US Military Rifles I Own
The following rifles were all purchased through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. This program was established by Congress to promote civilian marksmanship. This is an excellent program and an opportunity for every citizen to obtain a piece (or several pieces) of American History.
M1903 Rifle, Springfield Armory, serial number 843XXX, 1918
The above M1903 rifle was built in 1918 at the Springfield Armory, a military armory. It is a typical example of a World War I "high number" rifle with double heat treating of the metal. Springfield Armory M1903's below the 800,000 serial number are described as "low number" rifles, and with only a single heat treating are considered unsafe to fire. This rifle has a 1918 barrel (most likely the original) and a fingergroove stock.
M1903A3 Rifle, Smith Corona, serial number 4826XXX, 1943
The above M1903A3 rifle was built in 1943 by the Smith Corona Typewriter Company. The M1903A3 was a simplified version of the M1903 that could be produced faster and was used to suppliment the military needs in World War II. The changes in the rifle included dropping the fingergroove in the stock, a redesigned rear sight and using metal parts that were stamped instead of milled. Smith Corona was just one of the many companies in private industry that contributed to this countries massive war effort.
M1 Rifle, Springfield Armory, serial number 1805XXX, August 1943
The above M1 rifle was built in August 1943 at the Springfield Armory. It is a typical example of a World War II rifle. The M1 was adopted by the US in 1938 but wasn't produced in large numbers until WWII. Because of the M1, the US was the only country that had a large supply of semi-automatic rifles during WWII.
M44US, Mossberg 22 trainer, serial number 147XXX, 1944
The above M44US 22 caliber training rifle was built by Mossberg for the military under a contract that was dated 1/31/44. These rifles were used to inexpensively train soldiers in marksmanship and allowed more M1's to be sent to the war. The weight and length is approximately that of an M1. The original triggerguard was plastic, but it was broken when the rifle arrived so I replaced it with an aluminium one.
M1 Rifle, International Harvester, serial number 5106XXX, 1954
The above pictured rifle is an example of an International Harvester Company (IHC) M1. During the Korean War, the US Government became concerned that the US small arms industry could be vulnerable to a missile attack because most private gun companies were located close together geographically. The Government also wanted to see how long it would take a manufacturer with no firearms experience to gear up to produce weapons if it were ever necessary. These factors led to the contracting of International Harvester (the tractor company) to manufacture M1 rifles to meet the military needs during the Korean War. This rifle is also the closest to "as manufactured" of any of the surplus rifles I have purchased. The best I can tell, the only part that isn't original IHC is the stock.
On October 28, 2002 I was fortunate enough to be able to tour a plant that is currently producing several small arms for the US military. Specifically, they produce the M16, M240 and M249. The company is FN Manufacturing Inc. and their US production facility is located in Columbia, SC. It has been there since 1981. After seeing this facility I am very impressed with the level of quality in the weapons our troops currently carry.