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M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

Article about: I hope you like these pictures of a Browning 1917A1 machine gun.This example is a WW2 manufactured gun made at Rock Island Arsenal, it has steel nose cap and trunnion, as opposed to brass on

  1. #11
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    Smile Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    It has been some time and my RIA 1917A1 has been re-papered as live machine gun, fully restored, and is completely operational. The 1940 RIA tripod also needed some work. Here are some pictures of my 1917A1 during a shoot using a .308/7.62 NATO conversion setup. Notice how shallow we needed to link the ammo. This is because the spent links needed to clear the 30.06 right rear cartridge stop.

    In order to run .308, I needed a new barrel (a turned down Israeli surplus 1919 .308 barrel), Israeli .308 cartridge spacers (both front and rear), and a stainless steel feedway protector (the brass feedway would be badly gouged by the steel links). The old girl ran 100% using South African surplus 7.62 NATO ammunition. This is a nice steup!












    As you can see by the above photos, my 1917A1 was originally built by Rock Island using left over WWI components. The trunnion forward components are all stamped with Westinghouse marks. So is the top cover, most of the top cover components, and the back plate. The rear sight blade was re-worked during the inter-war years using a WWI sight blade. It dates from 1939, or so. All other components are either unmarked or RIA marked.












  2. #12
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    Default Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    Awesome restore, good to see it up and running again. I definitely know why you are smiling in the picture.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    Quote by relicz View Post
    Awesome restore, good to see it up and running again. I definitely know why you are smiling in the picture.
    That's not me. That's one of my shooting buddy. I'm manning the camera. (My buddy is more photogenic than I).

  4. #14

    Default Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    I'm jealous as ever, I'm having to go down the route of converting 1919a4 parts into 1917a1 as you just can't get a 17a1 in the uk. So far I have a original tripod ( not a converted tripod for the recoiled gun ), a left side plate, right side plate (unstamped), pistol grip with wood grips, the top cover latch and bit it fits too. I just need to find a top cover and sight, trunnion and water jacket, and the bottom plate. It's a long job!

  5. #15
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    Default Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    Quote by MG34 View Post
    That's not me. That's one of my shooting buddy. I'm manning the camera. (My buddy is more photogenic than I).
    Oh, OK. At any rate your buddy's smile conveys the mood of the day. Looks like a blast was had by all.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    Quote by m3bobby View Post
    I'm jealous as ever, I'm having to go down the route of converting 1919a4 parts into 1917a1 as you just can't get a 17a1 in the uk. So far I have a original tripod ( not a converted tripod for the recoiled gun ), a left side plate, right side plate (unstamped), pistol grip with wood grips, the top cover latch and bit it fits too. I just need to find a top cover and sight, trunnion and water jacket, and the bottom plate. It's a long job!
    I don't know the import/export rules, but those items are available here in the US. Keep watching eBay as I see trunnions appear every now and then. You may want to contact Len Murtha here in the US as he manufactures water jackets and trunnions. Here is his business home page - Untitled

    Rollin Lofdahl is the person you want to speak to about top covers and rear sights. Here is his business home page - 1917A1.com Rollin can also help with bottom plates and back plates.

    Both Len and Rollin are stand up guys and will be happy to assist you. It never hurts to pick their brains a little too. There is a fellow over in France who lists some nice WWII Browning pieces and parts on Gun Broker. My buddy picked up a nice back plate from him. The item actually shipped from Greece. Go figure...

    Like I said, keep watching eBay and Gun Broker as Browning parts show up there every now and then.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    Here are some before and after pictures of the damaged parts that were replaced.

    Water jacket:










    Left side plate:














    Complete top cover assembly:












  8. #18

    Default Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    It was designed by John Moses Browning in 1890. The 1 st ones were produced by Colt and designated Colt M1895. Browning redesigned it in 1910, the US Army adopted the water cooled version in 1917, it fired 20,000 rounds non-stop. It relyed on the barrel moving back and forth as it was gas operated. In 1919 it had a heavier barrel design which did not require the water jacket, the M1914A4.
    There were two versions of the one with out the water jacket, one for ground troops and one for the aircraft. The Later had a higher rate of fire, other wise identical.
    The water cooled version weighed between 30.75ibs and 32.6

    My source is the book "Infantry Weapons of Woeld War II" by Jan Suermont.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    That is a beauty. Thanks for sharing

  10. #20

    Default Re: M1917A1 water cooled Browning machine gun

    Quote by Berlinvet70 View Post
    It was designed by John Moses Browning in 1890. The 1 st ones were produced by Colt and designated Colt M1895. Browning redesigned it in 1910, the US Army adopted the water cooled version in 1917, it fired 20,000 rounds non-stop. It relyed on the barrel moving back and forth as it was gas operated. In 1919 it had a heavier barrel design which did not require the water jacket, the M1914A4.
    There were two versions of the one with out the water jacket, one for ground troops and one for the aircraft. The Later had a higher rate of fire, other wise identical.
    The water cooled version weighed between 30.75ibs and 32.6

    My source is the book "Infantry Weapons of Woeld War II" by Jan Suermont.
    I've got that same book and its far from accurate, it has photos in the the wrong sections and the research was lacking. It does however have some very good photographs which are very handy. Most of the guns are from a collection in the South West of England.

    The water cooled gun was originally the 1917 but was modified to the 1917a1 configuration. The 1919a4 was a later modification to the 1919a2 cavalry gun and could be used in fixed or flexible roles. The ANM2 aircraft gun was a similar design but as far as I'm aware, no parts were interchangeable.

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