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Convert US 1917 to .375 H&H. For work of fiction.Viable?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Checkman, Oct 5, 2007.

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  1. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    Now before I get ripped to shreds by all you milsurp fans hear me out. I'm writing a story set in the mid-20's with an international setting. I want one of my characters to carry a rather unique rifle. In this case I'm looking at having him carry a Model 1917 (or the P.1914 would work) in 375 H&H magnum. Custom sporter stock and so on. Basically one of my fantasy rifles.

    I'm having a ball arming my characters with Lugers, Broomhandle Bolos, Ortegies, Rigby doubles, MP-18's, and so on. But I want to use a .375 Springfield.

    Money isn't an object here and I envision this rifle being worked on by the gunsmiths at the H&H factory in England for the character.

    Unfortunately I'm a gunbuff and I just can't write something and not worry about the technical details. Unlike many other authors. My favorite would have to be the famous Glock "safety switch".

    So my instinct is telling me that the rifle action is more then strong enough and the old world craftsmen at H&H would do the job without any difficulty. I was initally leaning towards Griffin & Howe, but I want H&H.

    Once again this is a work of fiction and money isn't a problem. So no lectures about what the average yearly income was in 1923 or how few guns even the most die hard gunbuffs owned etc. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Jimmy Newman

    Jimmy Newman Member

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    .375 H&H has an OAL of 3.6" and a rim diameter of .532".
    .30-06 has an OAL of 3.34" and a rim diameter of .473".

    Probably entail a new, thicker barrel, lengthening the bolt and action, widening the opening to the magazine and the magazine itself, lengthening the magazine, etc.

    Probably be easier to just have someone build a whole rifle from scratch on the same sort of blueprints but scaled up.

    Just my uneducated opinion :).
     
  3. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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  4. critter

    critter Member

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    The US 1917 had an over long action for the '06. It has often been converted to the longer rounds. I have an aquaintance who uses one of the old '17's rebarreled to .375 H&H. He used it hunting big bity things in Alaska.

    A lot of conversions which would be impractical now or too expensive were done earlier due to the lack of suitable firearms and cheaper gunsmithing of the time.
     
  5. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    Thanks for the replies. I posted the same question over at THR (different perspectives and what not) and I've recieved absolutely no response. And very few views. THR just seems to be a more friendly place.

    Yes in the twenties shooters just didn't have as much of a choice when it came to rifles avilable in different calibers. Which is one of the reasons for him to carry a conversion. Good to know that the 1917 has been converted. It's important to know that my character (his nickname is Tug) is carrying a viable rifle.
     
  6. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    Some of them are even getting converted to .416 rigby and .416 rem.
     
  7. earplug

    earplug Member

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    This type of conversion was taught at Trinidad State Junior College. Some other elements of the conversion is grinding off the rear sight area for A scope mount and flattening the floorplate. Could also change to A cock on opening device. It was done to cut the costs of A commercial magnum action

    Why have Holland and Holland mess with A military action when rich guys could get A magnum size action commercial mauser.

    A .375 H&H built by H&H on A Enfield would be like having A Harley chopper built by Ducati.
     
  8. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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    it was one of the few magnum length actions available at an affordable price in those days
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    A 1917 to .375 conversion requires the magazine box to be lengthened, and feed rails ground to feed belted cases.

    Bolt face has to be opened up to fit the Mag case.

    Usually the receiver "ears" were ground off and recontured like a Remington model 30A (which was actually a 1917 action)

    Dog-leg bolt handle was usually forged or cut off and re-welded to a more Model 70 shape.

    Re-barreled to .375.

    Probably your fictional conversion would have had barrel mounted express sights. Ivory bead front, and three lief folding rear.

    [​IMG]
    rcmodel
     
  10. Zeke Menuar

    Zeke Menuar Member

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    I've got a 1917 barreled action sitting here in the corner that was going to become a 375 H&H. It was a great idea until I started getting quotes for the work involved. After that a CZ550 started to look real good.

    It's still sitting in the corner.

    ZM
     
  11. jaysouth

    jaysouth Member

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    When I was 15, I spent an entire winter filing down the bridge on a Remington 1917 to M-70 contour. My father made a template for me and I had to take on extra paper route to afford all the files and emery cloth. I also straightened out the floorplate. I spent another winter doing the floorplate and inletting the stock. My end result would not win any prizes in a gunsmith contest but it was very accurate and accounted for several truckloads of deer over the next 40 years. I still have the gun. I still love it as a mother would love an ugly daughter.

    My take is that a large magnum cartridge is VERY common on Enfield/eddystone actions before American rifle makers started making magnum length actions.
     
  12. tkendrick

    tkendrick Member

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    I have one, what would you like to know?
     
  13. tkendrick

    tkendrick Member

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    I did this conversion about 15 years ago.

    Started with a P14 that someone had already screwed up. Ears were ground, kind of, stock was butchered, and the barrel had already been chopped.

    New douglas barrel, chambered and fitted: $195

    Bolt face opened: $45

    After market stock: $95

    Mercury Recoil reducer: $25

    Drill and tap f/scope mount: $35

    Install extended box magazine: $75 (included opening up the rails and the forward part of the receiver)

    Did most of the rest of the work, polishing the action top where the ears were
    installing sights etc, myself.

    Ended up with a very good rifle for considerably less money than I would have paid for a new one of lesser quality.
     
  14. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    earplug
    Well the story is set some eighty years I get the impression that it was more common for conversions to be done to military grade rifles back then. I remember seeing a photo of a Lee Enfield MK III that was converted to 219 Zipper and given a beautiful walnut stock by Griffin & Howe. Initially I though that was a silly thing to do, but the selection of rifles weren't as great back then.

    And ultimately it's my story. I like the idea of a 1917 worked on by H&H. Hey it's my little fantasy. But I wanted to make sure it would work. Apparently it does.
     
  15. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    tkendrick
    How does it shoot? How many rounds does the magazine hold? What's recoil like? Do you have any pictures? What's the length of the barrel and how heavy is it? Do you have a recoil pad on it?

    I got to shoot a friend's Remington Model 700 in 375 earlier this year. We were shooting 300 grain SP rounds. I was suprised at how managable the recoil was. However I wasn't shooting it off a bench. Just off hand.
     
  16. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Member

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    Nope should not take any mods as I have in my safe a 1917 Enfield that started as a 30-06 then became a 300 H&H now it is a 308 Win. The only mods made to the reciever were the back sight was milled off and it was drilled and tapped for a scope.
     
  17. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    Makes it a .505 Gibbs like mine is.
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    My Glock 23 has a safety switch.
    http://www.brownells.com/aspx/ns/store/productdetail.aspx?p=5532
    What's wrong with that? :D

    I did just get done reading a mystery where the main PI carried a Colt 1911.
    Several times, he "pulled back the receiver to chamber a bullet, put the safety on, and thumbed back the hammer as he kicked in the door".

    Wow!
    It just makes my head hurt!

    H&W website:
    http://www.hollandandholland.com/gunrooms/london/bespoke_weapons/the_bolt_action_magazine_rifle/

    [​IMG]
    rcmodel
     
  19. tkendrick

    tkendrick Member

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    It shoots 1.5 inch (more or less) groups with about any load I've tried. The mag holds 3, with one in the chamber that makes it a 4 shot repeater.

    Barrel is 23 inches, and it weighs, with scope, right at ten pounds. I generally load 300 grain bullets, and I push them pretty close to max, but with the recoil reducer in the stock, it feels about the same as a 12 guage with heavy hunting loads.

    The scope mount has an integral adjustable peep, the front has peep (for quick shots) with an Ivory bead over it. This is because I really do not trust scopes, I can pull the scope, (an old Weaver K3 from when Weaver was actually building something other than junk) and still have sights.

    (This is one of my soapbox issues: Rifles sold without open sights means the manufacturer is too cheap to build their gun right, and people who buy them have been brain-washed to believe they'll never need them.)

    (That, and bench seats in pickup trucks:cuss:, what Moron decided we didn't want 'em)

    I have tried in the past to post pictures. I am technochallenged & Obviously not doing it right, so I'll try again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2007
  20. Regolith

    Regolith Member

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    I don't like bench seats. Bucket seats are far more comfortable. :neener:

    I do however appreciate having irons on a rifle, even if I'm going to have a scope mounted to it. I've jarred a scope off center during a hunt before, and it damn near made my miss my shot at a buck (I wasn't aware the zero had been changed at the time of the shot). Luckily, instead of flying off into space, it hit the spinal cord (instead of the kill zone, where I was aiming). I got lucky that time.

    Now, if I drop the rifle, I know to either check the zero, or remove the scope until I get a chance to (if I'm in the middle of a hunt).
     
  21. tkendrick

    tkendrick Member

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    Yeah, but how do you get the old lady to......uh..........never mind.:evil:
     
  22. jestertoo

    jestertoo Member

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    I have a 1917 converted to 458win mag. I've been thinking about getting a 458 lott reamer and boring it out a bit.

    Shoots good, kicks pretty good :) Not as bad as the NEF 45-70 tho. I've never shot anything heavier than 405gr bullets through it.
     
  23. tkendrick

    tkendrick Member

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    I have owned several 14 and 17 Enfields over the years. Being a compulsive gun trader, there are a few I wish I still had.

    The neat thing ( I guess) is that there are still a lot of them out there that were "sporterized" (i.e. the ears were ground off) and they can be picked up on the cheap.

    There is almost no limit to what that action can handle. It was grossly over-engineered for 30-06 and 303 pressures, and can pretty much handle about anything you can throw at it, provided the work is done right.

    When I was stationed at Wainwright in the very early '80's, an inexperienced shooter was sighting in a 17 and experienced a squib that lodged the bullet about 12 inches down the barrel.:eek:

    My hunting partner was on the range when it happened, told the guy to hang on and went to his truck to get a rod to drive the bullet out.

    A few seconds after he got to the truck he heard an odd report from the range. Seems the feller decided to clear the barrel by shooting another live round through the gun.:what:

    Naturally, the barrel blew out, but the action wasn't damaged. I know, because I bought it (REAL cheap:D) and built a 300 H&H on it.

    Seems like every time I trade one off, another one magically appears in my gun cabinet within a few months!

    Weird, huh?
     
  24. Reid73

    Reid73 Member

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    I am no expert but FWW: Jack Lott, Big Bore Rifles (Petersen Publishing Co., 1983), wrote that many (most?) Holland and Holland magnums sold in the 20s and 30s were built on converted P14 actions.
     
  25. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    What about a P14 action to 375 H&H? Easier than using a P17?
     
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