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  1. #1
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    M1 gas trap restoration/reproduction (June 1940)

    I see some neat threads re the M1 on this forum, and decided to share some pics of my most challenging M1 restoration/reproduction project to date - the early/original version of the M1 Garand. It all started with a June 1940 receiver (43k serial range) with a matching mid-1940 bolt ("-1" drawing number) that an advanced collector sold to me. The finish was dark gray, almost black, and it might, might be original. (Note: most M1s receivers of that vintage have been refinished in the post WWII era and acquired a nice dark green finish, but the early M1s as seen in the Springfield Armory museum have a blackish finish). My 43k receiver lacked evidence of a rebuild and thus was a good candidate for a gas trap reproduction build.

    For those who don't know the history, the first 3 years of M1 Garand production from late 1937 until mid-1940 used a "gas trap" system to operate the rifle, which involved a 22" non-ported barrel with a special gas cylinder to direct gas from the barrel's muzzle within the 'gas plug' in the front of gas cylinder. Archival info states that Springfield made 48,119 gas trap M1s. However, John Garand/Springfield Armory invented a much more elegant and robust "gas port" system on experimental M1s during 1939 to replace the original gas trap system which was overly complex and not as strong as the military desired.

    In late summer of 1940, SA began building all new production M1 rifles with a 24" barrel that had a gas port, and a new gas port specific gas cylinder in the 50k serial range that. (The gas port configuration remained basically unchanged from late 1940 until the end of M1 production in 1957).

    The Ordnance Dept had a standing order that any M1 Garands that came in for servicing/refurbishing with the "early style" front end had to be converted from gas trap to the newer gas port system before, during, and after WWII. (I think this order was from either late 1940 or early 1941, but I need to check references). The gas trap parts were simply discarded, and very few original gas trap M1 rifles remain, numbering in the dozens (mostly in museums and private collections of very wealthy collectors).

    I can not afford a real gas trap (hardly ever sold but they are $30k plus when they change owners), but Rat Worx made I think 100 very high-quality reproduction gas trap kits back in 2009-2010 (50% Type 1 and 50% were Type 2 gas trap gas cylinders). I was able to buy one of these years ago, and started collecting early M1 parts needed for this project.

    (Note: Since these pictures were taken I have replaced the repo leather sling with a vintage Boyt sling dated 1941 that has brass hardware, thus giving it a more correct patina, but that is not shown in these pictures). The walnut stock was either an unmarked post-war USGI replacement stock, or a worn commercial stock, and its been stamped with a faux "SPG/SA" cartouche and fitted with a reproduction no-trap buttplate to give the rifle the same look as a 1937-1940 gas trap Garand (under the buttplate it has the two holes for the cleaning kit so no one is going to think this is/was a real SPG stock).

    Anyhow, here's the end result - a June 1940 M1 Garand gas trap restoration/ reproduction.

    Right side:


    Left side:


    Reproduction Rat Worx Gas trap gas cylinder ('Type 2' version). The ferrule on the front handguard was unique on the gas traps, as they extended outward as a spacer of sorts. (Note: the gas trap parts are stamped with an "R" to show that they are reproductions - thus no one can claim in the future that its an original gas trap gas cylinder):


    Close-up of Type 2 gas cylinder, with the "gas plug" that fit very tightly inside the gas cylinder. The last inch or so of the gas plug is a 'false'muzzle' in that it is non-rifled and approx .310"+ in diameter:


    The 'Type 2' version had flared front sight wings, whereas the earlier 'Type 1' front sight had vertical front sight wings (circa 1937-1939):


    Criterion made a batch of 22" gas trap barrels in 2009, this is one of them:


    Flush nut rear sights with checkered knobs, correct drawing numbers on rear sight cover and rear aperture, etc.


    Early internals such a -1 SA op rod (modified with the stress relief cut unfortunately), and the op rod catch is early and "in the white" (i.e, no finish):


    Reproduction 'dual-recoil spring' set-up that was discontinued at the end of 1940 (this dual spring set-up is fully functional):


    Early no-revision SA trigger housing (note the hammer spring housing and plunger "in the white"), "-1SA" hammer with extra hole, "-2" marked SA trigger, "-4" safety. (Not shown, but the trigger guard has the correct drawing/revision number "-1SA"):


    Reproduction of an early 'no-trap' buttplate adopted to an unmarked walnut USGI replacement stock:


    A couple of years ago I managed to find one really early (pre-WWII) enbloc clip with the "C" marking (clip has black oxide finish, not the later parkerized finish), and it was loaded with 8 rds of 1941 dated ammo, so its a neat display piece with this rifle.


    ...Anyhow, this M1 took a while to build and it was not cheap, but its a neat and fully shootable gas trap reproduction rifle. We don't see too many of these, so thought I would post pics and info for anyone interested in the 'original' and rarely seen version of the M1 Garand...
    Last edited by Random Guy; 16th December 2018 at 06:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Owner / Administrator Hawk's Avatar
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    Re: M1 gas trap restoration/reproduction (June 1940)

    Cool beans!!
    Semper-Fi! Hawk
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  3. #3
    Moderator nf1e's Avatar
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    Re: M1 gas trap restoration/reproduction (June 1940)

    Very nice.
    Your dedication is overwhelming.

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  5. #4
    Command Sgt Major VanHahner's Avatar
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    Re: M1 gas trap restoration/reproduction (June 1940)

    Quote Originally Posted by nf1e View Post
    Very nice.
    Your dedication is overwhelming.
    ......+ 1

    Such history, love it !
    U.S.M.C. Scout Sniper 67-68

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  7. #5
    Sgt Major sergeant major's Avatar
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    Re: M1 gas trap restoration/reproduction (June 1940)

    That is a beautiful M1 Garand.
    U.S. Army Sergeant Major, retired 1990
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  9. #6
    Command Sgt Major budster's Avatar
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    Re: M1 gas trap restoration/reproduction (June 1940)

    Very nice and historical.

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  11. #7
    Administrator Tarheel Trooper's Avatar
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    Re: M1 gas trap restoration/reproduction (June 1940)

    Nicely done sir
    On my honor,
    I will never betray my badge,
    my integrity, my character,
    or the public trust.
    I will always have
    the courage to hold myself
    and others accountable for our actions.
    I will always uphold the constitution,
    my community, and the agency I serve.

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  13. #8
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    Re: M1 gas trap restoration/reproduction (June 1940)

    i would like to find one of those ratworx reproduction gas systems. that is a beautiful rifle!

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  15. #9
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    Re: M1 gas trap restoration/reproduction (June 1940)

    Now that's dedication !! Nice work.

    I have never heard of a gas trap M1 Garand. I learned something. On the originals, is the gas trap not blued/parkerized, like yours ?
    The older I get, the more I realize "life in prison" is not that much of a deterrent.

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