Monday, December 29, 2014

A Tale Of Two Garands (Part 2)

Back in October, this latest obsession began with this post:

Twins!

Actually it began when a CMP forum member named "fatbrewer" contacted me about an M1 Garand that I'd registered at USriflecal30m1.com. He wrote me because he had the adjacent serial-numbered receiver to the one the I'd registered. We talked, and not long afterwards, stripped receiver, serial number 1665009 came here to join complete rifle, serial number 1665008 and I began the process of rebuilding it into a complete rifle again.
A check with the CMP down at Anniston, Alabama confirmed that my rifle, 5008, was one of the ones returned to the US Government from Denmark a few years ago. This I knew, as I bought it from the CMP at the National Matches about a decade ago. 5009, per their records, was returned to them by the US Army in 2004, condition unknown. Obviously it was in pretty poor shape, as it either came as an incomplete rifle or it was so worn/damaged that it was broken up, with the receiver ultimately being refinished and sold as a stripped piece. So at some time after June of 1943 when these two left the government arsenal at Springfield Armory, these rifles parted company with each other. all that's really known is that 5008 was sent to Denmark as foreign aid sometime after World War Two, while 5009 remained in US Army custody. Eventually both wound up back at the CMP, and for the first time in 71 years, they're together again, this time on my rifle rack, following the completion of 5009's restoration.

5008 sports a newish Danish "VAR" barrel made back in 1966 that measured a throat erosion (TE) of 1 and a Muzzle Wear (MW) of 0, essentially unworn.
This would have been put on to replace it's previous barrel, which was likely worn out by shooting, cleaning with steel rods, or a combination of both. The new barrel shot well, and I brought a silver medal home from the John C. Garand match with it just a couple of hours after I bought it.

5009 now sports a brand new Springfield Armory barrel dated September, 1951, which I purchased still in it's factory greasepaper wrapping.

I then sent the receiver, the barrel and the bolt back down to the CMP custom shop at Anniston, and they mounted and timed the barrel and headspaced it to this -12SA bolt that I had in my spare parts box.

5008 had this old "PB" (Pietro Beretta) manufactured bolt when it came home. Beretta of Italy made Garands under license for a while and made lots of spare parts for countries like Denmark.
Both now have late-model "humpback" gas cylinder locks on their business ends, and both locks are also marked "BMB" (Breda of Italy). In the case of 5008, it got that in Denmark. In 5009's case, it was just what I had in the parts box.
Fortunately, despite my not opening that Garand parts box for many years, it still contained every part needed to build a Garand except for an operating rod catch assembly and a front sight post. I got busy on-line and found those, and ordered multiples of each so that next time I need to build a Garand from parts--or just fix one--I won't be caught short.

Looking at the actions, 5008 (top) has a milled trigger guard now. That would not have been factory original, as they didn't start appearing on Springfield Armory rifles until mid-1944. (Note also the tape on the guard certifying that an armorer at the National Matches checked the trigger prior to the match.)
5009 (lower) had the "older" milled trigger guard that both would have had when new. Again, luck of the draw, as it's just what I had in the box.
As you can see here, 5008 also has a Danish beechwood replacement stock, while 5009 has a proper American walnut stock.

The rifles both look and feel great, and all that remains now it to take 5009 out to the range, weather permitting, to see what it'll do. Hopefully it shoots as well as 5008 does.


Once fired and cleaned, 5009 will have a home here with it's old rack-mate for the duration. But as long as I have them both, as per gentlemen's agreement, there will always be a note in my gun log specifying that fatbrewer gets first dibs on the pair of them should I or my next of kin ever decide to sell them. That's only fair.

8 comments:

  1. That's great, and a nice gesture also!

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  2. Very sweet. Could you do some more pics of the two please?

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    Replies
    1. Sure. What would you like to see, particularly?

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  3. Very nice! I'm in awe.

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  4. Thanks for the link
    I found out my M1 (316XXXX) was made in Aug 1944 by SA
    Got from the DCM a few years back

    Kerry in Carefree AZ

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