Really Senior Member
I can not speek to the accuracy question but I would like to say after being fortunate to be a steward of a few Enfields they all give me a feeling that an AR 15 cannot begin to touch. The heft , craftmanship and unique design of each variation is well, facinating.
Thank You to HOOKED ON HISTORY For This Useful Post:
03-06-2012 10:04 PM
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The need for rifles in a hurry and the no 4's accuracy only being slightly better would be reason enough to keep making the no 1.
Let's face it, they're both going to get the job done. I don't think half an inch to the left or right when shooting at japs a few hundred yards away is going to make a difference to a soldier. Still going to hit the man size target.
Originally Posted by JerryB08
Where is your butt marked 1943?
Around here (Western Canada, the Prairies) long-range DCRA shooting was quite popular while I was growing up.
The Rules were simple enough: Service Rifle, issue ammo. Sights could be changed if you liked, but the entire rifle had to go back to "issue" condition with no tool other than a screwdriver ("turnscrew", if you are in Newfoundland). If you were a Shooter, you could draw an issue of rounds from the QM, SQMSM Tommy Ames at the XII Manitoba Dragoons "A" Sq'n Armoury, by exchanging brass for live rounds. Our Bible was Johnson's "Shoot To Live!", which was and remains the single finest book ever written on shooting the Number 4 Rifle.
The Coach was Sgt. W. J. "Bill" Brown, who had no less than SIX "Bisley" patches on his shooting jacket and who had Captained the Canadian team. Bill shot a 74x75 at Kingston at 1100 with an SMLE and had rather an interesting letter framed on the wall of his den; it was signed by Her Majesty. You don't see many of those. Bill was just a Sergeant in the Militia (as Canada's Reserve Army was called at that time), but he was a most unusual Sergeant, having taken a bust from Captain just so he could stay "in" at a time when "cutback" was the watchword of the day, never mind that we were being blanketed with high-level radiation from dear Premier Khrushchev's 65-megaton Siberian firecrackers. Bill actually had enough clout with the Air Force that he could make a phone call to the AF base at Portage la Prairie and BORROW a twin engine aircraft so that HE could fly the Manitoba team to the Dominion shoot in Ottawa. This had something to do with his work in Air Force counterintelligence during the Second Global Unpleasantness but, precisely what, nobody knows. His WW2 record was classified so tight that I don't think even HE was allowed to see it. I do know that if it became necessary (under SHTF rules) to have martial law, Bill would have been Number 2 in this district; his chief would have been Capt. D.C.M. Elliot who, I think, had everything EXCEPT a DCM. On Armistice Day, Dunc Elliot and Jan Pic made enough noise between them for your average pawnshop, just from ALL those medals banging together. I can talk about some of this now because I am the only one left from our range crowd.
So Sunday would come around and the DCRA guys would get together down at the XII Dragoons range (which now has been modernised into a running track and a bl**dy FOOTBALL field). Tommy Ames would be there, Bill, of course, Sandy Timms, sometimes Dunc could make it, Don O'dell (a quiet farmer who was utterly deadly at 600) and a couple of other Commonwealth Shoot veterans. And me, the kid out of school who had signed-up into the Militia 6 days before Kennedy told K to get those nukes out of Cuba; thank God for Cadet training, anyway: I wasn't completely ignorant.
Everybody had a Number 4, even me. Bill's was done-up personally by A.J. Parker and had on it the very last rear-sight which A.G. had made before his demise. It had been fitted with a $65 Ball Burnished barrel, which was awfully impressive to someone making $28 a week at the bakery. My Number 4 had come from the hardware store and had cost $10.66, so I called it "William the Conqueror", of course. It had a Mark 2 rear sight and I shot that until Bill gave me a Mark 4 to put on it. My sling cost 25 cents and it was a year older than I was. So was the rifle, come to think of it!
First time I went out, they shot ONE target from 200. That was my initiation, welcome and everything. From then on, everything started at 300 and proceeded OUT very rapidly. Only rarely were 400 or 500 even touched; the next berm was at 600 and there was some VERY good shooting there. Ammunition all was Canadian-made, generally avoiding the excellent war-time Defence Industries stuff because it was not being issued at Ottawa. Dominion Arsenals was what Ottawa issued, so that is what was practised with here. DA 50 VII and DA 51 VII were usually in stock for practice, sometimes DA 52 VII and it all was miserable stuff indeed: Berdan-primed, corrosive AND mercuric, Cordite loaded...... but it was ACCURATE. I marked a lot of 75-point 600-yard targets shot with this stuff, even shot most of one myself with my $10.66 rifle (after it had been worked-over, mind you). Sometimes the DI stuff would come out of storage and it was great: Boxer primers, noncorrosive and nonmercuric. It was as old as I was (1944) but it shot better than I could hold. Still does, for that matter, if it has been stored right. Thankfully, I still have 400 rounds of it stashed away, along with some '50, '51 and a couple of boxes of '52 scrounged from the Ottawa shoot and given to me.
But after a couple of targets at 600, the guys moved back to the 800 berm..... and things began changing, very quickly. For one thing, the old Smellies started coming out of their cases and the Number 4s started going INTO cases. And strange words and phrases began to stir the air. "Oh, I had this one in to Holland and Holland and they tuned up the bedding a bit." "New diamond-lapped barrel, just 40 rounds through it; this one's for Ottawa." "Rented a car and drove up North, had this one in to Alex Martin for a work-over and new sights." "Oh, Fulton regulated this one for me, last time I was over; I'll take it back this year for a check."
At 800, the SMLEs and the Number 4s were more-or-less equal on the firing-line.
At 900 the SMLE definitely predominated.
At 1000 there was not a Number 4 to be seen.
Not having a spare $250 (2 months' pay) to put into an SMLE with a "decent" (diamond-lapped, Ball-Burnished) barrel and "reasonable" (Martin or Parker) sights and the bedding checked carefully (by Holland and Holland), I generally marked targets for the second half of Sunday afternoon.
But it was, very much, an education. I learned that the wonderful Canadian barrels (6 grooves, made on Bren Gun machinery) were very highly-regarded out to 600 yards but the standard 5-groove tube would outlast it. I learned that even with a new barrel, it took 300 rounds to break a barrel in for this type of shooting..... 150 if it had been Ball Burnished.... and that the barrel was DONE after 1500, at least for world-class shooting, although it likely was just fine for anything else. And, very surprising (to me), I learned that the wartime 2-groove barrel on my rifle was regarded as just as good as a 5-groove for short-to-medium-range (out to 600 yards) shooting. And I learned a few things which can be done so that I could shoot with The Big Guys.... with my $10.66 Number 4.
I just realised: that all was half a CENTURY ago. Seems like last week.
I must be getting old or something.....
Hope this helps.
Last edited by smellie; 03-07-2012 at 04:23 AM.
The Following 20 Members Say Thank You to smellie For This Useful Post:
Alan de Enfield,
HOOKED ON HISTORY,
Steve H. in N.Y.
...And that should put it all into perspective.
I could just say thanks to Smellie but - that is one of the best posts I have seen
I was reading on here that one of the reasons the Lithgow's are so highly regarded was that Pratt and Whitney set up a brand new factory for no1 production. So the tolerences were supposedly tighter. I highly doubt with Australia being such a close friend to the US while fighting the Japanese that they would have hesitated to retool the factory for the Aussies. After all the Invasion of mainland Japan would have come from there most likely. And that was expected be a bloody mess.
I just read Smellie's post. That was the best I have seen and was kinda what I thought might be the reason. Or something like it.
Really Senior Member
I wish my memory worked as well as yours!
Thanks for a great post !