That time the British .303 Enfield was made in America, by the millions (VIDEOS)

A product of the Great War, the U.S.-made British Pattern 14 rifle was cranked out by Remington and Winchester in bulk for His Majesty’s troops.

While the .303-caliber Short, Magazine Lee–Enfield, with its 10-round box magazine had been adopted two decades before World War I began, the number of SMLEs just were not plentiful enough to field the large multi-million-man field armies of Great Britain and her Commonwealth allies. With that in mind, the Pattern 1913, a modification of a Mauser-style rifle planned for production just before the War started, was rushed to orders in the officially neutral United States.

Although the design originally called for a new .276-caliber round, the P13 was ordered in then-standard .303 to help speed things along and designated the P14.

By 1917, some 1.2 million of these reliable bolt-action rifles had been produced by Winchester, Remington and Remington’s subsidiary, Eddystone. With its 5-round internal box magazine giving the rifle a distinctive “pot-belly” and its sturdy “dog ear” sight protectors, the P14 was strong, well-liked and so accurate it soon became a steady choice for the increasingly in-demand skill of sniping across No Man’s Land along the Western Front.

When the U.S. entered the War in 1917, Washington soon picked up the excess domestic manufacturing capacity and ordered the P14, chambered in 30.06, as the Model of 1917, of which another 2.1 million would be produced. Once the war ended and the Kaiser was no more, Winchester and Remington even kept the gun in production with slight modifications for the commercial market as the Models 51 and 30, respectively.

And to make things even nuttier, Savage made actual No.4 MK1* Lee-Enfield rifles in .303 during WWII!

The whole matter is covered by American Rifleman TV in a 5-minute spot above with (much) more information for those wanting a deep dive on the subject in a 45-minute segment from C&Rsenal, below.

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