It's been a little while since my last post but now that we are getting back into the swing of things and hunting season is upon us I guess I better get back into it...
So my fascination with things that go bang continues; this time with a new-to-me-old-gun. It's a British gun, sort of. It was, at least, made during World War 2 for the British soldiers and was one of the best rifles of its time. My model though has some history of American involvement in the war... from before they were involved. The Making of the Lee Enfield No4Mk1* prompted the creation of the Lend/Lease agreement in the US, a document that allowed the non-committal yanks to get involved in the war without getting involved in the war. When shit hit the fan in WWII the Brits couldn't keep up production of the No4, with their 3 main factories being targeted by bombing runs, so they had to outsource to a more stable construction base, enter Longbranch here in Canada and Savage south of the border. Longbranch has long been closed and is no longer making firearms but Savage is still going strong and making some really interesting things. But I don't think anything in the Savage arsenal comes close to being as cool as the No4.
It was never the most accurate gun on the battlefield during WWII, that honour goes to the Swiss made K31, but it was by a margin the best overall bolt gun of the war. It was a torso gun which meant you could expect it to hit your mark from a good long way out, it had amazing factory sites that helped soldiers judge range and plan accordingly, and it was by far the fastest bolt out there. It was said that a well practiced brit could get all 10 rounds out of the magazine easily before the k31 emptied its 6 round mag.
In all the shooting forums the Lee Enfield comes under fire for being an inaccurate gun. So what I was expecting was to have a firearm in my possession for the cool factor. But now that I have taken it out a few times I really don't understand people, sure, it isn't ever going to be a competition gun but the same can be said for brand new firearms costing much more than the humble no4. August and September include a lot of practice and decisions on what I am going to use to actually take a deer, and after a few boxes of ammo I can report that the .303 is a joy to shoot. It is comfortable, well balanced for my frame and a 1.5 inch grouping at 100yds is not a problem. That's a theoretical 6" group (that's a deer kill zone) at 400yds, at no point, hunting in the foothills, do I think I will take a deer at 400yds.
I'm really glad I didn't listen to all the naysayers and could think for myself about it's actual application, because now I am super happy with a cool and historic gun. It just goes to show that people really need to start thinking for themselves a bit. . .