L4 Magazines

As has been discussed in the blog before, the L4 light machine gun was an updated version of the Bren gun for the NATO 7.62mm round. The shape of this round was quite different from the older .303 as it was a rimless rather than a rimmed round. This required a brand new magazine and the familiar banana shaped Bren magazine, where the rims necessitated a sharply curved shape, was replaced with a much straighter design for the new cartridge:imageEach magazine holds thirty rounds of 7.62 and is made of pressed steel. One important feature of the magazines insisted upon from the earliest development of the L4 was that they were to be interchangeable with those of the SLR. Side by side the L4 magazine is clearly larger:imageBut the attachment points and feed lip geometry remain the same between the two designs with identical feed lips and follower design:imagePrimarily this was designed to allow troops to put SLR mags in the LMG, but this worked equally well in reverse and an L4 magazine will fit in an SLR:imageUnfortunately as the L4 is designed to feed downwards, assisted by gravity, the spring inside it struggles to feed rounds upwards and into an SLR although it was not unknown for troops to modify the springs by stretching them to better work with the SLR. The magazine when sited on the L4 sits vertically above the main receiver:imageThe L4 magazine has a locking tab on the front:imageAnd a corresponding hook for the magazine catch on the rear:imageThe base of the magazine has a button that can be depressed with a cartridge tip to allow it to be disassembled for cleaning:imageAt least two variations of the L4 magazine can be found. Early examples are seamlessly welded, whilst later production examples have a faint seam down the rear where the two stampings have been welded together:imageThe magazines are each marked on their bodies with their designation, date of manufacture and the combined ‘E’ and ‘D’ logo of Enfield:imageThe L4 magazine lacks the iconic status of its forebear, however it is a hard to find magazine now and commands high prices on the collector’s market. Filling a full 12 magazine box with L4 magazines therefore presents a much harder challenge than it does for the earlier Bren box.

One comment

  1. A little bit of Clarification is required, the L4 Magazines was deliberately designed ts to be interchangeable with the SLR L2A1 Heavy Barreled Light Machine Gun Variant (C2 in Canadian service). The main problem with using the 30 rd mag with the SLR wasn’t with the feeding of rounds, but with firing it when in the prone position.

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