Model 1917

Model of 1917 (FliegerGewehr 1917)

1917-1Serial# 1185

Note# FliegerGewehr Model 1917 is the Swiss designation for the modified Model 1908 Mondragon rifle.


The Swiss version has a 12-round, easily detachable magazine.  Although the magazine looks bigger than the internal magazine you might  think it should hold at least 20-rounds, it actually holds 12-rounds of 7.5mm (13 if you force the last one). The Swiss used a very narrow double stack  magazine.

The LH picture  shows the number of cartridges I was able to feed into the magazine. The Swiss used their own cartridge, the GP11, we know it as the 7.5 x 55 Swiss.

The RH picture shows how many rounds are visible through the holes in the magazine.

The last two digits of the rifle serial number are stenciled on the magazine well and magazine.

Mounted on the wood, far right picture above, are the mounts for the “brass catcher cage”, they are NOT sniper scope mounts.)

The strange cage device above the chamber is for catching the ejected brass casings of fired rounds. It’s not that the Swiss have an aversion to wartime littering, it is to prevent the brass from impacting the wooden propeller on an aft mounted aircraft engine.


The Swiss conversion also modified the gas system to “gas only” but did not modify the charging handle. The soldier can still charge the weapon by disconnecting the bolt from the return spring.


This rifle is a Swiss modification that has stumped me. The rifle is located in a museum in Switzerland. There is an additional lever above the trigger guard and the rifle appears to have an even bigger magazine. The description on the placard says “self-loading”.

This one has a modified charging handle and what appears to be aircraft sights on the front, similar to Japanese rifles of WWII.

Specification Sheet for the Model 1917

Country of Design: Mexico

Designer: Manuel Mondragon

For trials use by: Switzerland


  • Caliber: 7.5×55 Swiss (GP11)
  • Type of reloading mechanism: Semi-automatic, gas operated
  • Magazine capacity: 12 rounds (Removable magazine inserted from underneath into magazine well)


  • Quantity: Converted approximately 50, for trials only
  • Years made: 1917
  • Manufacturer: Swiss Industrial Company (SIG), Neuhausen, Switzerland
  • Entered service: Trials only for the Army and Air Force.  The Army had the bipod, and the Air Force version had the caged brass catcher.


  • Weight: 9lbs 12 oz
  • Barrel length: 25 inches
  • Total length: 45.5 inches
  • Sights: 400-2000
  • Serial Number Range: Most appear to be in the 1100 range

Known examples………………………………………….8

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