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Wwii ria 1917a1

Article about: I have not posted here in a while, so to make up for my lack of activity I thought some out there would appreciate a few pictures of my fully restored, fully functional, fully transferrable,

  1. #1

    Default Wwii ria 1917a1

    I have not posted here in a while, so to make up for my lack of activity I thought some out there would appreciate a few pictures of my fully restored, fully functional, fully transferrable, WWII vintage, Rock Island Arsenal 1917A1 Browning water cooled machine gun. I acquired her from a museum in Portsmouth Virginia (USA) in November 2010.

    This 1917A1 was part of an order placed with RIA in September of 1941 prior to the US entry in WWII. Based on its serial number, she was manufactured in November of 1942 and delivered to the US Navy (actually the US Marine Corps). Based on best evidence she saw service in the Pacific Theatre and was battle damaged. In 1948 she was scrapped as surplus war material and ended up on a scrap pile in Portsmouth. She was then purchased along with a 1940 dated RIA tripod by an 18 year old kid for $50 and was deactivated per then US law. The kid then used automotive body putty to cover up the battle damage and deactivation scars and kept it in his basement for 50 years. She was then sold to the museum which had her on display for 12 years. When the museum closed its doors, I purchased her and had her BATF status changed to a live machine gun. It took me two years to find the correct pieces and parts for the restoration.

    Here are some "before" pictures:

    Here are some "after" pictures:

    The "after" pictures were taken when we were shooting 7.62 NATO ammo and not original 30-06 Springfield. But, that's a different story...
    Last edited by MG34; 09-02-2012 at 11:31 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Wwii ria 1917a1

    Wow you did a very nice job on it!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Wwii ria 1917a1

    Here a some pictures of the parts that were used to replace the damaged parts:

  4. #4

    Default Re: Wwii ria 1917a1

    Very very nice, I would just love the chance to live fire one of these, unfortunatly in the UK there is absolutely no chance.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wwii ria 1917a1

    This project was a great learning experience. These early 1917A1s were "purpose built" by Rock Island Arsenal using surplus parts still in inventory from WWI 1917 builds. All of these surplus parts were transferred from Colt, Remington, Springfield Arsenal, and New England Westinghouse to Rock Island Arsenal. My 1917A1 has a New England Westinghouse marked trunnion, front cap, and steam hose connector flange.

    All of the "display" replacement parts are correct for the gun. The hardest part to find was the original 1917A1 left side plate (LSP). It came from a de-milled, 1945 build, RIA 1917A1. The top cover is New England Westinghouse marked and is correct for an early RIA 1917A1. The rear sight ladder is marked "M2 & '06 AMM" which were the sight markings used through 1939. This is also correct for an early RIA 1917A1 as all the surplus parts were used up prior to using newly manufactured parts.

    For shooting I swap out the “display” WWII USGI internals and use Israeli surplus parts exclusively. They are much less expensive and are easier to find than original WWII era USGI parts.

    When shooting 30-06 ammo I use 1950’s manufactured USGI barrels and feed the ammo with cloth belts. When shooting 8mm Mauser ammo I use turned down MG13 barrels that were then threaded to 1917A1 specifications. I also use cloth belts with 8mm Mauser ammo. When shooting 7.62 NATO ammo I use turned down Israeli 1919A4 barrels and feed the ammo using steel links instead of cloth belts. I also utilize a stainless steel trunnion protector as the steel links will gouge the brass feed way.

    I needed to use steel links instead of cloth belts for feeding 7.62 NATO ammo. My 1917A1 has an original 30-06 Right Rear Cartridge Stop (RRCS) installed. In order to fire 7.62 NATO ammo, the ammo must be loaded very shallow into a cloth belt. If 7.62 NATO ammo is loaded completely into the belt pockets, upon cartridge extraction the empty belt pockets will strike the RRCS and jam the feed way. When shallow loaded using cloth belts there is insufficient grip to hold the ammo within the belt pockets and the ammo falls out of the belt. Steel links provide enough grip when the ammo is shallow loaded just deep enough so that the spent link will clear the RRCS.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Wwii ria 1917a1

    A fine peice of machinery you have restored. What a lucky find and a top notch restoration job.

    Thanks for showing
    Happiness is a belt fed weapon

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