Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 442: Prototype Springfield 1924 Primer Garand Semi-Automatic Rifle

Auction Date: September 10, 2021

Historic and Incredibly Rare Serial Number 2 Experimental U.S. Springfield Model 1924 Garand Primer-Actuated Prototype Semi-Automatic Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $85,000 - $130,000

Historic and Incredibly Rare Serial Number 2 Experimental U.S. Springfield Model 1924 Garand Primer-Actuated Prototype Semi-Automatic Rifle

Manufacturer: Springfield Armory U.S.
Model: 1924
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 30-06 Springfield
Barrel: 21 1/4 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 5636
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 315
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun

This is an extremely rare example of an early experimental prototype Model 1924 primer-actuated Garand semi-automatic (or auto-loading) rifle, one of only 24 manufactured at Springfield Armory (serial numbered 1-24) in three different barrel lengths, and sent to U.S. infantry and cavalry units for field trials against the prototype Model 1923 Thompson auto-loading rifle. The face of the bolt has a centrally located concave dome with a fixed firing pin in the center intended for use with special .30-06 ammunition with a large convex primer pocket on the back. When the rifle is fired, the resulting internal pressure forces the primer of the cartridge rearward 2-3 thousandths (called primer set-back), which forces the domed firing pin rearward slightly (like a tappet) to assist/start to unlock the bolt, which extracts the spent case and continues to travel rearward, ejecting the case at the end of travel before grabbing the next live round on it's way back forward under spring pressure, ready to fire again at the pull of a trigger. Unlike John Garands earlier model 1919 and 1920 prototypes with turning bolt design, this Model 1924 uses a non-rotating tipping bolt design with a lug on the bottom rear of the bolt that locks up into the bottom of the receiver, which originated in his Model 1921 that came before this. In looking at this design, it seems rather complex in comparison to everything after, but when compared with other contenders of the time, it was known to work satisfactorily. The design proved to be completely successful, able to fire approximately 100 rounds in succession without any stoppages. However, as early as 1925 the Army decided to "improve" the current service cartridge and adopted the new .30 M1 Ball with quicker burning IMR powder and a 174 grain bullet as the standard rifle ammunition in lieu of the old .30 Model of 1906 with slower burning Pyro double graphited powder and a 150 grain bullet. The new standard ammunition switched to using IMR (Improved Military Rifle) powder with "progressive burning," now with a pressure curve completely different from the previous quick-burning Pyro double-graphited powder. In turn, the new .30 M1 ammunition did not work favorably with this primer-operated system which was calibrated for use specifically with the Pyro D.G. powder. Consequently, Garand completely abandoned further work on primer-actuated rifles and began work on what later became the final M1 Garand rifle design, with very few surviving examples of these Model 1924 rifles residing in government museums today. "GARAND/AUTO. LOADING/RIFLE" marked on top of the front receiver ring and "US/SPFLD. ARMORY/8-23. NO 2." on top of the back receiver ring. Blade front sight, Lyman rear sight, and an internal staggered magazine with leather inserts inside for lubrication of the rounds. Matching number "2" marked on the underside of the Lyman rear sight and on the inside track of its sight base. The barrel, front sight and barrel bands are all similar to the Model 1903 rifle as intended. Walnut stock with a full length forend, top handguard, and a separate pistol gripped buttstock. This is an incredibly rare and uniquely designed rifle, serving as an important piece in the direct lineage of what became the officially adopted and well-known M1 Garand rifle. Information on the Model 1924 primer Garand rifles can be found in Bruce Canfield’s “The M1 Garand Rifle” on pages 53-56, Billy Pyle’s “The Gas Trap Garand” on pages 37-39, and Major General Julian Hatcher’s “The Book of the Garand” on page 68 and 72-76. Includes a 1917 dated M1907 leather sling, and oiler/cleaning tool inside the butt compartment.

Rating Definition:

Exceptionally fine, retaining 85% plus attractive original blue finish with some light muzzle wear. The floorplate retains traces of faded original blue finish with smooth gray/brown patina on the balance, likely caused from period sling and palm wear during use. Stock is very fine as re-oiled with some light dents and handling marks, a small repaired section underneath the pistol grip, and a 4" x 2" spliced in section on the left of the buttstock. Mechanically excellent. With most of the original 24 examples likely destroyed after trials and the few surviving examples residing in government museums, this is an incredibly rare opportunity to acquire this historically significant rifle, a direct predecessor in the lineage of what became the final M1 Garand rifle!

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