLE No1 Mk III* (HT) sniper rifles were used by Australian forces during the later stages of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

.

During the Second World War, standard No. 4 rifles, selected for their accuracy during factory tests, were modified by the addition of a wooden cheek-piece, and telescopic sight mounts designed to accept a No. 32 3.5x telescopic sight. This particular sight progressed through three marks with the Mk 1 introduced in 1942, the Mk 2 in 1943 and finally the Mk 3 in 1944. Many Mk.3s and Mk.2/1s (Mk.2s Modified to Mk.3 standard) were later modified for use with the 7.62 mm NATO L42A1
L42A1
The L42A1 was a British Army sniper rifle chambered for the 7.62mm NATO cartridge which entered service in 1970. It served until replacement by the Accuracy International L96 in the early 1990s...

 Sniper Rifle. They were known by the designation Telescope Straight, Sighting L1A1.

Holland and Holland, the famous British sporting gun manufacturers, converted the majority of No 4 Mk I (T) sniper rifles, with the rest converted by BSA and, in Canada, Long Branch arsenal. These rifles were extensively employed in various conflicts until the late 1960s, and when the British military switched over to the 7.62x51 NATO round in the 1950s, many of the No 4 Mk I (T) sniper rifles were converted to the new calibre and designated L42A1
L42A1
The L42A1 was a British Army sniper rifle chambered for the 7.62mm NATO cartridge which entered service in 1970. It served until replacement by the Accuracy International L96 in the early 1990s...

. The L42A1 sniper rifle continued as the British Army's standard sniper weapon until the mid 1980s, being replaced by Accuracy International's L96
Accuracy International Arctic Warfare
The Accuracy International Arctic Warfare rifle is a family of bolt-action sniper rifles designed and manufactured by the British company Accuracy International...

.

.22 training rifles

Numbers of Lee-Enfield rifles were converted to .22 calibre training rifles, in order to teach cadets and new recruits the various aspects of shooting, firearms safety, and marksmanship at a markedly reduced cost per round. Initially rifles were converted from obsolete Magazine Lee-Metford and Magazine Lee-Enfield rifles but from the First World War onwards SMLE rifles were used instead. These were known as .22 Pattern 1914 Short Rifles during The First World War and Rifle, No 2 Mk IV from 1921 onwards. They were generally single-shot affairs, although some were later modified with special adaptors to enable magazine loading. No. 2 Mk IV rifles are externally identical to a .303 calibre SMLE Mk III* rifle, the only difference being the .22 calibre barrel, and bolthead and extractor which have been modified to fire .22 calibre rimfire cartridges.

After the Second World War, the Rifle, No. 7, Rifle, No. 8
No.8 rifle
The No.8 Rifle is a bolt-action .22 calibre rifle evolved from the Lee-Enfield .303 No.5 with target shooting in mind. They are simple hand-fed rifles and were originally designed to be used by military marksmen firing in civilian competitions, before being turned over to the cadet forces....

 and Rifle, No. 9, all .22 rimfire trainers and/or target rifles based on the Lee action, were adopted or in use with Cadet units and target shooters throughout the Commonwealth.

Muskets and Shotguns

Conversions of rifles to smoothbored guns was carried out in several locations, for varying reasons.

SAF Lithgow, in Australia, produced shotguns based on the MkIII action, chambering the common commercial .410 shotgun shell. Commercial gunsmiths in Australia and Britain converted both MkIII and No4 rifles to .410 shotguns. These conversions were prompted by firearms legislation which made possession of a rifle chambered in a military cartridge both difficult and expensive. Smoothbored shotguns could be legally held with far less trouble.

RFI, in India, converted a large number of MkIII rifles to single shot muskets, chambered in the .410 Indian Musket cartridge. These conversions were for issue to police and prison guards, to provide a firearm with a much-reduced power and range in comparison to the .303 cartridge. That it would be difficult to obtain suitable ammunition in the event of theft or the carrier's desertion was likely a consideration as well.

While British and Australian conversions were to the standard commercially available .410 shotgun cartridge (though of varying chamber lengths) the Indian conversions have been the source of considerable confusion. The Indian conversions were originally chambered for the .410 Indian Musket cartridge, which is based on the .303 British cartridge, and will not chamber the common .410 shotgun cartridge. Many of these muskets were rechambered, after being sold as surplus, and can now be used with commercially available ammunition. Unmodified muskets require handloading of ammunition, as the .410 Indian Musket cartridge was not commercially distributed and does not appear to have been manufactured since the 1950s.

L59A1 Drill Rifle

The L59A1 was a conversion of the No4 Rifle (all Marks) to a Drill Purpose rifle that was incapable of being restored to a firing configuration. It was introduced in service in the 1970s. A conversion specification of No.1 rifles to L59A2 Drill Purpose was also prepared but was abandoned due to the greater difficulty of machining involved and the negligible numbers still in the hands of cadet units.

The L59A1 arose from British government concerns over the vulnerability of Army Cadet Force and school Combined Cadet Force
Combined Cadet Force
The Combined Cadet Force is a Ministry of Defence sponsored youth organisation in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to "provide a disciplined organisation in a school so that pupils may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self reliance,...

s' (CCF) stocks of small arms to theft by terrorists, in particular the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 following raids on CCF armouries in the 1950s and 1960s. Previous conversions to Drill Purpose (DP) of otherwise serviceable rifles were not considered to be sufficiently incapable of restoration to fireable state and were a potential source of reconversion spares.
L59A1 Drill Rifles were rendered incapable of being fired, and of being restored to a fireable form, by extensive modifications that included the welding of the barrel to the receiver, modifications to the receiver that removed the supporting structures for the bolt's locking lugs and blocking the installation of an unaltered bolt, the removal of the striker's tip, the blocking of the striker's hole in the bolt head and the removal of most of the bolt body's locking lugs. Most bolts were copper plated for identification. A plug was welded in place forward of the chamber, and a window was cut in the side of the barrel.
The stock and fore end was marked with broad white painted bands and the letters "DP" for easy identification.

Charlton Automatic Rifles

Small numbers of Lee-Enfield rifles were built as, or converted to, experimental semi-automatic loading systems, such as the British Howell
Howell Automatic Rifle
The Howell Automatic Rifle was the first attempt to convert the Lee-Enfield SMLE into a semi-automatic rifle. The weapon was reliable but unergonomic for the user as the force of the recoiling bolt interfered handling. The Howell Automatic Rifle was used by the British Home Guard as an anti...

 and South African Reider
Reider Automatic Rifle
The Rieder Automatic Rifle was a fully automatic Lee-Enfield SMLE rifle of South African origin. The Rieder device could be installed quickly with the use of simple tools. A similar weapon of New Zealand origin was the Charlton Automatic Rifle....

 and the best-known of which was the Charlton Automatic Rifle, designed by a New Zealander, Philip Charlton in 1941 to act as a substitute for the Bren and Lewis gun
Lewis Gun
The Lewis Gun is a World War I–era light machine gun of American design that was perfected and widely used by the British Empire. It was first used in combat in World War I, and continued in service with a number of armed forces through to the end of the Korean War...

 light machine guns which were in chronically short supply at the time. During the Second World War, the majority of New Zealand's land forces were deployed in North Africa. When Japan entered the war in 1941, New Zealand found itself lacking the light machine guns that would be required for local defence should Japan choose to invade, and so the New Zealand Government funded the development of self-loading conversions for the Lee-Enfield rifle. The end result was the Charlton Automatic Rifle (based on the obsolete MLE), which was issued to Home Guard units in NZ from 1942. Over 1,500 conversions were made, including a handful by Electrolux
Electrolux
The Electrolux Group is a Swedish appliance maker.As of 2010 the 2nd largest home appliance manufacturer in the world after Whirlpool, its products sell under a variety of brand names including its own and are primarily major appliances and vacuum cleaners...

 using Lithgow SMLE Mk III* rifles.

The two Charlton designs differed markedly in external appearance (amongst other things, the New Zealand Charlton had a forward pistol grip and bipod, whilst the Australian one did not), but shared the same operating mechanism. Most of the Charlton Automatic Rifles were destroyed in a fire after the Second World War, but a few examples survive in museums and private collections.

De Lisle Commando carbine

The Commando
British Commandos
The British Commandos were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe...

 units of the British military requested a silenced rifle for eliminating sentries, guard dogs and other clandestine operational uses during the Second World War. The resulting weapon, designed by W.G. De Lisle, was effectively an SMLE Mk III* receiver redesigned to take a .45 ACP
.45 ACP
The .45 ACP , also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P., is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.-Design and history:The U.S...

 cartridge and associated magazine, with a barrel from a Thompson submachine gun
Thompson submachine gun
The Thompson is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1919, that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals...

 and an integral silencer.

Elkins Automatic Rifle

The Elkins Automatic Rifle was one of the numerous attempts to convert a Lee-Enfield SMLE to an automatic rifle.

Howard Francis machine carbine

The Howard Francis Self-Loading Carbine was a conversion from a No. 1 Mk III SMLE to the 7.63x25mm Mauser pistol cartridge. It fired in semi-automatic only and suffered some feeding and extraction problems and, despite meeting accuracy and soundness of design concept, never made it past prototype stage. Very light and very short carbine.

Howell Automatic Rifle

The Howell Automatic Rifle was the first attempt to convert the Lee-Enfield SMLE into a semi-automatic rifle. The weapon was reliable but unergonomic for the user as the force of the recoiling bolt interfered handling. The Howell Automatic Rifle was used by the British Home Guard as an anti aircraft weapon.

Reider Automatic Rifle

The Reider Automatic Rifle was a semi-automatic Lee-Enfield SMLE rifle of South African origin. The Reider device could be installed straight away without the use of tools.

Conversion to 7.62x51mm NATO

During the 1960s, the British Government and the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 converted a number of Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles to 7.62x51mm NATO as part of a programme to retain the Lee-Enfield as a reserve weapon. The Lee-Enfield No. 4 series rifles that were converted to 7.62 mm NATO were re-designated as the L8 series of rifles with the rifles being refitted with 7.62 mm NATO barrels, new bolt faces and extractor claws, new rear sights and new 10-round 7.62 mm NATO magazines that were produced by RSAF Enfield to replace the old 10-round .303 British
.303 British
.303 British, or 7.7x56mmR, is a .311 inch calibre rifle and machine gun cartridge first developed in Britain as a blackpowder round put into service in December 1888 for the Lee-Metford rifle, later adapted to use smokeless powders...

 magazines. The outward appearance of the L8 series rifles were no different from the original No. 4 rifles, except for the new barrel (which still retained the original No.4 rifle bayonet lugs) and magazine. The L8 series of rifles consisted of L8A1 rifles (converted No.4 Mk2 rifles), L8A2 rifles (converted No.4 Mk1/2 rifles), L8A3 rifles (converted No.4 Mk1/3 rifles), L8A4 rifles (converted No.4 Mk1 rifles), and L8A5 rifles (converted No.4 Mk1* rifles).

Sterling Armaments
Sterling Armaments Company
Sterling Armaments Company was an arms manufacturer based in Dagenham, famous for manufacturing the L2A3 , AR18 and SAR-87 assault rifles and parts of Jaguar cars. The company went bankrupt in 1988....

 of Dagenham, Essex produced a conversion kit comprising a new 7.62mm barrel, magazine, extractor and ejector for commercial sale.
The main difference between the two conversions was in the cartridge ejection arrangement; the Enfield magazine carried a hardened steel projection that struck the rim of the extracted case to eject it, the Sterling system employed a spring-loaded plunger inserted into the receiver wall.

The results of the trials that were conducted on the L8 series rifles were mixed, and the British Government and the Ministry of Defence decided not to convert their existing stocks of Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles to 7.62 mm NATO. Despite this, the British learned from the results of the L8 test program and used them in successfully converting their stocks of No. 4 (T) sniper rifles to 7.62 mm NATO which led to the creation of the L42A1 series sniper rifles.

In the late 1960s, RSAF Enfield entered the commercial market by producing No.4-based 7.62 x 51mm rifles for commercial sale. The products were marketed under alliterative names e.g. Enfield Envoy, a rifle intended for civilian competition target shooting, and Enfield Enforcer, a rifle fitted with a Pecar telescopic sight to suit the requirements of police firearms teams.

Ishapore 2A/2A1

At some point just after the Sino-Indian War
Sino-Indian War
The Sino-Indian War , also known as the Sino-Indian Border Conflict , was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan...

 of 1962, the Ishapore Rifle Factory in India began producing a new type of rifle known as the Rifle 7.62 mm 2A, which was based on the SMLE Mk III* and was slightly redesigned to use the 7.62 mm NATO round. Externally the new rifle is very similar to the classic Mk III*, with the exception of the front sight protectors and magazine, which is more "square" than the SMLE magazine, and usually carries twelve rounds instead of ten, although a number of 2A1s have been noted with 10-round magazines.

Ishapore 2A and Ishapore 2A1 receivers are made with improved (EN) steel (to handle the increased pressures of the 7.62 mm NATO round) and the extractor is redesigned to suit the rimless cartridge. From 1965–1975 (when production is believed to have been discontinued), the sight ranging graduations were changed from 2000 to 800, and the rifle re-designated Rifle 7.62 mm 2A1. The original 2000 yard rear sight arm was found to be suitable for the ballistics of the 7.62x51 NATO which is around 10% more powerful which equates to a flatter trajectory than that of the .303 British MkVII ammunition, so it was a simple matter to think of the '2000' as representing metres rather than yards. It was then decided that the limit of the effective range was a more realistic proposition at 800 m.

The Ishapore 2A and 2A1 rifles are often incorrectly described as ".308 conversions". The 2A/2A1 rifles are not conversions of .303 calibre SMLE Mk III* rifles. Rather, they are newly manufactured firearms and are not technically chambered for commercial .308 Winchester ammunition. However, many 2A/2A1 owners shoot such ammunition in their rifles with no problems, although it should be noted that some factory loaded .308 Winchester cartridges may appear to generate higher pressures than 7.62 mm NATO, even though the rounds are otherwise interchangeable, however this is due to the different systems of pressure measurement used for NATO and commercial cartridges. See the Wikipedia article on the Ishapore 2A1 rifle for further details.

Production and manufacturers

In total over 16 million Lee-Enfields had been produced in several factories on different continents when production in Britain shut down in 1956, at the Royal Ordnance Factory
Royal Ordnance Factory
Royal Ordnance Factories was the collective name of the UK government's munitions factories in and after World War II. Until privatisation in 1987 they were the responsibility of the Ministry of Supply and later the Ministry of Defence....

 ROF Fazakerley
ROF Fazakerley
ROF Fazakerley was a Royal Ordnance Factory rifle manufacturing plant in Fazakerley, Liverpool; which manufactured weapons such as the Sten and Sterling submachine guns and Lee-Enfield rifle during and after World War II....

 near Liverpool after that factory had been plagued with industrial unrest. The machinery from ROF Fazakerley was sold to Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) in Rawalpindi where production and repair of the No.4 rifle was continued. Also contributing to the total was the Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI) at Ishapore in India, which continued to produce the SMLE in both .303 and 7.62 mm NATO until the 1980s, and is still manufacturing a sporting rifle based on the SMLE Mk III action, chambered for a .315 calibre cartridge the Birmingham Small Arms Company
Birmingham Small Arms Company
This article is not about Gamo subsidiary BSA Guns Limited of Armoury Road, Small Heath, Birmingham B11 2PP or BSA Company or its successors....

 factory at Shirley near Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, and SAF Lithgow in Australia, who finally discontinued production of the SMLE Mk III* in 1950. During the First World War alone, 3.8 million SMLE rifles were produced in the UK by RSAF Enfield, BSA, and LSA.

From the late 1940s, legislation in New South Wales, Australia, heavily restricted .303 British calibre (and other "military calibre") rifles, so large numbers of SMLEs were converted to "wildcat" calibres such as .303/25
.303/25
The .303/25, sometimes known as the .25/303 is a wildcat centrefire rifle cartridge, based on the .303 British, necked down to fire a .257 projectile, originating in Australia in the 1940s as a cartridge for sporterised rifles, particularly on the Lee Enfield action, similar versions also appeared...

, .303/22
.303/22
The .303/22, sometimes known as the .22/303 is a wildcat centrefire rifle cartridge, based on the .303 British, necked down to fire a .224 projectile, originating in Australia in the 1930s as a cartridge for sporterised rifles, particularly on the Lee Enfield action, similar versions also appeared...

, .303/270 and the popular 7.7x54 round. 303/25 calibre sporterised SMLEs are very common in Australia today, although getting ammunition for them is very difficult and has been since the 1980s. The restrictions placed on "military calibre" rifles in New South Wales were lifted in 1975, and many people who had converted their Lee-Enfields to the "wildcat" rounds converted their rifles back to .303 British. Post-Second World War, SAF Lithgow converted a number of SMLE rifles to commercial sporting rifles- notably the .22 Hornet model- under the "Slazenger" brand.

RFI in India and SAF Lithgow in Australia both produced single-shot conversions of the SMLE chambered for a .410 shotgun cartridge. The .410 conversions made by Ishapore were generally used as riot shotguns for crowd control in India, and were originally chambered for the .410 Musket cartridge, basically a .303 inch cartridge with no "neck" formed to reduce the calibre of the projectile. As these cartridges were not commercially produced ammunition is available only through handloading
Handloading
Handloading or reloading is the process of loading firearm cartridges or shotgun shells by assembling the individual components , rather than purchasing completely assembled, factory-loaded cartridges...

. Many of these conversions have been reamed
Reamer
A reamer is a metalworking tool used to create an accurate sized hole. The process is called reaming. They may be used as a hand tool or in a machine tool, such as a milling machine or drill press.-Construction:...

 out to accept modern 2½" and 3" .410 shotshells in the United States. As the pressure for even high velocity .410 ammunition are well below standard .303 British pressure ranges these conversions, when done by a competent gunsmith, are quite safe to shoot. The SAF Lithgow/Slazenger .410 shotguns were, however, chambered for commercial .410 shells, as they were primarily intended for civilian sale, with over 7,000 eventually being manufactured.

Numerous attempts were made to convert the various single-shot .410 shotgun models to a bolt-action repeating model by removing the wooden magazine plug and replacing it with a standard 10-round SMLE magazine. None of these is known to have been successful, though some owners have adapted 3-round magazines for Savage
Savage Arms
The Savage Arms Company is a firearms manufacturing company based in Westfield, Massachusetts, with a division located in Canada. The company makes a variety of rimfire and centerfire rifles, as well as marketing the Stevens single-shot rifles and shotguns...

 and Stevens
Stevens Arms
Stevens Arms was an American firearms manufacturer founded by Joshua Stevens in 1864. The company introduced the .22 Long Rifle round and made a number of rifle, shotgun, and target pistol designs before being bought by Savage Arms in 1920. After 1920, Stevens made training rifles and machineguns...

 shotguns to function in a converted SMLE shotgun.

List of manufacturers

The manufacturer's names found on the MLE, CLLE, and SMLE Mk I—Mk III* rifles and variants are:
Marking Manufacturer Country
Enfield Royal Small Arms Factory Enfield
Royal Small Arms Factory
The Royal Small Arms Factory was a UK government-owned rifle factory in the London Borough of Enfield in an area generally known as the Lea Valley. The factory produced British military rifles, muskets and swords from 1816...

United Kingdom
Sparkbrook Royal Small Arms Factory Sparkbrook
Sparkbrook
Sparkbrook is an inner-city area in south-east Birmingham, England. It is one of the four wards forming the Hall Green formal district within Birmingham City Council.-Etymology:...

United Kingdom
BSA Co Birmingham Small Arms Co. Ltd
Birmingham Small Arms Company
This article is not about Gamo subsidiary BSA Guns Limited of Armoury Road, Small Heath, Birmingham B11 2PP or BSA Company or its successors....

United Kingdom
LSA Co London Small Arms Co. Ltd
London Small Arms Co. Ltd
The London Small Arms Company Ltd was a British Arms Manufacturer from the years 1866-1935.Based in Tower Hamlets, London, London Small Arms Co...

United Kingdom
Lithgow Lithgow Small Arms Factory
Lithgow Small Arms Factory
The Lithgow Small Arms Factory is a military small arms factory located in the town of Lithgow, New South Wales in Australia.- History :Opened on 8 June 1912, the factory initially manufactured Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield Mk III rifles for the Australian military during World War I...

Australia
GRI Ishapore Rifle Factory
Ishapore Rifle Factory
The Ishapore Rifle Factory is an Arms manufacturing plant located at Ishapore, in the Indian sub-division of Barrackpore, outside Calcutta in West Bengal....

British India
RFI Ishapore Rifle Factory India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 (Post-Independence)


Note 1: "SSA" and "NRF" markings are sometimes encountered on First World War-dated SMLE Mk III* rifles. These stand for "Standard Small Arms" and "National Rifle Factory", respectively. Rifles so marked were assembled using parts from various other manufacturers, as part of a scheme during the First World War to boost rifle production in the UK. Only SMLE Mk III* rifles are known to have been assembled under this program.

Note 2: GRI stands for "Georgius Rex, Imperator" (Latin for "King George, Emperor (of India)", denoting a rifle made during the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

. RFI stands for "Rifle Factory, Ishapore", denoting a rifle made after the Partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947.


For the No. 4 Mk I, No. 4 Mk I* and No. 4 Mk 2 rifles:
Marking Manufacturer Country
ROF (F) Royal Ordnance Factory Fazakerley
ROF Fazakerley
ROF Fazakerley was a Royal Ordnance Factory rifle manufacturing plant in Fazakerley, Liverpool; which manufactured weapons such as the Sten and Sterling submachine guns and Lee-Enfield rifle during and after World War II....

United Kingdom
ROF (M) Royal Ordnance Factory Maltby
Maltby, South Yorkshire
Maltby is a town and civil parish of 17,247 inhabitants in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England, situated in a rural area about 7 miles east of Rotherham and 12 miles north-east of Sheffield...

United Kingdom
B Birmingham Small Arms Co. Ltd
Birmingham Small Arms Company
This article is not about Gamo subsidiary BSA Guns Limited of Armoury Road, Small Heath, Birmingham B11 2PP or BSA Company or its successors....

United Kingdom
M47C Birmingham Small Arms Factory (Shirley) United Kingdom
Longbranch Longbranch Arsenal Canada
US PROPERTY [S] Savage Arms U.S.
POF Pakistan Ordnance Factories
Pakistan Ordnance Factories
Pakistan Ordnance Factories was founded in 1951 with the primary objective of producing arms and ammunition for the armed forces of Pakistan...

Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...



Note 1 : Second World War UK production rifles had manufacturer codes for security reasons. For example, BSA Shirley is denoted by M47C, ROF(M) is often simply stamped "M", and BSA is simply stamped "B".

Note 2: Savage-made Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I and No. 4 Mk I* rifles are all stamped "US PROPERTY". They were supplied to the UK under the Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 programme during the Second World War. No Savage Lee-Enfields were ever issued to the US military; the markings existed solely to maintain the pretence that American equipment was being lent to the UK rather than permanently sold to them.

Australian International Arms No. 4 Mk IV

The Brisbane-based Australian International Arms also manufactures a modern reproduction of the No. 4 Mk II rifle, which they market as the AIA No. 4 Mk IV. The rifles are manufactured by parts outsourcing and are assembled and finished in Australia, chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO and feed from modified M14
M14 rifle
The M14 rifle, formally the United States Rifle, 7.62 mm, M14, is an American selective fire automatic rifle firing 7.62x51mm NATO  ammunition. It was the standard issue U.S. rifle from 1959 to 1970. The M14 was used for U.S...

 magazines. The No. 4 Mk IV is designed with the modern shooter in mind, and has the ability to mount a telescopic sight without drilling and tapping the receiver. AIA also offers the AIA M10-A1 rifle, a Jungle Carbine
Jungle Carbine
Jungle Carbine was an informal term used for the Rifle No. 5 Mk I which was a derivative of the British Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk I, designed not for jungle fighting but in response to a requirement for a "Shortened, Lightened" version of the No.4 rifle for airborne forces in the European theatre of...

-styled version chambered in 7.62x39mm Russian, which uses AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 magazines
In late 2009 the supply of these firearms has been limited that some models are now unavailable in Australia (Oct 2009 the 7.62x39mm was unavailable). Magazine supply/importation (M14 & AK 10 single stack mag) whilst legal in Australia, it has been spasmodically curtailed by Australian Federal Customs (for more information, see Gun politics in Australia
Gun politics in Australia
Gun politics have only become a notable issue in Australia since the 1980s. Low levels of violent crime through much of the 20th century kept levels of public concern about firearms low...

). It is possible to obtain a 10 round (the maximum allowed by law) M14 magazines for the M10-B2 match rifles in particular, provided an import permit from the appropriate Licensing Services Division can be obtained in some States, yet Australian Federal Customs may still refuse importation on no valid grounds.

Khyber Pass Copies

A number of British Service Rifles, predominantly the Martini-Henry
Martini-Henry
The Martini-Henry was a breech-loading single-shot lever-actuated rifle adopted by the British, combining an action worked on by Friedrich von Martini , with the rifled barrel designed by Scotsman Alexander Henry...

 and Martini-Enfield
Martini-Enfield
Martini-Enfield rifles were, by and large, conversions of the Zulu War era .450/577 Martini-Henry, rechambering the rifle for use with the newly introduced .303 British cartridge...

, but also the various Lee-Enfield rifles, have been produced by small manufacturers in the Khyber Pass
Khyber Pass
The Khyber Pass, is a mountain pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.The Pass was an integral part of the ancient Silk Road. It is mentioned in the Bible as the "Pesh Habor," and it is one of the oldest known passes in the world....

 region of the Pakistani/Afghan border.

"Khyber Pass Copies
Khyber Pass Copy
A Khyber Pass Copy is a firearm manufactured by cottage gunsmiths in the Khyber Pass region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The reason they are called that is because the Adam Khel Afridi, who live around the Khyber pass, were historically the most active arms manufacturers on the Frontier.The...

", as they are known, tend to be copied exactly from a "master" rifle, which may itself be a Khyber Pass Copy, markings and all, which is why it's not uncommon to see Khyber Pass rifles with the "N" in "Enfield" reversed, amongst other things.

The quality on such rifles varies from "as good as a factory-produced example" to "dangerously unsafe", tending towards the latter end of the scale. Khyber Pass Copy rifles cannot generally stand up to the pressures generated by modern commercial ammunition, and are generally considered unsafe to fire under any circumstances.

Khyber Pass Copies can be recognised by a number of factors, notably:
  • Spelling errors in the markings; as noted the most common of which is a reversed "N" in "Enfield")
  • V.R. (Victoria Regina) cyphers dated after 1901; Queen Victoria died in 1901, so any rifles made after 1901 should be stamped "E.R" (Edwardius Rex—King Edward VII or King Edward VIII) or "G.R" (Georgius Rex—King George V
    George V of the United Kingdom
    George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

     or King George VI).
  • Generally inferior workmanship, including weak/soft metal, poorly finished wood, and badly struck markings.

Armalon

British company Armalon Ltd developed a number of rifles based on the Lee Enfield No 4. The PC Gallery Rifle is a carbine in pistol and revolver calibres, the AL42 a 5.56 mm rifle and the AL30C, a carbine in .30 Carbine
.30 Carbine
The .30 Carbine is the cartridge used in the M1 Carbine introduced in the 1940s. It is an intermediate round designed to be fired from the M1 carbine's 18-inch barrel.-History:...

.

The Lee-Enfield in military/police use today

The Lee-Enfield family of rifles is the second oldest bolt-action rifle design still in official service, after Mosin–Nagant; Lee-Enfield rifles are used by reserve forces and police forces in many Commonwealth countries, particularly Canada, where they are the main rifle issued to the Canadian Rangers
Canadian Rangers
The Canadian Rangers are a sub-component of the Canadian Forces reserve that provide a military presence in Canada's sparsely settled northern, coastal, and isolated areas. Formally established on May 23, 1947, a primary role of this part-time force is to conduct surveillance or sovereignty...

, and India, where the Lee-Enfield is widely issued to reserve military units and police forces. Indian police officers carrying SMLE Mk III* and Ishapore 2A1 rifles were a familiar sight throughout railway stations in India after the Mumbai train bombings of 2006
11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings
The 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings were a series of seven bomb blasts that took place over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai, the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the nation's financial capital. The bombs were set off in pressure cookers on trains...

 and the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. They are also still seen in the hands of Pakistani and Bangladeshi second-line and police units.
In the UK, the single-shot .22 calibre Rifle No. 8 is in regular use with UK Cadet Forces as a light target rifle. Used as a drill weapon and in ceremonial functions by the Sri Lankan Military, one was used by Vijitha Rohana
Vijitha Rohana
Vijitha Rohana was a Sri Lankan sailor and political activist. He is noted for his assault on Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on July 30, 1987 at President's House, Colombo. It was claimed some as an attempted assassination...

 to attack Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
Rajiv Gandhi
Rajiv Ratna Gandhi was the sixth Prime Minister of India . He took office after his mother's assassination on 31 October 1984; he himself was assassinated on 21 May 1991. He became the youngest Prime Minister of India when he took office at the age of 40.Rajiv Gandhi was the elder son of Indira...

 in 1987.

Many Afghan participants in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 were armed with Lee-Enfields (a common rifle in the Middle East and South Asia), and Khyber Pass Copy
Khyber Pass Copy
A Khyber Pass Copy is a firearm manufactured by cottage gunsmiths in the Khyber Pass region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The reason they are called that is because the Adam Khel Afridi, who live around the Khyber pass, were historically the most active arms manufacturers on the Frontier.The...

s patterned after the Lee-Enfield are still manufactured in the Khyber Pass
Khyber Pass
The Khyber Pass, is a mountain pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.The Pass was an integral part of the ancient Silk Road. It is mentioned in the Bible as the "Pesh Habor," and it is one of the oldest known passes in the world....

 region today, as bolt-action rifles remain effective weapons in desert and mountain environments where long-range accuracy is more important than rate of fire. Lee-Enfield rifles are still popular in the region today, despite the presence and ready availability of more modern weapons such as the SKS
SKS
The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic rifle chambered for the 7.62x39mm round, designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. SKS-45 is an acronym for Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova, 1945 Simonov system, 1945), or SKS 45. The Sks is a scaled down version of the PTRS-41 anti-tank rifle also...

 and the AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

.
Photos from the recent civil war in Nepal showed that the government troops were being issued SMLE Mk III/III* rifles to fight the Maoist
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

 rebels, and that the Maoists were armed with SMLE rifles (amongst other weapons) as well. Lee-Enfield rifles have also been seen in the hands of both the Naxalite
Naxalite
The word Naxal, Naxalite or Naksalvadi is a generic term used to refer to various militant Communist groups operating in different parts of India under different organizational envelopes...

s and the Indian police in the ongoing Maoist insurgency in rural India
Naxalite-Maoist insurgency
The Naxalite-Maoist insurgency is an ongoing conflict between Maoist groups, known as Naxalites or Naxals, and the Indian government.In 2006 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Naxalites "The single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country."...

.

The Lee-Enfield in civilian use

Lee-Enfields are very popular as hunting rifles and target shooting rifles. Many surplus Lee-Enfield rifles were sold in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa after the Second World War, and a fair number have been 'sporterised
Sporterising
Sporterising, sporterisation, or sporterization refers to the practice of modifying military-type firearms either to make them suitable for civilian sporting use or to make them legal under the law.-Modifying for sporting use:...

', having had the front furniture reduced or removed and a scope fitted so that they resemble a bolt-action sporting rifle. Top-notch accuracy is difficult to achieve with the Lee-Enfield design, as it was intended to be a battle rifle rather than a sharpshooter's weapon, and thus the Enfield is nowadays overshadowed by derivatives of Paul Mauser's design as a target shooting arm. They did, however, continue to be used at Bisley
Bisley, Surrey
Bisley is a large village in Surrey, England, which is notable for rifle shooting. Bisley's immediate neighbours are West End, Chobham and Knaphill.- History :...

 up into the 1970s with some success, and continue to perform extremely well at Military Service Rifle Competitions throughout the world.

Many people still hunt with as-issued Lee-Enfield rifles, with commercial .303 British ammunition proving especially effective on medium-sized game. Soft-point .303 ammunition is widely available for hunting purposes, though the Mark 7 military cartridge design often proves adequate because its tail-heavy design makes the bullet yaw violently and deform after hitting the target.

The Lee-Enfield rifle is a popular gun for historic rifle enthusiasts and those who find the 10-round magazine, loading by charger clips, and the rapid bolt-action useful for Practical Rifle events. Since formation in 1998, organisations such as the Lee Enfield Rifle Association have greatly assisted in not just preserving rifles in shooting condition (many Lee-Enfields are being deactivated and sold as "wall-hangers" to collectors who do not hold a Firearms Licence in countries where they are required), but holding events and competitions wholly accurate in terms of the various courses of fire and targets of the period. Lee-Enfields are also popular with competitors in service rifle competitions in many British Commonwealth countries—notably Australia, which boasts a very active Military Service Rifle shooting community.

The Lee-Enfield series is very popular for service rifle shooting competitions in Great Britain and Australia due to the prohibitions on the legal ownership semi-automatic centrefire rifles in both countries. (For more information see Gun politics in the United Kingdom
Gun politics in the United Kingdom
Gun politics in the United Kingdom generally places its main considerations on how best to ensure public safety and how deaths involving firearms can most effectively be prevented. The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world, and did so even before strict gun...

 and Gun politics in Australia
Gun politics in Australia
Gun politics have only become a notable issue in Australia since the 1980s. Low levels of violent crime through much of the 20th century kept levels of public concern about firearms low...

.)

Rhineland Arms produces .45ACP conversion kits for the Lee-Enfield action using M1911
M1911
The M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, and recoil-operated handgun chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. John M. Browning designed the firearm which was the standard-issue side arm for the United States armed forces from 1911 to 1985. The M1911 is still carried by some U.S....

 magazines.

Users

No.1 MkIII/MkIII* manufactured at Lithgow Arsenal in Lithgow, New South Wales post-WW2 British donations No.4 MkI* manufactured at Long Branch Arsenal in Long Branch, Ontario, Canada. Still used by the Canadian Rangers
Canadian Rangers
The Canadian Rangers are a sub-component of the Canadian Forces reserve that provide a military presence in Canada's sparsely settled northern, coastal, and isolated areas. Formally established on May 23, 1947, a primary role of this part-time force is to conduct surveillance or sovereignty...

 as of 2011. (Foreign Legion, Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

) (post-World War II Greek armed forces. Provided to Greece by the UK as military aid).: Once Used by Icelandic Coast Guard
Icelandic Coast Guard
The Icelandic Coast Guard is the service responsible for Iceland's coastal defense and maritime and aeronautical search and rescue. Origins of the Icelandic Coast Guard can be traced to 1859, when the corvette Ørnen started patrolling Icelandic waters...

 and National Police of Iceland.: Made under license by Ishapore Rifle Factory
Ishapore Rifle Factory
The Ishapore Rifle Factory is an Arms manufacturing plant located at Ishapore, in the Indian sub-division of Barrackpore, outside Calcutta in West Bengal....

: Used by republicans in Indonesian National Revolution
Indonesian National Revolution
The Indonesian National Revolution or Indonesian War of Independence was an armed conflict and diplomatic struggle between Indonesia and the Dutch Empire, and an internal social revolution...

 some are taken from the Dutch. (post-World War II Italian Army and Navy) http://www.euroarms.net/EFD/index.htm both MkIII and No4 were used by Irish Defence Forces
Irish Defence Forces
The armed forces of Ireland, known as the Defence Forces encompass the Army, Naval Service, Air Corps and Reserve Defence Force.The current Supreme Commander of the Irish Defence forces is His Excellency Michael D Higgins in his role as President of Ireland...

. used during the first few years of independence.: still used by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Correctional Services and Jamaica Combined Cadet Force post-WW II use: (Parachuted to the resistance movement as military aid): Captured rifles, converted 8mm.: Used by the Polish exiled army used by the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps
Portuguese Expeditionary Corps
The Portuguese Expeditionary Corps was the main military force from Portugal that participated in the First World War. Portuguese neutrality ended in 1916 after the seizure of German merchant ships resulted in Germany declaring war...

, during the First World War : Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command, for Silent Precision Drill Squad
Precision Drill Squad
Precision Drill Squad is a form of Exhibition drill practised by the Singapore National Cadet Corps which involves the execution of rifle drills in complex series of movements with great co-ordination and precision...

 (The contract was concluded on 10 December 1920 when the king received shipment of 10,000 rifles.) http://www.thailandoutdoor.com/GunStory/Rama6/rama6.html & Colonies
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

: (Used by units of the American Expeditionary Force
American Expeditionary Force
The American Expeditionary Forces or AEF were the United States Armed Forces sent to Europe in World War I. During the United States campaigns in World War I the AEF fought in France alongside British and French allied forces in the last year of the war, against Imperial German forces...

 attached to British and Australian units during the First World War). No.4 MkI* rifles manufactured by Savage-Stevens Firearms under Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

for the British and Commonwealth forces during WWII.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK