View Full Version : M1 Garand IHC "Collectors Grade" - Did I score?

October 24, 2009, 07:41 PM
Hit the WAC gun show in Puyallup WA today with my son. He's been bugging me about buying a M1 Garand so we kept our eyes open for anything interesting.

We found the gun below and bought it. I'll let people comment on how much they think it might be worth before I admit to how much I spent. Based on the seller's story, my inspection, and the documentation that came with it I think I scored.

It was being sold as a "Collector's Grade" M1 Garand. I used a throat gauge to verify that the throat wear masured less than 1. The barrel is clean and in what appears to be very good shape. There are only a very small nicks & marks on the very nice stocks. It is hard to find any wear on the gun at all.





Now the question is: Did we buy a rifle too nice to shoot?

October 24, 2009, 07:49 PM
Shoot it!!! Since it's not NEW unfired, I wouldn't let it sit!

Are all the parts H&R? Are they all correct for the reciever year? These are a few of the things you'll need to find out to truly consider it correct and a collector. I would think probably not. You'd have to get a book to check the lot/drawing numbers on all the parts....still, I myself would shoot it!

If all H&R parts and a good bore and throat, I'd pay about $600-$700 Others will tell you that they are going formore on Gunbroker and such, but I live a couple of hours away from the CMP store and I have eligibility to purchase direct, so I can get one in that price range and pick it off the rack. I do see them as you describe going in the $850-$950 range though on gunbroker and some of the traader sites.

October 24, 2009, 08:22 PM
Nice rifle.
That's an International Harvester receiver, and they're getting pretty hard to find these days, especially with parts correct for the receiver year. CMP has not had IHC's in either store for awhile, and you can bet if they do find more, they will most likely go straight to their auction. I think I read that some were indeed found among the 18,000 some rifles sorted recently at Anniston, and they were kept back for CMP auction. A correct IHC will go for a good deal more than the $600-700 mentioned by a previous poster.
I paid $600 for the last service grade HRA I bought at CMP North store.
That is a fine specimen you have there. How's the muzzle wear?

October 24, 2009, 08:41 PM
That's a great looking IHC! I recognized the triangular stamp on the grip as a Letterkenny Army Depot rebuild mark. I have a stock just like it on my IHC. I'm not gonna guess at the price, but I will say that just finding one in that condition is a score in and of itself.


October 24, 2009, 09:55 PM
The main thing here is that you found a very nice, very shootable M1 Garand in great condition. Congrats!

I see nothing but junk Garands in Tucson for $600-700 so I would certainly think it's worth more than that but how much more I just don't know.


October 24, 2009, 10:48 PM
Looks like a very nice find but no, it's not too nice to shoot. Why would you even care about throat and muzzle wear if you didn't want to shoot the thing?

I'll let people comment on how much they think it might be worth before I admit to how much I spent.

Sounds like a great way to save face regardless of the outcome. :)

October 25, 2009, 01:28 AM
Are all the parts H&R? Are they all correct for the reciever year? These are a few of the things you'll need to find out to truly consider it correct and a collector. I would think probably not. You'd have to get a book to check the lot/drawing numbers on all the parts....still, I myself would shoot it!

What book is recommended?

How's the muzzle wear?

It was "advertised" as "less than" 1. It certainly _looks_ good. I don't know how to "test" that yet....

Looks like a very nice find but no, it's not too nice to shoot. Why would you even care about throat and muzzle wear if you didn't want to shoot the thing?

I never said I didn't want to shoot it. I have plenty of guns that are too nice to shoot that I shoot anyway. I also have a pristine 1988 Porsche 911 that I bought with 6800 miles on it in 1997 that was too nice to drive. It's still pristine, but has 35k miles on it and I drive it hard ;-). I guess if someone said "Oh-my-God, you have a $15,000 M1 there!" I might reconsider. But given I only spent $1000 on it I expect my son and I to shoot it quite a bit...and him to shoot it with his son.

Thanks for the input guys. I'll probably keep this thread going as I learn more and will undoubtably have more questions...

October 25, 2009, 02:49 AM
First off, that is a great looking rifle. Regardless of how much you paid for it, your happiness with it is all that ultimately matters. You may have overpaid, but if you are happy with the rifle, then you are happy with the rifle. You also just got an instant heirloom too - when you are gone, your son will remember the day you bought it, and the first time you two shot it together, and it will bring a smile to his face every time he touches it, and then he will pass it down to his kids who will make their own great memories of that rifle.

What book is recommended?


Check that one out. It is nothing but lists of correct parts for the SN range. One thing I think you should do is to buy a couple books about M1's. Once you have an M1, the next step in the addiction is to start learning about them. You can learn tons about them online too. (Speaking of that, if you don't know, don't shoot commercial ammo in them unless you have an adjustable gas plug. Commercial ammo will have a higher pressure at the gas port, which can bend your op rod, or maybe even crack the heel of your receiver. Some say it won't, but I say better safe than sorry.)

It was "advertised" as "less than" 1. It certainly _looks_ good. I don't know how to "test" that yet....

You can get a guage from a couple different places, the CMP among them I think. Another way is to insert a bullet into the muzzle, but that really only gives you a base of reference for your own rifle, since the ogive will be different for different bullet types. If you have some surplus ammo, I'm sure someone here can give you a base of reference as to what that would translate to with a proper guage. You can also search the old CMP forums, and I'm sure you can find info about it there.

What kind of documentation did you get with it? Did you get it from a recognized seller with a good reputation as far as M1's go, like Garand Guy, Scott Duff, Fulton Armory? Even if it has CMP paperwork, there is nothing to say that someone didn't switch out more collectible parts for less collectible parts, unless you tore the rifle down and inspected everything.

If it is really correct, I would think you could maybe sell it for $1200 or so. I do kind of doubt it is 100% correct though, personally. If it seems to good to be true...

Now the question is: Did we buy a rifle too nice to shoot?

No such thing, IMO. If you can afford it, you can shoot it. If you want an investment, talk to a broker.

October 25, 2009, 03:24 AM
One thing I think you should do is to buy a couple books about M1

Done. Amazon.com 1-Click combined with Prime is a scary beast. I ordered:

M1 Garand Serial Numbers And Data Sheets
Precision Shooting With The M1 Garand
Complete M1 Garand
U.S. Army M-1 Garand Technical Manual
Classic M1 Garand: An Ongoing Legacy For Shooters And Collectors
The M1 Garand, 1936-1957
The M1 Garand: Post World War II

That'll hold me over for a while, I'm sure.

(Speaking of that, if you don't know, don't shoot commercial ammo in them unless you have an adjustable gas plug. Commercial ammo will have a higher pressure at the gas port, which can bend your op rod, or maybe even crack the heel of your receiver. Some say it won't, but I say better safe than sorry.)

My father had several M1 Garands and M1 Carbines that he sold (Boooo! I have rule: never sell or get rid of a firearm) right before he died. He did not sell, however, two cans for 30 Cailber Match ammo. See my thread here asking about it (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=374478). The fact that I have this ammo was one of the motivators my son used to press me to buy an M1. My purchase today included a can (280 rounds in 8 rnd clips) of "Cal 30 M2" ammo. So I have plenty of non-commercial ammo to shoot.

What kind of documentation did you get with it?

I got the original CMP box (the return address label shows it came from CMP-South 17-Jan-01) with manual. It was a private sale from a guy I'd never met who had 3 very nice M1 Garands and an M1 Carbine for sale. The only other "nice" M1's I saw at the show were a few that had been totally tricked out and were going for >$2500. I was debating between this gun and his SA manufactured example; he was asking the same for both and both were obviously very nice. He had shot neither of them and claimed they were safe queens (he had a more worn M1 he said he shot).

The seller could have been a con or a joker, but I've got a pretty good nose...even if he was I'm not going to worry about splitting hairs over whether the gun is "correct" or not; it's obviously in great shape.

He was kind enough to give me his contact information and take mine so he can send me the certificate of authenticity and original recipt from CMP. We'll see. Again I'm not going to worry about if it doesn't happen.

I did field strip it tonight and internally it appears as clean and unused as it does externally. I am too tired to take pictures of all the parts and decode it all...maybe tomorrow I'll post more info.

I do have one question though: What does the P stampped on the stock mean? And is there any signficance to the fact that mine does not have the circle around it while most IHC M1 Garands I've seen do?

October 25, 2009, 03:45 AM
cek: Nice M1 rifle you got there, you should be very happy

The "P" is a proof mark. Depending on who made the stock and when, or if it was refinished at an arsenal (there's over a dozen different USGI styles or permutations of styles if I recall) the P mark can take several forms. It's a type of inspection. The P can take many forms. "Circle P", 'double struck', "no circle P", "P sans serif"...all depends on various factors. Your exact marking...I'm not an IHC expert or a definitive authority on M1s in general. I know something about them, but not everything. I know enough to know that without a lot more information, I can only make a guess as to what your uncircled P specifically indicates- original proof, arsenal rebuild proof, I don;t know for sure, and I don't know if its an IHC stock or not

Now the question is: Did we buy a rifle too nice to shoot?

No. You did not buy a rifle too nice to shoot. You bought a nice M1 rifle that seems to be in quite good condition. Inspect it carefully, it looks really good but only you can determine if its safe to shoot. The only M1 I would not shoot would be an unsafe one, or a documented unfired original example.

You did not buy a perfect example of an M1 rifle in unused condition, and the rifle will outlast you. This is not a finely made 19th century German hunting rifle made by artisans; its an M1 rifle mass produced to good quality standards and built to take more abuse than you have in you. It seems many M1 enthusiasts forget that the rifle was designed to be dragged through a war ;)

The bolt appears to be an SA. I cannot see any stamps or cartouches except the proof and I can't see any barrel stamps (under the oprod, crank it back and you'll see them). The internal parts matter, too

October 25, 2009, 09:02 AM
I will recind my post about finding IH's for the price.....I honeslty thought I read H&R....oops. International Harvesters are a little more money around here than Springfield's and H&R's but the really pricey ones are the Winchesters! Your IH is beautiful, but I would still shoot it! They were meant to shoot and you'll never hurt the value if you take good care of it, shoot the right ammo and clean and lube it right. I have a 42 Springfield that has a 12-65 barrel on it and under the woodline on the receiver is is etched 8-66 RRAD I'm fairly certain that it didn't get shot much after it was re-arsenalled in 8/66. It has all SA parts, but different lot numbers than it should have. Probably changed during the arsenal rebuilds as expected for a 1942 service rifle. My crown is pristine, the MW and TE are as new, but I still shoot it. Mine outshoots me! Enjoy it and shoot the heck out of it! Find a CMP match locally and try her out. My tow boys love doingthe Garand and CMP matches......so much that it's hard for me to find time to shoot them.

October 25, 2009, 09:07 AM
As I stated earlier, the stock is marked on the bottom of the pistol grip with a Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) rebuild stamp. Pull the receiver from the stock and look at the forward, right receiver leg for electro-stenciled markings of LEAD/Date. Letterkenny is well known for having performed fantastic work on most of their rebuilds. I'm guessing it will be a magnificent shooter whether or not it has been rebuilt.

October 25, 2009, 09:34 AM
the first thing i can tell you, is it has been overhauled. it has a mid ww2 springfield bolt in it. see the part where it reads "12-SA". bolt should be "D-6528287 IHC"
pull the op-rod back and see what the barrel has to say.

looks like at the very least it's a mild mixmaster. nothing overly special about it. other than the newish finish.
judging from the wear(to the finish) on the left locking lug, it's already seen a few hundred rounds.
shoot it up.

October 25, 2009, 04:04 PM
When the CMP had collector grade rifles, they were in the $1500 range. The last time I remember seeing IHC collector grade rifles was back in 2003-2004.

The CMP criteria for a collector grade rifle was:

95% or better overall original metal finish.
Rifle bores are excellent with throat erosion under 3 & muzzle wear of 2 or less.
All original parts as they came from the manufacturer.
Wood will have a few handling marks and minor dings and scratches.
Stocks have the appropriate inspector's cartouche.

The only way to tell if you have a 'collector grade' rifle is to fill out a data sheet and start researching. Here's a link to a downloadable version:


You certainly do have a nice rifle though. I hope the sale worked out in your favor.

October 25, 2009, 04:11 PM
You're right about the CMP pricing for a Collector's grade.

I got an H&R Collector's Grade M1 about two or three years ago. It was $1499, I believe. It came with a Collector's grade certificate.

You're also correct that all the numbers are supposed to match.

If the parts were mixed, it isn't supposed to be classed as a Collector's grade CMP.

October 25, 2009, 04:55 PM
Collectors grade or not it is still much better than the "shot to pieces" grade you often see at gun shows for $900+. I think you got a fine deal.

October 25, 2009, 05:51 PM
For $1000 you scored! Considering the New production M-1 was $1049 when I bought one about five years ago...Yes You scored a nice collectable piece of history. Be happy and enjoy shooting it!

October 25, 2009, 10:02 PM
I wouldn't be ashamed to say I spent $1000 for that rifle. When I consider the amount of time I spent restoring my stock (without damaging markings) I probably have more invested in my HRA.

You and your descendent's will enjoy that rifle for decades to come.

Now if only CMP will find some more milsurp ammo...

October 25, 2009, 11:21 PM
Learned how to fieldstrip the rifle just before I went to bed last night. Once you do it, it's amazingly simple. Very cool.

Here are all the markings. Photos below (and more to come just for fun).

Receiver: Marked with D6526291-1 - Etched with LEAD 1.65
Barrel: Marked with
LMR D6535448 5 53 A 12
some unreadable symbol

Trigger Group: Marked 6528290 - HRA N
Hammer: Marked 046008 - 3 SA
Operating Rod: Marked 6535382 SA
Bolt: Marked D28287-12SA
Stock: Branded with the Letterkenny Army Depot mark just behind the grip. Branded with a "P" on the front of the grip.

From this (but without any real books) I believe:

This rifle was built by International Harvester in May 1953 (from the 5 53 on the barrel; unless of course the barrel was swapped out).
The rifle was re-built in January 1965 by the Letterkenny Army Depot.
The Hammer, Op rod, & Bolt are "incorrect" for this gun and were most likely installed by Letterkenny when they rebuilt it.
The Trigger Group is "incorrect"for this gun and was made by HRA.
It has the desirable LMR barrel.







October 25, 2009, 11:24 PM
forgot pic of barrel marks:


October 25, 2009, 11:25 PM
More pictures. Enjoy...







October 25, 2009, 11:28 PM
More pics...







October 26, 2009, 04:32 PM
Be very good to the "LEAD 1-65" etchings on the receiver tang.

Your rifle was rebuilt, probably by Letterkenny Army Depot during the Vietnam war. January 1965.

There are a limited and finite number of Vietnam rebuilds. RRAD and LEAD are know rebuild depots. These rifles were rebuilt because the M14 program had been canceled, there were not sufficient M16's around, and there were insufficient rifles to go around if we went to war with the Russians.

The most desirable rifles are factory fresh Garands. You can divide them by period, but any way you categorize them, they are rare.

The next most desirable class will be those firearms with a traceable history. Your rifle has the LEAD rebuild, the CMP paperwork, it is a very known quantity. The identifiable sub classes will retain if not increase their value better then "generic" firearms.

It is my considered opinion that IHC rifles are less common than HRA, Winchester, rifles.

October 26, 2009, 04:40 PM
That is a very nice Garand you have there, sir. I would say any Garand in shootable condition is a 'score' because simply, they are the coolest gun I have had the pleasure to own and fire. It isn't correct (meaning all parts IHC), and it has been fired before, so there is no reason why you shouldn't go out and do what it was made to do! I would call this one more of a shooter than a collector since it isn't correct, but all Garands are collector's items.. No reason not to shoot and enjoy them though!

In any event, beautiful gun and I hope you and your son enjoy it for years to come!

October 31, 2009, 07:48 PM
A shot of the breech. TE < 1.


Flatbush Harry
October 31, 2009, 10:21 PM
Nice rifle, but definitely not a "Collector" or "Correct" Grade as the rifle is a mixmaster of IHC, SA, and HRA parts, and the trigger group is a mix of SA and HRA parts. Also, it is rebuilt and refinished. It would be a very good IHC Service Grade rifle as currently classified. Since CMP sells IHC rifles by auction, you made a good acquisition unless you overpaid a great deal for the rifle. Currently Service Grade SAs (Springfield Armory -- the original in MA) sell for $595...yours is much nicer than most and the IHC receiver is relatively rare. As noted by another poster, this rifle will have some useful provenances so it may well appreciate in value, though it may disappoint depending on the gun show price.

Having said that, it's a very good looking rifle, and may not have been fired since its rebuild. Also the wood is in very nice shape...much better than most vintage wood on CMP Correct Grades (Two of mine are unfired save for factory proofing, but the wood brought them down from Collector Grade. One of those is a new condition HRA rifle manufactured in May of 1955 in a new CMP walnut stock set that CMP sold last year, the other is a Springfield made in May of 1954 that I think is all original save for the wood). Were I you, I would be delighted with the rifle and enjoy shooting it...it will not appreciate so much that shooting it and maintaining it well will hurt it and you can enjoy using an historical weapon of high quality.

I would urge you to shoot either M2 Ball ammo or Hornady Match designated for the M1 as the gas systems of these rifles are very sensitive to the pressure curve of the propellant used in the cartridge. As an alternative, you might purchase the adjustable gas plugs manufactured by McCann Industries or Schuster Manufacturing, available for $35-$39 from www.Midway.com or www.Brownells.com, if you plan to use other than M2 Ball or reload with bullets weighing more than 168gr. If you reload, Hornady has a section in their 9th ed. devoted specifically to the M1 Garand. I achieve good results with HXP M2 Ball from CMP and have obtained very good results with both IMR 4895 and Varget powders and Hornady A-MAX 155gr and 168gr bullets. Each rifle will be a little different so some experimentation is needed to determine what yours will like best. If you do not get an adjustable plug and use it per the documentation, you run the very real risk of bending your operating rod and worse.

Good luck and good shooting, and welcome to the M1 Garand community.


November 1, 2009, 12:09 AM
Flatbush, thanks for all the info and comments.

Regarding ammo, I purchased it with a can of M2 ball. Plus I have two cans like the below that my father left me. Surely this stuff will shoot very well in it?


November 1, 2009, 02:15 AM
Oh yeah, that stuff will shoot fine.

You could probably sell it for enough money to finance 3 or 4 times as many rounds you reload yourself.

Flatbush Harry
November 1, 2009, 10:58 AM
Yup, that should shoot fine, but as noted by Sport45, ammo collectors will like that and you may make enough on the sale to buy substantially more ammo. BTW, you might want to look into the forums at www.odcmp.com That's one of the hang-outs of the Garand community and you can get a lot of questions answered there.

Best regards,


November 1, 2009, 11:15 AM
last year for $950, for price comparison. It took about five months to arrive. Nice shooter, though, and in very good condition.

Based on apparent condition of yours, $1000 seems like a reasonable price from a private seller.

However, based on unmatched numbers and part makers, I think the poster who said your rifle wouldn't be considered Collector or Correct by CMP was right.

But you still got a nice rifle, for a reasonable price. Enjoy it.

November 1, 2009, 01:11 PM
A perfect example of why General Patton called it the finest battle rifle ever made. Looking at that makes you proud to be an American.