Driving My Life Away…

The Chart-Topping song, “Driving My Life Away” by Eddie Rabbitt (Nov. 27, 1944 – May 7, 1998) popped into my head this past Friday morning as I drove through Nashville, Tennessee headed home – for 2 good reasons. First, Eddie died in Nashville of lung cancer after a successful music career as a songwriter and singer reaching the top of the charts in both country and pop genres. Second, for the second week in a row, I was driving home after being away for a few days, and my homeward bound drive was another daylong event…

This trip was to attend an Advanced Maintenance Class (AMC) at the Civilian Marksmanship Program Custom Shop in Anniston, Alabama. A good overview of the origins of the CMP is found here.  The CMP started offering the AMC three years ago. The focus of the class is to instruct and guide participants in the successful building of a functional M1 Garand rifle from component parts. The majority of the parts are surplussed parts from unserviceable rifles.I left for this class last Monday morning, one day after finally getting over my cold from my previous trip to Virginia the week before!

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As an historian, I have included advances in technology in my studying/writing of historical events or periods, and the M1 Garand was a truly significant advancement! When the United States finally entered World War II, most of the US military services were employing the M1 as the standard battle rifle.

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A couple significant qualities of the M1 that made it superior to other battle rifles of the era were:

+ It was semi-automatic, while most of the Axis troops were armed with bolt action rifles;

+8-round capacity (en bloc clip fed), vs. 5-round stripper clip fed rifles (Mauser, Mosin-Nagant, Arisaka) or 6-round en bloc (Carcano).

Let me just say, it is one thing to be able to load, fire, and field strip/clean an M1 (I have a lot of respect and admiration for the system of this firearm), but another thing altogether to assemble one of these from scratch and see and understand how it all functions! WOW! Below is the pictorial progress of my M1…

Final stage of the process was taking it to the NEW STATE OF THE ART CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park! WooHoo!

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