1911Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,387 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My father was a Paratrooper Sgt. during WWII. He told me about how he and his buddies in Basic Training handled cleaning weapons after a day on the range, long march in the rain, etc. Remember that Corrosive Ammo was the norm and cleaning had to be done after each range session, except for the M1 carbine ammo, which was non-corrosive.

It was a Team effort in each platoon. They got some galvanized wash tubes and buckets in the barracks and hot soapy water (he specifically was talking about an M1 rifle cleaning session in this conversation) and would strip the weapons and each guy would clean a different part or assembly. He did mention that they knew to keep the bolts with the same rifle, but otherwise, it was an assembly line operation, and all the parts were considered interchangeable. After scrubbing, you made sure things were clean and dry, relubed and reassembled your rifle, ready for Inspection the next day.

I would assume this was a widespread practice, (not just in the Airborne) simply on the basis of practicality. If so, it's a wonder any GI weapons still have their original parts, unless issued new after Basic when each soldier did all his own cleaning. Add to that all the battlefield weapon repair centers, where the Armorers were simply trying to put weapons back into service, without regard to makers, and you can see why so many guns got mixed. Pistols would have been less subjected to all of the above, being a secondary arm that was shot and used (and thus cleaned or repaired) less. Hope this might shed some light on how an otherwise correct gun might have one or more parts mismatched. CC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
I remember after the 'crucible' down at Parris Island we had a similar 'cleaning party'. Had guys in the showers with trash cans full of soapy water and a scuz brush. Not saying for sure that any of our parts were interchanged, but... Like you said, pretty much an assembly line operation. Definitely feasible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,228 Posts
Although corrosive ammo has been out of the system for quite awhile, after we finished the rifle range at Parris Island we stripped our M14's down completely including gas piston (one of the DI's had a tool for that) and soaked all of the parts, bolts included in a tub of solvent. Parts were then distributed and all rifles reassembled. We didn't bother identifying bolts to rifles. We then did standard cleaning including scrubbing the bores for 5 days afterwards which is a holdover from the corrosive ammo days. The rifles were turned into the armory about a week or so before graduation and the armorers were stripping them as we turned them in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,387 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sgt. Art,
Interesting about the similar methods, both Army and Marines. Practical is practical, after all. I do know as an M14 enthusiast that there is very little variation in the dimensions of the M14 bolts, where the M1 bolts definitely varied enough in headspace to matter. Tolerances did get better. CC
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top