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  1. #1
    Really Senior Member Cosine26's Avatar
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    M1917 Accuracy

    There has always been a question asked about the accuracy f the M1917 vs the M1903. This is the only comparison that I have ever been able to find in the January 1940 American Rifleman. The sample size is very small so is rather inconclusive.

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    Comparisonof M1917 vs M1903 Accuracy
    FWIW
    Last edited by Cosine26; 03-03-2019 at 02:59 PM.

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    Member pickax's Avatar
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    Interesting write up from the early days. Pretty much my experience 3-5 MOA with all 3 manufacturers 1917's.
    I know I couldn't repeat that number of shots without a lot of pulled shots and flyers though!
    Thanks.

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    Really Senior Member Calif-Steve's Avatar
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    No windage adjustment was a killer for the '17. However, the 5 groove barrel long out-lasted the 4 groove Springfield barrel. I have never understood why the Army didn't use 5 groove barrels. Funny they didn't.

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    Really Senior Member Cosine26's Avatar
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    Usable vs Inherent accuracy.

    Lack of a windage adjustment handicapped the USABLE accuracy, not the INHERENT accuracy of the M1917. I believe that the M1917 won the Nationals in either 1917 or 1918 .
    FWIW

    ---------- Post added at 01:07 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:03 AM ----------

    ACCURCY
    Accuracy, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. Quite frequently I see people describing accuracy by one three shot group at 100 yards. I see people talking about the accuracy of the M1917 vs the M1903. I believe that many are judging the accuracy of the service M1903 to the standards achieved by the NM M1903 which is a far different thing from the run of the mill M1903.

    When I was active in High Power shooting, I established a practiced to test rife, ammunition and the combination of both. My criteria were firing three ten shot groups from the bench on as calm a day as possible. I chose 300 yards for it was the belief of my generation that most match bullets were in boat tail configuration and took at least 200 yards to “go to sleep”. Many years ago the NRA conducted some test and published the results that verified this. General Hatcher in his writings indicates that when NM M1903’s were in test, one would occasionally shoot a very tight group that he referred to as a “bumblebee group”. He indicated that when he saw one of these, he had the rifle retested and it shot about like the others in the group.

    The test that I would propose would require the following conditions: Two rifles from a regular production run from mid 1918. That is 2 SA and 2 RIA M1903’s and 2 Remington, 2 Winchester, and 2 Eddystone M1917 rifles. The rifles would be fired from a standard rest (Perhaps a Woolworth cradle) at both 300 and 600 yards. Accuracy would be determined by the average of all groups using either group size or the standard US Army ordnance method of MR (mean radius). There is no direct comparison between MR and group size, but the “rule of thumb” was that group size was approximately three times MR. It would be fired using Match grade ammo the equal of 1925 NM ammo. I use mid 1918 production because by that time production problems with the M1917 were under control and the M1903 would have been produced under war time production conditions at the Amory. Of course, I have set conditions that are not achievable.

    For the record, I do not believe that group size of MR fired at 600 yards would be exactly double the size at 300 yards. During the pre-WWII period the SA loaded NM, Palma and 300 meter ammunition. The results were published in the American Rifleman in the pre 1929 issues. After 1929, ammunition for the Nationals were selected lots of standard M1icon Ball. I have talked to many of the old time shooters who would concur with this observation. Roy Dunlap indicated that pre-WWII Western Super match would shoot into a six inch group at 300 yards and at 600 yards. Western Supermatch was handloaded and noted for its accuracy.

    I believe that the M1917 won the Nationals in 1917 or 1918
    FWIW

    ---------- Post added at 01:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:07 AM ----------

    [

    FWIW
    Last edited by Cosine26; 03-04-2019 at 01:13 AM.

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    Really Senior Member Cosine26's Avatar
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    Always interesting, I don't feel so bad with my 1917 groups! Of course I hand load and could not see that well until I got the Lyman Eye-pal.

    I have shot some good 5 shot groups at 75 yard I could see decently but they would not duplicate. The beehive affect it looks like.

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    Really Senior Member Bruce McAskill's Avatar
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    I had a 1903 Springfield made in 1913. It had been rebarreled in 1917 and then when the barrel was shot out it was rebarreled in 1945 with a new 1944 SA barrel. When I got it the rifle had not been fired with the new barrel. I took it and my 1918 Eddystone 1917 to the range for a shoot out between them. The 1917 had a pristine original bore that was able to shoot groups with hand loads of about 1 inch at 100 yards. I started with the 03 and fired and cleaned fired and cleaned for twenty rounds. Then fired five shot groups and cleaned for another 20 rounds. Then I fired a group of five rounds and got a group of 1 1/2 inches. Then I fired a group of 1 inch from the 1917. I repeated this three more times and all four were just about the same size for both rifles. The load was 47 grs. of IMR 4895 in once fired cases with a 150 gr. Sierra sp bullet. It made for a long day but it was fun. The winner was the 1917 but one has to remember it also has a 26 inch barrel.

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    Also remember the very user friendly aperture sight on the U.S. M1917 and P'14 as opposed to the overly intricate leaf sight on a Springfield. I know the Springfield also has a tiny aperture but the distance from your eye to the peep is very long and it takes some practice to master. The U.S. Enfield has a definite advantage with it's sights.

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    Member JackDuggan's Avatar
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    I have never fired the Springfield 1903, but I was pleasantly surprised to get a 1 inch group with my Eddystone M1917 at 100 yards. I've had it for 32 years, but in that time I only fired it perhaps 100 or so rounds the first year - stationed in Germanyicon at the time so I didn't have a ready source of ammo - and recently put about another 200 or so through it. When I bought it the barrel was very dark, but being young I didn't really think about it. I knew my M16icon had a chrome barrel, so I figured non-chrome WWI barrels just looked like that. Now that I'm older and have the internet to consult, I know better. It has cleaned up fairly well, but seems to build up copper. I used the electrolysis method on it and copper plated my steel rod three times over. Maybe some of that copper goes back to 1917. It's a five digit serial number, I think produced in September 1917; but the barrel is a July 1918 Remington. I've thought about sending it off to CMPicon to get a new barrel put on it, but if it keeps grouping like it did the last time out I may not.


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