Rifleman Q&A: A Marine Corps M1917 Rifle?

by
posted on March 26, 2021
us-marine-corps-m1917-rifle-qa-f.jpg
Q: I recently purchased an M1917 Enfield rifle with “U.S.M.C.” markings on the bolt. I was not aware of Marine Corps-marked M1917 rifles and assume this is a rather rare variant. Can you give me some information on these U.S. Marine Corps-issue M1917 rifles?

A: Actually, you do not have a “Marine Corps-issue” U.S. M1917 rifle. While it is a logical assumption, the “U.S.M.C.” marking on the bolt of your rifle does not signify “U.S. Marine Corps.” Rather, it means “United Shoe Machinery Company.”

The United Shoe Machinery Company of Beverly, Mass., manufactured replacement bolts for the M1917 rifle under government contract during World War II. Many of these bolts were used for overhaul and replacement purposes.

The presence of a “U.S.M.C.”-marked bolt is indicative of a M1917 rifle that has been arsenal rebuilt and has no connection with the U.S. Marine Corps.

Many U.S. Army units were issued the Model of 1917 U.S. “Enfield” rifle, and by war's end, three out of every four U.S.-issue rifles would be an M1917. The Marine Corps, aside from using a few Enfield rifles for training at the Marine Corps’ new base at Quantico, Va., and at various posts in the Caribbean, almost exclusively used Springfield rifles.

To get a better understanding of the rifles and other small arms used by the United States Marine Corps during World War I, Kenneth L. Smith-Christmas' "Guns of the Devil Dogs" is a worthy read.

While some later ’03s can be attributed to the Marine Corps by certain characteristics, such as “Hatcher holes,” electro-engraved numbers and barrel markings, the Springfield rifles that were issued to Marines during World War I do not bear any identifying markings, as such.

Aside from research conducted and published by the late Franklin B. Mallory many years ago, there has not been a serious attempt to analyze official USMC Quartermaster records of the period, and to then compile a listing of known serial numbers. There is no correlation between known serial numbers and dates of issue.

Latest

Revisiting 9Mm Super Cooper F
Revisiting 9Mm Super Cooper F

Blast From The Past: Revisiting The 9 mm Magnum 'Super Cooper'

Follow Brad Miller as he takes a closer look at the 9 mm "Super Cooper" magnum handgun cartridge, which can have cases made for it from cut down .223 Rem. casings.

Smith & Wesson Model 10: A Legendary K-Frame Available Today

Today’s Model 10 chambers .38 Spl. and can handle +P loads. Cylinder capacity is six cartridges in the single/double action. Its frame, cylinder and barrel are carbon steel, blued in classic fashion and the grips are wood. It’s a timeless look.

Tips & Techniques: A Penny For Your Dry-Fire Thoughts

When performing dry-fire practice with an AR-15, there are a lot of reasons you might not want the bolt to lock to the rear. You can use dummy rounds, snap caps or other safety aids, but there’s another trick used in training circles requiring far less investment.

NRA Foundation Grants $252,000 For Ammo To USA Shooting

The NRA Foundation Board of Trustees has approved a $252,000 grant for USA Shooting to purchase the specific shotshells used by the National Team, National Development Team and National Junior Team.

This Old Gun: Winchester Model 1892 'Trapper'

The Winchester 1873 may have been “The Gun That Won The West,” but it was the Winchester Model 1892, with its smoother, stronger action, that soon began outselling the earlier toggle-link lever-action and eventually caused the ‘73’s demise in 1921.

Preview: Wilson Combat WCP365 Grip Module

Wilson Combat is offering aftermarket grip modules compatible with SIG Sauer’s P365/P365 XL micro-compact semi-automatic pistols that significantly improve the host handguns’ ergonomics while adding a touch of custom flair.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.