Jungle Carbine

Jungle Carbine

Infobox Weapon
name=Rifle No 5 Mk I (aka Lee-Enfield No 5 Mk I, aka Lee-Enfield Jungle Carbine)


caption=
origin=flagcountry|United Kingdom
type=Service rifle
is_ranged=yes
is_UK=yes
service=1944-Present
used_by=See Users
wars= World War II, Korean War, Malayan Emergency, British colonial conflicts, numerous others
designer=Royal Ordnance Factory Fazakerley, Birmingham Small Arms Company
design_date=1944
manufacturer=
production_date=1944-1947
number=251,368- 81,329 (BSA Shirley); 170,039 (ROF Fazakerley)
variants=
weight= 7 lb. 1 oz. (3.2 kg), unloaded
length= 39.5 in. (1003 mm)
part_length=
cartridge= .303 Mk VII SAA Ball
caliber= .303 British
action= Bolt-action
rate= 20-30 rounds/minute
velocity= 2539 ft/s (774 m/s
range=500yds
max_range=1000yds
feed=10-round magazine, loaded with 5-round charger clips
sights=Flip-up rear aperture sights, Fixed-post front sights

Jungle Carbine was an informal term used for the Rifle No. 5 Mk I, which was a derivative of the British Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk I, designed especially for fighting in the Far East and Burma and other terrain where the length and weight of the standard rifle made it unsuitable. Production began in March 1944, and finished in October 1947.

The No. 5 was about 100 mm shorter and nearly a kilogram lighter than the No. 4 from which it was derived. A number of "lightening cuts" were made to the receiver body and the barrel, the bolt knob drilled out, woodwork cut down to reduce weight and had other new features like a flash suppressor and a rubber buttpad to help absorb the increased recoil. However, as the buttpad had a smaller surface area than the standard Lee-Enfield buttplate, it actually concentrated the force of recoil into a smaller area of the shooter's shoulder.

The term "Jungle Carbine" was colloquial and never officially applied by the British Armed Forces, but the Rifle No. 5 Mk I was supposedly referred to as the "Jungle Carbine" by British and Commonwealth troops during WWII and the Malayan Emergency.

Due to the large conical flash suppressor, the No 5 Mk I could only mount the No. 5 blade bayonet, which was also designed to serve as a combat knife if needed.

Post-war non-military conversions

Though they did not invent the name, the designation "Jungle Carbine" was popularised by the Santa Fe Arms Corporation in the mid to late 1950s. Santa Fe imported huge numbers of SMLE Mk III* and Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles and converted them to civilian versions of the No. 5 Mk I for the hunting and recreational shooting markets in the US. Prospective buyers must be very sure they can tell the difference between a real No. 5 and a conversion. The easiest way to do this is to look for the markings on the left hand side of the receiver; a genuine No. 5 will have "Rifle No 5 Mk I" electrostencilled there, while a post-war conversion will generally have either no markings or markings from manufacturers who did not make the No. 5 Mk I (for example, Savage or Long Branch).

Companies such as the Gibbs Rifle Company in the U.S. have sold completely re-built Enfields of all descriptions, but most notably their copies of "jungle carbines" (made from original No. 1 and No. 4 rifles) and the "Bulldog" rifles (also fashioned from original No. 1 and No. 4 rifles). As long as a vendor is not trying to pass one of these rifles off as a genuine No. 5, there shouldn't be any confusion over their origin and type, but not every gun owner or gun dealer is a surplus military firearms expert and mistakes (both accidental and intentional) do occur.The deliberate, permanent modification of military surplus firearms (loosely defined in the US as any ex-military firearm that is eligible for possession on a 03 FFL C&R license) is not only actively discouraged, but a source of constant despair to the military surplus firearms collecting community, especially when it causes as much confusion as it has with these civilian conversions of Enfields to No. 5 Mk I configurations.

Wandering zero

One of the complaints leveled against the No. 5 Mk I rifle by soldiers was that it had a "wandering zero"- ie, the rifle could not be "sighted in" and then relied upon to shoot to the same point of impact later on. [Wilson, Royce "Jungle Fever: The Lee-Enfield .303 rifle No. 5 Mk I", Australian Shooter Magazine, May 2006] . Tests conducted during the mid to late 1940s appeared to confirm that the rifle did have some accuracy issues, most likely relating to the lightening cuts made in the receiver, combined with the presence of a flash suppressor on the end of the barrel. [Skennerton, Ian: "Small Arms Identification Series No. 4: .303 Rifle, No. 5 Mk I" , Page 8. Arms & Militaria Press, 1994] . However, modern collectors and shooters have pointed out that no Jungle Carbine collector/shooter on any of the prominent internet military firearm collecting forums has reported a confirmed "wandering zero" on their No. 5 Mk I rifle, [Skennerton, Ian: "Small Arms Identification Series No. 4: .303 Rifle, No. 5 Mk I" , Page 7. Arms & Militaria Press, 1994] leading to speculation that the No. 5 Mk I may have been phased out largely because the British military did not want a bolt-action rifle when most of the other major militaries were switching over to semi-automatic arms [Skennerton, Ian: "Small Arms Identification Series No. 4: .303 Rifle, No. 5 Mk I" , Page 7. Arms & Militaria Press, 1994] such as the M1 Garand, SKS, or FN-FAL. Nonetheless, it has also been pointed out by historians and collectors that the No. 5 Mk I must have had some fault, as the British military continued with manufacture and issue of the Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk II rifle until 1956, before finally converting to the L1A1 SLR. [Skennerton, Ian: "Small Arms Identification Series No. 4: .303 Rifle, No. 5 Mk I" , Page 7. Arms & Militaria Press, 1994]

Users

*flag|Commonwealth of Nations
*flag|United Kingdom

Notes

References

* Skennerton, Ian. "The Lee-Enfield Story" (1993) Arms & Militaria Press, Gold Coast, QLD ISBN 1-85367-138-X
* Skennerton, Ian: "Small Arms Identification Series No. 4: .303 Rifle, No. 5 Mk I" (1994). Arms & Militaria Press, Gold Coast QLD ISBN 0 949749 21 4
* Wilson, Royce. "Jungle Fever- The Lee-Enfield .303 rifle No. 5 Mk I". "Australian Shooter", May 2006


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