Next on the list is a No.4 Enfield 303 rifle. This was the work horse of the British forces in WW2. I understand they had a sniper version that served them well for several decades later. They have a boatload of models and variants, from cheap to very expensive for collectors. I personally have been a fan of the looks of the #5 Jungle carbine. A shortened version designed for fighting in the pacific on the islands, it looks cool. If you think about this rifle it feeds from a 10 round detachable box mag. So at the time this old lady had double the mag capacity and a faster reload than other country’s rifles did. I also regularly see 308 Winchester Enfields, they mostly seem to come from India, reworks from the Ishapore weapons factory. There’s one at my dealer now but it’s almost 400$ and the point of this surplus rifles section was to try to do it cheaply.
So my particular rifle, I got it from John (the main man) at Johnsons Sporting Goods in Adrian Michigan. A great bunch of guys work there and service and knowledge is 2’nd to none of any shop I have ever been in. I usually deal with my man Smitty but he was off and I mentioned Enfields to John and he had a nice one tucked away in the back for himself. He was kind enough to let me have it instead. He sold it too me for 180$. I was very pleased. Thanks John.
So the old girl is a #4 MK 1/2. Chambered in 303, I think rebuilt a few times, I have dates ranging from 1942, 1953, 1956 and 1964. So definitely she’s had some parts replacing done. The only 2 numbers that do match is an electric pencil number on the receiver and on the magazine, so I’m sure that was added MUCH later in her life. I can’t see the original mag still being with it since 1942. Most of the finish is still there and the stock is solid with just your normal military rifle gouges and dents, not bad, I call that “character”. That’s what it gives the rifle, it’s just enough abuse to make her look good if you know what I’m saying. The rear sight can be flipped up and is very precise. Flipped down it is a larger peep sight, I’d say for faster combat shots from I’d guess 200 yards and closer. I don’t see a windage adjustment except for the punch and hammer with the front sight drift routine. The action is what you would expect from an old warhorse, a tad rickety but solid enough I have all the confidence in its strength. It takes a bit of a push to close the bolt during your cycle. A pretty hefty hammer spring in there it feels like. The trigger has a lot of slop in it, once you finally get to wear it breaks it’s heavy and gritty. Not the best for sure. We’ll see what she does on the range soon as I haven’t ever fired her. Last my Old Gramps brought back quite a few guns and bayonets from WW2. In his collection was a spike bayonet for this rifle and I have it stuck on the end.
The 303 cartridge is in production from Federal, Hornady and Winchester to name some good ones. The 150 grain 303 Hornady has about 2400lbs of muzzle energy, comparatively, the 30’06 150 Hornady has 2820 lbs and the 308 150 grain has 2620 lbs, so it’s a bit weaker but still plenty of thump there. Today I am using the cheap stuff, Sellier an Bellot, $18 a box of 20. 180 grain ball at 2438fps making 2382 lbs of muzzle energy. I will be firing in the prone position off my pack, no sling to steady or anything else. Here we go.
Ok, just back in from shooting the old girl, good news, actually it’s borderline awesome news. The action was easier to work with ammo than expected, the trigger while heavy wasn’t the end of the world as you can see from the group. The recoil was really nothing much. The mag did require me to get out a set of channel locks and bend it a bit to hold the shells in, no big deal. So look at the group, 1.5 inches on the nose at its widest spot. The windage is EXACTLY on and it just shot 2 and 1/4 inch low center. EXCELLENT!! Now consider this, it was mid grade ammo, I didn’t end up shooting prone and no pack for a rest. I plopped it on the hood of my jeep and fired that way, no nothing for support or holding more steady and last but not least the jeep was running so I had a slight vibration from the hood. Considering all that I bet a paycheck with a sling and a better position with some premium ammo this old girl will shoot at, if not under 1 inch, that’s what I predict. It shot wonderfully!!
So there we go, for $198 (180 gun/18 shells) you have a solid hunting/target rifle that I would bet is capable of MOA groups, while we didn’t quite pull it off today I did have everything working against me for it. All things considered there is NO room to complain. Need a rifle on a budget?? Look no further.
As always thanks for reading and happy shooting.
By: Cary Kieffer