Advice on buying American Legion M1's


June 19, 2011, 10:56 PM
I debated about which forum to post this in, sorry if this is more "rifle" than research....

I am a dealer and was contacted today by a gentleman who is the president of an American Legion. They have some bills to pay and are looking to unload some M1 Garands.

He stated the barrels have all been adapted to shoot blanks. He didnt know if it was just an adaptor that could be taken off, or if the whole barrel has been modified. I'm assuming worst case scenario on condition. He said they werent too bad but that they had the typical cracked stocks, etc. Im guessing some of you are familiar with this scenario and can bring me up to speed...

What is the deal on these?

How hard/expensive to convert to something that can safely be fired?

What should something like this be worth?

They are looking to sell 7 of these. When asked, he stated they were hoping for $600 a piece. I assume this is not a good price since you can get them from CMP for that price ready to go... He knows I am a dealer and that I have to have some room for profit. I want to be fair, but not lose money either.

Please help/advise. I promised an answer by Wednesday morning.

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Ohio Gun Guy
June 19, 2011, 11:15 PM
I have not seen M1s.......someone will be along who has.

My Father has a few 1903's that were modified for Legion rifles and they had Barrel Modifications that could not be un-done without a new barrel. Also on some rifles they messed with the receivers, bolts, etc. Nothing was sacred. Other rifles only had minor modifications, easily un-done. Take what you find out here, but inspect them all. They may have all the same modifications but they may not. They may also have some rare models or makes in the lot. Definately worth looking at, but I doubt 600 is a good price, you may tell them the CMP prices and then note the work required of their rifles depending on what was done to them.

Pricing should be more like what you would pay for Parts Guns IMO.

June 19, 2011, 11:20 PM
It is NOT a good price and I would personally stay far away from them. They've been firing blanks, likely without cleaning or proper maintenance, for who knows how many years. For maybe half that price it might be worth it, as the receivers are likely good and most of the parts. If the stocks are cracked/worthless then you might go lower still.

When you can get a genuine GI, inspected, firing M1 from the CMP for $600 or less, with new wood if you like, why would you buy one of those other ones?

June 19, 2011, 11:26 PM
Does the Legion actually own them, or are they still US property?

June 20, 2011, 04:12 AM
Thats a good queation there. It may be guns that they bought but my guess is they belong to the govt.

June 20, 2011, 06:10 AM
For maybe half that price it might be worth it,

I had the number of 300 in my head from the beginning (although now I am thinking that is too high, as I will explain shortly). From what he said, their number of $600 was based more on what it took to pay their bills than it had anything to do with the actual value of the rifles. Like so many people, he discounted the all crucial factor of condition. He said he saw Garands online for 500-1k, which of course is not comparable to this. I figure he has good intentions and is just trying to help out this legion, which I respect. He is just ignorant of reality (I dont mean that in disrespectful way).

I just looked at the CMP and I see that receivers are being sold for $195. That being said, maybe a fair offer would be more like $200. I figure the stocks and barrels are probably worth zero, or close to zero. If I sold the receivers for $200, I would have to rely on the trigger groups and the sights to make any money.

There is no way I will sell these as is. Some clown might try to put a 30-06 through it and get hurt. I think it would have to be as parts.

Does the Legion actually own them, or are they still US property?

He must think they own them if he thinks they can sell them, but that is a good question. How would one know who owns them, officially? Are they just custodians, and if so, who would they return them to when they were done with them? Are they actual owners and able to do with them as they please?

If the ownership issue could be settled satisfactorily, I think it could be a good lead for parts at the right price. Any other ideas?

Ed Wagner
June 20, 2011, 11:21 AM
Rifles used by the Legion, VFW etc, are still govt. property. They are given to the posts for funeral use, etc. I maintained the rifles for my VFW post for a long time, at one point the post was going to sell me 7 Krags they still had ( I had an FFL ), on inquiry the post found that the rifles had to be returned to the govt.

Jim K
June 20, 2011, 02:47 PM
With a few exceptions, the rifles in the hands of veterans organizations are on loan from the Army and are NOT the property of the organization. Technically, selling them would be a federal felony, and buying them would be receiving stolen goods. And yes, the Army has records of those rifles.

As to those exceptions - a few years back, the Army got a wild hair about "controlling" those guns and wanted them stored at army bases. A major showed up at one local Legion post, demanding they turn over their M1 rifles. The post commander let him rant and then pulled out a sales slip from Interarms showing that the post, anticpating just that sort of thing, had bought its rifles ($65 each). The officious major was shown the door. The storage concern seems to have gone away; I guess too much flak about a few obsolete rifles that terrorists weren't going to use anyway and which would not fire live ammo.


June 20, 2011, 02:50 PM
Ed and Jim,
That is very helpful information. I will contact the American Legion and inform them I am unable to purchase them. Thanks again- Dave

June 20, 2011, 02:57 PM
I just called the guy to say I was not interested for the reasons that were posted above... He said definitively that these are not government loaned rifles and that a member bought them privately with his own funds from a gun dealer.


I dont know. Maybe I should invest my time into something else...

June 21, 2011, 04:52 PM
Nearly all VFW and Legion used blank firing rifles have been rode hard and put away wet. Certainly not worth $600.

Jim K
June 22, 2011, 12:24 AM
It is certainly possible that those rifles are owned by the post, as the ones I mentioned are. But if I wanted to buy those rifles, I would want to see sales slips or other proof or get a letter from the army stating that serial numbers xxxxxx, yyyyyy and zzzzzz are not on loan to Post 123 and are no longer the property of the U.S.

It would be a lot of trouble, but I am told that Club Fed is not big on luxury and comfort.


June 22, 2011, 09:20 AM
I decided I definitely am NOT going to purchase them.

Its too much hassle, too many questions.

Thanks guys for talking it out with me.

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