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Why do most Enfields look so bad?

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W.R.Buchanan View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 17 2016 at 1:13pm
OK:  I have never seen any Enfield, with the exception of one or two pictures, that didn't look like it had been thrown in and back out of a pick up truck bed a hundred times.
 
What's the deal here?  Did they routinely just stack them on pallets and store them in piles? I would make an exception for guns that saw "Heavy Trench Warfare Usage" and would expect them to be a lot rougher than guns carried for regular infantry uses. 
 
However the #4's look just as bad as the #1's and there was not nearly as much Trench fighting in WWII.
 
No other Ex Military guns that I have seen look as bad as the average Enfield.
 
It befuddles me because I feel the reason why Enfield prices have remained so low for so long is because generally speaking the guns just look really bad. I have only seen pictures of Virgin Enfield Wood, I have never actually seen any on a gun in person.
 
I realize some will say that those dings add character, but there's a lot of difference between battle scars and forklift scars. One was earned the other just mishandled.
 
Then the final question becomes,,, "Why would the British Govt. not take better care of its weapons ? It's not like they had no value, and yet it appears they were treated like they had no value?
 
Any ideas or answers would help explain this for me.
 
Randy
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hoadie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2016 at 2:36pm
..My 2 cents would be..they did look after èm..its what happens after that kicks the nibblins out of èm.
My 1st war vet looks good - till ya get up close..then you see her scars.
My sporter (same vintage & make looked like that till I had the stock re-done. Then again - as my `go to`rifle, she took a kickin from the rigors of dense bush hunting. It became a crutch, a tree branch deflector, at times - a hammer, a coffee grinder..you name it - she did it! Now she looks all pretty & nice again(I re-blued it as well) but the ravages of time will take a toll again, no doubt
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Pedro View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pedro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2016 at 3:39pm
"Patina" is perhaps the word you want? Interesting post.
It's entirely possible that many of these rifles saw service during two world wars and after. As for the No4's, again some were made under wartime conditions, that being factories that were targeted by the enemy and also the need to produce them quickly, so cutting corners. Compare, for example, a SMLE of, say, 90 years of age that has had a hard paper round with a hardly used Fazackerley No4 Mk2 of the mid '50's. One may be serviceable, the other, pristine. No other service rifle has had such a long service history and that has a bearing.
 
If you have a copy of Martin Pegler's book "The Lee Enfield Rifle" you can see a photograph there that is a pile of Enfields, SMLE's and No4's maybe 100 strong lying on top of one another. The legend explains (I don't quote verbatim for possible copyright reasons) that those deemed worthy of repair are saved and the others used stripped of parts and scrapped. So I suspect that at the end of WW2, there were I would suggest far too many of them, (compared with the peacetime strength of the British Army), their worth was next to nothing and the care given to them was poor at that time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2016 at 5:04pm
That's right Pedro...I can remember on young st in "Tah - ranah" (that would be Toronto for you not in the great white north) Enfields stuck in barrels on the street, with a sign: " your choice $20..It was the same here on St.Paul St in St.Catharines (out front of Mosher's) "your choice - $20. Even if it started raining - they left 'em out.
On the other hand..Dennis Walker has a couple crates of Enfields that haven't been unwrapped yet...I'm willing to bet they look nice & neat!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Von Gruff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2016 at 5:58pm
My immediate reaction on seeing the OP was , "how dare you sugest the lee Enfield looks bad" but then I read it and calmed down just a little. Embarrassed
 
Carry on Gents.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pukka Bundook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2016 at 6:11pm
I think another contributing factor was that after the War,  (WW 2) they went on their holidays to places like India and Africa, the Middle East, Israel and wet spots like Korea and Borneo, plus Malaya.
Each time shipped likely added lumps and bumps, and when deployed in the hands of 'locals' in some exotic parts of the world, their care  and cleaning may well fall short of that of their original British custodian.
 
In other words, they didn't fight just one war and then retire, they often fought a series of wars, bush wars and border clashes (India /China for one in the hands  of mainly Ghurkas.) and now they Look like it!
Not at all like some military rifles we see for sale with the "Only dropped once" ticket!
 
 
Garry,
 
I thought the same 'till I read the OP!!
 
Richard.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2016 at 8:43pm
huh , im not seeing it - mine are beautiful , yes i di like a little character , but ill say this -

i once had a major US riffle collection that was perhaps more extensive than my commonwealth , they were no better-no worse in condition , ive only got a few photos left as proof , none of my WWII garand and carbine etc but enough i think to show what im saying , 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 18 2016 at 4:20am
By the time they'd been surplussed en masse at $5.00 a pop no-one really cared they were sold as scrap, not as working rifles.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paddyofurniture Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 18 2016 at 7:35am
I think Enfields are great looking rifles. Enfields only get ugly when they are point at you or over priced at a show.
Always looking for military manuals, Dodge M37 items,books on Berlin Germany, old atlases ( before 1946) , military maps of Scotland. English and Canadian gun parts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 18 2016 at 8:29am
Maybe it's just because the guys using them got stuck in during WWI and WWII. Don't forget that the US rifles were not in the conflict as long as the Brit's; on both occasionsWink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W.R.Buchanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 18 2016 at 9:31am
All good points, and please to understand I meant no disrespect, But lets face it, cosmetically the guns generally look bad.
And like I said, I can understand #1's "looking" worse than #4's simply because of age and time in the field. And I wasn't considering functionality, as my limited knowledge of the Enfield lock work tells me that it would be pretty hard to render one useless. The actions are about one click above a Crossbow or Spear Gun as far as simplicity. I could see barrels either shot out or cleaned to death but as far as the action itself,,, It's pretty bullet proof.
 
When I was  kid, we had a Newbury's Dime Store in town.  It had a sporting goods department that sold guns,,, in barrels. I always remember the Argentine Mausers for $11.95 being my favorites simply because they essentially looked new. There were plenty to choose from as well.  There were several barrels of guns.
 
I also remember the German Mausers that were $19.95 and not in as good a condition as the Argentine ones. $20 was a lot of money then and more than I paid for my first car!   But the Enfields always looked like they had been soaked in oil and used as clubs and as such were only $8.95...
 
My mother wouldn't buy any of them for me as I was only 10 or 11.  By the time I was old enough and had money these guns didn't interest me any longer. Probably a good thing as if I had shot any of them they would have kicked the snot out of me.  I weighed 112 lbs. when I graduated High School.
 
I always fantasize about having a time machine to go back and buy up all the old stuff that I wasn't able to afford back then, including my 55 Nomad that I bought for $225 and sold for $350!  Problem here is all the money you could take with you would be considered counterfeit because of the dates on the bills.
 
Still haven't figured out a way around that.
 
Randy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 18 2016 at 12:22pm
We had racks of them at the squadron. None were anywhere as near beaten up as most of what I see for sale here. Because of that I assume most of the dings were acquired post service.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 18 2016 at 1:38pm
Mine have copped the odd ding or bruise from my own handling so I would imagine a 30 odd year service life with two World Wars and other conflicts might impact on appearance a bit. Having said that, I've seen plenty in remarkably good condition.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paddyofurniture Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 18 2016 at 9:28pm
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

We had racks of them at the squadron. None were anywhere as near beaten up as most of what I see for sale here. Because of that I assume most of the dings were acquired post service.


From hitting Hoadie.
Always looking for military manuals, Dodge M37 items,books on Berlin Germany, old atlases ( before 1946) , military maps of Scotland. English and Canadian gun parts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2016 at 4:00am
..on that note..I had a 1945 Garand that didn't look any better.
It shot as well as could be expected..(I found it nowhere as accurate as my Enfields).
It was in "very good" condition. (Ended up selling it back to the U.S. Army in Buffalo N.Y.)

Y'know..it would've made a great club...for anti paddy insurgency! [<:o)]
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pukka Bundook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2016 at 5:05am
Even a beat -up Enfield looks good to me though.
 
Bought a few stocks one time, and a P '17 stock was as bad as anything I have seen. Black as Hades and looked like it'd been kicked all the way from China.
The old Kar '98's that were changed to .762 NATO for Israeli use were a rough lot as well. mostly as dented as a lot of the L-E's. 
Nicest stocks were some of the Swedish  Mausers, the old '96's.  or cut down from such.
(were they designated 96/38??  Forgot now!) Beautiful walnut.
 
 
 
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