- Robert E. Petersen Collection
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- Road to American Liberty - 1700 to 1780
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- Innovation, Oddities and Competition
- Theodore Roosevelt and Elegant Arms - 1880s to 1920s
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U.S. Model 1917 Bolt Action Rifle
This is a sporterized version of a First World War military arm.
The British government armory at Enfield Lock, Middlesex, was
founded in 1804 to assemble Brown Bess muskets for use by the
country's military forces. In 1841, a fire destroyed the government
rifle shops at the Tower of London, consequently, Enfield took over
many of the responsibilities formerly carried out at the
Over the years, the Enfield armory produced a variety of arms for the British Crown, including the famous Rifle Musket Pattern 1853, which saw extensive use with both Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War. Over 500,000 of these arms were imported during the conflict, making them second only to Springfield Armory-produced longarms in terms of usage during the war. In addition to the standard .577 caliber Enfields, an experimental .45 caliber hexagonal bore model was produced. These yielded outstanding accuracy with their special fitted bullets, and although they were generally not issued as service arms, these Whitworths were used by Confederates as a sniper arm.
Enfield-produced arms also include the breech-loading single-shot Martini-Henry rifle, the Lee-Metford, the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield, or No. 1 Rifle, along with several variants of this design. These rifles, which were adopted in 1902, served with British and Commonwealth infantrymen into the 1950s. A later bolt-action magazine rifle, designated the Pattern 1914, was inspired by the U.S. Model 1903 "Springfield." The only Mauser-pattern arm ever adopted by British forces, these rifles were developed at Enfield.
Britain's involvement in the First World War prevented full-scale production in England, but the .303 British caliber P-14, later designated the Model 3, was produced in great numbers under contract in the United States by Winchester and Remington, and at Eddystone Arsenal in Pennsylvania. P-14 and No. 1 rifles served as the workhorses for British, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand troops during the war. More accurate than the No. 1, many P-14s were fitted with Aldis or Pattern 1918 telescopic sights for use by the British Army as sniper rifles. Later designated the Rifle No. 3, over 4 million P-14s were produced in .30-Ô06 caliber as the U.S. Model 1917 Magazine Rifle for use by American troops "Over There." These were the principal U.S. battle rifle during the war, and many P-14s and M1917s continued in service with both British and American forces through the early days of the Second World War.