Monday, September 14, 2015

A shooty good day

So on my first actual day off in two weeks, I figure it's range time!

Took the Springfield Armory M-1A out to try out a new load I'm working up.

Survey says:
Seated off-hand using just the web sling, this 100-yard group is more than acceptable. And velocities are pretty consistent, so even though they are about a hundred feet per second faster than NATO spec, I think I'll go with it.

Then I got home and found notice from the Post Office telling me that they had a box for me. A big, ong box.

Oh joy, oh joy!

I went up there and got my newest restoration project...and this one is going to keep me busy for a few weeks.

First out of the box were these parts:
Not good, huh? That's the remains of an extractor, extractor collar, bolt catch box and magazine floorplate assembly. Someone reportedly fired an 8x57mm round through this rifle recently. And this would not have been a problem except that the rifle was one of these:
See the problem, folks?

Many of you are now facepalming over this, but for those of you who don't recognize it, it's a US Rifle Model 1917, chambered for .30-06, aka 7.62x63mm.

Yeah. Ouch. One of those situations where the wrong-sized round will chamber but destroy the rifle and potentially injure the shooter when fired. I am not aware of the status of the one who erred in this fashion but I now have the rifle and am going to try to rebuild it and clean it up.

Metal finish shows neglect and the wood's solid but kinda sad, so some work with sandpaper and ye olde linseed oil should clean the wood up nicely. The metal will get worked over with RB-17 and lots of light steel-wooling. None of the above-pictured small parts are salvageable save the magazine follower and spring.

The bolt catch box got it, too, sure sign of a bolt coming back fast and hard.
The ejector seems to be ok but considering the force that it was just subjected to, I'll replace it too since I'm already in there.

These old rifles were tough, which is why so many of their actions were used for magnum-caliber projects when they were surplussed out of military service after the Second World War. But they served well in that war and in World War One, where they were America's main infantry rifle, outnumbering the 1903 Springfields that they were meant to supplement. You see, when President Wilson took us into that war that he campaigned on keeping us out of, we were so short on Springfield rifles that we had to scramble to find something else to arm our newly-drafted army with. Fortunately private arms companies Winchester and Remington had just completed a contract manufacturing Pattern 14 rifles for the British and they still have the machinery and tooling. The Pattern 14 was chambered for the .303 cartridge but it didn't take much to re-tool to make the same rifle only in .30-06, and soon they were flowing out of three factories: the Winchester and Remington plants and the Baldwin Locomotive Works plant in Eddystone, PA., which was actually owned by Remington.
Model 1917 (top), Pattern 14 (bottom).

Most US Army troops went overseas with the Model 1917 and they saw tough service in their hands, including this guy:
Sgt. Alvin C. York, a conscientious objector from the backwoods of Tennessee who nonetheless went to war when the draft board refused to recognize his particular church. He distinguished himself by leading an attack that killed 25 Germans, captured 132 others and silenced 35 German machine guns. And he did it with a Model 1917.

The Marines kept their '03 Springfields though. And when the war was over, the Model 1917 was relegated to the warehouses while the Model 1903 continued on as "the" American service rifle.
US Rifle Model 1903 Springfield

This particular Model 1917 was manufactured in March of 1918 per the Civilian Marksmanship Program's definitive article on the rifle, and the barrel is dated February, 1918, which would be correct for a March-manufactured rifle. It may very well have done some time "over there" fighting the Boche, but it's here now and if I can salvage it, I'll be proud to add it to the collection.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:12 PM

    It is in the hands of a master and it will live again