Rate of fire Mauser/Lee Enfield

#1
Gents this subject was brought up the other day by another old knacker.

Was The German Mauser 98 with it's forward locking bolt and 5 round magazine capable of firing say 50 rounds faster, than the British Enfield with it's rear locking lugs and a 10 round mag.
john
 
#2
no way :x
the Enfield is a LOT quicker to use then a Mauser (or any of the Mauser clones)
the rear locking gives a shorter bolt stroke (fnar-fnar-snigger)

read about when the jerries first came up against the BEF in 1914,
they honestly thought they were facing a line of MGs because of the amount of accurate incoming.

the lee action based Metfords/Enfields/SMLEs/No4/No5's was THE bolt action rifle to have. bar none.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
Don't know the actual firing rates
But didn't the Germans at Mons (IIRC) question the British rate of fire
It was apperntly so fast and heavy from the Lee Enfields the Germans thought it was MG's putting down the fire
I think it was stated the British troops had to p1ss on the bolts to cool them down to handle them

If that was correct you would assume the Lee Enfield was faster
Also I would have thought 10 and a reload was quicker than reloading every 5 rounds
 
#4
Gents I do not know. I hope the boards experts will inform.
It was said that the Enfield required two 5 round clips to be inserted so the single 5 round Mauser clip is quicker and the rifle is back into service faster .
john
 
#5
jonwilly said:
Gents I do not know. I hope the boards experts will inform.
It was said that the Enfield required two 5 round clips to be inserted so the single 5 round Mauser clip is quicker and the rifle is back into service faster .
john
Perhaps, but you've got to do it twice for every once with the Enfield.
 
#6
When the Germans first encountered the largely regular BEF, in France in 1914 they were amazed at the amount of fire they were receiving from the Brits. They assessed each British Battalion as having 18 Machine guns at their disposal, in fact they had only two. The rifle they used had a complicated double magazine, dropped later for simplicity of production and recruit training, but the rifle was still quicker to fire. Another major advantage was that the Enfield system was quieter to load than the Mauser. The commercial sucess of the Mauser system is down to it's strength, not it's rate of fire. If you buy a heavy calibre hunting rifle today the M98 system is still the first choice. I have an original Enfield No IV Mk 1 t which I use to embarrass Germans with in competition. The full stock is also an advantage. When you shoot in competition with the M98 in indoor or windless conditions, you have difficulty seeing the sights due to shimmering hot air from the barrel and system. Many Germans carry a fan with them for this purpose. This is not a problem with my Enfield. I have two hunting rifles based on the M98, both have been tuned to make the action quieter and have modern safety catches, the originals are too noisy for hunting pig.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
I think prof Richard Holmes covered it in one of his "War walks"
I had a look on youtube but to no avail
He fires a Lee Enfield and gives rate of fire IIRC

Anyone got the clip?
 
#9
High fire rates were the thing that gave Wellington the edge. Reported in Sharpe but that was taken from actual reports. The false conclusion gained by the Germans shows that the rapid fire lesson was still being taught. Back as a young'un I saw a fire power demo from .303 and they certainly churned them out.
Holmes writes in "Tommy" (Brother lead and sister Steel) about the rate of fire. He states that in training for the Boer War, soldiers had to achieve a Mad Minute of 15 rounds at a target 300 yards away. Rifles were seen as of massive importance; any CO with less that 50% marksmen was in for interview no coffee with his Brig. He mentions the Mons incident and relates a further account on the Aisne when a machine gunner was suppressed and killed when the squad (size not stated) sent out 50 rounds in about 4 seconds.
No - I have added nothing to the faster query but it certainly seems that rate of accurate fire was highly valued. One may surmise that we would have had the best weapon to achieve this. I have a memory somewhere that German military rifles were developed from hunting rifles and, other than Ugly, these are not fired at high rates.
 
#10
Some years ago , before 1988 firearm act. my mate and I tried this , for 10 rounds it was the enfield, for 20 the mauser, but for above that the enfield drew steadly further ahead, at 50 rounds it was much better and at a hundred massive


PS Putting 100 rounds through a NO 2 Lee Enfield can seriously damage your health
 
#11
No chance. ISTR reading about a sergeant who, as an instructor, put 38 rounds into a 12-inch bull at 300 yards in one minute, showing the lads how it should be done.

The Lee-Enfield's bolt handle is better placed and the amount it travels (not just forward and back, but the rotation) is less as well.
 
#12
The Lee Enfield action is dramatically faster. The ten round mag gives an initial advantage but even when both parties are loading one charger at a time the Enfield is still faster. It's just a slicker bolt action.
Mauser stripper clips are perhaps less likely to have hang ups and the rimless Mauser round is less prone to causing a stoppage but I'd still have the Lee Enfield every day.

In a competition earlier this year, firing rapid, standing unsupported at 300 yds I had no difficulty getting away 15 rounds in a minute even starting from empty, loading five at a time. I could have started on another charger if the rules had allowed it. Now you might be able to do the same with a Mauser but if both started with a full magazine (Lee Enfield - 10, Mauser 5) then I'm pretty sure which would get most rounds away. You can of course just load five at a time into the Enfield and it automatically ejects teh charges when you close the bolt. Not sure that the Mauser had this feature.

Shooting prone in the "mad minute" I usually get 18 rounds away and on target having started with a magazine of ten. Doubt you'd match that with a Mauser.

The Mauser action is more suited to sporting or target rifles.

Cerunnos said:
The (Lee Enfield) rifle they used had a complicated double magazine, dropped later for simplicity of production and recruit training,
Don't know where you got that idea?
 
#13
The relative speeds of the two action types have been tested under proper trial conditions - at Hythe in 1912. Under controlled conditions, the Mauser achieved 14 or 15 rounds per minute, whilst the SMLE achieved 28.

Thus the Enfield action is about TWICE as fast as a comparative Mauser military action.

28 was an "average" rate for the SMLE. The rapid fire rate is even greater - 30 to 31 rounds per minute "were routinely achieved" by trained soldiers, and these were aimed and scoring shots on the targetry of the day.

There are actually a large number of factors in this: better ergonomics (allowing certain rapid-fire techniques in the Enfield), shorter bolt action, cock-on-close striker, better magazine design - and larger magazine capacity.

The larger magazine gives the Enfield a speed advantage in that the Mauser can only be charger-loaded when all five rounds are expended - ie the shooter has no choice in the matter. The Enfield can be "topped up" with anything up to five rounds already in the magazine - hence the shooter can choose their own shooting "rhythm".

The British infantry fire superiority over the Germans was down to a combination of the fortuitous rifle design, but also of training. Whilst the Germans focussed on soldier marksmanship alone, the British training doctrine also included "rate of fire".
 
#14
Dont know about that, I just looked it up in my shooting log . I was using a BSA made ex ROYAL NAVY No2 lee Enfield fitted with Parker Hale sights. He was using a 7.62 FN mauser K98 ex Columbian Army. Nice stamps. At Severn Tunnel junction ranges .Neather of us where trained with these rifles but we where both exarmy
 
#15
4(T) said:
The relative speeds of the two action types have been tested under proper trial conditions - at Hythe in 1912. Under controlled conditions, the Mauser achieved 14 or 15 rounds per minute, whilst the SMLE achieved 28.

Thus the Enfield action is about TWICE as fast as a comparative Mauser military action.

28 was an "average" rate for the SMLE. The rapid fire rate is even greater - 30 to 31 rounds per minute "were routinely achieved" by trained soldiers, and these were aimed and scoring shots on the targetry of the day.

There are actually a large number of factors in this: better ergonomics (allowing certain rapid-fire techniques in the Enfield), shorter bolt action, c***-on-close striker, better magazine design - and larger magazine capacity.

The larger magazine gives the Enfield a speed advantage in that the Mauser can only be charger-loaded when all five rounds are expended - ie the shooter has no choice in the matter. The Enfield can be "topped up" with anything up to five rounds already in the magazine - hence the shooter can choose their own shooting "rhythm".

The British infantry fire superiority over the Germans was down to a combination of the fortuitous rifle design, but also of training. Whilst the Germans focussed on soldier marksmanship alone, the British training doctrine also included "rate of fire".
Hi 4(T),

Have you ever managed to get anywhere near 28 -30 rounds per minute?
I reckon I could just about get off 20 and keep them all on a fig 11 at 300 yds standing from a fire trench but 30 would be a hell of a lot. That's four charger reloads.
I'm generally not reckoned to be a slouch in this regard either! (Ask Cuts!)
 
#16
In my log it says it took over five mins to get off 100 rounds, I wish now I had cept a better record but I rember, even wearing a shooting jacket my shoulder was realy sore
 
#17
tropper66 said:
Dont know about that, I just looked it up in my shooting log . I was using a BSA made ex ROYAL NAVY No2 lee Enfield fitted with Parker Hale sights. He was using a 7.62 FN mauser K98 ex Columbian Army. Nice stamps. At Severn Tunnel junction ranges .Neather of us where trained with these rifles but we where both exarmy
A No2 SMLE is a .22"RF trainer - wasn't your rifle either a No1 MkIII or a No4 Mk1 in .303"?
 
#18
Arthritic hands pressd wrong number

I thought NO2 was the P14
 
#19
EX_STAB said:
Hi 4(T),

Have you ever managed to get anywhere near 28 -30 rounds per minute?
I reckon I could just about get off 20 and keep them all on a fig 11 at 300 yds standing from a fire trench but 30 would be a hell of a lot. That's four charger reloads.
I'm generally not reckoned to be a slouch in this regard either! (Ask Cuts!)

It depends upon how you define & shoot the "Mad Minute". Sgt Maj Snoxhall's record of 38 rounds is on record - but no details exist of how they actually carried out the practice at the time. One misconception is that it was a 12" at 300yds - it was most likely a 12" vertical "band" on the Fig11-type target at 100yds, which was the standard "APWT" score zone used by the British Army at the time. If you use this target definition, then everything becomes much more achievable.

The current LERA/HBSA/NRA (oops, sorry, the NRA no longer allow nasty "fast shooting"...) practice is to start in the standing alert position with 5 rounds in the magazine. Upon exposure of the target, the shooter drops to the "prone unsupported" position and blats away. In this practice I can get up to 24 off, with varying results at the target end.

However, I think that 24 or 25 is the physical maximum that can be achieved with that practice, due to the change in position and the prone unsupported position. To achieve anything like Snoxhall's record, I assume that they must have instead started in the "firetrench supported" position, with ten rounds charged. In this practice, the weight of the body and rifle is off the arms, so offering much more dexterity in weapon handling.

When I was a nipper (age and waist size both under 30...), I did get once do 29 in this "firetrench" practice (shooting at a fixed Fig12 on Ash ETR c.1986/7; after warming up by using my SMLE in our unit L1A1 APWT...). It takes a heck of a lot of practice (unaffordable with the cost of ammo these days) and everything has to go just right without a single fumble (I think I had five or six attempts on that day). I couldn't get anywhere near that now, even with a lot more mass to absorb the recoil....

Interestingly, EGB Reynolds (the Small Arms Inspector in the 1940s/50s and author of "the Lee Enfield Rifle") states that - on normal infantry shoots - 30-31 was common, and that 35-37 was not unusual. What is really intriguing is that he goes on to state that, "in the test butt", "considerably more" rounds could be got off. I assume that this meant the SMLE was fixed into a machine rest, but how it was loaded and fired is not explained - perhaps a mechanical feed and motorised firing mechanism?
 
#20
tropper66 said:
Arthritic hands pressd wrong number

I thought NO2 was the P14
Yes, after 1929 the P14 became the "No3" rifle... Enfield nomenclature seems designed to confuse.

P14s are of course an improved Mauser action, which is why you were more or less on even terms with your oppo. In fact, he had a slight advantage over wartime 7.92/8mm Mausers because the 7.62mm NATO Mausers are a bit quicker with the shorter round.

P14s normally have the Mauser-type clunky long-stroke bolt action, but I have one very well-worn example that is surprising slick and quick. It does have the magazine platform modification to prevent binding, but the wear on the lugs and weakened striker spring also help speed things up.
 

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