Rifleman Q&A: An M1917 Bayonet Made for Vietnam?

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posted on November 14, 2020
vietbay.jpg

Q: I recently purchased a U.S. Model 1917 rifle and would like to get the proper bayonet. I came across an M1917 bayonet with plastic grips marked “GEN CUT.” I was a bit confused, as all the other M1917 bayonets I’ve seen have wooden grips and were made by Winchester or Remington. Would any of these be correct with my rifle?

A: The M1917 bayonet you encountered was manufactured by the General Cutlery Co. (Fremont, Ohio) during 1966-67 for use with combat shotguns equipped with bayonet adapters (“trench” guns).

As you noted, these were marked “GEN CUT” on the crossguard on one side of the blade and “M1917” on the other. A contract was also given to Canadian Arsenal, Ltd. (Ontario, Canada) during this same period for additional M1917 bayonets of this type. These were marked with a small “A” enclosed in a larger “C” and “M1917” on the crossguard.

In addition to being fitted with plastic scales instead of walnut scales, these Vietnam-era bayonets were not as well-crafted as were the M1917 bayonets made by Winchester and Remington during World War I.

The Vietnam War-era M1917 bayonets would not be “correct” for display with your M1917 rifle. However, the bayonets are rather scarce and would be proper for display with any of the U.S. military “trench guns” in service after about 1966 equipped with adapters for the M1917 bayonet.

In retrospect, it is rather surprising that bayonets were being made in the mid-1960s that fit a rifle not manufactured since World War I. The utilization of the M1917 bayonet with U.S. military shotguns gave it a much longer active service life than that of the rifle for which it was designed.

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