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Old August 30, 2007, 11:17 PM   #1
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303 Enfeild VS K98 Mauser

anyone have any takes on either a 303 enfeild or a K98? i have a K98 and planing on picking up an enfeild on monday. i just want to know which one is the beter shooter and what people like and dont like about them.
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Old August 31, 2007, 08:25 AM   #2
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98 0r smle

Naturally, I love the 98 for conversion but the SMLE No. 4 Mk -- was the best battle rifle fielded in WWII and the bullet was most feared by German troops.
The No. 4 marks were overall probably the most accurate due to the "floating" bbl. (lots of them didn't float)
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Old August 31, 2007, 10:30 AM   #3
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Agree with Harry on the Enfield for accuracy potential. The Mauser 98 actions are a little "whippy" and take more effort in the form of blueprinting and bedding technique to make shoot well, unless you get lucky.

I suspect Harry will get some argument from Garand fans on which was the best WW II battle rifle? The Brits will, no doubt, give the nod to the Enfield.
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Old August 31, 2007, 12:22 PM   #4
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Somewhere I read a comparison between the M1903 Springfield, the Kar98, and the no. I MK 4. In it they stated that the Americans had adopted a target rifle, the Germans adopted a hunting rifle, and the Brits had adopted a battle rifle. Seems right to me.
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Old August 31, 2007, 01:47 PM   #5
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K-98 Hands down.

I have owned probably a dozen SMLE rifles. I always thought they were really neat and got my first one when I was 14. I have yet to see one that would shoot angle of barn! They are relatively difficult to clean and if you take one down to it's component parts, you will likely find small shims here and there the British armorer placed under the hand guards. They are there because they were trying to fix the rifles wondering zero.

I have 2 Turkish Mausers and each one of them will hold 4 MOA with cheap Romanian ammo. I have a "98 LaCaruna that has been drilled and tapped that with a good scope will shoot 10 rounds of 8X57 into a 2 inch circle at 100 yards. I have another FN Mauser that has been rebarreled to .25-06 and shoots into 1 MOA with my handloads. Try that with a SMLE.

"Better" is a subjective thing, but one way to tell which is more popular is to look at how many after market products (triggers, stocks, springs, firing pins, etc.) are available.

As far as the "best" WWII rifle, I vote for the following:

1. M-1 Garand
2. K-98 Mauser
3. M-91 Moisin Nagant
4. Type 99 Arisaka

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Old August 31, 2007, 05:02 PM   #6
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There is one big factor in favour of the SMLE:
The stock can be changed for a different length.
Regardless of how accurate a rifle is, if it does not fit, it will not be the rifle for you. In this regard the SMLE has the advantage. Accuracy wise, from a ammo perspective, I really do not think there is a big difference, especially not if you reload.

Buy one and have fun.
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Old August 31, 2007, 05:27 PM   #7
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Lots of surplus 8MM ammo available right now, surp. 303 is hit or miss round here whether there is any, and often not in quantity. Some imported commercial available though. Not as cheap as surplus. And the SMLE will stretch the cases to fill the chamber quite alot, but I suppose you can neck size if you reload it. Then again I like different guns from day to day-Garand, MN, SMLE, or Type 99 setting around here. Don't have a 98 anymore. OK but that little metal buttplate hits me harder than the better shaped SMLE butt. But for some reason the similiar M1917 US rifle smacks me hard too, even though it is sort of an Enfield stock design. The 99 and the Swede Mausers are pretty sweet shooters too but the 99 does not feed as nicely as some others.
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Old August 31, 2007, 11:45 PM   #8
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The Lee-Enfield design (including the No.4) has drawbacks. Most, like the flexible action, are undesireable in theory but no problem in practice. One area that did give trouble was the magazine which can get out of order fairly easily. This may be made up for by the larger capacity (10), but it is not as good as the more reliable Mauser-type magazine.

The SMLE is also very fast for a bolt action rifle, the No.4 a bit less so. The story has been repeated ad nauseam of British soldiers with the SMLE "outshooting" Americans with the M1. What is not said is that experienced professional soldiers were competing with green GI's, just out of training. In general practice, the problem with a bolt rifle is not so much firepower, but that rapid firing many rounds results in debilitating fatigue.

Still, if I had to fight with a bolt rifle, I think I would go with the No.4, second, the Mauser, but not the K.98k, which gets too darn hot to hold with its short handguard.

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Old September 1, 2007, 05:30 PM   #9
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thanks for all the replys, i think im defenetly going to get one. i hold my K98 verry dear to me because of my familys history...dont think they were on the right side of the war but hey history is history. my K 98 will be on the wall most of the time just because it is such a perdy rifle. and yes ibfestus i do agree on your placings on the best WW2 rifles but i think the Enfeld and the M91/30 nagants should swap places(i havent been to impressed with the mosins). where would be the best place to get some 303 ammo on the web?
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Old September 1, 2007, 06:01 PM   #10
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Prvi Partizan .303 British in both 174 Gr & 150 Gr.
Or S&B if you do NOT want to reload.
Both about $9.00 a box of 20.

I don't know about other Lee Enfields, but my Savage-built #4 Mk1* will hold 3 MOA with iron sights if I do my part.

(& that's the "bad" one with the 2 groove barrel.)
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Old September 1, 2007, 07:58 PM   #11
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Hmm, someone had some bad Enfields. My cheapo '43 Longbranch No4Mk1* CAN shoot MOA with one of my handloads, and averages 1-2 inches with the rest. Here is a target from 100 yards at Tucson Mountain Park range, after I was getting pretty hot and tired. The last group was horrible, but the one above it was more normal with that handload, not the best by any means.

With Fed 150gr Powerpoint,it does about 3-4 inches at 100 yards, a little high.

It makes an excellent hunting and travel companion. AND, it cost me $50. Hadn't been fired since it was FTR in Faz, way back when.

I have owned a 1903A3a, Mauser 98K, Mosins, but never a Garand. What I have left is the Enfield...both Mosins are up for sale. The Enfield is not.
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Old November 3, 2007, 05:36 PM   #12
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Enfields have great triggers

Adding my 2 cents to this thread, I have a Garand, A MkIV .303 Enfield, two MN's, and an SKS. IMHO the best trigger by far is that on the Brit .303. It is a well built rifle, very accurate. The trigger makes it a pleasure to shoot.
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Old November 3, 2007, 06:48 PM   #13
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I have no idea how I got the wrong pic up there of those cast lead pistol bullets, can't edit now, oops.

Last edited by armoredman; November 3, 2007 at 06:49 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old November 3, 2007, 11:28 PM   #14
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For a battle rifle I would say the Enfield. Far superior rate of fire and accurate enough for combat. Only thing I would have liked is a cock on open design.
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Old November 4, 2007, 03:17 AM   #15
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Well, I cant say AS A WHOLE which is usually more accurate, but I own a K98 and a Savage No.4 MKI, and while the K98 is one of my more accurate milsurps, the Enfield as tied, if not above, my K31 as my most accurate milsurp.I was stunned the first time I took it out.Maybe I just got lucky with mine, but if most Enfields shoot like mine, then they are superb, accuracy-wise for a milsurp.
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Old November 7, 2007, 11:23 PM   #16
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personaly I think the strippers for the .303 is one problem thats always over looked.
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Old November 8, 2007, 02:09 AM   #17
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Lots of threads on "best" bolt battle rifle...

But asking which one is more accurate is a waste of time. ALL the old rifles have been to the wars, in one way or another. ALL have had corrosive ammo shot throuogh them. Some have been arsenal redone and sat in warehouses for 40 years or more. Others have not. And, the ammo you use goes a long way to making the rifle accurate.

I have a 1917 SMLE that shoots under 2" @100yds with Remington core-lokt 180gr .303 British. A friend has a No.4 "converted" into a jungle carbine look alike that shoots about 6-8" groups no matter what you stuff it with.

If you take the time and effort to tailor ammo to the rifle (cast bullets sized to the bore, careful load developement, etc.) you can even get rifles with trashed looking bores to shoot reasonably well. But don't expect to pick up any old rifle and some war surplus ammo and have it be a tack driver.

Actual bore size (groove diameter) can vary ALOT on those old guns, and unless you actually measure and match the ammo to it, accuracy is usually only fair. Sometimes you get lucky, but don't expect miracles.

Also, the "accuracy" of the milsurp guns is affected by how well you can shoot them. Some of the sights are pretty good, others not. Triggers run from horrid to great (within the norms of the military two stage pull), and stock fit plays another part.

All in all, each rifle is an individual, and you may find a great looking example that is a poor shooter, or a beat up one that shoots great, and everything inbetween.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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