Most long time M1 rifle collectors know that duplicate World War II serial number Springfield and Winchester rifles exist. This was revealed in the July 1960 issue of American Rifleman magazine by a brief article that included a photograph of an SA and WRA rifle both with serial number 2445470. In 1987 I conducted a survey of serial numbers contributed by the Garand Collectors Association (GCA) membership, it revealed that several blocks of assigned serial numbers that were duplicated. This information was presented in my book “The M1 Garand: World War II” in Chapter 4, Production, Deliveries, and Serial Numbers.
Newer collectors may not have been aware of this duplication, and certainly few of us have had the opportunity to see a duplicate serial numbered pair of Springfield and Winchester M1 rifles. Beginning in about 1994 James E. “Mac” McCollum began compiling a database of M1 serial numbers. Through development of this massive database he noticed duplicate serial number rifles. Mac was eventually successful at adding several pairs to his collection. In 2009, a year after he passed away, I was contracted to sell his collection. Included was a pair of duplicate SA and WRA rifles.
They are s/n SA 1611010A and WRA 1611010. Note that the SA has an A hand stamped at the end of the serial number. The military procedure was to stamp one of the pair in this way when duplicate serial numbers were discovered. If you have an SA or WRA rifle so marked, it is likely that at one time there was another one out there that is the duplicate of your serial number. Finding the other half of the pair may prove a bit difficult. Especially with the number of M1 Garands that were destroyed (demilled).
The rifles shown in the photograph were sold in late 2010. Both rifles had gone through rebuild and Mac restored them to their correct configuration.
BY SCOTT DUFF
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