Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record
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|Title:||RIFLE, MILITARY - U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1917 ENFIELD .30 SN# 1|
|Date of Manufacture:||1917|
|Eminent Figure:||WILSON, WOODROW|
|Catalog Number:||SPAR 3192|
|Measurements:||OL:117.4CM 46 1/4" BL: 66CM 26" 9.1 lbs.|
U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1917 ENFIELD .30 SN# 1
Manufactured by Winchester, New Haven, Ct. in 1917 - Enfield P14 designed to accept .30-06 cartridge by merely adjusting the bore diameter. 5-round integral box magazine. Matte-blued finish with walnut stock. 5-groove rifling; lh, concentric. Leaf rear sight graduated to 1,600 yards. Well in buttplate for cleaning rod, etc. Weighs approximately 9.1 lbs. This weapon was presented to President Woodrow Wilson on 23 January 1918. Winchester made a total of 465,980 M1917 Enfields.
Receiver: U.S./W/1. Ordnance bomb/Star in circle.
Barrel: W/Ordnance bomb/7-17.
Springfield Research Serivce:
1-02/13/1918 - Presented to Pres. Wilson. - Serial numbers compliments of Frank Mallory, armscollectors.com.
Web site photo showing Springfield Armory Superintendent Doug Cuillard holding this weapon.
Notes: The British temporarily broke away from the Lee-Enfield design and went with this Mauser-type action weapon in 1914. Although the U.S. was ostensibly neutral in 1914, that did not stop the British from contracting with Remington (Eddystone Arsenal) and Winchester for their P14 pattern rifle. Once the U.S. entered the war in 1917 there was an immediate need for firearms as they were simply not enough M1903s to equip the new conscripts. From 1917-1918, over 2,200,000 M1917 Enfields were manufactured with Winchester supplying 465,980. Most of the "doughboys" in WWI were actually outfitted with this substitute standard weapon, and not the standard M1903 rifle. Springfield and Rock Island managed only 270,000 1903s during World War I.
"When the United States entered the war, they needed more rifles than Springfield Armory could produce and accordingly turned to commercial manufacturers. They were already tooled up to produce the Enfield for the .303 British caliber and it was a small job for their engineering department to redesign a few of the tools and produce this rifle chambered for the .30/06 Springfield.
Engineers went still further. The British Enfield Model 14 as produced in this country did not have completely interchangeable parts. Assembly, therefore, required the services of a skilled mechanic, who had to play around with a pile of parts and locate one which would fit.
This not only was impractical from a military standpoint, insofar as Ordnance engineers were concerned, but also, from a manufacturing standpoint, greatly increased the cost. The United States set to work in standardizing all parts, not only so that assembly could be speeded up but also so that parts from one factory would fit a rifle produced elsewhere.
Previous to 1917 these three factories producing Enfields had established an individual assembly record of 50 rifles in one working day for one man. After we had standardized the Enfield the assembly record was 280 rifles a day while the assemblers in the various plants average 250 rifles per day per man.
The Eddystone plant finished its British contract on June 3, 1917. Winchester produced its last British rifle June 28, and Ilion on the 21st. Winchester delivered the first of the modified Enfields to the United States August 18, while Eddystone first produced September 10, and Ilion October 28. The progress was extremely rapid from that point on.
During the week ending February 2, 1918, production of military rifles in the United States was 9,247, of which 7,805 were modified Enfields and 1422 were Springfields built at Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal. Total production for that week was 50,873 guns of both types.
Ten months after we declared war on Germany, the United States was producing in one week four times as many rifles as Great Britain had turned out in a similar period after then months of war an our production was ten twice as large in volume as Great Britain achieved throughout the war.
An interesting fact little known is that despite the fact that the Armistice took place November 11, 1918, at the eleventh hour, all military production in the United States was stopped November 9, 1918. Apparently, the Armistice wProduction of Enfields at Eddystone Arsenal was 1,181,908. At Winchester the number was 465,980 and at Ilion 545,541. This Enfield Model 1917 was made only in .30/06 caliber.
Also looking back on the Enfield it is interesting to note that this standardization save a great deal of money to the United States. The cost of the Model 1914 Enfield to the British Government was $42.00 each. These modified Enfields cost the United States Government, due to standardization methods, approximately $26.00 each. A total production of 2,202,429 Model 1917 Enfields saved the United States Government $37,441,293 over and above the British cost, if figured on the price to the British.
The Enfield rifle did retain one peculiar feature. Despite the fact that the United States changed the chambering tools to those of the .30/06 cartridge, they still retained the large-bore dimensions of the .303 British. Bore diameter was retained at .30. There were five groove of uniform left-hand twist whereas the Springfield had a right-hand twist, one turn in 10 inches. Width of grooves was .0936 and width of lands the same. Depth of grooves was .005. Hence the average Enfield barrel measured in grooves diameter from .310 to .311. A great many of these examined by this author measure as great as .313" - Philip B. Sharpe
"Early U.S. Enfield Serial Numbers. Q. Enclosed are two photos of a U.S. M1917 Enfield with receiver markings unlike any of the four M1917 Enfields that I have owned in the past and present. The rifle is obviously a very early Winchester because of the four-digit serial number and the 'W' stamped on the receiver, as opposed to the normal six-digit number on the typical U.S. M1917 Enfield, etc. Can you help me identify this rifle?
A. The Winchester Model of 1917 with the 'W' and serial number on the receiver is an early production variant. The first approximately 5,000 M1917 rifles manufactured by Winchester were marked in this manner. This variant is pictures and mentioned in my book U.S. Infantry Weapons of the First World War. It is a standard production version and not any sort of prototype rifle.
An early production Winchester M1917 rifle with this receiver marking format would probably be worth a premium of at least 25 percent over a Winchester M1917 with the typical receiver markings, assuming comparable condition and degree of originality. - Bruce N. Canfield." - AMERICAN RIFLEMAN, May 2005
"Wilson was a great man but he had one basic fault. He was willing to do anything for people except get off their backs and let them live their own lives. He would never let go until they forced him to and then it was too late. He never seemed to understand there's a big difference between trying to save people and trying to help them. With luck you can help 'em - but they always save themselves." - Raymond Robins
U.S. ENFIELD M1917 RIFLE .30:
1917 174160 MANUFACTURED
1918 1007748 MANUFACTURED
1917 26364 MANUFACTURED
1918 519177 MANUFACTURED
WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS
1917 102363 MANUFACTURED
1918 363617 MANUFACTURED
Sharpe, Philip B. The Rifle In America. Funk and Wagnalls. N.Y., N.Y. 1947.
UNITES STATES MARTIAL & COLLECTOR ARMS. Military Arms Research Service. San Jose, Ca. 1971.
Walter, John. RIFLES OF THE WORLD. DBI Books, Inc. Northbrook, Il. 1993.
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