The .30-06 M-17 Enfield battle rifle was adapted from the British-designed P-14 in .303 British. P-14s are identifiable by a brass roundel on the butt, but there was none on the M-17.

Enfield M-17 Rifling


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The .30-06 M-17 Enfield battle rifle was adapted from the British-designed P-14 in .303 British. P-14s are identifiable by a brass roundel on the butt, but there was none on the M-17.

Q: I read in a well known text that when the British P-14 Enfield rifle was converted from .303 British to .30-06 and manufactured as the U.S Model 1917 that the bore and rifling was left unchanged. Now, I’ve been told that this is incorrect. Surely bore and rifling would have been badly oversize enough to cause inaccurate shooting with .30-06 ammo, to say nothing of increased erosion due to gas blowby. Can you tell me whether the bore and rifling dimensions were changed or not?

Pat Donovan

A: Commonsense should tell you that they were changed. However, I’ve also seen it repeated in print that the original .303 bore and rifling were retained. This impression may have been due to the fact that the .303 style of rifling consisting of 5 lands and grooves of equal widths, really was retained. But to accommodate the .3085 diameter bullets of the .30-06, the bore was reduced from .303 to .300, and the groove depth was also reduced. The M-17 had a slightly greater depth of groove than in the Model 1903 Springfield, which has nominal dimensions of .300″ bore and .004″ groove diameter. But the Springfield rifling lands are narrow, only 1/3rd as wide as the grooves. This is all explained fully in Chapter II of Hatcher’s Notebook and it also mentions the fact that M-17 barrels regularly outlasted the 1903 Springfield ones.

 


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Nick Harvey

Nick Harvey is one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He has been writing about firearms and hunting for more than 65 years, has published many books and uncounted articles, and has travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject is unmatched. He has been Sporting Shooter's Gun Editor for longer than anyone can remember. Nick lives in rural NSW, Australia.

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