Saturday, July 11, 2015

The end of the Lee-Enfield era?

Aaron finds that the Canadian Rangers are fixin' to replace their Enfields.  It seems that this will be the end of that venerable rifle's use by combat units.

That's been a long, long run - it was the Rifle of Empire, serving in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.  Over 19 million were manufactured.  This is unsurprising, since it it not just supremely accurate but a pleasure to shoot as well.


5 comments:

B said...

my understanding that it was parts availability and upkeep was the reason they chose to replace 'em.

ASM826 said...

B,

That's correct, the warehouses are finally emptying out, there are no more spare parts and spare rifles. An amazing amount of parts were made for the Enfield, Garand, Springfield, and Mauser rifles. Not to mention the millions of rounds of ammunition for them all.

knirirr said...

They're very good rifles indeed, and very popular on the ranges I visit. I've always found them a bit fiddly and not particularly pleasant to use but evidently I am in the minority.

Glen Filthie said...

Actually boys - a lot of those guns were just plumb worn out. Many showed signs of severe rust - a big problem when you go outside and it's -30C and then come inside and condensation goes to work.

When I was a kid you couldn't give those Enfields away. They would have them out in barrels at the mil surplus store and you would walk up and pick through them like veggies at the market. A pristine 303 would cost maybe $250.00 but your average rack grade gun went for about $125.00. The cool kids would buy them, chop barrels, drill and tap for scopes, and garbage the stocks and replace them with the high gloss sporter stock with the cheezy white line spacers and inlays. Bubba was at the height of his criminal career back then.

As a rifle the kraut Mausers were superior as were your Springfields and Garands. My poor Grandfather nearly swallowed his pipe and shat bricks when he heard I'd swapped off my Enfield for a K98 - but he did acknowledge the practicality of it. Even so, I was on his chit list for awhile. I think he would have really liked you guys.

ASM826 said...

I have a K-98, and can reload for it, too.

For the sake of accuracy, the best of my old rifles is a 1903-A3 Springfield. This is not a fair comparison, as it is late production model and came to me basically unfired, while the others ranged from well used to badly mistreated when I got them.

Yes, the Enfields are worn out, and there are no longer (cheap) spares to fix them. Having one as a collector that you occasionally put some rounds through is far different from carrying one on patrol and trusting your life to it.