|Rifle .22" No.8 Mk.1|
|Type||Cadet training rifle (Target Shooting)|
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|In service||late 1940s - present|
|Used by||UK Cadets (ATC ACF CCF SCC)|
|Manufacturer||Royal Ordnance Factory Fazakerley & BSA Ltd, Shirley|
|Variants||Match (prototypes only), Infantry|
|Action||Re-designed Lee bolt, hand fed, single shot|
|Muzzle velocity||330 m/s|
|Feed system||Single shot - bolt action|
|Sights||Blade foresight, aperture rearsight, adjustable for elevation between 25yds and 100yds|
The No.8 Rifle is a bolt-action .22 calibre conversion of the Lee Enfield designed for target shooting. They are simple hand-fed rifles and were originally designed to be used by military marksmen firing in civilian competitions, before being turned over to the cadet forces. Currently, the No.8 is used by the British cadet services as a basic target rifle. Quite a few examples are in civilian ownership worldwide, especially following the disposal by the New Zealand cadet forces of their No.8 and No.9 rifles at auction.
Use in the British Cadet Forces
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2012)|
To be allowed to fire the rifle, a cadet must be formally trained on the weapon by a qualified instructor and pass a standardised Weapon Handling Test. The WHT tests the cadet's knowledge of safety with firearms, reactions to range orders and to rifle defects (misfires and bulge barrels). Once the cadet has passed his WHT there are various marksmanship tests available, which vary depending on service.
In the modern day the No.8 is sometimes the first rifle which British cadets use. Cadets may progress to the L98A2 Cadet Rifle (an adaption of the SA80 series of weapons) once they have reached a standard of second class shot on this rifle and the L81 A2 Cadet Target Rifle.
Typically fired at a range of 25 yards, the rearsight can be adjusted to allow fire at 50 and 100yds. A harmonisation setting is also provided for firing at specially designed targets. The No.8 can also be fitted with two types of sight. The more common leaf sight, allowing adjustment for elevation only, is simpler to use and more robust, but the standard of accuracy that can be achieved with this sight is lower than can be achieved with the Parker Hale PH5D sight, which allows for windage adjustment as well as elevation, in 1/4 minute-of-angle clicks. It is also more delicate than the leaf-sight and not generally found in cadet service. The Parker-Hale 8/53 sight adaptor unit can also be fitted to the leaf rearsight, providing windage adjustment without the removal of the issued sighting system. It screws on through the sight aperture and therefore introduces a large elevation difference, rendering the range markings on the sight useless.
Generally, the No.8 is a reliable rifle and can provide a good introduction to target shooting for newcomers to the sport, although, as a rimfire rifle, it can be prone to misfires through wax lubricant from the ammunition building up around the chamber. The cadet services favour it for ease of use and safe handling, as it is fitted with an easily identified and unambiguous safety catch located to the left of and just below the rearsight.
Marksman Practices are most commonly done on this rifle. Squadron Marksman requires 75/100 points which are gained from 4 groupings. 1 inch is worth 25 points, 1.5 inches is worth 20 and 2 inches is worth 15. From there, cadets can progress onto wing, region, corps marksman, consisting of a set number of points gained from grouping, snap shooting and rapid fire. Cadet 100 can also be gained, ranking a cadet in the top 100 marksmen in the three cadet forces in the country.