The guys over at The Firearm Blog got their hands on a Royal Small Arms Factory produced L42A1 Lee-Enfield rifle as issued to the Queen’s snipers.
The Brits used the Lee-Enfield in one form or another for over half of the 20th Century– using it as the primary infantry arm throughout both World Wars and the Korean conflict where it proved worthy in its 10-rounds rapid of .303.
What a lot of folks don’t realize about the Enfield is that when the British military switched over to the FN FAL (in semi-auto only L1A1 variant), they kept the No. 4 Mk1(T) and No. 4 Mk1*(T) Short Magazine Lee-Enfield sniper variants for another decade or so then rebarreled about 900 of them in the 1970s to 7.62x51mm NATO with the old No.32 3.5x scope refurbished to match.
Though a WWII-era rifle with WWI-styling, the L42A1 proved itself in Northern Ireland, throughout a complex maze of British involvement in the Middle East with SAS types, in the frozen scrap with the Argentinians in 1982 and in the first Gulf War where the weapon saw its swan song. In fact, this old bolt gun even outlived the FN FAL/L1A1 itself which was replaced by the generally disliked L85/SA80 Enfield rifle (without the “Lee,” but still made at RSAF) in the 1980s.
As most L42s were scrapped after being replaced by the most excellent AI L96, the example in Alex’s hands– complete with accessories and transit case– is a rare gem.
Yeah, we’re pretty jelly.