Enfield M1917 magazine bolt-action rifle .30-06

01. Original name Unofficially, referred to as the “U.S. Enfield” or “American Enfield” its official designations are “Model of 1917,” (Model 1917) or “M1917”.  
02. Other official names   
03. Popular names M1917s were referred to as “pot-belly” because the stocks were significantly thicker around the internal magazine  
04. Chamberings .30-06  
05. Designed by Enfield  
06. Design date 1913  
07. In service date(s) 1917  
08. Adopted by Primarily the USA on their entry into WW1 in 1917. The M1917 was also issued to UK Home Guard units during WW2 as part of the US lend lease agreement. Elements of the Danish Army used the M1917, where it performed well in artic conditions  
09. Production quantities By the time production ceased in 1919, a total of 2,422,529 Model 1917 rifles had been manufactured  
10. Mechanism manually-operated, ‘Mauser-style’ bolt action. The Mauser-style bolt was designed to include Lee features that optimised rapid fire, such as having a ‘cock-on-closing’ (same as the SMLE) action rather than the ‘cock-on-opening’ action of traditional Mauser designs such as the Gewehr 1898 and M903 Springfield  
11. Weight 9.18 lbs (empty)  
12. Mountings Only applicable where it was adopted as a sniper rifle  
13. Practicality in action The M1917 and it predecessor (P14) being superbly accurate did not necessarily make them great service rifles. They were both the product of what has become known as the ‘Bisley School’ of rifle design. To this school of thought, the most important characteristic of a rifle was the ability to shoot accurately at long-range – soldiers at that time were expected to be able to hit man-sized targets at 1,000 yards (914m) and if a rifle could not attain this standard then it was worthless. American troops is complained that the M1917 was awkward to handle in close combat conditions, was ill-balanced and the bolt / action took considerable maintenance.  
14. Comments / Other information When the United States entered World War I, in April 1917, its armed forces were woefully unprepared for the conflict. Among the myriad of challenges, its military faced a serious shortage of service rifles. There were about 600,000 M1903 Springfield rifles (along with some 160,000 obsolescent U.S. .30-40 Krag rifles) at the start of the nation’s active involvement in the war. Production of the M1903 was immediately increased at both Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal. However, it was soon apparent that production at these facilities would be inadequate to equip the rapidly growing number of recruits and draftees flooding into training camps across the USA. The US War Department had two options for the procurement of additional rifles. The first was to contract with domestic arms makers to manufacture the M1903 rifle. However, it was soon realized that the time lag required to acquire the necessary production tooling and train a new workforce from scratch would be too great to eliminate the looming shortage of rifles. The second option would be to seek another type of rifle with which to augment the standardized M1903. The US government had little choice but to pursue the second option. Fortunately, there was a source of available rifles. Three American firms had just completed manufacturing sizeable numbers of the “Pattern 1914” .303 caliber rifle under a British contract. The machinery and trained workforces were still essentially intact and could go into production for the Pattern 1914 rifle for the US government almost immediately. These firms were Remington, the Eddystone Rifle Plant (run by an affiliate of Remington) and Winchester. While it was extremely fortuitous for the US that these sources of rifles were available, the War Department was immediately faced with a quandary. Since it would take too long for the three companies to tool up to make the M1903 rifle, the government initially considered adopting the British .303 caliber Pattern 1914 rifle. This would put the maximum number of rifles in the hands of its troops in the minimum amount of time but introducing the .303 cartridge would also create a logistical headache. Also, it was widely felt that the .303 was inferior to the U.S.’ .30 Springfield (.30-06). Almost by default, it was decided to adopt a version of the British rifle modified for the American .30-06 round. However, it would take some time for the American arms engineers to finalise the engineering work required to change calibres, which led to the US government being criticized by some for delaying the delivery of the sorely needed rifles. In retrospect, the decision was unquestionably the correct choice. In 1919, the Assistant Secretary of War Benedict Crowell stated, “The decision to modify the Enfield was one of the great decisions of the executive prosecution of the war—all honour to the men who made it”.