The M1D Sniper Rifle
by Scott A. Duff
Two telescope-mounted versions of the M1 rifle were developed at Springfield Armory for use by snipers. They were designated the M1C and M1D.
The M1D was adopted as substitute standard in September 1944. The M1D utilized a machined base fitted around the chamber end of the barrel and secured with a pin to attach the telescope mount. There is no evidence that M1Ds were produced for distribution during World War II. Further, other than a few rifles used during development, it is believed that all M1Ds were created by rebuilding existing service rifles beginning in the early 1950s and continuing through at least the late 1960s.
The M1D design was invented and patented by John C. Garand and was intended to allow conversion from service rifle to sniper rifle at the support maintenance level. Most M1D rifles were equipped with the M84 telescope and 7/8″ diameter mount. However, examples rebuilt in the 1960s have been observed with the Weaver K4 telescope and 1″ diameter Mount. M1D rifles equipped with the K4 scope were issued to National Guard units in the 1960s for riot suppression during anti-Vietnam War and civil rights disturbances.
As all M1D rifles were rebuilt rifles, the receiver may be of any manufacture and of any serial number produced prior to the date of the rebuild. The same applies to the individual components, any part made prior to the date of the rebuild is correct. All M1D barrels were made by Springfield Armory. The earliest observed M1D barrel is dated 5-51. M1D barrels have been counterfeited and merit carefully examination. Nearly all M1D barrels were stamped with drawing number D7312555. M1D barrels manufactured through the fall of 1952 had the drawing number stamped on the top, underneath the rear hand guard. M1D barrels manufactured after the fall of 1952 had the drawing number stamped on the right side, adjacent to the date.
The total number of service grade rifles converted by the military to M1D configuration is unknown. However, it is certain that well over 10,000 were converted. No less than 5,000 M1Ds were sold or given to foreign nations. In 1993 and 1994 over 6,000 M1D rifles were deemed obsolete and destroyed under orders from the Secretary of the Army. Beginning in 1995, M1D rifles were sold by the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM), the forerunner to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) to qualified individuals. The total number sold to date is unknown, but it is the author’s opinion that the quantity is between 3,000 and 4,000.
Many M1D rifles have been assembled by individuals from loose Government surplus barrels. They are generally deemed to be of less value than military-built M1Ds. Collectors consider proper CMP or DCM release papers to be one of the few ways to verify an M1D. CMP/DCM sales M1Ds are considered to be of the highest monetary value. Two other types of military-produced M1Ds exist, but are less common. In the early 1990s, a very small quantity was released through the U. S. Army Center for Military History (CMH) Title X trade program. Also a small quantity of M1Ds was imported from Israel in the late 1980s. Â Legitimate M1D rifles are historically significant and are highly sought after by collectors.
Additional information on this most interesting M1 rifle variant is contained in The M1 Garand: World War II by Scott A. Duff. An autographed copy of this book may be purchased through this websiteÂ’s Scott Duff Publication Books section.