Yesterday morning, I heard about President Obama's executive order barring the re-importation of US military arms that were loaned to foreign countries during the cold war. There are two particular rifles that I am interested in that are on the list: the M1 Garand, and the M1 Carbine. Unfortunately, the largest lot – tens of thousands of Garands and even more carbines – are in storage in South Korea, and until the EO is overturned, they will not come back to their rightful home.
With the stroke of a pen, President Obama drove the price of Garands and carbines up. Demand for these fine pieces of history has been on the rise for a while, and now his actions have fixed the supply.
So, figuring that waiting would only cost me more money, I headed over to the CMP store in Anniston after finishing my work. I had not been there for a few years, but I expected to find rack grade Garands, field grade Garands, and service grade Garands, along with the totally overhauled CMP Special Grade, which have been retrofitted with new and military parts to bring them up to “new” condition.
Alas, it was not to be. The last time I was in Anniston, there were at least 1,000 Garands on the racks, along with some carbines, some 1903s, and even a few Enfields. This time, there were around 150 Garands. There were no rack grades, no field grades, and heck, there weren't even any service grades. What there were on the racks were M1C and M1D sniper rifles, a few ragged National Match rifles, and around 3 dozen Special Grades. The Specials were the most economical at $950, and the snipers started at $1,500 and went up to $3,000.
Also on the racks were about 2 dozen Garand drill rifles, which all had the barrels plugged, and many had cheap plastic stocks on them. There were the usual parts and barrels, and for someone who had the inclination, WWII barreled receivers with the period correct barrel and bolt for $350. The only other shootable rifles present were 20 “rusty” Kimber three-position .22 target rifles. At $450, these were probably the best deal going, and they come with bolts and sights. The rust on these rifles was a light sheen, and could be cleaned up in about 10 minutes with some automatic transmission fluid and some four ought steel wool.
I had originally planned to buy a rack grade and a field grade gun yesterday. I was planning on overhauling the rack grade to be a shooter, and refinishing the field grade. But since there were none, I purchased a Special. At the check out, I got another huge surprise. The state of Alabama has hiked its sales tax to 10%. This means that the sales tax on the Special would be close to $100. Since the shipping to my front door is only $24 (Fedex), I paid the shipping tariff, and sadly left the CMP South Store.
Gone are the days when you could spend hours browsing racks and racks of Garands. With the new EO, I expect the days of the CMP are numbered. Demographics being what they are, there is no hope of the United States electing a president that would rescind the EO.
I have witnessed the end of an era.