No5

AKA Jungle Carbine

No5Mk1 being the rifles proper designation,  is also well-known as the Jungle Carbine.

There were predecessors such as the No4 Mk1 Lightened, as well successors, such as the No5Mk2, Canadian Light rifles as well as an Australian version, the No6MkI and MkI/I. Unfortunately these rifles may total an entire production of 1500, where as the No5 Mk1 totaled around 250,000 alone.

The trials for this type of rifle started in the early summer of 1943. Is was becoming abundantly clear to the British Forces that a light weight rifle was required for jungle fighting with good accuracy of 400 yards. It was also later to be used by British parachute units in the 2nd World War, as it was the ideal sized rifle for that role.

During the early stages of the initial trials there was concern that the reduction in barrel length would result in a corresponding increase in muzzle flash. Fortunatly however the early trials showed the flash hider worked well and overall, the flash from the rifle was none the worse from that of a No4 being used in the same trial.

To offset the kick from the reduced weight of the rifle it was fitted with a rubberised butt plate. This along with its famous flash hider became somewhat the iconic pieces of the No5.

The No5 began production in 1944 and they were made either at the Royal Ordinance Factory in Fazakerley, Liverpool, or by the Birmingham Small Arms Company, Shirley. The easiest way to tell which one is to look at the left hand side of the receiver and see what is engraved there. If it looks along the lines of ROF (F) then Fazakerley, if it has M47C then the rifle was made by Birmingham Small Arms . Indication may also be on the wrist of the rifle.

The No5Mk1 was basically a shorter and lighter version of the No4.  Besides the obvious differences , that being the shorter barrel length and a flash hider on the No5, there are a few other subtle differences that differentiated them.  Yes the woodwork is different! but also the rear sight is only graduated to 800 Yds and the bolt is hollowed out in the bolt handle(however don’t get too hung up on bolts, nice to have matching numbers and a hollow, but it can still be the real deal with a solid handled bolt). But the key to spot a fake or bubba’d rifle is that the real deals have scalloped area where the barrel joins the receiver, there are others areas around the receiver that have been  lightened, but remember that knox area! ( I will ask the owner of the rifle for permission to carefully remove the topwood for photos!).

Unfortunately the No5Mk1 had a reputation for not being able to hold its zero (suffering a term called a “Wandering Zero”). That is, the inability for the rifle after being sighted in and zeroed to a distance, to be able to be fired again some time later and achieving that same point of impact. Now this may be due to the lightening in and around the receiver, and it does make sence. I myself do not have one of these fine rifles yet, so can’t speak from experience.

The No5 Mk1 was produced from 1944 through to 1947 and total numbers were aprox 250,000. 2/3rds the production was from Fazakerley  the other 1/3rd BSA Shirley. It was still a .303 calibre bolt-action rifle with a ten round magazine and weighed just over 7 pounds.  The woodwork (furniture) was reduced as well and a rubberised butt plate was introduced, further reducing the overall weight . Due to the flash hider it required a special bayonet, oddly enough called the No5 Mk1 !. There were later version of the No5Mk1 rifle however these were in very limited numbers. These being the No5MkII and No6MkI.

Images with the kind permission of Paul.

Here are some further images of the No5.

Of interest note the reduction of wood in the stock, the fact the stock bolt was hollowed out as well. Also the amount of metal that was removed from the receiver area. You can almost appreciate the so-called wandering zero phenomenon. With more time I will properly label each image. Clicking on an image will bring it up to a larger size, using your arrows buttons left and right will scroll through the images, the ESC key will return you to the page.

markingsmaglightening-cutslh-profileknox-2knox-1forwood-variationforewood-comparisonsflash-hiderfaint-knox-markingsbutt2buttbutt-hollowedbarrel-markingsreciever-markingsbarrel-1proofed

8 Responses to No5

  1. Mike Gerus says:

    Just purchased a NO5 MK1 in real nice condition. Took it to the range today. What a kick!
    Had a heck of a time hitting target at 50 yds. I cannot imagine hitting anything at 800 yds.
    Love Enfields and want to improve my aim.
    Anxious to explore the wandering zero!

  2. Erick says:

    Hi,
    I like your site, very informative on Enfields!
    I have a very sporterized NO.5MK1 Carbine that has an upgraded stock, scope installed, and flash cone removed and holes pinned, but all numbers match including mag! Way too upgraded for my liking and I think i see that wandering zero effect as it doesn’t seem to like being sighted in! Very interesting rifle, but I’m trading it in shortly for a Canadian ww1 Ross rifle to go with my amazing NO1MK3. I thought it would be good pair.

  3. Gary says:

    I have a couple of topwoods , that look as they are for for the No8 rifle. They may be a good to use for a replacement for a No5 (trimmed to fit af course)

  4. Mark says:

    Hey Gary, sent another email, are you getting them?

  5. David Mann says:

    Great site and info about the MK5. Mine has “Made in England” stenciled on the left side of the butt plate and “England” right down below the safety. Any info on this?
    Thanks

  6. marc says:

    my father brought home a jungle carbine after he was demobbed. it still had the grease etc. the receiver was dated 1/46 and serial number was something like u2150. it had a clear No and Mk 1 ROF (F) marking. but no number clearly specified. he said it was a number 6. can you tell me anything about it ? I am considering whether to try to buy it back.

  7. Mark says:

    If the No5 is stil in grease and it looks like that its in original condition, then yes i would give it some serious thought! If you have a friend who is familiar with older rifles or even better Lee Enfields ask them to have a look at her for you. Flick us some images to the email address and lets see if I cant help a little.

  8. Keith says:

    Hello Folks — Need some advice here. I bought a Jungle Carbine a year ago on gunbroker. Apparently the fellow who sold it was just dumping it. Looked great in photos but when I took the rifle apart I found that the firing pin was bent. When I got to the range I found that I could not extract fired shells without tremendous difficulty. Now I see that the problem with extraction appears to be friction between the bolt and the receiver. I don’t know what the previous owner did with this rifle but it wasn’t good. I have cleaned the chamber and it looks fine. I am looking for a reputable gunsmith who knows these rifles and can help me determine whether this rifle is totally ruined or can be repaired. Thanks for your help. I live on Long Island in New York by the way. I will ship the rifle out for repair if need be.
    Keith

Comments are closed.