Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1591: Johnson 1941 Semi-Automatic Rifle with U.S.M.C. Modified Sights

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

World War II Johnson Model 1941 Semi-Automatic Rifle with U.S.M.C. 1st Parachute Regiment Attributed Modified Sights

Estimated Price: $8,500 - $13,000

World War II Johnson Model 1941 Semi-Automatic Rifle with U.S.M.C. 1st Parachute Regiment Attributed Modified Sights

Manufacturer: Johnson Automatics MFG Co
Model: 1941
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 30-06 Springfield
Barrel: 22 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 789
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 302
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun
Description:

This Johnson Model 1941 rifle has U.S. Marine Corps attributed modifications performed to the sights in which the front sight has had its protective ears removed, and a large modified open V notch cut has been performed on the rear sight which was originally a closed peep; both of which are attributed as work performed by the 1st Parachute Regiment as a means of making the sight picture similar to the M1903 Springfield rifle then in service and also to improve visibility in low light conditions. Only approximately 750 Johnson Model 1941 rifles are said to have been procured by the Marines in total, and most, if not all, of the Marine issued examples would have seen hard use in the most important battles of the World War II Pacific Theater with very few known surviving Marine issued examples today; with these sight modifications considered to be a possible tell-tale feature linking a rifle to being a Marine issued example. Information and related pictures of the modified sights on these U.S.M.C. attributed Johnson M1941 rifles can be found on pages 140-144 of the book "Johnson's Rifles and Machine Guns" by Bruce Canfield in which it states on page 143, "It should be noted that many, if not most, of the USMC Johnson rifles actually issued to the 1st Parachute Regiment had the protective 'ears' removed from the front sight." The 1st Marine Parachute Regiment is known to have participated in a parachute drop into France as part of an OSS team to support the French Resistance. The 1st Marine Parachute Regiment is famously known for participating in the Guadalcanal campaign (August 7th, 1942-February 9th, 1943) in the Pacific theater of World War II. On August 7th, 1942, the 1st Marine Parachute Regiment conducted an amphibious assault on the island of Gavutu, later seizing the island of Tanambogo with other Marine units. In the writing "Silk Chutes and Hard Fighting: U.S. Marine Corp Parachute Units in World War II" by Lieutenant Colonel Jon T. Hoffman, it recalls the amphibious assault on Gavutu in which it states on page 19, "Platoon Sergeant Harry M. Tully used his marksmanship skill and Johnson rifle to pick off a number of Japanese snipers." The 1st Parachute Regiment fought alongside the 1st Marine Raiders in the Tasimboko Raid and the Battle of Edson's Ridge between September 12th-14th, 1942. The 1st Parachute Regiment was involved in the Bougainville campaign, with initial landings on November 1st, 1943 and several ensuing tough fought battles against the Japanese forces. This example is wearing serial number "5487" on top of the receiver and the bolt is numbered "5904" (numbered components on Johnson rifles did not match). The face of the barrel collar is stamped with the caliber ".30 06" above the barrel and "41" below it. The top of the receiver is roll-stamped: "CAL. 30-'06 SEMI-AUTO./"JOHNSON AUTOMATICS"/MODEL OF 1941/MADE IN PROVIDENCE, R.I., U.S.A." in four lines above the serial number. The patent markings are stamped in five lines between the factory legend and the rear sight. "CRANSTON/ARMS /CO." is stamped in an inverted triangle on the right rear of the receiver below a five-pointed Dutch star as commonly seen on Johnson rifles, as they would have been transferred from the Netherlands Purchasing Commission to Johnson Automatics, Inc. before being delivered to the Marines.

Rating Definition:

Very fine, retaining 80% original parkerized finish with scattered moderate freckling overall. Wood is also fine with scattered light scratches, a re-glued sectioned behind the forearm screw, small chips around the edge of the grip, and a few scattered scuffs. Mechanically excellent. As a Johnson semi-automatic rifle with U.S.M.C. attributed modifications and the desirable slightly "salty" look indicative of Marine use in the Pacific Theater of World War II, this would make an excellent addition to any U.S. Military arms collection!



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