Yesterday was a fantastic range day for several reasons.
First of all, my Uzi again choked and jammed, right out of the gate. But this is good, because it did it with known quality factory ammunition instead of my reloads, so the problem is definitely the gun and not my reloads. Yay! Easier to fix a gun than disassemble hundreds of rounds of otherwise great ammunition.
Next, I'm really happy because B., a new shooter that I've been taking out to the range since he bought a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield and a CMP Garand, is now shooting them well enough that I feel confident in letting him fire without close supervision. He's finally relaxed, usually hits the target or at least comes really close, and he handles the guns safely, to include malfunction drills when things don't go right. Watching his progress is rewarding, to say the least.
Next, I took another old rack-hanger out to the range, only to discover that it shoots a lot better than I thought it did. This rifle is a British Enfield, #4 Mark 1, in caliber .303.
OK, make that a hammer, a punch and a torch, because that sucker was tight!
Yesterday was it's first trip out, and I started with it on the 25-yard line, just to see where it would hit. I fired five shots at a "dirty bird" type target, and was a little pissed to only see two holes on the target, both predictable a bit low and left. Did it really just throw the other three clean off the target at 25 yards from a rested firing position? Turned out that it did not--they were right in the center bull, touching.
Well ok then...I moved it over to 100, while B. went to work with his Garand on the adjacent target. And it didn't take long before I got elevation practically perfect with that great rear sight. A few more light whacks on the front blade fine-tuned the windage, and soon the rifle was scoring consistent X-ring hits at 100 yards. Why was this rifle "Queen of the rack" for all those years?
I moved out to two hundred yards, and on a whim, because he was shooting well at a hundred, I moved B. back to two hundred as well, telling him to come up on his elevation three clicks and really concentrate on his sight picture and trigger squeeze. He did pretty well for his first try, and the old Enfield was putting them right where they needed to go two, until the case rim tore off of round #9, leaving the case body in the chamber--another old Enfield quirk, again thanks to generous chamber tolerances--and effectively shutting the rifle down for the day for lack of a broken cartridge extractor. But the rifle made its point: it can shoot if I do my job. And this one will definitely NOT be getting sold any time soon. Instead, it's going to be making a lot more range trips with me in the future...along with my broken cartridge extractor.
Oh--and that Rule .303? Harry "Breaker" Morant could tell you more about that, had he not rather ironically had it applied to himself in the end.
And yeah, yeah...they used Lee-Metford rifles back then, not Enfields But It's just too cool a reference to leave out of a post about .303 rifles.