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 Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?

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unclevanya
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Number of posts : 228
Age : 72
Localisation : Essex UK
Cap Badge : R Sigs
Places Served : 11 Sigs Vimy 'C' Catterick Nov 1963), 224 (Radio) Sig Squadron Garrats Hey, Quorn Leics( Jan-June 1964), 16 Sigs Bradbury Barracks Krefeld July-Oct 1964), 28 (BR) Sigs St Tonis & 4 Squadron, Tongeren (Cafe Maddy) (1964-1968), HQ UNFICYP Nicosia 6 month tour (1966), HMS Jufair & Hamala Camp Bahrien, 223 Sig Sqn (Radio) Winchester, Norn Ireland, HQ Northag Kolsas Olso Norway, 11 Sigs Helles Lines Catterick, Civvy Street 1977, Retired (Grumpy Victor Meldrew 2012)
Registration date : 2012-07-15

PostSubject: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   29/9/2014, 18:40

Which personal weapon could be classed as the 'best?' the old Lee Enfield 303 that was used up to and during post WW2 National Service, or the SLR 7.62 rifle (aka - That Rifle), and it's replacement with the SA80?

Any comments by those who ahve had experience with more than one weapon. I used the SLR during the 1960s and 1970s. The SA80 was being trialled in the 1970s, and was eventually fully adopted by MoD since 1987. Shocked
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Nige P
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Number of posts : 35
Age : 62
Localisation : Erdington, Birmingham
Cap Badge : RCT(V), RLC(V)
Places Served : Grantham, Long Marston, Bicester, Marchwood and most rail served depots with the TA in BAOR
Registration date : 2010-11-24

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   30/9/2014, 01:17

I have experience of all 3 (4 if you count the A2 version of the SA80). The .303 I had as a cadet, so it always seemed to me to be a handful with a kick like a mule. However, I got quite handy with it firing at 25 yards and 300 yards. Next came the TA and the SLR, or 'That Rifle'. I liked it because I'm a left hander and I could fire it left handed (a bit difficult with the .303 due to the bolt). However, I never was comfortable with my accuracy with it. This may be as we had whatever came out of the armoury that the butt length was wrong so I couldn't get the right sight pattern. I only ever fired it with iron sights as well. I thought the weapon was very comfortable to use once you got the right butt plate. The cocking action was a bit awkward for me being a left hooker, but not bad. Cleaning was a doddle and you could part re-assemble it in a few seconds if bumped at the time to get off single shots. The working parts were simple and the stoppage drills were easy as well. Of course we eventually moved on to the SA80 A1. Hmmm, liked it and I quickly got used to its short barrel length as my secondary weapon previously had been an SMG, but I couldn't fire this weapon left handed and was constantly fidgeting trying to get the right eye relief and sight pattern (2 black eyes after several range sessions). Again, we would have whatever came out of the armoury, so it was constant re-adjustment while zeroing. Of course, you can't fire it left handed, so I'm at a disadvantage, but I've got used to it. Cocking it was a pain though.... and following GW1, the forward assist to ensure the working parts aren't obstructed by grit got some getting used to as well. Then there was cleaning it, what a faff. If you got bumped while cleaning it, throw the f**ker at them, cos you ain't got that single shot you had with the SLR. By the time the A2 was produced I was at a regional unit, so I got my own rifle. That's set up for me now. I like it as a weapon, the cocking handle is an improvement, but stoppages are still rife and a lot are difficult to clear. Most are partially ejected rounds which get stuck in the ejection opening or a round that only partially picks up. Now this rifle of mine gets cleaned everytime I go to the Reserve Centre, so it's not that it's poorly maintained. However, you do have to clean it well and keep it well oiled. Despite all I've said, I am a reasonable shot with it.

So my favourite .......................... the SA80 A2, probably because I've got used to all it's little foibles. I do like 'That Rifle' as well though.

Nige
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cartav
Maj Gen
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Number of posts : 784
Age : 87
Localisation : s. yorks
Cap Badge : RA (ns) RA, R.Sigs, RE ( TAVR)
Places Served : Oswestry, Tonfanau, Woolwich, Osnabruck, MT School Bordon, Bulford, Manorbier, Hameln, R.Sigs Blandford, RSME Chattenden, Western Highlands.
Registration date : 2011-04-26

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   17/10/2014, 11:14

Me, old sweat that I was even when the SLR came in, I loved the no. 4 Enfield.  THe balance was right. If it was held properly the kick was nothing to cause alarm and the grouping capability was half the diameter of that of the SLR.  Not much of an advantage away from competition ranges, I guess, and the likelihood of having to engage targets over 1000 yards away had mainly disappeared  when the  Boer War concluded.

 With the SLR, we found that the average squaddy, and that's Gunners, not infantry, consistently got better scores than when the .303 was around.  And that was probably because they just squeezed the trigger and stayed in the aim when there was no bolt to fiddle with.

Experience with the SA 80 has been minimal,   just a couple  of goes on the indoor range and one outdoor during an Army Benevolent Fund meeting.  Heavier than I expected, the balance was atrocious, but there was no more kick than with an air weapon.   However, I had some success. When asked  by the ABF organisers if I was in the Army, I was able to truthfully answer "No!".  Subsequently a sergeant turned up at my doorstep with a medal & a T-Shirt.  I'd won the Novices prize.
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Dolmetscher
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Number of posts : 130
Age : 83
Localisation : Bedfordshire
Cap Badge : RAPC
Places Served : Devizes, HMS Ariel, Winchester, Mönchen-gladbach, Osnabrück, N. Ireland, Ashton-u-Lyne
Registration date : 2010-11-07

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   3/11/2014, 18:10

Nothing to touch the .303 for robustness and accuracy. A wonderful rifle. The SLR was just coming into service when I was in basic training, but we were issued with .303s. I think that the main reason for the better accuracy of the .303 was the fact that the fore-sight was situated at the muzzle of the barrel. On the SLR, if I recall, the fore-sight was very much closer to the back sight. As for durability, it was fairly easy to damage the barrel of the SLR, as the stock only extended half way up the barrel.
Nothing like progress.
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ciphers
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Number of posts : 969
Age : 84
Localisation : Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada V2S 7C5
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Catterick (1951) - BAOR (1952 -1954)-(Herford - Bunde - Munster) - Japan (Kure) - Korea (Pusan - Seoul) - Cyprus (Nicosia) - Suez Op (1st Guards Brigade) - UK (63 Sigs Regt TA, Southampton)
Registration date : 2008-06-30

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   4/11/2014, 17:35

Got to agree with Dolmetscher, the .303 was a great weapon for accuracy due to the site location .. But and there is also a But, there were two .303's that I was issued, one the #4 with rear 'battle sight' just two settings and the SMLE with graded leaf sight. The old SMLE for me every time, accuracy, great drill rifle due to central point of balance, but, another but, too long, too heavy and small magazine capacity. I have used the FN and SLR but was not enamoured of either of them. Most of my time 'under arms' was with the Sten just about all models of it. And the love of my life the Bren, didn't care how heavy it became lugging it around, it was a great weapon, when firing it I began to wish I had joined the infantry not the Signals.
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Daveb
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Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Iserlohn, Herford X 2
Registration date : 2010-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   13/11/2014, 10:47

Never got to use the SA80 and used the SLR throughout my twelve years service but as a civilian shooter (who has recently given up) I used a No4 Enfield and a L82a1 Parker Hale (cadet training rifle). The No4 was very good, robust and accurate. The Parker Hale was "deadly accurate", simple but single shot.
The SLR was "accurate enough" robust and semi auto. So if I wanted to win a Vintage Rifle shoot it would be the No4 every time, If I wanted to compete against all comers, the Parker Hale would be more than capable but if there were "a lot of e'm out there" I'd be looking for the old "stops when hit" of the SLR. I did have a 5.56/.223 Winchester Mod 70 but was not a fan of that calibre and found it to be quite high on recoil in a bolt action rifle with a fairly short barrel.
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Dee Z
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Cap Badge : RA
Places Served : Pembroke Dock, Lippstadt,Plymouth, Middle east, Singapore
Registration date : 2011-07-15

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   26/1/2015, 13:17

Some good weapons here

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Hendy
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Registration date : 2017-06-25

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   28/1/2018, 19:48

Used all three but definitely would chose the SA80, won the Eastern District Champion at Arms and 2 Army 100 Badges with it.
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recce83
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Number of posts : 208
Age : 78
Localisation : Peachland British Columbia, Canada
Cap Badge : Black Watch of Canada
Places Served : 4 CIBG Soest and Werl 1957-1965, Camp Borden, Camp Gagetown
Registration date : 2009-06-04

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   29/1/2018, 21:10

Interestingly, there's a story in the latest Legion Magazine (published by the Royal Canadian Legion) about our government FINALLY retiring the old No 4 Mk 1. They were last issued to the Canadian Rangers, a very earnest group of Inuit volunteers in the far north who guard our Arctic sovereignty, and are rewarded for their dedication by being issued a red and green parka and baseball cap along with said enfield rifle to defend us against all comers. (Please don't laugh - they take their duties very seriously.)

As for preferences, I've used both the enfield and the FN C1. For accuracy the enfield was better, but the bolt action made it much too slow for modern warfare. But for my absolute favourite, I'll go along with Ciphers. The bren was nothing but fun to fire, even if it was a bit heavy to lug around.
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burgess720
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Number of posts : 128
Registration date : 2008-07-09

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   29/1/2018, 22:57

recce83 wrote:
Interestingly, there's a story in the latest Legion Magazine (published by the Royal Canadian Legion) about our government FINALLY retiring the old No 4 Mk 1. They were last issued to the Canadian Rangers, a very earnest group of Inuit volunteers in the far north who guard our Arctic sovereignty, and are rewarded for their dedication by being issued a red and green parka and baseball cap along with said enfield rifle to defend us against all comers. (Please don't laugh - they take their duties very seriously.)

As for preferences, I've used both the enfield and the FN C1. For accuracy the enfield was better, but the bolt action made it much too slow for modern warfare. But for my absolute favourite, I'll go along with Ciphers. The bren was nothing but fun to fire, even if it was a bit heavy to lug around.

Hi all,
I only got to use the Enfield, Bren and Sten; in todays overseas warfare with auto / semi auto they seem to use a large amount of ammunition with little chance of hitting anyone
Bren you had to toss who would be No1 carry the Bren or if you lost No2 carry the ammunition

Sapper
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Let Gen
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Number of posts : 1031
Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Cap Badge : RC Sigs (RTG Op) / CF Logistics (Cook)
Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   2/2/2018, 21:18

I had the experience of the .303 (owned two of them the other was the carbine)The FN was my weapon for all my time in. And I was fortunate enough to fire the Bren in 60 in Barriefiedl while on a summer Militia course. We had the FN but the C2 was only just coming on issue to the Militia from what I understood. The Bren was a comfortable weapon to fire. Recce83 you be pleased to know my Bren Gun Reg. Force instructor was Black Watch. And his name is not there in the memory bank. The C2 I only ever fired on an Advance To Contact Range in Germany. One of us had to volunteer to be the C 2 man. One of the few times I volunteered. The one lonely C2 weapon was used by all the firing parties involved. A ha... You see my fore sight. People had to clean there FN C1 on completion. I was told to leave the C2 for the next party. I quickly picked up my C1 and retreated to the vehicles before the booing crowd could expend a round through it.
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recce83
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Number of posts : 208
Age : 78
Localisation : Peachland British Columbia, Canada
Cap Badge : Black Watch of Canada
Places Served : 4 CIBG Soest and Werl 1957-1965, Camp Borden, Camp Gagetown
Registration date : 2009-06-04

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   3/2/2018, 18:41

Another interesting story on the bloody C2, which was Canada's answer to the Bren LMG. For those that were fortunate enough never to see the thing, it was a modified FN with a larger mag, and a heavier barrel as well as capacity for automatic fire. One round would hit the bull, the second may hit the outer and the third would crease the wooden frame. It danced around like Fred Astair.
So when we were putting an LMG team together for the Prix LeClair competition in1963, the team captain, Sgt. Gerry Steacy, came up with an idea to make it possible to maybe make a fair showing. First, he had the tripod feet reversed so they would dig into the ground and help anchor the weapon. Then he had the armourers tinker with the trigger mechanism to eliminate the first trigger pressure, rendering it a 'hair trigger' as they used to say in cowboy movies. The drill was that when you hit the prone position during the run-down the number one slammed the gun down and toward him quite hard to dig it into the ground. Then we practiced firing single rounds as fast as we could. We could just about equal the automatic rate of fire. Those particular LMGs would never have made it in a real war, but it was interesting, if not successful in winning.
They had another unfortunate malady: rapid firing caused great strain on the extractor, causing it to break off, thus rendering it as useful as an old .303.
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Let Gen
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Number of posts : 1031
Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Cap Badge : RC Sigs (RTG Op) / CF Logistics (Cook)
Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   3/2/2018, 22:03

I noticed in 74 in Egypt on drawing my FN C 1 it was modified to have the C2 fore sight. Incidental the rifle was to be immediately broken down and packed into your barrack box and not to be seen except on a change of command parade. Many other UN personnel were surprised that Canadians had weapons.
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ciphers
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Number of posts : 969
Age : 84
Localisation : Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada V2S 7C5
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Catterick (1951) - BAOR (1952 -1954)-(Herford - Bunde - Munster) - Japan (Kure) - Korea (Pusan - Seoul) - Cyprus (Nicosia) - Suez Op (1st Guards Brigade) - UK (63 Sigs Regt TA, Southampton)
Registration date : 2008-06-30

PostSubject: Re: Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?   4/2/2018, 17:50

On reflection I guess my favourite personal weapon was a Jeep - well that is according to my Troop Officer Lt Fenn a 20 Armd Bde. 52/54.
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