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Old December 4, 2012, 08:27 PM   #1
Jayhawker
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Sporterized M1917 history.

I have a professionally sporterized Winchester Model of 1917 that came out of an estate in Maryland about 3 years ago. It appears to have been done in the 1960's but that's just a guess. It is nearly identical to a Remington Model 30 or 720 in appearance and I believe it is in an older Fajen stock. I really wasn't too interested in it's history until I came across photos of 2 identical M1917's on the internet, identical to the point I thought they were pics of mine. Up to that point it was just a nice .30-06 but now it may have some "history" beyond it's military service. I'm guessing mine was done for a sporting goods retailer as a part of a larger group all done to the same specs, not that it would make it valuable but I'm curious about it's past now.

Does anyone have any knowledge of any retailers having done this? I believe it would have been an East Coast company as the other two I came across were on the Eastern Seaboard and mine came from the same area. I've been told by a collector it's only worth about $100 since it's been sporterized but I disagree. Maybe it's no longer a good "collectible" but it's still a DARN nice shooter! This is no "Bubba" gun, this was done by a pro who obviously took great pride in his work. Having been in quality assurance for nearly 35 years I can appreciate the detail he put into this. I'm not too hopeful of finding out it's "pedigree' but I figured it was worth a try.
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Old December 4, 2012, 09:29 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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I don't know what was going on in that end of the country in the sporterizing era.

But you really need to show pictures to have a hope of getting a source.
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Old December 5, 2012, 12:18 PM   #3
F. Guffey
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“I've been told by a collector it's only worth about $100 since it's been sporterized”

My favorite people, the ones that say “the value is gone because it has been altered” they say the same thing about period correct collectable rifle that have been fired, as in, it’s scratched, it has a dent, the barrel is newer than the receiver etc.. If it was not for “THE COLLECTOR” I could not afford my vises. Flat top rear sight bridges, round top rear sight bridges, rear sight bridges without ears etc., rear sight bridge height that match the height of the front receiver ring height, then there is the P14 with the M1917 barrel chambered to 308 Norma mag and the P14 with the M1917 30/06 barrel, I paid $50.00 each for the P14s, the 30/06 barrel was a gift, a smith in Kentucky needed a 1894 Krag barrel, I sent him one, about 6 month later he sent me the M1917 barrel with the story about how many volunteers were required to separate the barrel from the receiver. He is in Colorado now.

I found a M1917 Winchester barrel, like new, my friend wants $250.00, I have no interest in ‘bringing’ a M1917 back, the collector value would be less than the sum of the parts.

And my favorite, the ugliest military sporterized rifle ever built, as in “WHAT WAS HE THINKING” and BUBBA, I did not believe anyone could build anything “that ugly” and not know what they were doing, I won the bid, $120.00, all the reasons for failure were eliminated, short hook-up, no floor plate, no magazine box, no recoil lug on the receiver, the recoil lug was on the barrel, something like a Sierra test gun, Timney trigger, the magazine box is part of the bedding meaning when the rifle was bedded the builder formed the magazine with glass, trigger guard, no plate.

I asked the compulsive laugher and gigglers to hold off on their comments long enough for me to complete the bid, I felt all the attention would drive the price up, the accuracy discouraged me from ‘the sum of the parts’ as I said I loaded 12 different loads ‘120 rounds’ different cases, powders and bullets, there were no bad groups, the rifle liked everything.

And in the description “the builder added his driver license to the receiver across the rear sight bridge with an electric stencil”, I can only guess that made the rifle affordable and prevented collectors from bidding.

It is one of my favorite M1917s, it is a Remington, no hole to fill in the rear sight bridge.

F. Guffey
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Old December 5, 2012, 09:28 PM   #4
Jayhawker
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I haven't been very successful at getting decent pictures of mine but here are pics of one of its "twins", mine had iron sights added later but somewhere I have photos of it without iron sights and a scope on Weaver bases that the PO sent me. Except for the grain pattern of the wood my stock is identical.



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Old December 6, 2012, 03:39 PM   #5
Willie Sutton
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Looks like, as you say, a well executed 1960's era custom job. It's a far cry from a "Bubba". Don't forget that in this period every sort of Mauser , Springfield, and Enfiekd action was being used to build custom rifles. Quick question: cock on opening or closing? Best guess... Local custom smith who figured out "how" to do these semi cookie-cutter and who built a few. "Probably" not done in bulk for a reseller. Often times a local Smith will make one, then a buddy wants one too, and before long he's done ten. A local guy here did just that about 20 years ago with full length stocked Krags, of all things. Ended up building at least twenty of them. Local specialty. Without a stamped make it'll be hard to track down. The Remington 660 style bolt is distinctive. Interesting rifle. Bet it shoots well.


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Old December 6, 2012, 05:19 PM   #6
Jayhawker
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Thanks, never thought about an individual doing a bunch of cookie cutter customs. That's makes perfect sense, I haven't found any identifying marks yet. Might be something inside the stock but I have had no good reason to remove the action or recoil pad but I have to believe someone who obviously took this much pride in their work left their mark on it somewhere. It is still cock on open, I'm not enough of a shooter for that to make a difference, as long as it's cocked by the time the bolt is closed on a round I'm happy.

Kind of a shame they did this one, it has a sub 40,000 S/N and only the bolt stop is non-Winchester that I have found, it's from an Eddystone. It would have probably been a real nice collector rifle if left original. Bore is bright and rifling very sharp. At least they made it a real nice shooter, it's definitely a keeper.
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Old December 6, 2012, 06:03 PM   #7
Willie Sutton
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The cocking on opening on these is a modification, which is why I asked. That rifle seems to have had a careful job done to it. Looks like just about "everything" was done to it.

These actions were so common at the time that they were essentially just considered "parts". The reason that unaltered rifles are collectible today is that so few remain. Thank your nice sporter for sacrificing itself elegantly to increase the value of others... ;-)

A NICE sporter is still a work of art. That's a nice one.


Willie


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Old December 6, 2012, 06:40 PM   #8
Jayhawker
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For some reason I had it in my head the 1917 came as a "cock on open", got it turned around. Thanks.
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Old December 6, 2012, 06:50 PM   #9
tahunua001
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I have seen scanned copies of sears catalogs showing military surplus rifles. the print was a close up on enfield no 4s. the price for an original was $10 while a pre sporterized model was $18. I don't know if sears ever offered 1917s in sportered and non sportered setups but I know they did with other milsurp rifles.
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Old December 6, 2012, 07:18 PM   #10
Willie Sutton
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^^^ To the above: nothing that Sears ever sold was up to the quality of the rifle that we ate discussing here. Even in the 1960's this was an expensive piece of equipment. The high volume "sporterized" rifles sold ubiquitously in the 60's had the handguards removed, stocks cut down, and that was that.


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Old December 6, 2012, 07:36 PM   #11
James K
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Those local gunsmiths (I was one) mostly all drew on the same sources for stocks, barrels, and all the rest, so it is not surprising that the resulting rifles have a sameness about them. Some of the sporters were excellent work, some, unfortunately, not much better than Bubba. It depended, as always, on the skill of the gunsmith and the size of the customer's wallet.

Jim
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Old December 6, 2012, 08:05 PM   #12
tahunua001
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^^^in much the same manner as a person looking to sporterize a mosin nagant only has the choice between ATI for synthetic or Boyds for wood stocks.

that would make sense.
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ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
I never said half the crap people said I did-Albert Einstein
You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.
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Old December 6, 2012, 11:49 PM   #13
Willie Sutton
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^^ the difference is that with file and a lathe you can make a good looking rifle out of a Pattern 17 Enfield.. ;-)

Mosins... Well they can alway be dumped into the ocean as artificial reefs, I guess. Put them to *some* good use.



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