November 4, 2020
By Mike Burns
Share this post:
“She is a pretty good gun, I think.”
-John C. Garand
The M1 Garand is a semi-automatic rifle that was an integral weapon for soldiers during World War II and other major conflicts of the mid-20th century. Deriving its name from its inventor, John Garand, these rifles are still actively used and favored by many hunters, enthusiasts, and even various drill teams and honor guards today. We'll take a look at the variety offered within the genre at Rock Island Auction Company.
Harrington & Richardson (H&R) was a firearms manufacturer based out of New England founded in 1871. Its predecessor, the Wesson & Harrington Company was the conception of co-founders Frank Wesson (brother of Smith & Wesson co-founder Daniel B. Wesson) and Gilbert Henderson Harrington. Harrington would eventually buy out Wesson and partner with William Augustus Richardson, forming H&R.
H&R designed flare guns used throughout World War I, the Reising submachine gun used during World War II, as well as training rifles for the United States Marine Corps. Shortly after World War II, H&R received a contract to manufacture over 100,000 M1 Garand rifles for use during the Korean War.
Despite the rifles being completed only after the conflict was resolved, they were still kept for teaching purposes for H&R's inspection crews, as a way to show them in-person what they should be looking out for when checking the machining on the M1 Garand. While the company stopped production in 2015, many of the firearms made by the company shortly after World War II are still desirable to collectors because of their historical significance and low cost.
Manufactured at an unknown date, the receiver of this M1 Garand only bears 2 markings; the "D-6528291" drawing number on the right receiver leg and "BURRING/SAMPLE" on the receiver in lieu of the traditional manufacturer nomenclature suggesting the rifle was most likely used as an educational tool. All marked parts are original Harrington & Richardson manufactured, including the "6-55" dated barrel and iconic relief cut operating rod.
Estimated at $6,500-$9,500, this H&R M1 Garand is perfect for enthusiasts and collectors alike. As Bruce Canfield states in his Complete Guide to the M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine, “despite few distinctive variants, Harrington & Richardson M1 rifles are still interesting weapons and at least one example should reside in every Garand collection.”
Winchester is one of the most recognizable names in all of firearms. It produced the gun that “won the West,” powerful slide-action shotguns, and iconic lever actions. But what may come to a surprise to some enthusiasts is that Winchester was, for a period of time, a supplier of firearms to the U.S. military, a step outside the typical civilian products usually marketed.
From the late 1860s to the mid-20th century, Winchester produced a wide array of different government contract weapons like bolt-actions and carbines for use during major global conflicts such as World War I and II. Even though the M1 Garand was officially adopted by the U.S. army in 1936, Winchester did not begin major production on these rifles until contracted after the outbreak of World War II.
Manufactured in October of 1942, this Winchester M1 Garand features a blade front and peep rear sights, a marked operating rod, and an unmarked barrel. With a smooth pistol grip stock and a beautiful, rich wood body, this is another M1 rifle that should be on any Garand collector’s list of “must haves.”
Because of their limited production number as well as a general increase in demand for pre-1942 version, Winchester M1 Garands are extremely desirable. Estimated at $5,000-$7,500, buying this Winchester M1 Garand will enhance any military arms collecting.
Developed in 1944, the M1C was the first production-level sniper variant of the M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle. While highly effective as a sniper weapon, the manufacturing process proved too laborious and it was eventually phased out of production in favor of the M1D. Even though less than 8,000 were completed during WWII, these M1C rifles saw active use throughout the Korean and Vietnam Wars and less than 13,000 were produced in total.
This Springfield M1C Garand sniper rifle dates back to 1945 and is fitted with a “HRA 10-52” barrel. M1C rifles have a reputation of being notoriously hard to find as very few were released by the government. Estimated at $4,500 to 6,500, the M1C available during the December Premier Auction comes complete with photocopied CMP paperwork proving its authenticity as an M1C sniper rifle.
The M1D rifle was produced shortly after the end of World War II. Expanding on the success the M1C saw during the Korean War of the 1950s, the M1D sniper rifle was developed by converting pre-existing standard M1 Garands, saving money and resources in the manufacturing process.
While the M1C was initially preferred by officials during combat, the faster production process and ease of configuration made the M1Ds more practical, although none are believed to have seen active combat during World War II or the Korean War. After the 1950s, the M1D was the primary sniper rifle for the U.S, Army and saw heavy usage throughout the Vietnam War.
This particular M1D Garand is also a Winchester sniper variant of the M1 that is very uncommon because of the limited production number. Along with this piece are the recognizable features present on the rifle such as the Mildew Resistance Treatment (MRT) marked leather cheek pads, M84 scope, and an extremely desirable Hart M2 flash hider.
Authentic M1D sniper rifles are highly valuable because of their extended history as well as the oversaturation in the market of knock-offs; however, the markings, included accessories, and serial numbers confirm this rifle’s authenticity.
The Lend-Lease Act was a policy program enacted by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the early days of World War II that permitted the U.S. government to supply foreign nations with military aid. The Lend-Lease Act would give Britain the resources needed to continue fighting as the Allies were dealt a devastating blow once France fell to the Nazis. Despite an apathetic desire to become involved in the War, the U.S. contracted several companies to produce weapons for those countries deemed “vital to the defense of the United States.”
By 1941 the program was so successful that the United States expanded its policy to include other allies such as the Soviet Union and China, totaling over $50 billion in foreign aid. The economic ramifications and benefits secured the United States as the “arsenal of democracy” throughout the war and propelled the country into the forefront of the global economy.
This rifle was manufactured by Springfield Armory in June 1942 as one of only 38,001 M1 Garands bought by Great Britain between October 1941 and June 1942. Although most of the M1 rifles supplied to the British were never issued, a small numbers of them were utilized by British Commando battalions in North Africa and the Far East.
This rifle remains in un-altered 1942 configuration and the right side of the chamber is stamped with authentic British Birmingham proof marks applied when the rifle was exported from Britain back to the United States in the 1950s. Estimated at $3,500-$5,500, this rifle is a brilliant reflection of U.S. innovation and the economic boom of the following decades as a direct result.
While the M1 Garand has made its definitive mark on the battlefield, its inventor, John Garand, always envisioned that the rifle held serious potential as a match rifle. He stated, “I am confident that [the M1 rifle] is potentially as accurate as any service rifle ever made, and that with the same care that has been bestowed on the 1903 National Match rifles in the past, it can be made to give long-range accuracy that will excel that of any other military arm.”
The M1 went under various design changes and alterations by many different companies and manufacturers as an abundance of surplus models were readily available after World War II. Springfield Armory’s design utilized air gauges to determine the straightness of the barrel, lower bands for tighter fits, and carefully selected stocks without blemishes to ensure accuracy. The M1 National Match rifle expanded on earlier designs with the inclusion of a hooded rear sight and “NM” markings.
Buying this M1 Garand Type II National Match rifle would make any WW2 collector's day. The Type II National Match was assembled by Springfield Armory in 1962 with the serial number, "6084730," indicating the receiver was manufactured by Springfield Armory in April 1956. The right side of the chamber is stamped with the five-pointed star followed by "NM,” further adding to its authenticity.
The rifle has the distinctive 1962 Type II features which include a rear sight base marked "NM/2" on the right side, a hooded rear sight aperture, operating rods, marked gas cylinders, and more. Original, unaltered, examples of the high quality 1962 M1 Type II NM rifle are scarce. At $3,500-$5,500, this beautiful rifle from the legendary Allan Cors Collection can be yours during the December Premier Firearms Auction.
One of John Garand’s earliest designs for U.S. Military rifle trials was a primer-actuated prototype that paved the way for the famous M1 Garand Rifle. The standard military cartridges of the early 1920s used a flat indented primer that fit into a primer pocket that was struck by a forward-moving firing pin.
Garand designed a larger firing pin with a fixed firing pin tip in the center, as well as special ammunition containing a larger, unseated primer. Out of the 24 created, most were destroyed, making the surviving Model 1924 Garand rifles one of the scarcest collector guns on the market.
While this bonus addition is not a true M1 Garand, it is still very closely related and is one of the rarest and most desirable weapons from the Pacific Theater of World War II. The Japanese Type 5 semi-automatic rifle was developed by the Imperial Army and Navy as a response to the heavily armed American troops armed with highly effective M1 Garand. Resulting in the Type 5, this rifle was configured to take 7.7mm ammo but only about 125 of them were completed before the war ended making them incredibly desirable.
This particular Type 5 rifle comes from the collection of Colonel Walter D. Buie, a commanding officer in the 69thInfantry Division whose actions at the crossing of the Rhine River directly contributed to the conclusion to the war in Germany. Buie maintained an extensive and beautiful collection of European and Japanese firearms throughout his life, some of which still retained the original transport crates; this particular rifle comes with a hardwood crate addressed to Mrs. W.D. Buie, himself. A copy of the successful M1 Garand, this Type 5 is in incredible condition and is valued at $45,000-$65,000.
Rock Island Auction Company’s December Premier Firearms Auction is not something an avid M1 Garand collector will want to miss out on. Besides these incredible items detailed above, there is an extensive collection of other M1 Garands, equally as beautiful and available for sale along thousands of other firearms, weapons, and militaria from across the world. Join for an exciting weekend of rare, beautiful, and historic item that can be yours at Rock Island Auction Company’s December 4th-6th Premier Auction.
Rock Island Auction Company is always actively seeking consignments, if there are questions regarding this process, future gun auctions, or questions on anything else, please contact the specialists at Rock Island today.
Please login to post a comment.