William J. Ricca Surplus Sales
PO Box 25
New Tripoli, Pennsylvania 18066-0025
Bidding on Government Surplus since 1971
Hours: Monday through Thursday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Eastern Time Zone
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This page is has been published to clear up some of the Myths circulating the collecting hobby. Nothing on this page is a recommendation to use a given item. Nothing on this page is to indicate a given item or procedure is safe. This page exists strictly to clear up the myths distorting the actual history of the production of Ordnance Materiél.
M1 Carbine Barrels Produced by Herlo Corp
Myth: People working inside the Weapons Command had a brain storm and produced barrels with no twist. The effect would be tumbling bullets for use in Vietnam.
The Facts: Herlo barrels had several quality control problems:
Lack of twist.
Inconsistent twist rates, meaning either increased or decreased twist rates as the barrel length progressed.
Improper dimension inside the gas cylinder, resulting in seized pistons.
Improper dimensions on the front sight base area, resulting in loose sight keys and rattling sights.
The entire Herlo barrel contract was rejected by the government. No barrels were accepted due to the numerous quality control problems. The rejected barrels were purchased by a California dealer, circa 1975/76, who then sold them to the country of South Korea, as "US GI" barrels. The bulk of the barrels came back into the US when Armscorp, in Baltimore, and Red Cloud, in Virginia, imported them in 1996-97. I have never seen a carbine imported from Korea with a Herlo barrel installed, so most likely the Korean government experienced the same problems.
This does not mean every non chrome Herlo barrel is bad. Just the contrary. I purchased a total of 125 of them in 1996 thru 1997 and had to return only about 10 or 12, which the dealers stood behind and replaced. This "tumbling bullet" nonsense goes back to the days of the adoption of the M16. An M16 bullet does not tumble. Rifling insures that. However, a very light bullet can be easily deflected, resulting in instability. Any bullets that tumble coming out of these carbine barrels are not a result of design; they are a result of improper rifling and poor quality control.
Ignoring the barrels' poor production quality and advertising the "tumbling bullet" claim is a good way to convince people to purchase these rejected carbine barrels, which probably are the only large quantities of barrels left on the market.
Current Items Produced on "US GI or Government Tooling"
The Facts: 99% of the time, this statement is totally false and exists strictly as a sales pitch to get you to believe the current commercially made items are the same quality as the US GI contracted items. For over 35 years I have heard this statement used for various types of ammunition, parts, and magazines. One claim that has been confirmed is the sales of equipment to Taiwan for the production of M14 Rifles. Sellers continue to produce fake magazines, claiming they are "T57's from Taiwan, made on US equipment". Lee Emerson, one of the most advanced researchers in M14 production has confirmed that T57 magazines were never made on US equipment. Furthermore, the real T57 magazines were sold out just a year or two after coming into this country as surplus. They were released on the surplus market circa 1991/92 and have not be available since then. Although Taiwan did make a large quantity of Rifles, the country did not make nearly the number of magazine produced by US forces. The difference is size of the Armed Forces and the war in Vietnam made US M14 Magazine production huge.
The most recent claim covers the current importation of commercial 15 round magazines from South Korea. One quick way to counteract this lie is just ask the following question: Which company's equipment was used? Now the person has to know which producer made what, and when. There were about 12-15 different makers of 15 Round Carbine Magazines, all of which were produced during WWII. Common Sense will prevail as stated in the next paragraph.
People making these statements usually know nothing about Ordnance History or the production of what they are selling. The last US GI 15 Round Carbine Magazine contract ended in mid 1945. That means that the production equipment, from this particular company, which went out of business many, many years ago, sat around in storage for approximately 40-55 years, somewhere, until the year 2009, when it was shipped to South Korea to make these magazines. The whole structure of the claim is nonsense. When you hear this claim, be suspicious. 99.9% of the time it is a bunch of BS.
Grenade Launching Resulted in Cracked Operating Rods
Myth: Ordnance modified (relief cut) Garand Operating Rods due to damage resulting from launching Rifle Grenades.
The Facts: Ordnance modified Garand Operating Rods because right angle steel cuts have always been a point of failure. PHOTO To prevent cracking Ordnance modified (and later on added the change to production) Operating Rods with a circular cut. These cuts vary in size and shape due to different methods and locations of facilities performing the modifications. PHOTO
Furthermore, during WWII when an M7 GL was attached to an M1 Rifle, there was very little gas pressure in the operating system. A large percentage of gas escaped into the atmosphere due to the vented valve. Anyone who has launched inert rifle grenades will tell you that the op rod moves about 1/2 inch rearward, that's all. The reason is, there is not enough gas pressure to operate the system. If launching a rifle grenade damaged an op rod, then service ammunition would have sent it into the stratosphere. The difference is pressure is enormous.
Rifle Grenade Launching
Myth: Never meant to be fired from the shoulder, always fire with stock on the ground.
The Facts: The bulk of Grenade Launching was designed around anti-tank capabilities. During the early 1940's most armored vehicles were highly susceptible to anti-tank rifle grenades due to their light armor. True, the heavy German tanks could not be knocked out, but all the Japanese and all the German light armored vehicles were vulnerable. There is no way to shoot at an armored vehicle other than direct fire. Direct fire is a method where the shooter launches the grenade just like firing service ammunition. When an enemy armored vehicle is approaching with a large cannon and various machine guns, the last thing a soldier is worried about is recoil against the shoulder. This myth has been around since civilians started playing by launching inert rifle grenades and improperly holding the stock against the shoulder. Here is FM 23-30 from 1944 explaining the launching of rifle grenades from the shoulder: PHOTO Notice that the prone and sitting positions are out of the question. Here is another Field Manual from circa 1951 showing launching from the shoulder. PHOTO
The method of firing from the shoulder continued on, even after the adoption of the M28 and M30 Anti Tank Rifle Grenades, which were much heavier than the WWII series. PHOTO PHOTO This myth has been around for over 30 years, long before the internet existed. Once you see an internet site with the statement that rifle grenades were strictly launched with the stock on the ground, you can then judge the credibility of the research done. Directions from TM
Grenade Launchers were also used for launching pyrotechnic signals. That is where putting the stock on the ground comes into play. Because the signal is to be launched into the air, the indirect fire method is used.
Grenade Launching and Annealed M1 Receivers
Myth: During the early days to launching rifle grenades off the Garand, the solid lock screw provided so much pressure that the bolt would hit the rear of the receiver causing cracks. The correction was the vented lock screw and annealing the receivers.
Facts: This myth is due to lack of knowledge of the M7 Grenade Launcher and its development. The M7's design was a mixture of corrections applied to Remington's T14 Grenade Launcher. Remington's launcher, along with other competing designs, had a method of venting the gas system to prevent the build up a large amounts of gas pressure and volume. One of the main specifications of the M7 was that it could not be mounted on the Garand with the solid lock screw installed. The stud of the M7 is too wide to fit a solid lock screw. Once installed with a vented lock screw, large amounts of gas are vented into the atmosphere. I repeat what is stated in the myth dealing with cracked op rods:
Anyone who has launched inert rifle grenades will tell you that the op rod moves about 1/2 inch rearward, that's all. The reason is, there is not enough gas pressure to operate the system. Thus the bolt will never reach the rear of the receiver with an M7 Launcher installed on a Garand.
Annealing of the receivers had nothing to do with launching rifle grenades. The current thinking is the annealing occurred due to a change in the steel used in production of the receivers.
Carbine Spare Parts Post WWII
Myth: Those spare parts not produced by a Prime Contractor were produced after WWII (post war).
Facts: This myth is a result of the improper identification of parts' production periods in several commercial books. There has been a mindset over the years that unless a part came from one of the carbine makers, it was produced after WWII. When the ordnance department was making plans to make close to 7 million carbines, most carbine producers were falling behind in production. Furthermore mostly every carbine producer was sub contracting out many of the components. This resulted in two actions:
Purchasing large quantities of spare parts to upgrade the earlier designs and support the loss and breakage of components.
Using many of the sub contractors with the "Lowest Bidder" process.
The following is just a handful of the items you will see listed as post war. They were produced during WWII:
BK marked Oiler, Blake Manufacturing, production was Nov43-Sept44
J marked Stock, Jewel Bros., production was Aug44-Apr45
CC marked Magazine Catch, Commercial Controls., production was Jun44-Aug45
Type III Bands, marked AMCO, JM, and D in a triangle. These were Atlas Manufacturing Co., J M Mueller, and Donaldson Mfg., respectively. Without going into all the different dates, lets just say that by July of 1944 all these companies were in production of bayonet lugs. Their contracts ended between April and July of 1945.
Examples: PHOTO PHOTO
The list could go on and on. Just keep in mind that almost everything that was marked during WWII, was unmarked if it was produced during the 1960's. There were exceptions like bolts, slides, and bayonet lugs, but generally speaking that statement holds true. Also keep in mind very few spare parts were made from 1946 thru 1953, except bolts and the "must change" rebuild items, like springs and pins. When you see parts marked RIA, those were usually made circa the 1948-1950 period. But when you see a coded part that you cannot identify with a prime contractor, like a PJ recoil plate, disregard the post war description. Almost always that part was produced as a WWII spare.
Identification of Maker Marks
Myth: If you want to find manufacturers' markings, get yourself a copy of Supply Bulletin (SB) 9-35.
The Facts: This publication was never designed to identify manufacturers' markings on items produced, in a way useful to small arms collectors. It has been around since the mid 1980's and unfortunately many items have been incorrectly identified due to this publication. PHOTO SB 9-35 was originally designed to give the following:
The manufacturer's codes for contracted items when made by more than one contractor.
The identification code for sub contractors.
The manufacturer's internal part number.
Unfortunately this publication was designed for clerical purposes for the people involved in publishing and using certain categories of SNL's (Standard Nomenclature Listings). The results are the abbreviations are often wrong.
To demonstrate some of the errors, look at the below chart.
Actual Marking According to SB 9-35 M3A1 Combo Tool Parker Mfg., Worcester, Ma. PK Abbreviation for Parker-Kalon, NY, NY M3A1 Combo Tool Holst, Inc.,
HO Abbreviation for Hoover Ball and Bearing Co., Ann Arbor, Mi. M7 Grenade Launcher Fay and Scott, Dexter, Me. FS or Fay & Scott FAY M7 Grenade Launcher Knapp-Monarch, St. Louis, Mo. KM KMP Various Carbine Parts Saginaw Steering Gear, Saginaw, Mi. SG SSG Various Web Gear Russell Mfg. Co.,
As shown in the above chart, one cannot rely on this publication to identify markings on manufactured items. In researching several items, I have found that each item had a committee which cleared the assignment of markings. Thus Bearse Mfg., which made three different ordnance items that I know of, had three different markings due to available space on each item.
There are some correct abbreviations; my guess would be about 50%. As far as purchasing SB 9-35, the manual does have some good information like addresses, proper spelling of the companies, and their contractor codes (numerical) which would lay the ground work for the 1960's FSCM's (Federal Supply Codes for Manufactures). The book is still worth owning, as long as you do not rely on it to identify maker marks on contracted items. For that use, it is almost worthless.
Sling Dates and the "Correct" Restoration of a Rifle.
Myth: When restoring a rifle, one must pick a sling that closely relates to the production date of the rifle.
Facts: All slings were purchased and put into the supply system, which was quite large. There was no direct relationship between the production date of a rifle and the sling that was issued to a soldier. More of a factor of issuance was the type of unit, its geographical location, and when the rifle was issued.
The goal of the supply system was to issue the "latest and greatest" items to active front line units. That would relegate the older designed items to reserves or non combat units. Ask any supply clerk and you will find those goals were never achieved. In later years it was not unusual to find both 1960's vintage slings along with WWII vintage slings within the storage points and using units. For the collector the only limitation of which equipment was issued was that a rifle could not have later equipment not yet produced. Anything current or earlier were possible items of issue for any given rifle.
A rifle was produced in 1942, but sat in storage until it was finally issued for the first time in 1966. At that point the issuing unit would have on hand web slings from the 1950's or 1960's, WWII undated, WWII dated, and even WWII with MRT post war markings.
Same rifle but it was issued for the first time in 1945. In this situation the sling could be a WWI or WWII leather sling, a web sling from WWII, with any date, or undated.
Same rifle, but issued in 1943. Could have any leather sling as listed above, or an unmarked web sling with early design (another whole area, with one exception), or a 1942 or 43 dated web sling.
This also applies to cleaning equipment, ammunition belts, and pouches. The only limitation you have is you cannot use an item that was not yet made.
This does not apply to early carbines. The carbine took a very unique sling, not yet in the system, so early contractors were required to deliver slings along with the carbines. It is possible that warehousing techniques got slings and carbines mixed upon shipment from depots, but that was probably more of an exception than the rule.
US GI T37 Flash Hiders Versus Fakes
Myth: You can tell a fake Flash Hider by striking it. A real one will ring, the cast repro will not.
Facts: All steel items that are shaped like a tuning fork will ring when struck, including the cast reproduction T37's. If you do not believe me, try it.
This information may be used freely for message boards discussions. Permission must be granted for use on websites, for publication, or for inter-net auctions. Don't be afraid to ask, you may be surprised.
Grenade Blanks, Launching Blanks, Etc.
Myth Not really a myth, just very wrong designations with heavy consequences. These are incorrect terms which come from laziness, ignorance, or a lack of effort to be correct.
By WWII the use of the term "Grenade Blank" was gone. With the development of Blank Firing Attachments (BFA's) for the Garand and the Browning Machine Gun Series, Frankford Arsenal knew that accidents would occur if M1909 Blanks and Grenade Cartridges were mistaken. When the M2, M3, and M6 Cartridges were under development, their nomenclatures of "Grenade Cartridge" were permanently locked into use. By definition a blank has a reduced powder charge. A grenade cartridge has a full powder charge, so it cannot be classified as a blank.
Today the term "Grenade Blank" continues to be used, improperly, and it has helped keep in place the danger of somebody mistaking a grenade cartridge for a blank and firing it with a BFA attached. So far, at least two Garands have been blown up due to the operator not knowing the difference. To make matters more confusing the Army now makes standard drill and ceremony "blanks" with crimped mouths, similar to Grenade Cartridges of the past. The crimped design was a transportation issue, not a safety issue for shooters, so that is what we are stuck with. In the 1950's FN ignored the problem and marked their boxes "Caliber .30 Grenade Blanks" for overseas sales to countries using the Garand. As you can see the battle to be correct is a tough road, but you can help.
Do not use the term "Grenade Blank". It will help to add to the confusion of the inexperience guys and can lead to more accidents with BFA's. Insist on others using the term "Grenade Cartridge" and correct others that continue to use the term "Grenade Blanks". You can prevent your fellow collectors from injury, and save their rifles from blowing up.
All inquiries regarding this research project must be by email.
Grenade Launchers and Associated Equipment