View Full Version : Help me out guys/gals...I am looking at the .303

February 22, 2000, 02:19 PM
Hi there,
Recently found TFL(thank god this site is great :)) and my first post in Rifle section.

I am looking at buying a .303 yep just like the Aussie's and Brits used throughout WW's and Malaya.
My questions
1. What should one pay for a good example?
2. How accurate are these guns (I like accuracy :) )?
3. What does ammo cost and is it readily available?
4. The good the bad and the ugly on the .303?
All comments welcome, after all I'm researching to make an educated purchase !!


February 22, 2000, 02:53 PM
I picked up a LeeEnfield 1943 or 44 manufacture for $90. I've found ammunition to be not that expensive and redilly available. I bought my first box at Wal-Mart of all places.
It's an absurdly rugged gun designed to work well as a club. It's accuracy is not sub-MOA, but I'm not a sniper. I enjoy the rifle on my off-duty relaxation shooting sessions.
Get one! Leave it in original condition and practice with it.
You can find magazines and acutrements for it in SGN.

James K
February 22, 2000, 05:17 PM
There are two basic versions available, the Rifle No.1 (usually in the Mk III version) and the Rifle No. 4 Mk 1. The No. 1 goes back to before WWI, and many have historical value. Most have seen lots of use and show it. The have mid-barrel sights.

The No. 4 was made just before and through WWII. It is a stronger rifle and much more rugged, with receiver peep sights. The No. 4 is also more accurate. The latest version, the No. 4 Mk 2, has a better trigger setup, but is otherwise identical to the Mk 1.

There is a short barrel Rifle No. 5, commonly called the "Jungle Carbine" but there are so many fakes that you should not pay any collector price for a "Jungle Carbine" unless you know what you are getting. Many are cut down No.4s.

There is also an India-made version of the No. 1 rifle, in 7.62 (.308), which has proven to be pretty good. These also have been cut down to "JC" dimensions.

All these are good, solid rifles and both the .303 and .308 are hard-hitting cartridges. Some folks who have been playing with AKs and AR-15s, have found full power military rifles (in the words of one guy) "awesome".


Desert Dog
February 22, 2000, 06:16 PM
Own a classic. The Enfield is a piece of military history, no matter what model you purchase, just make sure the headspace is not excessive.

I have a 1967 2A1 Ishapore, chambered in .308. It shoots 1.5" groups at 100 yards, and is a total blast.

You should be able to pick up a good example for $80-$150.

"No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority" - Thomas Jefferson

February 22, 2000, 06:32 PM
Welcome to TFL Hayden. The old British .303 brings back found memories for me. I sporterized one that served as my first deer rifle. My only comlpaint would be the difficulty in reaching the safety when the weapon is "cocked". Other wise they are an excellent rifle. You may want to check the prices of those offered by Navy Arms advertised in Gun List.


We live in a time in which attitudes and deeds once respected as courageous and honorable are now scorned as being antiquated and subversive.

February 22, 2000, 09:22 PM
Thanks for the information.
I am a Australian implanted in the USA permantely and after personally witnessing the disarmament of OZ I am making the most of living in the US :)
The .303 is a great looking rifle in my opinion and I will be sure to pick one up soon.
Couple of other questions for you all if you dont mind.
1. What are the main things to look for buying one of these olderrrrrr guns?
2. Some one mentioned parts and magazines from SGN excuse the ingnorance SGN=?
3. I dont want to blow the budget on ammo ie:
I just bought a .22 because the .45 was getting a little expensive to shoot every weekend :) so .303 vs .308 cost effectiveness?
4. sort of a follow up to Q.3 I need to get into handloading is it viable to handload the .303 cheaply?
Thanks all
Geez I just re read this I must sound like a cheap skate!! I guess its still all fairly cheap entertainment...

February 23, 2000, 12:03 AM
A good place for info on ammo & handloading is Steve Redgwell's www.303British.com (http://www3.sympatico.ca/shooters/303Page.htm) page (yours truly even gets a credit for a 174gr handload, my sole claim to fame on the internet). For Lee-Enfield history check out the Enfield Rifle Site (http://www.geocities.com/lee_enfield_rifles/). For talk there's the Lee-Enfield Collector's Forum (http://www.gunandknife.com/cgi-bin/boards/enfconfig.pl).

IMO for a shooter the No4 Mk2 (http://www.geocities.com/lee_enfield_rifles/No4Mk2.html) is the one to get. The Mk2s were made after WWII with all the best materials & craftsmanship lavished on them that the wartime rifles didn't have. Many were made in the mid 1950s after the Korean War and immediately put in storage in Northern Ireland. When the Brits and the IRA were making all friendly a few years back these rifles were sold off to us Yanks.

I remember seeing them about 4 years ago at gunshows for $200 new-in-the-wrapper with matching bayonet. As usual I missed the boat, but picked one up about 2 1/2 years ago for $225 at a small table, perfect bore, cosmetics slightly less than pristine but still 99%. I see these Irish Mk 2s at shows all the time for under $250 in excellent condition.

Accuracy wise the Mk 2 holds it own. With open sights it hangs right in there with my AR-15A2, M1A, and rack grade M1 Garands. 3" groups rapid fire at 100 yds are no problem. Under 2" if you bench'n bag it. The rifle is totally stock. There's lots of cheap Greek surplus ammo around right now, good stuff, non-corrosive, and reloadable.

The old say is: The German M98 Mauser is the world's best sporting rifle, the American 1903 Springfield the world's best sniper rifle, and the British Lee-Enfield the world's best battle rifle.

G'day mate. -- Kernel

ps. SGN = Shot Gun News. A guns, ammo, & militaria classifieds magazine.

[This message has been edited by Kernel (edited February 23, 2000).]

February 23, 2000, 01:03 AM
Kernal wrote:
"The old saying is: The German M98 Mauser is the world's best sporting rifle, the American 1903 Springfield the world's best sniper rifle, and the British Lee-Enfield the world's best battle rifle."
If that is the case Kernal, how would they class the M1 Garand? I mean the three rifles you mention are superb examples of design and function but the advantage of a semi- auto action can't be denied


"Molon Labe"- Leonidas to Xerxes at Thermopile

[This message has been edited by Mordwyn.45 (edited February 23, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Mordwyn.45 (edited February 23, 2000).]

February 23, 2000, 11:08 AM
I'd like to echo the idea of getting a No4 Mk2 rifle. They are the newest of the Enfields, and didn't go through any wars, so they are almost all in excellent condition. You should be able to find one for under $175. Maybe as low as $125 if you get lucky.

If you want one that has been through a war and is still in nice condition, the No4 Mk1 rifles (WW II vintage) are a good choice. You can get these rifles made in England, Canada, and the US. Or you can get a No1 rifle made in Australia (during WW II) called a Lithgow.

For 303 ammo, get your stuff mail order. Most of the best deals come from a few milsurp companies. For a list of these companies, check Shotgun News, or go to http://www.mosin-nagant.net/


February 23, 2000, 11:55 AM
I believe the saying above was coined many years before the first M1 Garand (http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/m1rifle.html) saw the light of day. Probably before the first salvos of W.W.I were even fired. Of course we know the M1 Rifle is superlative in all three areas.

Because of the semi-auto Garand and full auto BAR, in W.W.II an American rifle squad had about the same firepower as a German company (minus their crew served MG-42s, of course) -- Kernel

"In my opinion, the M1 Rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised."
LGEN George S. Patton, Jr.

February 23, 2000, 12:36 PM
Thanks guys appreciate all the advise and thanks to Kernel great site with tons of info. I really enjoyed the wood finishing section. (Dishwasher etc :) )
I will shop around and let you guys know what I get.

Danger Dave
February 23, 2000, 01:04 PM
For WWII era Enfields, the #4 Mk1* (the asterisk is part of the designation) are probably the best. They were made in Canada, like the Inglis Hi-Power. You can still find them in great shape for $100-$150 (or you could the last time I bought one).

February 23, 2000, 05:59 PM
Mine was $135, but now I need a #3 bolt face to correct headspace. I cannot find one anywhere.

February 24, 2000, 01:57 AM
I went to the local sporting goods store today and they have 3 MK4 NO2's
2 are $89 the other is $139
$139 rifle seems to be in excellent condition
$89 rifles look ok but the wood is seriously banged up.
Will wait and check my favourite store and then make the purchase .
Thanks again

February 24, 2000, 09:02 AM
Hayden, one thing to check for are the "matching numbers". Most of the major pieces (bolt, trigger group, bayonet, rear sight, ect.) will be marked with the last two numbers of the serial number on the receiver. Matching numbers make the gun more valuable and help ensure that all the parts are properly fitted and the headspace is correct. -- Kernel

Nestor Rivera
February 24, 2000, 05:20 PM
If you see one with FTR that is Factory Through Repair or in US terms Arsenal Rebuilt
I have a very nice No4 MKI* that was FTR'ed in 54 even the stock was serial numbered.

I like the .303 it is also nice that the .311 bullet also works in my M-N's and SKS

February 25, 2000, 12:51 AM
But with out the MG-42s you do not have a german company. The riflemen where for MG support not the other way around as in our army. They needed the garand in a bad way.
The No 4 Mk 1 is probably the most practical and solid of the Lee types. Less sloppy chambers and less receiver streching. The best of them all is the P-14 enfield by far. US army considered the 30-06 version a better battle rifle than the springfield.

Harley Nolden
February 25, 2000, 06:17 AM
This may clear up any other questions regarding the SMLE:

If you need the assem/disassem instructions I have them also.

Lee Enfield, Lee-Metford, Remington Lee


Rifle #1 Sniper Rifle Mk3 Ht
Manufacture: Royal Austrian, Lithgow,
New South Wales
Year of Manufacture 1944-46
Action: #1 Mk3
Caliber: .303 Rimmed
Length: 44.56"
Weight: 10.30lb
Barrel Length: 25.19"
Grooves: 5 LH concentric
Magazine: 10 Box (detach)
M-Velocity: 2,440fps W/Mk-VII ball


Lee Burtons:

Developed in the USA, then perfected in the USA and Britain. These guns were service issue in Britain an the British Empire. They were also issued in many former colonies after independence had bee gained, India & Pakistan. Lee Enfield were also used in Irag and the Irish Free State, Eire, prior to 1939. Others were sold to Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Thailand, and turkey in the post 1945 era.

The first turn bolt designs, with a single locking lug, sold in small numbers to factions in South and Central America. An improved two lug mechanism was then perfected in Britain, where
the .303 Magazine Rifle MkI )lee-Metford), was adopted for military service in 1888

Prior to 1939 the Australian forces were armed with standard SMLE Mks III and III* (No 1) MkIII and No 1 MkIII*) Rifles made in a government factory that had been established in Lithgow, New South Wales, 1n 1912. These guns were dated from 1913-1929, 1938-
1945, and 1953-1956.


Indicators for year of manufacture:

V.R. (Victoria Regina) 1888-1901
E.R. (Edwardius Rex) 1901-1910
G.R. (Georgius Rex) 1910-1936
E.R. (Elizabeth Regina) 1952 to Date

Manufacturer Marks:

Royal Small Arms Factory Enfield Enfield (EFD)
Birmingham Small Arms B.S.A. & AM Co
London Small Arms L.S.A orL.S.A. Ltd
Vickers V.S.M.
Standard Small Arms S.S.A.
National Rifle Factory N.R.F.

NO.1 Mark III Short Lee Enfield.
Adopted: 1907
Cal: .303
Length: 44.5"
Wt: 8.6lb
Action: Turnbolt
Bolt: 2 Piece non rotating head
Mag: Detach Bx. Stagg. Column
Capacity: 10 rnds
Bbl length: 25.2"
Bore Dia: .303"
Twist: Left
Rate: 10"

Basic British rifle of WWI and used to some extent in WWII. Over 2,000,000 made by Enfield. B.S.A. made over one million during the same period.

Note: Savage also made a rifle for the .303 British cartridge however, the Brits called it the .301 Savage to distinguish it between the .303 British round.

Rifle No. 4, MARK 1:
Adopted in November 1939. This rifle was the main British service rifle in WWII. Simplified for manufacture, the No. 4 has the heavy barrel, smaller bolt head, rear sight mounted on the receiver bridge, lightened nose cap, projecting barrel with lugs for spike type bayonet and front sight mounted on heavy band with protecting ears, similar to the Mark IV. The receiver is stronger and heavier that of the No 1's. The No 4 Mark 1 has been made with four different patterns of rear sights varying from finely machined adjustable leaf to "L" types and six patterns of bayonets are usable on the weapon. This rifle was made by B.S.A., Maltby, and Fazakerly. B.S.A. production of this rifle wand the No. 4 Mark 1 (T) was over 1,000,000 from 1940 to 1945. The No 4 Mark 1 was also made for sometime at the Stevens Arms branch of Savage Arms Corp. at Chicopee Falls, Mass., and Long Branch before production of the No 4 Mark 1*


[This message has been edited by Harley Nolden (edited February 25, 2000).]

February 25, 2000, 12:52 PM

Granted. But... an American Rifle Company wouldn't be complete without a flight of P-47s circling overhead. -- Kernel

February 26, 2000, 06:10 AM
Try them for good quality Enfields.


February 26, 2000, 04:34 PM
No4Mk1*: you might try Springfield Sporters [(724)254-2626] for that bolt head.

You might also try Sarco (908)647-3800.

Here are some Enfield parts sources, curtesy of Alaska Enfield Hq: