Sunday, January 31, 2010

No, it ain't an M1A SOCOM, it's an Italian Garand, Beretta BM-62

We have a very rare bird in the gun shop where I work, Village Pawn & Gun Shop of fabulous downtown Wadesboro, NC.

I've been working there for a year and only last week did I finally convince the family owners to let me put this rare bird on gunbroker for sale.

As the daddy rabbit of the family gun shop business often says, they just ain't tired of looking at it yet. But if somebody is willing to pony up a mere $3,500, plus shipping, plus credit card fee, now they can have it to look at.

What is it? We get asked that a lot in the gun shop when folks see it in the fancy revolving glass case where it resides. No, it's not a Springfield M1A SOCOM, no it's not an M1 Garand tanker, no it's not a shorty tanker version of the M14. But yes, it's all of the above and yet none of them.

It's the Italian Garand, which was made by Beretta for military issue for the Italian Army after World War II.

The Firearm Blog has a post about it.

The Italian Garand: Beretta BM59

The Italian army adopted the Beretta BM59, basically an M1 Garand chambered for 7.62×51mm NATO capable of select fire. It was about as successful as all the other select fire battle rifles adopted around the world (not very). From Wikipedia:

After World War II, Italy adopted the US-designed M1 Garand rifle in .30-06 (7.62×63mm) and also manufactured it under license. This semi-automatic rifle proved itself well during WWII, but in the late 1950s it was considered outdated and obsolete. The Italian military wanted a new rifle chambered for the NATO-standard 7.62×51mm.

Beretta designed the BM59, which was essentially a rechambered M1 fitted with a removable 20-round magazine, folding bipod and flash suppressor/grenade launcher. The BM59 is capable of selective fire.

Our Italian Garand isn't a BM59, it's a BM62, which is the civilian version Beretta made which is only semi-automatic, not selective fire semi- or fully auto like the military BM59.

Here's what BlueBook says about the Italian Garand:

- with original Beretta M1 receiver, only 200 imported into the U.S.

- similar to BM-59, except has flash suppressor and is Italian marked.

BlueBook don't say how many BM62s were imported, probably very few we're guessing. One of the commenters on The Firearm Blog said the only one he'd ever heard of was owned by Jeff Cooper, the gunner's guru who started Gunsite firearms training academy and was a leading expert on all things related to modern firearms.

Saying Jeff Cooper owned one is sorta like saying God owns one. God probably has the only armory that's bigger than the late Marine Col. Jeff Cooper's firearms collection.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These are not that rare...both benet and berben co of VT and NY respectively imported these. I collect civillian type m14 and bm 59s,and have gotten a new in box from
beretta USA/Berben (mid 1980s) for 2700$. This price is ridiculous. I have picked up a BM-62 identical to the one here for 1800, and a bm 69 for 1900$. The blue book value for NIB is 2700. That is why it has bee sitting for so long. There are a few thousand out there in the US. I have bought three in the last 4 months. Good luck with that price/