Monday, November 07, 2016

Morning Trivia

The International Harvester M1 Garand,
After World War II it was believed that the United States had enough M1 Garand rifles in armory to last several generations.  During the Korean War, the government took many of those Garands out of storage and refurbished them for military issue. It was decided that new Garands needed to be produced to keep up with demand, as the United States not only needed them to arm the US military, but was arming various Cold War allies around the world. Thus in 1953 the government contracted Harrington & Richardson as well as International Harvester to produce new M1 Garands.
The choice of International Harvester was unusual, as the company was known for producing tractors, construction equipment, agriculture equipment, and home consumer goods.  The reason for contracting International Harvester was very specific.  Most US arms production occurred on the East Coast.  If the worst case Cold War scenario occurred, an armed nuclear conflict between the US and the Soviet Union, it was expected that urban and industrial centers would be heavily hit.  International Harvester’s plant was located in Evansville, Indiana, and thus might be spared from destruction. Production of the International Harvester M1 Garand began in 1953 and lasted until 1956, when Whirlpool bought out their Evansville plant.  337,623 were produced.

1 comment:

swampcritter2 said...

The International Harvester Corporation only manufactured about 350,000 M1 Garand rifles. From the mid 1930s until 1956 or so a total of just over 5 and a half million rifles were produced. International's M1s are highly sought after because they were the smallest amount manufactured by the the four companies selected by the government to make them. Since IHC had little prior experience in weapons manufacture they were plagued with many problems at first. Consequently, many of IHC's first M1s were built up from parts purchased from Winchester and Springfield Armory. John C. Garand the rifle's inventor even sent his own machinist from Springfield Armory to pull IHC out of the weeds they found themselves in. The barrels of the IHC rifles were made by a company called LRC. These barrels were well made and noted for their accuracy. The scarcity of IHC M1s plus the barrels made by LRC make them a "must have" for many collectors. Expect to pay $1500+
They shoot no better than any other M1, or so I'm told. I've never owned an IHC rifle nor shot one. Most rack grade M1s in new condition shoot very well. I have owned 3 M1s, all Springfield Armory rifles. I still own two that I chose to barrel in .308 instead of 30.06. The U.S. Gov't in circa 1956 opted to issue Navy the M1 in caliber 7.62x 51 which is essentially .308. This may have been because the Defense Dept. had already adopted the M14 rifle for general use. The M14 being simply an M1 rifle with a 20 round mag chambered in .308. A very accurate rifle, the M14 is now illegal to purchase in the People's Republic of Maryland.