I've heard that was true with regard to the factory at Enfield, but when they moved production to Nottingham, things were different. I wouldn't be surprised if Nottingham made rifles were at least somewhat better than Enfield ones.The original designers got it right, but cost cutting forced them into using cheaper materials and cheaper production methods.
Like the AR-18, in other words.What many people don’t realise is that the L85 uses the same locking principal as the M16/M4 but uses a piston rod rather than gas fed to the bolt.
Well, Stoner's design was certainly a classic. Also, the L1A1 is certainly a goodie.having also used the M16A1, A2 and M4, I really like the A1 as it just seams to point where I need it before I know where that is. The A2 seamed a little nose heavy and needed more work to bring into the aim. The M4 was also a cracking little gun and I liked the way the butt could be collapsed when not needed.
If I had to pick between an L85 and a M16, I would likely go M16A1 because of the reassuring feeling. The L85 is much easier to clean and in my opinion, the more accurate but unfortunately it just oozes air soft quality.
At the end of the day though, nothing compares to the L1A1 rifle.
I seem to remember that Enfield was getting ready to close and the workers had no incentive to do their best. In 1987 I got to visit the British Army Jungle Warfare School in Brunei, where they were using AR 15's for IAD's (Immediate Action Drills). I asked the senior Warrant Officer, who was from the Small Arms School and Corps about it and they were using the AR15's as the L85 was getting read to be issued and they wanted a weapon with an automatic fire capability for the IAD's. He mentioned it was too bad I had not been there a month or so earlier as they had trialed the L85. I asked him how the L85 had done, and he replied that like all new weapons it had some problems "but that it had a long way to go to be as good as the AR15". Now the AR15's he was talking about were the ones left in Brunei after the Claret raids across the border during the Indonesian Confrontation, and they had been rode hard.I thought that a brand new rifle in the L85 that did not compare well to a 25 year old weapon that had been used hard did not speak well of the L85. Later I transferred from Okinawa to Ft Lewis, WA. At this time the Canadians still came there to train as well as the occasionally British unit. We were starting a new company, only about 15 men so far and as I had learned the PWO (Prince of Wales Own) Infantry were on Ft Lewis I sent my Operations Sergeant Brett Thorpe over to see the PWO's and ask if we could get a class on the L85. Brett would later die in 2003, while a member of Harmid Karzai's security detail, RIP. The PWO's agreed, we went over to North Fort, and in one of the old WWII Mess halls, had a cup of tea and got a class. I asked the Sergeant who was doing the demonstration, why there was black electrical tape around the forend of the rifle and he replied that the hand guards would often fall off. Another problem he mentioned was that the plastic dust cover often broke off, when the weapon was charged and as he charged the weapon sure enough it broke off, to which he said "Like that". It had a very complicated sling that you had to carefully look at instructions in a manual to get it correctly rigged. I made a copy at our Rigger shed, but soon went back to the Boonie Sling (?) I had used before as it was simple and more effective. The Sergeant also told us about the problem of when running at port arms, the magazine release could hit your chest and now your magazine was lying somewhere behind you. All in all I was not impressed with the L85. I have never used the SLR, and the several men from the 25th Infantry Division who were at the Jungle Warfare had to get a lesson from the resident SAS Instructor Bob "Automobiles" on the SLR. Later Bob told me he had not touched a SLR in many years, as they used some version of the M16, often with the M203 grenade launcher. Now that the French are phasing out the bullpup FAMAS and going to the H&K 416, and I believe New Zealand is going to some form of M16, I wonder what the next generation of Britsh Infantry rifles will be? John