Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Machine That Goes PING!

This is the Garand rifle that I bought from the CMP in 2008.

It is serial number 374XXXX, which puts its date of manufacture in April or May 1945 at the Springfield Armory.

The top number is the "heat lot" of the steel from which the receiver was made. The lower number is the drawing number and revision number, in this case revision #35. The discoloration at the rear of the lug may be due to a "lead bath draw" in which the receiver was immersed into a bath of molten lead to prevent cracking.

The bolt also is stamped with its drawing number and revision number, and below that, the heat lot of the steel.

This picture shows the operating rod. It does not have the "relief cut" found on post-WWII Garands. This is the "straight-cut, curved-side" version of the op-rod. I haven't been able to find a drawing number on it.

The trigger group is also marked with the drawing number and revision number. Note the "cloverleaf" hole in the lower right, between the trigger and the safety. Some of the trigger group parts are interchangable with the M-14/M1A. An extremely clever design! A lot of thought went into the trigger group and the results were spectacularly successful, especially for a mass-produced, "government contract" battle rifle made during wartime. Springfield Armory and Winchester made four million Garands during WWII, and at peak production, in January 1944, they were producing 4,500 rifles per day!

The stock doesn't have any markings or cartouches that I have been able to see. Even using Photoshop (well, GIMP, actually, 'cause I'm a Linux geek) to magnify and boost the contrast, I can't see any cartouches.

I have a copy of Scott Duff's book, The M1 Garand: World War II, and as far as I can see, this gun is as it left the factory in 1945. It doesn't appear to have been "armoried". All of the parts and their drawing numbers are contemporaneous to the date of the serial number. I haven't taken it down beyond field-stripping it, and perhaps there is some non-original part lurking somewhere deep inside it. The trigger group parts are often individually marked, but I'm not opening it up to find out! I have a Brownell's tool for assembly/disassembly of the bolt, but that's as far as I go in the "shade-tree gunsmith" department.

It shoots well, too. I haven't put more than 50 rounds through it since I bought it. I do need to sight it in. When I got it there was caked cosmoline on the front sight and I had to disassemble it to clean it, and that has thrown off the point of impact.

One of "liberty's teeth". I wonder if it nailed any of freedom's enemies; I wonder if it will again?


drjim said...

NICE rifle! I thought I remembered reading somewhere that the rifles selected for the CMP were about the best of the lots they had to work with.
Always wanted one.....

Turk Turon said...

Garands are still available from the CMP. Mine was about $700, as I recall. The CMP has a sterling reputation for customer service, too. The best part about buying a CMP rifle is that I am the first civilian owner of this particular rifle; nobody (except the gov't) has had a chance to bollix it up.

drjim said...

How many hoops do you have to jump through to get one from the CMP? I thought you had to be a member of an "approved" club or something....

Turk Turon said...

To qualify you must be a member of an "affiliated" club (VCDL in my case) AND you must have proof of an interest in firearms activities (in my case a C&R license). A couple of other items, like proof of residency and so forth. You send them Xeroxes of all that stuff with your order, and a check. And if you have a C&R they'll ship it direct to your door. Mine arrived by UPS Next Day Air exactly 28 days after I mailed my order. Adult signature required!

Carteach0 said...


Rabbit said...

That's a really nice Garand. My current one was built in April of '43. Amazingly, the Wife prefers shooting it to my AR.


Crucis said...

I bought my M1 through CMP several years before you. Mine was built in February 1943. From the cartouche, it was rebuilt at some point in the Rock Island Armory. It has all Springfield parts as best as I can determine.

It has been used and used hard. The wood is covered with dings and gouges and the barral at the crown has the rifling worn to that of a smoothbore. But, it does pass the go/no go gauge, barely.

I've zero'd mine at a 100yrds and from a rest, it will group in 6". I wonder if it'd be MOA if I could mount a scope. I'm pleased with mine. I've taken it deer hunting a few times but never had the opportunity to actually get a deer with it.

I bought several lots of .30-06 from CMP and have several hundred rounds in clips.

Best purchase I've ever made.

drjim said...

I'll look into getting one. I see they still have "Rack Grade" rifles without wood, which bummed me out at first, but then I saw they have brand new wood kits for them.
Might make a nice addition to my collection!