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Receiver Markings on Model 1917 Enfield Rifle?


Joe Occhiuto
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Joe Occhiuto

I am new to the forum and was hoping to get some help regarding a recently purchased Eddystone 1917.  The firearm in question has the usual marking on the front receiver ring, but beneath the serial number there are 3 indentions.  Does anyone know what they might denote?  The serial number indicates a manufacture date of Feb./March 1918, and the barrel is stamped as one produced by Remington in January of 1918.  There are no rebuild marks on the rifle.  It seems logical to me that a Remington barrel produced in January of 1918 would not have been available for use a a rebuild.   According to the C S Ferris, the author of United States Rifle Model of 1917,  the three factories building the 1917 did not exchange parts among themselves with one exception related to stocks.  Any relevant information regarding the indentations and/or the Remington barrel would be appreciated.  A photo showing the three indentations is provided.  THANKS!!!!

IMG_0810[1].JPG

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US Military Guy

Following and hoping for an answer - cuz I need to know stuff like this.

 

 

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Joe Occhiuto

Ronald, the indentations do look like what one would get from a hardness test.  That possibility had not occurred to me.  Have you observed anything similar on 1917's?

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No but  since they don't seem to cover anything it might be what they are. Early 1903's had brittle receivers and some Eddystone rifles would have cracked receiver rings  (although hard to tell) so anything is possible. Ron

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Charlie Flick

Punch marks are typically an indicator that a USGI weapon has been proof tested, usually but not always as part of a rebuild.  They are seen on the M1903 Springfield rifles on the receiver ledge. 

 

Similar but smaller punch marks have also been observed on US WW2  handguns such as certain runs of the Colt M1903 .32 pistols and Colt Detective Special revolvers.

 

Here, the presence of 3 punch marks side by side is unusual.  I have never seen that before on a M1917 rifle although I have observed multiple punch marks on Springfield rifles.  My guess is that the punch marks indicate multiple proof testing for either a rebuild or other unknown reason.

 

Regards,

Charlie

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Joe Occhiuto

Thanks Charlie.  Would the three punch marks indicate three separate proof testings?  Is there an explanation for the absence of any rebuild markings?

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Charlie Flick
3 hours ago, Joe Occhiuto said:

Thanks Charlie.  Would the three punch marks indicate three separate proof testings?  Is there an explanation for the absence of any rebuild markings?

Joe:

 

Yes, that would be my guess or perhaps even more precisely the marks indicate 3 successful inspections during rebuild. 

 

As further evidence for this theory I would refer you to the October 2020 issue of Man At Arms magazine.  It contains an article authored by researcher/author Charlie Pate which discusses punch marks in the context of the M1903 Springfield rifles.  It does not mention M1917 rifles.  The article is entitled "Those Punch Marks on M1903 and M1903A3 Rifle Receivers".  It discusses various punch marks but mentions an example with 3 punch marks in a line below the receiver serial number similar in appearance to those on your rifle. 

 

Pate commented "In addition to the preceding two systems of punch marking M1903 receivers, a third system of punch marking M1903 receivers has been observed. This far less frequently encountered system is illustrated by Rock Island Arsenal M1903 serial number 379889, which has both the USMC single punch mark just before the serial number and three punch marks in a row directly below the serial number.  The sanded stock on this rifle has no trace of an overhaul inspection stamp and no marking on the fore-end tip. But the stock does have the outline of an encircled "P" proof mark. The rifle has an R.I.A./2-19 barrel that is likely original to the receiver.  Mr. [John] Beard [well known M1903 expert] believes that these three punch marks in a row signify successful passage of three separate and successive inspections performed during a single service overhaul. Presence of the USMC punch mark just before the serial number suggests that the three-punch-mark overhaul was performed by the U.S. Marine Corps. Clearly, the three punch marks in a row are not a U.S. Army marking. While both the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy performed rifle repairs as necessary, I have yet to find National Archives documentation showing that those services performed complete rifle overhauls. Instead, I have found documentation showing multiple instances where they engaged Army facilities to overhaul their rifles."

 

The other rebuild markings one might expect to see on a rebuilt M1917 may no longer be present due to a sanded stock or a stock swap.

 

I hope that information is helpful to you.

 

Regards,

Charlie

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Joe Occhiuto

Thanks very much Charlie.  I appreciate your efforts and your input.

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thorin6

With the talk about hardness testing, I thought I'd throw up this Rockwell Hardness Test Block.  Individually serial numbered and calibrated for penetration into the block.  I'm assuming the punch for the test would be compared to a punch on the block to confirm the receiver or piece of metal is of the desired hardness.

 

Rockwell Block.jpg

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Joe Occhiuto

I don't think the punch marks are compared to one another.   Based on my long ago experience with Rockwell Hardness testing I assume that the block is a known hardness against which the testing machine is calibrated.   Any markings or paperwork to confirm or refute my assumption?

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thorin6
12 hours ago, Joe Occhiuto said:

I don't think the punch marks are compared to one another.   Based on my long ago experience with Rockwell Hardness testing I assume that the block is a known hardness against which the testing machine is calibrated.   Any markings or paperwork to confirm or refute my assumption?

You are probably right; while I haven't seen the testing machine or tool it would have to be one that exerts a consistent force on a punch.  Likely a spring loaded tool of some kind.

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Joe Occhiuto

Yes,  I believe the test equipment applies a fixed amount of force and the depth of penetration is measured and inserted in an equation to compute the hardness.  The force is quite substantial, like in the 100,000 lb range.  This is based on my recollection from a long ago and passing exposure to Rockwell Hardness testing, so I would be happy to be corrected.

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Woodymyster

Joe is correct.  The Hardness tester is a large press like machine.  The test block is to calibrate the reading on the machine.  The "B" indicates what scale the operator reads off the display.

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Joe Occhiuto

Getting back to the original post---Although the indentations look like they may have been made as part of hardness testing, the explanation that they are proof marks seems more plausible to me.  That said there is no mention of the use of punch marks to indicate proof testing in the book Ito which I originally referred, i.e. United States Model of 1917  by S S Ferris.  Is anyone aware of any other works or publications that might be informative??? 

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dalbert

Similar punches are present on Thompson Submachine Gun receivers that have had barrel replacements, usually during rebuild, but also likely in the field.  I have attached an example photo.  I have encountered Thompsons with two punches, but I have not seen three.  

 

The forum software was changing the official name of the punch to "nice guy punch," because it thought it was a dirty word.  The name of the punch used here is a "p,rick" punch, just remove the comma.

 

1562897959_ScreenShot2021-07-25at8_51_25PM.png.11f0683e1f75c9777401f150a6b1d2bd.png

 

David Albert

dalbert@sturmgewehr.com

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Charlie Flick
On 7/22/2021 at 7:54 AM, Joe Occhiuto said:

That said there is no mention of the use of punch marks to indicate proof testing in the book Ito which I originally referred, i.e. United States Model of 1917  by S S Ferris.  Is anyone aware of any other works or publications that might be informative??? 

 

This kind of highly specific information is not easily accessible.  Google won't help you.  For that kind of detailed information I think you need to be looking at the various Small Arms Rebuild Standards manuals that have been published over the years.   These typically include fourth and fifth echelon inspection and rebuild procedures, including markings.

 

I don't have time now to check my own archives for each of these but I suggest that what you are looking for may well be found in the following Ordnance publications some of which are general and some more specific to the M1917 rifle:

 

Rifle, U.S. Caliber .30 M1917 Development and Production 1917-1945.  Published in 1945 by the Small Arms Division, Industrial Service Office, Chief of Ordnance, Army Service Forces.

 

Ordnance Department Instructions for Ordnance Maintenance Companies Rifles and Accessories (TR 410-100 dated 24 July 1925) for M1917 and M1903 Rifles.

 

ORDNANCE FIELD SERVICE BASE SHOP DATA Manual for the M1917 Rifle published in 1943 by Rock Island Arsenal.

 

Technical Bulletin ORD 366 Rebuild Standards For Small Arms Material published by the Army in 1953.

 

Overhaul, Repair, and Repackaging Procedure For Rifle, U.S. Caliber .30, M1903, M1903A1, and M1903A3 published in 1945.

 

Procedure and Methods of Overhauling, Inspecting, and Testing for U.S. Rifle Cal. .30 M1903 - M1903A1 published by Springfield Armory in 1937.

 

ORDNANCE FIELD SERVICE BASE SHOP DATA Manual for the M1903 and M1903A3 rifles published by Rock Island Arsenal in 1943.

 

More general in nature are the many articles on rebuild procedures published in the Journal of the Garand Collectors Association, some of which should be applicable to the M1917.

 

I hope that this information is helpful to you.  Good luck.

 

Regards,

Charlie

 

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Joe Occhiuto

Charlie,  Thank you very much.  I will try to access some of the publications to which you referred.  Will start with the ones that are more specific to the M1917.  Thanks again. 

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Hi Charlie,

 

Technical Bulletin ORD 366 Rebuild Standards For Small Arms Material published by the Army in 1953. - This one does not have M1917 Rifle rebuild standards.

 

ORDNANCE FIELD SERVICE BASE SHOP DATA Manual for the M1917 Rifle published in 1943 by Rock Island Arsenal.  - Does not mention punch marks.

 

ORDNANCE FIELD SERVICE BASE SHOP DATA Manual for the M1903 and M1903A3 rifles published by Rock Island Arsenal in 1943. - Does not mention punch marks.

 

David Albert

dalbert@sturmgewehr.com

 

 

 

 

 

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I would also check the:   CMP Forums     Specifically try the sub forum titled CMP bolt action rifles

 

While I doubt any of these old war horses are still being sold through the CMP, there are plenty of members on the forums who study and collect the M1917s.   

 

I had an obscure question about the letter stamp on the replacement extractor on my Winchester M1917.   It should have been a W for Winchester or if replaced it could have been an R for Remington or an E for Eddystone.   Instead it was stamped CV.   Sure enough someone on the CMP forums knew the answer.   It turned out that after the war Remington decided to get some use out of the tooling they still had on hand for the M1917s so they used it to produce the action for a short lived commercial hunting rifle called the Model 30.   

 

They went to a new spring steel for the extractors called Chrome Vanadium stamped CV.     Someone had evidently obtained one of these and had put it on my Winchester since it happened to be a perfect fit.

 

Cheers

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7 hours ago, cannon jockey said:

I would also check the:   CMP Forums     Specifically try the sub forum titled CMP bolt action rifles

 

I don't have time now to check my own archives for each of these but I suggest that what you are looking for may well be found in the following Ordnance publications some of which are general and some more specific to the M1917 rifle:

 

Rifle, U.S. Caliber .30 M1917 Development and Production 1917-1945.  Published in 1945 by the Small Arms Division, Industrial Service Office, Chief of Ordnance, Army Service Forces.

 

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Thanks for the reference to the CMP Forums.  I will give that a try.

 

Anyone know I could get my hands (or eyes) on the first publication referenced by Charlie Flick: "Rifle, U.S. Caliber .30 M1917 Development and Production 1917-1945".  It seems to be the most promising, but I am  coming up blank when searching for it on line.

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