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AIA M10A1

Lee Enfields, and by that I mean either the SMLE or later No 4 patterns; what great guns they truly are. As a combat weapon of their time; their robust build and high comparative magazine capacity made them in my opinion the best of their type ever. But if there was one fly in the ointment of this illustrious family it must be the No 5 Jungle Carbine. Chopping a No 4 to produce a close quarter rifle for jungle fighting might seem like a good idea – lighter and handier to carry and use, but mate that with the full power 303 cartridge and you have a mule in every sense of the word. Plus research shows that the conversions were not that good with badly crowned barrels and lightened actions that flexed far too much. This gave the poor old No 5 a reputation for not just its bark, but its inability to hit things other than at really close ranges. I have spoken to an ex-Burma campaign solider who had a No 5 and he praised it for its handling and power in close quarter battle situations. But also admitted that when taking aimed shots out past 200 yards then the recoil was far more noticeable and the accuracy… well intermittent to say the least!

However, the No 5 Jungle Carbine is without doubt the best looking of the Enfield family, almost racey, well certainly for a British rifle. And I, like a few I would imagine, bought one many years ago, thinking it would be a good Practical bolt action – after the 1988 SLR ban. Regrettably and painfully I soon found out it was not the case with 300 yards being a definite bridge too far for my particular example. Others I know use No 5s and apart from their fierce recoil say they shoot quite well given their limitations, but the general consensus is one of looks good but shoots bad!

M10A1

These days Lee Enfields of any type are getting thinner on the ground, as they are after all a military surplus item. Occasionally a nice one will appear, or as in the case of 1995 - Armalon Ltd sourced a batch of Fazakarley No 4 Mk IIs from Canada. These were probably the last mint examples available, so now we scrabble around looking for good guns. So I was quite surprised when I saw an advert from Sabre Defence Industries for what looked like No 5 Jungle Carbines, only to discover they were new manufactured guns chambered in - of all things - 7.62X39mm Russian.

Called the M10A1 and made by Australian International Arms (AIA) they are Enfields mechanically and in the strictest sense of the word too, yet brand new and with a few subtle modifications. So no refurbished receiver’s etc.

Given we are used to accepting Enfields of any condition over here, the M10 is a real beauty. The receivers are machined and aren’t cut for a charger guide on the rear bridge, which is not a problem for the new calibre, as these rifles run on 7.62X39mm AK47/AKM magazines. Capacities of 10, 20 and 30 are available; so already we can see that this rifle is shaping up to be a very practical option.

AIA have kept it simple with the iron sights too. At the rear is the basic L-flip type with the arms stamped L (long range) and S (short range) with a subsequent difference in the aperture size and their height. An M14 type muzzle brake finishes off the 18”, chrome lined barrel, in a set of big protective ears is a medium width pin foresight. This is adjustable for windage by moving the sight block left/right by opposing screws and for elevation by rotating the pin up/down. AIA include a tool for the job.

Plunger Ejector

The bolt looks 100% Enfield, but closer inspection shows a fully supported head and a plunger type ejector, as opposed to the original screw type through the left side receiver wall. Simplicity too has been applied to the method of bolt removal, gone is the sprung catch at the rear of the action. Instead and as with the Canadian Long Branch Arsenal guns a slot has been cut out of the guide that the bolt head runs in. So all you do is slide the bolt in with the head at 12 o’clock, position it over the cut out, push it down then slide it forward and it’s in. This feature and the basic sight were originally done for economy and ease of production and in the latter case is a good idea, as it would seem likely that most will want to run the M10A1 with a scope.

Here again AIA have been clever, as they make a dedicated 1” scope rail that screws directly to the front and rear receiver bridges. So no more mounts that clamp on and it also allow the scope to be mounted lower to the bore line, so giving a better head position at the rear. Though saying that some form of comb riser wouldn’t go amiss.

The trigger is a two-stage design with a grooved blade, after taking up the first stage it lets off with a reasonable release. But top marks must go to the magazine system, which is always the biggest problem on any form of magazine conversion. The whole well assembly is not modified from the original, but a brand new design built to accept the AK magazine. It hooks in (front end first) and snaps back to engage. And the release catch is a big and sensible lever, which is easy to get on to and operate. It is as fast and easy as an M14 or Mini 14.

The safety catch is identical to the No 4, mounted at the rear left of the action, it pushes forward to fire and back for safe. As before the bolt cocks on closing! Equally pleasing is the finish to the metal work, which is a grey phosphate and gives a very nice look. Best of all is the woodwork, which is of all things teak. This tough and dense light brown/golden wood is configured as the No 5 with a short upper handguard exposing the barrel in the lower forend. IAI have machined finger grooves down each side and they do feel right.

The barrel is partially floated in the forend and there’s a forward band and sling swivel and one under the butt too. There’s also more than enough wood to easily fit a bipod too. AIA offer as extra not only the scope mount, but also a new copy of the US M1907 leather sling, plus the three magazine capacities.

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The butt is classic Enfield with its scant type build and low, or should that be no comb to speak of? At the back is an aluminium butt plate complete with hinged trap for a cleaning kit, if you fancy. I have to say that in my opinion AIA have built a very nice Enfield derivative in an interesting calibre indeed. Still keeping that Jungle Carbine look it’s better by design if you will.

Solid Design

The M10A1 came with a scope mount already fitted, so I stuck with that and mounted a 6X42 fixed power scope, which seemed in keeping with the rifle. Using low, tip-off mounts to keep the height down there was far better cheek to comb contact than on any of the other after market No 4 mounts I’ve used before. Though saying that some form of raised comb like the No 4 T, or a comb raiser kit would give a better head position.

Rather than settling for the usual choice of military surplus 7.62X39mm, which does differ in quality, I opted for some good stuff. This consisted of some Prvi Partizan 123-grain FMJ from the importers Henry Krank & Co Ltd.

The first impression with a full magazine and a scope on top was one of a medium heavy rifle, most of this I put down to the denser Teak woodwork. I found the weight to be good, giving a solid feeling gun in the shoulder. The finger grooves on the forend offered a comfortable position for the supporting hand.

You may wonder at the choice of calibre, as I did, as the 7.62X39mm M43 is a true intermediate cartridge. Producing 2300 fps with a 123-grain bullet, it was designed for the SKS self-loading rifle, which appeared in Russian hands at the end of WW II. It was then used in the AK47 until being replaced by their own version of the 223 Remington, in the AK74.

In the AK47 the M43 cartridge is surprisingly lively from its 16” barrel and in that sort of action has never been considered that accurate. But then again it was never meant to be, as the AK was an assault rifle for short range/high firepower use. So I was interested to see how it would work mated with a bolt action, which will offer more stability.

Recoil was very pleasant, hardly surprising given the extra weight of the M10A1 and the fact the barrel is two inches longer than an AKs and also has a muzzle brake fitted. And the M43 fires a lighter bullet and uses less powder to do so. At 100 yards the rifle was shooting 2-3”. Frankly I was expecting a little more, but compared to a No 5 a real pleasure to use from both the shoulder and the target ends!

The general handling was as an Enfield, with the cock on closing bolt offering the usual extra resistance as you pushed the bolt handle forward and down to chamber the round. Some people don’t mind this, whereas others do and I think it’s far more noticeable when you are shooting for fun. If I was using the M10 in a competition, I doubt if I would notice at all. That aside feed and function was also excellent and the plunger type ejector is a vast improvement over the original system.

Though some might find it sacrilegious I did like the fast and efficient magazine changes and the fact you have the option of using 20s and 30s if you need the extra rounds. Although an Enfield by genre, this is not for those who like clip loading and in that it mates a reliable and familiar action with a facility you would be paying big bucks for on a practical gun.

Whether the AIA M10A1 is a 600 yard rifle remains to be seen, as I have always thought that the 7.62X39mm is struggling a little after 300 yards; certainly on more windy days. But this is a reasonably accurate and eminently practical gun that shoots better than any of the other straight pulls in this calibre; like the Saiga M3 and Ruger Mini 30… and to my mind far preferable and a lot more shootable than a No5 Jungle Carbine in 303 British!

I think I would describe the AIA M10A1 as a modernerised classic, as it will satisfy those who like the Enfield look and system, and also those looking for a more practical adaptation of the No 4 design. As to the calibre, you will have to make your own mind up on that one. But with good quality ammunition or reloads you will have an acceptably accurate rifle.

I wonder if AIA have anything else up their sleeve along this styles. As if they can chamber a No 5 for 7.62X39mm with detachable box magazines, then why not a full length No 4 Mk II derivative in 7.62X51mm with 20 round magazine from an SLR or similar. Now that would be nice!

PRICE: £499
SLING £24
SPARE MAGAZINES £20-£29 depending on capacity

gun
features

  • Name: AIA M10A1
  • Calibre: 7.62X39mm (M43)
  • Action: Bolt action rifle (Enfield No 4)
  • Barrel: 18” (chrome lined) with muzzle brake
  • Feed: 10, 20, 30 round magazines
  • Stock: Teak sporter with sling swivels
  • Sights: Front sight height adjustable pin - Rear sight 2-Plosition L-flip aperture

33 Comments

  • I'm having some trouble finding a new model AIA M10A1, 7.62x39 mm carbine here in the States. Does anyone know where I can find one ?
    Thanks for your help

    Default profile image
    Mike Starkey
    16 Feb 2015 at 05:37 AM
  • Sorry I've been on the thread for a long time. I only checked back here by mistake but pleased i did.
    I purchased an AIA M10 nearly a year ago and boy, what a gun! Its great fun to shoot and even my girlfriend who only shoots 22 found it easy and comfortable to shoot. I took a woman shooting who had never shot before and within a few minutes she was getting reasonable groupings.
    This is about the best and cheapest full calibre fun ( we cant only own bolt actions in the UK) I've had outside military shooting.

    Default profile image
    Adam
    24 Oct 2012 at 02:15 AM
  • Hi Will me again

    Just been nosing around and found this Canadian company who do some stuff with the 7.62x51mm rifles and that includes slings - give them a look you never know www.marstar.ca

    Cheers
    PM

    Default profile image
    pete moore
    26 Oct 2011 at 04:47 PM
  • Just re-read my copy and according to what I said when I tested the rifle yes there is a tool to adjust the height of the front post. If you have not got one then a small pair of pliers might do the job, or you could go back to the person or shop you bought it from if you want the original. I am surprised at the amount of interest in these AIA rifles since we posted the article on the website.

    Ref the sling, again I think the guns came with one similar to the old US model used on the 1903 Springfield and M1 Garand. Your best place to look would be in the US as they are still popular and made by a number of companies.

    Hope that helps

    PM

    Default profile image
    pete moore
    26 Oct 2011 at 04:40 PM
  • Hi, Where can I get the military sling that matches the rifle.
    Will.

    Default profile image
    will
    26 Oct 2011 at 04:02 PM
  • Hi, Thanks for the info but is there a tool to adjust the actual post, up and down.

    Default profile image
    will
    26 Oct 2011 at 02:50 PM
  • If you look at the picture of the foresight you'll see jam screws either side. Slack one off and tighten up the other to move the sight block. Just a tip - with the front sight it's FORESIGHT INTO THE ERROR. Example gun shooting right move front sight right, which will cause you to swing the muzzle left when you relaign the target.

    PM

    Default profile image
    pete moore
    26 Oct 2011 at 08:42 AM
  • Hi, How do you adjust the front post sight, I did not get any tools with my rifle, just a 10 round mag.
    Will.

    Default profile image
    will
    25 Oct 2011 at 04:15 PM
  • AK47 mags fit, the SKS carbine does not use a detachable mag but a 10-shot fixed box that loads through the receiver.

    Default profile image
    peter moore
    17 Oct 2011 at 09:55 AM
  • Hi, you have just missed one, RWS engineering have just sold one for £650. I know because I asked for 10 round mags but he has none left, only 30 round ak.

    Default profile image
    will
    15 Oct 2011 at 12:53 AM
  • I had heard that SKS carbine Mags fitted but please check this first. Ryton Arms are a good source for these mags.
    I'm still looking for an M10 if anyone knows where there is one in the UK

    Default profile image
    Adam
    14 Oct 2011 at 07:51 PM
  • Hi Will

    I got my extra mags from Sabre Defense UK, but I'm guessing that after the owner Guy Savage got extradited to America for arms trafficing, they're no longer in business. As per the article, AK mags are supposed to fit, I tried several in mine (guy at my club has stack loads of 'em) but none did.

    Default profile image
    Ben
    14 Oct 2011 at 06:05 PM
  • Hi, I like the 10 round mag, do you know where I can buy these from.

    Default profile image
    will
    14 Oct 2011 at 01:46 PM
  • Good enough then!

    Default profile image
    peter moore
    24 Sep 2011 at 09:45 AM
  • Hi, Tried ppu ammo, did not group well and stiff extraction but tried wolf, 1 and half to 2 inch groups and excellant extraction.

    Default profile image
    will
    23 Sep 2011 at 08:47 PM
  • Told you...

    Default profile image
    peter moore
    07 Sep 2011 at 02:25 PM
  • Managed to get bolt out, it is so simple that I could not see it. brilliant.

    Default profile image
    will
    07 Sep 2011 at 12:45 PM
  • Hi, Ben,
    I can not remove the bolt from the rifle, could you give me a step by step instruction on bolt removal because I must be doing something wrong.
    thanks, Will.

    Default profile image
    will
    06 Sep 2011 at 12:50 PM
  • Hi will
    Stripped mine right down to the bare bones the other night. Its pretty easy, remove the barrel band first then the top cover (its held on to the barrel by a couple of clips, just pulls straight off) remove the trigger guard and the bolt holding the main body of the fore stock to the receiver. then its just a case of using a long screw driver to remove the butt stock via the compartment in the butt plate. I emailed AIA a year or so ago about a PDF owners manual but got no joy, I even emailed Ian Skennerton (he's a enfield guru) as he's in contact with AIA. He said that it strips down pretty much the same as a No.5 and to buy his book 'the LEE-ENFIELD'.

    Default profile image
    Ben
    31 Aug 2011 at 07:45 PM
  • The strip down is pretty much basic Lee Enfield No4, Long Branch type.

    The bolt head is alinged with a cut-out in the bolt slide and flipped upright then withdrawn. Remove the cross screw at the rear of the trigger guard and the vertical one at the front and you can pull out the mag well which has the trigger mech pinned to it.

    Not sure on the numbers of rifles imported into the UK, but around a 100+ would seem like a big order, given the niche nature of the design. AIA also offer a full No4-type chambered in 7.62x51 NATO (308 Win) that runs on 10 and 20-round box mags.

    Default profile image
    peter moore
    31 Aug 2011 at 03:25 PM
  • I would like to strip this down for a good clean/service, but trying to get a pdf manual on it, can,t seem to get any info. also is it true that only 137 where imported into uk and what part of the rifle was made in vietnam, as some of my friends in america are going crazy for this rifle.

    Default profile image
    will
    31 Aug 2011 at 02:11 PM
  • Yes got to say they are pretty cool with their Scout-type layout and DM and in terms of looks, economy and ability do well enough.

    Default profile image
    peter moore
    31 Aug 2011 at 11:43 AM
  • Hi, I have just purchased one of these and it,s the best rifle I have owned, just think it,s a cool rifle. fun to shoot and inexpensive. owned remmys, tikkas, etc but this is the best, not on accurracy but on looks and fun
    the classic lee enfield crossed with the legendary ak47.
    a cool looking rifle and well made.

    Default profile image
    will
    31 Aug 2011 at 03:21 AM
  • I tracked down the original AIA company CEO and emailed him from England. Its unlikely you'll get one in the USA as part of teh breach modification is made in Vietnam before being shipped to Australia. Ther eis a US ban on any weaponry from China or Vietnam.
    However Zak, don't dispare. Go to canada where many had been imported and track one down there or if you ar ein teh UK and have an export cert I hear 'the gundshop' High Barnet in the northern burbs of London is waiting to take delivery of a few.
    there must be billions of 7.62x39 rounds out there which means cheap shooting and no reloading hassle.

    Default profile image
    Adam
    28 Mar 2011 at 01:42 AM
  • Can anyone tell me how to find one of these in the States.. I came up with nothing found on gunbrocker.com and cant find a dealer who sells them here :( Any advise whould be great... thanks

    Default profile image
    Zak Ingle
    27 Mar 2011 at 10:36 PM
  • Good point; well made... 7.62x39mm is readily available and not that expensive, which for range work, given its operating parameters is more than adequate!

    Default profile image
    peter moore
    21 Mar 2011 at 10:09 AM
  • yes, agreed Peter , but how do these other intermediate rounds compare with ethe 7.62x39 for price and availabilty?

    Default profile image
    adam
    21 Mar 2011 at 03:08 AM
  • Yes keep the ranges sensible and 7.62x39mm is not a bad calibre; but there are better intermediate calibres not doubt such as 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 PPC, the PPC and Bench Rest (BR) series...

    Default profile image
    peter moore
    20 Mar 2011 at 10:28 AM
  • Hi Adam

    3" grouping @ 100 meters is a very good grouping for me smile I'm still kind of new to rifle shooting (only been doing it for about 3 years now, lots still to learn) but as I understand it, a bench mark for reasonable accuracy is 1 MOA or sub MOA groupings (MOA stands for Minute Of Angle). Without going into to much detail 1 MOA equates to 1" @ 100 yards, 2" @ 200 yards, 3" @ 300 yards, etc (sorry if i'm teaching you to suck eggs). Technically speaking I should be able to obtain 6" groupings @ 600 yards but, as the article mentions, the 7.62 x 39mm rnd is likely to struggle after 300. I hope you can find one of these as, even though I had magazine feed issues, they are very nice solid rifles that look great and are fun to shoot.

    Default profile image
    Ben
    15 Mar 2011 at 09:36 PM
  • Hi ben, was this good grouping use 7.62x39?

    Default profile image
    Adam
    14 Mar 2011 at 09:50 PM
  • Hi Adam

    I did quick search on gogle and came up with an ad on the gunstar webpage for the AIA no.4 7.62 x 51 rifle but the m10 a1 they had was no longer advertised. With out rubbing to much salt in your wound, I myself own one of these AIA m10 a1's (I bought new about 2 or 3 years ago) and its my favourite rifle.

    The article mentions 2-3" groupings @ 100 yards but I'd like to point out at the last shoot I went to (I shoot on the local MoD ranges) I was putting groups in a 3" disc @ 300 meters and I only have a cheap Bushnell 1.5-4 magnification mounted on mine (and I'm no marksman by any means). I don't how many rounds have been through the article rifle but mine took a while to come good.

    Default profile image
    Ben
    13 Mar 2011 at 09:38 PM
  • Hi Adam

    Sabre Defence used to bring them in and I also think that FSU Connections offered them at one time too; they might be worth a bell. However, why not go into our new classifed, on-line section, which is on this website and enter your needs into the buying section, as it will get your requirment out to a lot of both trade and private individuals who might have what you want. I have always found this principle to work well if I am looking for a gun that's out of print, which doesn't mean it's not out there somewhere.

    Good luck
    PM

    Default profile image
    peter moore
    18 Feb 2011 at 11:14 AM
  • I would love one of these M10 7.62x39. The ammo is just about the cheapest you can but in the UK. ive only been able to locate a dealer in Poland . Does anyone know of a dealer or any 2nd hand in teh UK?
    if so contact me on adampamment (At) yahoo (dot) com

    Default profile image
    Adam
    17 Feb 2011 at 07:04 PM


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