Gunfight Friday: Lee Enfield vs Remington Model 14

This week's matchup is a couple of older rifles, and age is about all they have in common. Rob's Remington Model 14 slide action in .35 Remington is a deer woods classic. MReeder's Lee Enfield is a classic, too, of another kind.

The Lee Enfield was England's service rifle from 1895 to 1957. MReeder's No. 4 Mk. 1 is of World War II vintage and, as he notes, this particular Lee Enfield was actually made in the United States by Savage. Although we think of the Lee Enfield as a battle rifle, it was also used as a hunting rifle throughout the British Empire. There's no way of knowing, but the Lee Enfield may have accounted for more animals, and certainly more different kinds of animals, than any other rifle.

Remington's Model 14 was made from 1913 to 1934 in .25 Rem., .30 Rem., .32 Rem., and .35 Rem. The Model 14 ½ (which may be the only rifle ever with a fraction in its number) was the 14 chambered in .38-40 and .44-40. One unique feature of the Model 14 was its spiral magazine tube which kept the point of a bullet in the magazine from touching the primer of the round ahead of it. The 14 was eventually replaced by the 141, which was an upgraded 14, and ultimately by the 760 pump in the '50s.

Rob's Remington Model 14

I got this gun rather cheap at a live auction. Everyone was interested in the black guns. It's a Remington Model 14 pump rifle in .35 Rem. with a Lyman tang sight. I later added an original Remington wheel sight. The barrel code dates it from Sept. 1928. I like it because it's light, but not too light, for the .35 Rem cartridge. It handles like a 20-gauge pump shotgun, (the model 17). With the leaf sight you get very fast target acquisition. You can also adjust the balance by how many cartridges you put in the magazine.

MReeder's Lee Enfield

My Lee Enfield is a No. 4 Mk.1 made by Savage for lend-lease sale to the Brits. I won it for $100 on Gunbroker and was surprised to see what great shape it was in. The metal and wood finish were pretty ratty, but the bore was in very good shape and everything worked smoothly. I spent several happy weeks polishing and re-blueing the metal and stripping, sanding, and refinishing the stock with about six coats of Tru-Oil. The Bishop stock it came with was nicely figured and it fits me like a glove. At some point I'll be checkering the pistol grip. The scope is an old Weaver K3, which seemed to me to go with the rifle's vintage. After much Internet searching I found an old four-shot magazine that gives it cleaner lines than the standard military 10 shot. Elmer Keith was a fan of the SMLE, and Col. Patterson and Karamojo Bell were among many early African hunters who used the .303 cartridge, so when it came time to choose a sling I went with one made of Cape buffalo hide sold by African Game Industries in Dallas.

The rifle's three-shot groups with 150-grain PPU factory load are consistently around and mostly under two inches at 100 yards, which is more than minute-of-hog. That's all I've shot with it so far--one 130-pound pig--but it was dispatched most satisfactorily. It may be an old warhorse but it's still a pretty darned good mid-range hog and deer gun.

There are your choices: an All-American pump gun chambered for the woods-friendly .35 Remington, or a Lee Enfield which helped win World War II and took game in every corner of the world. Vote, comment below, and send your gun pictures to fsgunnuts@gmail.com. My inventory of good gun pictures is running a little low so please send more.