What is an Enfield Enforcer?

Development of the Enforcer

From the 'tried and tested' pedegree of the famous Lee Enfield Rifles with the Number 4 Action - used in two World Wars - was developed a modern rifle chambered for the nato standard 7,62 cartridge. Following the No.4 Conversion (from .303 to 7.62 calibre) was developed, not a standard issue Army Rifle - the L1A1 now filled that role.

The X8El was brought into service in 1954 for troop trials and was an experimental rifle. At this time NATO decided on a common ammunition (7. 62 mm) for all member states for obvious reasons. It is the forerunner of the LlAl SLR. This weapon is the British version of the Belgian FN (Fabrique Nationale) rifle and is fully automatic

The need for a standard issue rifle was fulfilled, but a bolt action Civilian and Miltary Target Rifle - The Civilian Envoy and Miltary L39a1 and on the same lines a dedicated Military Sniper Rifle - The L42a1 continued to be developed. One Major difference between the L39 and L42 is That the L39 has the trigger hung on the reciever rather than the trigger guard. The Civilian Target rifles (Envoys) dominated long range shooting in the Commonwealth for a number of years.

It was not just the Miltary who needed an accurate, long range rifle however, (Details are sketchy at this point) - I hope to be able to expand this section later - At some stage the Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers took an interest in the development of a "Sniper Rifle for Home Office and Special Police Use." - the Police Scientific Development Branch almost certainly had a hand in looking at the specifications required for a 'Police Sniper Rifle' - although the term 'Sniper' has the unspoken implication of 'Cold blooded killing' and is avoided by some Police Forces who train 'Riflemen' instead.

There are some obvious differences between the L39a1 Target Rifle and the L42a1 Rifle. There is a User handbook for the "Rifles 7.62mm, L42A1 & L39A1 and Telescopes straight, Sighting L1A1" and an Illustrated parts Catalogue for the afore mentionede Rifles, scopes and 'Accessories' - which at the time of their production in 1971 and 1973 were both 'Restricted' Documents covered by the Official Secrets Act. Hopefully, when 30 years are up, the documents will be de-restricted (Although anyone enquiring at the right web-site on the Internet - The Lee Enfield Collectors Forum would be a good place to start - should be able to obtain copies of both from the USA.)

Two obvious differences are : the Wooden stock for the Enforcer which is a one piece Butt Stock, rather than the screwed on cheek piece (or face rest) added to the standard No.4 stock when conveting them into L42a1 Sniper Rifles which were fitted with telescopic sights. The second obvious difference is that the Enforcer features both the Target Sight fittings, PH5E4 Rear sights (Twin zero rear sights - adjustable for both Windage and Elevation) and telescope mounting bracket suitible for the Pecar variable 4-10x45 scopes.

After improvemts (Which I 'presume' at this stage) were suggested by the Police Scientific Development Branch. The Enfield Enforcer was approved by ACPO as a Police long range rifle. Its long pedigree from the .303 inch Lee Enfield Service rifle resulted in a robust, reliable weapon.


It is a bolt action, single shot rifle chambered for the 7.62 x 51 mm cartridge. The 'Lee' bolt is fitted to a cold forged barrel which has 'Enfield' rifling of six groove chordal rifling. The original barrels had standard four groove rifling and the chordal rifling was introduced to reduce bullet drag and thus give improved long range ballistics. In practice it is frequently found that short range accuracy is effected by chordal rifling, unless the barrel is warm: cold the first two shots go high right and then the remainder of the rounds return to the 'zero' pattern.

The magazine is spring fed, has a 10 round capacity and is loaded singly. There is a Charger Guide fitted - but with a 'scope' fitted it cannot be used.

As a 'snippet' of historical interest - In the 1960's India ordered 60,000 7.62 calibre Rifles from the U.K. Production of the parts commenced, but this was also the time of the India, Pakistan crisis. India wanted to buy Sterling Sub-Machine guns at the same time - when this was refused - India cancelled the order for the 60,000 rifles. This is the reason that nearly every 7.62 Magazine you will see is stamped with the 1965 manufacturing date.

Original Specification

Cartridge 7.62 x 51 mm - Radway Green 'Green Spot' target ammunition.

(This was the best available at the time. I do know that some Police Forces now use 'Gold Medal Federal' ammunition (At about 1.10 per round) They aren't allowed to re-load their own - which is more accurate (If you know what you are doing!) but as a Force would undoubtedly be sued if anything went wrong - this is not permitted.)

Operation Manual

Feed 10 round box magazine

Weight 4.75 kg excluding telescopic sight (10 1/ 2 lb)

Overall length 1206 m (47.5 in)

Barrel length 699 m (27.5 in)

Rifling 6 groove chordal giving 1 twist in 305 mm (12 in)

Bore diameter 7.595 mm (0.299 in)

1st trigger pressure 1.1 to 1.6 kg (2.4 to 3.5 lb)

2nd trigger pressure 1.8 to 2.1 kg (4 to 4.6 lb)

Anyone who wants to read more about this subject would be well advised to read the following books :-

"An Armourer's Perspective: .303 No.4 (T) Sniper Rifle and the Holland and Holland Connection" - Written by Peter Laidler with Ian Skennerton.

"Telescope Sighting No.32 Mk1, Mk2, Mk3, (including the No. 42, 53 & L1A1)" Also by Peter laidler.

"The Military Sniper since 1914" by Martin Peglar & Ramiro Bujeiro.

This list is by no means exhaustive - any books by 'Skip' Stratton or Ian Skennerton are bound to be worth reading. If any one can recommend any others; please let me know - I'll add them to this list.

Peter Laidler is still going strong at the Army Small Arms Training School at Warminster, and Martin Peglar is currently one of the Curators at the Royal Armoury Museum in Leeds (Which is where the Enfield Pattern Room Collection is moving to later this year.)

Write to me ... Mark@amstevens.fsnet.co.uk

What is an Enforcer?

How An Enforcer Works

My Research project

A Bit of History

The Home Office Choice (NEW - Recently declassified information!)

The final Specification for the Enforcer (NEW - Recently declassified information!)

A Really Rare Document

The RSAF Brochure



Write to me ... Mark@amstevens.fsnet.co.uk