Thursday, June 4, 2009

Model 1917 Ejector Replacement

The Model 1917 Enfield was actually issued to more Soldiers during World War 1 than the M1903 Springfield. The short history is that in the early years of WW1 U.S. manufacturers were making the British Enfield P14 rifle and when the U.S. entered the war there were not enough M1903s to meet demand. It would have taken too long to retool the factories to start building the M1903 so it was decided to rechamber the P14 from 303 British to 30-06, giving birth to the Model 1917.

Enough history for now, the other day I was shooting my 1917 in a match when I ran into a problem ejecting the empties during the prone slow fire stage. I finished the stage by pulling the empty out of the chamber after each shot. Not that hard but it blew my concentration a bit.

After the stage I took a look at the rifle and found that the ejector was not popping out when I pulled the bolt back. I took the ejector housing off and of course the ejector spring was broken. Not one to give up, I scavenged a spring from a ball point pen, cut it to length and put everything back together.

Everything worked well and I was able to finish the match, including the rapid fire stages without any problem. Even though my score was not that great I left feeling pretty good that I was able to fix the rifle in the field and continue.

Once I got home, I got on the Internet and started looking for a replacement ejector spring. I found one at Numrich for a decent price and ordered it. I had it in my hands about 4 days later and now it is time to replace the spring.

Here is the left side of the receiver showing the ejector housing and the screwdriver in position to remove the one and only screw needed for this repair.

After removing the screw and pulling the housing off of the receiver I laid the parts out so I would not lose any. Sorry this one is a bit blurry.

And now a shot of a new ejector spring next to the ball point pen modification I made. The one on top is the normal leaf spring type ejector spring and on the bottom is the modification I made to finish the match. If you look closely you can see the little nib where the old leaf spring broke off.

Putting it back together was not hard. It seemed like a third hand would have helped trying to push against the spring to get the screw hole lined up but I got it back together and tested the ejector to make sure it worked. Now I just need to find time to go out and test it at the range!!


  1. Thanks for the heads up on the ejector spring problem associated with the P-17s, (I know, no one calls the US M1917 that anymore). Nice tutoral and pics, much appreciated.
    Apparently a retrofit fix was put into place as early as 1918, after recognizing this weak link on a otherwise fine battle rifle.

    The replacement piece is very sinilar to your ball point pen spring fix in the field.

    It can be found at Numrich Gun Parts...

  2. Thank you SO much! I just bought a sporterized M1917 and this was its exact and only problem (except that it was sporterized, but that just made it so I could afford it :-) ) I think I'll try the pen repair until I can get a Numrich retrofit. Thanks Again!

    1. Completed the pen repair. Works like a champ!