Lee-Enfield No. 4 Run and Gun

Alex C.
by Alex C.

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 C.

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

More by Alex C.

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2 of 31 comments
  • TeeKay TeeKay on Oct 27, 2015

    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 DaveBNZ on Oct 27, 2015

    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.