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Old 06-08-2014, 3:36 PM
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BigJ BigJ is offline
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Default The CMP's Advanced Maintenance Class - My review (VERY pic heavy)

The Civilian Marksmanship Program describes their "Advanced Maintenance Class" as "for individuals interested in knowing how the M1 Garand rifle functions in detail, as well as those desiring to know how to properly perform advanced maintenance procedures to their personal rifle(s)."

After having attended the June 4-6 2014 class in Anniston Alabama, I can personally say that description is completely inadequate, and left me totally unprepared for what actually transpired. The following are my notes from each of the three days, and I can only hope my retelling here does this amazing event justice.

In short, this was the experience of a lifetime and is something I won't soon forget.

Wednesday, Day One:
I arrived early and was warmly welcomed by Deshay, a former armor turned Custom Shop administrator with well over 10 years’ experience at the CMP. She handed me my paperwork, a nametag, invited me to enjoy some doughnuts and coffee and suggested I find a workspace and settle in. This would be my home for the next few days.

As I waited for the class to start, John, the CMP's Custom Shop manager and lead instructor introduced himself and directed me toward several parts he'd laid out demonstrating lots of examples of what not to do; I hadn't been there more than 5 minutes and already my education was well underway. I was particularly enamored with the cut away M1 and barrel showing how the key components interact when installed.

The clock struck 8am, everyone was present and accounted for and no time was wasted as we launched into introductions, a shop safety discussion, administrative notes, and scheduling. Then, after a brief Q&A, it was time to start building! First up? Go pick your receiver, barrel, gas cylinder and bolt body. Here's a shot of the left over receivers

As we were picking from what seemed like endless options, John took the opportunity to make it very clear that this class isn't for the hardcore collector. All the receivers are H&Rs (simply because the CMP no longer has enough Special Grade others to support the classes), the barrels are brand new Criterions and all the rest of the parts we’ll choose from are mixed era and manufacturer. This class is for those who want to build an exceptional Special Grade shooter, not a period correct collector piece. This suited me fine as that was my plan in any event, and so here's what I ended up with:

Once back at our benches, we spent some time critiquing the parts we just picked. John showed us what to look for and what to look out for, how to tell a bad part from a good part, why to snag one part over another when accuracy is the goal and how to spot that special collectible piece. If we found something we didn't like about what we chose, we were given total freedom to swap, and several folks did just that. As for me, I'd gotten lucky and picked well the first time, so I started setting up my bench for the next step; lapping the bolt to the receiver.

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." - Elmer Davis

Last edited by BigJ; 05-07-2018 at 11:43 AM..
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