This week we’ve got something a little different for Gun Fight Friday: a showdown between sporterized service rifles. It’s the U.S. vs. Great Britain and the .30/06 vs. the .303 British. The 03 Springfield saw service in both World Wars, and the Enfield No. 4 was officially adopted by the British army in 1941. I expect most votes will go for the home team here but whatever the result, it is good to see these old warhorses repurposed to hunting rifles and still in the field.
Cameron Bissell’s Enfield No. 4
For Gun Fight Friday I’m submitting my Enfield No.4 It was sporterized by Santa Fe Arms (to the best of my knowledge) in the ’50s. Though it is drilled for a side-mount scope, I use irons since Florida hunting doesn’t require long-distance shooting. I’m 24 and married, so this bargain sporter is my main rifle and my go to even over my Winchester .270.
Patrick Chapin’s 1903 Springfield
Around 1960, my late father bought two WWII surplus 1903 Springfield rifles from an ad in American Rifleman. This one was manufactured by Remington Arms (the bolt still retains its “R” stamp) with a serial number just over 4,202,000. Around 1962, Dad finished reworking this rifle in the metal shop at the hydro dam where he worked as an operator. The barrel was crowned and turned down, the bolt and safety were both modified to accommodate a scope, and the trigger was made adjustable through an ingenious device developed by one of Dad’s coworkers. Everything was polished and hot blued to a glossy finish except the bolt, which was left white. Dad mail-ordered a rather plain walnut stock from Herters, and I distinctly remember him glass bedding it in our farmhouse kitchen. When Dad finally got around to dolling up the other Springfield, I sort of inherited his first attempt.
Years later a backcountry argument with my packhorse resulted in both of us going end over end down the mountain. When the dust settled my glasses were missing, my bell was rung severely, and the Herters gunstock had bought the farm. I replaced it with what was then a fairly nice piece of walnut from the late Les Bauska’s gun shop in Kalispell, Montana. Dad showed me how to glass bed it. I have always loved this gun.
And I think it’s been a mutually good fit: We’re both old vets but still good-looking, hard working, and dependable–and, yes, more than a bit beat up. I hope I live long enough to give it to my grandson. I hope he fits it too.
What’s your vote? Springfield or Enfield? And remember, too, to keep those gun photos coming. Send them to FSgunnuts@gmail.com. Gun Fight Friday depends on your contributions.