Shooting slings for the Lee-Enfield No4

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by Gun_Nut, Apr 20, 2009.

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  1. Well, this weekend I bought a really lovely Fulton regulated No4 from our resident Lee-Enfield guru, 4(T). If anyone else is after a Lee-Enfield I would certainly recommend the same route: 4(T) has some really nice rifles for sale, really knows his stuff and was a pleasure to do business with.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how it shoots, but in the meantime I would like some advice on what sort of shooting sling to get for it. 4(T) was kind enough to throw in a 37 pattern webbing sling, but of course this is designed for carrying only, not shooting. My question is: what sort of shooting slings are permitted for classic competition shooting and where can I get one?

    The rifle is set up for Service Rifle (b) competitions and includes a 3rd sling swivel on the king screw forward of the magazine. This has obviously been done to allow the use of a target-style 2-point sling. In fact, the 4(T) sniper rifles had the same modification. The sniper rifles were issued with a leather US 1907 Springfield sling, which is a bit like a carry sling, but with a single point style loop halfway down.

    So, what’s allowed in competition: single point, 2 point or Springfield sling?
  2. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    HBSA and Trafalgar calls for spirit of the original for the class you are enteering, various rules apply!
  3. I thought so. Does anyone know what the 'sling rules' are for SR(a) and SR(b)?
  4. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Ask Henry Toombs, he is or was up to speed for the Historics, I am afraid detached from range work nowadays!
  5. I would have thought that the "classic" part would would mean standard issue all the way, keep it as original as possible and you cant go wrong
  6. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    There are 2 comps for Service rifle, SR (a) and (b). One is with target sights and slings and one as issued. I cant remember which is which but a Kerr No Buckle or 1907 US sling would fit for the target version if fitted on the front pair of sling swivels or as issued when used for the front and rear swivels.
    The importance is the spirit so no paded TR gloves or eye piece inserts etc for either, there are plenty that do and many RO's that turn a blind eye as well as those that handload with just enough oomph to get a cast pill at the distance required! Service ammo where no longer available should be replicated rather than a series of loads tailored for each distance used. Another reason to leave the ranges when those who play by the rules are sidelined in the trophy hunt by the cheats!
  7. You would have thought so. But I've read that there has been a bit of dispute about the use of the Springfield sling. This despite it being standard issue for the US and on limited issue for British snipers.

    I'm no gong hound, but I do like to use a shooting sling. But I definitely want it to be within the letter of the rules as well as 'in the spirit of the original'.

    Come on Henry T - we need someone to give us the benefit of their competition experience!
  8. "HBSA Rules for Service Rifle:
    Except where specifically excluded by Match Conditions, a sling may be attached to the rifle rifle and used as an aid to steady the rifle. The sling shall be either a two point or conforming to goverment pattern issued with that rifle and specifically approved by HBSA Council. The two-point is a strap, or two connected straps with means to adjust length, of flexiable material, not wider than 1.5 inches (38.1 mm), attached to the rifle at two places at least 8 inches (203.2 mm) apart, one of which may be a removable non-marring temporary attachment forward of the trigger, and arranged in such a manner that the sling tension at each attachment point is substantially equal. The United States Model 1903 Springfield and its derivatives, the Model 1917 and the Lee Enfield No 4 Mk1 (T) Sniping Rifle when used as a Service Sniping Rifle.

    HBSA Rules for Service Target Rifle.


    As for Service Rifle."

    Thats how the the HBSA see it offically although I feel it's wrong and have mentioned it the HBSA Match Practice Director, he (at the time) agreed with me and that for Service Rifle "b" (Service Target Rifle) the use of the civilian Parker-Hale 2" wide sling is allowable. (This I use with a 1905 SMLE Mk1 *** and Parker-Plus 5 folding rear sight)

    The sling rules for LERA events are as follows:


    Service Rifle "a", slings will be of service pattern. The sling will be attached to the rifle in two seperate places the upper sling swivel and the butt sling swivel. Competitors using the No.4T without optics may use the issue M17 sling which will be fixed to the butt swivel and mid band. The use of the sling in the “single point” mode is forbidden.

    Service Rifle "b", civilian slings attached at two points and not wider than 2” are allowed; as is the service sling. The sling may be attached forward of the magazine in two places and not less than 8” apart.

    I wrote the LERA rules for slings but the oddity for NRA SR"b" events is that they allow single point slings; the rulings are supposed to come from the 1955 Bisley Bible but the fact is there is no mention of single point sling use in that years Bible, the first mention I can find of single point use is in a book by Robin Fulton & Major Reynolds first published in 1972.

    Edited to add, welcome to the club! :D
  9. Just to confirm any of the above; I believe the use of the Springfield sling with a No 4 fitted with target sights is absolutely right.
    I think the only aspect which has not been thought out by the relevent shooting committee's (NRA Classics Committee?) is how that sling is actually used.
    On a personal note I would only allow it to be used attached in the two places as already mentioned and would not allow the the arm to passed through it as per "single point".
    If any Arsser has positive proof it was used in this way as "single point" in SR"b" I would love to hear from them.
  10. The P'37 is actually a far better target sling than either the Springfield sling or the L42 nlyon jobby - both of these are hard to adjust and too slippery when wet. Ironically, the cheapo web P'37 always provides a good grippy support, which is better when its wet.
  11. Do you mean the actual sling or the P'37 webbing shoulder strap?

    I would think the Webbing Sling predated 1937 Pattern, must be 1908 pattern surely?

  12. I'm told the snipers of the L42 period preferred the 52" inch Bren sling, being a gunner unit we had no idea what to do with the new sling and I seem to recall it stayed in the box with the other bits.
  13. I'm not a webbing spotter, but I've seen somewhere a War Office complete list of P'37 webbing parts - including the rifle sling. I guess a few P'08 items - such as the sling - were incorporated into the then "new" webbing system and redesignated as such? Being a rifle spotter, I note that all the rifle vocabs simply list the "sling, web, rifle"....

    H_T, do you happen by chance to have a Bisley Bible that defines SRa & SRb? Besides the target sight and target swivel, I was wondering whether SRa also excluded the use of the centre-bedded barrel - as this was of course at one time approved as an alternative form of bedding for No4 service rifles.
  14. Sorry folks: veering off-topic a bit, but I couldn't resist sharing this excerpt from Hansard that I found whilst doing some research:


    "Webbing Equipment (Cleaning)
    HC Deb 23 July 1946 vol 425 cc336-7W 337W

    § 124. Sir C. Edwards

    asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that an Army Order just issued in Greece compels webbing equipment to be kept clean by washing with soap and water, whilst in the past a brush and water has sufficed; that instructions have been issued that two ounces of soap is to be given to each soldier per month for this purpose, which would mean a consumption of two tons of soap per month for the Army stationed in that country; and if he will take steps to ensure that this order is withdrawn as unnecessary.

    § Mr. Lawson

    I have no information on this matter. I have called for a report and will write to my right hon. Friend when it is received."


    Cripes! Can you imagine any modern MP tabling such a question to the Minister these days?! In those days the Army had more than a million men under arms, yet the smallest admin item was subject to parliamentary questions. Nowadays the Army is about a tenth of that, and yet I'm sure the Minister probably has no time to look at even the medium-level picture...

    Two tons of soap.... LOL....
  15. Henry - you are a gentleman sir, many thanks!

    So, basically for SR(b) I can get a Springfield sling or a Bren gun sling and may get away with a 2" wide Parker-Hale sling if people aren't feeling too strict. All three can be used in 2-point mode for SR(b).