What,if any, is the reason the 1903 springfields were more accurate than 1917 eddystones? What kind of accuracy can I expect from a 1917?
1917 enfield accuracy
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In my opinion the M1917 is as accurate if not more so. It is heavier, has a longer sight radius, five groove rifling (original barrels), protected front sight post (a bit small though) and better bedding. As a con, the rear sight aperture is too large for serious target work, that small front post is hard to see and the sight wings may appear like a post if in a hurry. It is not the prettiest bell at the ball, it is heavier, no windage on the the rear sight. Mine has never had the best trigger pull, but I have shot others that are very nice, the bore is more 0.310" than 0.308" because of the five grooves. They used to be common and reasonably priced but like most milsurps they have gotten spendy.
First, all M1917 barrels were made under war time tolerances, while many 1903 barrels were made during peace time with generally tighter tolerances. M1917 barrels have the British taper and can only weigh 2.5 pounds, while 1903 barrels are heavier and stiffer. 1903 and 03A3 rifles are windage adjustable and the M1917 requires a punch and hammer which is not handy when the cloud or light changes on the range.
Eddystone, like everyone else making munitions in 1917 and 1918, made some good one, lots of average ones and some poor ones. You just have shoot examples till you find one that works well for you.
I have seen several M1917s' that will shoot 1 1/2 inch ten shot cast bullet groups. The problem is getting the group centered up in the 10 ring for precision shooting.
I remember popping a ground hog at 125 yards with my first one (Eddystone) 5-6 decades ago. (I'd had it re-chambered to 308 Norma Mag too).
I once had a Red River Arsenal rework Winchester M1917 with a WW2 2-groove High Standard barrel on it, and Parker-Hale 5A rear sight which once belonged to Sid Musselman. That rifle was a real tack driver with the original Walt Melander NEI #69A and 16 gres. of #2400. That rifle was passed around several of us at the Fairfax Rod & Gun Club in Manassas, VA and at various times was owned by and shot in competition by Sid, myself, Tom Appleberry, Dennis Carlini and Jim Freeman. When Jim retired from the Army and moved back home to Texas he took that rifle with him and I understand it is doing good cast bullet work on his deer lease.
73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia
Sounds like I should go ahead and buy the one I'm looking at.
I would think that the 311299 (original or 314299 modern) would be the first bullet to try in these barrels, because of the wide land and large groove rifling.
Replace the rear sight with a Lyman or Redfield and shoot the iron sight class, to get on par with the '03's.
My shooting buddy has a nice old original Winchester 1917 with a pretty nice bore that he uses in the CBA military matches. However, It has at least six narrow lands and grooves not wide ones as in a four groove tube. He does pretty well with a big 299 bullet too. .
I have heard reports that Winchester used up all their .30 barrel blanks from the Model 1895's early in production of M1917s'. Those would have been premium barrels, I would think.
My ongoing work with the 17's cousin the P 14 is close to what Dave has said . This is the .303 British version , bore is .304 with the strong 5 groove rifling. I suspect a lot of bullet metal is displaced and I get good results from well designed .30 cal bullets sized .311 in ww's. The Old West BOWM at 190 grains works best. Sight situation is as described and I have worked my trigger to a long two stage pull of about 3.5 lbs. Two stage is not as obvious as some rifles but is still there. With the issue front sight on this rifle a 700 yard setting is required for 100 meter 0 with usual cast target loads. Very well built and smooth but heavy !! Rus
I have a Rem o3-A3 with mint two groove barrel and I like the small peep sight with lateral clicks , I have a Winchester M of '17 with a good 5 groove barrel. on which I use a lateral front sight pusher . I love them both , I believe that the accuracy of any of them depends more on the condition of the piece you can find more than any other thing . You must be young and with good eyes too see well the old Buffington sight .
Naw, I'm 72 with bifocals. I have a Redfield peep on my '03. I bought it from a guy who decided to make a homemade version of the NRA springfield.
I started the post because I'd read that the 03a3 was the better rifle.
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