View Full Version : M1 serial number depth problem

March 2, 2011, 04:17 PM
Ive been trying to stencil the lettering on the M1's serial number stamp with a China marker but unfortunantely it wasnt deep enough to retain the white wax. I've checked with gunsmiths and engravers on who would be able to fix this for me and they really know where to turn.

needs to look like this:

but the lower right corner of my stamp was faintly stamped and isnt deep enough.

March 2, 2011, 04:39 PM
If you are referring to "deepening" the stamped numbers, DON'T.

Get a white Phano china marker pencil and use a little WD-40 to thin out the wax. You'll have better results with it filling the numbers.

James K
March 2, 2011, 10:04 PM
Dampened white chalk will also work. Trying to recut the numbers is likely not feasible; those receivers run RC60 which is pretty darned hard.


March 3, 2011, 08:41 AM
If that's your serial number I wouldn't touch it. I might not even breath on it....

Not just a neat number, but if I read the charts right, that one was made June '44. Maybe even D-Day. :)

March 3, 2011, 12:54 PM
Your serial number was originally stamped in before heat treatment of the receiver. I've modified Garand receivers for M1A type half-minute windage adjustments, and found drilling a hole for the detent had to be done with a tungsten carbide bit (the surface was so hard it quickly dulled a standard high speed bit). Such a surface is too hard to be further impressed by impact without risk of damage.

That leaves you with cutting, which could be done with a super high speed glass engraving type rotary air tool. Those tiny diameter tools can run up to a mind-blowing 400,000 rpm or so, but to keep control of one and avoid the risk of accidentally illegally altering your serial number, it would likely have to be handled by an expert engraver with a pantograph or other tool that gives him good control of it.

As the others have said, it would be a bad idea to mess with what's there.

I have done permanent marking of windage and elevation graduations and of maker and serial numbers (red for "Winchester") before. The method I used was to first remove all embedded oil in the Parkerizing by soaking the receiver in strong solvent degreasers for a couple of days. Raw, oil-free Parkerizing gives paint a good toehold. At that time I picked up some small cans of Pettit two-part colored epoxy paint from a local model hobby shop that I mix in small quantities as needed. If you only want white, though, I see no reason single-part white appliance epoxy wouldn't work just as well if you give it enough time to harden. I used sharpened toothpicks as the applicators, and Q-tips and toluene to remove excess. When I got a bad smear on a character, I wiped it clear and started over. It took more than one try on some characters, and working with magnifiers, but the result is very clear and permanent.

Before you apply rust inhibiting oil to the Parkerizing, the epoxy has to harden. I pulled a loose Baggy over the ones I worked on, using a rubber band to tighten the bag mouths over the barrels and let them set for a couple of weeks.

Afterward the epoxy hardened, I applied LPS-2, wiped off the excess with a rag, then immediately followed that with LPS-3 that I allowed to sit for ten or fifteen minutes before wiping off the excess. The thinner LPS-2 penetrates well, and the thicker, waxy LPS-3 is more permanent protection.

Bill DeShivs
March 3, 2011, 02:18 PM
It doesn't need "fixing." That is the way the gun was made.

James K
March 4, 2011, 11:02 PM
I don't think Ervin has number 3000000, he is just saying that he wants his rifle serial number to look as deep and clear as the one in the picture, whcih might be hard to do especially if the receiver has been ground/buffed to remove rust, as many rebuilds were, leaving shallow markings.


T. O'Heir
March 5, 2011, 01:03 AM
White outlining the assorted stampings is a daft peace time military thing. However, don't even think about trying to make a stamp deeper. Lose the wax pencil(sounds like it's too hard anyway) and use either paint or white out.

March 5, 2011, 01:38 AM
I don't think Ervin has number 3000000,

Yeah, I realized that after I checked the picture source and saw it was nps.gov.

Should have credited the National Parks Service as owning the image when he linked to it?

James K
March 5, 2011, 09:32 PM
FWIW, I never saw markings painted in the military and AFAIK it was prohibited, as was painting anything on the metal. (Rack numbers were painted on the stocks, not on the receivers.) Painting or filling markings with white material is done mainly by collectors so markings will show up in photographs.


March 7, 2011, 08:32 PM
A lot of match shooters have done it to make it easier to copy the serial number onto a score card in a hurry or to see the sight graduations quickly. Don't recall the rules objecting, but, like you, I don't think there's anything original about the practice.