Tag Archives: Short Magazine Lee–Enfield

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.

Good rifles never really go out of style, or do they?

Canada’s Rangers in the past few years have just moved to replace their WWII Longbranch Enfields with a new rifle made by Sako (the bolt-action T3 CTR in .308). As the Rangers principal reason for a rifle is to ward off curious polar bears and give Russian paratroopers a *very* brief moment of pause, a bolt gun works for them. Another niche unit that still uses bolt action rifles is the Danish Navy’s sled patrol in Greenland– who use M1917 Enfields and Glock 20s for much the same reason as the Canadians.

But what if you didn’t have to worry about polar bears, and instead swapped them out for legit potential terrorist concerns, and your beat included some 200-million people. That’s the thing in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India. There, apparently, police still use 58,853 British .303-caliber Enfields even though the government said in 1995 they were obsolete and had to be pulled.

In India, it is not uncommon to run across police still armed with WWII-era (or earlier) MkIII Enfields


More in my column at Guns.com