So range day today were these two gems.
The top rifle is the Winchester Model of 1917 that I picked up about a year ago, literally in pieces, after someone fired an 8mm Mauser round through it and blew it to bits. I rebuilt the bolt and replaced the magazine floorplate and ejector, all of which had been damaged in the "Ka-boom" that resulted, and then I cleaned up the stock. She looked good but didn't shoot all that well until I noticed that the rear sight assembly was bent slightly out of alignment too. I finally fixed this the other night with some carefully applied heat and pliers and got it all lined up again like it should be.
The second one is the Rock Island-produced Springfield Model of 1903 that was literally delivered as we were loading the truck to move me from West Virginia to here back in March. It came off the UPS truck, got passed around by my volunteer helpers, then went right into the gun trailer. Today was it's first time out.
At one hundred yards from the prone, the 1917 was ringing the 8" steel about two shots out of three once I got it zeroed. I could definitely have done better had I put a sling on it but even using the peep sight I had to hold under just a bit to nail the steel as the peep is supposed to be 200yrds+. Still, she gave a good acounting of herself when I did my part and come the zombie apocalypse/post-Clinton revolution, I'd put this one on the line.
Next up was the Springfield.On this one, the ladder sight gave me a bit more negative elevation and I was able to set it up for 100 yards perfectly. It also has a much smaller peep and a finer front post and it put every shot on the steel unless I doofed the round, which I did a couple of times. THIS rifle I would not only fight with, I'd take it to Camp Perry.
And as side fun, I was shooting next to a young couple with an AR, and the poor guy was doing his best to hit the steel but couldn't quite pull it off even though he had it on a rest on the bench. The he started smack-talking his rifle, telling his wife/girlfriend that ARs really aren't made for that kind of accuracy. (???) Naturally I made it a point to call out to the RSO and ask rather loudly if they didn't have anything smaller for me to shoot at. "Those huge steel plates down there are making it too easy, even with these old antiques!"
I think the wife/girlfriend was digging me after that.
Neat side-note history-wise on these two. At the beginning of World War One, the main US infantry rifle was the 1903 Springfield. They were made at the two government arsenals at Springfield, Massachusetts and Rock Island Illinois. Production was so low however, that when we finally decided to get into the war in 1917, we didn't have enough of these and could not make enough. However, Remington and Winchester had just finished a contract to make Pattern 1914 rifles for the British and they were still tooled up at their plants and at the Eddystone, PA plant owned by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and leased by Remington for rifle production. A few changed were made to change the Pattern 1914 over from the British .303 cartridge to the American .30 round, and enough rifles were churned out to equip the US Army for the duration as the main WW1 rifle, with the 1903s being kept stateside for training or issued to the Marine Corps, who loved them.
After the war, there were still many more Model 1917s in inventory than there were 1903 Springfields, and a Ordnance Board convened to decide which one to keep as the US standard. And they chose the 1903, because the 1917, while a damned good rifle, was still thought of as "that British rifle" and "not invented here". So the 1917s went into reserve storage and stayed there until World war Two came along, at which time they were brought out for lend-lease and home guard use. Ironically, the 1903s had just been replaced again in Army hands by the new M1 Garand and the Marines were still fielding the '03s. (Mine likely is a Marine Corps gun, based on it's finish and Hatcher holes drilled in the receiver.) But both rifle types served honorably in both world wars, and I'm happy to have a couple of each in my humble collection.