View Full Version : Calling all Garand experts!

June 1, 2002, 01:21 PM
The "tanker" Garand thread got me to thinking. (I know, you could smell the smoke from there!)

Many moons ago I purchased an M1 from a shady character (my brother) who needed cash. The receiver had apparently been re-welded at some point, and it had been coverted to fire .308 and use an M-14 magazine. It was not a high quality coversion - fit & finish were rough. The 'spacer' in the chamber was loose. It did not look safe to fire.

Since it had headspace problems and a crack on the bolt face (going into the firing pin hole) I decided to sell it at the local gunshow, and got 3 times what I paid for it. And I got to keep the bucket of loose .308, including AP and tracer that came with it. :D

So, what did I have? A backyard butchery built out of a de-mil, or a piece of intersting history?

June 1, 2002, 05:51 PM
It's possible you had an "M14 Garand". A number of these were made up in the 1960's and used a short .308 barrel assembly, a modified gas system, and an M14 magazine.

It sounds like yours was a very 'second string' version. The better ones use a new .308 barrel and a good receiver, not a reweld.

You're probably better off without it, and it sounds like you made out like a bandit on the sale.

June 1, 2002, 07:13 PM
So, what did I have? A backyard butchery built out of a de-mil, or a piece of interesting history?
Since I've never seen any authoritative source that actually claims that the tanker Garand really existed, I'd say you made out like a bandit! :)

June 1, 2002, 08:35 PM
Agree with Johnwill.


James K
June 1, 2002, 10:51 PM
The "tanker Garand" never existed as an issue military rifle, though Springfield made up some experimental rifles along those lines for paratrooper (not tanker) use.

But thousands were made up in the late 1950's and early 60's. Many remained .30-'06, but there were a lot like captainHoek describes. Most of the "tanker Garands" of that era were made from de-milled ("cut and weld") receivers. These had been scrapped by the Army by cutting in half with a diamond saw. (Note, they were scrapped for some defect, since the M1 was still in use in that period.)

The pieces were bought by private companies who welded the pieces back together to make regular M1 rifles and "tankers". Some "tankers" were converted to 7.62 NATO and M14 mags.

There was not a single company involved in this, there were at least a half dozen, and even guns from the same outfit would not have interchangeable parts on the stuff that was changed. Even aside from the welded receivers, the rifles did not work well, and were generally trash.

I think CaptainHoek did well to get rid of the gun, though I doubt the buyer would thank him.

(P.S. There is (or was) a good article on www.fulton-armory.com on those "cut and weld" rifles.)


June 2, 2002, 01:44 PM
I knew about the experimental Springfield rifles, but I'm sure those are not in general circulation, even if they survived! :D

James K
June 2, 2002, 08:57 PM
There were only a few of those experimentals and they are still (I am told) in the SANHS museum. But, there are plenty of gun show dealers who will gladly sell you a "real" "Tanker" for only $800 or so. One owned by General Patton, with his initials engraved with an electric pencil will cost extra!

Actually, U.S. tankers in WWII were mostly armed with the Thompson or the M3 SMG. In my period of service they were armed with the M3A1 SMG, but now I understand they have the M4 Carbine.


Jim Watson
June 3, 2002, 09:28 AM
The "Tanker" Garand was not made specifically for tank crews. According to W.H.B. Smith, Small Arms of the World,

"T26 Rifle. In July 1945 the Pacific Theater of Operations requested 25,000 shortened M1 Rifles. To meet this requirement the M1E5 (18" folding stock) barreled action was fitted with a standard M1 stock. An order for 15,000 of these rifles was given but was cancelled in August 1945."

I have seen elsewhere - but can't find the reference this morning - that a good number were actually made but at the end of the war were all converted to standard length rifles. Since they had not been issued all over the place, they got them ALL. When Springfield wanted one for display, they had to make it up from parts.

June 5, 2002, 06:32 PM
I think CaptainHoek did well to get rid of the gun, though I doubt the buyer would thank him.

Well, since he was a collector ( and had several M1s and M1 carbines for sale ) and talked a bunch about what an expert he was, and since he could hardly contain his delighted chortling as I walked away, I'd say if I burned him he had it coming. I told him straight all I knew about the gun, and took his first offer, so caveat emptor! ;)

Thanks for the feedback, gentlemen!

June 6, 2002, 05:31 AM
P. T. Barnum said it all.