Iam thinking of buying a 40's or 50's era garand, and i would like to know why they welded the receivers and can you tell if this has been done
If you haven't already check out the CMP. http://www.odcmp.com/Services/Rifles/sales.htm
The welded receivers were USGI rifles that WERE DEFECTIVE. They were either just plain worn out, or were damaged in some way.
In either case, the government SCRAPPED THEM.
They cut the receivers in two, and sold them for scrap metal.
"Enterprising" people bought the scrap, welded the pieces together and reassembled them into rifles.
So, what you're getting with a welded rifle is a rifle the government CONDEMNED as UNSAFE and destroyed.
Someone welded an unsafe rifle together from scrapped parts. Wanna shoot it?
The problems with welded receivers:
First, they usually didn't have the original pieces so they just took whatever front section and a rear section and welded them together.
You might get a 1943 Winchester rear section and a 1956 Springfield front.
The two section NEVER really go together right. You'll find the two sections are always at least slightly misaligned, twisted, or bent.
The M1 has a firing pin safety interlock bridge in the lower receiver, that prevents the firing pin from contacting the primer UNLESS the rifle bolt is locked closed.
When the two sections were welded together, the length is rarely correct, and the firing pin interlock is often NO LONGER FUNCTIONING.
This means the rifle CAN fire when in an unlocked condition. This is the dreaded "slam fire"
The M1 receiver was made of an extremely difficult to weld steel, and was surface hardened so the surface is almost glass hard, but the center of the steel is soft enough to take the stress of firing without cracking.
When the receiver is welded, the steel just doesn't weld very good, and the surface hardening and the interior hardening IS affected.
Some of these welders attempted to re-harden the receivers. This seldom worked properly, and you often wind up with a receiver that's so hard it's just a matter of time before it blows, OR the surface is so soft the receiver wears badly and develops excess head space, in which case it'll eventually blow.
ALL welded receivers are out of spec in at least some respects. Some make OK shooters, but the problem is, the shooter has no way of knowing if he's shooting an "OK shooter" or a time bomb that just might let go with the next shot.
For this reason, I recommend staying away from welded M1 rifles.
These days with the CMP selling great M1's at good prices, there's really no good reason to risk buying a welded rifle.
To ID a welded M1:
First, buy a book that gives info on the correct markings on M1's.
On the rear of the receiver is the maker's name and a serial number.
On the right front of the receiver below the wood are arsenal markings that ID the steel used, and the maker.
If the maker name on the rear doesn't match the maker marks on the front, OR the serial number on the rear is not "correct" for the marks on the front.....It's two mis-matched sections welded together.
Another way, is to look closely at the slots and rails in the center of the action. Usually you can see where straight rails are mis-aligned.
Looking inside or under the wood and you can usually see areas where the welding is obvious.
Here's a link to Fulton's web site. They have a good section on recognizing welded rifles, and why their no good:
Look under the M1 rifle section for FAQ's then look down the list for "The truth about welded receivers".
Thank you for your time.
The main reason for welded M1 recievers was that about the only way one could buy an M1, other than the DCM, was this way. There were not many out there. And, the DCM was a "one rifle in a lifetime" situation. Finding M1's in the private sector was quite difficult. Along came some enterprising outfits that found that you could buy the receivers as scrap since they were demilled by the govt. and then you could weld them back together. Some companies did a better job than others. I have seen one welded M1 that was all but impossible to tell it had been welded. It was a very good job in the sense that it was hidden so well.
Personally, I would never shoot a welded M1 receiver.