Still Talking When There’s Science to Do

The monthly 2-gun match was yesterday, and I used the opportunity to do some research into a classic question:

To what extent can the faster action and increased magazine capacity of an Enfield rifle compensate for a less skilled shooter, as compared to a Mauser rifle?

With the help of my friend Karl (who is most definitely a better shooter than I am), I carried out what could only loosely be considered scientific investigation into the question. Karl shot the match with a WWII German Kar 98k (and a Mauser C96), and I shot it with a 1916 No1 MkIII* SMLE. This particular rifle is a fairly recent acquisition for me, but I have a fair bit of experience shooting a No4 MkI Enfield, and that translates very well to the earlier SMLE. Karl also has a reasonable amount of practice under his belt with the Mauser, so neither of us can claim unfamiliarity with our rifles.

So, over the course of four stages of competition, will my Smellie’s faster operation be enough for me to catch or beat Karl? Check out the video tomorrow to find out!


  1. I thought Karl had a Broomhandle Mauser pistol? The holster is unmistakeable.

    If you guys compete again, maybe I could bust out a Steyr M95 or Carcano & Rast Gasser for good measure.

    • Whoops – he had been planning to bring the Walther but made a last-minute change and I didn’t update the post (which I have, now).

      But year, a straight-pull bolt action would be another interesting comparison.

    • Not true. They were trained to fire 15 aimed shots per minute. Though, with practice, pre-war troops could achieve much higher scores. The record was set by Sergeant Alfred Snoxall in 1914 with 38 aimed shots in 1 minute.

      What kind of pistol will you be using, Ian? I can’t wait to see the results of this comparison.

    • That really depends on your stripper clips. I have some parked Enfield clips that simply won’t strip off more than one round, and I have some others that feed very well. Most Mauser clips I’ve encountered (Yugo, Swede, Spanish) work very well but I’ve seen others be very finicky.

  2. Good luck, Ian — doesn’t left-handedness put you at a disadvantage, though?

    As for Enfields, I normally tie the things up with umpteen different stoppages before I can find out how “fast” they are. I don’t suffer that problem with any other rifles; just Enfields. It really is uncanny.

    Oh, and bonus nerd-points for the Portal reference.

  3. The germans tested andmessured this qestino in 1916, they concluded that if a british and german soldier, facing eatch other, hadfired one sht, the german soldier would loose th shootout, the british soldier could fire his next aimed shoot afte only1/ sec. The germans then started development of semiautomatic rifles. Mauser, Knorr Bremse and Volmer

  4. When the Enfield (revolver) was issued, the troops didn’t have speed loaders did they? Did the Enfield take half-moon or full-moon clips like the US 1917 .45?

    Maybe it is just me, but it looks like Karl has more mass which may have helped him recover from the recoil just a bit faster. It did seem like the Enfield rifle’s bolt was faster on close while the Mauser took more force or at least was not as smooth, even though the Enfield is cock on close.

    I thought I was the only one who got the rims out of order on Enfield clips.

    How about doing a vintage cops and robbers run? Tommy Gun / Remington 81 with detachable mag / S&W 27 vs BAR / Sawed-off Auto-5 / Colt 32? Junior G-Man badge for the winner.

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