1917 to 1919a4 conversion semi
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Thread: 1917 to 1919a4 conversion semi

  1. #1

    1917 to 1919a4 conversion semi

    When I got into this some things weren't too well known, at least not to me, perhaps some others as well. Anyhow, when I put my first parts kit together, it came out a bit wonky. The receiver wasn't 100% square, and it looked like one sideplate was taller than the other. I chalked this up to the Ohio Rapid Fire plate that I used and moved on with my life. Come to find out years later, my kit was a 1917 that had been converted to a 1919a4 at some point, where it had gotten a new bottom plate, and had its trunnion swapped out. Since the earlier sideplate was dovetailed, it required a different bottom plate, one with a shallower groove, marked D35392MP-RIA. So that's why my gun went together weird. It shoots just fine, 100% reliable.

    Anyhow, I have a 1917 sideplate with the dovetail, with what I believe is the original top plate, the 1919 sideplate, and the RIA conversion bottom plate. Is it worth messing with this thing further? I guess it could be used for a 1917a1 conversion build, but I'd need to weld up the holes in the sideplate and so on. It would be a lot of work and I'm just not sure that its worth the effort when I presently have a great shooter. Thoughts?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Diamond, IL
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    4,886
    Which holes are you talking about welding up? You could make it work by milling off the bottom of the new semi right side plate to make it the same height as the converted plate. Some one out there would like to make a "period" 17 To 17A1 or 1919 BMG.
    "Fat's all right as long as its not from the neck up" Major General Hunter Liggett circa 1919"
    Looking for sympathy, it's in the dictionary, right between SHIT and SYPHILIS" ...... Tom Jisa.... (My father-in-law) circa 1965.. or, if you prefer the more classical......Manus haec inimica tyrannis Einse petit placidam cum liberate quitem. (This hand, enemy to tyrants, By the sword seeks calm peacefulness with liberty)... Algernon Sidney.. (British patriot) circa 1665...

  4. #3
    I'm talking about welding the 1919a4 sight bracket holes up. I'd also need to weld up the Israeli hole up front. This can be done, I guess, but the parking may not match perfectly. However, I've seen it done. If I messed with it, I'd get a correctly profiled side plate with fake dovetails, or I'd just grind this one shorter, although I'd need to fill in the bottom plate rivet holes and then redrill them once the plate was ground shorter.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Ohio
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    Dont weld the holes. Fill them with rivets. The results will be far better. If you can re-use original USGI rivets from demils, even better as the color on those tends to match better when parked on the LSP's over new rivets. Have successfully filled the israeli safety bar hole on a number of plates that way with far better result than welding.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    2,663
    Concur. Sam Alvarez welded my extra Izzy hole and it does not match. He admitted that riveting and perhaps welding from the inside was the better way to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by greaser View Post
    Dont weld the holes. Fill them with rivets. The results will be far better. If you can re-use original USGI rivets from demils, even better as the color on those tends to match better when parked on the LSP's over new rivets. Have successfully filled the israeli safety bar hole on a number of plates that way with far better result than welding.
    Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.”
    ? Douglas MacArthur

  8. #6
    A welder friend of mine did some really nice work, welds that I truly can't see. I don't know if he just got lucky and picked the right rod, or was good with the temperature. No idea. But yea, it's a risky route, and it has a chance of getting ugly. Rivets may be the better choice. My memory is that the side plate may be a Westinghouse? I seem to remember that it had marking on the interior. This is entertaining, as I actually have the rear half of a 1917 to 1919a4 conversion side plate, all markings intact, which would have been pretty much correct to this kit, though I bought them years apart. I can say that when I got the kit, the left plate was still riveted to the bottom plate, so it's original GI work, and the top plate matched in terms of corresponding dings and scratches, so it's original to the gun as well. Hmm.

  9. #7
    I have rivetted in many of the holes on these sideplates converting Izzy modified guns backbto look GI. It is the better way to go. The heat of welding raises the carbon to the surface which causes the park to take a different appearance from the rest of the plate. Let me know which direction you think you intend to go with this and if I can help with details let me know.
    A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.
    -Thomas Jefferson

  10. #8
    Rivets seem like the go to. I'm following, carbon in the steel and so forth. Those must be some huge rivets to fill the front hole in.

    Here is the sideplate like the one that would have originally been on this gun. In a perfect world, I would find someone who could graft this original rear onto 70% or so of a semi front, preserving the markings, but I don't know if anyone has attempted that. Anyone heard of such a thing? Barring that, I'm considering letting the thing sit as it is. By the time I get to cutting it apart and playing with it, I'm not sure that it'll be worth my time.





  11. #9
    Thats a nicely marked chunk. The chunk I have last configuration was A4 E1 so I have a few extra marks. Yours was an Israeli gun hence the mark left above.

    You convert them because it makes you happy, not necessarily because it improves the value.
    A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.
    -Thomas Jefferson

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