John C. Garand & the Springfield Armory 1942-45 ~ AmmoLand News Image Vault

Springfield Armory Main Entrance LC-USE6-D-000136
Springfield Armory Main Entrance : Gate of guns. Main entrance to the Administration building at an eastern armory, now turning out guns for the war program

USA – -( Welcome to the AmmoLand News image vault. Here is where we dig deep into some of our collection of historic firearms photos for our readers to enjoy. In this series photographer, Alfred T. Palmer and others take us on a photo tour of a 1940 factory producing M1 Garands under the direct supervision of John C. Garand around 1940 – 45. We believe these photos were taken at the Springfield arsenal.

These images feature the production of M1 Garand rifles as well as some candid photos of John C. Garand himself. AmmoLand Editors have reprocessed and digitally enhanced these photos so you can better see the details and imagery of these important photos. Be sure and click on each image for full-size images views.

This is the first time these images are being seen in print in sixty plus years. If you like this series please leave us feedback in the comments if you would like to see more vintage photo digs like this.

John C. Garand Firearms Inventor 1940: The man behind the gun. John C. Garand, the inventor of the semi-automatic rifle now being turned out in large quantities under the war program, looks over one of the newly produced rifles.

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John C. Garand Firearms Inventor 1940

John C. Garand At Work : Invention for defense. John C. Garand, inventor of the Army's semi-automatic rifle, at work in his model shop.

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John C. Garand At Work

John C. Garand, inventor of the Garand rifle: Springfield, Massachusetts. John C. Garand, inventor of the Garand rifle, pointing out some of the features of the rifle to Major General Charles M. Wesson during the general's visit to the Springfield arsenal. At right is Brigadier General Gilbert H. Stewart, commanding officer of the arsenal.

John C. Garand, inventor of the Garand rifle : LC-USW33-000135-ZE
John C. Garand, inventor of the Garand rifle

John C. Garand, Springfield, Mass. between 1941 and 1945:

  • (Left) Garand, inventor of semi-automatic .30 cal M-1 rifle, insturcting his children Janice, as she kneels to take aim, and Richard, who sits on the floor aiming.
  • (Right) John C. Garand aiming one of the semi-automatic U.S. rifles, the .30 caliber M 1, which he invented, Springfield, Massachusetts.
John C. Garand, Springfield, Mass. between 1941 and 1945
John C. Garand, Springfield, Mass. between 1941 and 1945

A Rack Of Garand Rifles: A rack of Garand rifles on their way to the shipping room. Soon they will be playing an active part in our work.

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A Rack Of Garand Rifles

Garand Rifles One Last Checkup: One last checkup. One last checkup is being given these Garand Rifles, following proof firing activity at an eastern armory.

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Garand Rifles One Last Checkup

Garand Rifle Assembly Room: Putting them together. A corner of the assembly room at an armory, where war workers are putting together the parts which make up a Garand rifle.

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Garand Rifle Assembly Room

Gauging The Diameter Of The Barrel: It has to be right. Gauging the diameter of the barrel of a Garand rifle following grinding. An eastern armory is turning out these rifles for the war program.

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Gauging The Diameter Of The Barrel

Garand Rifles Being Packed : Garand rifles being packed for shipment to troops in training.

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Garand Rifles Being Packed

Gun Stock Takes Shape : Out of the rough. A gun stock takes shape under the hands of a skilled workman as the war production goes ahead at an eastern armory.

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Gun Stock Takes Shape

Testing For Garand Rifle Accuracy : Testing for accuracy. Checking the straight-shooting qualities of one of the semi-automatic rifle which play an important role in our war preparation. Note the ejected cartridge flying through the air in the upper right hand corner of the photograph.

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Testing For Garand Rifle Accuracy

If you enjoyed this look back and want to see more let us know in the comments below. For our next Image Vault we have some stunning color images from the 1940 and the womens war effort. Please Subscribe to our email list so you do not miss the next article in this series.

  • 38 thoughts on “John C. Garand & the Springfield Armory 1942-45 ~ AmmoLand News Image Vault

    1. Being a Marine who entered the service at the end of the Korean conflict , my rifle was the M-1 Garand, which I fired Expert (242) and I wanted to own one for the rest of my life. It came true back in April of 2018 when my wife presented me with two of them(Service grade) and I fired the low numbered one at the Sheriff’s range in Buckeye, Az.(firing both standing and prone with hits on target 23 out of 24 shots. The one I fired was a 688,000 number which translated to3/43. I love these pictures and especially those of Mr. Garand, since I lived in Massachusetts, not that far from the factory where they were made and tested. Keep up the good work.

    2. I have 3 M1’s and wish I had a few from WWII. Mine are in the 5 million series.
      Great photo’s

    3. Absolutely amazing to see history looking at these photos I wonder if these man every thought that someday years later what they were working on would be the semi auto that won the war and changed the world forever mine was built in early May of 1943 Everytime I shoot it I can’t help but think of the man that carryed it into battle I owe him and every other veteran a great deal of gratitude for what they have done

    4. Love the pictures and stories. My Garand was built in November 1941. It would be one of the lst prewar Garands made. I love it.

    5. Loved the photos and information. As a CMP Games rifle shooter it was very interesting. Would there be any way to get digital copies of these pictures so I could print some for my man cave?


    6. Many, many years ago I met a fellow named Art Tuttle who had worked with Mr. Garand at Springfield Armory, and who showed me his M-1 rifle reportedly given to him by the inventor himself. If my memory is correct, the serial number was number 7. It was apparently a prototype, because it differed from the M-1 I carried throughout my Marine Corps life from 1955 through 1963, although I cannot recall specifics. My wife remembers that the stock had a very attractive tiger stripe grain which had been especially selected for the presentation.
      An excellent to outstanding photo essay, as we used to say in the Corps! I shall look forward to additional presentations!

    7. “Brigadier General Gilbert H. Stewart, commanding officer of the arsenal.”
      Someone tell the good general his overseas cap is on backwards, or does it matter? 😉

    8. “Doo-Whop Hairstyle”.. funny comment.. As a young EM in the Navy,(65-72), we stood watches with an M-1 Garand.. Back then I never felt a need to own one (DOH !! LOL ).. …HEY I have a question.. in the photo description “GAUGING THE DIAMETER OF THE BARREL”.. It says.. ” Gauging the diameter of the barrel of a Garand rifle following grinding ..”..To me, (admittedly a non machinist), when you gauge the diameter of something your checking the roundness of it.. Okay my question is how did they use the Grinder on these barrels ? I just always thought they used a lath to make them round, I never figured they would use a grinder on these barrels. Is that something that was done to finish them and perhaps take off any lath marks ?? (asking out of ignorance and hoping to learn something here) Thanks for your answer.. and YES keep these photos coming.. they are absolutely GREAT !!

    9. Great collection of photos. I have loved the M1 Garand since I was issued on in college ROTC in 1961. I now own a couple of them and enjoy range time with them. Please keep the series coming.

    10. I was born only 7 years after World War II ended, so most of the veterans I knew were World War II vets. This is a fabulous photo essay that needs to be shown, because I don’t know if the schools are teaching this. Keep them coming, please!

    11. yean more photo compositions is great! no need to worry about women in the mix… don’t feel like you need to change history to accommodate modern day ridiculous thinking into the equation. :o-)

      1. I’m sure he heard about that error. Do you suppose the Generals enjoyed a taste or two with their lunch?

    12. An excellent piece by an, an excellent news service which I read religiously. More please! May I also suggest that people visit the Springfield Armory Museum on the site of the original armory? It features a very nice gun collection, including a number of Garand prototypes, and a number of machines from the original factory.

    13. Just a couple stray thoughts: Where did Ammoland get a “photo vault”? There are no young people in the photos. Where are all the young people? If the Garand had an action screw it would be more accurate, and I would like it better. There are plenty of Garands out there, one need only trade some nearly worthless paper for them.

        1. @Cbone, maybe. All I know is that they are not in that factory. I thought that lots of young women took jobs in industry.

      1. In the ‘Packing’ picture you will find one of those elusive youngsters, him with the doo-whop hairstyle. I think you’re more running into a cultural norm of displaying those older, wiser technicians, coupled with the shortage made by the draft. More importantly, Don’t Stop! Keep these photos coming!

      2. WB, My grandmother worked at a factory in Houston making aviator sunglasses during the war. My grandfather was serving in the army( his second enlistment). She told me allthe employees were young women. What a nation we were then! I was too young for Vietnam and too old for Desert Storm but I did enlist( Coast Guard). My wife tells if I had gone to war she would have worked in some capacity to support the troops. Yes I married way above my pay grade!

    14. Great photos! I have a couple of Garands myself. I’d like to have some of those ‘new in the box ‘ though.

    15. My brother and I enjoyed seeing these pictures very much! We grew up with a former 50″s Marine Corps armorer for a Dad and a M-1 around the house always. I myself am also a machinist and am amazed at the old machines and machining practices. It is truly amazing that they could keep any kind of tolerances.

      1. I know people who have some of the old machinery seen in these amazing photos. Yes, they CAN keep close tolerances, but the machinist had to know what he was about, which in those days was very common. Look at how much high quality heavy solid steel is in those machines. The turrets for the tool-holder are nearly a fot in diameter. Compare to today’s mostly toy lathes where the same part is maybe four inches across. I’ve used some of that old stuff, and grew up around a Dad who could make them get up and dance.

        As to the photos themselves, AND the history copy accompanying them, YES< do keep them coming.

    16. In the current issue of The GCA (Garand Collectors Association) Journal, there is a short article by an individual who as a child was the Garands’ neighbor. The picture of John Garand in the vest shows him dressed as he did working in his garden, according to his former neighbor.

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