First post here. I am writing because I read the replies in another thread about m1917s. I am hoping to be able to find some info about this very special rifle I have here.
Here is what I do know. Its a Winchester m1917 built in September 1917 with a barrel made in July 1917 and this rifle has loads of history. I know that it was shipped to Canada in 1941 in the sale of 100,000 rifles after Dunkirk. I know it arrived at the "Long Branch" factory in Canada. I know that Canada considered these rifles somewhat obsolete, so they used them for mainly training and POW camp guards + RCAF on the west coast due to the weather. Mine was not at the RCAF. It doesnt have the stamp with RCAF.
So far so good. This is where the history of this rifle turns AWESOME. In 1953-54 Canada donated 38395 m1917s to the Danish Home Guard as a part of the ww2 relief fund.
In 1960 the Greenlandic Sirius Dog Sled Patrol contacted the Home Guard through the Danish Navy, to purchase rifles that could withstand the harsh nature in Greenland. They had already used 62 of these rifles, that was left by the US Coast Guard in 1945 incl a few rifles that was dropped during ww2. But in 1960 they only had 5 left, so they were in need of new rifles. They tested the Krags, and they worked well, but getting ammo and parts was becoming a problem, so that was out. Then they tested the m50s, but they couldnt hold up against the weather. Because of that, they wanted to get the m1917s that was already tried and tested. The Danish Home Guard ended up donating 40 rifles to the Sirius Patrol. This is the ONLY time the Danish Home Guard provided rifles to Sirius. The Sirius Patrol also quickly found out that you needed to change the sights because the original ones froze up + they filed down the bayonet lug so it wouldnt get caught up in the canvas cover if a polar bear attacked.
Later the Greenlandic Royal trading company bought the rest of the rifles that Norway had sold to Denmark in 1959. The ejector spring and the charging rail was changed so it didnt fit the ammo Denmark had bought from Belgium and US. Besides, the Norwegian rifles was worn out so Denmark ended up using those Norwegian rifles for parts. I have seen numbers that mention just over 4900 Norwegian rifles were cannibalized for parts. I also read that aprox 2000 rifles was converted to "Danish" ammo but it was too expensive to do with the worn out rifles. The Trading company changed the sights on these Norwegian rifles as well as sorted out the changes made to the ejector spring and the charging rail, so it would work with local ammo. These rifles are known as Inuit rifles. They are different from the 40 Sirius rifles and those are the ones that was sold a LOT in the 60s.
My rifle... well thats one of the 40 original Sirius rifles. It has the Canadian acceptance mark + it has the logo from the Danish Home Guard. The ammo pouch is so old that the markings are long gone. If anybody have an idea where that ammo pouch is from, I would love to know that as well.
Now, when I checked for the RCAF mark I had to remove the ammo pouch.... and wow I got a big surprise. I dont know how to describe how much my jaw dropped when I saw this. It has an outlined carving of Greenland + carved or written initials from the people who have used this rifle. It absolutely blew my mind when I saw it. Thats one of the coolest things I have seen. And guess what. I can match several of the initials to the people that are known to have been on the Sirius patrol. 3 of the initials to be exact.
Thats the story I do know. What I dont know is where this rifle was prior to being shipped to Canada in 1941. What was this rifle used for between 1917-1941?
I am hoping somebody will be able to help out with a few more details. I love this rifle already so I wanna find out everything about it
I am going to shoot it for the first time tomorrow, so thats going to be fun.