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  #11  
Old 02-17-2019, 01:16 PM
Doubs43 Doubs43 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Byron, GA
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Sitting in the back of my safe is a 1916 London Small Arms manufactured #1 Mk III that was my Christmas present for 1960. $9.95 plus $1.95 for the bayonet from Ye Old Hunter. The bore is mint and the stock is walnut and quite slim.

Using surplus Mk 7 cartridges, I set a 6 oz Coke bottle against a bank at roughly 200 yards distance. I was 17, had far better than 20/20 eyesight, and cradled the rifle in my hand over a fence post. My father watched through binoculars as I fired the first shot. "A few inches left" he said. I corrected and the second shot shattered the bottle.

After owning and shooting many #1 Enfields and #4 rifles, I'm convinced that the #1 rifles are more accurate on average than the #4 rifles.

The #1 Enfields were expensive to build and the #4 reduced the price considerably. The #4 also had better combat sights, especially those with the adjustable ladder sights. The Brits did make a few #1 Mk V rifles with ladder sights but never put them into large scale production.
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  #12  
Old 02-17-2019, 01:41 PM
amadeus76 amadeus76 is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubs43 View Post

After owning and shooting many #1 Enfields and #4 rifles, I'm convinced that the #1 rifles are more accurate on average than the #4 rifles.
Wartime production notwithstanding, this seems unlikely as a general rule. The No4 had better sights (at least those with the micrometer rear sight did) and a heavier barrel. Outside of that theyíre pretty much the same rifle and bedded the same way. That said, itís worth noting that many No1 MkIIIís were built during peacetime and most No4ís during wartime. That tends to skew sampling.

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Originally Posted by Doubs43 View Post
The #1 Enfields were expensive to build and the #4 reduced the price considerably. The #4 also had better combat sights, especially those with the adjustable ladder sights. The Brits did make a few #1 Mk V rifles with ladder sights but never put them into large scale production.
Where are you getting the No4 was cheaper to manufacture?
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  #13  
Old 02-17-2019, 02:55 PM
Doubs43 Doubs43 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by amadeus76 View Post
Wartime production notwithstanding, this seems unlikely as a general rule. The No4 had better sights (at least those with the micrometer rear sight did) and a heavier barrel. Outside of that theyíre pretty much the same rifle and bedded the same way. That said, itís worth noting that many No1 MkIIIís were built during peacetime and most No4ís during wartime. That tends to skew sampling.
More #4 rifles were built outside of Britain than in Britain at Longbranch in Canada and by Savage-Stevens in the United States; over 2.2 million of them. The three major manufacturers in England made far fewer. No matter where they were built, the #4 rifle has tremendous variances in bore diameters and chamber dimensions. The #1 rifles seem to be better in that regard. Better sights can't always correct an over sized bore. The #4 was also made with 2 ~ 6 groove barrels and they were not all equal. I've slugged #4 rifles with groove diameters as large as .318". I used to shoot a lot of cast bullets in my Enfields. A 1939 BSA #1 Mk III* was the most accurate with the possible exception a my 1916 LSA #1 Mk III.

They are NOT the same rifle. The bedding is NOT the same. The #4 barrel is free floating while the #1 has a spring loaded pad that applies upward pressure very near the muzzle.

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Where are you getting the No4 was cheaper to manufacture?
I've seen that stated very pointedly but can't put my finger on the source at the moment. The No. 4 rifle was designed from the very beginning to reduce production costs as it was easier and quicker to machine the receiver and the stock didn't require the pressure pad or nose cap as the barrel is free floated.

However, draw your own conclusions from this quote from Ian Skinnerton's book "THE BRITISH SERVICE LEE", page 155:

"In June 1939, it was realized that Europe would inevitably be plunged into war again, and a decision had to be made regarding manufacture of a service rifle. The No. 1 design was ill-suited to mass production, so the No. 4 was chosen. Of all the Lee-Enfield designs, the No. 4 was preferred because of it's heavy barrel, aperture sighting, and SUITABILITY FOR MASS PRODUCTION. (Emphasis mine) Orders were then given for preperation of new rifle factories to manufacture the No. 4. The decision to produce the No. 4 was made in October 1939."
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  #14  
Old 02-17-2019, 03:09 PM
amadeus76 amadeus76 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Doubs43 View Post

They are NOT the same rifle. The bedding is NOT the same. The #4 barrel is free floating while the #1 has a spring loaded pad that applies upward pressure very near the muzzle.
I donít know where youíre getting your information but the No4 was not free floated (anyone that owns one can see this with a quick look) and was also bedded with upward pressure near the muzzle.
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  #15  
Old 02-17-2019, 04:13 PM
Doubs43 Doubs43 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by amadeus76 View Post
I donít know where youíre getting your information but the No4 was not free floated (anyone that owns one can see this with a quick look) and was also bedded with upward pressure near the muzzle.
It's a fallacy to make blanket statements WRT the #4 rifle as it went through many changes over the life of it's production. Early rifles may have had bedding but later they were free floated. From Skennerton's book, page 167:

"Most of the No. 4 rifles of this period were stocked in beech or birch, and during the middle of the war when poorer quality timber had to be used, bedding of the rifles suffered due to warping and shrinkage. Although skilled labour could have cut this poorer quality timber specially to minimize warping, there were insufficient suitably experienced workmen available. The standards and requirements for bedding of rifles were relaxed due to this problem, and the barrel 'floated' by not being bedded forward of the reinforce."

To put the cost difference question to rest, here is another quote from page 160 of Skennerton's book:

"In 1943, the cost of the No. 1 rifle as produced by B.S.A. was listed at 9 pounds, 10 shillings, which also included their profit margin.The No. 4 was costed at 8 pounds, 5 shillings per unit, using imported timber, and it was considered that this could be reduced to about 7 pound, 15 shillings using home-grown timber."

So not only was the No. 4 rifle easier and quicker to manufacture, it was also cheaper which to the British was a very important consideration.

At one time, years ago, I collected Enfields. I don't any longer but I haven't forgotten everything I once knew about them and I've owned probably between 40 & 50 of them.
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  #16  
Old 02-17-2019, 09:22 PM
tmark tmark is offline
 
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It seems to me that when I watch all those war documentaries on the H channel and M channel, I see more Brit soldiers carry the No 4 Mk I rifles in combat.
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  #17  
Old 02-18-2019, 01:37 AM
Doubs43 Doubs43 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by tmark View Post
It seems to me that when I watch all those war documentaries on the H channel and M channel, I see more Brit soldiers carry the No 4 Mk I rifles in combat.
According to Skennerton, front line Tommies weren't issued the #4 rifles until later in 1942. He goes on to say that photographs showing the troops with the #4 rifle don't appear until late in 1942 and then they were generally specialist troops such as Airborne. (page 159 of "THE BRITISH SERVICE LEE")

On page 160 he says that after Winston Churchill inspected the new rifle on 20 November, 1942, it started being issued in quantity and regularly to the front line soldiers. However, North Africa and largely Italy were fought with the #1 rifles because of supply issues.

If you collect Enfields, Skennerton's book is very thorough and likely the best reference available. Used, on Abe Books, they are listed from $85 to $549 so they aren't cheap.
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  #18  
Old 02-18-2019, 07:36 AM
luigi luigi is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: arkansas
Posts: 303
Exclamation

FYI

Be careful if you plan to remove the action from the forend stock! If not done properly you can crack the wood!

Last edited by luigi; 02-18-2019 at 04:25 PM.
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  #19  
Old 02-20-2019, 08:56 AM
HC-7 HC-7 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SC Pa
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About 15-20 years ago Ian was visiting Bill Ricca ...They shared a table at the Allentown gun show...Nice guy, answered my dumb questions on the P-17....Seem to remember his new wife, Asian girl....I will have to dig around for Ian's book....regards...alex
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  #20  
Old 02-20-2019, 11:10 AM
RoundsOut RoundsOut is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: South Central KY
Posts: 111
Default Memories of my #4

Once a friend at school said his uncle wanted to sell a British rifle from WW2. I went to his home that Saturday and gladly paid him the $15 he was asking. The #4 shot like a sweet dream using the remainder of a box of Remington hunting ammo! My youngest brother hit a coke bottle at about 40 yards with it first try, not bad for a non-shooter! The rifle was in excellent condition, I enjoyed it for several years. Still regret selling it for $20 and a nice Case 3 blade, but was moving out of state and needed gas money. Still miss the 60's.
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