Tunnel Vision

Posted by Bruce Canfield

I enjoy getting feedback from readers of “Canfield’s Corner,” whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. A long-time reader recently sent me an e-mail and mentioned how helpful my new Garand book was with helping ID the 1941 Springfield M1 rifle he recently purchased. That’s always encouraging.

He also gently admonished me for dwelling too much on the subject of fakes and other “negative” topics and wanted me to get back to the more informative and fun stuff. After pondering his constructive criticism, I soon realized he may have a point. As you know, I am pretty passionate about the plethora of fake stuff around today and I’ve probably more than made my point. I was so focused on this important topic that I got a case of tunnel vision and perhaps didn’t give proper attention to other subjects in some cases. I’m certainly not saying that I’ll never mention fake stuff again, because I know I will, but I do want to pay more attention other topics relating to U.S. martial arms collecting as well.

Another e-mail I received the same day gives me a good opportunity to do this. Hopefully, this will count as an informative and useful brief discussion. This e-mail came from a gentleman who just bought a M73B1 Weaver scope and Redfield mount for the M1903A4 sniper rifle he is in the process of restoring. He is also looking for an original stock (good luck with that!). He asked about the type of finish on original Redfield mounts. He knew that the M73B1 scopes were blued and intended to send it to some outfit to have it reblued because the finish on his scope was rather worn and asked my opinion on the subject. I was able to tell him that the Redfield mounts used on the ‘A4 rifles were generally finished in the typical WWII gray Parkerizing. I mentioned that he might want to think a long time about having the scope reblued. Even if the people he was going to send the scope to could duplicate the original type of bluing (I have no idea whether they can or not), if the rifle and the stock he finds (assuming he does) have the typical wear and tear found on most 70+ year old weapons, a newly blued scope sitting atop everything would look a bit out of place. It is sometimes forgotten that original weapons have consistent wear on all parts. I don’t know how badly the finish on the scope was worn but it would have to be really bad before I’d consider, or recommend, refinishing. Once done, it can’t be undone. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. It should be considered on a case-by-case basis. We should always remember the old adage that a genuine gun may have only 15% (or whatever) of the original finish but a refinished gun has zero percent.

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