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Starting military surplus

Article about: New to military surplus firearm collecting. Started with "movie guns," then branched off in this direction since a lot of my favorite movies are war related. These are my two start

  1. #1

    Default Starting military surplus

    Starting military surplus Starting military surplus

    New to military surplus firearm collecting. Started with "movie guns," then branched off in this direction since a lot of my favorite movies are war related. These are my two starters.

    1903 Springfield produced in 1933. The windage screw was slightly bent so I ordered a period replacement, hence the missing sight. Doubt it saw action in WW2, but cool nonetheless.

    Second is a Remington Rand 1911 produced in 1945. Don't think it saw any action either since the barrel looks superb. Pretty high serial number also gives me this impression. Don't know how late they produced these, nor how one could find production history if at all possible.

  2. #2


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    Remington Rand was awarded its first order on March 16th, 1942, for a total of 125,000 1911A1 pistols. The company had no experience building pistols at the time it was awarded the contract. Remington Rand formed a new division (Remington Rand "C" Division) to take charge of building the pistols. Remington Rand "C" Division converted a vacant plant into a modern pistol manufacturing facility. The plant was located on Dickerson street in Syracuse, N.Y and was once used for building typewriters.

    Initially some manufacturing equipment was not available. This caused Remington Rand to acquire parts from other sources to complete the early pistols. They purchased barrels from High Standard, Colt, and Springfield Armory; Disconnectors from US&S; Grips safeties from Colt; and Slide stops from Colt and Springfield Armory (2,865 left over from WWI). Remington Rand "C" Division inherited much of the documentation, tooling, and machinery that originally was used by The Singer Manufacturing Co. in their Educational Order. Consequently some of the parts of the early pistols were made using Singer supplied tooling and fixtures. Careful examination of Early Remington Rand pistols will reveal striking similarities in some of the parts to Singer made parts such as the triggers and mainspring housings. The first 255 production pistols where accepted by ordinance inspectors in November of 1942.

    Serial numbers before and after plant production was halted1944 & 1945 Remington Rands Initial shipments appeared to perform satisfactorily, but subsequent tests performed by Ordnance Inspectors revealed serious problems with parts interchangeability. In March 1943 James Rand Jr., stopped production due to a high rate of Parts Interchangeability Test failures. Only after a change in management and a thorough review of the inspection and manufacturing operations was production finally resumed in May of 1943. When Remington Rand did resume production the line from under the "O" in "NO" in front of the serial number was removed (see IMAGE at LEFT), this transition started at approximately 955000 and either prefix can be seen as late as serial number 1016000. Throughout production Remington Rand aggressively attempted to innovate and improve the production of 1911A1 pistols. According to Charles Clawson books the ERRS (Experimental Remington Rand Series) pistols were created by Remington Rand for conducting experiments to improve their product. They were later presented to officials and employees of the company.

    By March of 1945 they where building the lowest price pistol in the war effort and quality was considered second to none. By the end of the war Remington Rand had produced over 875,000 pistols, almost as many as Colt (628,808) and Ithaca (335,467) combined.
    I'd rather be A "RaD Man than a Mad Man "

  3. #3


    Nice guns! Is there any particular reason that you doubt your rifle saw action in WW2? When the USA entered the war Garand rifles were being phased into service, but there were more Springfields than Garands. Springfields remained in service with front line US combat units until at least June 1944. As Garand rifles replaced the Springfields in Infantry units, some of the Springfield rifles were transferred to US support units that did see action, although not as much as infantry. Other Springfields were transferred to front line infantry units of other countries, such as the Brazilian Expeditionary Force and the Free French. There is probably no way of knowing where your particular rifle was during WW2, but there is a strong possibility that it was in combat.

  4. #4


    Hi Richard, the only reason I thought so is mainly the age, as this one was manufactured in 1933. I am by no means an expert on the age range of Springfields used in WW2, at least the A1s like this one. They very well could’ve gotten older ones into service. This one was a doozy to clean, that’s for sure. Pretty sure the grease inside was decades old, lol. Don’t know if there’s a way to check serial numbers for this sort of stuff. Thank you for your reply!

  5. #5


    Both are nice and would have likely been in service during WWII. There really is very little documentation of use by serial number of firearms as it was not tracked that way. Sometimes a person runs across period documents by soldiers that list the serial number of a gun they were using but it is rare. There is fairly good documentation of where the original shipment was sent to after being produced but that is not an indication of where it was sent after that.

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