Guns

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US M1 Garand Type 2 National Match

I won't even begin to pretend I know about Garands. Instead, start here. This particular rifle is either a very carefully assembled replica, or an original DCM gun which has lost its papers. Its serial number, as best I understand, is in the correct range. The lack of paperwork represented a big savings, so no complaints. I bought it while looking for a replacement for my shooter Garand. However, it turns out to be in such nice shape, on the off chance its legitimate, I haven't shot it. Rats!

M1 Garand National Match type 2

Type 2 National Match

US M1 Garand (H&R)

They say a Marine never forgets his rifle. In my father's case, apparently, that rule didn't apply. Some years ago he offered to finance the purchase of an M1. Upon showing him the purchased rifle, he professed zero recollection of the Garand. Ouch. He did, however, give me his Garand tool which he had kept through all the years. Fast forward a couple decades and it was time to upgrade the ole shooter. This H&R built gun is perhaps a little nice to be considered a shooter, but it doesn't get that many rounds through it. As mentioned above, I'm not expert enough to confidently state which parts are likely original, and which were added to make the gun "correct." Of the few H&R recievers I have encountered, they have always looked well made.

M1 Garand H&R

H&R M1 Garand

Tokarev SVT-40

The "Russian Garand" proved too fragile in combat to live up to its American counterpart. No further developments were fielded as events overtook the design. The Simonov, and more importantly, the Kalashnikov represented the future of Russian combat rifles. For a brief time, arsenal refinished Tokarevs such as this were available to US collectors. Although prices have risen, the SVT is an enjoyable rifle. The only problem I have experienced is my choice of 150 gr. IMI FMJBT bullets tend to catch the edge of the barrel and jam. On second thought, I'd rather carry an M1 into combat. Notice how much longer the Tokarev's action is compared to the M1. This in spite of the fact the two cartridges are of similar power.

Tokarev SVT-40
Tokarev SVT-40

Smith & Wesson Light Rifle Model 1940 MkI

In its rush to acquire weapons for the coming conflict, the British government contracted Smith & Wesson to design a short barreled, semiautomatic, pistol caliber carbine. Designed around a standard US 9mm Parabelum cartridge, initial British trials proved the action unsuitable for a special high pressure 9mm cartridge the British wanted to use. Although a strengthened MkII version was produced, the program was ultimately canceled and the bulk of rifles produced were disposed of by the British. A small number of rifles remained in the US and sat languishing until they finally received a C&R designation and were sold off through a dealer in Atlanta.

In light of the existence of the German MP38/40 series sub machine-guns, it is unlikely this ungainly, under powered and somewhat heavy rifle would have been well suited to combat. Features of the gun include a fluted 9.75" barrel and 20 round magazine. The magazine is housed in the combination grip/extended ejection port under the rifle. It fires from an open bolt. Finish quality is that of a fine hunting rifle, and the stock is made from an interesting early plastic or composite material (tenonite). I would love to fire this gun, but its condition is just a little too pristine and replacement parts probably don't exist.

S&W Authentication Letter pg 1 | pg 2 | pg 3

Smith & Wesson Light Rifle Model 1940 MkI
Smith & Wesson Light Rifle Model 1940 MkI

M1 Carbine (Underwood)

Here we have an early production Underwood carbine. Although the age of mil surp ammo is long behind us, and values have started to rise, to my mind there is no better or more fiun semi auto plinker rifle. This rifle, as with many US wartime survivors, over the course of its life may have been improved with a few period correct parts. Reading Ruth's War Baby, I'm not completely clear if this rifle should have possesed an i-cut stock. Otherwise, it's all correct for its early 1943 vintage. The gun appears to have escaped service during the war, so it lives in the non shooting section of the gun safe.

Underwood M1 Carbine

M1 Carbine (Inland)

This was the first gun I ever bought. It had been slightly sporterized. The upper hand guard has been reprofiled, and the barrel was somewhat crudely polished and reblued. The bore is shiny but worn. It shoots straight and is probably my favorite plinker. I have a new mil spec barrel sitting on the shelf in case I ever get a bee in my bonnet about making it look correct. With its almost non existent kick, the M1 is a good choice for teenagers or adults who want to shoot rifles but are afraid of the recoil.

Inland M1 Carbine

Johnson Automatics Model of 1941

What shall we say of a gun designed by a guy named Melvin? Although little more than a military footnote, the Johnson is a highly desirable military collectable. This example was sporterized after the war by Winfield Arms Corp. In 1953-54 they were advertising sporterized Johnsons for $88.50. There is an excellent Johnson rifle site on the web. As a military rifle, the Johnson was unusual in being recoil operated and of a takedown design. While it saw limited service with the Marines, the rifle itself was somewhat flawed. It possessed too many small parts, and its zero wandered when equipped with a bayonet. The sporter stock is diabolical, but I'm loathe to put a military stock on a gun which has been rebarreled and finished in a high polish blue. On the plus side, the modifications rendered this example much less valuable than a correct military pattern rifle. Its still a Johnson and it still shoots, so I'll take the savings.

Johnson Automatics Model of 1941
Johnson Automatics Model of 1941

AG-42B Ljungman

Sweden is to be credited with having one of the earlier operational semi auto rifles, but they were also very fortunate to have stayed out of the war. An interesting gun to shoot, it fires the inherently accurate 6.5 x 55 Mauser cartridge. The gas system operates directly on the unusual looking bolt and spent shells are ejected forward with considerable force. I used to worry about losing brass when the only source was Norma. Now, cheap Winchester brand brass may be considered a little more expendable.

Like our own M-16, the downside of the gas system is it blows a lot of powder fouling into the action. With only the two small round protrusions to grasp, it is very difficult to open the breach on a jammed up rifle. And if you think the Garand is good at munching thumbs, forget it, this here is the champ. Bolt operation is unique. Grip the two round bumps as best you can and slide the cover forward until it clicks, then pull back until clicks again. Now the magazine can be charged. Be careful with the safety. If not properly set, pulling the top cover back with a touch extra effort releases the bolt, and It slams forward with considerable force. All in all its an awkward and counter intuitive system.

AG-42B Ljungman
AG-42B Ljungman

FN49

When the Nazi's occupied Belgium, one of FN's chief designers, Dieudonne Saive, fled to England with a fledgling design for a semi auto battle rifle. The British government were uninterested, so the design languished until Saive returned to Belgium after the war. Although adopted by several countries in calibers ranging from 7mm Mauser to 30-06, the gun was expensive to manufacture and suffered mechanical reliability problems with its trigger group. (Watch out for a worn disconnecter allowing the gun to fire doubles, or worse.) While not a huge commercial success in its own right. Further evolution of the design led to the immensely popular FAL.

FN49
Fabrique National FN49

MAS 49/56

There is nothing particularly special about the 49/56, but I have a photo, so in it goes. This one is in the original 7.5 French caliber. I used to make brass by taking 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser shells and sizing them up to 7.62. Fortunately, several vendors now list proper 7.5 brass. The gun is rugged, reliable and fun to shoot. What more can one ask?

MAS 49/56

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