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Old December 7, 2012, 04:17 PM   #1
RC20
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1917 Enfield

Commonly called the 1917 Enfield or even Pattern 1917 and a lot of other names.

Correct would be US Model of 1917 Eddystone/Remington or Winchester mfg.

I got intrigued by these when following a research trail I found that the Model of 1917 was by far the predominate service rifle issued in WWI. Sgt York was issued a 1917.

I now own one in the Remington version (mostly, it does have the expected mix of W and E parts though the bolt body is also R). Re parked after WWI and a good job and excellent condition. Great stock with character and the cartouches it should have.

Value wise you never know what the interest will be and what triggers it (the various media attention which includes the internet now). I think they will keep going up and how much depends on the attention factors it does or does not get.

Barrel condition is going to determine if it will shoot and that's a hard one as most do not list TE (throat erosion and muzzle check) gauge condition (the usual its clean, rifling is strong but dirty etc). You can negotiate a "return to sender" if it does not pass those. They may turn you down.

Interesting aspects are that that they are not as easily handled as the 1903s (both heavier and longer). I agree.

Offsetting that is the superior peep sight and a better sniper than the 1903 was (sans a scope). Likely very effective for someone who could shoot but was not a sniper.

There is also the odd Brit "cock on close" function. I am exploring the myth of how much faster firing that was. Frankly I don't think so, more an approach that no one could prove false as it had a great deal to do with the training and capability of an individual.

I did have one person contend that an SMLE could out shoot an M1 Garand (42 aimed shots a minutes). Top kick in the Brit Army with 15 years training maybe could do that, but the average platoon would be no where close to that let aloen vs a average M1 equipped platoon. Urban legend, trick shooting. I know a guy who won matches with a glock because he trained himself hard.

Another guy trained himself to shoot a Sig DA/SA even better as he used the DA function to start his trigger pull as he was coming out of the holster and had it ready to snap off as he came on target. Also won a lot and trick shooting. Not for everyone.

While fine for target shooting or hunting, I think the cock on close is slower by a lot than the standard Mauser operation. The bolt is not nearly as smooth functioning as a 1903 (these are observations, not condemnations - they are solid guns, I just don't believe in myths}

Some interesting details are they saw a lot of action in WWII in the 1914 version as well as the 1917. Philippine Army was equipped with them (1917) just prior to WWII (just what the smaller Philiponos needed). China also got a large number.

The trigger is interesting with a heavy long pull. On mine you then hit a spot if you are being careful you can feel the sear start to move. It should allow good let off. Not the real two stage exactly but good feel.

SK makes a non drill type scope mount for the gun so if you can't shoot iron sights you have that ability.

I would stay away from guns that the barrel dates do not mach up with the receiver manufacture dates (and if a barrel change return if the receiver is cracked). Early barrels on latter receivers more likely to be shot out than latter ones.

WWII replacement barrels should be good accuracy wise but opinion vary on the JA two grove. You never know if someone did not get the stock tension right and blames the barrel.

Receivers with different barrels should be carefully inspected and the deal should be an auto return at their expense if internet purchase if its cracked (that's a defective gun). Ditto if local bought unless agreed on before hand its as is.

The barrels were screwed on tight and the best approach is to cut the barrel before removing to relieve the tension. If not done then the receiver can crack and reportedly Eddystone is more prone (also a whole lto more made so I would guess its a numbers thing as Eddystone and Remington were the same company, just different plants)

You do need to define what you want.
1. Just a shooter? Then parts match and a genuine stock are not an issue, its all about condition.
2. You want a collector? Then parts match is important with the most important being the receiver and barrel with matching dates. You may not care if its a good shooter though these still tend to be shot not purely collected.
3. Stock conditon: A lot of these are sanded and those no longer have collector value. They do not detract form being a shooter, but thats not the same as one with the cartouch marks and the character a collector should have. You can have a sanded stock with a good parts match.
4. If you have the main parts matched, you can buy the bits and pieces to bring it into compliance if you want. As noted stocks with correct character are hard to come by.

I think its a great gun to add to a collection if you are interested in the various military bolt actions and should be on anyone list of the 1903s as they really did define the US military for a long time and have at least as much history as the 1903s.
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Old December 7, 2012, 04:35 PM   #2
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In 1966 in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam, our platoon found a cave with a bunch of stuff the VC had stored it it.

It was a good guess that the items that we found in the cave were older arms issued to local VC forces and later exchanged for SKSs and AKs. Among the firearms that we found were numerous 7.5mm Lebel French rifles, A Springfield 1903, a 1917 Enfield and several 8mm Mauser Rifles. Also included were several French machine guns and a MAT submachinegun.

Someone later did some research and determined that the WWI era US Weapons were among weapons given to the Nationalist Chinese in WWII. When the Nationalists fled the mainland and retreated to Taiwan, those weapons were captured on the battlefield. This would have been 1948 or so.

It is interesting that the Chicoms would store these weapons and eventually give them to North Vietnam who used them to arm the Viet Cong in the South.

Who knows wht the VC planned to do with had we not discovered their cave.
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Old December 7, 2012, 11:55 PM   #3
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Pretty amazing. Thank you for that report.

First time I have read of anything concerning them since they disappeared into China in WWII.

And where would you get the ammunition for it any of them?

Granted 30-06 can be found almost anywhere but thats commercial quantities not military!
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Old December 8, 2012, 01:45 AM   #4
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great write-up RC20, very informative however I would like to offer some information based on my fleeting research into the design.

the 1917 was based off of the mauser action. though the brits favored cock on close rifles and requested this feature on the 1917s predecessor the pattern 14 enfield, it was based off of the cock on close mauser actions of the time such as the swedish 1896.

I tend to prefer cock on close actions, granted they are difficult for many shooters that grew up modern sporting rifles(which are predominately cock on open). I find that in high stress or high adrenaline situations(such as competition, hunting or combat) where finer motor function may be impared or inhibited, the cock on close allows for the least amount of upward rotational force necessary to open the bolt(reducing torquing the rifle counter clockwise and helping maintain sight picture) and also offers forward resistance preventing slamming the bolt forward(preventing downward thrusting). because of this, I can fire cock on close rifles such as the Lee Enfield, Mauser 96 or Japanese Arisaka(also based on the Swedish 1896 if memory serves correctly) with greater ease and speed than cock on open designs such as the mauser 98, 1903, mosin nagant or MAS36.

also it is widely disputed that Alvin York actually used the M1917 in the actions that made in famous in France as he did mention in one interview or another that he did not like the accuracy of his rifle and "swapped it for a different rifle" early on in the campaign. also he offered several personal details to the producers of the classic film(one of my favorite black and whites) "Sergeant York" which depicts him wielding a Springfield 1903 in France. nobody knows for certain whether he swapped for a 1903 or another more accurate 1917 but it is a widely contested assertion that he actually used it.

with all that said the 1917 was well ahead of it's time, with superior aperture sights, superior ammo capacity(though only by a single round) and the love it or hate it cock on close bolt system, it was a masterpiece of good old fashion American improvisation.

EDIT: I have no idea why as I am usually a pretty laid back guy but it irritates me when people call the 1917 an Enfield for some reason. it was not built for the English military nor was it designed in accordance with the royal armory at Enfield. it was based off of the Pattern 14 Enfield which was manufactured by US civilian arms companies and when the US needed arms they modified their existing tooling to make a similar rifle in 30-06:the US 30 caliber Model 1917
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Last edited by tahunua001; December 8, 2012 at 01:57 AM.
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Old December 8, 2012, 10:25 AM   #5
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M1917's are great rifles, not as smooth as the 1903s or even the Krag's, but great rifles all the same.

It's a shame so many have been "bubba'ed up" . I have to confess I have a "bubba" gun my self. I got it as an Action Only, and made a 416 Rigby. But I did luck out a few years ago and found a near perfect specimen.

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Old December 8, 2012, 12:07 PM   #6
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Great additional background from tahunua001!

While technically not correct, the 1917 Enfield does capture the provenance of the gun. I lean in the direction of the more wide spread the knowledge, even if not technically right, the better off the guns are for being preserved.

And if not for Enfield and their 1914 out source to the US, where would we have been in WWI for rifles? Funny to think they came out with a better rifle for a modern cartridge and never actually manufactured it (and changed it to 303 and then kept the 303 in the SMLE). The rifle could easily have evolved (and did with Remington Sport version) into a lighter rifle that would have rivaled the 1903 with better sights.

And it was so readily adaptabile to the 30-06 cartridge when needed.

Also the gauges for 1903 bore wear and erosion are pretty close (some correction needed on some) that you can readily determine the muzzle condition as well as the throat erosion (a note of caution, my brother picked up a 1903 that the muzzle was great, the throat eroded half way down the barrel because they used blanks in it - ok at its a wall hanger for its historical value, but a shame as we do like to shoot them)

I did read some of the diary of Sgt York and it seems to indicate he had a 1917. He was not the most literate man and it was somewhat fuzzy. I think the evidence was that he did have a 1917 and I suspect the rear sight would have enabled him to shoot better. I am satisfied but I respect others feel its uncertain.

I understand the theoretical aspects of the cock on close and I believe if you train on it you can get proficient (particularly if its your original training). It just is not intuitive which I think the cock on open is and I suspect far more people get to a higher degree of proficiency with that than the cock on close.

And like most things theoretical there is probably so many other factors going on that it gets lost on the noise and is a moot.

Its still darned interesting.

As for the buba part. I feel at this time and point (maybe until the last 10 years) it was understandable. A shame, but understandable.

The action cost peanuts and its probably the strongest action ever made and you could do anything you wanted with it. Gun smith work was relatively cheap and away they went. Cut it down, remove the ears, shorten, sand or replace the stock and at the heart was still a fine hunting gun.

Now they need to be preserved. 2 million of them (1917 roughly) and so few left in some degree of original condition.

What my brother and I found interesting was his Winchester was immediately recognized by 4 people and they did not care it had a sanded stock.

We both prefer not necessarily an original stock, but one that is period correct with the wear, dings and cartouches. Long term its worth more money, but a shooter that's decent would sell quickly to those who just want to shoot them.

Then you have the $1000 plus collectors that you are probably not going to shoot much if at all.
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Old December 8, 2012, 12:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
M1917's are great rifles, not as smooth as the 1903s or even the Krag's, but great rifles all the same.

It's a shame so many have been "bubba'ed up" . I have to confess I have a "bubba" gun my self. I got it as an Action Only, and made a 416 Rigby. But I did luck out a few years ago and found a near perfect specimen.
Really nice looking rifle. Looks a bit better than mine per condition. Share the details! Stock, barrel date and mfg, receiver date and mfg, bolt?

I hope to get my Remington into a Remington stock at some point but it has to match the action. Better off with the E stock that is right than a sanded R. The rest is enough R that I can get some parts and get it completely R.

Good case can be made its more authentic mixed up with the Ws and Es. Either way is good.

Mine is a 9-18 R barrel on an R 511833 Receiver. R bolt, E stock with other odd and ends R (sight) and W and E.
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Old December 8, 2012, 12:54 PM   #8
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My Winchester 1917 was arsenal refurbished and parkerized for WWII. It has an Eddystone thumb safety and Eddystone bolt release, other than that, all parts are stamped W. The barrel is dated 2-18. The serial number on the receiver is dates production to 12-17. So I guess it could be the original. Anyway its stamped W and is a bright, excellent bore.

It works perfect, shoots great and looks like after it was rebuilt it sat un-used, till now.



I know one thing, you have to be in shape to fight with one. Also being a good shot helped, because it certainly doesn't have much fire power. Of WWI type rifles, I would prefer the BAR. Its heavy, but you can lay down some fast, accurate fire with one of those.
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Old December 8, 2012, 01:13 PM   #9
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very few units in WWI actually got the BAR as the military wanted to blitz the germans by fielding them all at once. by trickling them in the US feared that the germans would be tipped off and start an arms race or even capture the BAR and make their own version. the BAR didn't hit front lines in earnest until WWII.
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Old December 8, 2012, 01:49 PM   #10
RC20
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Nate45: Thank you for sharing the details on your rifle!

I do agree on lugging one around, I am not sure even when I was 20 I would want to have done that (a 1903 by comparison feels a lot lighter though its not a whole lot).

This is worth a read as it puts it all in pretty good perspective. Its where I got the quotes and info on Sg York I believe.

http://www.odcmp.org/503/rifle.pdf

tanhuuau001: I believe you have the surge situation mixed up with the Pederson device for the 1903s.

following is the Wicki on the BAR and I believe its reasonably accurate

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1918_B...utomatic_Rifle
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Old December 8, 2012, 05:14 PM   #11
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The Enfield 1917 was a good weapon, and was the foundation, with the ears milled off, for Remingtons model 30 sporter. The model 30 was popular until 1948, when Remington introduced the revolutionary model 721 / 722, grandfather to the 700, to compete with Winchesters model 70. The 721 was stronger than the mauser action (Remington had 3 rings of steel), and was cheaper to produce with modern manufacturing procedures.
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Old December 8, 2012, 06:39 PM   #12
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"Barrel condition is going to determine if it will shoot... "

I respectfully disagree because in the case of my 1917 the barrel is horribly pitted yet it is extremely accurate. If you looked at the bore of my rifle you would think it couldn't hit the proverbial broad side of a barn, but it's a tackdriver. It's a JA 2 groove which from what I have read retains their ability to shoot well.
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