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Thread: What to do with a 1917 Enfield

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Default What to do with a 1917 Enfield

    Along the same thread as Nukalpiaq and his Springfield question. I have a 1917 Enfield in 30-06...barreled action only. It has not been sporterized at all (rear sight protection ears still in place), but has been refinished to a polished blue. I only have the barreled action in good shape, but the barrel is rough internally. Is this setup worth pursuing a build up? I know the action is long and could accommodate a longer magnum caliber. What what you do if you had this action? Are there any modern stocks available?

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    Default Go for the .358 Nukalpiaq

    Continue to follow the path of Nukalpiaq and rebarrel it into the .358 Nukalpiaq. I also have a 1917 Enfield that a few years ago I rebarreled into .358 Norma Magnum which I will be bringing up to Glennallen next week from Utah. It is quite accurate and has plenty of punch but ammo and cases are scarce, .338 Win Mag cases can be necked up though. I am also looking into having it rechambered for the .358 Nukalpiaq because of its many advantages over the Norma round. You might also consider the .375 Ruger.

    Roger

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    It'll cost too much money. Just buy a new Winchester or CZ. Tell you what, I will help you on the way by buying the barreled action. How much?
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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    I also have a sporterized 1917 Eddystone in caliber 30-06, has not even been drilled/tapped for scope mounts, wears a buckhorn style rear iron sight and has original military barrel. Rear sight protectors were ground off and whomever did the work did a good job. The action on the 1917 looks real solid and strong. The walnut stock is in good condition but I would also like to replace it with a synthetic. Just found out this evening that Bell & Carlson has a Carbelite Classic Style stock for both the Enfield P14/17 Long Action and the 1903 Springfield rifles. Never used a B&C stock before, so I can't say much about their quality or their durability. Read on their website that they weight between 2.0 to 2.25 lbs and some minor inletting may be required. Information can be found at: http://www.bellandcarlson.com/.

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default MPI Stocks

    MPI has 3 stocks listed for the 1917 Enfield, here is a link.

    http://www.mpistocks.com/stocks.htm

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    That MPI is a bit out of my price range, but the B&C will do fine I'm probably going to build up a .358 Nukalpiaq out of it once you guys get those reamers done or maybe I'll just cheap out and build a .35 Whelen out of it.

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    The P-17 is one big action, I have 2 that are in the Rem. 30 and one being a .338-06 I would say the 35 whelan is pretty small for such a big receiver, IMO. Or maybe the 9,3x64 Brenneke-magnum performance without the belt. You are in Talkeetna so for what it is worth if you don't have a big bore you may want to consider the .404 Jeffery. .416 Rem or Rigby or the .416 AR (off the Jeffery case). Or maybe the .500 Jeffery, a 535grn @ 2400fps! wow.

    Wildcat considerations in my mind would be the 9.3/.416 Rigby! Now that would be a long ranger and a hard hitter-on both ends, ha.

    These 2 P-17 derivitives of mine are both small in calibers, the .30 Remington is going to be as is and although my .338-06 on the other hand been reamed out by Jim Dubell is very very accurate I may do something with that-don't know but if I do it will be a large caliber.

    Better yet, I know of a fella that has a sporterized p-14 action for 200.00, all polished up and ready for my ever "wanting" another caliber "love affair" but after that affair it is on to something else, so perhaps not

    let us know, keep us informed on your new venture.

    have fun

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    I had one that was a 458 win mag. It was very fun to shoot. I paid $150 for it at a gun store and sold it for $300 at another gun store a year later. I reblued it and refinshed the stock when I had it.

    The actions are very large and can be made to fit the largest calibers ie. 585 Nyati or 577 Tyrannasaurus Rex.

    450 Rigby would be cool.
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    My current 1917 is a 416rem. I had one that was a 458Lott. the enfield action just begs to be a bigbore.

    I do have a spare walnut stock that was on my other enfield but sold the action.

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    Sell it to Nitroman and buy my 03 springfield. Its in the classifieds.
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  11. #11

    Default Model 1917

    Just as an historical note: There was never a P-17, it is the Enfield, Model of 1917. It can be an excellent basis for a custom rifle, but to do it properly, you need to have the ears ground off and have the rear action bridge recontoured and have the belly of the magazine well straightened, unless you want it to hold an extra cartridge if chambering for a larger bore shell. You would of course have to have it changed from cock on closing to cock on opening.
    Rebarreling is a given, as is drilling and tapping for scope and probably having new iron sights put on, then refinishing. In other words, this would be a spendy custom gun project. I've had 2 done in past years, but now, if I had it to do, I'd get a more modern action that already has everything done and just rebarrel and probably a good synthetic stock. If you can afford it and want a custom gun, more power to you, but, IMHO, there are better ways to go. If your Model 1917 barreled action is stock, I'd just find another military stock and furniture and bring it back to original.

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    Default 1917 enfield

    I have a 1917 Enfield, eddystone armory. I had the barrel cut down to 18"& target crowned, B&C stock, tinney trigger, tapped for a scope, rear receiver milled flat, blued and plolished, cleaned the barrel that looked bad inside over and over and then again and now it shoots sub-min.
    I love the gun and have owned it over 40 years, but don't think its worth a rebarrel to a heavy cal. There is a problem with the enfield steel hardness inthat its too hard and there is a history of the reciever ring developing cracks. If you are going to do a bunch of work on it have it mag-n-fluxed first by a good gunsmith. Good luck with it. Tom
    PS its a heavy rifle to carry.

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    It's such a big action I can't see using it for anyting other then a big round, i.e. 416 Rigby, 460 Wetherby, 500 A-square, or say a 500 Jeffrey. You could even with a 550 express, the 460 W taken to the max.

    I've had a 458 Lott and currently have a 500 Jeffrey built on a 17. Appropriate rounds for such a big action.

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    Paul- I had a .416 Rigby many years ago. Maybe it's time again

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    Default 2 years later from 1st posting of this subject

    In one or the other of P.O. Ackley's 2 volume set "Handbook for Shooters & Reloaders"-Plaza Publishing, 1848 West 2300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, copyright 1966, 14th printing 1988, he very carefully discusses the difficulties of and techniques for removing barrells from Enfield rifles. The Old Man is gone now, but his wisdom lives on in a total of nearly 1100 pages in the set.

    Being now 64 years of age, having read just about every gun rag ever written, and scads of books since age 15, IMHO only Wolfe Publishing's Ken Waters comes close to providing such a wealth of information. Yes, new steels, powders, stocks, primers, and other necessaries have come along, but a solid x-rayed and magnafluxed 1917 action will handle anything you can get it to feed, and maybe some that have to be single loaded.

    The original front sight is the best protected of almost any rifle ever made, and a litte work at the rear will put them where you want them, assuming your skills are commensurate to the ability of the rifle. On powerful cartridges over .400 in caliber, I would think a fairly stout barrel would be wise. But then, there are no mountains in Iowa, the highest point being about 1620 feet above sea level.

    I paid a a whole $75 for my Winchester action with a Remington bolt (which some knowledgeable person had perfectly headspaced and kindly removed most of the forearm with a Skilsaw) but it will hold the 10 ring at 600 yards in Van Meter, Iowa at the range with the original iron sights. Nor should we forget that Marines were required to qualify with this very same model of rifle at 1000 yards before, during, and after WWI .Twice as ugly as sin, but it shoots, and that's all it has to do. The bore is dark but the rifling is excellent and is neither eroded at the chamber nor pitted. Whatcha' want for $75 20 years ago?

    Not that there is much that a 220 grain .30-06 won't kill in this hemisphere - it wouldn't be my 1st choice for the Great Bears of The North or The Rockies, yet the first mountain men killed them with black powder and soft lead balls of varying calibers. And even then you could use a 20mm Oerlikon cannon and not be assured of a first shot kill if you didn't hit the right place.

    Good hunting to all, and a safe return.

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    Default 1917 actions and gun authors

    P.O. Ackley was truly one of the greats of all times when it came to modern guns and reloading. Ackley actually tested ideas- like over loading guns to destruction- rather than speculating on what would happen "if". The modern day gun writers simply keep repeating the same old myths and mis-information and seldom if ever do anything of significance. It is a shame that Ackley didn't have the modern measurment equipment we have today for velocity and pressures- I'm certain he could have told us a lot more.

    Another great source of information is the American Rifleman magazine from the 20's to the early 60's or so. Writers back then actually tested and did things rather than simply shoot the latest whiz-bang and then write pages saying nothing worthwhile. I keep hoping the NRA will come out with a library of the Rifleman on DVDs or CDs like the National Geopraphic did some years ago. I've got most of the magazine back to the early 20's - I still enjoy reading through them on a cold winter day.

    The P14/1917s are indeed a great action overlooked action by most. In orginal configuration they were a great military combat rifle although the SMLE rifles of the day were a perhaps better choice for the .303 cartridge and the smaller soldiers of that era. Properly sporterized along the lines of the Remington 720 they does not seem oversized for the '06 cartridge although like the Mdl 70 they will open up to handle the .375 H&H cartridge family.

    A plastic stock for a 17 conversion may be a great idea. The 1917 has a unique ability to split stocks at the rear tang; I've seen more sporterized 1917s and 30s with split stocks than everything else combined. I seem to recall Ackley had something to say on that - if I recall the relatively small recoil lug and the angled rear action screw were factors. I'll have to go back and check before I build another rifle on one.


    Quote Originally Posted by Iowa Don View Post
    In one or the other of P.O. Ackley's 2 volume set "Handbook for Shooters & Reloaders"-Plaza Publishing, 1848 West 2300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, copyright 1966, 14th printing 1988, he very carefully discusses the difficulties of and techniques for removing barrells from Enfield rifles. The Old Man is gone now, but his wisdom lives on in a total of nearly 1100 pages in the set.

    Being now 64 years of age, having read just about every gun rag ever written, and scads of books since age 15, IMHO only Wolfe Publishing's Ken Waters comes close to providing such a wealth of information. Yes, new steels, powders, stocks, primers, and other necessaries have come along, but a solid x-rayed and magnafluxed 1917 action will handle anything you can get it to feed, and maybe some that have to be single loaded.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    you could do this. 9.3x62 with scout mount and 2.5x leupold scout scope. Great all around hunting rifle and holds 6 down. Thats a lot of firepower. Didn't have to mess with feeding, and left the ears for great ghost ring sights. It has a bell and carlson carbelite stock but had to lower the comb to use the open sights. A little on the heavy side but shoots great, points super natural, and kills critters very well with 286 partitions at 2500fps.


  18. #18

    Default It's good

    to see that shooter's are still using and defending the virtues of the 1917 action, though in much fewer numbers from years past. My first one in terrific shape cost me $29.95, only a simple receipt required. Just the price alone ($75.00) for an action would be nice if that was all the project required, but it isn't. In my opinion, the only thing the 1917 action has going for it over so many other actions, including the Springfield and M98 is strength, its history and its arcane physical properties, like the drop belly magazine and outlandish rear sight protecting ears and the length of the action to be used for longer cartridges. In combat conditions, the heavily protected sights might be a plus, but in general hunting situations only add mass to the piece. I said it 2 years ago and believe it still holds, that there are better actions for any cartridge other than the longer cased ones, cheaper to produce a very nice custom rifle. But, that being said, I'd love to have a full military example. They were a great combat rifle. Just ask Sgt. Alvin York.

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    Default Not that big

    If you clean up the rear bridge of a P14/1917 action to the contours of the 720 action the receiver is close to the same size as a 98 Mauser - the primary difference being perhaps 1/8" longer. The bottom rear of the action is a bit larger on the bottom as the trigger mechanism works in a groove rather than off a projection.

    The trigger guards on a 1917 can be strightened and cleaned up with a little effort if you don't want the extra capacity of the dropped bottom. The ugly projection on the front of the military mauser if also unsighly.

    And of course you don't have the thumb cutout on the 1917. That helps the bolt to glide a bit smoother as it doesn't have to clack over the cutout.

    While I won't try to build a mountin rifle on a 1917 they work fine for '06 and up. Magnum calibers are there real advantage however.


    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    to see that shooter's are still using and defending the virtues of the 1917 action, though in much fewer numbers from years past. My first one in terrific shape cost me $29.95, only a simple receipt required. Just the price alone ($75.00) for an action would be nice if that was all the project required, but it isn't. In my opinion, the only thing the 1917 action has going for it over so many other actions, including the Springfield and M98 is strength, its history and its arcane physical properties, like the drop belly magazine and outlandish rear sight protecting ears and the length of the action to be used for longer cartridges. In combat conditions, the heavily protected sights might be a plus, but in general hunting situations only add mass to the piece. I said it 2 years ago and believe it still holds, that there are better actions for any cartridge other than the longer cased ones, cheaper to produce a very nice custom rifle. But, that being said, I'd love to have a full military example. They were a great combat rifle. Just ask Sgt. Alvin York.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  20. #20
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Years ago I made a 1917 Winchester made Enfield into a .375H&H. I wish I could do it again for the little money I had in the completed rifle. It was a lot of fun, but today it would break me. Spend as little money as you can to get by with it and just keep it to use. High on my list would be getting rid of the cocking on opening feature and get the cock on closing. The rabbit ears really do take a lot of work and nohow to get rid of. You can sure make a mess of it if you don't know what your doing.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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