Lee-Enfield No. 4 Run and Gun

The venerable Lee-Enfield is a favorite to many shooters, and it is very easy to see why. The rifle’s quick action, 10 round capacity, and incredible ruggedness served the Commonwealth well, but how does it compare to other rifles in its class? To see what a good old SMLE is capable of, we hit the range with plenty of .303 in tow.

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The full transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, this is Alex C with TFB TV, and today we’re going to be doing a run and gun with a Lee-Enfield number four made by Birmingham small arms.

The number fours are considered by many to be the, well one of the highest evolutions of the Enfield, as fielded in large numbers, Of course there were specialty Enfields made after the war and whatnot, for purposes such as snipers and what have you, but the number four was designed and issued en masse.

Now part of what makes the number four great is its very slick action.

They are very well renowned for their cyclic rate, as I’m sure most of you guys are aware with Mad Minute and whatnot.

But also their rear sight is very nice.

They’re actually rear aperture-sighted with a 300 yard sight, and you can flip it up to a ladder, that’s adjustable from 200, all the way up to 1,300 yards.

I personally like using the very small aperture when you flip it up set on the lowest setting for close engagement.

Now one thing that does concern me about doing a run and gun is that while the action is fast and slick, reloading from chargers with a rimmed cartridge is always hard no matter what gun you’re doing, as long as it uses a rimmed cartridge in a U-shaped charger.

So let’s see if the slick action of the Enfield will offset the difficulty in loading with chargers.

Now the course I set up consists of 30 rounds with two reloads since the Enfield’s magazine holds 10 rounds.

And of course the first 10 shots are gonna be fired at steel, with the rest fired at an IDPA silhouette.

So let’s see how SMLE does.

All right guys now it’s time to give the old number four a try here on the course.

I gotta admit I’m a little worried about the reloads, cause reloading rimmed cartridges with the stripper clips is a little, but here it goes.

(bolt locking) (rifle shot and metallic ricochet) (grunts) (rounds locking in) (rifle shot) (grunts) (rifle shot) All right let’s go down range and check it out.

All right guys so the first 10 shots we put on the steel this time.

We wanted to engage the steel as far away as possible and switch to the paper up close for obvious reasons.

So we got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight it looks like. Not sure.

It’s kinda hard on this white paint and this target this time.

But, if we move over to the paper silhouette, looks like we got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 13, 14 15, 16, 17.

All in all not bad, 17 shots here on the paper.

I’ll put the totals, hits versus misses, out of 30 shots.

I knew that the stripper clips would give me trouble that is the hold up of the Enfield system.

While it does have magazine capacity of 10 rounds, I think I’ve proven in other videos that I’ve done with rimless ammunition, that just because you have an extra five round capacity doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re gonna reload and shoot faster.

All right so before I anger every Enfield fanboy with my poor performance, I’d like to state that I am in fact an unrepentant Enfield fanboy.

It’s just the combination of rimmed ammunition and charger clips that weren’t really cooperating made it a particularly slow run.

However I was pleased with the accuracy.

26 out of 30 hits is not bad.

I’ve never done a run and gun with this rifle before.

I’ve never shot this on the move before and it was really a lot of fun.

The Enfield’s reputation is well earned as we all know and the number four is just the icing on the cake.

Having the nice sight, the nice action, and it’s a little easier to remove the bolt, which is an added bonus.

But all in all not bad.

Did pretty good I think.

Obviously I would be able to improve, but there were soldiers of empire that definitely would have been able to school me on the proper to do this.

Anways this is Alex C.with TFB TV.

Hope to see you next time.

(classical string orchestra music)



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • HenryV

    The Empire strikes back……..

  • Jim

    Title says “…run and gun.” I didn’t see any running. Maybe try again with movement to cover, or an occational jog (or sprint)? I know its had with those Justins on, but either change the title or start running. (Also, whats up with the tactical squat on the last string?)

    • “Run and Gun” fits easier than “while moving gingerly, fire quickly and then intermittently resume a brisk pace” in youtube titles.

      And I wear Dan Post boots sir. **tips straw stetson**

    • Zebra Dun

      I believe the standard practice was walking fire, not run and gun for actual military formations, bounding and such.

  • LG

    If the situation is really “tight”, grab a Mauser over the SMLE.

  • Riot

    I do love Lee rifles – great action.

  • IRE!

    IRE!

    IIIIIRRRRRRRE!

    • Darkpr0

      D: muh feelingz

    • iksnilol

      Well, lucky it is IRE and not IRA.

  • skusmc

    That shirt though.

  • Tassiebush

    Nice speedy action cycling there! I’ve been eyeing one at my local shop for a while and this video has made it harder to resist.

  • Joe

    When using chargers for a rimmed cartridge like the .303, place the index finger of the loading hand between the first and second bullet, (literally the bullet part of the cartridge), and torque the back of the case down onto the lower 4 rounds. This will greatly assist in rapidly reloading.

    • Bob

      Yes. I do it all the time. Funny thing is that I haven’t seen this done in a Youtube video with a Lee-Enfield, only in Mosin Nagant videos.

  • Heretical Politik

    We need an Enfield vs Garand shoot-off! I have found both more difficult to load than you might think. With the 303 and variable quality clips, the Enfield is inconsistent, and the Garand you have to work against the main action spring.

    • Loading a Garand is easy and I can do it more quickly than I can load an AK or other rock-in mags. Just do it like grandpappy taught you and you’ll be golden (and your thumbs will thank you).

      • Heretical Politik

        Shooting in my family skipped a generation, unfortunately, and my Grandfather was never allowed to take me out to the range before he passed. I suppose I just need practice… It’s clear to me all of these old rifles are meant to be man-handled.

    • The_Champ

      Maybe add a Steyr M95 into the mix? Speedy en-bloc clip loading with that rough straight pull action!

      My M95 carbine is one of my sleeper favorites, such a neat and unique little rifle.

      • Man, I’ve never met an M95 that I could run quickly, but I’ve seen YT videos of people who could, so I guess it’s dependent on the gun?

        • Darkpr0

          I have played with some M95s, but never could find ammo. One thing I do know is that the Ross Mark 2/M1905 series pretty much jacked the 95’s mechanism, and those are smooth guns. I don’t see why a nice M95 couldn’t match that performance if it was made well.

  • Dave

    Slings is on incorrectly, the flat brass tab should be on the underside of the rifle with the face with the protruding river facing back onto the sling. And IIRC No.4s never had piling swivels.

    Other than those that irk my inner pendant it’s a great video and you guys are doing good stuff with regards to surplus rifles (The why I have old guns video explained what I’ve been trying to tell people for years)

  • Goody

    Love a bit of quick bolt gun action. Would love to see it on a 1903. 😉

    Ironically the swiss k31, which would have been the fastest bolt action still cheaply available, is its own undoing as the rearward stroke hits me in the face. Had to put that one back on the shelf, but still a great rifle.

  • Bruce Fleming

    I think it is telling that the presenter says he has never shot an Enfield like this before. I have used Enfields in three gun competition, and can assure you that reloading from stripper clips is not as hard as he makes it seems. Maybe a little more practice would help. Also, I have tried weird bolt manipulating positions before, like the presenter uses, and they really don’t offer significant speed advantage, again assuming you practice.

  • iksnilol

    Why is it so hard to find a fast bolt action with somewhat common 10 round mags?

    Like, the Sauer 101 would be perfect if it took AICS mags. I can’t find anybody who makes a conversion for it :/

  • doyle hill

    Nice video. I really enjoyed that. After a couple of years attempting the KCR old bolt gun shoot with a mosin-nagant, I’m switching to a #4 Mk1 next time. Personally, I’d top off before running dry.

  • Micki

    Any chance of doing a time trial race with all these old military bolt-actions, Alex? Say five shots at five man-sized targets from five metres? Would be great to see if the Enfield really is that much faster than the others, or if the K31 wins hands down. Do it for science!

  • Jonathan Ferguson

    Alex, nice bolt work. Minor correction; you call it an “SMLE” in the video. The Rifle, No.4 is a redesign based on the experimental SMLE Mk.VI, but is not itself an SMLE (renamed Rifle, No.1 in 1926).

  • Bal256

    Ishapore Enfield: 7.62×51. That fixes the rimmed cartridge issue. Its one of the few rifles made in India that works.

  • Zebra Dun

    A rifle that needed a detachable and replaceable magazine.
    Otherwise a perfect battle rifle for it’s era’s.
    My Brother had one I forget what rifle he swapped for it, and eventually swapped it for we shot it and it was one rifle I really enjoyed shooting.
    I believe he always regretted that swap.
    I know several people over in Alabama who still use a SMLE or such to deer hunt with.
    I’d take one today in place of a Mosin for sure, not knocking Mosin’s (PBUH) excellent battle rifle.

  • Hatman1793

    The biggest disadvantage to the #1 MKIii, and the #4 MK1, and the #5 is that they are all 303 British. Ammo is horribly expensive when you can find it, making all these rifles cheap to own but expensive to fire.

  • TeeKay

    Wow Alex, I reckon you were firing that ‘smelly’ almost as fast as a semiautomatic like the Garand. But you are an experienced shooter and for the first 2 or 3 desperate years of the war, Brit and Commonwealth troopers had appallingly little range practice before running into Germans or Japs and likely fumbled the stripper clips much worse. Garand much easier to teach – point and pull the trigger! Nonetheless I have read that Commonwealth troops almost never picked up an enemy rifle or even an ownerless Garand in battle. They gleefully scavenged MP40 or Beretta SMG’s and an MG42 was always a useful prize, but they loved their Lee Enfields
    You just demonstrated why: slick bolt and high rate of fire, very useful magazine capacity, highly accurate over realistic battle ranges and utterly reliable from the deserts of Africa to the jungles of New Guinea/Burma.
    Really, only America could afford to make millions of semiautomatic rifles in WW2 but I reckon the Brits may have made the best ‘war-worthy’ bolt action rifle of the 20th century.

  • DaveBNZ

    Provided you have ensured that the rounds are loaded into the clip properly (i.e. the rim of each new round in front of the rim on the previous round), the system is not as un-handy as he makes it seem.

    Plus, he forgot one small thing – it is not actually necessary to remove the (second) stripper clip manually. One interesting feature of the Lee Enfield system is that closing the action will eject the empty stripper clip.