World War II Production
The first production M1 was successfully proof fired, function fired, and fired for accuracy on 21 July 1937. Thus began manufacture of what was to become the greatest production effort in the long history of Springfield Armory.
A program for developing increased production capacity had been adopted in 1934, and by January of 1940 the Armory was producing 100 rifles per day. By January 1942 this number had risen to 1,103 per day. Production peaked in January 1944 with 122,001 M1s produced that month. This translated to 3,936 rifles per day or 164 rifles per hour!
The surrender of Germany in May 1945 slowed production at Springfield. The surrender of Japan in September 1945 caused cancellation of M1 manufacture at Springfield. World War II era M1s manufactured by Springfield Armory may be identified by their serial numbers that ranged from 1 through 388xxxx.
Production of the M1 rifle during the World War II era was the high point of weapons production at Springfield Armory. At no time prior to, or following, this period, had the Armory achieved this level of production. In total, Springfield produced 3,526,922 M1 rifles from 1932 through 1945.
Winchester Repeating Arms Co.
The Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, Connecticut was the only other World War II era producer of M1 rifles. Winchester received an Educational Order on 4 April 1939 to produce 500 M1s. The first one hundred rifles, under that Order, were shipped on 27 December 1940. On 20 September 1939, Winchester received its first of many production contracts for additional rifles. Government records indicate Winchester delivered 513,880 M1 rifles between December 1940 and June 1945. The surrender of Germany in May 1945 resulted in termination of M1 rifle manufacture at Winchester as of 30 June 1945.
In addition to their name on the receiver heel, M1s manufactured by Winchester may be identified by serial number. Winchester’s assigned serial numbers ranged from 100001 through 165500, 1200001 through 1357473, 2305850 through 2655849, and 1601000 through 1640000.
Combined production for Springfield and Winchester during World War II was 4,040,802 rifles.
Post World War II Production
From the end of World War II until production resumed for the Korean War, Springfield Armory rebuilt over 500,000 M1 rifles. The outbreak of hostilities in Korea, in June 1950, placed Armory activities back on a war production basis, although not at World War II capacity. Production of new service rifles began at Springfield in early 1952 and ended with production line assembly of the official “last M1 service rifle” on 17 May 1957. However, assembly of M1 National Match rifles continued after that date. In total, the Armory produced 637,420 service grade M1 rifles during this era.
Post World War II M1s manufactured by Springfield Armory fall into several serial number ranges. They are 4200001 through 4399999, 5278246 through 5488246, and 5793848 through 6099905.
International Harvester Co.
In addition to manufacturing, Springfield Armory also assisted private industry to mobilize for M1 production. Two private firms received contracts to produce M1 rifles during this period. They were the International Harvester Company of Evansville, Indiana and Harrington & Richardson Arms Company of Worcester, Massachusetts.
International Harvester received its first M1 contract on 15 June 1951. It is believed they began delivery of rifles in early 1953 and ceased in early 1956. Ordnance Department records indicate International Harvester delivered 337,623 M1 rifles.
International Harvester encountered many difficulties in manufacturing M1s, several times relying upon Springfield Armory and Harrington & Richardson to provide them with receivers. This is not to infer that there is anything wrong with rifles produced by this manufacturer. All M1 rifles produced by all manufacturers were required to pass U. S. Army Ordnance inspection prior to acceptance and delivery. Problem rifles were either corrected or scrapped.
International Harvester did not make its own barrels. Barrels to support production of their rifles were manufactured by the Line Material Company of Birmingham, Alabama. These barrels were marked LMR on the side and are among the most accurate shooting service grade barrels produced.
In addition to their name on the receiver heel, M1s manufactured by International Harvester may be identified by assigned serial numbers. International Harvester serial number ranges are from 4400000 through 4660000 and 5000501 through 5278245.
Harrington & Richardson Arms Co.
Harrington & Richardson received its first contract on 3 April 1952 and began delivery in early 1953, ceasing M1 production in early 1956. Ordnance Department records indicate Harrington & Richardson delivered 428,600 M1 rifles. Harrington & Richardson, as a long time manufacturer of firearms, encountered few of the difficulties experienced by International Harvester. Rifles produced by Harrington & Richardson were exceptionally well finished in appearance.
In addition to their name on the receiver heel, M1s manufactured by Harrington & Richardson may also be identified by serial number. Harrington & Richardson was assigned serial number ranges 4660001 through 4800000, 5488247 through 5793847, and 400 rifles numbered from 6034330 through 6034729.
The major components, such as the barrel, bolt, hammer, operating rod, safety, and trigger housing were stamped with a numeric drawing number and the manufacturer’s initials. Springfield parts were marked “SA,” International Harvester parts stamped “IHC,” and Harrington & Richardson marked “HRA.”
During the entire production history of the M1 rifle, Springfield Armory produced 4,188,669 M1s. Combined with the three private contractors’ output, a total of 5,468,772 M1 rifles were manufactured.
BY SCOTT DUFF
If you would like to learn more about the M1 Garand, check out our books The M1 Garand: World War II or The M1 Garand: Post World War II available on our website. We also offer the bundle The M1 Garand: WW II & Post WW II Bundle and the The M1 Garand Compete Set – 6 pack at a reduced price.