Enfield Rifle Co, c ERC

The venerable Lee-Enfield rifle served the Crown well through the final death throes of colonialism and the two world wars. But with the invention of semi-automatics and the inclusion of the UK in NATO, the Enfield rifle was no more. Now, a new company here in the colonies – Clayton, Georgia, to be specific –  is looking to capitalize on the Enfield name and get in on the gold rush that is AR-15 rifle production . . .

From the press release:

The Officers and Members of the modern Enfield Rifle Company, LLC are pleased to formally announce the establishment of the company in Clayton, Georgia.

The business actually opened in December of 2012. “However, with all of the recent hysteria in the market we felt we felt like there was a lot of distraction”, said Nigel Boothe, one of the founding Members and Chairman of the company. “Now that things have settled down a bit we decided it would be a good time to make the announcement.”

Enfield is proud to bring an Old World name combined with New World technology to the American commercial market for the first time. The company goal is to take its experience in manufacturing arms for military and security forces to a broader market. We want to bring that experience of making high quality, dependable firearms to law enforcement, shooting enthusiasts and responsible gun owners.

The original Lee-Enfield was actually never produced by a company named in part or in whole “Enfield.” Instead, the name comes from the town in which the royal armory that designed it is located. The rifles themselves were made in the royal armories, which were officially part of the government, not private companies. So I’m not sure how the “Enfield” name helps this new company much. Anyway, their website is here and we’ve already asked for a gun to test out, so stay tuned.

91 Responses to Enfield Rifle Company Starts Producing AR-15s

  1. Interesting way to immediately establish (false) brand recognition. Sort of like starting a manufacturer named “Garand Rifles” or “Nagant Rifles”.

    I’m torn between whether it’s more clever or shady…

  2. I have a 1942 Lee-Enfield that my grandfather brought back from WWII. Incredibly accurate, and the .303 Brit is a very pleasant round to shoot (ballistically similar to .308). Made in Canada (Long Branch armory).

    How is this related? About as much as these guys using the Enfield name relates to AR’s, I suppose.

    • I thought those were junk. Didn’t the firing pin have a reputation for falling out in the field? Or was that another rifle?

      Even though this company bears scant to zero connection to the real Enfield, ’tis kinda cool nonetheless.

      • Firing pins breaking, magazines falling out, jamming, and just general suckiness. It looks nice and scary though and thats what you want in a battle rifle, at least when you are selling it to the committee. HK had to come in and fix it for them so it would at least be serviceable.

      • The original L-85s from what I remember reading had a problem of charging handles and magazines falling out in the field. Jeremy Clarkson once joked on Top Gear “Now this is the L-85A2, the difference between the A2 and the A1 models; is that the A2 actually works.” Personally I’m holding out for a Snider or Martini type rifle from these guys.

      • In the same way that the M16 had a dreadful reputation, some of it deserved… and then got much better.

        More detail – the first production -A1s were, genuinely, dire, and caused much of the awful reputation. Once the factory moved to decent CNC machinery they improved dramatically (I put a thousand rounds through a late-production L85A1 in one day in 1996 with no cleaning no attention and no stoppages, for example; I don’t recall noticing anyone else on the range with me experiencing “rifle firing, rifle stops” either). However, by that point – mid-1990s – the weapon had a serious reputation problem and there were still issues in extreme climates (the safety catch could fail in a Norwegian winter, for example) so an overhaul by H&K was a cheaper option than a replacement weapon.

        The -A2 addressed the remaining issues (like split groups on the L86); but it immediately hit problems in Afghanistan in late 2001 when the Royal Marines claimed it was unreliable in dusty conditions, which turned out to be a cleaning issue (Royal was cleaning his rifle religiously, but they were then running the weapons bone-dry as we did the L1A1 in dusty conditions: while the L85 likes oil and lots of it, and when given it runs very well). By this point, though, the Press were in full torches-and-pitchforks mode about how useless the rifle was, and something definitive Had To Be Seen To Be Done.

        A major make-or-break trial was held in temperate, arctic, desert and jungle conditions; there were several other weapons used (rumoured to be the Diemaco C7, the Steyr AUG, the H&K G36 and an AK – basically, the usual candidates for “we want this one instead”) and it was accepted that the L85 was in the last-chance saloon.

        In fact, it won handily on accuracy and placed close second (to the AK) on reliability, so no replacement was required: and a decade of lively service in Iraq and then Afghanistan has demonstrated that it works very well, enough that some units who had adopted ARs (SAS and Pathfinders, for example) traded back to L85s.

        If I was offered “a rifle” it would be my #2 choice: number one is the L1A1 or a similar FAL derivative, but that’s because it’s what I learned first & love best.

    • I would buy an L-85 in a heartbeat. I’ve even thought about trying to find the blueprints to build one myself…

      • Carried one for a couple of weeks in 1999 while on an exchange with the Brit Army. Liked it, especially the “back-back” sling and overall short length. As a non-infantry guy, I like how I could keep it out of my way while getting on with the job, but have it ready to go if I needed it. The bullpup design is definitely superior for those who need a rifle but aren’t riflemen.

    • Right, you can’t walk out the door w/out tripping over 20 different AR manufacturers. Why cant someone manufacture a rifle that doesn’t jam up after 100 rounds. Why not something in the reliability/pure ruggedness of the Mosin Nagant, SKS, AK, CETME .308 or the PSL 54c..or…or…or..ANYTHING but another FU**ING AR!

      I’m sick of seeing all of the BS AR’s. .223/5.56 is a piece of crap round as are the AR’s in general. 80-100 pieces and parts that have to be meticulously maintained or your holding a paper weight, where as the MN, SKS, AK & others have ..what…20-40 parts that need cleaned once a decade or so. Store them bolt open in the sand box, shake them off & run the magazine/clip. Show me an AR that can pull that off & I’ll eat the damned thing

      Seriously, manufacturers…PLEASE show some taste & get out of the AR’s. Bring up some classic styles with modern materials that can feed on inexpensive military surplus ammo like the 7.62x54r of the Mosin/PSL.

  3. I think it’s smart from a marketing standpoint.

    If someone really knows weapons then more likely they will know it’s just a name being borrowed. If it’s a new or less knowledgeable person then maybe they have heard the name “somewhere”.

    Just think Indian Motorcycles.

    Or they could have named it “Georgia OFWG Weapons Inc.”

  4. Soooo Brits are buying these arms?
    No?
    well leave it to Brits to jump into a market that is at the bottom of a bubble w/a Mkt. that is virtually saturated.
    From the site:
    It is Enfield’s term for building a weapon using many of the same parts as used in the M16 and M4. The most critical of these raw materials or parts come from the same suppliers and vendors that supply materials and parts for the famed U.S. Military weapons. However, these materials may not have necessarily originated with the same supplier and material certifications (paperwork) that are specified in the US Government Technical Data Package (TDP) see Mil-Spec Myth.

  5. I associate the name “Enfield” with low-cost, ancient technology motorcycles assembled in India. “Royal Enfield” in that case.

    I believe if I was going to buy an “off brand” AR, I’d look to companies like Mossberg first.

    • That would be nice. Either producing new run ammunition are changing it to a more modern caliber would be nice to go along with that as well.

    • This is what I was thinking too. A modern Enfield would peak my interest. Brand new wood and high quality machined metal parts. Although, a real Enfield is not that expensive. I’m going to snag one of those ugly bastards the next time I see one.

      • Six, the problem is the supply is drying up. All I’ve seen lately is wore out stuff that’s not much more than a parts gun. I fear the glory days of milsurp bolt guns is past. Too bad to. It’s the milsurp bolt guns I like the best.

      • There was an Aussie company in think in the 1990s that was making new #4 Lee-Enfields chambered in 7.62x39mm and used AK magazines. Looked decidedly Mad-Maxish, in a good way.

  6. Probably not a great time for a company to be entering the AR market. After the Connecticut shooting, pretty much everyone who wanted one got one (maybe even two or three) and prices skyrocketed in anticipation of a ban. Now, supply has surpassed demand and prices are cratering. Pretty much every gun store I have been to in the last month or so has several ARs on display.

    .223/5.56 is slowly coming back on the shelves of some of the big boxes around here (like Farm and Fleet, for example) but prices are still around $1/rd. The scarcity of relatively cheap .223/5.56 and the availability of more established ARs will make this a tough market to crack.

      • @CA Ben:

        Like I said in my post, I was referring to big box retailers. There are very good reasons why someone would want to pay cash for ammo at the point of sale rather than buying it through the mail from an online retailer.

    • K1911, how about a no. 4 Lee enfield new in the box for 7.62x54r? As good as the .308 and boatloads of cheap surplus ammo for practice.

      • That’s even better.

        880 rounds at 20 cents a round. Most of us have that stuff and they would make a killing.

    • There was an Australian company that tried making new production No. 4s. They were expensive, compared to surplus that was common, and they couldn’t be imported to the United State, on account of the stocks being made from Vietnamese wood. (That’s my recollection.)

      • Yeah, Lee i remember something about that. They never got dealers up and running in the states. I think they also made one in 7.62×39 with some type of ak mag. I kept hoping they would overcome their problems and market them here. No luck.

  7. How about Enfield muzzleloaders or Snider rifles and Martini-Enfields? Or maybe if you send them your Ishapore 2A1s they’ll turn them into Jungle Carbines?

    • No, no and no. That all makes too much sense, you old codger. In a few years every kid on the block will want an AR with a scratch and sniff logo reminiscent of Dunhills and piss. They will ship with an optional 5.45 conversion kit for extra piss smell.

      • I’m 25 and already being called an old codger! I want my guns to reek of Hoppe’s 9 or Ballistol! I’ll make sure my kids want nothing more than a wood stocked rifle.

    • I had an Ishapore 2A1 and one of their jungle carbine conversions, which was a an Ishapore factory quickie conversion of dubious quality. It had the same sights as the 2A1 on the rear and some flash hider mount on front made up from who knows what.

      The standard rifle was a shooter. Nothing fancy, but it worked. The jungle carbine patterned like a shotgun at 50 yards and it was anybody’s guess on how it would shoot at 100. Several of us tried and it shot differently for each and none of it was good.

      • I think Gibbs used to make conversions of 2A1s to Jungle Carbines, and I think they also made a Guide Gun variant in .45-70, that’s where I got the thought from. I didn’t know that Ishapore themselves converted 2A1s to Jungle Carbines though.

        • From what I could tell the Gibbs conversions were to a much higher standard than the Ishapore versions. Ishapore called theirs the no. 7. The one I had was a waste of a good 2A1.

      • I’m incredibly in love with Dissipators lol. So much so I shelled out money to have my BCM Middy converted over to a Dissi setup. I’m big on iron sights, which I suppose matters to the 13 other guys aside from me that use Dissipators lol

        • PSA has been sold out of the above for a long while now so you arent the only one that enjoys the look. Been looking to pick one up but every time I have the money they’re sold out.

    • Yep. And that’s why my preferred AR is a mid-length with a low-profile gas block and a rifle-length (or longer) forearm.

    • I have two 20″ AR’s and love them both. Decided to keep my Colt dressed in the classic “A2” look, with carry handle and front post sights. I find it way handier and way more fun to shoot than my friends’ M4 clones with heavy quad rails and tactical optics. Not to mention it kicks butt when it comes to getting the most out of the 5.56 at extended ranges.

      • I do not own an AR – mostly collect AKs. When I do build an AR I plan to go A4 style, all the way down to the solid stock.

  8. Hmmmm….seems decent enough (reading website) but kinda curious as to their timing. Seems like a not so good time to get into the market. Also not cool with them using the Enfield name. Seems like cheating to me.

  9. Springfield, Henry, Spencer, Enfield. You can’t keep a good name down. Not while there are any marketing people left in the world.

    I have an idea. Let’s start a firearms business and call it Sphenspcfieldivergararmaweb. We’ll make a fortune!

  10. Good to see from my perspective. More the merrier. Providing we can keep them from being illegally-illegal then it should only serve to the bennefit of us all.

  11. I’m thinking that for $1295 I could have a Colt(tm) brand Colt AR-15. I don’t see how a newb in the business is going to command that kind of price unless we’re talking a completely dressed rifle. (Take that to mean available with a plethora of options and extras and fully customizable within the modular reference on ordering.) With a DPMS M4 clone going for $650 or less, double the asking price would at this point require double the rifle.

  12. “get in on the gold rush that is AR-15 rifle production . . ”

    Otherwise known and late to the party and SOL.

  13. Well, well. There so happens to be a descendent of the the Enfields right here in Napa, CA. I guess I will send him and his wife this link…….

  14. This seems like the WORST time to get into the AR market, the market is saturated, demand is low and no new bans are on the horizon.

    I’d much rather have a new Martini-Henry style rifle in .308 or some other common caliber. The Martini-Enfield’s left over from service are worn out and expensive and the real Martini-Henry’s fire ammo you can’t seem to buy anywhere. There are so many guns like the Ruger Blackhawk or Uberti Rolling Blocks why can’t they do the same with old British or French kids?

    • CG. America is the largest market for private firearms in the world. When it comes to repros we want American. Sharps, Remington, Henry, Schofield, etc. Our repro market is firmly rooted in our history.

      Surplus military arms from other countries have done well here in the past because of cost mostly. We used to get good working british, german and other milsurp for pennies on the dollar here. But even in the milsurp market American guns demanded a higher price and were scooped up quicker than the rest.

  15. While I don’t think the market needs another AR pattern rifle, if they do good work I’d love to see them branch out. Maybe do for the Webley revolver what’s been done for 1911 clones.

    • While I happen to love the look of the Webley and appreciate it’s history, the only thing that can be done for it is not to make anymore, thus sparing it further humiliation. To compare it to the 1911 is as if to compare a steam powered car to a model T. There is nothing about the Webley that suggests reproducing it, terrible trigger, odd cartridge, questionable accuracy. The Webley has truly been surpassed by better designs. I’d love to have one, for the novelty and a touch of it’s history, but comparably it’s such a terrible weapon that there just isn’t a market for it. A quality 1911 and a Glock can compete with each other, a GP100 or S&W 626 Vs a Webley is no contest at all, the Webley isn’t even playing the same sport, let alone in the same ballpark.

        • As true as all that is, the collector in me just wants one to have one. Maybe a strongly improved one, one in a caliber that someone has actually made in the past 50 years. Yeah, I know. I just think break-top revolvers are cool.

        • Cyborg, Understand your jones. Ever since “Zulu” I’ve wanted a Martini Henry and a Mk 6 Webley. Never in the right place at the right time with the right funds. I did get a MK4 webley in .38/200. But the only ammo available for it was .38 Smith and Wesson. It works, but it doesn’t get much accuracy. I let that one go many years ago. Still miss it once in a while.

  16. The produc the need is an Ishapore that will take a Magpul 308 magazines, parkerized (or similar) finish, composite stock and Picatinny top rail. @ $900.

  17. Kinda like a car company named Mustang that makes minivans.

    “hey guys check out my new lee-enfield.”

  18. Glad to see another gun making company in the south.It appears that us folks down this way are more positive about guns,let alone more positive about having more business come in which means more jobs! I guess a lot of other states don’t want more jobs and some of the states that have jobs,and really can’t afford to lose them are losing them to the West and the South.I don’t have anything against some of the folks in a lot of states,except why do ya’ll keep voting in these politicians that keep screwing over ya’ll?Isit some kind of self-punishment thing ya’ll have going on?Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  19. Nick Leghorn is spot on regarding the well-known “Enfield” rifles, all of which were produced by the Royal Small Arms factory which was established in the town of Enfield (now a borough of greater London) back in the 19th century. There never was an “Enfield” company. Since my ancestor, after the Conquest, was granted the tract of land called “enfield”, our family took the name of the place just like the armaments from the Small Arms factory eventually would as well. Interestingly, it seems that most of my ancestors, including the four Enfield brothers who emigrated to the colonies in 1650, were all gun smiths. Putting two and two together, given the English proclivity to concentrate their crafts in one place, I suspect that Enfield was crawling with gun smiths and that the Crown positioned the Small Arms factory there because of the availability of skilled labor.

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