View Full Version : Model 1917 Wincester ?
A friend of mine just found a rifle ( along with a couple of pistols) in the attic of his recently deceased father. He brought them to me to clean them up a little and tell him what they are.
One is a Luger S/37 I believe. I will get more info. on that later. The rifle really interested me. It states on the receiver Model of 1917 Winchester 121118. There is a W on the barrel with a proof mark and 1-18.
The bolt has no wear whatsoever on it and when released, it almost opens and closes itself. It is amazingly smooth. The finish is the greenish parkerization I have seen on my M1 from 1943. I tried to look down the barrel with a light and I couldn't see a thing. I pushed a patch down and it is clogged with grease, cosmoline, I presume. The stock is immaculate. There is a GM-1 or I and that's it for markings on the stock. It is walnut and very dirty.
He wants it cleaned up but I don't know if I have the time or patience to clean that barrel up. I also don't have any experience taking it apart. I am guessing it is like the Eddystone but I don't really know what to call it. I am very glad no one ever tried to shoot it with all the grease in the barrel.
Any information and help would be appreciated.
As you have stated it is a M1917 Enfield manufactured by Winchester. There were two other manufacturers, Remington and Eddystone. Disassemly is the same for all of them. The GM-1 is a arsenal rebuild mark which is where it picked up it's parkerized finish since they were originally blued. Cleaning the barrel shouldn't be a problem. A tight fitting patch pushed through from the chamber end should push it out the muzzle. Then a few passes with a brush soaked in solvent and then a clean patch or 2 and you should be good to go. Cleaning the stock isn't that much of a problem. I generally use a 75% turpintine 25% Boiled Linseed Oil mixture to clean it followed by a 50/50 mixture to finish it. BLO isn't hard to work with but if you haven't used it before check on any of the stock repair cleaning boards on various other milsurp websites for instructions and ideas.
Not having seen the rifle but having resurrected several grease coated Greek returns from the CMP, 2-3 hours should have it shining like new.
If the barrel is that clogged up, perhaps running a smaller caliber cleaning tip through it like a .22 cal patch and slowly work up to the .30 cal rod tip. Using a bronze brush instead of a patch may help; don't use a stainless steel brush as it may scratch the bore. You don't have to take the rifle apart to clean it. Just remove the bolt and clean from the breech end, not the muzzle end using Hoppe's #9 after you get most of the grease out. Of course, always use a brush in conjunction with a solvent and make sure you make a complete pass with the brush exiting the bore before reversing the stroke. Your brush will last longer if you don't reverse the brush while it is still in the bore.
To clean the stock, my book says to use an alcohol, probably denatured alcohol, because it won't raise the grain of the wood. Dampen a cloth with the alcohol and wipe the wood in gentle strokes. After it is cleaned, rubbing the stock with a cloth containing linseed oil will put a nice finish on the rifle. I recommend the use of a bore guide when cleaning the barrel from either end.
You would be wise to consult a book entitled: The Gun Owner's Handbook, A Complete Guide to Maintaining and Repairing Your Firearms---in the Field or at your Workbench by Larry Lyons.
One word of caution regarding BLO/Turpentine mix. Toss the rags when done, or put in a metal pail. Under the right conditions the rags have been know to spontaneously combust.
Today a local gunsmith who knows military rifles appraised this rifle. He hasn't gotten inside of it yet but he rates the finish as 90%. The receiver and barrel have a matte blue finish and green colored parkerized parts on the floor plate, extractor, front barrel band and front sight assembly. It appears the bore is nice. The stock is definitely not a Winchester and is probably a WW2 replacement stock. The gun is estimated to be worth around 900 dollars. This is supposing the metal parts are W, I think. Is this in the ball park in your area?
How will acetone affect the stock appearance if rubbed with linseed oil after the cosmoline is removed from the stock? Thanks for the input.
While I normally use turpentine to dilute BLO, I have used acetone in the past with no problems. It's just a matter of preference in what you use to dilute the BLO. Others report great success with mineral spirits or paint thinner. Make sure the mixture is no greater than 50/50 whichever you use or the stock will never dry.
I'd almost conceed $900 if it was all Winchester and original finish but since it has been rearsenalled and is not in a Winchester stock I'd say $600-750 around here. Others areas will undoubtedly have different prices. You do have the most desirable make of M1917 though.
If your friend really wants to know about his rifle, I recommend that he pick up a copy of C. S. Ferris's "United States Rifle Model of 1917" (Scott Duff Publications, $23.95). http://www.scott-duff.com/. It's an outstanding rescource and a bargain at that price.
If the very front tip of the stock is stamped with a W, R, or E, it is an original factory stock from Winchester, Remington, or Eddystone, respectively. If not, it is a replacement.
If you use acetone, alcohol, turpentine, or any "refinisher" on the stock you will likely remove a good portion of the original finish. To remove the crud while preserving the original patina, wipe the stock with odorless mineral spirits and a soft cotton cloth. For subborn grime, a little dish soap and warm water is sometimes required. (This is also the recommendation of the head curator for the firearms museum at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site.) Let it dry well, then apply a few coats of boiled linseed oil to the exterior (only) of the stock.
I dont know, 900 (at least before the depression started) was actually right in the ball park for a Winchester, I was seeing them going for up to 1500-1900 on several auction sites.
It might take a while to find the right sucker to pay that much but that's what a reserve is for LOL
I have no time at the moment to follow the auctions so I can't say anything about current sales trends.
FWIW, I've purchased two Winchester 1917's fairly recently via local gun auctions. They're both rebuilds with somewhat of a mix of parts, but are in really nice condition. In fact the last one I bought hadn't been fired and still has remnants of cosmoline on it. I paid $400 and $450 respectively for them. I don't believe I've ever seen a 1917 go for more than $450 at this particular auction (typically 300-500 guns of all types auctioned off). I just sold a mixmaster Remington in good shape to a fellow Vintage class shooter for $450.
Well, having the gun apart, it is a mixmaster. The grease that covered every inch of it and packed in the barrel doesn't seem to be cosmoline but like axle grease. It's Win. receiver and barrel and some of the innards are Win. and Remington. The bolt is Eddystone. Thanks for all the input. It's still an interesting part of our history.
I'll have to go with Beachbumbob on the pricing around here too. You can definitely pick then up for the bargain prices CMP Shooter mentioned, on the average,, but if you go anywhere near a gun shop or gun show Beachbumbob's right on the money.
It seems to me that a large number of the gun owning public still see them as a cheap milsurp undesireable rifle that was bought rebuilt in the cosmoline (with the bayonet and all) for $35.00. (1970's price right here in town). However, they haven't been watching that market lately and most don't know how popular they've become.
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