As the moderator of the Lee Enfield forums at Collecting and Shooting the Military Surplus Rifle (2006) - Surplusrifle.com I thought I might add some Enfield content to this section; hopefully it will meet with interest. Both my Grandfather and Great Uncles fought in the Burma Campaign during WW2; my Grandfather was with the Royal Sussex Regiment ( The Shiny 9th ) and my Great Uncle who is in his 90's fought with the Chindits under Maj Gen Ord Wingate. The No5 Mk1 was specifically developed for fighting in the far east and Burma campaign was where this rifle found it's major point of issuance.
I am presenting my own rifle here which as by the text attached to the images you will recognise as a Fazakerley built No5 from the 12 month, year of 1945. I have created a FAQ sticky at the Enfields forum and will re-post it here for the benefit of those curious. There is a great deal of history on the development of the No5 rifle which I could expand upon if members are interested but for now I'll let the FAQ sticky suffice.
For more information see my No5 Info and Serial Number sticky here Surplusrifleforum.com • View topic - No5 Mk1 Jungle Carbine info and Serial Number Survey! - or if anybody needs any additional information on No5's feel free to ask.
No5 Mk1 specs ... by Tikirocker
Overall Length = 3ft 3.5"
With bayonet = 4ft.01"
Barrel = 20.5" with flash hider.
Bayonet overall = 12.0"
Weight Rifle without bayonet = 7bl. 1oz ( 3.2kg )
Rifle with bayonet = 8bl.3oz (3.7kg)
Bayonet No5 = 7oz (.2kg)
Barrel rifling = 5 groove
Twist = Left hand 1 in 10 or 33 calibers.
Sights Mk1 and MkII = 200-800 yards.
Magazine capacity = 10 rounds - capable of 11 with one up the spout.
Loading via 5 round charger clips, NOT from the magazine.
Caliber. 303 in British.
Production costs at time of production = Pounds 8/8/Od.
No5 MK1 Jungle Carbine FAQ's.
1# - What factories made the No5 rifle?
Ans - Only two factories ever made the No5 Mk1, Royal Ordnance Factory ( ROF )Fazakerley ( F ) in Liverpool and BSA Birmingham Small Arms ( M47C )
2# - What manufacture codes should be present on the parts of my No5 Mk1?
Ans - See answer to question 1.
3# - Where do I find the manufacture I.D on a No5?
Ans - All manufacture information, dates and serial numbers are found on the left of the receiver and are electro pencilled not stamped.
4# - My No5 doesn't seem to have any markings at all, what now?
Ans - In some cases the markings are very faint and barely noticeable at all - this is especially the case with many BSA rifles where it's common to only find the M47C code to identify it.
5# - Where should I find matching serial numbers?
Ans - On the left of receiver, on the rear flat of the bolt, on the left of the barrel knox form and magazine also stamped in the stock in some cases. In less common cases you may find the serials E/P'd on other parts such as the inside of the trigger guards.
6# - What is the story with overlapping serial number codes and dates?
Ans - Fazakerley was running three assembly lines at once for No4 rifle production in WW2 but these lines each had their own letter code sequences, so the multi-line system is easy to see. Perhaps the explanation for the wild letter prefix overlaps is this three line system operating without the special letter codes, which would look like chaos with lots of anomalies?
7# - How many digits do No5's have in their serial numbers?
Ans - Usually you will see a 4 digit serial code system on 99% of Jungle Carbines but there are instances of 3 letter codes and there will likely be 2 letter codes also. The main point here is that 4 is the biggest number you will see. If you have a rifle with a 5 digit serial number then you will likely have a No4 conversion and not a No5.
8# - What are the major clues to identifying that my No5 rifle is real and not a fake?
Ans - In no particular order you should check that ...
# - Your bolt head is hollowed out.
# - Remove the handguard and check that your barrel knox form has the lightening cuts that are unique to this rifle.
# - Check that the rear sight is the correct type Singer style Mk1 or Mk2 sight with a max setting of 800 yards and not 1300 yards as found on No4 back sights.
# - A fast check for the novice is to look at the receiver from the left side and see if it has a distinct step beneath the back sight. If it does not then this is a No4 receiver or even maybe a No1 receiver.
# - You will not find the rectangular lump on the front right side of the receiver wall unlike a No4 receiver.
# - The action cover loop of the No5 trigger guard is a rounded loop and waisted unlike the even U of the No4 cover.
# - Your rifle should have a conical flash eliminator at the muzzle end with bayonet lug beneath.
# - The butt stock should not look the same as a No4 or No1 butt stock. You will see a distinct groove on the rear right side of the stock with a unique D shaped steel sling keep protruding.
9# - What is all this about a wandering zero?
Ans - Back when the No5 was still being manufactured there was a period of time when the No5 was seen as being the logical successor to the No4 rifle as the standard battle rifle. After performing various trials it was ( apparently ) reported that the No5 would not hold it's zero and under certain circumstances would lose it altogether. More trials were conducted and there were various reports of the lightening of the receiver being a cause of the issue as well as stocking up in some instances.
In the context of the period the rest of the world was moving toward SLR or Self Loading Rifles and it is now largely believed that the Wandering Zero story was an expedient means of the MOD justifying re-tooling and scrapping the No5 to the Government bean counters so they could move to the SLR. After all the trials and R&D that had already been done for production of the No5 they needed an excuse for this change as Britain was now also facing a struggling post war economy unlike the U.S. It is now widely held that the Wandering Zero was the excuse they required. Few if any No5 owners today find any accuracy issues with their rifles and fewer still can replicate the wandering zero - it is believed to be a created myth ( That all No5's suffered with innacuracy ) and this seems to be well supported by the many owners who can not find any evidence of it.
It is widely believed that the effects of the so-called wandering zero were environmental - the sheer volume of damp, rain and humidity found in Burma is now understood to be the culprit as when the furniture of the rifle was repeatedly swelling and drying out it would cause shifts in the bedding of the rifle relative to the receiver; this in turn would cause erratic shifts in accuracy. Under heavy or sustained fire the stocks would heat up considerably after being soaked for long periods and not having chance to dry out properly.
In later years during and after the Malayan Emergency the Malays decided to finish their No5 Mk1's with lacquer to stop moisture and damp from entering the furniture - lessons well learned from the Burma experience; the correct finish for all Lee Enfield rifles however is and has always been Linseed Oil. Linseed Oil works in just about every other environment as it is still permeable and not entirely waterproof ... most if not all Enfield's are usually finished with a wax to create the final barrier to moisture. In the case of Burma where torrential downpour and heat are a daily occurance, this method simply was not enough. Published British Armorers such as Peter Laidler have confessed that most No5's were as good as gold and I can vouch for the fact that I have no such accuracy issues with my own No5 Mk1.
10# - What is the significance of the capped fore-end?
Ans - We see the capped fore-end beginning in early 1946, so post war period. Some were found very early on ( 1944 experimental models ) but the majority are post war. As for significance of the fore-end, it was requested that a fore-end cap be introduced for protection of the fore-end itself and also to guard against moisture entering the end grain.
ROF Faz - 169,807.
BSA - Shirley - 81,329.
The No5 Mk1 rifle first began production in September of 1944 but did not find issue to troops in the Far East until 1945. I hope this information has been educational and informative.
Best regards, Simon.
Edited by Tikirocker, 14 December 2008 - 03:10 PM.