M1 Garand arrived

After a long (83 days) wait, my M1 Garand finally arrived this morning from the CMP.

I ordered a “Field Grade” Springfield Armory rifle, and requested a WW2-vintage serial number if possible. What I received this morning exceeded my expectations.

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First, the serial number is 3,477,7xx. This puts the date of manufacture in February of 1945.

Second, the gun is definitely a loaner that we got back from Greece, as they refinished all of their guns black (instead of the original “greenish” parkerizing).

Third, the stock appears to be a new replacement, as it has no dings, scrapes, dents, or any markings whatsoever. It’s also only got a thin oil finish, and is still rather dry and dusty. I’ve ordered some “Tom’s 1/3 Mix Military Gunstock Wax and will make that a weekend project soon.

Tonight I’ll do a basic dissasembly, clean it if needed, and fill out a Garand data sheet on all of the components.

Why do out-of-print books have to be so expensive?

I finally found the title and author of a book about the development and adoption of the M16 rifle that I’d read in high school (thanks to the helpful staff at the Anadarko Public Library, who tracked down the book that was still on their shelves).

It’s The Great Rifle Controversy: Search for the Ultimate Infantry Weapon from World War II Through Vietnam and Beyond by Edward Clinton Ezell.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a used copy for any less than $120 (looking on Amazon and Abebooks). It will just have to go on my “pick it up one of these days” list, and I’ll continue to look for a cheaper copy.

Update: I did manage to pick up a copy of The Black Rifle: M16 Retrospective last week, written by Ezell and Stevens. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m building an AR-15.

It’s been quite an interesting few days.

On Friday the 25th of May, Amy came home from lunch to find the gate leading to our back yard sitting wide open. We’d left it closed, with the (normally-locked, but the lawn guy comes on Fridays) padlock threaded through the hole in the latch. She called me at work, and my (awesome) boss let me take the afternoon off to check the house and secure everything. We went out and bought a new padlock as well as a “bike lock” with steel cable, and re-secured the gate. Nothing was broken into or missing, and we figured that maybe people visiting the neighbors needed to jump over our fence or something.

This past Thursday (June 31st), another one of our neighbors came to visit. We’d never met her before, but she lives in the house directly behind ours. She let us in on what actually happened a week ago:

She wasn’t home. One of her neighbors saw a couple of undesirable individuals wearing socks on their hands and trying to break into her back door using a screwdriver. The neighbor called another neighbor, who confronted the hoodlums with his gun. They said “You’re not gonna shoot us” and proceeded to vault the fence between her back yard and our yard.

At least, they attempted to. They managed to break off the top two feet of a few fence posts and left behind some blood, the contents of their pockets, and what appears to be a set of apartment keys. Apparently after making it over the fence, they ran through our yard and out our front gate.

After we found this out, I told Amy “I want you to learn how to handle and fire a gun properly, just in case.” She had no problem with this. The next morning, she dropped me off at work and then went down to Top Gun Range, where she proceeded to go through their one-hour personalized-instruction course on basic handgun safety and operation, and shot off a box of ammo. She did really well for her first time with a gun:

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Friday night after work, I went down and did the same thing. I’d not fired a gun in fifteen years, so I decided that I might as well start from scratch and go through their introductory course so that I didn’t start off with any wrong assumptions or habits. I learned a few useful things, and shot decently:

Training 6/1/07

Saturday afternoon we went down to the gun show, but didn’t find anything worth buying. After the show, we went back to Top Gun so I could buy a new Glock, and happened to find the Smith & Wesson that Amy was looking for while we were there.

My Glock 17:

Glock 17 Case Open

Her Smith & Wesson Model 559 (used):

S&W 559

We also picked up cleaning supplies, some hearing protection, etc. We paid more than we could have if we’d shopped around a bit, but after the EXCELLENT service from Top Gun we were happy to give them the business (and the profit). I consider it a necessary expense. Along with the guns, they also threw in two free hours of range time.

We brought the guns home last night, and cleaned Amy’s pistol because it was rather dirty. Today (Saturday), I took both guns back down to the range to test them out. Amy’s S&W will need the sights to be painted (as they’re black, on a black gun – not a lot of contrast) and we’ve already ordered a set of rubber Pachmayr grips to replace the ones that are on it now. Otherwise, both guns work fine:

The S&W 559, 50 rounds:

S&W 559 Target 6/3/07

My Glock 17, 50 rounds:

G17 Target 6/3/07

We plan on practicing every payday (if not every weekend) from now on, and will both eventually be getting our concealed handgun permits. Although we don’t intend to daily carry the guns, having the permits will be good “just in case”.

I may go back and forth politically, but I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms no matter who I vote for. I was a member of the NRA a few years ago, but found their constant begging for money and donations (even though I was already a member) to be highly annoying. I think this time I’ll spend the money on a subscription to “Guns & Ammo” or range fees instead.