Should I refinish my Garand?


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RavenVT100
October 6, 2004, 12:37 AM
I was very pleased today to receive a Garand from the CMP. Springfield, service grade. The stock is pretty beat up, it has some oil stains, and a good share of dings. I haven't performed the bullet test yet because my .30-06 hasn't arrived.

I ran the serial number a little awhile ago and found out that this rifle was manufactured in 1943. I'm a little torn; this rifle was made during World War II, and I'm not sure whether or not it would hurt its collector value if I stripped its old finish and gave it a pretty new finish. I had absolutely excellent results doing this with my SKS, but then again it's an SKS.

I plan to compete in Garand matches with this, so it's not as if I'm going to hang this rifle on my wall or anything. Will it impact the value of the rifle if I refinish it, or should I keep it in its current condition? Undoubtedly, it doesn't have all original parts. So bear that in mind.

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ReadyontheRight
October 6, 2004, 12:42 AM
Does the stock have any cartouches? If so, don't use any sandpaper at all if you decide to refinish.

FW
October 6, 2004, 12:46 AM
You might consider an unfinished Boyd's stock. I believe they are around $80. They are oversided, but if you are finishing them anyway, you could always remove a little wood.

Before you waste time on the stock you have, make sure it is not loose. Shims and bedding can fix a loose stock, but it won't be legal for Garand matches.

Check markings on the stock you have and make sure you don't have something valuble before you deface it.

RavenVT100
October 6, 2004, 12:52 AM
Cartouches and markings wouldn't be touched; I'd just strip the finish and then add new stain + finish.

I don't ever sand stocks or do anything that could remove a cartouche. 00 grade steel wool is the absolute heaviest abrasive that is used, followed by 0000 grade and then women's pantyhose (no I am not making that up).

WYO
October 6, 2004, 12:55 AM
You should check out some of the Scott Duff or other books to see if the pieces parts are somewhat matching or whether it has a lot of replacement parts before deciding what to do. Each Garand has its own unique history, and you can learn a lot about it from the various markings on all the parts. I tend to be a shooter myself, but if I had something really nice, I'd shoot it sparingly and order another one for competitive shooting.

Trebor
October 6, 2004, 02:21 AM
If it's an original stock with the proper inspector cartouches, don't refinish it because that would ruin the collector value. Odds are though, that it's a later replacement stock with only a "Circle P" cartouche. In that case, go ahead, as there isn't much collector interest in those GI replacement stocks.

What cartouches does it have?

RavenVT100
October 6, 2004, 07:10 AM
So far I can see a "P" and not much of anything else. Where would the original cartouches be?

Murphster
October 6, 2004, 08:17 AM
One person's "historically correct" is another person's "ugly." Unless Audie Murphy or John Wayne carried it and you want it refinished, I say refinish it.

Ash
October 6, 2004, 08:23 AM
Just a counter-point. As a long-time milsurper, I would not pay full price for a refinished piece. In the circles in which I travel, refinishing reduces its value. It's your rifle so do what you will. If you never sell it, it will never matter. However, of all the Flintlocks, Trapdoors, Beaumonts, Mosins, Enfields, Carcanos, Springfields, etc that I have come across, those which have been refinished have had to sell for less than those which have not. I have seen rifles with rough stocks sell for more than rifles with nice looking but refinished stocks (and I mean those stocks which do not normally have arsenal markings of any kind).

Just a counter point.

Ash

RavenVT100
October 6, 2004, 08:57 AM
Just a counter-point. As a long-time milsurper, I would not pay full price for a refinished piece.
...
I have seen rifles with rough stocks sell for more than rifles with nice looking but refinished stocks (and I mean those stocks which do not normally have arsenal markings of any kind).

Okay, just so I read you right, even if i leave all the arsenal markings intact, if I strip the existing finish and restain and refinish, getting rid of all the dents and dings in the process and again, retaining the original markings, the value will be reduced?

I don't really mind either way; I was just under the impression that refinishing was fine as long as all the markings stayed intact and were not sanded off or anything.

nbkky71
October 6, 2004, 12:55 PM
Everyone has a good point about whether or not to refinish and how to do it.

Think about what you want to do with the rifle in the long run. Is it going to be a collector's or historically accurate piece? If so, then you're better off following Ash's suggestions.

If it's going to be a shooter & you want it to look nice, then by all means refinish it. Dean's Gun Restorations is known to good Garand work (http://www.dgrguns.com).

I too was torn by this dilemma as I just picked up my first CMP HRA M1 last week.

My solution... buy another M1! :)

RavenVT100
October 6, 2004, 02:45 PM
My solution... buy another M1!

Eventually...but not now. I have a kid on the way and I'm concerned that I might have to sell this rifle in an emergency. I just want to make sure that I don't reduce its value by making it look prettier. That's all it boils down to.

It doesn't matter if it was made in 1943 or 2003. It deserves to be used for shooting and marksmanship training like the CMP intended, not hung on a wall and neglected. So I guess I am a little biased. :)

Trebor
October 6, 2004, 03:13 PM
If the only marking is a "Circle P" or plan "P" under the pistol grip, it's an aresenal replacement stock. Other markings would be on the left side of the stock, near the back of the receiver. Look close, but if they aren't there, go ahead and refinish.

Oh, and if it's Birch instead of Walnut, it's definately a replacement stock.

RavenVT100
October 6, 2004, 03:15 PM
Yeah, it's a replacement stock. And the type of wood doesn't match the handguards. All the more reason to stain it anyway so that they look almost identical.

I'm satisfied that I can retain value in this rifle even after refinishing, based on what I know and the fact that its parts don't match.

VG
October 6, 2004, 07:09 PM
Sir, you'd be dollars and time ahead to sell your Birch handguards on eBay and buy Walnut. You'll help someone trying to match up a Birch stock.

444
October 6, 2004, 08:33 PM
The idea of "refinishing" or "sporterizing" milsurp rifles makes my skin crawl.

But, on an M1, if you are just going to put a fresh oil finish on it, go for it. I wouldn't even have a problem with you taking some of the shallow dings out of it. That stock isn't a collector.

RavenVT100
October 6, 2004, 10:45 PM
The idea of "refinishing" or "sporterizing" milsurp rifles makes my skin crawl.

But, on an M1, if you are just going to put a fresh oil finish on it, go for it. I wouldn't even have a problem with you taking some of the shallow dings out of it. That stock isn't a collector.

A fresh coat of tung oil finish is exactly what I'm talking about. A stripping of the existing finish with oven cleaner (like the fulton armory guys suggest, and which has worked for me in the past) and then a light coat of stain followed by some tung oil. It will help to remove the old oil stains and restore some of the wood to its former glory. Modern tung oil finish is better for the wood than what was used on it originally, but it pretty much looks the same.

In no way am I altering the military configuration of this rifle, adding bedding, drilling holes for a sight, or any of that other evil stuff :)

Now, the color of the handguards vs. the stock is slightly different, but I'm still not 100% sure if I have a Birch or Walnut stock. All I know is that it's not the original. How do I tell between the different types of wood?

Sir, you'd be dollars and time ahead to sell your Birch handguards on eBay and buy Walnut. You'll help someone trying to match up a Birch stock.

That's a good idea. I'll check into it. Thanks!

1911Ron
October 6, 2004, 11:25 PM
I did the same thing to my CMP M-1 Garand,did it how the Fulton Armory guys said and looks nice, by the way use natural stain then tung oil and yes i used nylon stockings on the last coat and it looks good(yes i asked my wife for an old set:D )i say go for it!

bosshoff
October 8, 2004, 01:01 PM
I beleive using "boiler linseed oil" until it will absorb no more is actually preferred to Tung oil. I had mine refinished by a gunsmith who specialises in this sort of thing. He did the handguards, stock, and replaced the shot-out barrel with a NOS barrel from the 40's. He did this for somewhere in the neighborhood of $385.00. Good luck.

aerod1
October 9, 2004, 03:04 PM
Please don't do that. Even with all the dings and scratches, I bet it is beautiful as is. Just enjoy the beauty you have and relish in the history that made all those dings and scratches.
Just my thoughts,

Jim

Jmurman
October 9, 2004, 04:50 PM
When I got my Garand, it sounds almost identical to yours. Mine had plenty of dings and the handguard is birch too.

I decided to refinish mine. There is a fello here...Swampy and he has a tutioral on how to do this.

Basically you are going to completely strip it down...(make sure you print disassembly from CMP first) and then use your dishwasher...really!

Mine came out stripped of the oils and most of the dings were raised. I use a linseed oil and very very fine steel to smooth, not sand the finish between coats. My Garand is beautiful now. I still have a piece of history that really looks good.

GLOCKT
October 10, 2004, 01:25 AM
Lets see the HRA Garand I own is a 47638xx serial number,reciever and barrel are from 5/54 production.
The heat lot number on the trigger group came from a SA late 1944 production,the stock a SA only has the circle P on the pistol grip.
History it's a mixmaster.That now looks 100% better.
I also bought a Wenig standard walnut stock for comp shooting.
The Original stock is for plinking in the back 40.
I sanded,soaked with oven cleaner,then dishwasher the stock.Stainded with Minwax and sealed with boiled linseed oil.
It looks virtually like a new stock with the circle P on the grip.
If the CMP would have sent me a 100% total HRA Garand it would have stayed in original shape,but if your talking historic value witch group you talking about?The trigger group/reciever-barrel/stock, plus it being 5-54 production the Korean War was over by then.

Conda14
October 10, 2004, 02:21 AM
Dont do it

Houndawg
October 11, 2004, 02:06 AM
It's your rifle, and probably a mixmaster. If it was a collectors item then the CMP would have sold it as a Collector Grade. Do what you want with it. If you want a nice stock, get a Wenig from DGR. Much better than Boyds.

It's a genuine Garand, not a Springfield Inc., so if you try to sell it down the road you'll still get good money for it even if it's been reparked and the stock refinished.

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