You, Me and the CMP

The author's two DCM M-1 carbines. Notice the M-1A1 (paratrooper) folding stock he installed on one of them. The stock was a gift from a fellow West Point cadet and is a natural because the author was both a paratrooper and a jump master when he was in the service.

The author’s two DCM M-1 carbines. Notice the M-1A1 (paratrooper) folding stock he installed on one of them. The stock was a gift from a fellow West Point cadet and is a natural because the author was both a paratrooper and a jump master when he was in the service.

Currently, regular M-1 Garand rifle sales include M-1 service rifles in a variety of variations and grades running from rack grade to collector grade, priced from $295 to $1400. These include rifles supplied to Denmark and Greece that have been repatriated to the U.S. Thankfully, none have importer markings. While these M-1 Garands are not being sold at giveaway prices, they are being sold at low-end market value and represent excellent buys. In my experience, the vast majority of service-grade M-1 Garands sold would rate NRA Very Good condition and the rack-grade rifles would rate NRA Good+ to Very Good – condition.

The author with his late father’s old DCM M-1917 Colt 45 ACP revolver. This was the very first firearm he remembers ever seeing, and it was his father’s primary utility and defensive handgun for most of his life. It, and his dad’s M-1, are two of the author’s most prized possessions.

The “Collector Grade” M-1s include: any M-1 of any manufacturer that has all its original parts, any pre-WWII M-1 with most of its original parts, any Winchester M-1 “dash-13″ variation, any International Harvester M-1 with original barrel and most of its original parts – as well as those bearing unusual logos on the receiver and any H&R M-1 with a serial number over 6 million, among others.

It is hard to believe, but some M-1903, M-1903A3, and M-1917 rifles are still available after all these years. Their prices run in the $350 to $400 range. Some of these had been loaned to veterans’ organizations for ceremonial use and then returned to government stocks, while others have just been sitting in a government warehouse all these years.

The recent sales of surplus military 22 LR target rifles have included these models: Mossberg M44, Remington 541X, Remington 40X, and Winchester M52C and D target rifles. As this is written, the only surplus small-bore rifles available are new Kimber Model 82 Government Model 22 LR single-shot target rifles at $600, used H&R M-12 22 target rifles at $225, Mossberg 144US 22 target rifles at $229, and some incomplete Winchester M52 rifles.

To qualify to purchase an M-1 or other firearm through the CMP you must be a U.S. citizen, at least eighteen years old, a member of a CMP-affiliated club or association, and have proof of some kind of marksmanship activity. The sale must also comply with all federal, state, and local laws, so you must also pass a National Instant Check System background check. Once this is accomplished and the rifle paid for, it is shipped right to your door.

If you are not already a member of a CMP-affiliated club or association, the simplest way to meet that requirement is to join your CMP-affiliated state shooting association. Every state has one. The CMP can supply you with the appropriate contacts and the cost is minimal. The proof of participation can be a match bulletin that lists you as a competitor in virtually any kind of shooting competition.

Typical competitors' quarters at Camp Perry in the 1950s and '60s. They had a cement floor and the furnishings consisted primarily of Army cots. The author's family would occupy one of these semi-tents for the duration of the matches his father shot in.

Typical competitors’ quarters at Camp Perry in the 1950s and ’60s. They had a cement floor and the furnishings consisted primarily of Army cots. The author’s family would occupy one of these semi-tents for the duration of the matches his father shot in.

Interestingly, the competition requirement is waived if you can document that you are in any of the following categories: have current or past honorable military service, are a certified law enforcement officer, have proof of completion of a marksmanship clinic or hunter’s safety course that includes live-fire training, have NRA Distinguished, Instructor or Coach status, have a state-issued concealed-carry license or firearms identification card, have certification of shooting activity by a shooting range or club official, or are over 60 years of age.

There is even a method for a parent or guardian to procure a rifle for a qualified junior shooter who is under the age of 18. There is a limitation on the number of rifles an individual can purchase per year once you qualify, but it is liberal.

Beside the normal service rifle and pistol matches, the CMP also holds and sponsors a variety of special matches that are conducted at the National Matches and by affiliated clubs. The most fun and interesting are the John C. Garand Match, the Springfield Match and the Vintage Military Rifle Match.

All are shot at 200 yards. The shooter fires ten shots prone slow fire, ten shots standing to sitting rapid fire, and ten shots standing slow fire. For the Garand Match the rifles are limited to standard “as-issued” service rifle specimens of the M-1 Garand (30-06 only), M-1903 in all service rifle variations, M-1 Carbine, M-1941 Johnson and M-1917 “Enfield”, in other words the U.S. service rifles used to some degree in WWII. The Springfield Match is open to any bolt-action U.S. service rifle in as-issued condition, including those listed above, and U.S. Krags. The Vintage Military Rifle Match is open to foreign bolt-action military service rifles, also in as-issued condition.

No military match rifles, match parts, glass bedding, or other changes from “as-issued” are allowed in any of these categories. The idea of these matches is to increase interest and participation in military rifle shooting without the technological arms race that seems to accompany most other competitive shooting sports. It is entirely possible to acquire an accurate foreign military surplus rifle to compete in this match for under $100.

These matches are a lot of fun and are the most popular matches at the National Matches. In 2004 there were 816 entries in the Springfield and Vintage Military Match and a staggering 1401 entries in the Garand Match. Shooters often show up wearing uniforms of the period their rifle was made or, in the case of foreign military rifles, in the uniform of the country the rifle was issued. This adds to the color and fun of these matches. In the 2004 Vintage Military Match at Camp Perry, the variety of foreign countries and rifles represented included the Swedish Mausers, Swiss Schmidt Rubins, Persian Mausers, Italian Carcanos, British Enfields, and more.

The current standard U.S. service rifle is the M-16. Accurized versions of semiautomatic commercial equivalents of the M-16 are currently dominating national-level service rifle competition. At the National Matches, there is also a special M-16 Match where the shooter is issued a genuine military-issue M16 service rifle to shoot the match. This match is proving particularly popular with new shooters.

For more information about the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), Click Here


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One thought on “You, Me and the CMP

  1. Woody65

    Great words from a truly great patriot and American! I grew up with “Chuck” in the 1950’s and only parted with him when my family moved away. My fondest memories are of all the firearm and gun stuff Chuck shared with us all. His Dad was a chemist and it rubbed off on Chuck: we’d take our Boy Scout knives to grade school, scrape the plaster walls in the gym for “niter,” use match heads for sulphur and beat up charcoal briquettes to make crude black powder! We were grade school kids! Later in life I would meet up with Chuck at regional and state wrestling matches–he usually won! I sure do miss him. Bet he’s showing St. Peter DCM skills in heaven! We love you, Brother!

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