Monday, February 11, 2013

Enfield 2A comes out of hiding. Color me not unhappy.

Last week I decided to change my shooting habits a bit due to the difficulty of acquiring more 5.56 ammunition (as well as most other popular calibers). I'm going to go old-school for a bit since right now, the prices on old surplus rifles on the auction sites are lower than they've been in years. It looks like everybody's focusing on trying to buy up the latest "tacti-cool" stuff and forgetting that old early to mid-twentieth century rifles are still damned effective weapons, with the bonus of often coming with some interesting history.

That being the case, I bid on--and won--a lot of three old Mauser rifles last week. I did this because I'd gotten the idea that I needed another 7.62x51mm bolt rifle to shoot. One of the rifles in this auction happened to be a 7.62mm rifle, the other two being an 8mm rifle (I like shooting 8mm) and a 7mm rifle (I haven't tried reloading for 7mm yet but I like the ballistics) so I bid on the lot of three and surprisingly, I won them for a song. Maybe no one else wanted to go for three at once, or maybe the 7mm was the deal-killer for some folks, but I got them ridiculous cheap at the starting price, apparently being the only interested bidder.

Then as I was moving rifles around in the gun room to make room for them on the rack, I stumbled across this gem: an Indian 7.62mm Enfield 2A1 rifle that was nestling in among my other .303 Enfields. Whoa. I bought this one a couple of years ago and just plain forgot that it was there. I've never fired it, and apparently neither did the person that I bought it from as the bolt and barrel were still slathered in cosmoline preservative grease.
Doof. If I'd known that was there, I probably wouldn't have bought the other three. But then again, maybe I would have. I like old Mausers.

Anyway, today I cleaned the grease out of it and took it out for it's first range trip. As expected, being a week day, I had the 100 yard line to myself.
So I set up my spotting scope and brought out the remainder of a belt of 7.62mm machine gun ammo to feed the rifle with. (See why I like 7.62mm bolt guns now? I've got tons of this stuff for a certain other firearm.)
Alas, this rife doesn't feed from a belt; the cartridges have to be stripped off one at a time and fed into the rifle's 12-round squared-off box magazine (which is notably different from a .303 Enfield's rounded box magazine).
Here's a picture showing the 7.62mm rifle below a traditional .303 rifle. (Double Doof. I took this picture last year and still forgot that I had this rifle.) See the difference in the magazine shapes?

Anyway, I got to shooting, and after a couple of rounds to blow the remaining grease out of the barrel, the rifle started printing a decent group on the left side of the target, hitting about six inches left and six high. Looking at the rifle's front sight, I can see that it's drifted substantially to the right, and if I bring it back to the center, it should start hitting true, at least windage-wise. I actually saw that the sight was off-center before shooting, but that's kinda common with old military-surplus rifles, and if I had a dollar for every time that I just centered the front sight before shooting the rifle only to find that it had been drifted for a reason... (Sigh.) So now I have to pop the nosecap off, heat the sight base with a torch, and gently whang on it with a big hammer and a brass punch until it moves back to center. Then I'll have to take it back out for another test-fire, but hey--that's hardly punishment.

Long story short, it looks like this one's gonna be a solid, dependable and accurate shooter, one that just may come in handy when the evil gun-grabbers come around trying to filch my tacti-cool stuff.
Yo, gun grabbers! You get the ammunition first. Here--catch!

Oh--To see another nice pair of Ishapore Enfields, go here and here for a couple of nice pic posts from NotClauswitz.


  1. Hi Murphy;

    I bought one of those indian rifles back in the 90's. I still havn't fired it. It was made in 1964 for the indian police at the same armory that made my .303 enfiend, just 20 years later:) One time I will have the time to actually take some of my bolt action rifles to the range and see how they shot.

  2. Honestly the first rifle I ever fired was a .303, a Mark V I think. It took me a year of begging my dad to let me shoot it, at 8 years old. I promptly realized why my dad had not let me fire it till then. I've got a hankering to get myself one. Mind letting us know where you are getting such good deals?

  3. @ Mr. G: Get them out there. Old bolt guns need love, too.

    @ Old NFO: It's just waiting for a chance to meet your SCAR on the 400 yard range. Come on out!

    @ Terri: Just got to know values and be able to walk away when prices get too high.

  4. That is a mighty fine rifle, and I really enjoy shooting mine. Go read these two articles on SurplusRifle before you load up on ammo.

    There are some differences between 7.62 Nato and .308 Win, and I think the Ishapore rifles are one of those guns where these differences must be respected.

  5. @ David: I never exceed NATO spec for any of my surplus rifles, and actually my reloads are a touch under spec as I don't care to beat certain firearms to death while just training with them. So no worries here, but thanks for the links and the compliment.

  6. I wish I hadn't lost my 7mm Mauser sporter back when the twins were little and money was really tight. I kept the 1903A3 sporterized .30-06 but I've missed that Mauser ever since. It is the perfect rifle for the recoil conscious* hunter, say that nephew of yours. Shoot 100 grain bullets for varmints, 120 for speed goats, 140 for deer, 150 for those monster buck they claim live way up north, 160 for your cow elk permit and 175 for bull elk and moose.

    And if the unthinkable really happens, 140 at max speed.

    * That recoil conscious shooter is now me, what with the arthritis.