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L8(T) Enfield: The British Army Fails to Make a Sniper

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We looked at the 7.62mm conversion of the No4 Enfield into Rifle L8 yesterday. Part of that program was an attempt to develop a new sniper rifle on the L8 platform. To this end, six good-quality No4(T) Lee Enfield sniper rifles were tested for accuracy, then made into L8 rifles and fitted with No.32 telescopic sights (the standard scope from the 303 days) and tested for accuracy again. Much to the chagrin of the Army, the new L8(T) rifles were barely able to match the performance of the .303 rifles they began as. The goal was to significantly improve on the No4(T) accuracy, and that was clearly not happening.

However, at this same time, British civilian competition shooters were having excellent success making 7.62mm versions of the No4. It was only when Enfield was willing to collaborate with the British NRA and others that they were able to successfully create the L42A1 rifle, which was at last met the accuracy goals of the program.

The rifle we are looking at today is one of those original six trials L8(T) rifles. Many thanks to the generous collector who allowed me to film it for you!

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