The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Canada retires the Lee-Enfield after 114 years of service.

I shamelessly cribbed this from the "National Post".  I didn't know that the Enfield was still in front line service with the Canadians.  I really like the Enfields, I have 2 of them.

They are from front to back, my 303 Enfield, my Springfield 03A3 and my 308 Enfield. 
My Enfield was made at the Ishapore Royal Armory in India in January 1945, She is a  Number 1 Mark III.  My other Enfield is a "308" enfield made in 1968 for the Indian Police.  Both were made in the same arsenal.  I thought that was pretty neat.

I have copied the entire article through the magic of "Cut and Paste".  I thought that this was a really cool article for us people that like history and rifles.  I am using "Chrome" to do this article. so the fonts are a bit different.
It has killed Germans in two world wars, shown up on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict and has turned up in the hands of Taliban fighters. Easily one of the deadliest rifles in history, it once protected nearly 50 national armies.
Canadians carried it on D-Day, at Vimy Ridge, through Ortona and in the defence of Kapyong.
Now, after 114 years, the Canadian Armed Forces is becoming the last national military in the world to retire the Lee-Enfield rifle from front-line service.
They even put the gun on their official badge. Wikimedia Commons
Since 1947 the Lee-Enfield has remained the main service weapon of the Canadian Rangers, a part-time force mainly devoted to Arctic patrols. This week, the Canadian Rangers began replacement of their Lee-Enfields with the specially commissioned Colt Canada C19.
Unlike many other antique items in the Canadian military, the Lee-Enfield didn’t hang on for so long out of apathy or tight budgets. Rather, it’s because it’s still one of the best guns to carry above the tree line.
The Lee-Enfield’s powerful .303 cartridge was famous for killing enemy soldiers with one shot, and it’s equally good at stopping a charging polar bear.
Its wood stock makes it uniquely resistant to cracking or splitting in extreme cold. The rifle is also bolt-action, meaning that every shot must be manually pushed into place by the shooter. This makes for slower firing, but it also leaves the Lee-Enfield with as few moving parts as possible.
“The more complicated a rifle gets … the more prone you are to problems with parts breaking or jamming in a harsh environment,” said Eric Fernberg, an arms collection specialist at the Canadian War Museum.
“It might seem old-fashioned … (but) the retention of the Lee-Enfield by the Canadian Rangers was a wise choice for their role and environment.”
In this 2016 photo from Whitehorse, Yukon, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is greeted by Canadian Rangers and Junior Rangers carrying Lee-Enfields. Photo by Mark Large - Pool/Getty Images
The Lee-Enfield was developed as a standard-issue British infantry weapon at the close of the 19th century. Given that this was the height of the British Empire, the gun was soon being used to arm troops in virtually every corner of the globe.
“It has been used in every conceivable theatre of war … and its high build quality and tough construction made it all but indestructible,” wrote the historian Martin Pegler in a book about the Lee-Enfield.
And while it can’t shoot as fast as modern automatic rifles, a well-trained British soldier could fire and reload quick enough to squeeze off 30 rounds per minute from a Lee-Enfield.
Two First World War Canadian soldiers wearing gas masks examining a Lee-Enfield rifle.Library and Archives Canada
Canadian militias first picked up an early version of the Lee-Enfield in 1896 and Canadian volunteers would carry them in the Boer War. The more familiar short-muzzled Lee-Enfield came out in 1904.
When the First World War broke out, Canadians initially went into battle carrying the Canadian-made Ross Rifle. However, the Ross was so prone to malfunction that Canadians were soon scavenging Lee-Enfields from dead British soldiers.
From then on, the Lee-Enfield remained the weapon of choice for Canadian soldiers right up until the 1950s. Of the more than 118,000 Canadians who have been killed in foreign wars, most would have been issued a Lee-Enfield.
Although Brits stopped using the Lee-Enfield right around the time they dissolved the Empire, the Lee-Enfield became the English-speaking world’s version of the ubiquitous Soviet-made AK-47. With thousands of the rifles turned over to the surplus market after the Second World War, they were soon making cameo appearances in dozens of conflicts, skirmishes and civil wars.
Canadian Ranger Ernestine Karlik armed with a Lee-Enfield in 2014. Pamela Roth/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency
Lee-Enfields were wielded by IRA terrorists in The Troubles. They were among the mish-mash of guns that Israelis used to fend off Arab armies in 1948. Bangladeshis used them to gain independence from Pakistan.
In the 1980s, the United States funnelled massive shipments of antique Lee-Enfields to Afghanistan for use by Mujahedeen fighters against the Soviet Union. It’s for this reason that Lee-Enfields continue to show up in the hands of Taliban fighters, often as a sniper rifle.
In 2010, writer C.J. Chivers analyzed a cache of weapons seized from the Taliban and found a British-made Lee-Enfield from 1915.
And while they were no longer taken by uniformed soldiers into battle, Lee-Enfields are still in the arsenals of several police forces in the developing world.
In Canada the guns had a more peaceful afterlife as a hunting rifle. Cheap and able to fell large game, Lee-Enfields are responsible for the antlers and taxidermied animal heads on countless Canadian roadhouses. “No other rifle could be more reliable,” reads one glowing review of the Lee-Enfield published in March.
Orillia Legion Public Relations Officer, Colin Wackett sit with a Lee-Enfield rifle that was donated to the Legion by the family of WWI veteran Joseph Leyland. Postmedia File
This was part of the reason why the rifle was an easy choice for the Canadian Rangers in the first place; it was a gun that most Northern hunters already trusted.
“A lot of us grew up using the old .303s … it was a good gun, it was a gun you could depend on,” Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod told CBC this week.
It’s a testament to the Lee-Enfield’s reliability that replacement is strikingly similar.
The Colt Canada C19 is still bolt-action, still has a wood stock and still fires 10 shots. The main differences are that it’s lighter, more accurate and has several cold weather modifications, such as a larger trigger guard to accommodate gloved hands.
Although the Lee-Enfield spent years as one of the cheaper offerings in Canadian gun shops, the rifle’s advancing age and increasing rarity has recently caused it to climb in price.
Some current listings for used Lee-Enfields put the gun at between $700 and $900 — a price comparable to a brand new higher-end bolt-action rifle
However, the gun’s retirement from the Canadian Rangers will mark the final time that a major batch of Lee-Enfields will be released to the private market.
According to the Department of Defence, some 9,500 will be turned over to cadets for use in target practice while 5,000 will be offered as gifts to Canadian Rangers holding valid gun licences.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper shoots .303 Lee Enfield rifle’s in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick


  1. It's nice that the Canadian government will offer them to the Rangers.
    And in the review picture above, I thought, "What's Putin doing talking to Willie Nelson? And why is Willie dressed in red and holding a rifle?"

    1. Hey Old 1811;

      Yes it is a good thing, they ain't going to scrap them like the British and the Australians did.

  2. The Canadians have also purchased a bunch of Ruger all weather Hawkeyes in a folding stock. Pretty nifty.

    1. Hey Mack;

      Didn't know that, the Ruger in folding stock would be a good "north 40" gun easy to operate and it IS a Ruger

  3. I've been pushing the Enfield for the perfect survivalist rifle for near twenty years, until the prices went crazy as the supply dried up. Glad I have my collection of no.4's with no.9 bayonets. Now all the choices are poor or expensive.

    1. Hey James;

      I know the feeling, I bought my rifles during the "Salad" days in the mid 90's and the wife squawked big time. But I am glad that I did, have a piece of history, and I wish I could have bought a few more :)

    2. I agree. If I had to choose one rifle for survival it would probably be my Lee Enfield No.4. I think that I paid less than $100 for it sometime around 2003. During that period of time the average gun show attendee was far more interested in fashionable toys like the AR 15 (and closely related kin) as well as the AK-47. With the possible exception of the already overpriced M1903 Springfield, "obsolete" bolt action military small arms were still being largely ignored.

  4. I've always liked Enfields and have a few in my collection. It;s good they're letting the Rangers purchase some and sending the rest to the cadets rather than to the smelters. Of course, if they ever allow some to be exported, I wouldn't mind adding one with such history to my collection.

    1. Hey Aaron;

      Yeah I know the feeling, but I am afraid the price will be kinda high because of what it is, but if I score the lottery I would get a couple.

  5. I love my No.4, but $700???? Glad I got mine already.

    1. Hey Borepatch;

      Agreed, I bought my back in the 90's for $70, wish I had bought more of them, but back then it was the "salad" days and money was tight. I am lucky to have what I have.

  6. To think, I thought I'd made out selling my #4 Mk I* for $200; having bought it for $75.

  7. I was 16 years old and driving my first vehicle, a 1948 Jeepster. I stopped in to my favorite Army-Navy store one day and saw a metal garbage can, you know a 33 gallon galvanized can...and it was full of Lee Enfields. I went through a bunch of them and saw many only had one groove. So, I kept looking and finally found one with seven grooves, I think. It's been awhile since I have looked. I bought it for $15.00 and brought it home. That was before the first bad gun laws were passed. I still have that old thing. It is well lubed up and protected, but maybe it's time to clean her out and run a box of shells through it's bore. Mine is a 303 and one straight shooter. Once I got used to the iron sights, I could drive nails at 100 yards and keep a two inch pattern at 300 yards.

    1. Hey Larry

      Thank you for commenting on my post. I am glad I have what I have, but I wish I could buy a couple more. Once I get some more 303, I will take the rifle out for another spin :)

  8. My German father served in The Reichsmarine until the Brits sank his ship and saved his butt from a worse fate. He had an Enfield for years and considered it the best general purpose rifle around.

    My son inherited it and uses it for iron sights deer hunting here in Alberta.

    It really is a great weapon.


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