model 1917 revolver

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How the Japanese named their small arms,

In 1899 the Japanese adopted the Type 30 bolt action rifle. The rifle had many flaws, so it was redesigned by Kijiro Nambu, and the new Model, called the Type 38 was adopted in 1905.  In 1939 the Japanese adopted a new and improved bolt action rifle in a new caliber, it was called the Type 99. In 1942 they developed a shortened paratrooper version of the Type 99, it was called the Type 2. Umm…wuht????

On popular Japanese light machine gun in the 1920′s was the Type 11 Light Machine gun, adopted in 1922. The weapon was found to be severely problematic, so it was replaced by the Type 96… in 1936. Huh???

At first glance the way the Japanese number their small arms models seems not to make any rational sense at all. Typically weapons are named based on succeeding models, like the Lee Enfield Mark I, Mark II, Mark III etc, or model numbers are by date, like the Model 1911 pistol adopted in 1911, the Model 1917 revolver adopted in 1917, the 1903 Springfield adopted in 1903.

While Japan’s modeling system may seem nonsensical at first glance, there actually is a very interesting method to their madness. Originally  models names were determined by the reigning year of the Japanese Emperor. For example, the Japanese Type 38 bolt action rifle was adopted in 1905, which was the 38th year of Emperor Meiji’s reign. The Type 11 light machine gun was adopted in 1922, then the 11th year of Emperor Taisho’s reign.

In 1927 the Imperial Army chose to switch to a system using the Japanese calendar.  The Type 99 bolt action rifle and Type 99 machine gun were both adopted in 1939, which was the year 2599 according to the Japanese calendar. Hence, the model was named after the last two digits in the year 2599. In 1942, a paratrooper version of the Type 99 was created called the Type 2.  On the Japanese calendar that was the year 2602.  The Japanese chose not to count zero as a digit, thus the model was the Type 2 Paratrooper rifle, not the Type 02 Paratrooper rifle.

USA WWI

Eddystone Model of 1917 rifle in 30-06. Barrel dated 11/18 

This rifle has a SAA (San Antonio Arsenal) mark on it. It was taken out of storage and refurbished there in preparation for WWII. This model had been a general issue rifle for the US in WWI as well. This one sports an interesting light grey or sliver finish. It is a CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) rifle, but the finish on it suggests most likely it was a VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post rifle that was returned, and reworked by the CMP. It is pictured with a correct Remington Model 1917 bayonet.

Colt DA 45 or Model 1917 revolver in .45acp 

These were issued during WWI and even before that period chambered originally in 45 long Colt. In order to supplement the 1911 pistols, M1917’s were chambered in .45acp in WWI and WWII. This one was reworked at AA (Augusta Arsenal) in preparation for WWII, but the acceptance stamp on the pommel of the frame dates back to 1919. This pistol has reproduction rosewood grips on it, the originals would have been similar in appearance, but made of walnut. The holster is a 1940’s era civilian version. 

Remington Model 1903 rifle in 30-06. Barrel dated 4/42

Although identical to the main battle rifle of US forces of WWI, this Remington rifle was made in 1942. It is pictured with a M1905 bayonet (originally a Model of 1905, usually referred to as an M1905E1 after it was cut down. The nomenclature for these things is a bit complex, for example, Model of 1905, M1905, M1905E1, ect..) that is dated 1918. This particular one has had the blade shortened as many were in preparation for WWII. 

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The US Model 1917 Revolver,

First produced when the United States entered World War II, the Model 1917 revolver supplemented the Colt 1911 semi automatic pistol and was the last full sized revolver contracted by the US Military.  The Model 1917 was based off of the older M1898, which was a revolver in .45 Colt produced because the older M1892 was under powered.

Like the M1898, the M1917 was chambered for .45 caliber as well, except it was chambered for an semi-automatic cartridge called the .45 ACP, which was used by the semi-automatic Colt 1911.  Since the M1917 was designed to supplement the Colt 1911, it was made to share common caliber.  However, this proved a challenge, as the .45 ACP is a semi automatic cartridge that lacked a rim.  Revolvers require a rimmed cartridge to properly eject empty casings.  A non-rimmed cartridge would not properly eject, nor properly seat in the chamber.  To solver this problem .45 ACP cartridges were inserted into a clip, either a half moon clip which held three rounds, or a moon clip which held six rounds.  The cartridges were inserted clip and all into the cylinder. When the empty cartridges were ejected, the clip would be ejected as well. This cylinder swung out to the right for loading.

The Model 1917 was mostly issued to officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers during World War I.  It would continued in use throughout World War II, Korea, and even Vietnam.  During the Vietnam War they were often used by tunnel rats, special soldiers tasked with exploring, clearing out, and destroying enemy tunnels.  The Model 1917 was finally retired in 1975.  Produced by Colt, Remington UMC, and Smith & Wesson, altogether 300,000 were produced between 1917 and 1920.