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Veterans' Post 'Parade' Garands refurbish.


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  • Veterans' Post 'Parade' Garands refurbish.

    I recently arrived in Arizona, and joined up with the local (walking distance) VFW Post. As they were grabbing warm bodies for the Memorial Day Honor Guard firing team, i was selected. During the ceremonies, one of the CMP Garands had a failure to fire with the supplied blank ammunition.

    When the ceremony had ended, I gave the rifle a once-over, and it was very stiff and sluggish to handle, so I asked when it/they had last been cleaned. The answer was 'never', and the rifles were being fired several times a year over several previous years. So I offered to examine, clean, and refurbish the rifles as needed. I got the go-ahead, and have worked on about half of the allotment of M-1's.

    The bores were, puzzlingly, hardly an issue. It appears that the current issue of (crimped) blanks are very clean burning and are also non-corrosive.

    The 'lubricant' had dried to the consistency of thick molasses, was clear as glass, and sticky. Very sticky. The failure to fire was caused by the firing pin being literally bonded into the bolt by congealed lubricant

    Also, the stocks are not GI walnut, and may not be GI anything. They appear to be commercial replicas, lack the cleaning rod wells, are oddly (thick) shaped through the grip area, and are made from what I suspect is Birch The "finish" is a water soluble opaque red/brown stain that had not penetrated the wood at all, and has been scratched off completely in some areas off from normal handling, revealing bare white wood.

    I told them the process would take some time due to the need for complete disassembly and soaking of the metal bits, and that stock refinishing was likely needed. .I was told to "go for it".

    Half of the rifles have been detail stripped, rust treated in the interior areas, and spot blued (Brownell's 44/40 Gel) where rust had appeared inside. I made up a home brew mix of (Hoppe's version of) CLP, Hoppe's Oil, and a small increment of Rig preservative grease, which has been applied to all the accessible metal.

    The stocks have been steel wool stripped, stained a light reddish brown that brings out the grain very strikingly, and treated with a hand rubbed Boiled Linseed Oil Finish.

    Night and Day. So far, approved and appreciated, and the work continues.

    This is not a restoration. It is an effort to bring some blank firing adapted semi-replica parade pieces to an acceptable level of appearance.

    Last edited by Greg Langelius *; 08-12-2017, 10:55 AM.
    Life is more interesting when one keeps a neurotic cat... (Oops, make that two cats...), (Oops, add two Jack Russels...) Greg Langelius

  • #2
    Before and after pics?
    Something topical, witty, and spuriously attributed- Someone famous and important.


    • #3
      Pics, man! You can't make a post like this and NOT post before and after pics!
      Good on you for putting all that love and energy into those rifles.


      • #4
        I do that here in my hometown with AL & VFW Garands.
        Have you checked the diameter of the hole in the BFA? Most need drilled out a bit, makes quite a difference.
        There is help at CMP and feel free to PM me. CMP has some parts I think. FM


        • #5
          I've been on this site since 2001, and have not done, do not do, pictures. If I did, all I could show you would be another picture of very common firearms in acceptably good condition. The condition they are starting in is not worthy of pictures. They don't even belong to me, and circulating pictures of replica firearms I don't even own is not in my play book.

          I am familiar with Garands and Parade Garands. The rifles do not need and will not get any modifications. That might not even be legal, since the rifles actually belong to the Federal Government. The entire effort is to return them to some semblance of reasonable and customary maintenance.

          I do appreciate the information and advice. Thank you, I'm grateful for your help. I'm just not going to go to extraordinary lengths when the only goal is to get them up and running in an acceptable fashion.

          My purpose in posting this topic was to let folks know that the DCM Parade Garands are not the same as DCM shooters.

          Life is more interesting when one keeps a neurotic cat... (Oops, make that two cats...), (Oops, add two Jack Russels...) Greg Langelius


          • #6
            Greg!!!!!!! Welcome back!!!!! These young bucks don't know who they are speaking to.
            Spartan Precision Rifles

            Accurate Ordnance


            KMW Sentinel

            KRG Whiskey-3 Chassis


            • #7
              About 20 years ago the American Legion near my dad's house got an allotment of M1s as they traded in their M1917s. I was on leave and visiting dad at the time, so we unboxed the 10 M1s fresh from Anniston. We disassembled each, 1 at a time, gauging gas cylinders, oprods, headspace, oprod bends and timing. A thorough cleaning of some varnished cosmoline/Lubriplate and light application of LSA and Lubriplate and the rifles looked RFI. All rifles were FULLY FUNCTIONAL, capable of firing live ammunition. We even cycled an enbloc of LC thru each rifle without issue. All wore either birch or walnut wood with Proofs/Inspections. Essentially these were Rack-grade rifles!

              We removed the gas cylinder locks and installed the BFAs. Gas cylinder locks were put in the rifle racks with serial #d tags and since my dad's passing (he was the Post Armorer) I have passed that information on to the new armorer. The guys at the post are glad to know that when the SHTF, they have rifles that can readily be called on to expend the 2 full cans of LC69 in enblocs they also have from some "anonymous" donation.
              e~ Bru


              • #8
                Rick Jones
                MAJ, SF (Ret)


                • #9
                  The CMP finished swapping over most VFW/Legion guns a few years ago when the last batches of 03s/17s were for sale.

                  What you likely have is one of the newer allotment of "Post" rifle from the CMP.

                  The CMP stocks are reported to be a bit oversized with some sort of water based brown stain. People on the CMP Forum post you have to remove all the stain prior to finishing as any oil based finishes wont penetrate it well.

                  CMP should be able to furnish you replacement parts if you found a need for any.

                  Thanks for your service and continuing to serve with your veterans group.
                  "...But they would never find anything to beat the old Springfield ...the long sleek streamline, very slim but with potent bulges, all in the just exactly right places to give it that pugnaciously forward-leaning, eager look that marked the Springfield. Beside it, the M1 looked like a fat old man puffing with a lack of training...the two most beautiful things made in America were the ax-handle and the clipper ship? ...they should have added one more thing: The Springfield '03 rifle..."


                  • #10
                    The way I got into taking care of the ceremony rifles was that I went to my neighbors funeral.
                    He was a highly decorated medic from WW2, modest individual and a great neighbor.
                    At his funeral half of the rifles malfunctioned so he got less than he deserved in the end.
                    It pissed me off to the point that I went to the AL Post and the VFW and started cleaning rifles and test firing them until I had enough working rifles to post a decent rifle squad at funerals. All rifles working. I kept cleaning and lubing until all were done. I really didn't give a fuck how shiny they were or how pretty the wood was, all I wanted was for each Vet to get the proper salute as he went under. Each rifle firing blanks when the trigger was pulled.
                    In order to accomplish my mission I needed a few small parts. I got hooked up with CMP tech support and they helped me out a lot,
                    I got the parts I needed as well as instructions as to how to line up gas ports so a full charge was delivered and advice as to opening up the hole in the BFA as they had changed how they make blank rounds. It is not much but sure does make a difference. Those techies are good and all of your advice and modifications come from them so you are not hurting anything.
                    So Greg, do you just want everything shiny and pretty or do you give a fuck as to how the rifles function? The latter was most important to me.
                    I have found it to be that if I take advice from people who know what they are doing that I get along easier than if I bull my neck as if I know everything about it. YMMV FM
                    Last edited by Foul Mike; 08-14-2017, 02:27 PM.


                    • #11
                      90% of all firearm malfunctions are attributable to their poor state of maintenance. Well done.
                      Quite a number of officers were sitting together just before dark eating their supper when the bugler of the regiment, who was sitting near, was shot through the heart and killed instantly. No one could tell where the shot came from. He was just raising his spoon to his mouth when he fell over dead.


                      • #12

                        The rifles appear to be as you describe as "Post". The process I use follows your advice. I work on two rifles at a time. Confirm that the rifles are unloaded, clear, and safe. Begin the maintenance process with a basic, standard field rifle cleaning.

                        The rifle is then field stripped into the major parts groups, and all removable wood (not including the upper handguard), is removed. The gas cylinder and trigger group go into a bath of Odorless Mineral Spirits where they soak for two days. The bolt is disassembled and those parts go into another OMS bath along with the removable metal from the stocks. Then the stocks undergo their refinish.

                        First, all metal adjacent to the Upper Handguard is masked in three layers of Blue Painters' Tape. The stock's Ferrule and the Forward Handguard's Ferrule are likewise triple taped along with a narrow strip covering the retaining clip of the Upper Handguard. The masking allows the refinishing to precede without major concern about getting the finish onto the metal, and to protect the metal from the mechanical effects of the stripping process.

                        I use Pink shop cloths saturated with a mixture of Odorless Mineral Spirits and 90% Isopropyl Alcohol, soaking and scrubbing the stain until the surface stain and crud is softened and lifted. This is followed immediately with a firm application of #2 grade steel wool and elbow grease.

                        The goal is to remove most, but not quite all of the stain, leaving that stain that remains in the wood's grain. This remaining stain residue can be tailored to control the wood's appearance. I make no effort to produce uniformly identical finish colors, aiming instead to make each rifle's appearance to be unique within a relatively narrow range that accents the birch stock's natural grain. The overall effect is of a blond wood exposure showing dark stained grain with a mildly reddish tint.

                        Remaining dust is swabbed off with a cloth dampened in OMS.

                        The finish material is basic generic BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil). The Stock, Forward Handguard and Upper Handguard are wiped down with a liberal coat of OMS which is left on the wood and immediately followed with a light coat of BLO applied with a 2" Natural Bristle Painter's brush This encourages the first layer of.the BLO to penetrate as deeply as it can manage. Two more coats of unthinned BLO are applied once the preceding coat has dried thoroughly to the touch. The Stock, Handguard and Receiver/Barrel group are then set aside to dry and harden overnight.

                        On the next day, the stock is wiped completely dry of any oily residue with a clean dry cloth and the entire surface layer of BLO is gently cut down to the surface with 0 Grade steel wood, trying to leave the dried oil that has remained in the grain undisturbed. Another three coats of BLO are brushed on as above, and allowed to dry/harden overnight. The next day, the surface is wiped down dry and cut down to the wood again. When this is done, wipe the surface down with the Isopropyl Alcohol, and then polish it completely dry with a clean dry shop rag. The wood is now ready for the final finish coat. There is only one layer to this finish coat.

                        Examine the wood, allowing light to reflect off it. We are looking for an overall smooth, lightly reflective uniform satin finish. Some unfilled grain is expected, but deeply unfilled grain will need to be retreated as above until the grain is uniformly similar throughout the work pieces, ending up with the surface cleaned with the alcohol and completely dry.

                        Start the finish coat by washing your hands thoroughly. Dip a fingertip into a small puddle of BLO, and place a few dots of the oil on a portion of the work piece. Spread the BLO until the oil evenly covers the portion of the work piece and spread that area until it is so thin it is nearly dry. Buff that area nearly dry with a clean, dry, soft cloth. Immediately begun buffing the oiled area with the heel and palm of your hand, warming it up with friction, spreading and drying the oil completely. Repeat this process until all of the exposed wood on the work pieces has received this treatment. The beginning satin surface should have acquired a light sheen.

                        That's the finish. It should not be glassy or brightly gleam. It should all look uniformly clean and dry, with some small gleam, but no more. The finish should be deep; in the wood, but not on top of it. This should be allowed to harden overnight, then unmasked the next day.

                        While all this has been taking place, those hours in between wood coating and drying are to be invested in cleaning off the soaking metal parts with a stiff bristle brush, returning the parts to the soak, and then repeating the brushing until only the clean, Blued/Parkerized metal remains. Some rust is usually encountered. Aside from the brushing, I leave it alone. Eventually, remove all the metal parts from the soak, drain and dry them, and allow them to dry completely.

                        Prepare a small portion of the following mixture. Combine about an ounce of Gun Oil, 1/4 oz of CLP, and a liberal fingertip's worth of Rig Gun Preservative grease, mixing it thoroughly. If you can't find Rig, plain generic Petroleum Jelly will serve. This mixture is applied to all the surfaces and crevices of the metal parts with a stiff bristle brush, getting everything good and wet. Set the parts aside for several hours so the mixture can penetrate the metal's surfaces. After those hours are up, wipe ways any residual mixture, leaving the surfaces dry to the touch. When reassembling the OpRod and Recoil Spring, insert the spring into the OpRod about halfway, and put 3-5 drops of the Preservative Oil onto the spring where it disappears into the OpRod. Work the spring into and almost out of the OpRod cavity about a dozen times, then remove the spring and wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth. Complete the rifle reassembly.

                        Before the oiling, consider replenishing any significantly missing dark protective metal coating. I employ Brownell's 44/40 Gel Bluing for this The surface must be completely degreased for this, I use the Isopropyl Alcohol. Read the instructions of the Bluing and follow them precisely. Once the parts have acquired an acceptable blueing coating, clean them thoroughly with the Isopropyl and saturate them with the Preservative Oil Mixture, leaving them dry to the touch after their soak and wipe.

                        Lubricate the wear surfaces (shiny metal) with a very thin finger wipe of Lubriplate. Reassemble, hand cycle, and dry fire the mechanism several times. Give the entire rifle a complete wipedown with a clean dry cloth and return it to inventory. Don't smash your #$@^&* thumb!

                        The slings are a motley, beat up collection of the standard Olive Cotton Garand Slings, and will do for now. But I will eventually replace them with these, which are more durable and will finally be identical. They reviews about them being too thin are no longer valid, they have been corrected. I own two and have successfully used them for positional shooting.

                        I am considering acquiring sufficient Gas cylinder locks for that highly unlikely potential where the sky actually falls. If I do actually acquire them, they will be stored very separately, as in not even on the same city block, as the rifles.

                        There remains unfilled wood grain; because the finishing process is an ongoing one. Each time the rifle is cleaned after firing, the wood finish is scrubbed and cut down again to expose the wood, leaving the grain pores untouched. That single final finish layer is restored again, buffed by hand and hardened overnight; polishing it once again with the clean, soft. dry cloth.

                        Over time, that grain will fill completely. As Dad used to say, "Always leave something to do for tomorrow, and your life will not be boring".

                        Last edited by Greg Langelius *; 08-16-2017, 10:20 AM.
                        Life is more interesting when one keeps a neurotic cat... (Oops, make that two cats...), (Oops, add two Jack Russels...) Greg Langelius


                        • #13
                          Looks like you have figured out how to make the wood beautiful and I commend you for that.
                          When I entered into this game all I wanted was for the rifles to work properly at graveside services and other ceremonies. I wanted them to go BANG every time I got that done with help as to setting them up from CMP..
                          I would encourage you to get in contact with CMP as to what modifications need done,[they are very minor but make a lot of difference]. Expand the hole in the BFA as the loading for "new" blanks is different from the older ones.
                          If you get in contact with CMP as to the rifles they will help you out a lot. They have parts and a WHOLE bunch of advice as to how to make them run.
                          Our rifles here are ugly as far as the stocks go but they do fire every time for the most part. There is the occasional hiccup as to a bad round but immediate action puts a new round in and they are back in the game.
                          Get a machinist's scribe for lining up the gas port instead of just screwing them on tight and hoping for the best. That does not work well.
                          Feel free to PM me and I will tell you all I know as to how to make them run well but I would encourage you to get with CMP as they know a lot more than I do.
                          I wish you the best on this and if I can help PM me. FM


                          • #14
                            The Crimped blanks were issued along with the rifles, which had the correct BFA's attached at that time. I am currently trusting the CMP's issuance procedure unless further problems develop.

                            We had a failure to fire at the last ceremony on Memorial day, and that's when and why I approached the Post to examine them all. The problem was traced to exactly the expected cause, a gummed up firing pin in the offending rifle's bolt. The rifle was tagged at the time, then subsequently diagnosed and remedied. I am currently refurbishing the final pair of rifles. I have located and corrected two more frozen firing pins. The issue has been addressed and all rifles were fully disassembled, thoroughly cleaned and lubricated/preservative oiled, and reassembled according to the Manual.

                            Our rifles are maintained in direct accordance with the

                            M1 Garand Operation and Maintenance Guide

                            Veteran and Civilian Service Organizations,
                            Law Enforcement, and National Cemeteries
                            12 December 2012

                            Prepared by
                            Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC)
                            Picatinny Arsenal, NJ 07806

                            Downloading the manual, turning to page 17 shows the correct procedure for positioning the Gas Cylinder and fastening the BFA and Gas Cylinder Plug. I'm going with the manual on these matters.

                            I do appreciate the advice, and will confirm our adherence to the correct procedures with the CMP as you suggest.

                            Back in the late 1990's I frequently shot my own personal DCM Issue Garand in NRA National Match competitions at the Cherry Ridge, NJ ANJRPC Range with Roger Billington, of ARDEC when I was the chairman of Competitive Shooting Activities for the Marine Corps League Department of New Jersey.

                            We have another ceremony, a Memorial Service for a Female Navy Veteran of WWII. coming up soon. It will be the first time the newly refinished rifles will be employed since their refurbishment. Whatever issues may develop will be dealt with in direct contact with the CMP.


                            PS Glad to report that work on the final pair of rifles has been completed and they await only delivery. As much as I enjoy these projects, there comes a point when I'm glad to see them out the door. I've been working on this one for most days over the past month, and my other projects have gotten slightly backed up. Now they can reoccupy the front burners.

                            Mike, I do appreciate your help on this and agree that the first priority should be to ensure proper functioning so they can render honors in the proper manner. The appearance part is simply a case of having had the experience from doing this same thing several times previously.

                            I have made my last move to here in the Arizona High Desert and expect to live out the rest of my days as a member of this local VFW, so there some small bit of selfish interest involved. If things go to plan, they could likely be used at my own memorial, hopefully a bunch of years from now. But for whomever they are used to honor, I want them to be the best as I can make them.
                            Last edited by Greg Langelius *; 08-18-2017, 11:45 AM.
                            Life is more interesting when one keeps a neurotic cat... (Oops, make that two cats...), (Oops, add two Jack Russels...) Greg Langelius