Tag Archives: Enfield .303

A look at the ‘Mad Minute’

A typical Tommy of the BEF’s original 1914, “The Old Contemptibles.” Not to be trifled with.

While slow, aimed, and deliberate fire was preferred– early SMLEs had magazine cut-off switches to leave the 10-rounds in the magazine as a sort of emergency reserve, forcing users to hand-feed single cartridges into the chamber as they went– the average “Tommy” was trained to deliver rapid-fire when needed, topped off by 5-shot charging clips.

As described in the British musketry regulations of the day, a trained rifleman should be able to lay down between 12 and 15 rounds in a minute, accurately.

In practice, the “Mad Minute” drill on the range became a standard of Commonwealth infantry for almost a half-century, with Australian troops still documented as carrying it out in the 1950s just before the Enfield was replaced with inch-pattern semi-auto FN FALs. Surpassing the 12-15 round minimum mark, some were able to squeeze in over 20 rounds in the same allotted time. One riflery instructor, Sergeant Alfred Snoxall, was credited with being able to deliver an amazing 38 hits on target with his Enfield in a one-minute period.

You see the Sergeant on the left, with an eye peeled for cockups? He will make sure your musketry is correct and by the book.

More in my column at Guns.com.

A Canadian highlander picking his shots in spaghetti land

Private J.E. McPhee of (Canadian) Seaforth Highlanders, Foiano, Italy, 6 October 1943– 74 years ago today.

A sniper, McPhee is equipped with the excellent Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1 (T). Chosen for accuracy, reworked, rebedded and custom stocked by Holland & Holland, these rifles and their 3.5x fixed scope were considered by many to be the best sniper rifles of the WWII era. The design, reworked in 7.62x51mm NATO in the 1960s, persisted as the L42A1 and remained in service with the British well through the 1990s.

An excellent example of a late-WWII British Enfield No.4 Mk I (T) sniper rifle fitted with the correct and matching No 32 MKIII scope that is marked on top of the tube “TEL.STG.No 32 MKII/O.S. 2039 A/A.K&S No17285/1944/broad arrow”, with the rings numbered 12 on the rear set with 13 and 15 on the front set. The mounting bracket is stamped with the matching serial number (E34422), and the scope number is correctly stamped on top of the pistol grip in front of the cheekpiece.with matching No. 8 Mark I metal scope can numbered to match the rifle and scope. Via RIA

As for the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, they endure today as a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Army based in Vancouver, BC; as a part of 39 Canadian Brigade Group, 3rd Canadian Division. They recently served in Afghanistan, where no doubt their snipers came in very handy.

Rangers can still make their Enfields sing

With their vintage .303 No. 4 Lee Enfield rifles being phased out, the part-time soldiers of the Canadian Rangers are standing tall at the Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration.

The military shooting competition, in which some 450 shooters from Canada’s Regular Force and Primary Reserve, Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and teams from the United Kingdom and the United States are competing, was first organized back in 1868.

Held from September 5 to 17 at the Connaught Ranges and Primary Training Centre in Ottawa, it will be one of the final competitive shooting competitions in which the Canadian Rangers will use the Enfield, which is being replaced by the Sako/Colt Canada T3 CTR (Compact Tactical Rifle) rifle in .308.

While the Canucks plan to destroy surplus Enfields left after the conversion, those Rangers currently with them will be gifted their guns.

(Photos: Corporal Doug Burke/Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center)

Note the Enfield competition belts to hold spare mags (Photos: Corporal Doug Burke/Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center)

(Photos: Corporal Doug Burke/Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center)

(Photos: Corporal Doug Burke/Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center)

The below video from the Canadian Army, which shows some No. 4s at work at the Small Arms Concentration, details Sergeant Cyril Abbott of the 5th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. Abbott served 20 years active with the Black Watch and 2 RCR, and has spent the past 32 years with the Rangers, giving him an impressive 52 years with the Colours.