Monday, August 30, 2010

Enfield No.5 Mk1 "Jungle Carbine"

The Enfield No.5 Mk.1 Carbine, .303 caliber

Late in the war, the need for a shorter, lighter rifle for the British Army led to the development of the Rifle, No. 5 Mk I aka:the Jungle Carbine. It featured a severely cut-down stock, a flash hider, and a receiver machined to remove all unnecessary metal. The No. 5 was shorter and 2 lb lighter than the standard No.3 and No.4 Infantry rifles in use at the time. Production ceased in 1947. However, the No. 5 Mk I was popular with soldiers owing to its light weight, portability, and shorter overall length than a standard Lee-Enfield rifle. The No. 5 was first issued to the British 6th Airborne Division and in use during their occupation of Denmark in 1945.

Due to its popularity with collectors, many "Counterfeit" versions exist. Most are simply modified Enfield No.3 and No. 4 rifles with stocks and barrels modified to resemble the No.5, which commands a higher price to collectors.

The example in my collection is an authentic No.5 Mk1 as identified by the electro-penciled, not stamped, designation on the left side of the receiver. The hollowed out bolt handle end, rubber recoil pad, flash hider, and proper magazine type, amongst other features.

Manufactured at the Royal Ordinance Factory in September, 1945, it features a 10 round detachable magazine, although it was normally only removed for cleaning. Recoil is reported to be hard due to the full powered .303 round being fired from a shorter, lighter rifle. While some information on this weapon speaks of a flaw in the rifle design resulting in a "Wandering Zero", testing of the rifle has never borne this out. It is believed that the flaw never existed and was simply a convenient excuse by the army to stop production and acquire a more modern, semi automatic rifle design.