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Lee-Enfield No. 4 file photo [10248]

Lee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle

Country of OriginUnited Kingdom
TypeRifle
Caliber7.700 mm
Capacity10 rounds
Length1,130.000 mm
Barrel Length635.000 mm
Weight4.100 kg
Rate of Fire20 rounds/min
Range503 m
Muzzle Velocity744 m/s

Contributor:

ww2dbaseBritish weapons designer James Paris Lee drew the blueprint of the Lee-Enfield rifles from his earlier Lee-Metford design dated 1888. The Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifles were introduced to the British Army in Nov 1895, with soldiers immediately impressed by the rifles' high firing rate that reached 20 to 30 rounds per minute. Between 1895 and the 1930s, the design underwent several revisions, including efforts in the 1920s to make them cheaper and faster to manufacture.

During WW1, American firms Remington Arms Company and Winchester Repeating Arms Company built a variant of the Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifle in the United States to arm the US Army for WW1. They were chambered for US ammunition and were slightly longer and slightly heavier. They were designated as M1917 in the US Army, and were commonly nicknamed as "Enfield"; the British called this variant design "Pattern 17".

By the late 1930s, the need for better Lee-Enfield rifles arose once again. In 1939, Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I rifles were issued, featuring lighter weight and cheaper to produce than previous variants. They were able to receive two types of bayonets, spiked and bladed. In 1942, Lee-Enfield Mk I* rifles with a slightly simplified design began to be manufactured by the Long Branch Arsenal in Canada and Savage-Stevens Firearms in the United States.

After WW2, Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles continued to be improved and manufactured. Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk 2 design went into production in 1946 and saw extensive use with the Irish Army, for example. The last significant action these rifles saw was the Korean War, where they were used extensively by Australian troops alongside of other Lee-Enfield variants. Lee-Enfield rifles of all variants continued to be the standard British and Commonwealth bolt-action rifles until 1957, and many of them remain in service today. 17 million Lee-Enfield rifles of all variants were made between 1895 and 1957.

Sources:
Ian Hogg, The Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of World War II
Wikipedia

ww2dbase

Last Major Revision: May 2008

Lee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle Interactive Map

Photographs

Sailors conducting bayonet drill aboard HMS Rodney, circa 1940Sailors conducting bayonet drill aboard HMS Rodney, Firth of Forth, Scotland, United Kingdom, 1940
See all 14 photographs of Lee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. H ayden Foster Riggs of CDA,Idaho says:
17 Oct 2014 01:44:22 PM

I LOVE THIS GUN
2. Anonymous says:
20 Jan 2016 01:41:01 AM

Serious error in this article. Please contact me by e-mail for information as to improvement.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
1 Oct 2018 03:46:30 AM

The Lee-Enfield No.4 rifle was turned out in large numbers from new ordnance factories at Maltby and Fazakerly starting in late 1941, and from a new BSA factory at Shirley. In 1942 production reached 600,000 per annum. Wartime domestic rifle production, however, amounted to only around 2 million units, much less than the size of the British Army and much less than the requirements of Britain, the Empire and other nationalities. Supplies from overseas were therefore essential. From the end of 1941 the Long Branch arsenal near Toronto in Canada would make nearly one million, and the Savage arms company in Massachusetts in the USA over a million rifles. All these were interchangeable with British No.4s.

Meanwhile the earlier No.1 rifle continued to be made at BSA’s Small Heath plant until 1943, and at the long-established Lithgow Arms Factory in Australia (just over 400,000 rifles), while the long-established Ishapore rifle factory outside Calcutta built and repaired nearly 700,000.
4. The Sunrise Kid says:
30 Mar 2019 12:18:58 PM

Thank you very much, Alan Chanter!

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Lee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle Photo Gallery
Sailors conducting bayonet drill aboard HMS Rodney, circa 1940Sailors conducting bayonet drill aboard HMS Rodney, Firth of Forth, Scotland, United Kingdom, 1940
See all 14 photographs of Lee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle


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