A descendant of the British Pattern '14 and the U.S. 1917 Enfield Rifle, the Model 720 had a short tenure as a commercial weapon, introduced in 1941 but rapidly sidelined to free resources for military contract 1903 and 1903A3 production. Of approximately 2,500 actually made, about 1,000 were procured by the Navy and kept in reserve. The circumstances of war and rising availability of the M1 Garand meant these were never tapped for field use, and they would sit at the USN's Crane Depot until 1963, when a USMC marksmanship officer proposed using them as competitive trophies in lieu of destroying them as surplus. Starting in 1964 they were assigned to the Navy and Marines to dispense as awards for performance at Camp Perry and other prestigious shooting events, traditionally bearing an inscription appropriate to the event on the floorplate. This one is inscribed "SECRETARY OF THE NAVY TROPHY/ALL-NAVY CLAY PIDGEON(sic)/CHAMPION 1971". Ramp blade front and semi-buckhorn rear sights, with the barrel dated "OL" (July 1942) and standard markings on the barrel and receiver. The top of the receiver bridge has a single untapped vent hole, with a pair of drilled and tapped peep sight holes on the right side. The underside of the bolt is numbered to match the receiver. The stock has a checkered forearm and pistol grip, with the "crossed cannon" and "FJA" acceptance stamps on the left side of the buttstock, sling swivels, and a checkered steel Remington buttplate. The original hand-numbered matching Remington box is included, which has the note "Calhoun/ASC/LANT FLT" on the lid; while not explicitly documented, this would identify a Chief Petty Officer (Aviation Support Equipment) Calhoun with the Atlantic Fleet of the United States Navy, though they have not been specifically identified, nor are they confirmed as the recipient of this rifle. Provenance: The George Moller Collection
Excellent, with 98% plus original blue finish, showing some minor handling marks and high edge wear overall. The original markings are all clear, and the Navy Trophy inscription is clean and bright. The stock is also excellent, with some scuffing and dings; the wear is mainly of a cosmetic nature. The box is in very good condition for age and use, with evidence of retaping and mild wear. Mechanically excellent.
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