Why the humble Lee-Enfield .303 is under threat



By David Zielinski

The Federal Government and the State Governments have agreed to impose further restrictions on law abiding firearms owners by reducing the maximum magazine capacity down to 5 rounds.

The agreement will be ratified at this month’s Police Minister’s conference as part of their ‘review’ of the National Firearms Agreement.

Don’t panic!  No such agreement has been reached.  Not yet anyway.

I wrote this to grab your attention on a matter of importance to EVERY shooter.

At risk; the humble Lee-Enfield .303

While I’m not privy to the original reasoning behind allowing us to have 10 shot magazines under the original NFA, it could be partially related to a firearm that we all know and love, the good old Lee-Enfield .303 rifle, and it’s many variants which all had 10 round magazines (the jungle carbine versions had 5 and 10 shot ones).

Should the Federal and State Governments decide to reduce magazine capacities down to 5 via the NFA, every single firearms owner that owns an Enfield .303 would automatically be in breach of the law for possessing a 10 shot magazine.  We would have to hand the magazines in yet another confiscation, otherwise you could go to jail.

This would virtually render the firearm useless and would lose its value, especially for those of us who collect these rifles, as no one would buy one without a magazine.

The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) .303 was the standard issue firearm to rifle companies of the British Army and other Commonwealth nations in the First and Second World Wars.  This was the case in Australia, New Zealand and Canada amongst others.

These rifles are part of Australian history and Culture, and you could say they defended our way of life, values, freedom and democracy.

Our government has forgotten its own history

Now the Federal and State Governments are getting together in a totally undemocratic way for the NFA, negotiating in stealth, cloak and dagger without consultation from sports shooting and hunting clubs.  They have ignored the firearms industry and most importantly from YOU, the people who voted for and put these people into power.

This is not democracy; it’s an authoritarian dictatorship.

You can do something about this

So what can we do about this to make sure we can keep our Enfield .303’s?

The NFA is being kept private, amongst various Federal and State Police Ministers, Department of Justice representatives and Attorney Generals, not even are Cabinet Members privy to the details, let alone your local Federal and State Representatives.

They are locked out of this process and unaware of the details as well.

You need to write to them and ask them why they are being locked out and get them to find out these details for you. And most importantly, you need to do this now!

What you can do

If you have already written to your local MP, then you’re a champion. However if you haven’t written, then become one – but you need to do this in the next couple of days.

It’s easy. Just send an email to the Police Minister at lisa.neville@parliament.vic.gov.au.  If you’re interstate then find out who your Police Minister is by clicking here.

Here’s the suggested content for your email:

Dear Minister

I understand you will be meeting with the other Police Ministers in the next few days to consider proposals relating to the National Firearms Agreement, in particular the categorisation of some firearms, storage requirements and magazine capacity.

These proposals have been developed under a shroud of secrecy to avoid consultation with the shooting community.   This is divisive and can only lead to bad policy outcomes.

Good policy outcomes come through proper consultation processes which support a “no surprises” approach.

Policy development without consultation leads to significant errors.  Earlier this year the Tasmania Police published guidelines (without consultation) which inadvertently advocated a ban on the Olympic target sports: they later withdrew their guidelines.  Last year the Victoria Police issued guidelines (without consultation) on the transportation of firearms which misinterpreted the Firearms Act:  these required significant correction, to their embarrassment.  

Behaviour like this is inexcusable and helps no-one.  It certainly does not help make your job easier.   

As a constituent directly affected by the National Firearms Agreement, I would like to suggest that the full suite of proposed changes to the NFA be referred to state and commonwealth firearms consultative committees for proper and open consultation with the shooting community.

I believe the Police Ministers should consider implementing a new and permanent model of policy development which takes facts and data into account, and supports the “no surprises” approach.  The “gotcha” approach we have now is a disgrace.

I look forward to hearing from you.

 Yours sincerely

 It’ll take you just five minutes to send this email, and be the best investment you can make in our future today.

Stay up to date

Recently we ran a poll on Facebook which said 78% of you don’t trust the government on this, and they’ll try to ban our lever action shotguns.  66% of you said they’ll also try something with our lever-action rifles.

Stay up to date on what’s happening with the review. Follow us on Facebook or click here to join our email list.

Leave a comment ?


  1. This has gone to far how many crim’s are going to worry about these new laws why not make it a death sentence for murder with a firearm

  2. My 303.25 was left to me by my late uncle who served this country,.. and I will NOT be handing over any part of this rifle,.. so they can just jail me,.. and remember,.. my family all vote,.. they go jailing innocent people, it will be political suicide.. so BRING IT ON, you suit wearing maggots, I dear yas.

  3. keep me in the loop you are doing a great job

  4. keep me in the loop you are doing a great job
    and yes harsher penalties for gun related crimes eg assaults and murders would be great but the Crimson don’t care about penalties

  5. When will these bastards leave us alone???

  6. Why the humble Lee-Enfield .303 is under threat – Shot Info - pingback on October 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm
  7. This won’t affect criminals in the slightest . Crims dont use 303’s.
    This will only impact on law abiding citizens .
    Speak up now.

  8. Already sent a note a few weeks back,and the police minister basically replied, “thanks for you correspondence, I’ll tale it under advisement”. Looks like they’re keeping they’re cards close to their chest..

  9. I sent a very pointed letter to Keenan a couple of weeks ago but haven’t even had the curtesy of a response yet, even sent it to the PM himself and all i got was an automated reply that it was recived.

  10. Steve.

    This is an interesting story. Would you like to write a brief article on this and what the rifle means to you (you know, the family connection stuff)? Or if you want to send me some dot points, I can try to put something together.



  11. makes them look big that’s all ,one seat Malcolm and his fascist mates

  12. Just sent an email to the police minister. See what happens?

  13. Yep, interested to see what comes back!

  14. they are taking my SMLE from me over my dead body

  15. Move to New Zealand I’m getting a 100rd drum for my AR-15 :mrgreen:

  16. James - Orange NSW

    When was the last time a Lee Enfield was used in any kind of criminal or terrorist activity? I dont think I have EVER heard of it happening. Its mostly cut down shotguns, .22’s or handguns.

    These muppets are seriously farked in the head.

  17. if every firearms owner sent a letter to his representative it would create a flood and get their attention – best if each was thought up by the sender, not just a repeat of one someone else made up – and it should state why you are safe and responsible and why the firearms have meaning to you and should make it clear that this is a voting issue to you – they DO want to get re-elected and enjoy the perks and pensions

  18. oh, how very true! Hope they do get flooded for exactly the reason you said. If you’ve got any ideas on how we can get the message out, please let me know. I’m currently working on trying to get our messages out through dealers, but that’s going to take a lot of time to do.



  19. Trouble is we need to get the message out there to every firearms owner and its not happening, im gob smacked at the number of gun owners / hunters i speak to where i work (one of the largest Deer hunting areas in the country) that are completely oblivious to what the Gov’t is about to try and bring raining down on them.

  20. Make it automatic 10yr sentence for commission of crime with rifle with a 10 rnd magazine and leave us alone with our sport. Just another attack on our sport with no attempt at addressing the real problem of crime. Let us know the individual politicians attitude to our support so we can withdraw our votes and choose those who have the will to attack crime directly and not penalise the law abiding citizen.

  21. How will that work with lever action rifles as many are more than 5 rounds and they have been around longer than the Enfields?

  22. Steve

    We don’t know what is on the table other than the fact magazine capacities are on the table. That said, I’m confident the police ministers will know by now that the issue is far more complicated than they might have realised early on.

    Let’s hope so. My guess is they won’t restrict them – but it’s just a guess



  23. Just sent an email to Lisa Neville as well as local MPs Russell Broadbent and Greg Hunt regarding the underhanded tactics of the NFA. Lets see what their response is! And whether they take any notice…….

  24. I heard that the 5 round magazine capacity restriction is a stepping stone to a 2 round magazine capacity restriction. If a gun with a 5 round magazine is safer than a gun with a 10 round magazine, it follows that a gun with a 2 round magazine is safer than a gun with a 5 round magazine.

    I also heard that guns that can be readily fitted with a magazine that can hold 5 rounds (and eventually 2 rounds) will also be banned, like the SMLE. Naturally there would be exemptions for occupational users like pest controllers, police, soldiers, and the armed security guards who protect the rich and (at taxpayer’s expense) political leaders like state Premiers and the Prime Minister.

  25. You should read up about the mad minute, which was required for British marksmen to qualify. Using a 303 with a small magazine the best of them could shoot at 12 inch target 38 times in 60 seconds at 300 yards. It makes the ban on automatics seem silly. It also makes the ban on large magazines seem silly. The qualifying score was 15 hits.

  26. My name is Ian Simmons at the Belambi rifle range in NSW Australia on February 14th 1968 I shot 20 consecutive bulls eyes at 700 yds with no rest open sights army amo with the long branch number 4 and no scope or spotter and that target was 24 inches i still have the trophy, I claim it a world record I was shooting for the Bulli rifle club.

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