Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy birthday Lee-Enfield rifle

On this day in 1907 the Lee-Enfield rifle was accepted into service in the army of His Majesty King Edward VII.  It's still in use today in Commonwealth nations India and Bangladesh, making this the longest serving military rifle in world history.

I can personally attest that it is a sweet shooter and entirely bad ass.  As I wrote in my Range Report:
It was the rifle of Empire, from the days when the sun literally never set on the British Empire.  The Empire's day has passed, and this rifle has passed with it, but for those who appreciate the poetry of rifles (as opposed to the stark utilitarian prose of modern designs), this rifle brings it in imperial gallons.
But since it has a ten round magazine (removable, although that's more in theory than in practice, being loaded via stripper clips) and a bayonet lug, Diane Feinstein wants to ban it.  Because 100 year old rifles totally are used to shoot up schools, or something.  And while it doesn't do so well "spraying bullets from the hip", the action is smooth as silk and very fast:

Oh, and the sights are designed to let you shoot accurately at 1300 yards (!) - if you can.  But why, we hear Senator Feinstein ask, do you need a rifle that will shoot accurately to 1300 yards?  The answer: Senator, why do you want to win re-election?

UPDATE 26 January 2013 22:53: Jon W. emails to point out that Feinstein's bill explicitly excludes bolt action rifles from the ban. 


libertyman said...

I have one now. Made by Savage -- they are still very reasonable.
I will have to get the dies for the .303 the store bought ammo is a touch too dear.

Robin said...

I think you meant that the SMLE was adopted on this day. The MLE was adopted in 1895. That said, I recently acquired a 1916 SMLE that has been sporterized and I love it. It just has a feel to it that makes you love it.

Douglas2 said...

Add Canada to your list of commonwealth countries still using the Lee Enfield. They announced in 2011 that they would be retiring it and finding a replacement of the Arctic Rangers, but not only have they not yet found a suitable replacement, they have since expanded their issue to regular army when they are deployed to the arctic:

Old NFO said...

Kinda like the 1911, it just keeps on ticking... :-)

NotClauswitz said...

Go Ishapore and Dum-Dum!

Cormac said...

My two favorite guns that anybody brought to D.A.B. were Belle's SVT-40, Natasha, and your Lee-Enfield.

That rifle really is a pleasure to shoot...thanks again for sharing.

lee n. field said...

BTW, the one pictured in the YooToob clip is a Ishapore 2A or 2A1 (from the distinctive shape of the magazine). Made in the 1960s, shoots 7.62 NATO.

TOTWTYTR said...

UPDATE 26 January 2013 22:53: Jon W. emails to point out that Feinstein's bill explicitly excludes bolt action rifles from the ban.

This year. Next year's revision will include "dangerous sniper rifles".

You know how I feel about the Enfield, and I'd like to think that I had something to do with how you feel about it.