Nice overview of a world-class service rifle,
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Lee-Enfield Rifle (Weapon) (Taschenbuch)For many people interested in the history and use of one of the world'S most famous and reliable rifle designs ever made there used to be one problem: Where to get some basic information about the Lee-Enfield?
There are admittedly several books around, but these are either very thick and expensive or they only deal with some aspects of the rifle, be it training and drill, service history or the nearly impossible mission to give an overview of manufacturing it, especially under wartime conditions when there were so many subcontractors who each did some parts.
Martin Pegler managed to close that gap by giving an overview of the development of the gun during its service history starting from the need to replace the Martini-Henry rifle and finishing off with the Lee-Enfields in the hands of irregulars forces, police and just the plain old sports shooters like myself.
As I said, the book is meant to give an overview and that's what it does very well. Anyone interested in questions like "When and where was my rifle produced and where did it see service?" will not be happy with the book, as there is no way to answer that question on some 70 pages. In many cases that question cannot be answered satisfactorily at all, so why not let it rest and allow it to remain a mystery? Doesn't that make your rifle just that little more interesting? To me, it does anyway.
What does the reader get, then?
Well, there is the history of all major improvements from the Lee-Metford to the iconic SMLE. Then Martin Pegler goes on to describe why and how the rifles were modified and finally ended up in the No.4 design, which to me is the most shooter-friendly bolt action service rifle I ever used. He also covers briefly the No. 5 rifle, disliked by most soldiers for whatever reason. The one I shot was nice and didn't kick any harder than your average K98k.
Another chapter is dedicated to the sniper versions of the Lee-Enfield and their long-lasting service history.
There are a lot of soldiers accounts of their rifles and the author is always reviewing these critically, pointing out justified quarrelling as well as some unfair treatment of a gun rejected for nothing but its novelty by conservative soldiers and NCOs.
In fact he uses the first-hand accounts to highlight why certain modifications of the original design were made, and how these worked out and were received by the soldiers getting the modified guns.
The photographs and illustrations of the book are nice to look at as well and they give an idea of what it may have looked like when the rifles were in use.
My personal bottom line: If you are interested in a brief and nice to read overview of a great gun, buy this book. There are books around that go deeper into some details, but I seriously doubt these are so entertaining a read. They are a lot more expensive and sometimes very hard to obtain.