NZ Lee Enfields

Welcome to the blog on the No4 NZ bush Carbine. This article first appeared on Milsurps as a reaction our first Trademe Auction of one of the very first carbines we built.

Let all those bubb-a-rites be assured that no good Lee Enfield was harmed in the creation of this product. We source only top quality no 4 rifles that have been previously cut down or rendered useless for restoration.
Having said that, it was initially inspired by a no 5 7.62 kit made for use in the Congo and other African conflict zones after the war – a seriously shortened rifle with a 10″ barrel and a ported front end. Saw it for sale a year or two back in a DWS UK auction.
We have used Enfields all our high school (NZ Cadets) and hunting lives, and realising the
reliability of these rifles, well proven in a 100 years of defence roles all over the globe, we
wanted the younger generation to experience the joy of owning and hunting with the old ‘coal burner’. The gun needed to have attitude, short enough to carry into the NZ bush, and quick to the shoulder. Yet capable of killing a deer at 300m if necessary.
The no5 fits this bill admirably, but are now highly prized as collector’s items and with the
inherent problems of over lightening the action, the no4 was then the ideal choice.
We tried various configurations both physical and computer simulated (Lee would turn in his grave), and decided to try and be true to the initial design of both rifles.
The barrel is 5 groove x 18.7″ (although 16.7″ looks better) to maintain a reasonable muzzle velocity. The finished weight is 3.6KG or 8lbs
The fore woods are shortened to no 5 specs and then no 4 end caps and bands are used to
protect the wood work. The difficulty in putting the caps on so far up the stock is the amount of wood left under the band, hence the shape of the front band is designed to spread the load. The use of no 4 end caps is not uncommon in these conversions, but look a bit like an unimaginative after thought, and can seriously weaken the fore wood. The lower fore wood on the Bush Carbine has been strengthened by splicing in a piece of wood in the lightening channel, making the nose a solid piece of wood.
The butt is a no 4 cut to BSA no 5 specs, but with both sling options left in tact.
The main reason for the vented hand guards was initially to give the rifle some character or attitude, and attract the younger generation back to the fold. But it does let the moisture out and prevents sweating and rusting under the top wood. Still mucking around with those vents – gone from three, to two, to three and back to two small ones on the last one. One of the Lee Enfield machine gun conversions had similar venting (Charlton automatic rifle), albeit for other reasons.
And so does the FN rifle (L1A1).
It’s taken over a year of experimenting to get this far and the scrap pile is surprisingly still quite small. But it’s been an enjoyable exercise that you do because it is a hobby, not because you intend to make any money. Including the cost of the gun, the parts come to over $450, so the rest is done for love. But then we all love Lee Enfields, don’t we….
Chris Sorrell

Sorrell and Son NZ – Email: bcel@xtra.co.nz/ (Ph 64 3 304 7484)

NZ-bush-carbine-7-62

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