The Mysterious American M91
A while back I grabbed a rather interesting M91. Why is it interesting? Let’s find out.
When I first saw it, the rifle was described to me as an undesirable Westinghouse for $325. It was rather pitted on the outside and there were a few parts missing, but the bore was decent. Most notable of the missing parts was the barrel cover. No surprise on that though. Those things are missing from many surviving M91 rifles.
After waiting for the gun show to slow down that weekend, I offered the seller $275 on it, and he accepted. After all, I did overhear him saying that it was the lowest amount he’d part with it for. Taking the rifle home for further inspection was where the fun really began. Turns out, it also needed a screw to hold the magazine in place and a replacement trigger pin. That was easy enough to source from Numrich.
When I took it apart, I could plainly see the barrel was a New England Westinghouse. However, the markings on the bolt assembly and hex receiver were Remington.
Further adding to the mystery of this rifle was that there were no markings or stamps whatsoever on the magazine/trigger-guard assembly. This is odd because some sources say there should be.
In addition to those finds, I also noticed what appeared to be a rack number under the butt plate. The rifle wasn’t converted from 54R to another caliber, so thankfully I didn’t get a molested Bannerman job. The 54R extracts just fine from this thing.
I’ve shown this rifle around a bit as it is. From my discussions about it, the plausible stories have been that this was a training rifle for an ROTC unit, or sold as surplus after being rearsenaled. One wild theory was that it went “there and back” with US troops to Russia, but that’s as doubtful as it being a Bannerman, given the barrel and receiver have been put together well. Certainly, bubba wasn’t going to rebuild the gun as a proper M1. Let us know if you have a theory yourself.