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Thread: Check your M1917's for safety issues. Eddystones especially..

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  1. #11
    Contributing Member WarPig1976's Avatar
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    I remember years back Chuck in Denver commenting on the myth of the hydraulic barrel installation. I'm pretty sure there where pictures showing the barrels where installed by hand.


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  4. #12
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    OK Doco, but reference the failures of the 1903s of early date...isn't that what this post was suggesting about the M1917s? Perhaps I was reading more into this than was being stated...when I look again it's pretty clear we're just speaking of cracks. Anyway, Steve will be back eventually.

    Quote Originally Posted by cplstevennorton View Post
    They did not mark these rifles in anyway as not being safe, and the paperwork on these is most likely long gone for most. These rifles are sitting in our safes as we speak...

    Please check your M1917 rifle's headspace and examine it for cracks. In the docs they detail that they looked for cracks of M1icon's with black lights. I assume then everyone can do the same now.

    Just keep a look out as everything in our books focus on only the M1903 low numbers being unsafe. Well our authors failed to warn us of problems with the M1917.
    Regards, Jim

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  7. #13
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve762 View Post
    Just gave a quick look at Hatcher's Notebook.
    I now have one of those here too, better consume it. Guess the cracked receivers were the whole problem then. We knew about those...
    Regards, Jim

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  9. #14
    Really Senior Member cplstevennorton's Avatar
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    Here is a new twist to this. These cracked receivers were probably unlikely to be rebarreled.

    When I was at College Park the last time, I pulled a box that was titled lend lease. I pulled it because I was tying to document the story of the Lend Lease Garands.

    But I copied about a 1000 pages of this box. I have not read all of it. But I looked in it enough, that I think I found a clue to this.

    Columbus Supply Depot is who sold those Eddystones that had been cracked and returned. Researching the depot online t looks like it was opened in 1918 and was a point of embarkation of supplies for WWI.

    Well it looks like they had a lot of supplies leftover at wars end and they spent in between the war trying to get rid of a lot of their surplus. So with this backstory, this seems to be making more sense. I imagine it is likely these Eddystones at Columbus, were probably supplies leftover from the buildup of WWI.

    In 1941, Britian received 250,000 M1917's. But I got looking and Columbus Supply Depot is listed as shipping 170,000 of them.

    This is the only time I can so far, find that Columbus sold M1917's.

    My hunch is now that these were not likely rebuilds. They were probably pretty original rifles that had been in storage since WWI.

    Now to play Devil's advocate, it shows the US sold over 300,000 M1917's during WWII, after this 250,000 sale. These look like they were going to Franceicon, China, and Canadaicon.

    They sold 320,385 between March 1941 to June 30, 1945. But there is never a mention that the Columbus District sold any of these that I see.

    I think in this 320,000 sold during WWII, these were probably in the hands of the troops at the start of the war, as the doc below states they had cleaned out all of their surplus of M1917's in 1941.

    But now I think the ones that were cracked from Columbus, were probably in that 1941 shipment to Britainicon and returned. My thoughts now are these rifles were probably pretty original, if not even un-issued rifles

    Check this out....




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  11. #15
    Contributing Member fjruple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Dickicon View Post
    I always understood that they could be cracked from original factory barrel installation. I read or was told somewhere many years ago that the reason was there were hydraulic barreling machines being used with semi to skilled labor both male and female doing the assembly in wartime.
    Brian-- I have actual seen an old film of the original barrels being put on the receivers at Eddystone and no hydraulics were used just a very large vise type fixture and very large receiver wrench.

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  13. #16
    Contributing Member fjruple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplstevennorton View Post
    Here is a new twist to this. These cracked receivers were probably unlikely to be rebarreled.

    When I was at College Park the last time, I pulled a box that was titled lend lease. I pulled it because I was tying to document the story of the Lend Lease Garands.

    But I copied about a 1000 pages of this box. I have not read all of it. But I looked in it enough, that I think I found a clue to this.

    Columbus Supply Depot is who sold those Eddystones that had been cracked and returned. Researching the depot online t looks like it was opened in 1918 and was a point of embarkation of supplies for WWI.

    Well it looks like they had a lot of supplies leftover at wars end and they spent in between the war trying to get rid of a lot of their surplus. So with this backstory, this seems to be making more sense. I imagine it is likely these Eddystones at Columbus, were probably supplies leftover from the buildup of WWI.

    In 1941, Britian received 250,000 M1917's. But I got looking and Columbus Supply Depot is listed as shipping 170,000 of them.

    This is the only time I can so far, find that Columbus sold M1917's.

    My hunch is now that these were not likely rebuilds. They were probably pretty original rifles that had been in storage since WWI.

    Now to play Devil's advocate, it shows the US sold over 300,000 M1917's during WWII, after this 250,000 sale. These look like they were going to Franceicon, China, and Canadaicon.

    They sold 320,385 between March 1941 to June 30, 1945. But there is never a mention that the Columbus District sold any of these that I see.

    I think in this 320,000 sold during WWII, these were probably in the hands of the troops at the start of the war, as the doc below states they had cleaned out all of their surplus of M1917's in 1941.

    But now I think the ones that were cracked from Columbus, were probably in that 1941 shipment to Britainicon and returned. My thoughts now are these rifles were probably pretty original, if not even un-issued rifles

    Check this out....

    https://www.milsurps.com/images/impo...PL7RfS1h-1.jpg

    https://www.milsurps.com/images/impo...HNuhL9Uh-1.jpg
    I would like to see the complete documents of these two sections of documents as I believe they are taken out of context. The first document appears to be discussing the availability of M1917 rifles from the inter-war years and appears to discuss the lack of war reserves and their readiness. We know the the US shipped a large number of M1917s to the UK pre-lend-lease. If you noted the shipment dates, they are a month before President Rooveselt signed the Lend-Lease Act. These rifles were not inspected and degreased by the US Ordnance Department before shipment as time and need were critical, the Home Guard who received the M1917 complained about having to clean the "grease" from the rifles and giving up what No.1 MKIII rifles they had for the greasy M1917s. While it is clear that the 170,000 rifles were shipped to the UK from Columbus. I know of no evidence of them being returned. I do know the US Ordnance Department did rebuild those that were in US troops hands and were held for Foreign Military Aid after WWII which left a lot of them available. Foreign militaries were looking for M1icon Garand rifles and M1 carbines not M1917s. I have been to the Columbus General Depot many times as it was later known as the Defense General Supply Center under the Defense Logistics Command. It is interesting to note that the Wright Corporation which is close to Columbus Depot did rebuilds of the M1917 towards the end of WWII.
    Last edited by fjruple; 07-27-2019 at 11:13 PM.

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  15. #17
    Really Senior Member cplstevennorton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fjruple View Post
    I would like to see the complete documents of these two sections of documents as I believe they are taken out of context. The first document appears to be discussing the availability of M1917 rifles from the inter-war years and appears to discuss the lack of war reserves and their readiness. We know the the US shipped a large number of M1917s to the UKicon pre-lend-lease. If you noted the shipment dates, they are a month before President Rooveselt signed the Lend-Lease Act. These rifles were not inspected and degreased by the US Ordnance Department before shipment as time and need were critical, the Home Guard who received the M1917 complained about having to clean the "grease" from the rifles and giving up what No.1 MKIII rifles they had for the greasy M1917s. While it is clear that the 170,000 rifles were shipped to the UK from Columbus. I know of no evidence of them being returned. I do know the US Ordnance Department did rebuild those that were in US troops hands and were held for Foreign Military Aid after WWII which left a lot of them available. Foreign militaries were looking for M1icon Garand rifles and M1 carbines not M1917s. I have been to the Columbus General Depot many times as it was later known as the Defense General Supply Center under the Defense Logistics Command. It is interesting to note that the Wright Corporation which is close to Columbus Depot did rebuilds of the M1917 towards the end of WWII.
    The first document that discusses this says they were sold, and returned. I have not double checked the dates of when NRA sales resumed on the M1917 after WWII, but I have that documentation. My memory RIA was gearing up for the sales of the M1917's to the NRA members again. That is why they looked at the receivers and were asking for clarification.

    So otherwise this 26,000 shipment that was returned, had to most likely be going to another country.

    What are you trying to figure out from the above two documents I posted?

    IT's a report that is 30 pages long and details the politics behind the shipment, how they ignored some laws and shipped them fast. It looks like they bent the rules as they weren't legally allowed to do it officially until March 1941. But they state it was an emergency under dire circumstances. So they did it. A quick looks thru it looks like it was ordered by the President on Feb 5, 1941. It was for 250,000 M1917's and 50,000,000 rounds.

  16. #18
    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplstevennorton View Post
    It looks like they bent the rules as they weren't legally allowed to do it officially until March 1941. But they state it was an emergency under dire circumstances. So they did it.
    This all incredibly interesting stuff you’re digging up and sharing. I just want to say thank you for your hard work!

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  18. #19
    Contributing Member fjruple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplstevennorton View Post
    The first document that discusses this says they were sold, and returned. I have not double checked the dates of when NRA sales resumed on the M1917 after WWII, but I have that documentation. My memory RIA was gearing up for the sales of the M1917's to the NRA members again. That is why they looked at the receivers and were asking for clarification.

    So otherwise this 26,000 shipment that was returned, had to most likely be going to another country.

    What are you trying to figure out from the above two documents I posted?

    IT's a report that is 30 pages long and details the politics behind the shipment, how they ignored some laws and shipped them fast. It looks like they bent the rules as they weren't legally allowed to do it officially until March 1941. But they state it was an emergency under dire circumstances. So they did it. A quick looks thru it looks like it was ordered by the President on Feb 5, 1941. It was for 250,000 M1917's and 50,000,000 rounds.
    Cplstevennorton-- I deeply appreciate your postings of the M1917 cracking issues. And the parts of documents on the initial 250,000 M1917s to the UKicon. I am just a details-type guy and like to solve "mysteries" questions about cracking issues. Have you run across any detailed studies by the US Ordnance department on the cracking issues. You have posted the results themselves via the major command letters on the issues. I am looking for details such as Serial numbers, were they part of a rebuild program with JA or SA barrels or original barrels. Have you run across any documents from the Columbus General Depot itself? I would be interested in seeing a copy of a photo copy of an original letter from Columbus. One last question have you run across any documents on the M1917 rebuild contract by the Wright Corporation in Dayton, OH. Please keep posting!!

    Thanks

    --fjruple

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  20. #20
    Really Senior Member Ridolpho's Avatar
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    cplsteve: There is a slight inconsistency between some of these memos. The memo in post#1 (RIA) says that they can't strip and examine all ERA rifles because costs would be prohibitive. Yet the letter in post #4 (slightly earlier) quotes other documents that suggest that of 26,000 rifles "issued by the Colombus depot for sales, that about half were returned due to cracked receivers". Does this mean that 26,000 rifles were detail examined and one-half found cracked? If so, who did the examination? it would have to be a major facility and that many rifles with cracks would have been a discovery of monumental importance. I would suggest it is more likely that a spot check of a sample found some cracked receivers, perhaps all in ERA rifles and that led to the ERA rifles being returned. The later memos show a frequency of cracking much lower than that implied in the comment about the 26,000 rifles. But the frequency in the detailed exams is still troubling although lacking in specifics about the individual rifles (like were they re-barreled).

    Source document studies are very important but not all info was recorded and much has been lost. A useful adjunct to this would be a forum survey asking owners of M1917's who have examined rifles in detail to mention instances of cracked receivers with details of manufacturer and whether or not the gun has definitely been re-barreled. Conclusions drawn from old documents still have to be vetted against reality. This thread (and the one on Gunboards) is leaning in the direction that original Eddystone M1917's are prone to receiver cracks whereas numerous threads from the past (based on exam of rifles) would appear to me to contradict this. The whole issue is of importance to owners of ERA rifles as a blanket determination of susceptibility to cracks might affect their value.

    Ridolpho

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