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The most expensive production Winchester Garand

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    The most expensive production Winchester Garand

    Slow news days lately so I figured I'd post a little eye candy.

    Finished 3 months ahead of schedule and without a single rejection, the first 500 rifles cost Winchester 175.00 a piece to make. This was more than they were getting paid by far but circumstances dictated a need great enough that Winchester had already been awarded the second contract, so they kind of washed the expenses across the next 65,000.

    No idea really but still a good chance at it, the first 100 were delivered on December 27th, 1940, making this potentially one of only 100 possible 1940 Winchester Garands (of which maybe 10 or so of that first 100 serial numbers still exist - this is the 8th earliest on my list)! When I saw it I fell hard and it has been a labor of love ever since, with considerable research being original as so few were bothering with Winchesters (that SA bias still pops up from time to time). Never completely satisfied, maybe some day I will even be finished restoring it, ... I figure it will be about a week after I pass.

    Enjoy, ...

    ‚Äč






    #2
    Do you have any documentary evidence concerning the hammer with the extra hole ? Photo is not that clear to indicate a Winchester or Springfield follower rod - Any photos of the follower & slide and bullet guide ?

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      #3
      Wow..............just WOW!! Total insanity and awesomeness!!!
      Welcome to the Addiction!

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        #4
        There are two members who post on this website that also own Winchester two digit rifles. Winchester serial number 100075 has been around for about 15 years since it was purchased from the CMP auction. Winchester 100075 was manufactured with a the guide rib flaw and was not repaired or rejected which makes it kind of unique

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          #5
          Thanks for the kind words.

          It really has been a fantastic ride trying to put it back to what it might have been like on day one. Looking back now after these many years, part of the fun has been the challenge of trying to find good pieces to look at and then marry together all the little bits of information that different folks have; old stories of handling test mules by guys who handled them 20 years before I handled my first one, scratching my head over orphan parts that didn't make sense, learning what was in the books and what wasn't, scribbling notes in the margins of Scott Duff's red book (not very many) and replacing the darn book three times because it fell apart again, diving into the screwy and divisive relationship between SA and, ... pretty much everyone else, studying early SA as much as early WRA and acquiring reference pieces to study, making trips to places like the Marine Corps Museum for a back door tour by a good buddy who though younger has hearing worse than mine, or going thru all the trouble to get permission to go into the vault of The Royal Armory in England so I could handle incredible pieces with white gloves on while the curator takes a break so he can have his tea (I can't make that up, ...) and then showing him things he didn't know he had (!!), making overly broad statements on the internet and then falling on the sword to try to correct them but making headway regardless, getting involved with the guys at the GCA and helping to right that wonderful ship, going to show after show after show to handle as many Garands as possible while watching the shows get smaller and fewer and farther between, speaking over another very original double spring Winchester at the NRA Museum that was owned by Alan Cors (but is not owned by me now, darned it) and getting to show him his rifle (at the end of which he said; 'I knew it was good but I didn't know it was THAT good'), meeting a whole bunch of great people that are no longer answering their phones or emails, having the honor of a breakfast/lunch with the likes of Walt Ehlers while I listened speechlessly for an hour and half to someone who carried these into harms way for us, shaking hands with a Pathfinder who set up the drop beacons for the Airborne guys on D-day minus one and a half, putting a Garand in my own Uncle Bill's hands for the first time since The War and watching him instantly light up and become 17 again and being privileged to hear stories he hadn't spoken of since, eventually ending in tears for both of us and being treated almost as one of his Brothers in Arms thereafter until the day he died, watching one very surprised and touched Jim Land get choked up after speaking to the GCA when we unexpectedly gave him a Garand and hearing him almost whisper his thanks as he wiped a tear saying; 'Can I come speak again next year?', hashing out and modifying theories based on what we were seeing in the fossil evidence and then always being open to questioning those ideas, ... and then of course trying to find good versions of the 'correct' parts one by one. It has been an amazing journey that began probably when Scott Duff told me I was nuts and would never be able to do an early WRA restoration (on a 101,xxx which donated many parts to this one). Darn, this IS one expensive rifle, ...

          Full of starts and fits, that journey still continues, but parts for this came from all over and even Jim Yokum, when he was still in Illinois, tossed me this one day from a bin of demilled junk parts under a bench;



          which is where the front sight, with its seal, came from - the first one I ever saw! That pic just kinda makes you want to cry, doesn't it, ...

          I am always on the lookout for better versions of this or that. Follower rod is WRA type but I am unsatisfied with the finish - still on the lookout for the 'right' one. Bullet guide is no-dash, hand marked-WRA but I have a no-hand marked if I get in the mood to see it on there. Hammer is just flat out cool and the finish is gorgeous, so it stays. I know of no mention of the extra hole change anywhere in original documents, but I have hardly read them all. The extra hole hammers are generally taken as pretty much the earliest still as far as I know, and are seriously tough to come by. Follower/slide was harder to find than I expected but they have somehow become easier over the years - they were probably around the whole time but folks just didn't know they were special (there really were very few people looking seriously at some of these things when I started).

          Below is a pic of that low guide rib. Often you will see early Winchesters with just a knick in the front of the ribs (from where that drill for the barrel had wandered in too far) but this one is fully removed. A few things here; WRA seemed to figure this out relatively quickly but, as stated above, there were no rejections (for this or anything) so this guide rib was not problematic to WRA manufactured rifles, unlike on SA (perhaps). The lack of problems is also demonstrated significantly in that we have never seen a low guide rib welded on a WRA either (and like this, some had long and distinguished service careers that may safely be characterized as trouble free!).

          Understand also that it was at this very same time that WRA had their plate full with things like trying to figure out why their clips wouldn't work properly even though SA had approved them and the dimension being used to make them. This unfortunately was due to SA changing that dimensions on the clip drawings, ... but then that is a subject for an entire article. Suffice it to say that it all ultimately culminated in the clip interchange program which WRA (and SA as well) finally passed with flying colors.



          Also of note is that, viewed at a sharp angle you can see that this receiver was annealed. Some see this as a major detraction but others like myself see it as nothing more than a completely fascinating part of the history of this receiver and the story of the Garand. Honestly, these can often be so light and hard to spot and I have found them on so, so many that sometimes I think they were almost all annealed, ... (if you have one that is annealed and you like then it is fantastic and you should enjoy it!).

          Regardless, in the end even if it wasn't delivered in December, it is still one of the earliest Winchester Garands, and one of the 500 most expensive production Garands to make. I think worth every bit of effort I can manage, and in the end no matter what, it still has more to teach me, ...

          Sorry for the length. Best all.

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            #6
            Oh yea, and by one calculator, 175.00 is just over 3215.00 in today dollars.

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              #7
              Absolutely phenomenal posts and information.......thanks so much for taking the time to share it all with us!!!
              Welcome to the Addiction!

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                #8
                Those early Winchester rifles are all almost impossible to restore . I'd say as difficult, if not a bit more, than restoring a Springfield gas trap but putting a rifle together with all correct parts isn't the hard part. The hard part is making the parts flow with the finish, wear, and patina to make it look as if it had been together from the start. Now that, quite possibly, is the most frustrating and fun part of all of it. The only thing worse, and extremely insane, is trying to restore a modelshop.

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                  #9


                  I think she has a pretty good look to her, but as for "trying to restore a Model Shop", ... I know I am crazy but you are insane!

                  But hey, the first step in any good twelve step program is knowing you have a problem.

                  "Hello, my name is Jeff, ..."

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                    #10
                    "Hello, my name is Bubba,..."

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                      #11
                      Outstanding thread and posts. I only wish I knew when some of those parts transitioned. I find your comments regarding the annealing process interesting. On such a rare bird I can understand your thoughts but I'm sure others don't feel the same way. I have a 112k restored rifle that's been annealed and it is what it is. Obviously not even as close (in the ballpark) to being as rare as your rifle but I like it and it is a work in progress, however, if I found a rifle in that range without it I would probably transition the piece if the price was right. Thank you and Bubba for sharing your pics and thoughts as always. CC

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                        #12
                        What a beautiful post mate thank you.

                        I actually live in the UK and would love to visit the UK museums where they house the gas traps. I am actually working on my own Piece of Literature dedicated to the M1 Garand and hopefully through this I can contact the museums and perhaps even handle the M1s from my dreams.

                        Thank you!

                        Scott

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                          #13
                          The Royal Armories Museum Collection is open to the public, or at least it used to be. Best known for their world renowned collection of incredible and unbelievable suits of armor, they also house what I think was described to me as the King's/Queen's 450 year old gun collection - they have everything! They allow authors and researchers, under close supervision, to examine and document the items in their collection. It took me a good bit of work to arrange permission but I finally managed to spend a half a day with about 12 or so pieces. They had just recently moved into the new facility in Leeds when I went. During our conversations I found that they had very little in the way of literature on the Garand so I left them a stack of reference books in thanks. It was an incredible experience and I was on overload with all I had seen, but a half a day was all we could spare. We loved all of England that we saw and felt very at home. Surprisingly London was a favorite; I would gladly land at Heathrow and spend a week and not even need to rent a car. Ahh, someday, ...

                          Serial number 7114, called an 'original pattern' is in their collection at Leeds (documented in Billy Pyle's book) and I did get to handle it - the very best SPG cartouche I have ever handled, though it has a notch in the stock now where they were experimenting with making it full auto or something! Some of the pieces appeared to have been turned in by private individuals sometime after the war as private firearms ownership was restricted further. We had a devil of a time figuring out the markings on one rifle until I zoomed in on one of the photos I had taken and found that it was stamped "smooth"? Aha! I may have it a bit wrong but from memory, the curator explained that it was an interim step; private individuals were restricted in their ownership of a 'rifle' so they had to remove the rifling! We checked and sure enough, about a low .30's caliber smooth bore shotgun and the rifling had been completely removed, .... Unfortunately, even that did not keep it from becoming illegal eventually (I think the capacity of rounds, ...) but at least it made its way to a museum rather than being chopped up. Disappointingly as we left, in the lobby of the museum I took a picture of a large sign discussing the then current form of such illegalities and finally giving pointers on how large a knife might be properly carried on your person into the public realm, and whether even a steak knife was ok, ...

                          Ah well. God Bless the Founding Fathers and NRA for the Second! They believed in all of us - "All Men, my friends, 'All Men', ...". But I digress as usual, sorry. Here is a link to the museum - I hope for a full report after your visit, Scott!

                          https://royalarmouries.org/

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