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  • Kevin Kossowan

Lee Enfield & Weaver 4X

Updated: Feb 19

A vintage addition to the kit: Lee Enfield Mark4 No1 with Weaver 4x-1.

This was overdue. The story begins about 20 years ago when I inherited my great uncle's Browning Medallion 30-06. It's a great rifle, and in my hands has killed moose, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, black bear, and pronghorn. Dozens. I've shot 125, 150, and 180 grain shells through it, although it grouped the lighter grain weights poorly. It's a heavy hitter and can kill any size of big game I need it to. It's reliable, has a high quality action, is made of metal and wood (my preference over synthetic). So why the change?

Two reasons. First: felt recoil. My 30-06 is a whallop, especially at higher grain weights. It's scoped more than one person (including me) and has been guilty of inflicting the most serious case of flinch I've ever seen in someone (not me). I regularly mentor new hunters, including my currently 12 year old son. A few of these hunters are lighter framed women. Over the years my trusty 30-06 has proven to be too much gun for some shooters, especially considering we're often looking for smaller deer - not a big bull moose.

Regarding felt recoil, there were other logical options. A .243 or .308 would have both been very good choices. If you're unfamiliar with Chuck Hawks rifle recoil table, it's where my homework began. I went .303 for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I already have one with iron sights for a camp gun / close encounters with wolves and bears. I've watched lighter framed shooters shoot it, often, and have witnessed their relative comfort with it. I spent a season shooting only iron sights - still one of my favourite hunting achievements. Was able to harvest 2 whitetail, a black bear, and a mule deer that year with open sights. So I have faith in it. I already have the shells. I like the look of the old wood and steel. They're built like tanks. Lee Enfields are inexpensive due to the VAST supply post-war. And this latest edition is built the exact same as my first, so that when it comes to trouble shooting and maintenance, the duplication makes things easier for me. The clips are interchangeable. I also find when hosting that if you have a myriad of calibers in your kit, it gets confusing fast for the first time hunters. Staying in one caliber keeps things easier to understand.

The second reason for the change: a second scoped high powered rifle in my kit. In the past when I'm hosting (which is often), I hand guests my 30-06. Early years that left me as a non-shooter, which is fine as I often have a camera in my hands anyway. In recent years it's meant I pack my iron sights .303. But while I feel strongly about iron sights, and the significant advantage of intuitive aim and rock solid confidence with iron sights - there's no drift of a reticle in a scope to make you wait/doubt when to's a remarkable benefit - there's no doubt the tech of a scope increases your probability of putting an animal on the ground. Last year while filming S10 I had a black bear stand up at maybe 120 yards that with iron sights yielded a miss, and with a 4x scope would have meant an animal hanging in camp.

Why not have my iron sights Lee Enfield tapped for a scope? A few reasons. I still need it for all the same reasons I originally put it in my kit: close encounters, where a scope is rendered a liability. The gun in the tent at night as the wolves howl nearby? Iron sights .303. Tracking or recovering an animal that's been shot (especially black bear) and may need putting down? Iron sights .303 hands down. Calling or stalking in dense bush forcing an encounter to be a close one? Iron sights. Also would feel weird altering an antique. And to back up a bit - if less experienced guests spend their day loading, unloading, and handling a Lee Enfield with a scope, it would be of great benefit in a tense moment to have an iron sights version in their hands that feels and behaves the exact same way, and shoots the same shells.

The new addition has been bore sighted for the scope add, but will need fine tuning. Can't wait.


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