The RCR Association Photographic Database

General Category => The Boer War => Topic started by: Mike Blais CD on April 24, 2009, 09:51:03 am



Title: The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle
Post by: Mike Blais CD on April 24, 2009, 09:51:03 am
The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle


(http://i660.photobucket.com/albums/uu322/MLBlaisRCR/weaponology/Lee-Enfield_303_Mk_I_Rifle1.jpg)

Boer War Photo, Private Harry Dougall Black of 2 RCRI poses for a studio shot with his Mark 1 Lee-Enfield rifle. Its bayonet can be seen suspended from the waistbelt over the left hip. CWM AN19710128-004

The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I was introduced into the British Army in 1895 and in Canada the year following. It replaced the Lee-Metford, which had been the standard issue firearm since 1889. The latter was a magazine-fed repeating rifle, but it fired cartridges using black powder which emitted smoke when fired that gave away the rifleman's position. In 1891, the British first produced cordite a propellant that burned cleanly without emitting smoke. It also generated more heat, however, which wore out the Lee-Metford's rifling system of seven shallow grooves. A new rifling system was developed at the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, consisting of five deep grooves that could withstand the intense heat generated by the cordite. The result was the .303 Lee-Enfield Mk. I rifle, in all respects identical to the Lee-Metford except for the rifling.

The new rifle, which the Canadian troops took with them to South Africa, weighed a rather heavy 4.3 kilograms (nine and a half pounds) and had a range of 1,645 metres. The magazine could hold ten rounds, but it lacked a clip or charger, which meant that when expended, it had to be reloaded a single round at a time.

Improved versions of the durable Lee-Enfield went on to serve as the standard rifle of the British Empire/Commonwealth during the First and Second World Wars.


Title: Re: The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle
Post by: Mike Blais CD on April 24, 2009, 08:23:05 pm
(http://i660.photobucket.com/albums/uu322/MLBlaisRCR/weaponology/enfield2.jpg)


Title: Re: The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle
Post by: aldi on July 08, 2009, 09:40:07 am
The final version of the .303 Lee-Enfield, the Mk.4 No.1*(Number One Star) was a great soldier's weapon.  Once you got over the novelty of the FNC1, many of us came to miss it.  Rugged, perfectly balanced, and a natural fit to the shoulder cup.  It's only drawback was the rimmed cartridge; the magazine had to be loaded rim-on-rim or there would be an inevitable jam.  I liked this rifle so much that my civilian rifle was the jungle carbine version -- shorter barrel, reduced forestock, bell-shaped flash protector -- but in all other respects the same as the standard issue rifle.  aldi 


Title: Re: The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle
Post by: rong on July 08, 2009, 01:41:33 pm
Interesting  about your civvie weapon.. thanks , rong


Title: Re: The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle
Post by: aldi on August 08, 2009, 07:06:01 pm
More Lee Enfield stuff . . . the rifle was also carried by Canadian soldiers in Korea and early in the NATO deployment to Germany in the 1950s.  Later versions WERE able to take a clip, using the guide visible in the photo just ahead of the folded rear sight.  Ammunition came in canvas bandoliers with pockets holding two five-round clips, each properly loaded rim-on-rim, and you tore open a pocket, took out a clip, slotted it into the guide, pushed down on the top round with your thumb to seat five rounds in the mag, discarded the clip and loaded another one.  The magazine could also be detached, using the little lever inside the trigger guard ahead of the trigger, but that was rarely done.  The final versions of the rifle came with a spike bayonet, rather than the blade shown in the photo.  The 'fix bayonet' drill movement with the blade-type was difficult because there was little material to grasp and bayonets were often dropped, sending the miscreant to the awkward squad for remedial training.  aldi.


Title: Re: The Lee-Enfield .303 Mk. I Rifle
Post by: aldi on August 08, 2009, 07:13:05 pm
Oops, sorry.  I meant 'spike-type' bayonet, although the blade bayonet in the photo clearly suffered from the same lack of material to grasp when fixing bayonets. aldi