Friday, December 21, 2012

The U.S. Model1917 Rifle part 2

U.S. Soldier with a Model 1917 Rifle
Firing the P-14 and Model 1917 rifles are a pleasant experience. The P-14 is highly accurate and has mild recoil. The 303 British cartridge is less powerful that the 30-06 and very pleasant to shoot in a heavy rifle like the P-14. The five-groove rifling of the P-14 and Model 1917 contributes to fine accuracy. The British and Commonwealth military used the P-14 in both World Wars as a sniper rifle. The Model 1917 sniper variant was a prototype only.
Afghan soldier with a German Stahlhelm and a P-14 rifle in post WWI Afghanistan 

The excellent combat sights of theP-14 and Model 1917 were superior to any other Great War rifle. The aperture rear sight and protected front post sight were years ahead of their time. In pre-1945 rifles, only the Model 1903A3 and M1 rifles best them.
British soldier with P-14 Rifle

The Allies in early World War II used both rifles primarily as training and home guard rifles. The Philippines, China, and France received Model 1917 rifles as military aid. British P-14 rifles were supplied to Afghanistan after the First World War and to Greece, during the Greek Civil War, as late as 1946.

Surprisingly, both rifles were available to civilians between the world wars. The 1918 United States National Matches used the Model 1917 rifle where it was critsized for a lack of a quick windage adjustment capability.   British rifle competitors used the P-14 with great success in the interwar period. The Model 1917 was available as a surplus rifle in the 1920s and 1930s for the sum of $35 dollars from the director of civilian marksmanship.

After the Second World War, the United States and Britain, warehoused their remaining stocks of P-14 and Model 1917 rifles. Both governments disposed the inventory of these rifles through surplus channels over the next several decades. Model 1917 Rifles in British use were marked with a red stripe on the stock to prevent ammunition mix-ups.

The P-14 and Model 1917 are wonderful pieces of history and capable if fine accuracy on the shooting range.  They are sometimes the forgotten rifles of both world wars.    

Merry Christmas!

Christmas With Jackson and Stuart

Thursday, December 13, 2012

U.S. Model 1917 Rifle Part 1

World War I, it should have been the “War to end all Wars”.  It had the brutal combination of trench warfare, weapons of mass destruction, and the widespread use of machineguns and bayonets.  In the soggy cold ground of central Europe, it was hell on earth. 

The environment brutally tested men and equipment.  Early tanks were either broken down or stuck in the mud and soft earth.  Artillery rained down on a daily basis.  Out of this misery came a miracle of design and production that remains largely unrecognized today. This was the U.S. Model 1917 Rifle.

It’s a familiar World War I story, war is declared, and there aren’t enough rifles, period.  The Allies, Britain, France, and Russia, turned to America to remedy this problem.  U.S. industry was turning out French Berthier rifles and Russian Mosin-Nagant rifles quickly, supplying those countries.  For Great Britain, two companies, Winchester and Remington, were producing an advanced design rifle known as the “Pattern 1914” or P-14, three facilities produced these rifles in 1916 to 1917.  Winchester, in New Haven Connecticut, Remington in New York and Eddystone Pennsylvania were the factories involved.  The British were less than enthused about the P-14’s performance in combat.    The P-14 had been designed for a small caliber rimless cartridge, however at British instance, it was chambered for the standard .303 cartridge.  Thus it really didn’t have any advantage in the trenches over the SMLE Enfield .303 which the P-14 was to replace.  It’s most outstanding attribute was accuracy, as a consequence the P-14 was used as a sniper rifle.

As it became apparent after the declaration of war in 1917, that the United States did not have, and could not produce enough Model 1903 Springfield rifles, other options were examined.  The French Berthier and Russian Mosin-Nagant rifles were distinctly inferior, as was the Model 1895 Winchester also being supplied to the Russians.  Fortunately, the British designed  P-14 was easily redesigned to fire the American 30-06 service cartridge.  Thus was born the U.S. Model 1917 rifle. It eventually equipped 75% of the American Expeditionary Force in France.  It was THE U.S. rifle of the first world war.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Costas is an Idiot

It's time for Mr. Costas to go. He blames firearms for the crimes of one Jovan Belcher.  He and his poor toupee should go.

Poster child for poor judgement.