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Barrel on an old M1917 rifle..got a question

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Tinker, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member

    A freind of mine has an old military rifle. It is a M1917. The thing was filthy. So much so, I begged to just clean it for him. :) I'm like that if I see some fine old equipment ruining like that. Plus I dig old military stuff and wanted a chance to check it out.

    Looks like it had not been cleaned in decades. The bore was scary dark. Found a Youtube video on how to strip it down. Hosed it down with Remoil, let her sit for an hour. .30 cal brush went down the muzzle first. The brush went in an inch or more easily. Looked down in there with a light and it looks like that last section has no rifling at all. Goes in a bit, inch or inch and half, then the bore chokes down to .30 cal and rifling.

    Is that the way these old rifles were originally built? If so, why?
  2. GCBurner

    GCBurner Well-Known Member

    Overcleaning from the muzzle with a steel cleaning rod will eventually wear away the rifling like that.
  3. Hacker15E

    Hacker15E Well-Known Member

    That's just a worn bore.
  4. gun addict

    gun addict Well-Known Member

    counter bored?
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sure sounds like it.

    Counter-boring is used to drill out worn muzzle rifling and get back to good rifling again.

    The muzzle rifling was worn out by somebody cleaning it from the muzzle too many times.

    Why are you doing it too???

    Take the bolt out and clean it from the rear like you should always do with any rifle you can take the bolt out of.

  6. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member

    It is not worn. It was machined. Goes in an inch or so.

    I cleaned it from the muzzle end because my cleaning rod is not long enough to push through from the breach. Plus, nobody has cleaned this old girl at all in what looks like an eternity. Crying shame too.
  7. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member

    One other thing. While cleaning the breach end I noticed some orange colored grease in the area where the bolt locks in the breach when chambering. Will just plain gun oil suffice or do these old bolt guns need grease?
  8. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    If the rifling does not extend right to the bullet exit point, the barrel is either worn or counterbored. With a good barrel, the bullet exit point will be even and neat, protected by the muzzle crown. But if the barrel wears at the muzzle, that exit point becomes uneven and accuracy suffers.

    One way to restore some accuracy is to counterbore the barrel, in effect moving the rifling exit point back. That is not always effective due to the turbulence set up in the counterbore by the precursor wave affecting the bullet as it exits, but it may be an improvement over the accuracy of the worn barrel. There is no way to be sure except to shoot the rifle.

  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    They don't "need" grease.

    But a high-film strength grease on the locking lugs, cocking cam, and trigger sear will stay where you put it much better then oil.

  10. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Well-Known Member

    Would it be better to take the barrel to a competent gunsmith and have him cut the barrel down to the rifling?
  11. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Well-Known Member

    Either that or buy a new barrel. I believe Criterion sells them.
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I wouldn't do anything till you go shoot it and see how it does.

    If it key-holes bullet at 50 yards rebarrel it.

    If it shoots 3"-4" groups at 100 yards thats what most of them do.

  13. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    A lot depends on the rifle. If (unlikely but possible) the rifle is in good original condition in spite of being counter bored, it might be worth more as is than if it were rebarrelled.

    If it has already been "bubba'd" then a new barrel is a possibility. But it would still be a heavy and somewhat clumsy sporting rifle and the work would be costly.

  14. murdoc rose

    murdoc rose Well-Known Member

    I will never under stand why so many like to chop barrels, especially on older guns.
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    I have never understood why people will spend more money to "sporterize" an old military rifle than a new sporter would cost. That probably made sense when the owner got a 98 Mauser or Japanese Arisaka "free" (at the cost of years of his life, pain and discomfort and danger, but "free") and confined "sporterizing" to a quick hacksaw job on the stock.

    But when it involves buying a milsurp rifle for $100 or more, then having it drilled and tapped, the bolt changed, a new trigger put in, a new barrel put on, a new stock added, the gun polished and blued, etc., etc., the cost is at least as much, if not more, than an off the shelf Remington or Savage or Winchester that already has all those desireable features. Not to even mention that the worked-over milsurp is now worth $200 bucks and the untouched military rifle is worth $1000.

  16. Uncle Grinch

    Uncle Grinch Well-Known Member

    That orange colored grease may be just that...or there's a good possibilty it may cosmoline, which was used by the military to coat the firearms and provide protection from rust.

    Since you say it is hard to push a brush down the bore, you may also have cosmoline in there also. If that''s the case. use a mineral spirits cleaning solution (strip the rifle down first) and slowly brush or swab it clean. Heat can also help soften up the cosmoline. A hair dryer works OK. I have a heat box that I built to hang milsurps in. A lamp inside generates enough low heat to allow the cosmoline to melt and run off.

    Jim K is correct in his comment that "Untouched" military rifles are typically worth more than "worked-over" ones. I'd leave it as is and preserve it's history.

    I suggest you learn how to remove the bolt and clean from the chamber end of the barrel. Most military rifles were designed to be broken down very easily. Take a look at some of the "stickies" on www.mausercentral.com forum for some good info.

    Hope you can return it to a safe working condition and are able to enjoy the history you have there.
  17. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member


    (forgot about this thread...)

    Believe me, i stripped lock, stock and barrel. The only place with the orange goop was in the area I described. Wish that old rifle were mine, even with it's faults. Gave it back after the cleanup. Had intended to shoot it, but could not squeeze in a range trip. Got some education out of the deal anyway.

    This leads to one more question. You guys mentioned a steel cleaning rod. I've seen mil-surp rifles with cleaning rods tucked into the structure somewhere. Like an old Mosin I used to own. This one did not have an enclave to keep one. It did have a hidey place in the butt stock for a small cleaning capsule that has since gone missing. Did the troops keep rods back at camp for these rifles? On their packs?
  18. paintballdude902

    paintballdude902 Well-Known Member

    shoot it before out replace a barrel. u might be surprised. i have a heavily pitted new england westinghouse mosin nagant.... thing shoots 2-3 inches at 100yds.

    i did it in high school and college a few times. i did it for the pure joy of working with my hands and making something that looked nice. i rebarreled an old enfield that had more pits than there were stars in the sky... ended up a nice rifle and i sold it to a friend for the 350 bucks i had invested. a hobby is one thing, i hate people that cut down a good barrel and a good stock just to make something easier to carry even if it looks like crap.
  19. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Well-Known Member

    The hole in the stock was probably for a cord. Tie a knot in the end and pull it through the bore and you have swabbed the barrel.
  20. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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