April 13, 2006

Guns > Buy a Gun Day Purchase - Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine

(Home sick today with the flu. LATER: And I'll blame the flu and fever on all of the typos and grammos in the original article. Fixed and expanded.)

Buy a Gun Day is Saturday, April 15. That was all the excuse I needed when I saw a stack of surplus Lee-Enfields at Coal Creek Armory last week. I picked up this nice little 1944 wartime production Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine.

2006-04-13-No5-0008.jpg

The British No. 5 Jungle Carbine was a shorter, lighter version of the No. 4 infantry rifle. In order to reduce weight the barrel was shortened, the bayonet mount was simplified, lightening cuts were made in the receiver, and the forward stock was redesigned and shortened to cover less of the barrel.

This one apparently had an interesting history, judging from the Arabic writing on the left side of the stock. Tam says that batch of Enfields came from Pakistan. If anyone knows about British history of that era, I'd appreciate any pointers.

2006-04-13-No5-0009.jpg
1944. It's a piece of history. That shoots bullets!

Condition-wise, this rifle is excellent. The bluing is outstanding, and the stock rates at least good, with only one well-executed repair to the heel. Most of the metal scratches are confined to the box magazine. By way of comparison, my 1942 Lithgow No. 1 Mk III has almost no finish left on the now-white metal, and numerous stock dings and repairs.

My No. 1 apparently saw a lot of use judging from its condition and the numerous armorer's marks, including the letters FTR (for Factory Thorough Repair, in which the gun was extensively re-worked and worn-out or known defective parts replaced). This No. 5's marks seem to be the ones it originally left the factory with, which may reflect its history as a captured weapon. The one piece which may not be original is the cover over the safety (visible on the far right of the second photo) which has a purple-brownish finish that contrasts with the blue-black finish of the rest of the rifle.

Both of my Lee-Enfields have amazingly smooth bolts that can be flicked back and forth with one finger. Most bolt-action rifles use the Mauser design, with the locking lugs at the front of the bolt. Lee-Enfields have rear-mounted lugs. It seems to make for a faster action. The Lee-Enfield has the reputation of being the fastest bolt action military rifle. The tradeoff is that with the boltface at the front and the locking lugs at the rear the action isn't quite as strong as the Mauser action. It can allow bolt flexing that affects headspace.

Speaking of which, a major difference between the No. 1 and No. 4/5 is that the latter makes it easier to swap out the bolt face to correctly adjust headspace. The 4 and 5 rifles also have rear-mounted, two-position aperture sights instead of forward-mounted open sights, which makes them preferable in my book. The older my eyes get the more I appreciate aperture sights.

The popular saying is that in World War I the German Mauser was the best hunting rifle, the American Springfield was the best target rifle, and the British Lee-Enfield was the best battle rifle, thanks to its fast action and 10 round magazine. Those same rifles appeared again in World War II, though by then the American military had become the first major power to switch to a semi-automatic rifle (the M1 Garand) as its primary infantry rifle.

See also:
- Range Report: Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No. 1 Mk III
- Gun Links #37 - Lee-Enfield Edition
- Enfield Rifles (external, via Tam)
- Surplusrifle.com - See SMLE and Lee-Enfield sections (external)
- 303 Rifle History (external) - encompasses the Lee-Metford, Lee-Enfield, Ross, and P14 rifles

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Comments

Try the Zicam. It helped with my symtoms pretty quickly.

Posted by: Michael Silence at April 13, 2006

Thanks, I'll give it a try. My doc put me on the hard stuff - Tamiflu. 'Course, now I'm thinking about taking no more than I need and hording it in case of a bird flu epidemic. Twisted.

(Oops. My spam filter flagged my post as possible spam because it mentioned Tami-you know what,)

Posted by: Les Jones at April 13, 2006

Whats' the price on those?

Posted by: SayUncle at April 13, 2006

The 5's were $195. I think the 4's were $165. Those are fair prices.

Posted by: Les Jones at April 13, 2006

Those are VERY fair prices! Damn!

Posted by: Kevin Baker at April 13, 2006

"which may reflect its history as a captured weapon."

Don't forget that in the late '40s, Pakistan was part of India and India was part of the British Empire.

Posted by: Tamara at April 13, 2006

Tam, you're correct. Still, the lack of post-1944 armorer's marks and the Arabic writing on the stock lead me to believe that this rifle spent some time outside of official British control.

Posted by: Les Jones at April 14, 2006

After this post, I stopped in the local gun n' pawn (hey, it was across from my intended stop) and saw one of these on the rack. Looks like a darn fine firearm. Enjoy it!

Dear ol' Dad got some sort of short-barrelled Smith in .500. He called me to ask where he could get a carry holster for it. So he goes from a P32 to an M500. WTF, over?

Me? Go the no money blues. Curse you, pricey private university!

Posted by: Paul Simer at April 16, 2006

Where are you getting ammo? My number 4s are hungry...

Posted by: Mike at April 16, 2006

Coal Creek has PMP for $14 for 20. Wolf has some fair prices, too. I'm tempted to scrounge some primer and powder and buy bullets and a Lee Loader for .303.

Posted by: Les Jones at April 16, 2006

How would you describe, or name, the metal finish on the No. 5, Mark 1? I am trying to bring a '45 version back to life. Thanks.

Posted by: Geoffrey Stover at August 08, 2006

I have a NO5 MK1 "jungle carbine" and have read several articles describing it as having a 'wandering zero",suggesting it is innacurate.Do you or anyone onsite,know of such a problem with this rifle? thankyou

Posted by: peter at December 10, 2006

I am a vet. and life member of NRA and started my collection of mausers, MI Garands, Jungle Carbines, etc.
Sincerely
Lt. Col. K. Brett

Posted by: kevin brett at December 28, 2006

I have a cold too,I am looking for the wooden piece for the top of the forearm and the front metal band for enfield #5 MK1 (F) 10/47 AC3186. Any suggestions.

Posted by: duckster at January 04, 2007

G'day all,
Ref to Enfield no5 carbine, I have used mine for deer, pigs and roos, taken clean over ranges from 50 mtrs to 250 mtrs. I have experienced no 'wandering zero' nor any other accuracy problems. Bore sighted over 100 yrds.

This is a top reliable shooter, very handy and quick to point. Hold it firm and no problems with recoil;! Muzzle blast is ferocious, so dont forget the earplugs. The muzzle flash is about two feet long and makes difficult for keeping night sight.

If you like fine old, quality military rifles, you should have one of these - they are something special. Regards, Marty.

Posted by: marty at January 17, 2007

Hey, have you fired that weapon??

From what I can see that 'Jungle Carbine' may be a 'Khyber Pass' made weapon, ie. made by craftmens in Afganistan. The 'No5 Mk' missing the 'I' is one hint, the 'lined' grip is another hint (as jungle carbines didnt have grooved grips) and the Islamic text on the butt is another common item with these 'home made' weapons also the fact that you were told it came from Afghanistan.

IF it is a 'Khyber Special' you really SHOULD NOT shoot it!!

Check out my thread here:
http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=26656

Posted by: Peter at February 28, 2007

i was doing a search on a gun that has been passed to me through family. it looks like i have a lee-enfield no.5 mk 1 (1945). it has little crowns pressed into the barrel and front of action. above the trigger it reads" M/45? , 1945 , ENGLAND " can anyone help me find a value for this rifle?
thanks in advance for the help.

Posted by: leelee at June 03, 2007

hi im really into ww2 weapons especially the lee enfield rifle, im only 17, though when im old enough id like to get one of the things, im from australia so would anyone know how much it would cost for one (in ozzy dollars)?

thanks

Posted by: luke at August 17, 2007

Hello,

I used to own one of these beauties and it was loads of fun. Though used, it was in great condition and all appropriate markings were in place. I wish I hadn't gotten rid of it (along with several other weapons which I also should have held on to...) yet, I rarely ever fired it.

I think if I were to spot one of these around (a real No.5 that is) I would buy it just out of nostalgia.

Mustapha Stokely
Cape Girardeau, MO

Posted by: Mustapha Stokely at October 23, 2007

Many folks in the US may think that they have authentic jungle carbines and although some do many are not original commonwealth army issue. After the war the jungle carbine was copied by several companies in the US for the sport shooting market. Some in sporting models and others sold as "originals". An original commonwealth issue has the mark"No.5 Mk.1" and the date of manufacture electrostenciled, not stamped, in the flat side of the receiver. A stamped mark is sign of a newer model not belonging to the British empire. the reason for the stenciled mark instead of a pressed one is unknown to me.

Regardless of the make, the model is a good one with no "wandering Zero" which in fact was coined by commonwealth troops in the pacific who disliked the rifle due to its bright flash at night regardless of the flash hider, and its heavy recoil compared to other service rifles.

Like a few, I am blessed to own one of these little gems in the rough. I have shot targets at 250+ yards with it and it's size makes it an excellent bush rifle

Dave
Canada

Posted by: Dave at October 29, 2007

I have to agree with Peter!!!

The moment I laid eyes on that rifle pictured above I could see right away that it was a fake. There are many things wrong with it that an experienced Enfield owner and collector can see glaring at them.

1 - No5's never had had grooved rear hand guards.

2 - You have a MKII flip battle sight from a No4 on it - No5's had their own 800 yard marked MkI Singer style sight.

3 - The I.D's on the receiver are clearly doctored and don't read correctly ... they should also be ELECTRO-PENCILLED ... those there are not! Your I/D proofs have been stamped which is completely incorrect.

4 - I strongly suspect you have a No4 receiver that has been doctored to look like No5 and looking at the grooved rear hand guard I suspect the entire rifle is actually a No4 cut to look like a No5.

Bottom line ... you have a fake.

4

Posted by: Tikirocker at December 26, 2007

I have to agree with Peter!!!

The moment I laid eyes on that rifle pictured above I could see right away that it was a fake. There are many things wrong with it that an experienced Enfield owner and collector can see glaring at them.

1 - No5's never had had grooved rear hand guards.

2 - You have a MKII flip battle sight from a No4 on it - No5's had their own 800 yard marked MkI Singer style sight.

3 - The I.D's on the receiver are clearly doctored and don't read correctly ... they should also be ELECTRO-PENCILLED ... those there are not! Your I/D proofs have been stamped which is completely incorrect.

4 - I strongly suspect you have a No4 receiver that has been doctored to look like No5 and looking at the grooved rear hand guard I suspect the entire rifle is actually a No4 cut to look like a No5.

Bottom line ... you have a fake.


Posted by: Tikirocker at December 26, 2007

Les,

I just had to re-check but it's 100% now, your rifle is a No4 receiver. The No5 Jungle Carbine receiver has a step in it that the No4 does not have. Go do a search on both rifles and compare the receivers - you have a No4 as I suspected - sorry you have been misled in a sale. You can never do enough research in Enfield rifles before a purchase.

Posted by: Tikirocker at December 26, 2007

i have a no.4 mk1 with a mk11 flip up sight which is broken the ones i've seen on line have ascrew mech. mine has 2 squezze mech. on sides what do i have an where can i find one

Posted by: john at February 28, 2008

i have a no.4 mk1 with a mk11 flip up sight which is broken the ones i've seen on line have ascrew mech. mine has 2 squezze mech. on sides what do i have an where can i find one

Posted by: john at February 28, 2008

i have a no.4 mk1 with a mk11 flip up sight which is broken the ones i've seen on line have ascrew mech. mine has 2 squezze mech. on sides what do i have an where can i find one

Posted by: john at February 28, 2008

Yeah that's a Khyber Pass model. The numbers on the receiver give it away. If you shoot that, you might wanna have 9-1-1 on speed dial, just in case. I'd recommend just hanging it on the wall, because it looks almost exactly like an original. Nothing else can be done with it unless you get it inspected by a pro gunsmith. I had a friend that got stuck with a Khyber Enfield Revolver... paid about $400 for it, then couldn't use it. It's a shame when this stuff happens, but you can probably get a local smith to salvage it, just don't load or shoot it 'til they look at it.

Posted by: WWIIcollector at May 30, 2008

hey i think i have a No. 5 Mark Jungle. Do you know who i could talk to about it?

Posted by: justin fox at November 04, 2008

ok help me my 303 british has gb and a crown on it so i take it that this is a original or what ser no is 16131 on bolt barrel and receiver.its also a carbine short barrelled.like brand new has been sported out for hunting bent bolt and scope mounts. anyone have an idea what ive got and the value.

Posted by: lydon redhead at December 03, 2008

I recently acquired a 1918 lee enfield mk1 jungle carbine, have uncovered some #'s and markings, but am not sure where else to look, or what for.
First gun I've owned, I think I fell into a good deal. I need a little pro-advice on finding out if what I have is of value!!!!!

Posted by: tony at December 11, 2008

I have acquired a lee enfield mk1 jungle carbine, made by a co. in pasadena, calif. vint.1918, got it from a friend who's father was a Tuskeegee Airman,good condition......not ready to shoot it yet.
Are there any special markings I can reference to verify authenticity?

Posted by: tony at December 11, 2008

WOW! This is the first time that I actually seen another rifle like mine! Does your have the cone flash suppressor?

Posted by: Polecat at December 13, 2008

Oh , thats too bad. Like I said, I have never seen another one like mine. If there is a way to post a pic of mine I would.

Posted by: Polecat at December 13, 2008
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