Thursday, September 24, 2009
Korea to sell war-era Semi-Automatic rifles back to US
South Korea has come up with a novel way to boost its defence budget - by selling a vast stockpile of old Korean-war rifles to collectors in the US.
The guns were originally sent to Korea as military aid, and some were also used during the war in Vietnam.
For more than five decades, they have been kept mothballed in warehouses.
Most of those on offer are M1 rifles - a weapon once described by US General George S Patton as "the greatest battle-implement ever devised".
The rifles and carbines were originally sent by the Americans to help during the Korean war.
Since then they have occasionally glimpsed daylight, in training exercises for reserve forces, according to the BBC's correspondent in Seoul, John Sudworth.
But for the most part these weapons have been quietly gathering value as collector's items, our correspondent says.
A total of 86,000 M1 rifles will be sold, and another 22,000 carbines - although these have a more patchy reputation.
In the Korean war they had a reputation for jamming in extreme cold weather conditions, and complaints were recorded from US troops that they often failed to stop heavily clothed North Korean or Chinese soldiers at short range.
That bit about M1 Carbines is misleading. First, those guns were M2 Carbines, the full-automatic version, and yes, there were some reports that enemy troops with wet/frozen quilted uniforms absorbed .30 carbine ball, much like a wet phone book will slow down/stop a round. Much of this had to do more with the extreme cold conditions and the bullet shape of military ball than the carbine per se. Also: All firearms, including Garands and Browning machineguns functioned poorly in the cold in both Korea and WW2 europe, hence those stories about troops urinating on the actions to get them functioning again. At least we will get these weapons back in the hands of collectors, unlike the M-1's and M-14's that Bill "Ban em" Clinton ordered smelted and destroyed by Presidential order! You did hear about that, right?...I'll have a carbine or two myself, how to make it California legal is the question, because I want it with the "Paratrooper" stock /;-) I wonder if the NFA types will be able to get any M2 full-auto Carbines? -S9