The Gevær M/53-17 Better Known As The M1917

The Gevær M/53-17 is a rifle that you and I would likely not recognize if we saw the name in print or heard someone talking about it in the gun shop. What you don’t know is that the Gevær M/53-17 is nothing more than a slightly modified M1917 Enfield, often referred to as “the American Enfield”. While perusing the internet I came across a blog post written by JWH1975 on the blog wwiiafterwwii about the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol’s use of the M1917 well past it’s expected service life in a guide gun sort of role.


The Sirius Dog Sled Patrol was formed in the early 1940’s to provide long range reconnaissance patrols on the northern coast of Greenland. During the war, the Germans had already established some weather stations on the east coast to aid the U-boat campaign, the sled patrol was responsible for keeping the Germans from establishing a presence in the north, and did so successfully.  After the war, the 50 M1917 rifles that the Coast Guard loaned the Greenlanders were conveniently left behind, serving the sled patrol since its inception about 75 years ago.


JWH1975 goes into wonderful detail covering some of the improvements that the sled patrol made to the rifle such as a new notch type rear sight, re-barreling, and even a notch cut in the receiver to allow the use of stripper clips to reload the rifle.

You can check out the full article on wwiiafterwwii by clicking HERE, I highly recommend spending some time reading some of their fascinating articles.


  • I would not consider removing the normal adjustable peep sight and replacing it with a notch sight to be an improvement. Not sure why they need to notch the receiver since it was already capable of being loaded with stripper clips.

    • iksnilol

      Peep sights are a liability in the snow. Get easily clogged.

      Besides, way quicker to use notch sights. Which is kinda handy when something wants to eat your face.

      Just saying, peep > notch isn’t always true.

      • Xtorin O’hern

        agreeing with Iksnilol here, unless your shooting 300+ yards your standard notch and post should be plenty sufficient

      • Good explanation, not much shooting in the snow here in Texas Gulf coast.

        • I am also guilty of overlooking this. Sometimes I forget that people live in places where weird, frozen stuff falls from the sky.
          Sounds inconvenient so I’ll stay here.

          • 6.5x55Swedish

            It is quite nice if you know how to dress and doesn’t have to fight in it. The cold also help making wett parts of the forrest easier to walk through which helps hunting. And tracking in the snow is fun.

            + the snow helped the AK5 to become a bit sexier than the FNC.

      • UnrepentantLib

        That was a problem I noticed with the M16A1 when I was at Ft. Wainwright AK long, long ago. That slot in the top of the carry handle was great for scooping up snow.

      • Tritro29

        It’s not only that…there’s a bigger reflection surface on a flat peep sight. These folks operate on snowy (white) surfaces which will blind you. Then the cold weather will also require you to take care of the folding ‘long range’ sight so it doesn’t stick. In this case, I can’t see what sight they implemented (saying notch is not much, does it have elevation compensating function etc). Some British rifles have just such conversions with adverse conditions in mind. Also Peep and Notch are the same, it’s just a matter of training. You train on a “notch” you’ll fight just as well that with a “peep” sight.

      • Just say’n

        That’s one reason why you don’t see hooded front sights on Swiss, Finn, Norwegian and Swedish military bolt-actions. For some reason the Soviets had them on their Mosins. The Finns removed the front sight hoods in Finnish service.

        • Tritro29

          Soviet sights were more fragile as the post was a lot thiner and prone to breaking. The hood was needed. The M31 and M39 were far more beefier (31 being thicker and without the level walls, 39 has a slightly thiner front post but with walls).

    • Shaun W

      The notch on the front of the reciever would be necessary on the 1917s converted from 303 British would need to accept the longer 30-06 rounds. Military Mausers in 30-06 often have this same feature.

      • Wetcoaster

        M1917s are factory made in .30-06. It’s the closely related P14s that are in .303

  • UCSPanther

    These are more or less like the Lee Enfields that the Canadian Arctic Rangers used up until recently.

    • Joshua

      still use, while a replacement has been selected the SMLEs have not been fully replaced, and with a new liberal prime minister the pressure to actually do something is off

  • Greg Smith

    I HAD A Swedish 6.5 X55 That had been sporterized. Mauser type action . What a great deer rifle .Accurate and one shot was all that was needed. Gave it to my brother in law ,his 1st rifle . Got a 4 point buck his first day out with his uncle . Lost track after my divorce but would love to have it back

    • Just say’n

      Um, wrong gun. The article has nothing to do with Swedish Mausers. “Gevær” is Danish for “rifle”, nearly the same as Swedish “Gevär” though. Greenland is governed (sort of) by Denmark.

  • iksnilol

    Maybe so that the stripper clip fits in more easily (think wearing mittens and whatnot)?

    • Ken

      The clip must be inside the notch in order for the cartridges to strip into the mag, mittens or not.

      I read somewhere that says it may be another indicator that the rifle is .30/06 and not .303, like the red stripe. Unlike the painted on stripe, you can feel that notch without looking at it. A lot of those rifles came from a Commonwealth country, so that’s a possibility. I guess we need to see if any of the Commonwealth countries did that notch.

      • iksnilol

        I was thinking a bigger notch so that the clip fits in more easily (think mag funnels on pistols).

        But yes, to put it mildly… OF COURSE THESE ARE .30/06 and not .303. Here in the North after WW2 everything was converted to .30/06. Most commonly Mausers. So it wouldn’t surprise me that Enfields were converted as well.

        • Ken

          No conversion needed. These are M1917 rifles, originally made in .30/06. The potential confusion was among Commonwealth forces that used P’14’s in .303 alongside Lend-Lease M1917’s.

          • Matt Wilder

            My old man owns an M1917 made by Remington. It’s still stock with the ladder peep, and chambered in 30-06, so practically same exact rifle these guys are using minus the “upgraded” notch sight. It’s a beautiful rifle. He originally bought it from my grandfather (my moms father, and also an FFL at the time) for $100 in the late 70’s-early 80’s, because my grandfather insisted that my dad have a “good sturdy rifle” to go hunting with him. However, he hates shooting it and prefers other choices now; me, I love it. So, it goes to me when he dies, even though it kind of already has.

            Funny thing is, growing up, my brother and I were warned that it wasn’t really any fun to shoot because of the miserable recoil associated with the round, and not helped any by it’s steel butt-plate. I finally got the cajones in my mid 20’s to shoot it for the first time. I subsequently put around 100 rounds downrange that day of old surplus we had to use up. My brother who was with me put another 50 or so, with us shooting at an old propane bottle at 350 yards. It has some pretty darn good accuracy. With a shooting jacket, recoil’s not that big of a deal and was fun; I’m even restricted from shooting “in the pocket” due to past lung surgeries, so it’s either far shoulder or none, and I’m quite a skinny guy.
            Overall, I dug it. But, I would have hated to be a soldier firing one all day long from a trench, day in and day out, make no mistake about it. However, it’s more than a capable rifle, and I never felt under-gunned carrying it in the woods of PA, nor do I here now in Florida.

          • FalconMoose

            Hear ya. Even with a pad it hurts. I dread sighting it every year…..but it IS a beauty.
            FL too.

        • Secundius

          The .30-06 is a Great Round, BUT so are the .303 and the 7.92×57

          • iksnilol

            What’s so great about 30-06 (at least in Scandinavia) is that it is waaay more common than .303 is.

            This is also why 8mm Mauser is superior to .303 (again, if in Scandinavia).

          • Secundius

            I’m Not Wearing my “Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring” or using My ENIGMA Deciphering System. Please Point Out the Word “Superior” in my Comment? As I Recall, I Said “Great” Round, as is the .303 and the 7.92×57…

          • iksnilol

            Oh no, you didn’t say that. I just voiced my opinion that in Norway the .30-06 is way better than .303 simply because the ammo is much more available.

            Honestly. I see no reason to go with any of the WW2 7 and 8mms over .308. That oughta grind some gears 😛

          • Secundius

            I Live in Northern Virginia, NOT Many Polar Bears or Bruins in the State. With the Exception of the Nearby ZOO’s. But Zoo Keepers have a “Dim View” of Me carrying my M1 Garand into the ZOO to Do a “Canned Shoot” on THEM or the Elephants too. When I Come to Think of It…

  • P161911

    Also worth mentioning is the handgun issued to the Sirius team, the Glock 20 in 10mm. Because the the standard 9mm Sig was found to be lacking on polar bears.

    • Ezra Bristow

      I remember being told this by a member of the patrol team (think it could be him in the middle) and thinking it was funny because they all look like they could punch out a polar bear without resorting to firearms.

  • Cannoneer No. 4

    How many Arctic Patrols are there and what rifles do they carry? Seems like this is the blog that could pull that all together

  • Phil Wong

    “(The .30-06 Springfield cartridge. The Sirius Patrol uses the standard 168-grain military round, and also civilian hollow-points. The patrolmen feel that the full metal jacket bullet on the military round is best against polar bears at long range, but, that the hollow-points are better against an enraged musk ox. Typically, the patrolmen arrange their stripper clips so every third round is a hollow-point.)”

    If the hollow-point rounds in question are heavy commercial hunting loads with JHP bullets weighing 200+gr. that are longer than the 168-173gr. FMJ bullets in mil-spec .30-06 rounds, it might indeed be necessary to cut a relief notch in the receiver of a mil-spec M1917 to accommodate loading the longer commercial JHP rounds via stripper clip (as opposed to loading individual rounds by hand).

    As far as the internal magazine box goes, IIRC the M1917’s is dimensioned generously enough that it can actually accept much longer cartridges than .30-06 M2 ball, which is why so many of them were converted into hunting rifles for African game.