Next we turned
our attention to the second shipping box and as expected inside we found an older
M1 garand rifle... mine. As we examined the the 1941-built rifle for the first
time we noted that it was in 'well-used' shape.
stock in particular had a lot of 'character'. There were a number of little dings
nearly covering the wood. Of particular note we saw some very noticeable chipping
at the base of the buttstock. The handgrips also had a number of dents and indentations.
The pistol grip had a small hairline crack beginning to form around a tiny knot.
As was the case with the other rifle the grips matched very nicely.
is evident at the wrist of the 1941 M1 Garand.
addition we noted numerous brass 'pins' in the wood which we later learned were
placed to reinforce the stock of the older Garand. (I note that in a reproduction
of A War Department Technical Manual [TM9-1275] that it was common practice to
do this pinning by placing small brass screws and then filing the heads off.)
For more details and pictures go to the Our Garands
total of 8 pins were used in reinforcing the stock of this M1 Rifle
the older stock lacked in beauty it sure did make up in history.
were three distinct purposeful markings on the M1 Garand stock. The first intentional
marking is on the pistol grip - a P in a circle. This is a proofer's mark. It
almost looks like this was struck twice one on top of the other. We also noted
a worn number '43' painted in white on the buttstock. This was the rifle's rack
number. Another mark reads 'SA' and is in a square box. This is a Springfield
Armory cartouche. The final mark is an RIA-EB mark. I have it on good authority
that this is a rebuild mark for the Rock Island Armory.
metal finish on the older M1 Garand was pretty worn as well. This was to be expected
however and in my eyes it doesn't detract much from the look of the rifle. It
is evenly worn that's for sure. But this rifle has been through a lot and in some
ways the wear is a badge of honor. If this rifle could only talk I am sure it
would have an interesting story...
there was a real disappointment however, it was with the barrel's bore at the
muzzle. Upon inspection it was plain to see that the rifling for the first 2 or
three inches was badly worn down.. almost smooth. I expect this was probably from
years of cleaning rods that were not carefully handled. Though this was the original
barrel the fact is that it probably wouldn't have shot for groups worth a darn...
Despite the rather rough exterior looks of
the 1941 M1 garand rifle, we were initially genuinely pleased with what we received.
As noted before, we made 2 special requests: 1) That one Garand was a WWII rifle.
2) The the other was a 'shooter' and from either the Springfield or Winchester
Makers. Well we got exactly what we asked for. Both rifles were Springfields.
can see a large number of photographs and in depth descriptions of the rifles
themselves on my Our Garands
Now it was time to
show off a little.
be expected I drafted a quickie web-page about our rifles and invited my friends
from the online Garand forums to come have a look. (Hey even us big kids like
to show off our new 'toys'.) What I did not expect was that CMP folks would be
actively in on it too.
At that time
I wrote the following in response to one of the notes I had received:
"I have been asked if I am disappointed in the older
one. As noted before: Would I have liked to see a perfect bore? Of course. Would
I like to have a little better stock? Sure... as long as all the markings were
still there. But am I sad? No. This is 'my' rifle. There are many like it but
this one is mine."
"While it is true that
some people would look on 'my' rifle as being a bit beat up, and I can not argue
with them on one level for that, on another level it is also a piece of timeless
history. The weapon was made just before WWII opened. It was one of the first
251 thousand ever built. Well over 6 million M1Garand's were produced. As such,
this rifle almost certainly played some role (however minor it may have been)
in the war in which a truly great generation of Americans literally saved the
"I have no idea if this rifle was
used to train men who would one day end up in the Ardennes. I don't know if it
was sent to some remote place to stand watch with a shivering soldier in the Aleutians.
It is possible that this weapon made its way into combat and helped to secure
some long forgotten atoll in the pacific. Maybe it was just a demo weapon used
by some grizzled old DI to show the 'kids' how a rifle worked. But no matter what
its role, it did its tiny little part to save America, our constitution, and our
way of life."
"The bottom line is that I
only wish that I could have found a diary in the buttstock the way we found a
cleaning kit in my father's. If this rifle could only talk..."
I had no sooner posted my webpage link when one of the CMP Volunteers wrote me
and congratulated me on the rifles. He also noted that they do not usually send
the rifles out with 'pinned' stocks. A couple of notes were exchanged and to make
a long story short, before I knew what had happened he had arranged for the CMP
to send me a new M1 Garand Rifle Stock... at no charge.
sent this new stock within 48 hours.
stock arrived in two days. What was even more impressive was that they let me
keep the old one too!
did continue to nip around the corners of my full satisfaction and that was the
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June 16, 2007
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