Enfield 0,303" chargers

Although it’s a bit tangential to cartridges I thought it might be useful to show the various Marks of Enfield chargers, especially as I’ve just mastered the joining of two pictures on Photoshop which makes it easier to get an all-round impression of each type.

The Mk I was introduced in the List of Changes (LoC) on January 16th, 1903;

despite being quite chunky it was found to be insufficiently rigid in use and was superceded by the Mk II, showen in the LoC on April 24th, 1906;

this featured three ribs in the base to make it more rigid but continued to feature the third lug higher up the sidewall, something I’ve never found a sensible suggestion as to its purpose. In turn the Mk II was replaced by the Mk II* which saw the removal of the third lug, a change not deemed sufficiently large to warrant a new Mk number;

both versions of the Mk II are quite handy to use but they were replaced on February 15th, 1916 with the Mk III which did away with the slots and ribs on the base, using staggered holes instead. The sidewalls now had 5 holes, a retrograde move as the spring formed by the end hole on each side had too high a ‘rate’ making it harder to sweep the cartridges out of the charger and into the magazine;

just how unsuccessful this new type was can be seen by how quickly it was replaced, on October 20th, 1917 the LoC announced the Mk IV which retained the holes in the base but only had four holes in each sidewall;

unfortunately this design repeated the major fault of the Mk III in that the spring holding the cartridges in place still had too high a ‘rate’ so it was quickly replaced by the Mk IV*, again the change wasn’t deemed large enough to justify a new number;

this design lasted until the 0,303" Lee Enfield rifle was phased out of use and replaced by the SLR in the mid-1950’s although, along with all other types of equipment in British Service use and given a Mk number these were changed to Arabic numerals in 1945;

Although many countries used Lee Enfield rifles and the chargers were produced in several of them the only major variant is the one made in Portugal which usually has no holes in the base and doesn’t have the spring formed by piercing the end hole of each side. These Portuguese chargers can be found painted or lacquered black, tinned, phosphated or nickled;


Very well done.