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1917 Eddystone, to buy or not to buy?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by MAURICE, Aug 19, 2004.

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  1. MAURICE

    MAURICE Member

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    Hi gang.
    Was in the gunshop today with a friend while he picked up a Star BM, and was checking out the milsurps. Amongst them was a Remington 1917 in .30-06. Peep sights, good looking furniture with a few scratches, not bad though. Pretty clean and the blueing looked good. Did not have a chance to check out the bore, though.
    Anyway, with a price tag of 250 bucks it is hard to pass up. Should I?
    Also if anyone could provide a brief history of this rifle it would be appreciated.
    I think I am in love.

    Edit: There was another with some carving on the stock, and different sights, but similar condition. The barrell also seemed a little shorter as well...advice welcom.

    Thanks,
    Maurice
     
  2. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    If it is in military configuration (i.e, not "sporterized" or messed with), even if parts are not all the same maker, buy it. The price is very good for a 1917 as you describe.

    Briefly, a history. Prior to the outbreak of WWI, the British had adopted a new Mauser-type rifle, called the Pattern 1913, in .276 caliber to replace their old SMLE. When the war came, they dropped the idea of changing caliber, but converted the new design to use the old .303 cartridge. Finding themselves unable to produce both the SMLE, which was the main rifle, and the new "Pattern 1914" rifle, they contracted the latter to three factories in the U.S. - Winchester, Remington, and a new Remington-owned plant at Eddystone, PA. In 1917, when the U.S. entered the war, production of the U.S. rifle, the Model 1903 "Springfield", was inadequate to meet the need. Instead of contracting for that rifle, the U.S. Army had the makers of the Pattern 1914, whose contracts had been filled, convert the P-14 to use the American .30-'06 cartridge, and called it the Model of 1917. The troops called it "the Enfield". It was the main battle rifle of the AEF in WWII, but was not chosen to replace the Model 1903 for logistic reasons.

    Jim
     
  3. Damon

    Damon Member

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    I would buy it.
     
  4. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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  5. MAURICE

    MAURICE Member

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    Wow, thanks for the response guys.
    Looking more closely at all the pics- Yeah, this one has been sporterized. It is still a good looking rifle, though. I really like the sites on the one I found, while looking around on the net I havent seen any like it.

    Let me fish out my magic 8 ball, maybe it will tell me what to do ;)
     
  6. 444

    444 Member

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    If it was in original condition, that would have been a great buy. I drove 165 miles each way to buy one for that price after I heard there was one in a pawn shop.
    Here is a pretty definitive history of the rifle from the CMP website: http://www.odcmp.com/Forms/M1917.pdf

    Sporterized ?
    Depends on how bad you want a 1917 and what was done with it. If the action, barrel, sights and all the metal are unmolested, then I still might consider it and then buy a stock for it: http://www.boydboys.com/BrowseEbus/Militaryall.asp

    If the reciever was drilled for a scope or reciever sight I wouldn't touch it.
     
  7. MAURICE

    MAURICE Member

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    As far as I recall the reciecer was not drilled. I am thinking more along the lines of a shooter than something of historical signifigance. Are they relatively accurate?
     
  8. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...this one has been sporterized..." That's not necessarliy a bad thing. You'd still have a good hunting rifle for $250. Check the head space though.
     
  9. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    My first-ever centerfire was an old 1917. It was in like-new condition, back in the days when they sold for just a few bucks from the DCM. Great shooter!

    Art
     
  10. Blackcloud6

    Blackcloud6 Member

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    If this one has the ears lopped off (the rear sight protectors) or any other mods to the metal then pass. But if it is is good shape and the bore is good (many of these bores are poor) then buy it. For $10o or so in parts you can easily bring it back to military configuration.

    They can be good shooters.
     
  11. 444

    444 Member

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    If you are just looking for a shooter and not a 1917 in particular, then there are many other rifles available for less money. Examples would include Yugo M48s, Moison Nagants etc.
     
  12. MAURICE

    MAURICE Member

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    So the overall quality of these are comparable to other milsurps? If so, then I will just get one of the K31s or No4 Mk1s that are in abundance.
     
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Many feel the Eddystone was the best bolt action rifle the US military ever used, so I'd say it compares very favorably with other C&R rifles. They are known for being both accurate and very strong, but they do look kinda funny.
     
  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    The receiver is one of the strongest controlled-feed types ever made. You gotta move on to something like the Rem 700 to exceed it. Thus the Enfield is a great platform for a custom magnum.

    Or, they make one really great .30-'06 sporter...

    :), Art
     
  15. HankB

    HankB Member

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    The basic 1917 action has been used as a basis for many custom rifles, including those based on the big .416 Rigby and .460 Weatherby cartridges. The (now defunct?) A-Square rifle company used them to build wildcats up to a .460 Weatherby necked up to .500. They're basically the longest "modern" military action around.

    They have a few defects:

    1. The action is cock-on-closing . . . though people who think the British SMLE is superior to the M98 Mauser would say this is a virtue, not a defect. :rolleyes: Kits are available to fix this.

    2. The ejector, with an integral leaf spring, is prone to breakage. Replacement ejectors with coil springs are available.

    3. Barrels were often screwed in hard, and may be difficult to remove without putting microcracks in the receiver ring.

    4. The extractor claw may be flat, not beveled, so it won't "snap over" the rim of a cartridge. With CRF actions, you don't want to stress the extractor by snapping it over the rim, you want the rim slipping under it properly, but if things go wrong, well, a bevel is a nice feature.

    More problematic is the strength of the action. Reputedly "the strongest ever made," P.O. Ackley, during his famous "Blow Up" tests of different military action, found the Enfields gave disappointing performance, probably as a result of problems with the heat treating.

    Eddystone enfields in particular have been, well, controversial for a long time. They gained a reputation for having been hardened to the point of brittleness - and some claim they're actually dangerous to shoot. (No doubt this will be hotly disputed by those who have used - and continue to use - Eddystone rifles.) FWIW, the owner of the aformentioned A-Square rifle company told me he would not use Eddystone actions for his rifles, only Winchester and Remington.
     
  16. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    As to accuracy, many British P14 Enfields were scoped for sniping use in WW1. Yes, they can be very accurate. Friend of mine has a slightly sporterized Eddystone and it'll put some Remington 700s to shame even with the iron sights.
     
  17. 5knives

    5knives Member

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    Eddystone 1917. I've got 2 of them one left pure Military, all matching etc. The other was slightly more accurate, so it got the target stock, target sights, bedded barrel, etc. back about 1950.

    Still the most accurate '06 I own (out of 9).

    Check into it and you'll find they had the same heat treat problems the '03's had, some over hardened recievers. Real popular conversion to sporters in the '40's and '50's.

    One of the gun smiths in the early 50's was offerring a $1,000 reward for any blown up Enfield that had not had a barrel change, or an attempt at one. Some recievers were too hard, and the barrels were in tight, removing the old barrel and putting in a new one, unless you knew exactly what you were doing was supposedly the cause of the fractures. Anyhow, he never had to pay out any money. Many were converted and re-barrelled to things like 300 H&H.

    The 1917 is the (great?) Grandfather of the Remington 7XX line.

    All I've used for 50 years was factory or similar pressure handloads, wasn't concerned then and I'm not now. Still see aa lot of them in the woods.

    Around here, Wisconsin, just about any bolt '06 in shootable condition, will start around $250-300.

    Cock on opening or closing is purely what you like the feel of, except in military use.

    The ejector spring is an old known bug, if the one your looking a has been sporterized it's probably got the coil spring. if not it's a 5 minute and maybe now a $10 fix.

    Personally, I'd grab one in nice condition for $250.

    Hope this helps.
     
  18. frenchy1957

    frenchy1957 Member

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    Eddystone M1917

    Hey Guys,

    I know this is an old thread but, just picked up a Eddystone M1917 in near prestine condition for $425.00 dollars. The dang thing still had cosmoline in every nock and cranny. I was in the process of doinf a funtion check and it was "very stiff" in the loading and extracting of the round. So stiff in fact that the 2nd round would not extract. I pulled the bolt, looking in the breech all I could see was a thick coat of "brown Stuff". I checked the barrel for obstructions I re-installed the bolt, fully setted and locked it, placed it on safe, walked out my backed door and "killed" a tree 350 yards from my back deck, and then spent the next 41/2 hours cleaning the cosmoline from the entire rifle. When I dis-assembled the rifle there was cosmoline under all the funiture. So I am pretty sure this thing was rebarreledby Johnson Automatics, put in storage and never issued. What are your thoughts?

    Frenchy
     
  19. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Two things:

    1) That you got a very good deal ... congratulations!

    2) You should have started a new thread. :)
     
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