Gratuitous Gun Pic: Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk I

As much as I always loved my old Smelly:

…I have to admit that the sights are not the best.  That teeny little V at the rear makes quick acquisition of the target a little problematic.

Such is not the case with the SMLE’s successor, the Rifle No.4 Mk I:

With the exception of the semi-automatic Garand, the No.4 was probably the best battle rifle of its era, because with its aperture sight and 10-round magazine, it combined firepower with combat-level accuracy, and its silky-smooth bolt action made for a fearsome weapon.

I’ve fired many a No.4, and never had a bad time with any of them.  My only regret is that I’ve never actually owned one.

Which makes this article all the more painful.

Early on a Sunday morning in June, a tractor-trailer backed into the rear parking lot of the Navy Arms warehouse north of Martinsburg, W.V. Inside the truck’s shipping container were four huge wooden crates containing a long-forgotten batch of British No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifles with a unique history. Two green, military-style chests, each brimming with plastic-wrapped bolts, accompanied the wooden containers. Inside the warehouse sat cardboard boxes filled with newly made No. 4 rifle magazines, waiting for their recipients to be offloaded. Valmore Forgett, III, president and CEO of Navy Arms, had shepherded these guns from their storage spot in France to this final point on a long journey that first started on C-47s, B-24s and B-17s flying over war-torn France.

As the crates were forklifted out of the shipping container, eager hands pried nails and loosened screws securing the plywood lids in place. Finally, the crate cover slid off, revealing a sea of bubble-wrapped rifles filling each box to the brim. It took the team at Navy Arms about a week just to unpack the carefully cocooned guns, while Val’s sons unwrapped each individual bolt from its plastic packaging, recorded its serial number and matched it to its rifle, wherever possible. After a brief wipe-down, quick swab of the bore and import-marking, the rifles were moved to a rack, where they awaited their moment under the camera lights.

Aahhhh… have mercy.

I don’t wanna talk about it no more because it just hurts too much;  you’ll have to follow the link for details, and more pics to drool over.

I’ll just go over to the corner and pout.


  1. I checked out the prices on Navy Arms website, and, ah, no thanks. Better, in my mind, to put that kind of money in something modern. But your thoughts may differ.

  2. I’m tempted, but with what seems to be coming I think a modern .308 battle rifle might be a better use of my money.

  3. I am trying to think of an appropriate set of cuss words to apply to you for this. This is exactly the kind of gun I’ve been collecting, and I really don’t have the budget to go after one right now… The other Enfields in my collection were starting to feel lonely, but it’s a decision between a French Enfield or eating for a few months.

    You bastard.

  4. Damn you to hell. I was all in, but at those $$$$, nah. I just have to sit here shaking in impotent jealousy.

  5. 1400 bucks???? Can they prove they came from the resistance or were they picked up by the French after being lost by British soldiers?

  6. Check out the offerings over at “Royal Tiger Imports” – they found in Ethiopia a remarkable cache of arms sold to that country between 1875 and mid-20th Century: Mausers, Enfields, Garands and Carbines, etc. etc.

  7. I may check the collection out; I’d consider paying on the lower end of their range, but not the upper end. And I don’t mind dents and dings; it adds to the history of the rifle. The fly in this ointment is non-original magazines that don’t reliably work. It’s not necessarily a deal-killer, but it puts me off the high-end stuff.

    All is not lost; I have a No. 4 Mk I and Mk I*, of Stevens-Savage make (a lend-lease rifle), and a Long Branch, respectfully. Both are lovely. Both shoot great.

    And I might add you all are invited to come to Kansas and shoot them, as well as assorted Mausers, another Enfield (a SMLE), Arisakas, a Mas36, Mosins, a Luger, a P-38s, and of course the M1 Garands and a carbines. The Sheriff’s Dept throws in a 1921 model Thompson, just for (lots of rapid fire ) fun. It’s a fund raiser for our local WWII museum, and I throw in the ammunition for good measure. That’s what I bought it for, wasn’t it? To shoot?

    October 15, 2022, starting at 10:00 am at the El Dorado Lake range, near the corner of 12th street and Bluestem Road, El Dorado, KS. Google it up, you’ll find it. Hopefully the weather’s nice (out two previous outings were beautiful).

    Hope to see some of you there.

  8. I’d consider it, but I’ve already got a vault full of rifles I don’t have time to shoot. And I’m retired.

  9. Don’t hate me, but in addition to a No. 4 Mk 1, I own a No. 5 Mk 1, AKA Jungle Carbine. Two lovely English Roses.

  10. Lee Enfields I have access to:
    No 1 Mk 1*** made before 1910 first rifle I bought and haven’t shot it.
    No 4 Mk 2 made for Ireland in the 50s checked via serial number
    No1 Mk III* converted to 22lr trainers used by the Republic of Ireland 2ea
    No 4 Mk 1 Savage lend Lease
    no 5 Jungle Carbine
    I might have access to another. I’ll have to dig through some things.

    Now for the downside, very little good .303 British available around here. I have some surplus which I think is Pakastani that has more duds than live rounds.


    1. I’ve been looking for commercial .303 ammo for over three years and can’t find any. Remington used to load it back in the day. I have a set of dies but can’t find any brass either. The rounds I do have are Berdan primed military surplus (I think Indian or Pakistani) loaded with cordite and I’d rather not mess with trying to recycle them. Our club runs a surplus bolt action match a couple of times a year and I think that I could do pretty well with my No 4 Mk 2 because of the nice sights but the surplus rounds I have just head off in the general direction of the target. I do have powder, bullets, and primers but that .303 Boxer primed brass has never been easy to find.

      1. I found Federal made spire soft points that worked well and Remington Corelokt was a round nose that I had trouble feeding in a few Enfields. I can find ammunition online from time to time but it is ungodly expensive.


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