Tag Archives: springfield armory

Happy Birthday, Teddy

This week is the 161st birthday of the iconic sportsman, former assistant NAVSEC, short-term colonel and occasional statesman, Teddy Roosevelt. In honor of this event, I spent the past several months researching one of his guns, a custom M1903 Springfield that had been sporterized.

Roosevelt’s modified M1903, courtesy of the Sagamore Hill collection

However, it wasn’t some aftermarket bubba hack job on the rifle. This custom work was done at Springfield Armory during the M1903’s first year of production, under the close attention of the arsenal’s commanding colonel– with BG William Crozier acting as the go-between.

And TR took the rifle on several hunting trips ranging from Colorado to Africa.

“On the great bear hunt President Roosevelt after leaving Newcastle [Colorado] for the mountains 1905” — note the sporterized M1903, with its distinctive single barrel band and cut-down pistol grip stock.

More on the story of this interesting, and historical M1903, SN0009, in my column at Guns.com.

TBT, Springfield Armory edition

This Springfield Armory layout from 1961 shows a then-current uniform of a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery with a new M14 rifle and jungle boots coupled with a view of World War II-era army uniform and one from the Spanish-American War.

Of interest, the WWII “Ike” jacket has an SFC sleeve patch, 4th Armoured Division shoulder sleeve patch, German Occupation medal, and good conduct medal. A “K” ration box rests on top while an M1 rifle and coverless M1 helmet and liner chill nearby.

The SpanAm War shot includes the iconic U.S. M1892 Krag along with the khaki 1889 Pattern campaign hat and 1898 Pattern blouse.

Coming at you from 1962

The last rifle built for the U.S. military at Springfield Armory was the M14, and historic photos from its production vouch that it was made “old school.”

Put into production in 1959 to replace several weapons to include the .30-06-caliber WWII-era M1 Garand, the select-fire M14 would be manufactured by Springfield Armory, Winchester, Harrington & Richardson and TRW through 1964. In all, more than 1.3 million of these 7.62x51mm chambered battle rifles were cranked out before the line was closed in favor of the contractor produced M16.

Staining and fitting the M14’s wooden stock, a task not too different from the Armory’s past work on the M1 and M1903.

Function firing an M14 on full-auto. Note the four spent cases in the air. Besides the semi-auto M1 Garand and M1 Carbine, the M14 was intended to replace the M3 submachine gun, select-fire M2 Carbine, and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle.

Function firing an M14 on full-auto. Note the four spent cases in the air. Besides the semi-auto M1 Garand and M1 Carbine, the M14 was intended to replace the M3 submachine gun, select-fire M2 Carbine, and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle.

More in my column at Guns.com

Springfield Armory drops 2 shorty carbines on the market

Springer is now jumping into the pool largely owned by companies like Daniel Defense and Sig by debuting a pair of factory SBRs.

Announced last week were their Saint SBR and Saint Edge SBR, with the former using a forged lower receiver, and the latter a lightened billet lower. Each has a free-float M-Lok compatible handguard and 7075 T6 aluminum flat top upper with a forward assist and M4 feed ramps as well as Bravo Company Gunfighter buttstocks and pistol grips. Overall length, due to the adjustable stock, runs between 27.5 and 30.75-inches while weight goes just over 5.5-pounds.

Prices, even with stamps included, run less than $1500, and I will definitely check them out in Dallas this week.

More in my column at Guns.com.

The travels of Springfield M1903 SN#1

With the recommendation of Brig. Gen. William Crozier, Chief of Ordnance,  then-Secretary of War William H. Taft on 19 June 1903 adopted U.S. Rifle Model 1903 .30 as the standard infantry rifle of the Army.

The very first production rifle, SN#1 left the assembly line at Springfield Armory in November of the same year (100 prototype rifles never saw service outside of tests).

springfield-m1903-sn1-3 springfield-m1903-sn1

The first year’s production saw 30,503 rifles produced in just two months, with Springfield suspending production for good in 1940 with SN#1,592,563, switching to the M1 Garand exclusively while Remington and Smith Corona spent the rest of WWII making M1903A3/A4 variants.

Good ole SN#1 floated around for about 14 years, was modified in 1905, rebarreled in 1909 (it carries the mark SA/bomb/4-09), and then issued in WWI.

The man who received it, according to legend, was Frank C. Lynaugh, of Haverhill, Ma., who carried the weapon while attached to the E Company of the 49th Infantry Regiment.

From Springfield:

Mr. Lynaugh claimed the weapon was issued to him in troop camp while in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1917 still packed in cosmoline. He carried the weapon with him to France. But while training with a Signal Unit in France, the weapon was taken away from him. Mr. Lynaugh was issued an M1917 Enfield. “I hated the darn Enfields,” said Lynaugh, “and wished I had my Springfield back.”

Fifty-six years later, while visiting the Springfield Armory, Mr. Lynaugh got his wish. He told the curator, Tom Wallace, that he carried the first M1903 rifle made. Wallace went to the storage area and retrieved the weapon. “Yes sir, that’s my old gun. I got old, but it looks the same,” said Lynaugh.

As you may have guessed, the gun was found with troops in France and shipped back to the states, where it likely sat in arsenal storage for several more years before it was transferred to the Springfield Armory from the Ordnance Office, Washington, D.C. on 8 July 1925. It is believed the original stock was probably damaged in museum fire and has since been restocked, but has been in the museum’s collection ever since.

springfield-m1903-sn1-a

The entry level AR the gun community always wanted?

Springfield Armory teased for weeks (months?) about the new Saint, promising something different. On November 1 they debuted….an AR-15. Pause while I shake my head and do this motion: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Sure, the company started in the 1960s with M1A1 M14-ish rifles and over the years imported FAL and HK 91 style battle rifles from Europe while revamping their .308s with the SOCOM line and others, always staying north of 5.56.

Now, the company is going the AR route, and Colion Noir’s initial impressions of the gun are positive.

“I feel like Springfield was going for something different: like they wanted to bring an affordable AR-15 to the market that you didn’t feel you had to change to be proud of it,” says Noir of the newest black rifle on the block.

Clay Martin gives the Saint a good man rub below:

The Last Argument of Kings

The only cannon held at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site is a bronze four-pounder (Canon de 4 de Vallière) named “La Perilleuse” (The Perilous) from an engraving on the gun, manufactured by Berenger, Strasbourg, France in 1758.

4 pdr french gun at spar La Perilleuse

Image via Springfield Armory

Some 200 4-pdrs of similar design were purchased from France during the Revolution, with most, if not all. passing through Springfield.

However, there is some debate, going back to the 1830s when it came to the site to stay, that La Perilleuse may have instead been captured by the British, presumably from the French in the Seven Years (French and Indian) War as it was produced during that era, then later captured from General Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga by the Colonials. One argument to support this is that it was rebored to the standard English 6-pdr size.

La Perilleuse gun and its carriage (a substituted Civil War Parrot gun model) sat in front of Armory Administration Building (Bldg.# 19) for many years and had a thick coat of black paint removed in the 1940s.

SA_French_gun_4pdr_1

Among the markings cast or engraved into the 1,265-pound gun is ‘Ultima ratio regum‘ – the last argument of kings.

More here

And Here

When President Theodore Rossevelt saw the proposed design for the pigsticker on the Springfield 1903 rifle, he wasn’t amused.

Hey, Mack, there is a screwdriver on the end of your Springer there...

Hey, Mack, there is a screwdriver on the end of your Springer there…

Roosevelt, a conservationist and big game hunter who settled for being president after stints as New York City police commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy and an Army colonel in the Spanish American War knew a thing or three about firearms. Good guy Teddy even used one of the first suppressors built and marketed in the U.S. so that he could target practice at home without bugging the neighbors.

So when he saw what the Army ordnance guys at Springfield Armory came up with for the original design of the M1903 rifle, a flimsy screwdriver looking rod bayonet, he wasn’t impressed.

More in my column at Guns.com

An ‘assault weapon’ by any other name…

In 1989 California lawmakers puked up one of the first assault weapons bans in U.S. history and in subsequent years added tweaked it and added such blanket restrictions as prohibitions on .50BMG (because there are so many crimes done with these…). While the California Department of Justice has tried really hard to ban anything that is AR-15ish or AK-47like, all enterprising gun owners have had to do is use devices such as ‘bullet buttons’ and low-capacity magazines to be able to own one today.

Still, between 1989 and 2001, the state allowed the registration by civilians of grandfathered guns. Well through Guns.com I did a public records request to CA DOJ and obtained their list of registered guns, all 145,253 of them. A detailed analysis found some really interesting things.

Here’s a snapshot of the top 25 manufacturers for example:

 

  •     28,259 Colt Mfg, almost all Sporters and AR-15 type rifles
  •     16,665 Chinese Norinco/Polytech/Clayco rifles, primarily AK and SKS pattern guns in 7.62mm
  •     14,797 Bushmasters, almost exclusively XM-15 series rifles
  •     9,158 Heckler & Koch firearms, with Model HK 91, 93 and 94 rifles accounting for the majority
  •     4,529 Springfield Armory rifles, primarily M1/M1A 7.62mm guns
  •     4,528 IMI guns including 179 Galil rifles and 4301 UZIs of multiple types in 9mm and .45
  •     4,199 Armalites including 291 AR-10s and 1046 AR-180s
  •     3,124 Eagle AR-pattern firearms
  •     2,924 Intratec branded guns, all variants of the TEC-9/AB-10 and TEC-22 pistol
  •     2,732 Ruger firearms, mostly Mini-14 and Mini-30 rifles
  •     2,199 FN/Browning/FNH with mainly FAL and FNC type rifles listed
  •     2,189 SWD guns mostly Cobray and M10/11/12 MAC-style pistols
  •     1,876 Arsenal made AK-pattern rifles in 7.62mm
  •     1,461 DPMs, all AR-15 variants
  •     1,457 Austrian Steyrs, almost all AUG-series 5.56mm rifles
  •     1,303 Korean Daewoo firearms in several variants, almost all 5.56mm rifles but also 16 DR300s in 7.62 and 5 DP51 pistols
  •     1,170 Franchi shotguns in the uber-scary SPAS 12 and LAW12 varieties
  •     1,132 CAI/Century guns, primarily 7.62mm rifles
  •     1,082 Hungarian FEG guns, mostly SA85 AK-style rifles
  •     914 Auto Ordnance, typically all Thompson 1927 style carbines
  •     770 Imbel L1A1 type rifles in 7.62mm
  •     693 DSA rifles, all SA58 models
  •     526 Enterprise Arms 7.62mm rifles
  •     496 Berettas including some 122 AR-70s and 60 rare BM-59s
  •     445 SIGs, including 122 P-series pistols and 139 SG550 5.56mm rifles
  •     392 Benellis, split roughly between their M1 and M3 tactical shotguns

The rest of the 3,000~ word report over at Guns.com along with a photo gallery of some of the more interesting guns here.

weaver arms nighthawk

 

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