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 Personal Weapon - Lee Enfield 303, SLR or SA80?

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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

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.

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Maj Gen
Maj Gen

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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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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Maj Gen
Maj Gen

Number of posts : 966
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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Number of posts : 105
Localisation : Bristol
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

Number of posts : 164
Age : 72
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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