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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is not an easy question... here goes

I am in the process of getting a M1 Garand. I have been told all Springfield except the trigger group (Winchester)
What areas to look at on one of these?
 

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Look at for what??

If for condition, you look for rust, pitting, damaged or oil-soaked soft wood, etc.
An M1's bore throat can be gauged to determine how much the barrel is worn, but that takes a special gauge few gunsmiths have.
The gas cylinder and piston head can be measured and gauged for size and out-of-round, but again some of that requires special instruments.

For whether it's "correct" or someone has tried to MAKE it correct by switching parts, that's something for an expert with all the drawing numbers.
 

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What areas to look at on one of these?
Inspect the toolmarks in oprod track. Use a magnifying glass if necessary. The tool marks should be consistent from one end to the other. If there's a smooth spot and the tool marks are in a different orientation on either side of the smooth spot it's probably a reweld that you don't want.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My FFL dealer called me last evening saying the gun has arrived. The next thing out of his mouth was "do you want to sell it?"
Hmmmm
 

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My FFL dealer called me last evening saying the gun has arrived. The next thing out of his mouth was "do you want to sell it?"
Hmmmm
That's a good sign! You must me chomping at the bit!
 

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First, remember, that prior to the 1960's all rebuild marks were stamped in the stock.
In the 1960's they started electro-penciling rebuild info on the right front receiver leg.

Because the rebuild marks in the old days were on the wood, if the stock was replaced or switched the marks no longer were valid.
There's often no good way to tell if the wood was ever replaced, but most M1's were put through official rebuild programs or given lower echelon repairs in which the stock was replaced or switched.
Also, new replacement stocks often had none of the standard markings applied to a rifle at the factory.

If the hand guards are replacement Birch, there's a pretty good probability the stock was replaced.

With that said:
On the left side of the stock just below the rear sight would be a square box stamp with three stars and an Eagle. This is a "National Defense" acceptance stamp as I recall.

On the lower front of the pistol grip would be the standard proof mark of a "P" in a circle.

Rebuild marks were on the left side of the butt stock.
Typical stamps would be "RRA" for Red River Arsenal", "SA" for Springfield Arsenal,"AA" for Augusta Arsenal, "RIA" for Rock Island Arsenal, or any number of Government arsenals that ran official rebuild programs.
If the rifle was rebuilt more than once, the next rebuild mark would be be below??? (not sure about below or above) the first rebuild mark.

Any painted letters or numbers on the butt are "rack numbers" used to make it faster for a rifle to be found by it's user. Instead of squinting at a serial number, he could just grab the right rifle by the larger painted numbers.

Any serial numbers stamped in the stock are proof positive the rifle was given to a foreign Allie.
Stamping serial numbers in the Wood is strictly a foreign "thing". America never stamped serial numbers in the wood of M1 rifles.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OK .... I give. There is way more to the M1 thing than I will ever get

I am going to post some pics and humbly ask for opinions !
 

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dfariswheel,

SOME numbers, which may LOOK like (and in some cases MAY be!) serial numbers, are markings done by various US LE groups. (you are correct. the US Military never serial numbered stocks.)= for example, when i worked in the early 70s for the NOPCSO, we had MANY "serial numbered" M1 Garands.
(in the arms room under the Old Parish Prison main office. - through a HEAVY wood trap door & then down a ladder, if you can believe that! = i used to "get stuck with" cleaning the Model 12 Winchester shotguns, Garands, M1 Carbines & the "as new" TSGs.)


as best as i can remember, ALL of the garands HAD a NUMBER stamped into the wood on the right side of the stock, about midway down the "cheek weld" area.
SOME of those serial numbers were the RIFLE's receiver serial number & some were Parish-assigned "acceptance" or "inventory" numbers.
(as far as i could ever determine, there was NO SYSTEM WHATEVER to whether the individial rifle got a receiver serial number or "something else" stamped on the stock.

yours, sw
 

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I probably should have been more clear: The US Military didn't stamp serial numbers in the stock.

Foreign governments we gave rifles to did and it's common to see American law enforcement firearms with either serial numbers or department issue numbers on them.
 

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The Finnish return M1 I bought from CMP had the serial number stamped in the stock.
 

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M1 Garand Markings

Dfariswheel is spot on. Let me add a few notes from my experience.

Ordnance Corps doctrine and SOPs changed a couple of times over the issue life of the M1 Garand.

Unlike many European manufacturers and countries (German weapons as an example) the US military only stamped serial numbers to the receiver of its weapons.

Stock stampings in WWII generally consisted of a circle "P" at the base of the pistol grip and rebuild markings on the left side of the stock below the action or rear sight. The rebuild markings generally consisted of the arsenal where the rebuild took place and the initials of the chief ordnance inspector at the facility. I just saw a 1917 US Enfield at the Lacey, Washington Cabellas store that had the rectangle Ogden (Utah) ordnance stamp with Elmer Kieth's initials. Ie. OGEK in a rectangle below the bolt release/ejector housing.

Many of the number lines found on M1 Garand parts are the draw or line number for that part. This is most often noticed on the oprod forward of the charging handle and the trigger houseing on the left side.

Barrels will be marked with the manufacturer's initial and date. Ie. SA for Springfield Armory, W for Winchester, LMR for barrels intended for the International Harvester M1s of Korean War manufacture. The date of manufacture will follow the Mfgr initial, ie. W 44. On the M1 Garand, these stamps are located under the oprod on the right side of the barrel. On the 1903, 1917 and M1 Carbine, these stamps are behind the front sight on top of the barrel.

Post WWII stock stampings changed to an Ordnance Eagle (National Defense Mark) which is sometimes seen on M1 Garands and M1 Carbines.

Keep in mind that when US rifles were rebuilt, they could end up with any number of manufacturer's parts. It's not uncommon to see a Winchester M1 with an LMR barrel, SA marked trigger housing and either WWII walnut or post WWII birch wood stocks.

The study of the line number drawings of the various M1 Garand parts is a field of study unto itself and there are more than a few chapters of M1 Garand books devoted to the topic.
 

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Jaeger,

fwiw, when i was "permanent party" at USAMPS, we tried hard (and failed) to find an ORIGINAL garand in pristine condition for the MP Museum. - i came to the conclusion that finding a M-1, that hadn't been rebuilt at least once, was a lost cause.

the garand in the display is a RRAD rebuild with a GREAT-looking stock & all matching major parts.

yours, sw
 

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Not sure what you’re looking for, collector stuff, or shooters stuff. If you’re a collector, then you need to pick up some of the better books, or go to the appropriate web sites. I’m not a collector, I’m a shooter. Since you already have the rifle, here’s all you need to know: TAKE IT OUT AND SHOOT IT!!

That will tell you what you really need to know. If there is anything seriously wrong with the gas piston or gas cylinder, that will be immediately apparent. If the throat is severely worn then the gun may or may not shoot badly; sometimes they still shoot very well with well worn throats. If she works well, but doesn’t shoot all that well, then first check to make sure the front and rear sights are secure and don’t wiggle. I’ve seen a few that had loose fitting gas cylinders that allowed the front sight to wiggle a bit; easy fix. Next the barrel crown. If she still shoots bad, then you may require a re-barrel, which will run you a few hundred dollars, but it’s well worth it. Again, this is all for the man who’s a shooter, not a collector. If you’re a collector and having everything right is important to you, then you’ll have to track down all the parts and find a correct barrel that’s in good condition.

Oh, and I’m assuming you know that you have to shoot military grade ’06 ammo, not commercial ’06. Feed it right, and let the shooting determine what needs to be done.
 

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Fixing and Shooting M1s

You might also check with the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP, formerly the DCM) web site (a quick Google should find it). They often have parts for M1 Garands for sale. In the past, they have also sold M2 Ball ammo. Over the years the DCM/CMP has sold Carbines, 1903 Springfields, 1911A1s and M1 Garands. It is a congressionally mandated program administered by the US Army to promote marksmanship.

Also check for the closest rifle club in your area that hosts CMP rifle matches which should be listed at the CMP web site. They normally shoot the National Match Course of fire with service rifles. While the M1 is still used in these matches, the match grade AR-15 rifles now rule the roost, but shooting an M1, M1a or AR-15 is a fun way to spend the day. CMP Clubs will often provide competetors with M2 Ball ammo or M80 (7.62 NATO) Ball as part of their entry fee.

If you like to shoot, there is no better way to do it with your new M1. The course of fire is usually 10 rounds standing at 200 yards, 10 rounds sitting rapid fire (2 and 8 in 60 seconds) at 200 yards, 10 rounds rapid fire (2 and 8 in 70 seconds) at 300 yards prone position, and finally 20 rounds prone slowfire (1 minute per round) at 500 or 600 yards depending on the facilities at the rifle range. Ranges that only have a 100 yard distance will shoot the reduced course which is the same course of fire, but with target sizes reduced to simulate their apperance at 200, 300 and 600 yards at 100 yards. Most soldiers and marines that used the M1 in WWII and Korea learned their skill on similar courses of fire, so once mastered, you will have a much closer kinship with your M1 and its role in history.

As Stand Watie noted above, most collectors soon find that there are virtually no un-rebuilt M1 Garands extant, but many aficionados will go to great lengths to obtain the proper parts with the proper draw numbers to rebuild their rifles to an original condition. At one time, the DCM warehouse at the old Anniston Army Arsenal in Alabama would rebuild an M1 to original specifications if the rifle had been purchased through the DCM (now CMP). I think they suspended the service in the mid 90s.

One note about reloading to duplicate the M2 Ball load. As alluded to by Kevin when using commercial ammo, use IMR 4895 or an equivalent rate of burn powder. The gas system of an M1 lets a lot of gas in and if you use a slow burning powder, its peak pressure will be too close to the gas port near the muzzle and can potentially bend the oprod. The gas system on the M1 evolved from an original gas trap system, so don't stress it with a slow burning powder such as IMR 4831. This will probably mean a lower velocity than you might achieve in a bolt action rifle, but your M1 will last a lot longer. One of the big improvements to the M1's replacement, the M14, was an improved gas piston assembly that self vents when actuated and releases high pressure shortly after the piston starts its reward movement. That and its shorter, stiffer design precluded the oprod bend that can befall an M1 using improper or slow burning powder.

A quick aside for Stand Waitie: When I shot on the 5th Army Rifle Team, we used to practice a couple of times a year at Camp Bullis, not too far from your location in San Antonio. They have a great KD range there and one can shoot in matches out to a thousand yards there. It's a wonderful place to shoot and I'd bet my lunch money that you can enter CMP matches there on several weekends in the spring and summer.
 

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I hope you are right about the Korean M1s Phantom. I have heard that rumor for years, it seems like the Obama administration put the kibosh on that deal a while back. But maybe I disremember. I noticed in an earlier post in this thread I said I got a Finnish M1 from CMP, actually it was one of the Danish returns.
 

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"...they currently sell for about $220."

WHERE?!!

:p
 
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