Tag Archives: civilian marksmanship program

Meet No. 24

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but back in 2015, I was one of the first people in gun media– or any media for that matter– to cover the story of Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers’s effort to include an amendment to the NDAA while the Pentagon spending policy bill was in the House Armed Service Committee. Rogers, who represented the district of Northern Alabama that included the Annison Army Depot and CMP’s headquarters operations, found out that the Army had 100,000 surplus World War II-era M1911s in long-term storage at a cost of $200,000 per year, or about $2 per gun.

The amendment: save Uncle Sam the cash by transferring the guns to the CMP for sale to qualified members of the public, with the funds generated used to support worthwhile marksmanship projects ranging from JROTC to 4H and the National Matches.

I continued to cover the story, which grew legs and captured the imagination of– no joke– millions according to the analytics. Over the course of the next half-decade, I would file at least a dozen updates for a couple different publications. In 2017, after an initial batch had been greenlighted for transfer by the Obama administration (!) on a visit to the “Army’s attic” the Army Museum Support Center at Anniston Army Depot, I was shown crates packed and filled with M1911s pulled from the military’s museum stocks that were in excess of the service’s needs, pending shipment to the CMP once the handgun program got underway.

The thing is, 19,000 people got excited enough about the first round of M1911 sales from CMP and submitted packets for the first 8,000 guns transferred. With that, I felt I had little to no chance of getting one for myself, so I did not wade into the deep waters of trying to get one of these old warhorses through the program.

C’est la vie, right?

However, as CMP announced their Round 2 of the M1911 program earlier this year, I cautiously allowed myself to get optimistic that, perhaps, my chance had come as the really rabid collectors had already shot their bolt– CMP only allows an applicant to get one of these pistols– in the initial go-round.

So I spent a day getting my packet together, sent it in during the open window (January 4 to March 4, 2021), and sat back to wait. On 6 April, I got an email saying I had a randomly generated number (20581) and found out that the current batch of orders was going to start at 20,000.

Nice.

Then, on 20 April, I got the call. All three grades (Service, Field, Rack) were available, so I selected Service– the best– and asked politely for a Colt.

The very next day (after a mandatory two NICS checks!) I walked away from my FFL with this:

The M1911A1 has a Colt GI Military frame, SN 904594, of 1943 production with GHD inspector’s stamp (left) complete with a dummy mark (!) and ordnance wheel/US Property/M1911A1 US Army stamps on the right.

Rather than the original slide, it has a “hard” GI replacement slide with FSN (Federal Stock Number) #7790314 M (magnaflux inspection) TZ (IMI Israeli, who supplied such slides under contract to the U.S.) with a minty chrome-lined barrel marked with FSN #7791193 91. The plastic grips have “24” rack number.

Although I could find no arsenal rebuild stamps, I am theorizing that the gun was reworked at Anniston late in its life, probably in the 1980s, then put back in storage.

I’m totally happy. It was worth the wait.

The 7791193 series barrels have a good reputation for accuracy. I’ll let you know…

Retired from a long career: M1903A3

While attending this year’s inaugural Shooting Sports Showcase, held at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s superb 500-acre Talladega Marksmanship Park, I was lucky enough to find the former Creedmoor shop open on-site. The gun store at the TMP is one of three retail sites that the CMP maintains to sell surplus military rifles to qualified members of the public, with the other two locations being the North Store at Camp Perry and the South Store in Anniston.

Besides a good collection of M1 Garands, they also had a rack of M1917 Enfields and another of M1903A3s on hand.

M1903s

M1917s

The bolt guns have been listed as “sold out” on the CMP’s website for years, as the Army had long ago transferred the final stocks of those rifles on hand to the program. In fact, I remember Shotgun News ads when I was in college for $349 M1903s from the newly-formed CMP, which must have been effective.

The CMP’s site has for years stated, “We do not expect to ever again receive large quantities of these models. Currently, M1903 and M1903A3 models are not available, and CMP is not accepting orders,” when it comes to these guns.

The few that they do get from time to time are typically returned ceremonial rifles loaned by the Army decades ago to Veterans’ organizations such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans, and others like National Cemetery and LE groups.

Sadly, there is a nationwide epidemic of Veteran halls closing both as the number of active WWII and Korean war-era vets are thinning and COVID restrictions are shutting down revenue-earning enterprises such as bars and bingo halls that were used to fund operations. Further, as the old bolt guns are replaced under the Army’s order to homogenize the program to just CMP-maintained M1s, these long-serving M1917s and M1903s are being handed in.

This brings me to the gun I picked up at Talledega.

The card shows the Remington M1903A3 I selected while at CMP was inspected by an armorer in Anniston on Feb. 17 of this year– just three weeks before I purchased it through the program. Classified as “Service Grade” it has a good bore and is virtually unshot as both the bore and muzzle read #1 when gauged. The serial number dates to February 1943 production as does the barrel.

It sure is pretty.

The Parkerizing is perfect and shows the tooling marks from rushed wartime production. Remember, February 1943 coincided with the disastrous Battle of the Kasserine Pass in North Africa and the green hell of the slog up the Solomons

For reference, CMP’s Service Grade is:

Service Grade Rifles show less wear and better appearance than Field or Rack Grades. Good to very good condition. Rifle wear will be exhibited by worn and mixed colors of the parkerized finish. May have pitting on the metal parts. Wood will be either Walnut, Birch, Beech, or other variety and will be basically sound but may have minor hairline cracks, dings, scratches, and gouges. Wood may not match in color or type of wood. Bores will be generally good with only minor imperfections. The barrel crown may be nicked, but the muzzle will gauge “3 or less” and the throat erosion will gauge less than 5.

It has a Remington Arms “RA” marked S-stock.

As well as an “RA” barrel.

While M1903A3s saw lots of use in WWII, they were mostly issued to second-line troops such as signals, bridging, and engineer units. 

1944- U.S. soldier and Frenchman from Cherbourg toast the liberation of Paris with a glass of rare old wine. Note La Presse, Cherbourg’s newspaper on the table prewar, and the M1903

Odds are that this particular rifle, since the bore is so bright and tight, and it has the correct dated barrel for the receiver and a Remington stock, that it never saw war service and was shipped shortly after the conflict to a Veteran’s hall. There, it was carefully and lovingly taken out of storage once a month for low-impact drill purposes, served on a firing party for interments as needed, and was carried in dozens of Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and Independence Day parades to escort the color guard.

That would explain the very rough buttplate, that has met the pavement on a regular basis.

As well as nicks and scratches in the stock and sight ears

Nonetheless, I gladly paid $770 for the rifle which was likely just stricken off the Army’s “books” in the past few months.

The cash will go to support marksmanship activities– for instance, the CMP has a scholarship program for qualified junior marksmen in addition to supporting rifle teams in JROTC, 4H, and others. Besides the initial instruction I received from my retired senior NCO grandfather, it was in JROTC that I was first introduced to marksmanship.

Further, as I have no plans to ever put more than a box or so of 150-grain ball through the rifle, this old vet can finally retire at age 78.

New to the Gun Circuit: The Shooting Sports Showcase

So I am back from a brand-new firearm industry event, this year’s inaugural Shooting Sports Showcase. In a year where SHOT Show was canceled, the SSS was like a breath of fresh air.

The event was put on by the Professional Outdoor Media Association, the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, and the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers and held at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s superb 500-acre Talladega Marksmanship Park on Monday.

Like you really need an excuse to hit the CMP Range…

While small compared to SHOT– there were only about 60 exhibitors– you still got to spend lots of quality time with the big boys like HK, Glock, and Sig Sauer, but also with the smaller guys like Sol Invictus, Century, and Taylor’s.

And they all had lots of interesting stuff on hand.

Looking forward to next year’s Showcase already.

CMP, Sponsors Support Junior Marksmanship Through Affiliate Discount Purchase Program

Via CMP:

“The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has teamed up with other marksmanship organizations to create an opportunity for Affiliated Clubs and individuals to receive third-party rifles and pistols (many at discounted prices) to help jumpstart programs for schools, junior clubs, teams, and camps.

The CMP Affiliate Purchase Program accommodates .177 caliber precision and sporter air rifles and .22 caliber smallbore rifles, along with a selection of air pistols. The products are intended for junior athletes in target training and competition preparation at the beginning and intermediate levels.

Equipment now available includes:

  • .22 Target Rifles     

Savage Arms offers .22 rifles at a significant discount:

  • Savage Mark I-FVT, single shot, in right and left hand for $257.00 each (regular price $480.00)
  • Savage Mark II-FVT, 5-round magazine, in right and left hand for $257.00 each (regular price $479.00)

(These rifles may be purchased by clubs only, not offered to individuals, but are an excellent deal.)

Additionally, Creedmoor offers the Anschutz 1903 right-hand target rifle in .22 for $1595.00, though there is no discount for CMP clubs or individuals.

  • Air Pistols

 Pyramyd Air offers two air pistols:

  • Alfa Proj Competition PCP Pistol, .177 for $749.99 (regular price $799.99)
  • Air Venturi V10 Match Air Pistol, .177 for $239.99 (regular price $264.99)
  • Sporter Air Rifles

Daisy offers three different rifles, one at regular price and two at significant discounts:

  • Daisy 599 10 meter competition air rifle, $595.00 (no club or individual discount)
  • Daisy M887 Gold Medalist CO2 air rifle – Club and individual price, $305.00 (regular price $499.99)
  • Daisy Elite 753W, wood stock, pump air rifle –  Club and individual price $257.00 (regular price $449.99)
  • Daisy Elite 753S, black synthetic stock, pump air rifle – Club and individual price $194.00 (regular price 449.99)

Also, Pyramyd Air offers the Air Arms T200, .177 air rifle, for clubs and individuals for $525.00 (regular price $579.99).

  • Precision Air Rifles

Pyramyd Air offers three precision rifles, all available to both clubs and individuals at varying discounts.

  • FEINWERKBAU 500 10-meter air rifle, .177 –  Club and individuals price $1275.00 (regular price $1295.95)
  • Air Arms MPR .177 Air Rifle – Club and individual price $850.00 (regular price $999.49)
  • Anschutz 9015 Club Rifle – Club and individual price $1895.95 (regular price $2199.99)

UMAREX/Hammerli

  • Hammerli AR20 Air Rifle – Restricted to club sales, only $840.00 (regular price $969.99)

Delayed payment plans (with the exception of the Savage Mark I-FVT and the Savage Mark II-FVT) are available that allow payments for clubs over a two-year span (not open to individuals). Purchaser must have ordered over $500-worth of items in order to qualify for the delayed payment program.

With the boost from the Affiliate Purchase Program, the CMP hopes to provide suitable equipment for instructors and new marksmen, attract more interest by allowing others the chance to provide loaner guns, as well as assist others in overcoming the financial challenges that arise with starter programs.

Learn more about these rifles and pistols on each of our third-party supporter’s websites. Thank you to all of our sponsors for making it possible for more youth to learn the fundamentals of marksmanship skill and safety.

To place an order or to learn more, visit the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/clubs/cmp-affiliate-rifle-purchase/. You may also contact the CMP Club Sales Department at (419) 635-2141 ext. 753 or email clubrifle@thecmp.org. “

Want to know how many guns CMP has in the warehouse?

By the numbers from a recent 44-page GAO report on the government-chartered Civilian Marksmanship Program:

304,233 – The number of former military rifles the group sold to U.S. citizens from 2008 through 2017.

$196.8 million – The revenue from those sales, or about $650 per rifle.

279,032 – The number of rifles transferred by the Army to CMP at the same time (note the less than 1:1 replacement in inventory).

$85.8 million – The cost of the program’s marksmanship activities in the past decade, mostly promoting youth in the shooting sports nationwide

$3.6 million – CMP’s cost of the program providing free ceremonial rifles to veterans groups during the same time

$15.6 million – The non-profit’s expenses for 2017, ranging from targets and ranges to keeping the lights on to guarding the expansive warehouses and inspecting/repairing pallets of sometimes moody guns and ammo.

$0 – The number of taxpayer dollars the group has collected. The only support they have had from Uncle since 1997 has been through the transfer of surplus gear and guns.

228,791 – The number of rifles CMP had on hand in Aug. 2018.

More in my column at Guns.com

CMP got 8,000 M1911s. Guess how many order packets they received?

The plan to transfer some of the Army’s stockpile of vintage M1911 pistols to the public via the Civilian Marksmanship Program has been met with a big response.

On Tuesday, the federally chartered non-profit corporation tasked with promoting firearms safety and practice announced that they had received and were processing 19,000 packets submitted for a chance to acquire one of the classic .45ACP handguns. That’s more than twice the number of guns in the CMP’s warehouse.

And they may not be getting any more.

More in my column at Guns.com

Whistling up 90K M1 Garands

CAMP AGUINALDO, Philippines - Joint Armed Forces of Philippines and U.S. team conducting M1 Inventory, 2017

CAMP AGUINALDO, Philippines – Joint Armed Forces of Philippines and U.S. team conducting M1 Inventory, 2017

The backstory on how six divisions worth of M1 Garands got repatriated from the Phillipines, where they have seen hard service since the 1950s in some cases, back to the U.S. to be sold through CMP in Anniston. Contrary to what a lot of people think, CMP actually had to spend a small fortune to get these vintage weapons back CONUS.

“It goes almost without saying that accurately accounting for and transporting approximately 90,000 small arms from the other side of the globe is challenging under any circumstances. Throw in termite infestation, monsoon season, and asbestos contamination, and you will have a recipe for disaster.”

More here.

Language added to NDAA to speed up 1911 transfers to CMP

An Alabama Congressman has managed to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act out of committee aimed at moving surplus Army pistols to the public.

In a statement from his office, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican that represents the Anniston area in Congress, announced his amendment to the NDAA has moved out of the House Armed Services Committee and is headed to the floor. The measure is designed to speed up the now two-year saga of transferring a stockpile of 100,000 surplus M1911 .45ACP handguns from Anniston Army Depot to the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

More in my column at Guns.com

Sellier & Bellot’s .30-06 150 grain M2 ball

On a recent visit to the CMP’s operation in Anniston, where green ammo crates were once stacked 30 feet high in a warehouse that could hide a Wal-Mart, the organization now only has about 20,000 rounds of surplus ammo left on hand, and that figure is rapidly falling.

What they do have in quantity is a loading they have worked with S&B to develop, a new man M2 FMJ doppelganger loaded to military spec.

Given 100 rounds to T&E, I hit the range to see how they worked, and the “ping” was with me.

More in my column at Guns.com

When it comes to captured enemy weapons, the Army never throws anything away

I recently had the chance to tour U.S. Army’s Museum Support Center at Anniston Army Depot, the keepers of the flame for military history in the country.

The 15,200-acre installation in North Alabama was established in World War II and overhauls both small arms and vehicles for the Army. A longstanding tenant on the sprawling base, based out of Building 201, is the Museum Support Center, operated by the Center of Military History. The CMH maintains an immense collection of 650,000 historic items across 228 sites including 57 large museums that are a part of the Army Museum Enterprise. Items not yet on display, waiting for a public home, or are excess to current museum needs are stored in the “Army’s attic” in Anniston.

In secured storage at the MSC are 13,000 live weapons of all sorts, ranging from 13th Century Ottoman gear to guns captured recently in Afghanistan…and they were gracious enough to roll out the red carpet for me:

More in my column at Guns.com

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