Gun Review – Enfield .303 British Review
Marty from http://TC4.me is starting to look more and more familiar around Haus of Guns. But who can blame us for using him? He’s got great experience, no shortage of words, and a great collection of gear for us to introduce and review!
A couple months ago we expressed our appreciation and love for historical firearms especially rifles that have seen extensive duty in major world conflicts. In that expression, we introduced the newest addition to Marty’s collection in the Lee Enfield 303 British Number 1 Mark 4. It wasn’t an original condition piece, rearsonaled in 1944 at the Long Branch Armory in England, but we got a great deal on it and we like to shoot our battle rifles to see what the fuss was about to begin with.
One of the credits to the Enfield is that it boasts a 10 round removable magazine, one of the first and most functional ever in a bolt action battle rifle. This may not seem like a lot by today’s standards, but considering the American Springfield 03 A1-A1 only held 5 rounds in an internal magazine, this advantage gave the Enfield ultimate staying power allowing it to be the British’s issue rifle of choice for the better part of 50 years.
The 303 British cartridge isn’t smaller than the 7.62 Nato (308 Winchester) by much, but from my personal experience, the recoil feels much less in comparison. Part of that could be how front heavy the Enfield is thanks to an EXTREMELY short Length of Pull (LOP) which is the distance from the trigger to the rear buttstock on the rifle. I’ve found 14+ inches to be ideal for someone my height and though I didn’t measure it I’d venture to guess that it measures at 12 inches or under, which really makes the rifle front heavy, greatly reducing the felt recoil as so much is absorbed in the weight out front.
The sights are a very accurate aperture/peep system which can be flipped up for distance and the trigger and safety are interesting ones. The trigger feel is similar to what you might find on a Mauser K98 with some takeup then a light and clean break on the rear wall. The safety (pictured right) lies on the LEFT side of the bolt action near the rear tang and operates from 10 o’clock (fire) to 12 o’clock (standby) and 3 o’clock (safe) which is contrary to what most Americans will know from their sporting and military bolt rifles. The shorter Length of Pull will affect taller shooters as your cheek weld is further up putting your face near the knuckle on your thumb which can jump at your face in recoil.
Overall it’s a fun shooter with a fast operating bolt, lower recoil and accurate open sights. This rifle has been around so long and is popular enough that ammo is plentiful and sporterizations are many and upgrades available as well.