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Springfield Armory: The Oldest Name in American Firearms

Springfield Armory history

The History Behind Springfield Armory

Few firearms manufacturers can boast about a history as long and robust as Springfield Armory’s. Although the present-day company Springfield Armory, Inc. was technically founded in 1974, the lineage of the organization extends back to the founding of the country. In 1777, General George Washington ordered the building of Springfield Armory as a storage point for ammunition and weapons during the Revolutionary War. Less than two decades later, Springfield Armory began manufacturing weapons for the U.S. military while promoting innovative new firearms designs. The armory was forced to close its doors in 1968, due to budgetary issues, after 150 years of ceaseless firearms production. Today, Springfield Armory still stands on its original foundation in Springfield, Massachusetts, is listed as a national historic site, and is home to the largest collection of American firearms in the world.

Following the armory’s closing, Texas firearms manufacturer Elmer C. Ballance started using the Springfield name in his production line of M1A rifles (a civilian variant of the M14 rifle). In 1974, Robert Reese purchased the company from Ballance, relocating the business to his home state of Illinois. The Reese family, already an established firearms manufacturer, expanded their operations under the Springfield name while also returning the company to its philosophical roots. Today, Springfield Armory, Inc. offers a variety of top-selling firearms, recognized by the NRA on multiple occasions, earning the company four American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Awards.


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Popular Springfield Rifles

Springfield Armory firearms are broadly divided into two categories. The first group consists of weapons originally designed and produced at the old armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. The second collection of firearms are weapons produced, assembled, or imported by the resurrected company, Springfield Armory, Inc. In either case, all these weapons bear the Springfield name and are generally associated with a common lineage dating back to the founding of the original armory.

Springfield_Model_1795_Musket

Flintlock Infantry Musket

The Springfield Model 1795 Musket was the initial weapon to roll off the original armory’s production lines and America’s first domestically-produced smooth-bore long gun. It was designed by American inventor Eli Whitney (yes, the same Eli Whitney who developed the cotton gin) and based upon the French Charleville musket, which saw thousands of American Patriots through the Revolutionary War. It’s .69 caliber barrel was smaller than the British Brown Bess but shot farther and more accurately than the latter musket, which was the most popular service weapon of the period. Fun fact: the Model 1795 is still featured today on the U.S. Army’s Combat Infantryman’s Badge, an award earned by soldiers who have served in battle.

Springfield rifle model 1903

Bolt-Action Service Rifle

Springfield Armory produced more than a dozen different types of important muskets and single-shot rifles over the course of the 1800s, but really hit its stride at the turn of the twentieth-century. In 1903, the armory introduced a thirty-caliber, magazine-fed, bolt-action Model 1903 weapon, which was based on the earlier M1893 Mauser (a German rifle that Spanish soldiers used with great effectiveness against American troops during the Spanish-American War). Although officially replaced as the military’s standard service weapon in the 1930s, the Model 1903 was one of the longest serving rifles in U.S. history. The weapon saw extensive use in both World Wars, the Korean War, and even duty as a sniper rifle in the Vietnam. It remains a very popular firearm today, among collectors and hunters alike.

Springfield rifle m1 garand

M1 Garand

Named after its Canadian-American designer, John Garand, the M1 Garand (technically pronounced as rhyming with “errand” although often said with an accent on the second syllable) replaced the Model 1903 as America’s standard service weapon just prior to World War II. Like the 1903, the M1 shoots the hard-hitting .30-06 cartridge, a seminal favorite among many of today’s hunters. Unlike the Model 1903, however, the M1 is a gas-operated, semi-automatic rifle that’s capable of emptying an eight-round clip in less than 10 seconds. The M1 saw extensive use across a variety of conflicts. Today, it’s a favorite among hunters, target shooters, and firearms collectors.

Springfield Armory M1A rifle

Springfield Armory M1A

The Springfield Armory M1A is a civilian version of the U.S. 7.62 mm, M14 battle rifle, originally introduced in 1959. Although no longer a standard service weapon, the M14 is a popular choice among competitive shooters and special operators. The M1A, originally produced in 1974, was initially manufactured from surplus M14 parts by Texan Eric Ballance. Springfield Army, Inc. has produced and sold many popular variants of this weapon over the years, including thousands of tactical, hunting, and match grade models of what is widely considered the company’s flagship rifle.

Replacement Stocks for Springfield Armory Rifles

Simply saying that the Boyds family likes Springfield rifles would be a gross understatement. Springfield rifles are fantastic! In addition to being accurate and dependable weapons, the Springfield name bears a proud history that the patriots here at Boyd’s view with great reverence. That’s why we provide nothing but the best in custom gunstocks and forends when it comes to Springfield rifles.

One of our best-selling products is the Springfield M1A Walnut Stock, which is available in a variety of smooth and exciting finishes. Model 1903 owners will also appreciate the quality and craftsmanship we put behind our At-One and Classic lines of Military Barrel Stocks, products that make an already awesome rifle better. In all, we offer hundreds of Springfield stocks and accessories that are sure to please anyone looking to add a custom touch to their favorite rifle. 


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