New Book: “Britain’s L42A1: King of the Enfield Sniper Rifles”

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As a Professional Hoser, I can tell you that the Lee-Enfield is the greatest bolt-action fighting rifle ever made—sorry, Mauser fans, but the record is 2-0. And while you could argue about the respective merits and strong points of all Lee-Enfields ever made, one model stands out for its fighting career at a time when bolt-actions were long fallen from favor. The L42A1 served the British military from 1970 through 1990 and now, Jeff John has a new book published with the life story of this sniper rifle.

Lee-Enfield @ TFB:

Lee-Enfield history

The Lee-Enfield rifle entered British military service in 1895, a direct descendent of the Lee-Metford, which debuted in 1888. This second rifle on the James Paris Lee-designed action was almost as short-lived as the first when British units had poor results against Mauser-equipped settlers in South Africa. But financial realities forced the British military to instead make some updates to the Lee-Enfield and the ammunition used. It was the standard military-issue rifle for troops from the British Empire through World War I, World War II and Korea, not to mention countless smaller scraps like the Malayan Emergency and the Suez Emergency.

Eventually, the UK’s military replaced the Lee-Enfield with the L1A1 (a British-pattern version of the FN FAL), but to this day, the Lee-Enfield is in official and unofficial use by militaries, paramilitaries and police around the world.

Sharpshooter’s special

While various sniperized versions of the Lee-Enfield have existed over the decades, the final version used by the British was the L42A1. This is a Lee-Enfield rechambered from .303 British to 7.62×51 NATO, with a new barrel, new stock, and other updates.

The L42A1 was still hampered by some of the accuracy-impeding issues of the Lee-Enfield, but it was as good as the British armorers could make it, and it served through the 1970s and 1980s, with some of these rifles dusted off for duty in the Gulf War and even the War on Terror in the 2000s. No wonder the rifle was deemed worthy of its own book!

We’ve looked at this rifle ourselves in the past, via TFB TV:

New publication

Jeff John’s 82-page book on the rifle is titled Britain’s L42A1: King of the Enfield Sniper Rifles. According to the Amazon listing, it hit the market in early April. The book has more than 100 color photos and is currently listed at $28.95 on Amazon, where it seems to have decent early reviews—see more info here.



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