World War II Vet Forced to Permanently Disable His Rifle

This is a heartbreaking tale for a gun lover, so keep the tear-dabbers at the ready.

According to this story from AmericanRifleman.org, a Scotsman in the UK was forced to hammer a bullet into the rifling of his No. 4 Enfield sniper-configured rifle from the breech—the gun he used in World War II—and pour weld metal into the chamber.

Why? Because there's a part of the UK's horrifying gun legislation (Section 5 of the 1968 Act) that allows the police chief of each area discretion to refuse a license for a bolt-action rifle or shotgun to anyone. Semi-autos, other than .22s, are completely illegal.

The Enfield's three-year license was due for renewal, but the police said the owner was too feeble to go hunting or to target shoot anymore, the story says. He had three options. He could sell it. He could turn it into the authorities—for no compensation—to be destroyed, or he could do what he did, and render the rifle forever inoperable.

Orson O. Buck, who authors the piece, wrote that the man was virtually in tears as he destroyed the action, relegating it to a piece to hang on the wall as a reminder of days gone by. And it gets worse. The old Enfield had a great story behind it.

The unidentified Scotsman found himself in a light infantry unit during the war. He was sent on to a sniper's course and passed, before being sent on to Italy with the 79th Division, according to the story. Then it was Special Forces, a couple of wounds, and a discharge.

He didn't have much money after the war, and wanted a good hunting rifle, so he looked around for a surplus No. 4 Enfield like the one he knew so well, that were becoming available. He mail-ordered one, complete with a scope.

As a sniper, he'd memorized two numbers he'd never forget: his ID number, and his rifle's serial number. Imagine how he felt when the rifle he ordered after the war was the very same he'd used in battle.

He used the .303 British rifle's iron sights to target shoot for years, and fitted a scope for hunting when the light was poor. The No. 4 had the advantage of allowing its scope, though only a 2x, to be dismounted, carried separately, and then refitted without any loss of zero.

Now, that rifle is but memories.

The story points out that receiving a battle-used rifle has happened to vets before. Earlier this year, Henry G. Upfold of Arizona went into a gun shop to buy a handgun, and asked to see an M1 Garand he noticed on the wall.

He recognized the serial number right away and knew it was the same rifle he had in Korea when he was 19, issued to him by the Army in Saseba, Japan on his way to Korea in 1953. He turned it in at Taegu, Korea in November 1954.

Upfold was able to purchase his old rifle and, after a trip to the range, confirmed it was still as accurate as ever.