Rifleman Q & A: The Mystique Of Winchester M1s

by
posted on December 17, 2019
winm1.jpg

Winchester M1 Garand

Q: In the Bruce Canfield article “‘On Guard For America’: Wartime Winchesters” (August 2019, p. 46), I was struck by the reference to Winchester-made Garand rifles, of which there were more than a half-million. From the production numbers listed, Winchester-made Garands seem unlikely to be “rare birds,” which brings me to the following question: Looking through the Civilian Marksmanship Program online price list, I noted the price of Winchester Garands in excess of $3,000, if I read it correctly. Prices quoted did not seem to be for match-grade rifles, which leaves me curious as to the reason for the seemingly unusually high prices.

The commercial Winchester script was part of military M1 Garand receiver heel markings.

A: The primary reason for the seemingly inflated prices for Winchester M1 rifles is the “mystique” of the Winchester name in the minds of many collectors. As you correctly noted, with 500,000 M1 rifles manufactured by Winchester, the guns are not particularly rare, although they are certainly much less common than the Springfield-made Garands. In order to bring the $3,000-plus prices you noted, a rifle would have to be in the same configuration as manufactured in (or before) World War II, including the correct Winchester-made stock, barrel, operating rod, front sights, etc. Since the vast majority of M1 rifles were subsequently rebuilt in the postwar period, rifles remaining in their original World War II configuration are quite uncommon, and will fetch surprisingly high prices.

Some collectors attempt to “restore” a rebuilt Winchester M1 rifle to the correct World War II specs, but the extreme scarcity of many WRA parts—especially stocks with the proper markings and barrels—makes this a very difficult endeavor. Unfortunately, fake parts are becoming more and more common, and it behooves a collector to be cognizant of the differences between the fake and genuine parts. Regarding M1 rifles modified for match competition, while such rifles are desirable for competitive shooting, they will typically bring much less on the collector market than comparable examples remaining in original “G.I.” configuration. An exception would be the genuine National Match M1 rifles fabricated by Springfield Armory, as opposed to standard rifles “tuned up” for match competition.

--Bruce Canfield

Latest

The Armed Citizen
The Armed Citizen

The Armed Citizen® July 26, 2021

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Preview: Springfield Hellcat 15-Round Magazine

Do you have a hungry Hellcat? Check out this latest enhancement for Springfield Armory’s micro-compact pistol.

Straight-Pull Shooter: The Savage Impulse

Fast to operate, accurate on target and possessing a modular design that’s configurable for either right- or left-handed shooters, the Savage Impulse sets a new standard for affordability in the rarified realm of straight-pull rifles.

Friends of NRA Raises $1 Billion For The NRA Foundation

The Friends of NRA program, a grassroots support network, reached a significant milestone of $1 billion raised for the NRA Foundation.

At The Range: Ruger LCP MAX

American Rifleman staff take to the range the latest update in Ruger’s concealed carry lineup, a semi-automatic that offers lightweight, pocket-size security with increased capacity and improved functionality of original LCP designs.

Preview: Steiner TOR Fusion

A melding of the company’s TOR Torch light and TOR Mini laser lines, the aptly named Steiner TOR Fusion is a rail-mounted light/laser module with a number of advanced features.

Interests



Subscribe to the NRA American Rifleman newsletter