The Rifle No.4 MK.I* was the "last ditch" simplified variant of the Rifle No.4 MK.I, brought into being after the British Expeditionary Force lost a huge amount of ordinance in their evacuation of Dunkirk, much of which was No.4 MK.I rifles. The MK.I* was produced in the US by Savage Arms and in Canada by Inglis and was supplied across the commonwealth under the "Lend Lease" program. Design changes to the * variant include a simplified rear sight, a different style of cocking piece, and a reduction in finish quality, both to the wood stocks and the milled steel receivers.
The Ares Rifle No.4 MK.I* has all of the MK.I* details, with the exception of the wood and metal finish, which is absolutely Lee Enfield worthy with its elegant wood grain pattern and consistent varnished finish across the piece. Unlike the real MK.I*, the Ares version has flawless machining throughout, benefitting from a lack of mid-war production pressures and the high standards in external finish Ares historical rifles are known for.
Starting at the tip of the barrel we can find a real world accurate Lee Enfield No.4 muzzle which includes mock mounting lugs for the Lee Enfield No.4 MK.I bayonet, with the front sight and its protective wings just behind. The protective wings have circular cutouts on either side to allow more light to hit the front post to make it easier and faster to acquire.
The front sight is a flat blade which is set into a dovetail and can be adjusted left or right using the screw at the front of the sight. With the screw loosened you can slide the sight back and forth in its dovetail to the desired position to adjust for windage, and tighten the screw back up again. The protective wings on either side include cross-hatching on their rear-facing surface which is intended to minimise glare and give you a perfect view down your sights without the possibility of mixing up the sight blade and wings.
Following the front sight, we come to the first barrel band, which is constructed from stainless steel with a flawless gun metal finish applied. This barrel band is hinged and includes brass mock rivets and steel pins to keep everything firmly in place. The front barrel band also serves to hold the real wood upper handguard/heatshield on and it does a great job, as there is absolutely no play in these parts whatsoever.
Moving rearwards from the front we come to the handguard and forestock of the No.4 MK.I* which is the perfect shape and design to match the real thing. The barrel bands are all in the right places, and the middle band includes a steel sling swivel which can be used with the rear sling swivel on the bottom of the stock to mount a traditional Lee Enfield infantry-style sling.
As we reach the receiver we can see the authentic high-walled No.4 MK.I* receiver design, complete with a stripper clip guide, and rear iron sight. The rear sight is the correct simplified MK.I* sight, which provides two apertures to aim with, one finer aperture for precise shots and a wider one for low light and close quarters. Though it may not be as high tech as the original No.4 MK.I's micrometer adjustable rear sight, the MK.I* sight is easy to aim with and simple to use, much like the ghost ring aperture sights on an M16. These sights were well liked at the time the MK.I* was issued, and proved very effective at short to medium range, allowing for rapid snap shooting and outdoing the KAR98K sights by a country mile!
There is also an Ares logo stamped into the trunnion at the front of the receiver. This logo may not be a BSA logo but the attention Ares has paid to the looks of the stamping shows its attention to detail. This marking looks like a real stamping from the 1940s, not ultra sharp CNC machining from 2022, keeping the rifle looking faithful without any tell-tale signs of it being a replica. There are additional markings on the left side receiver wall, reading “No.4 MK1* - LONG BRANCH - 1942”, adding to the authenticity without stepping on any toes IP-wise.
The bolt pull of the Ares Rifle No.4 MK.I* is exactly what an authentic replica Lee Enfield should have. The Lee Enfield rifle series, going all the way back to the original Rifle No.1 MK.III was well known for its short and fast bolt throw, allowing British Tommy’s to carry out what is known as a “mad minute”. The mad minute basically involves several soldiers firing as quickly as possible, synchronising their firing and reloading cycle to suppress the enemy in the same way a machine gun team would.
The Ares No.4 is very capable of this and requires only a slight turn of the bolt and a short pull backwards to cock the rifle ready for the next shot, making it awesome for the authentic Lee Enfield experience, but also an asset on the field for when you need a fast follow-up shot. For those who have fired a real Lee Enfield; you will be impressed by the feel of the bolt of the Ares No.4 MK.I* as it almost has the feel of a “cock on close” bolt action, requiring a slight bit of force to close the bolt while being fast to open and operate. This is the aspect of the Enfield action that takes the credit for the “mad minute” and is what separates it from slow bolt actions like the KAR98K and M1903A3 Springfield rifle.
The magazine release can be found inside the trigger guard and requires an upwards press on its textured surface to release the mag. This is regarded as a dangerous feature these days, but once upon a time soldiers could be trusted not to pull the trigger when they mean to release the magazine! The real Lee Enfield rifles were only issued with a single magazine and were generally reloaded using stripper clips or individual cartridges, making this feature perfectly adequate for its use with the benefit that the magazine catch cannot be snagged and inadvertently drop the magazine.
The safety catch of the Ares No.4 MK.I* is located on the left side of the receiver, just ahead of the rear stock socket. The catch requires a rearward pull to lock the trigger, and forward push to release it. The safety can only be activated when the rifle is cocked, and forcing it could damage the rifle so we advise being cautious, and not forcing the safety if it appears to not want to move into position. The safety is fast to use and can easily be actuated from a firing grip with the thumb, and is still effective in wet weather thanks to its textured surface.
Following the receiver and controls, we come to the rear stock socket, and the stock itself. The socket is appropriately marked with the serial number of the rifle on the left side, just like the real thing. The socket also features an Ares stamp above which looks perfectly in keeping with the other markings on the rifle, and those on the real Lee Enfield No.4 MK.I*.
The stock sports the appropriate Enfield shape which dates back to the Lee Metford Rifle which pre-dates the S.M.L.E of WWI. The grip section is at a steeper angle than modern sniper rifles, but feels great in the hand and works perfectly with the short and fast Enfield bolt.
The butt plate of the Ares Rifle No.4 MK.I* is the correct design and colouration for the No.4 rifle and is constructed from steel to reduce the damage the rifle will take if dropped on its stock. The real No.4 MK.I* had an aluminium butt plate, so this is one more area the Ares rifle outdoes the original! The butt plate also includes a hinged compartment for a cleaning kit, but we think you could effectively conceal various snacks inside, or something more useful, like tools. At the toe of the stock, we can find our final sling point which matches the real Enfield flawlessly and allows this hefty and substantial feeling rifle to be carried more easily in-game.
This is the Airsoft rifle most of us feel like we have waited our whole lives for, and it was well worth the wait! The Ares Lee Enfield Rifle No.4 MK.I* is flawlessly built with impressive attention to detail, a large number heavy and robust steel parts and gorgeous wood furniture with a fantastic finish. Whether it is strictly to adorn the wall of your man cave, or you are taking it out to contend in the great British woodlands, the Ares Lee Enfield Rifle No.4 MK.I* will be right at home!
Full metal construction.
Real wood stock, handguard and heatshield.
Most metal parts are stainless steel.
Great for display, re-enactment or skirmishing!
Authentic antique look - Metal finish is fantastic.
Short and fast bolt action - So it should be for a Lee Enfield!
Compatible with Ares Lee Enfield Rifle No.4 Magazines. S&T No.1 MK.III mags do not fit!
Hefty, realistic weight and feel - Great for the realistic experience.
Beautiful wood finish - Better than most real mid-late war Enfields, we don't mind though!
Sling points at the front and rear - Ready for a two-point sling.
A great fit for a WWII British/Commonwealth loadout.
Correct No.4 MK.I* battlesight - Simple dual aperture flip sight.
Includes detailed hard storage/display case - Faux wood style polymer with markings
Ares Lee Enfield Rifle No.4 MK.I* Bolt Action.
Ares Lee Enfield 35bb Magazine.
Hard storage case intende only for display.
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