Firing the Mad Minute with a Lee-Enfield rifle

Back in the day we had an OAP janitor in our barracks. "Pops" was a WWII veteran. So it was one day a lorry parked at the Orderly Room to deliver a parcel . . . to me. It was a No. 4, Mk I which I had scored "dirt cheap" from Wallis & Wallis of Lewes, Sussex.

Before turning it in to the armoury for storage so as to comply with regs, I stopped by the barracks to show it to Pops. He took the rifle and began going through the manual of arms as though the last time he'd done that was the day before.

Then he showed me a rapid fire trick: hold the bolt knob between the thumb and index finger, fire with the middle finger, and instead of moving the right hand, rotate the rifle one-quarter turn clockwise then anti-clockwise with the left hand.

I was explaining this maneuver to someone the other day then began wondering if I remembered it correctly. Searching the internet and YouTube returned nothing. (Did mention a pre-War Sgt Maj from a Scottish unit who was able to fire thirty-eight rounds in one minute though. Fcuk!!)

Can anyone confirm my memory is totally down the pan?
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Last edited:
Thanks loads for that!! That was tucked away in an area of ARRSE I never visit - unfortunately. From the length of that thread, I'll need to break out some serious drinks in preparation of an extended read.
 
....Then he showed me a rapid fire trick: hold the bolt knob between the thumb and index finger, fire with the middle finger, and instead of moving the right hand, rotate the rifle one-quarter turn clockwise then anti-clockwise with the left hand...

You still have to draw the bolt to the rear to eject the empty case and cock the hammer though.
 
You still have to draw the bolt to the rear to eject the empty case and cock the hammer though.
The method of using the inside of the index-finger to raise the bolt, extract and eject the case, and the inside of the thumb to push the bolt forward by rocking the wrist, while rolling the rifle through the required angle was shown to me as a callow and impressionable cadet by an old-timer who I greatly admired and respected. I dare say it would have been frowned-upon by some, but seemed to work for him in NW Europe in '45.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
Then he showed me a rapid fire trick: hold the bolt knob between the thumb and index finger, fire with the middle finger, and instead of moving the right hand, rotate the rifle one-quarter turn clockwise then anti-clockwise with the left hand.

I was explaining this maneuver to someone the other day then began wondering if I remembered it correctly. Searching the internet and YouTube returned nothing. (Did mention a pre-War Sgt Maj from a Scottish unit who was able to fire thirty-eight rounds in one minute though. Fcuk!!)

Can anyone confirm my memory is totally down the pan?

I first came across a reference to this method of firing a couple of years ago when doing some research on a WWI topic. It seemed to be SOP for rapid fire in the BEF. I mentioned this in passing to an ex-National Serviceman during this year's Remembrance Parade and he claimed to have been taught he same drill in the early 1950s.

On a tangent; following the links to one of the previous ARRSE threads, I came across the Pathe footage below. Can anyone ID the conical shaped sight system on the FN FAL?
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/the-armys-new-rifle/query/enfield
 

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
Back in the day we had an OAP janitor in our barracks. "Pops" was a WWII veteran. So it was one day a lorry parked at the Orderly Room to deliver a parcel . . . to me. It was a No. 4, Mk I which I had scored "dirt cheap" from Wallis & Wallis of Lewes, Sussex.

Before turning it in to the armoury for storage so as to comply with regs, I stopped by the barracks to show it to Pops. He took the rifle and began going through the manual of arms as though the last time he'd done that was the day before.

Then he showed me a rapid fire trick: hold the bolt knob between the thumb and index finger, fire with the middle finger, and instead of moving the right hand, rotate the rifle one-quarter turn clockwise then anti-clockwise with the left hand.

I was explaining this maneuver to someone the other day then began wondering if I remembered it correctly. Searching the internet and YouTube returned nothing. (Did mention a pre-War Sgt Maj from a Scottish unit who was able to fire thirty-eight rounds in one minute though. Fcuk!!)

Can anyone confirm my memory is totally down the pan?
Have you PM'd Auld Yin?
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I first came across a reference to this method of firing a couple of years ago when doing some research on a WWI topic. It seemed to be SOP for rapid fire in the BEF. I mentioned this in passing to an ex-National Serviceman during this year's Remembrance Parade and he claimed to have been taught he same drill in the early 1950s.

On a tangent; following the links to one of the previous ARRSE threads, I came across the Pathe footage below. Can anyone ID the conical shaped sight system on the FN FAL?
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/the-armys-new-rifle/query/enfield

I'm guessing the same non-magnifying optic as was used on the EM-2
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Have you PM'd Auld Yin?
Barsteward! Although as a young (and extremely impressionable) Cadet in the ACF, and before moving on to Junior Bleeders and THAT rifle, we had the L-E. At that time it was almost the same height as me so fancy stuff was out.

Also, and to my great shame, the ACF unit was badged RA, so we got to play with bigger guns - 25 Pounders - now and again and even got to fire one at Otterburn.
 
The method of using the inside of the index-finger to raise the bolt, extract and eject the case, and the inside of the thumb to push the bolt forward by rocking the wrist, while rolling the rifle through the required angle was shown to me as a callow and impressionable cadet by an old-timer who I greatly admired and respected. I dare say it would have been frowned-upon by some, but seemed to work for him in NW Europe in '45.

That would be different from Fireplace's description then, which made no mention of drawing the bolt to the rear. I'd imagine that recruits would be taught traditional bolt work and as they progressed more experienced lads would show them the fancy stuff. The Pathé news clip shows the bloke firing the Lee Enfield in the traditional Highland manner.
 
That would be different from Fireplace's description then, which made no mention of drawing the bolt to the rear. I'd imagine that recruits would be taught traditional bolt work and as they progressed more experienced lads would show them the fancy stuff. The Pathé news clip shows the bloke firing the Lee Enfield in the traditional Highland manner.
Indeed. I can't imagine 'Pops' moving the rifle backwards and forwards with his left hand as well as a 60-degree rotation to accomplish the feat while keeping the right hand still.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Barsteward! Although as a young (and extremely impressionable) Cadet in the ACF, and before moving on to Junior Bleeders and THAT rifle, we had the L-E. At that time it was almost the same height as me so fancy stuff was out.

Also, and to my great shame, the ACF unit was badged RA, so we got to play with bigger guns - 25 Pounders - now and again and even got to fire one at Otterburn.

It still is if you're lying down.
 
Barsteward! Although as a young (and extremely impressionable) Cadet in the ACF, and before moving on to Junior Bleeders and THAT rifle, we had the L-E. At that time it was almost the same height as me so fancy stuff was out.

Also, and to my great shame, the ACF unit was badged RA, so we got to play with bigger guns - 25 Pounders - now and again and even got to fire one at Otterburn.


My ACF unit was also badged Artillery and about 4 miles from Woolwich ...our treat, used to be the odd bit of training with their recruits, 'Colenso Troop'? during my time, which was early to mid 70's - and was taught the flicking away of the empty charger with the right thumb after 'charging the magazine', by the old sweats..
 
Read the book Lee-enfield rifle by I think Martin Pegler a few months ago who mentioned rates of fire of 30rds per min was perfectly acheievable and during trials a sargent did over sixty rds per min.
As a cadet they wouldn't give us that much ammunition so I suppose I will never know what I could have achieved. Sigh.
P.s. good little book.
 
You still have to draw the bolt to the rear to eject the empty case and cock the hammer though.
You're quite right, of course. Left hand turns the rifle a quarter turn clockwise, right hand straight back then forward, left hand turns one-quarter anti-clockwise. I knew something obvious was missing.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top