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Longer keystone spring

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    Longer keystone spring

    About two months ago I bought a keystone spring on a round body follower rod from a retired US Marine officer. These two parts have been together for a long time maybe even since late 1940 or early 1941. Nice condition, both with nice original color and I did not attempt to separate these parts. I checked the keystone spring and counted the coils a few times to get an accurate count and came up with the following: total length 19 1/8 inches long and 289 coils.

    I have been tracking keystone springs for years and the average spring when issued or new was 18 3/4 inches long and with 280 coils

    You can find stretched keystones at 19 inches or a little longer but still with around 280-283 coils

    The only other keystone that I found that was like mine, belonged to George Apgar, it is also 19 3/16 inches long and with 289 coils.

    I have found keystones with anywhere from 275 coils to 283 coils with total lengths of 18 1/16 inch to 19 inches. Now both serial numbered 167583 and 189209 have standard length keystone springs and round body follower rods

    Were these springs with the additional coils, manufactured for use only on the round body follower rod ?

    Why were keystone springs used in the first place rather than a round wire spring?


      Here is how I have come to understand it. Apparently it was expedient - they needed a spring and could produce keystone shaped ones so they used it. The design of the Garand was in constant flux (echoed in Winchester's scathing criticisms at the time that the design was not ready for production) and that keystone was not the first choice for the oprod spring - it is said that even John Garand mockingly called it a 'screen door spring' - it was always meant to be changed and was upgraded to the round wire as soon as they could.

      We take so much of this information for granted today, but for early aficionados of the Garand (before the books) they struggled with what they were seeing on original rifles - it was always a puzzle as to why they had original round wire rifles just below 100k, and then went back to the keystone and round follower rod after the Winchester contract block (165,501 and up). It was not until someone found that Wallace Barnes, who made the round wire as a subcontractor, had suddenly gone on strike! We sometimes forget that WWII had not yet started for us here in the United States during these early days of Garand production, and that later wartime mindset had not existed yet. But it was this strike that appears to be when we started seeing single long keystones with the round body again for a short time.

      How is that?


        Thank you. Your post was extremely informative. I had always wonder why the keystone springs were used. Now I know.


          Maybe you still have the info from the spring I found. I believe that spring was 19 1/8 and around 286 or so.


            Thanks Curt, I did not have it recorded, do you have a project rifle for this spring ?