JFK's M1 Garand to be Auctioned

John F. Kennedy's match-grade M1 Garand rifle.

A U.S. President's rifle will be up for sale, and the company ushering it to the block is calling it one of "the most historically significant" M1 Garands to ever be put up for auction.

Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC) revealed in its September Premiere Auction catalog that it will be selling John F. Kennedy's M1, which he acquired during his time as a senator via the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM), according to this story from outdoorhub.com.

"Since this gun was issued to Senator Kennedy in 1959, well before he was elected to the Office of the President of the Unites States, this rifle could very well have accompanied him directly to the White House," RIAC states.

The auction house says Kennedy's rifle came from the Erie Ordnance Depot in Port Clinton, Ohio and was actually a rifle made late in the M1 Garand's production lifetime. The Type 1 National Match M1 Garand was rebuilt to Type 2 standards by Master Sergeant Raymond E. Parkinson, a gunsmith assigned to the Army's Advanced Marksmanship Unit at Ft. Meade, according to the story on guns.com. These were the changes Parkinson made, according to RIAC:

  • adjusted the trigger in order to provide an exacting trigger pull for each shot fired

  • blued all metal parts to prevent rust and enhance the beauty of the weapon

  • applied a moisture-proof silicon finish to the stock

  • applied a glass-bedding compound to the recoiled shoulders of the stock in order to enable the rifle to maintain its accuracy

  • air-tested the bore for correct calibration and flaws

  • test-fired the rifle in a sitting position at 200 yards

Here's a photo of the letter Kennedy sent to Parkinson thanking him for his work:

photo from guns.com.

Kennedy sought out the M1 via a lottery held by the DCM and paid $169, which converts to about $1,300 in 2015 dollars. The DCM was founded by Teddy Roosevelt in 1903 and was a small office of the Army concerned with promoting rifle practice with military-grade small arms in order to have a body of men with decent marksmanship abilities in time of war.

In 1959 the DCM began distributing the first of its stock of Garands, which was then still standard issue for National Guard and Reserve units, but had been replaced by the M14 for active combat units.

Kennedy was a lifetime member of the NRA and, in the 1970s, his Garand was temporarily housed at the NRA Firearms Museum's exhibit for firearms owned by U.S. Presidents and other famous figures.

The rifle is expecting to bring between $50,000 and $100,000 at auction.