36. Unique Savage-Stevens Model 85M Prototype M1 Garand Trainer Trials Rifle

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serial #X87-7, 22 LR, 24" barrel with a bright excellent bore. The metal surfaces on this very interesting trainer retain about 98% original factory blue. The walnut stock has been custom made by Savage to closely resemble and feel like the full-size M1 Garand rifle stock. The walnut stock and handguard rate very good plus to excellent with only sparsely scattered very light dings or handling marks here and there, it is fitted with a heavy steel checkered buttplate. The arm is a basic Stevens Model 87 barreled action (the barrel is actually marked "Model 57" beneath the wood handguard) set into the custom stock but with a detachable 10 round box magazine, and has had a custom banded front sight made, to closely resemble the M1 Garand front sight, the military-style rear aperture sight is no longer present, its drilled and tapped hole is atop the receiver (these were stamped sheet metal affairs and could be easily fabricated by the right gunsmith). Unlike the later-production versions of these guns, which were tube fed and had the magazine tube protrude from of the stock, the front sight band on this example featured a lower lobe which supports a blued steel tube, appearing externally very much like the lower gas tube on the Garand rifle. The civilian versions as well had had milled "cooling" cuts in the stock left and right just ahead of the junction of the barrel and action, they have been very neatly filled on this example, both the stock and handguard being numbered "773" on their interior. Purportedly in 1956, the Marines sent letters out to a number of firearms companies inviting them to submit test rifles which the Corps was considering utilizing as a training aid, prior to live fire with actual M1 Garand rifles. The 10 basic characteristics the Corps needed in the rifle were: rifle must be semiautomatic; must have a 10 round detachable box magazine; rifle must be stocked to simulate to the U.S. Rifle M1 caliber 30; stock must be equipped to take military style 1 1/4" inch sling; sights must present the same sight picture as the M1 rifle and be adjustable for both windage and elevation; windage and elevation adjustments must be similar to that of the M1 rifle; rifle must have a positive, easily operated manual safety; rifle must operate with a minimum of malfunctions under numerous conditions and be capable of firing 1000 rounds with a minimum of malfunctions; rifle must be able to use standard velocity ammunition; manufacturer must be able to ensure spare parts for replacement. While there is no proof that this arm had anything to do with the Marines invitation to submit rifles, it certainly would of course explain the 10 round detachable box magazine on this gun, these normally having of course tubular magazines as-mentioned. History appears to have confirmed that the Marines never awarded any contracts for any trainers and the arms were to be returned to the respective factories, it is likely this gun sat in the Savage Reference Collection all that time. The sling swivels are missing from the arm but they would be easily replaced if one wished. The included factory letter confirms the arm's configuration and identifies it as a "Model 85M Military Prototype" from the Savage Factory Reference Collection. The letter dated in 1988 shows sale to a prominent Massachusetts gun dealer and further states "Sold from the Savage Arms Product Engineering Department Archives: Reference Collection". A really super training rifle that was clearly designed, and perhaps even submitted, to curry military favor as an M1-Garand trainer. (38716-1) {C&R} (3000/5000) SOLD FOR $4,140.00

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