M1 Garand Springfield Armory Type 1 National Match Rifle
1956 dated barrel Proof and T stamped
NM plus star on barrel
CMP paper showing rifle was designated as National Match
Below is an article from the American Rifleman Magazine to give you an idea of the features of an early National Match rifle:
1953-1958 “Type 1” National Match M1 Rifle
The rather extensive modifications required for the M1s to “move to the next level” as competitive match rifles violated the regulations requiring the guns to be essentially indistinguishable from the standard service rifle. The first M1 National Match rifles have been dubbed “Type 1.” While unofficial terms, the various “Type” classifications of National Match M1s can be a useful method of denoting the different variations.
As the first Type 1 National Match rifles saw use at Camp Perry in 1953, Springfield Armory engineers were assigned to work as armorers and gunsmiths on the rifles so they could listen to the various suggestions and complaints heard from competitive shooters. The Armory took this information to heart when planning for the fabrication of the next batch of rifles for the 1954 National Matches.
Although the 1954 National Match M1 rifles were an improvement over those made the previous year, it was apparent from the various complaints heard at the ’54 matches that more care in the selection and fabrication of the rifles was necessary. To this end, the following inspections and fitting of parts for the 1955 National Match rifles were forthcoming:
-Barrels were inspected and their straightness was determined by air gauging
-Bolts were selected that exhibited minimum headspace requirement
-Stocks and handguards were specially selected for grain and fit
-Lower bands were selected for tight fit
-Gas cylinders were specially selected for proper fit
-Rear sights were selected to avoid excess looseness or binding.
-Operating rods were chosen for proper fit
-Stocks were carefully selected with attention given to the straightness of the grain, density of the wood, lack of imperfections and proper fit to the receiver
-Trigger groups were selected for fit. The trigger pull was adjusted to eliminate excessive creep and to provide a crisp pull of between 4 pounds, 8 ounces and 6 pounds.
-After assembly, stock bearing points and trigger pull were rechecked
-Rifles were fired 40 rounds to test accuracy and general functioning
-Particular attention was given to the fit and overall appearance of the rifles
These points were over and above the standard assembly procedures and inspections performed on all M1 service rifles. Beginning in 1957, the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) began to relax the definition of what could and couldn’t be used on National Match rifles in order to remain in compliance with the “service rifle as issued” dictate. As stated by noted researcher Bob Seijas, “In 1958 the first of the special NM parts, a gas cylinder whose rear ring was reamed out to prevent contact with the barrel was included as a specification on newly constructed rifles. It proved to be the ‘nose of the camel in the tent’ and the beginning of the end of the ‘service rifle as issud.’”
In 1958 the NBPRP regulations not only permitted the gas cylinder to be modified, but the component could also be marked “NM.” Prior to this date, the only allowable NM marking on the rifles was on the barrel. Although Springfield Armory reamed out the gas cylinder rings, it is not believed that any were NM-marked in 1958. Since the 1958 NM rifles did not have any NM-marked parts (except for the barrels), they are still generally classified as Type 1 rifles. Most were later upgraded by the addition of newer pattern National Match parts, which makes examples remaining in their original 1953-1957 configuration scarce. Since those National Match rifles were fabricated from new production M1s, all exhibited the same features as service rifles made during that same period.
Except for recognizing the barrel inscribed “NM” between the rings of the gas cylinder, it can be quite difficult to positively identify a genuine unaltered Type 1 National Match from a standard M1 of the same era. Therefore documentation from the government—such as original bills of sale—are highly valued as they can confirm the originality of such rifles. Most of the unaltered original Type 1 NM rifles will exhibit the following characteristics:
-Springfield Armory manufacture
-Except for 1953-1955 production NM rifles, serial numbers will be between approximately 5,800,000 and 6,100,000. The earlier production examples (53-55) will have lower serial numbers, some in the 4.2 million range.
-Markings on right receiver leg: Drawing number, “6528287-SA;” Heat Lot, T 1 to T 10 - Z 5 to Z15
-Barrel: Marked “T” (targeted); “P” (proofed); “SA F6535448” (drawing number); Month and year of barrel production; Heat lot code, “m” (magnetic particle testing) and Defense Acceptance Stamp -Bolt: “6522887-SA” (with heat lot code)
-Windage Knob: “DRC”
-Elevation Knob: “WCE”
It should be noted that the early production examples (1953-1955) may have different parts from those listed above. The NM rifles made in those years were unavailable to the public until December 1955, when about 50 were sold. The first significant sales of National Match M1 rifles began in 1956 via the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM), and those are likely the only genuine NM rifles in private hands today.
The exact number of Type 1 National Match rifles made is unknown. There is a much-published chart purporting to give a breakdown of M1 National Match production from 1953 to 1963. Nonetheless, Seijas and other researchers have determined that the chart is woefully inaccurate, primarily because many rifles were double-counted. In other words, NM rifles made one year, and rebuilt in subsequent years, were listed as new production in the later years when they were simply “recycled” rifles. Using the flawed chart, it appeared that some 26,638 Type 1 NM rifles were made. In actuality, it has been determined that from 1953 through 1959 a total of 16,032 “new” National Match M1 rifles were produced. However, the bulk of those rifles was not sold. Analyses and calculations of the actual DCM sales figures for the various years indicate that the true number of Type 1 National Match rifles actually sold was less than 4,000.