The semi-automatic M1 Garand, the standard-issue rifle of the U.S. Army in World War II, gave the American soldier unsurpassed firepower compared to his German, Italian or Japanese counterparts, who were equipped with bolt-action rifles. The Garand began service with the U.S. military in the late 1930s and remained the main service rifle until 1957, though some units carried it well into the 1960s. Finding the year of your M1 Garand isn't hard, but it will not tell you everything about the rifle.
Find the Serial Number
The first step in dating your M1 Garand is to find the serial number. This is stamped into the rifle's receiver, the part housing the operating parts of the rifle. Once you know the serial number, you can refer to a number of sources online, or in books, to determine the date of manufacture. For example, M1s manufactured by the Springfield Armory with serial numbers between 940,251 and 1,008,899 were made in November 1942.
The Catch Is...
Knowing the serial number alone is not enough to guarantee that all the parts in your M1 rifle were manufactured at the same time as the receiver. According to Joe Poyer and Craig Riesch, authors of "The M1 Garand, 1936 to 1957," when scarce M1s were in demand as collector's items in the 1950s and 1960s, some "enterprising" gunsmiths used receivers that had previously been sold for scrap to assemble new M1s with parts from other rifles. One way to check if all the parts on your M1 were made at the same time as the receiver is to check the "drawing number" that was stamped on most major parts; this number changed over the years as modifications were made to the weapon. A rifle whose parts all have drawing numbers from a period contemporaneous with the serial number is much more likely to be the original deal.
- Photo Credit Ivan Cholakov/Hemera/Getty Images
What Type of Ammo Is Needed for a M1 Rifle?
The M1 Garand and M1 Carbine rifles, production of which began during World War II to equip American servicemen, are in some...
How to Clean & Preserve Old Leather Rifle Slings
A handsome old rifle simply does not look right with a new sling. Rifle slings are made of heavy leather, usually 8-oz....
How to Date the Year of Manufacture of a Marlin
John Marlin began producing firearms during the post Civil War years in New Haven, Connecticut. Through the years, Marlin Firearms has undergone...
How to Disassemble the Bolt on a 1903 Springfield Rifle
The 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifle was the primary firearm of the United States armed forces beginning in 1905 and lasting until the...
How to Adjust the Rear Sight on an M1 Garand
The M1 Garand was considered to be "the greatest battle implement ever devised" by General George C. Patton. This weapon was used...