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The Enfield Rifle No.10

A prototype which became the EM-1 Bull-pup assault rifle


See also the EM-2 Prototype Bull-pup Rifles

For readers already aware of the British EM-2 rifle, of .280in calibre, some interesting facts lie within the history of that rifle's development at the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield. It is not generally known that the original designation for the RSAF bull-pup design was as the Enfield Rifle No.9. It was soon realised that this nomenclature had already informally been put into use, so the obvious progression was to award the next number, for Enfield Rifle No.10. For reasons not entirely clear, but probably related to the then imminent change of nomenclature from plain rifle numbers to the currently employed system of "L" prefixed codes, to such as the L1A1 for the incoming NATO selection of the Belgian designed self-loading rifle, (or "SLR") the prototype was named on drawings as the "X1 E1"; both "X" and "E" often being prefixed to the numbers of 'Experimental' weapons.



In fact, there was a quite odd overlap of the old and new nomenclature systems between 1951 and 1953. Not immediately obvious as being on topic, it may be worth mentioning the early introductions under the "L" prefix system.

It is not in our remit to explain the peculiarities of the system, but detail is available elsewhere on the web. Milsurps could be a good start. However, the first "L" prefixed allotment was to the then new sub-machine gun. This SMG was introduced in 1951 as the "Patchett, Mk.II, 9mm" of Sterling Manufacture. The following year this was amended to be the SMG "L2AI (L) 9mm"; declared as ' formerly the Sterling Patchett Mk.ll ', and recorded in the List of Changes under C 8378, EA. W/151. Undergoing continual appraisal and modification, the Sterling SMG enjoyed further entries in the LoC for both the Marks III and IV in 1955. In between times, two other remarkable LoC entries were made.

In 1953 the Rifle No.I Mk.3* (L), .303 (otherwise known as the .303in Pattern '14), having been declared obsolete in 1947, was re-introduced as current in LoC no. C 5970. Additionally, in the same year, the Rifle No.4 Mk.2 (T) , .303in Sniping riflecame back into service under loc no. C 7509. Thus the confusing conversion from the old system to the new, with the last of the old being the already mentioned Rifle N.9 (No.9) .22in Training rifle in 1956, and the first of the rifles to join the new system, the Rifle Ll AI (L) 7.62 mm, the FN FAL SLR, under LoC no. C 8288, EA W/321, approved 19-7-57.

Having done our best to detail the development of the nomenclature during this period, we should revert to that of the subject rifle.

A drawing list for the rifle's parts, dated 28th. May 1952,

clearly shows the rifle being referred to as the "RIFLE, 7 mm. No.10 Mk.1".



Shown here is the RSAF General Arrangement drawing of the rifle;

Drg. No.D.5(E)10434/G/20 of Part No. CR 46 GA.



The length of time undergone in development is illustrated by dates on the drawing

giving the "Design Originated" as 13th. October 1947,

and "Drawing Completed" as 28th. March 1952.

That there had been more than one change of heart over the naming of the rifle

is evidenced by the close-up of the drawing's title.

Just visible beneath the "X1, E1" stencilling is the poorly erased notation on the tracing "No.9 Mk.I"



In addition to the drawings gifted in 2000 from the RSAF Pattern Room,

the archives of the Royal Armouries hold eight lists of the drawings for the rifle.

Those dated 3rd. June 1952 each note the weapon as being "RIFLE 7mm, No.10. Mk.I".

The lists dated 7th. October 1952 note the amendment that the


and now indicate that the parts are of the "RIFLE, 7mm. X1, E1".

The alteration being over-stencilled, as on the drawing.



A comprehensive article, entitled "A Study in Design" was written in the 1970s by J.W. Sayers,

about the development of the EM-1.


Below is a searchable flip-page facsimile of that article, which may take a few moments to display.

If you wish to read more of the EM2 Bull-pup rifle, then,

See also the EM-2 Prototype Bull-pup Rifles

View a short video of the EM-2 rifle shown in use as part of a 1950s military demonstration.


A recent important addition to research documentation on the EM-1 and EM-2 rifles is the book

"Thorneycroft to SA80 - British bull-pup friearms" by Jonathan S. Ferguson.

ISBN: 978-1-7334264-2-2 (Headstamp Publishing).


Thank you for taking the time to view this page. We hope it has been of interest

Click here for Chronology of Enfield genre Training Rifles, Adapters & Cartridges

Contact - email:

* "EM-2 Concept and Design", 1980 by Thomas B Dugelby


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