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Old 06-28-2005, 07:29 PM   #1
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BM59 History and Variations

Many Thanks Different, I never would have thought this would become a sticky, and will do my best to finish it as a completed work rerasonably soon.

Hello guys, been a while since I posted but am still around. I have been working on something that is intended to help people understand the BM59 and what it is. I am looking for feedback, suggestions, and any input with a degree of authority on the subject. This is an on-going work, and I will be posting revisions as I have time. It will also be posted on a couple of other boards, in an attempt to gain as much feedback and information as possible, Please feel free to make a critical appraisal of what I am composing, all information is helpful.

There is a considerably pervasive lack of knowledge and misinformation on the Beretta BM59 rifle and it’s related cousins, not to mention it’s actual development history. For some time I have been working on an information package that would clarify the misinformation that is generally disseminated. I am offering this here for any who would care to use it should you run into questions in the future. I will also be revising this from time to time, hopefully, to include specific information on different models and some other characteristics of the rifle.

I have well over 200 pages of articles and ads on BM59’s dating back to the 1960’s, and know there are several variations out there. Some are worth quite a bit, others are not. I occasionally see people listing or bidding on BM59’s that are built on re-welded Garand receivers. I also see people offering so-called “imported” BM59’s. I hope that this article answers some of the questions potential buyers may have.

The first major misconception to be debunked from this information is that the BM59 is a derivative of, or modification of the M14. This is totally inaccurate. The only relationship the BM59 has with the M14 is the common ancestry. The M1 Garand is the father to them both. The M14 and BM59 are offspring of the M1 Garand, the only parts on a BM59 that can be interchanged with parts found on an M14 are those parts common to the M1 Garand. Following this, you will find a list of parts necessary to modify an M1 Garand to BM59E configuration. Outside of these very minor parts, the adjustments necessary to convert the M1 Garand are modifications to the original M1 Garand parts. In short, there are no M14 parts used in building a BM59. The total absence of M14 parts and relatively minor adjustments necessary to convert a Garand to BM59 configuration is evidence that the BM59 is a derivative of the Garand, and not an offspring of the M14. In fact, the BM59 is much closer to the Garand than the M14.

The second major misconception to be debunked is that BM59’s were imported into the USA by companies, or trade names such as Santa Fe Arms, Golden State, National Ordnance, Federal Ordnance, and Springfield Armory, Inc. None of these companies ever imported BM59’s. Yes, at least one of these companies was licensed by Beretta to manufacture rifles, but those rifles were manufactured here in the USA and were built using re-welded Garand receivers. Yes, one of these companies sold rifles that were heal marked as having been manufactured by Beretta in Italy, but those rifles were imported as surplus parts with final machining and assembly to be done in the USA.

Initial Development:

During World War II, M1 Garands were produced by Springfield Armory and Winchester Arms. Following World War II, and prior to the outbreak of the Korean conflict, Beretta acquired the Winchester tooling used to produce the M1 Garands made at Winchester. With the developing formation of NATO, it was recognized that NATO allies would be needing arms and Beretta, as well as Breda, were to become suppliers of Garands for several countries. The sale of this Winchester tooling to Beretta to may ultimately have become a decision that the USA would regret. With the outbreak of the Korean conflict, it was determined that it would be unwise to rely on Springfield as the sole manufacturer of this rifle, at which time International Harvester and Harrington and Richardson were solicited to begin production of the M1. Both H&R and IHC had difficulties with the initial production of the Garand as part of their contracts, and full production at these facilities was slow in coming. Had the Italians not already taken possession of the Winchester tooling prior to the Korean conflict, an alternate source for the Garand would have been much sooner in coming.

A field test on the BM59/BM62 rifles in ASSAULT RIFLES magazine states that several NATO countries were being issued the Italian Garands during the Korean conflict. While there is no doubt that Beretta was in possession of Garand tooling prior to the Korean outbreak, the relatively low serial numbers of the 1954 Beretta and Breda Garands does not suggest that large numbers were produced prior to 1954. It is very likely that Beretta, and possibly Breda, were producing Garands prior to H&R and IHC, but not in great quantities.

With the adoption of firearms such as the FAL, the Cetme, the G3 and the M14, Beretta recognized the need for military rifles capable of accepting detatchable high capacity magazines. To develop a rifle that could compete with this new generation of military arms, they fell back on something they had become very familiar with, the M1 Garand, and devoted attention towards modifying this to achieve the desired results. In the period of 1957 to 1958, Beretta design engineers Vittorio Valle and Domenico Salza developed the BM59 from the basic M1 Garand. It was also recognized that existing M1 Garands could be modified to the BM59 configuration, and this option was made available to countries on a limited budget.

The original BM59s, as made or re-worked at Beretta, were most commonly select fire, but strictly semi-auto versions of the rifle were made as well, most of these being of the re-worked Garand variety. One strictly semi-automatic version Beretta marketed to world military forces was the BM59SL. The BM59SL was an economy version, as no parts had to be included to make it select fire or fully automatic. Many (but not all) of the BM59E versions are semi-auto only. The greatest majority of BM59’s produced for military applications were select fire. It could be argued that “real” BM59’s are all “full auto machine guns”. Since both select fire and semi-auto only “BM59’s” have been offered to the American public in the past, and both select fire and semi-auto versions of the BM59 have been produced for military applications, it becomes somewhat muddled as to whether of not “real” BM59’s are all full auto.

Since many of the original BM59s began as a USGI M1 Garand reworked by Beretta, you will find BM59 variations that are essentially reworked US made rifles. Because of this, you should know that there are two separate Springfield Armory’s that may be associated with the BM59. The first is the original Springfield Armory, located in Springfield, Mass. This Springfield was shut down in the late 1960’s, and is now a National Historic site with a very good museum. Because the BM59 is a derivative of the M1 Garand, it is possible you will find BM59’s built around original Springfield Armory (SA) Garands, and these may bear many of the original SA markings. Most probably, these will be built around the re-welded Garand receivers that were available in the 1960’s. In those days, almost all the commercially available Garands were built up from re-welded Garand receivers, this included many of the "Tanker" versions as well as many of the BM59’s. A few BM59 manufacturers built BM59’s in this fashion, using re-welded Garand receiver parts, modified two grove ’03 barrels, and surplus Garand parts. Many were built by somewhat amateur gunsmiths in their garages or basements, and the quality of these re-welds may vary quite a bit.

US Built Variations:

In 1964, Golden State Arms, Pasadena, CA, began offering the "Santa Fe" BM59, or "M59". While most, if not all of these were built around re-welded receivers using the ’03 barrels, they did obtain licensing from Beretta to manufacture them. You will see these rifles either with the Beretta Licensing agreement, or without it. Although marked with the Beretta licensing information on the left hand side of the receiver, the buyer should still remain aware that these were built in Pasadena, CA., and NOT at the Beretta factory in Italy. At this point, I am unclear as to why some of the Santa Fe Arms rifles are marked with the Beretta License Agreement, and some are not. I think that it is quite possible some of the earliest are not marked, and that the later ones are not so marked, possibly because Beretta was not happy with the quality, as indicated by a few writers. One additional note about the Golden State/Santa Fe, I have heard one reputable gunsmith say that some of these were actually imported. I have seen photos of an M1 Garand that was marked with Santa Fe/Golden State markings that I believe most probably was an import, but never have I seen a Golden State BM59 that I believe was an import. Most probably, any Golden State/Santa Fe you see will be a re-weld. Re-welds were also built by National Ordinance and Federal Ordinance.

One important side note to the Golden State, and similar versions, is they use a simplified front magazine catch that is not standard Beretta design. Replacement parts for this catch are unavailable, and I have seen a few people looking for them. I don't know of anyone who can provide these. Perhaps in the future, I will have some machined up for those who need them.

It should also be mentioned that “BM59 Type Rifles” were being built in the early 1960’s. Most notably, Walter Craig of Selma, Alabama offered the “M11” which was a Garand based rifle modified to accept M14 magazines. Again, these were built on re-welded receivers, and the original Garand serial numbers were used. The “M11” designation was actually stamped (or carved?) in the top of the stock, just behind the heel. I have wondered if These were designated the “M-11” to suggest to the buyer that they were just a couple of models before the M-14?

Because of the Gun Control Act of 1968, Beretta could not import the BM59’s. According to most accounts, there were some 200 Beretta manufactured select fire/fully automatic BM59’s imported prior to that date. These are rarely encountered. However, the BM59 became available in "civilian" version in the form of the BM62 and BM69. They lack the grenade launcher, bayonet lug, and "evil" features of the typical "assault rifle". These were imported by Berben and Benet. In my own opinion, these are worthy of collector’s status, as well as being very nice shooters.

Going back to the two Springfield Armory’s for now, after the original SA was closed, another company decided to capitalize on their good name and became the NEW Springfield Armory, Inc. This strategy ultimately worked. Today, many people do not realize the Springfield Armory, Inc. (SA, Inc) is not the original armory. In the early 1980’s, Bob Reese of SA, Inc. apparently was able to purchase several tons of surplus BM59 parts, straight out of Italy. These parts were the basis of the Springfield Armory, Inc. BM59 variations. These were built using primarily genuine Beretta parts at the SA, Inc. factory in the USA. They are not true imports, but are very nice examples of BM59 rifles.

One thing to look for in the Springfield Armory, Inc. rifles that is of some interest. Some are marked with Beretta markings on the heel, some are absent of Beretta markings on the receiver. Apparently, in the group of surplus parts SA, Inc. bought, there were some finished (or nearly finished) receivers, and some forged receiver blanks. One writer says none of the receivers Reese bought were completely finished, but that they were in various states of completion. The best I can tell is the Springfield Armory Inc. examples that are marked with the Beretta identification on the heel of the receiver are built from Beretta machined receivers. Those with only the Springfield Armory, Inc. identification were machined by SA, Inc. using Beretta forgings (or, something in between this). Whether or not this is significant, I can’t say. When one buys a SA, Inc. BM59, he should be aware that there is most probably a mix of both Beretta and SA., Inc. parts included in the assembly of the complete rifle. Those receivers (primarily) built by Beretta are marked on the heel with:

7.62mm BM59
(Serial Number)

You will also find some of the rifles so marked have SA, Inc. parts scattered through the rifle. This is common. It may be that SA, Inc. was legally obligated to use a certain number of US made parts to qualify the rifles as US built. Remember, the main reason the real Beretta BM59 was discontinued in the 60's was due to the '68 GCA, and the ATF prohibition on imported assault weapons features at that time! People are familiar with the '89 ban, and the '94 ban on assault weapons. Such bans actually influenced firearms much further back than that!

After the SA, Inc. bankrupcy of 1992, the Reese family apparently "inherited" much of the BM59 inventory. Reese Surplus, Inc. (RSI) currently offers many complete rifles, and they are offering their own "aftermarket" folding stock for the BM59. The big difference between the current RSI folding stock is the original Beretta stock had a plastic grip, and the metal part of the Beretta stock had two metal tubes, not just one, as does the RSI stocks. The original Beretta folding stocks lock up tighter than the RSI folders.

For your further investigation, I am including some links. The Reese Surplus link is a site where you will find examples of the SA, Inc. BM59’s still being sold. They also have many spare parts available for these, including both "New" magazines for about $90.00, and "factory second" magazines for about $50.00. In addition to this, I am including a site that has a discussion board dedicated to BM59 rifles. I would encourage you to visit that site with any additional questions you may have. The third site is the discussion board. There are some folk there familiar with BM59 rifles, and you might be able to gain information by doing a SEARCH on that board.

Pricing of Variations

Different references list different versions of the BM59. Bob Reese, in his brief “The History of the BM59” states that Beretta built this model in four different versions. The versions he lists are:

1.a The basic wood stock Alpine Model

2.a The Paratrooper Model with unique, detatchable grenade launcher and muzzle break and folding stock.

3.a The Mark 4 (Nigerian) Model, which was designed as a squad automatic model, similar to the M14E2, having a full length Garand type barrel and pistol grip, and carry handle. Was available in select fire or semi-auto versions.

This listing is incomplete, as even Reese sells (or sold, perhaps through Springfield Armory) different version of this rifle. Moreover, looking at Springfield Armory Inc. and Reese ads contributes to the confusion. Included in SA, Inc. ads and Reese ads are descriptions of:

1.b Beretta BM59 Std. Ital Model (This is the standard version, would be carbine length if not for the tri-compensator). In the previous description, this appears to be the “Alpine”.

2.b Beretta BM59 Alpine Paratrooper, with folding stock. (suddenly the Alpine no longer has a standard wood stock, but a folding stock).

3.b The Nigerian Mark 4 (no change from previous description).

4.b The BM59E Model. This most closely resembles the full length Garand, with forward Garand handguard, no bipod, and no carry handle.

Okay, perhaps you can begin to see there is some muddying of descriptions of the different BM59 models. Not my fault, just saying what different ads and sources say. Especially regarding that in one spot, the “Alpine” has a standard stock, and in another, it has a folding stock. Another Springfield Armory, Inc. ad lists the “Alpine-Ital” Model. From the above, just because someone describes his BM59 as an “Alpine” or and “Ital” doesn’t mean you know what it really is, unless you look at it. However, the “Mark 4 Nigerian” and BM59E” start to become more meaningful.

But wait, the confusion continues. The May, 1987 FIREPOWER magazine lists four models available (from Springfield Armory, Inc.)

1.c The BM-59 Ital. This is carbine length (except for the attached tri-compensator), has the standard wood stock (without front handguard) and bipod.

2.c BM-59 Alpini. Same as BM-59 Ital except has folding stock with pistol grip.

3.c BM-59 Paracadutisti. Same as the the Alpini Model except for the fact that the tri-compensator is detatchable and (thus?) barrel shortened to 17.7”.

4.c The BM-59 Mark 4. Same as previously described Nigerians.

Now here, there is no mention of the BM59E, and there appears to be another designation, the Paracadutisti (paratrooper). Good grief, from all of this, even Reese (formerly of Springfield Armory, Inc) and Springfield Armory, Inc. themselves could not keep the designations correct. But at least we can fall back on the original BM59 four language “manual” to define the different Models (at least for a while). I define the four language publication as a manual, while in fact, it really is no more than an extensively accurate sales brochure intended to promote the BM59. While not technically a manual, this publication is commonly marketed as such. I have also noted the original Beretta poster that describes different Beretta BM59 models. This is a companion piece to the “manual” for all practical purposes. According to the original Beretta literature, we have:

1.d. BM 59 Ital. This is carbine length (except for the attached tri-compensator), has the standard wood stock (without front handguard) and bipod.

2.d BM 59 Ital – Alpini. Same as BM-59 Ital except has folding stock with pistol grip.

3.d BM 59 Ital-Paracadutisti. Same as the the Alpini Model except for the fact that the tri-compensator is detatchable and (thus?) barrel shortened to 17.7”.

4.d BM59 Mark 1. Basically the same as standard Ital except does not have bipod, and does not have grenade launching sites or device. Also, the bayonet lug is for modified M1 Garand bayonets, the locking lug for bayonet is low on gas plug.

5.d BM59 Mark IV, basically the same as the other Nigerians already listed, but has a different bipod illustrated.

6.d BM 59 S.L. Beretta Modified Garand, Just as stated, a modified Garand in semi-auto only. This is “simplified model” according to literature.

Note here that the BM59E is not listed in the Beretta four language manual, but is listed in the accompanying poster. The S.L above is virtually identical to the BM59E except is available in semi-auto only, while the E is available in either select fire or semi-only. Continuing from the poster distributed by Beretta, we will continue with:

7.d. BM59E, as previously described, and stated to be offered in both semi and select fire versions.

8.d. BM59 Mark II. Basically the same as standard Ital except does not have bipod, and does not have grenade launching sites or devices. Differs from the Mark 1 in that the bayonet lug is for standard Italian issued bayonet.

Okay, I hope you can see there are several variations of the BM59, and that the actual assigning of specific variations of the BM 59 becomes confusing. There are even differences between the published Beretta literature, that being, (1) the original four language manual, and (2) the original Beretta two language poster, distributed by Beretta. And what’s more, we have not really begun to describe the next category of BM59’s, that being the versions made in the USA between about 1964 and 1974, that category being the “re-welds” being produced during that period.

More on those with my next revision to this ongoing work……


Converting to BM59

Occasionally the question comes up, what would it take to convert a Garand to BM59 configuration? Invariably, one of the first answers is, the receiver must be annealed. I tend to doubt this, and have read at least one account from a builder who just used the grinding features of a Dremel tool to modify his receiver. In a way, grinding makes sense, as one of the positively acclaimed attributes of the Beretta BM59’s is their close tolerance ground surfaces. It is quite possible that Beretta performed their rework on the receivers through the use of close tolerance grinding, rather than by annealing the receivers. For those interested in building a BM59, I would suggest you stop in discussion forums such a and and do some searches on the BM59. I am including the following just to get an idea of what it would take.

Items needed to complete a Garand as a semi-BM59 if modifying receiver,
op rod (if setback 7.62 barrel is used), extractor, bolt, trigger
housing and stock (clip guide optional, not required for gun
to function)

Magazine (49.00 to 89.00)
bolt stop 16.95
bolt stop pin 2.00
bolt stop spring 2.00
front mag catch 10.00
front mag catch body 35.00
front mag catch spring 1.50
front mag catch pin, small 1.50
front mag catch pin, large, 4.00
rear mag catch pin 1.50
rear mag catch spring 1.50
rear mag catch 15.00

You might want to make the op-rod spring tube, but these were omitted as unnecessary on the SA, Inc. versions. Plus, the clip guide is not included in the listed prices.

Total 139.95 if modifying a Garand to BM59SL specs and you can do some machine work or grinding.

Optional parts to buy, if desired
(This may be adjusted depending on buyer's decisions and/or skills as a craftsman. Alternately, the original Garand parts may be adjusted/modified if you care to take this route.)

bolt, complete 110.00
(extractor, plunger and spring if seperate, 14.00)
op rod 89.00
op rod spring 7.50
op rod guide 13.50
winter trigger 15.00
trigger housing 75.00
stock 45.00
rear handguard/hardware 35.00
front handguard/hardware 45.00

Total of both categories $435.00


New 7.62 Nato barrels available from Sarco, $125.00


From this, you can see it would be possible to take a CMP Garand and for somewhere in the range of $600 to $1000, have a very nice BM59 type rifle.

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Old 06-29-2005, 12:57 AM   #2
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Awesome, boeboe! Don't get addicted to the research like I did. There's no going back.

I made this a sticky thread for you.
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Old 06-29-2005, 02:01 PM   #3
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I have a 1977 letter from Bill Edwards detailing the whole story of the Benet/Gold Rush deal on the BM69. Although chock full of paranoia, it contains some good info. He says the first two examples of the BM69 were imported by him in 1956 and then 120 more after a dispute over the buttplate. PB promised him 250 more but did not deliver them. He blames the Jesuits
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Old 06-29-2005, 03:04 PM   #4
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Jean, can you supply more info, perhaps even a copy of the letter? The time frame doesn't seem possible, how was a rifle, essentially designated a "Model 1969", get imported in 1956? Maybe this was 1966? Any tidbits of info, gramatical or spelling corrections to this piece is greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-29-2005, 04:45 PM   #5
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I bought a BM69 and was researching it, wrote to Edwards. He replied with a rambling letter that starts out, "The GCA68 was passed against me personally because of the Jesuit Kennedy scheme here on Swannanoa Mountain in which my home was to be used as part of the Kennedy University ... Doug Dillon of the Kennedy Library Trust was so eager to use his power as secretary of the Treasury to damage me, he is also connected with a Rothschild front outfit ... called the World Order ... both Rouse of Baltimore on its board and Hessburg of Notra Dame ... meanwhile, Beretta with their tridentine symbol is connected so the Beretta Company ... shipped the wrong goods when it came to the contract."

As to the guns, he says, "4 BM-59 semiauto rifles were imported at the time of the Suez Canal closing, they came the slow way to San Francisco. They were semi auto, specially made for me." [The Suez Crisis occurred in 1956, I assumed that was the date. I think you are right, he was referring to the 1967 War when Egypt closed the canal.]

"We had to get 2 new samples, BM69s these were, and these had military butts. The Jesuits, knowing how to foul things up, got Sordelli at Beretta into a swivet over a shotgun buttplate and calling it the M-62, bright blued, it looked like a refinshed (badly) cut down M-1. Anyway, we did not want, and they agreed to ship the BM69 but the 120 rifles they shipped were not as per two samples, having shotgun butts. The serials shipped ranged from the high 1200s through the 1300s. They were going to reserve 250 receivers for me, but did not deliver them, and that is the end of the BM69s.
They ... existed because of a receiver overrun on forgings for 6,000 BM59 made for the Italy army to keep Beretta from collapse at time of GCA68. No literature ever printed, I had also 120 bipods ... sold some to Charlie Steen at Sarco. They were made especially for me ..."
Beretta says I owe them $800, I say they owe me 120 military buttplate assemblies ..."

After that the paranoia returns with "this latter firm [HK] screwed me when they learned I was in the middle of the Rothschild uranium belt... the Vatican controls Beretta, Colts, Sauer, S&W, etc..."

I used to keep track of BM69 serials I saw, observed them from a low of 001274 and 0001275 to 001377, which agrees with Edwards' letter. Most did not have bipods. The BM62s and others that were sold much later seemed to continue this serial series. As a matter of interest, Art Tuttle tested the BM59 Mark 1 at SA in 1964 but lost his copy of the report
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Old 06-29-2005, 06:17 PM   #6
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Glad to see you over here ! Interesting read . I have one of the Sarco kits and was looking for someone to convert a garand receiver for it . I find the conversion information very interesting . I also have a couple of those junk Century receivers that I could use as a base ,that way if I screw up there is no big loss!
I could use a BM62 as a guide and measurements .

I agree Information on the BM59 and its varients is very limited .Thank you for this post !
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:59 PM   #7
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Beretta BM-59

First, I would again like to express my gratitude to Lee for being thoughtful enough to actually make a permanent sticky on the BM59. I felt very honored, in fact, that he felt my initial post was worthy enough for a sticky. I would also include that I think he is very perceptive in understanding that there needs to be a site where people who want to learn about the BM59 can go and get a lot of information without having to dig that much.

Jean, I found your letter very insightful. The letter explains a lot about some of the mysteries surrounding the BM59 imports in the 1960’s to early 70’s time frame. Not to mention the interesting, shall we say, political outlook from Bill Edwards of the time. Perhaps, it also goes a long way in explaining how Bob Reese may have stumbled into all the surplus parts he ultimately made use of.

Mike, in surfing the internet I have stumbled across one guy in particular who seemed to be very good about taking Garand receivers and, using just a Dremel tool, shaping them to meet working BM59 characteristics. He is from Canada, his name is Dave, and I doubt he would be interested in doing any work for anyone else. But his general attitude has been, it is not difficult for a person with reasonable metalworking skills to take a fully hardened M1 Garand receiver and work it to BM59 specs, without the need to have the receiver annealed and then re-heat treated. Again, this is using just a typical Dremel tool. I have some files and messages saved from him. Maybe I can find him and direct him this way, I think he would be happy to post some free advice on the subject.

I will occasionally go in and revise my initial post to reflect, as accurately as possible, a brief info package on the BM59 and varieties. But please, I hope all the BM59 lovers will feel free to come in and share their knowledge with all of us. With the help of all of you, a sticky such as this will do many, many potential BM59 buyers a great deal of good.
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Old 06-30-2005, 02:05 AM   #8
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Yeah, I know Dave ! He also makes a E2 clone stock out of a USGI fiberglass stock . He is in Grand Prairie ,Alberta .
Thanks again for the post and if you deceide to write a book ala Different , Put me first in line ! :wink:
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Old 06-30-2005, 10:16 PM   #9
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Boeboe, I sent you a pm several days ago which I ASSume you never got, thought you might find some of this interesting. 1st, all M1A receivers at least up until mid '96 when Valley Ordnance closed were headspaced using a modified BM59 headspacing machine. Apparently when Mel Smith went to Winchester in the early 70's to buy machinery for building M1A receivers...for some unknown reason there were no headspacing machines to be found...have no clue what happened to them all!! Ended up with a Beretta unit, which I know for a fact since when we made replacement parts for said unit as they wore, mainly the shaft,indexing wheel and pawls, we used Beretta metric blueprints to make said replacement parts. The headspace machine went to SA inc in '96, so one can safely assume it's still in use. I also recall using a Beretta machine for some time in the early 80's that did the firing pin cam cut on the inside receiver bridge, cutters were a pain in the a**and didn't hold up well, we ended up doing that particular cut differently and not using that unit. I also remember very well headspacing approximately 25 or so BM59 receivers for Bob Reese that he shipped in to us around '94 give or take a year, I had to make a spacer block so that the receiver didn't twist in the machine since as I stated before it was modified. As an aside, most BM59 mags that I've seen for sale at different sites on line are marked differently than the one I have, mine is marked Piettro Beretta on the base plate on bottom of mag, is this odd? Keep the info coming, I've always wanted one of these puppies!!
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Old 07-01-2005, 01:03 AM   #10
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boeboe, I dug through my files and have the following Springfield Armory, Inc. BM59 information:

Source: Gun Digest 39th Anniversary 1985 Annual Edition Edited by Ken Warner DBI Books, Inc. Northfield, IL. Copyright 1984

Caliber: 7.62mm NATO (308 Win.); 20-round box magazine
Barrel: 17.5".
Weight: 91/4 lbs. Length: 38.5" over-all.
Stock: Walnut, with trapped rubber butt pad.
Sights: Military square blade front, click adj. peep rear.
Features: Full military-dress Italian service rifle. Available in selective fire or semi-auto only. Refined version of the M-1 Garand. Accessories available include: folding alpine stock, muzzle brake/flash suppressor/grenade launcher combo, bipod, winter trigger, grenade launcher sights, bayonet, oiler. Extremely limited quantities. Introduced in 1981
Price: Standard Italian model, about $780.00
Price: Ital-Alpine model, about $940.00
Price: Alpine Paratrooper model, about $1,100.00
Price: Nigerian Mark IV model, about $875.00

Source: Shooter's Bible No. 78 1987 Edition William S. Jarrett, Editor. Stoeger Publishing Company Copyright 1986


Ital model $1248.00
Nigerian Model $1365.00
Alpine Paratrooper Model $1624.00

Type: Gas-operated, semiautomatic, clip-loaded, detachable box magazine.
Grade: Standard grade with European walnut stock.
Caliber: 7.62mm NATO (308 Win.).
Weight: 9.5 lbs.
Barrel length: 19.3".
Overall length: 43.11".
Magazine capacity: 20-round box type.
Rifling: Right-hand twist, 1 turn in 11.96".
Sights: Military, rear aperature; front square post; also direct and indirect grenade launcher sights.
Sight radius: 21.37".
Accessories: Cleaning kits; bayonets; extra magazines; scope mounts; scopes; slings. Also comes with winter trigger, grenade launcher and sights, muzzle tricompensator bipod and 20-round Beretta magazine.
Also available: BM-59 Alpine (w/folding stock); BM-59 Nigerian (w/pistol grip assault stock)

The above information is reproduced under the Fair Use Doctrine of U. S. Copyright Law (17 USC 107) for research purposes. The original spelling, capitalization and punctuation was reproduced verbatim.
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Old 07-02-2005, 04:33 PM   #11
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BM59 Variation

Well folks, the very nice interest in this subject has caused me to again adjust the "martix" of the different versions of the BM59 available. I have started to go through more of my literature to try to develop a nice, comprehensive listing of different versions with their particular attributes. As stated in my original post, there are so many sources giving different accounts, it is difficult to do.

The main reason I started this post was to keep people informed on the truth of the different versions available. A big problem I see is people advertizing the re-welds as actual Beretta made imports. Of course, the SA, Inc. versions are not real imports, but are still very nice rifles. Then, there is that small handful of real Beretta made imports to throw in the mix.

I have made a reasonably comprehensive list of the different versions and makers out there. It is hard to believe a rifle that is as "scarce" as the BM59 has so many published varieties. And I would be a fool to suggest I am familiar with all of them, or even half of them! Again, please feel free to make this a one stop source for accurate information on the BM59. A list I have put together suggests information is needed on the following:

BM59 (Standard?)
BM59 Ital
BM59R (Cyclic Rate Reducer)
BM59 Mk I
BM59 Mk II
BM59 Mk IV Nigerian
BM59 Alpini
BM59 Paracadutisti
BM62 Import (Berben and Benet???)
BM69 Import (Berben and Benet???)
BM62 Springfield/Reese
BM69 Springfield/Reese
BM59 or 62/69 from Gold Rush Arms (Benet?)
M59 from Western Military Arms, Sacramento, CA.
M59 Golden State/Santa Fe Arms
M59 National Ordnance
M59 Federal Ordnance
BM58, a BM59 Prototype

I would also have to note there seems to be variations within many of these definitions. Any help appreciated.
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Old 07-02-2005, 04:40 PM   #12
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This may be nitpicky but Federal Ordnance spelled its name Federal Ordnance without the letter "i." I have documentation if you need proof.
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Old 07-02-2005, 05:33 PM   #13
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Fed Ord

Yeh, I struggled for some time with how to spell "ordinance" or ordnance" in "different" applications, and what is correct all the time. Coming up with a correct spelling off the cuff, depending of real specifics, is hard to do. I'll take your word for it.
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:06 AM   #14
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Information on BM59 from Small Arms of the World 9th ed.1969

I have in my library a copy of Small Arms of the World, 9th edition dated 1969. The BM59's were still the official service rifles of Italy and there's 11 different pictures shown

First picture is BM59 that appears to be a converted Garand, Garand type butt plate (sling swivels are below barrel and stock, op rod has no gap between barrel)

Next pic is a BM59D That has a one piece pistol grip stock w/bipod and muzzle brake, Garand type butt plate (op rod has no gap between barrel)

Next pic is a BM59GL - rifle with permentatly attached grenade launcher (different type and sights, no bipod, sling swivels are below barrel and stock, op rod has no gap between barrel)

Next pic is BM59 Mark I with unusual bipod, fold out metal brace from unusual butt plate (op rod has no gap between barrel, very thin bipod legs, sling swivels are below barrel and stock, op rod has no gap between barrel)

Next pic is BM59 Mark I (modified), (sling swivels are on side, op rod has gap between barrel)

Next pic is BM59 Mark II with different type butt plate, one piece pistol grip stock with indentations for fingers, and the short type tricompensator, side swivels

Next pic is a BM59 Mark III, folding stock that is unlike the usual one encountered, has a fold out piece from the butt plate for stability, wood pistol grip with indentations for fingers, also a forward pistol grip and no space between the barrel and the op rod, short tricompensator, side swivels, no bipod

Next pic is BM59 Mark III with folding stock, plastic grip with longer
tricompensator, side swivels, no bipod

Next pic is BM59 Mark IV, prong type flash hider, stock appears to be some type of plastic, pistol grip with finger indentations - one piece, squad type bipod

Next pic is a BM59 Mark I, long tricompensator, side swivels, bayonet (the hard one to find) and bipod - exactly like the BM59 Springfield was selling

Last pic is a BM59 Alpine like Springfield Armory

Specs are given for the following




Mark I

Mark II

Mark III

Mark IV

Mark Ital
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Old 07-03-2005, 01:37 PM   #15
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Current Use

FWIW, I found an old CSP post in my files from an Italian poster about current BM59 inventory ... it sheds some light on how some were made:

After a recent exchange with some of you on this forum I went to pay a visit to the armorer non-com in my regiment. I went through about 250 BM59s and found that the most of them were rebuilt WWII made rifles, either SA or WRA, very few were postwar SA(6), HRA(3), IHC(1) and only one was converted from a M1 made by Breda. The lowest WWII number observed was SA 3XX. About 50% of the op rods and the trigger housings were converted US GI pieces. Almost every rifle sports three rebuild/inspection markings by FAT (Fabbrica Armi Terni). 15 rifles ...had a third type lock bar rear sight knobs while another 20 had US made rear sight knobs. Bolts were a mix of modified Italian and American, all with a rifle serial rolled or etched on. Most of the serial numbers did not match the rifle. Finish varies from black/dark grey to a very deep greygreen. Some of the folding stocks were made off original stocks since at least one had a readable EMcF cartouche. I would dare to say that the Italian army was only issued converted rifles and no receiver for this contract was made from scratch at Beretta. Please let me know if I can be of further help.

Well, the BM59 are considered a reserve (or second line) issue to most of the army. I know for sure that classes on either the Garand and BM59 are still part of Basic training.
The most widely issued rifle are the Beretta AR70/90 in three different versions (Assault Rifle, Short Carbine and Short Carbine, Paratroops). Some very second line outfits are still issued with Garands (Like Regional HQs, Military Hospitals, etc). The BM59 is still used in some Tank Bns, Artillery units, Carabinieri and infantry units made up of draftees. If you read my posting below you will find a few more info on the use of the BM59 as a squad support weapon in Kosovo.
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Old 08-03-2005, 07:02 PM   #16
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Location: Hamilton, Ohio USA
Posts: 114

I have a Springfield import FA which has the Springfield markings engraved on the side of the receiver and everthing else on the rifle including the Berretta markings on the heal of the receiver are all Berretta. Does anyone know of any place else to get replacement parts other than Reese? I am looking for a new butt plate. Mine has some minor pitting between the rubber and the metal edge.
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Old 08-04-2005, 02:07 AM   #17
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Unfortunately, Reese doesn't have any butt plates, so the only place you will find an original is to watch to various auctions - I'm looking for one for myself and haven't found one in 6+ months of looking. If you locate more than one I'd appreciate letting me know
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Old 08-06-2005, 06:35 PM   #18
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Butt Plates

For what it's worth, most of the BM59 butt plates I've seen have the appearance of having been corroded at some point in time. I think this is common on some BM59 parts. I am not sure if the metal was corroded before it was finished at the factory, or refinished because of the corrosion. I have seen this on factory magazines as well, what appears to be rust pits in the base metal with completely natural looking factory finish over the entire surface. My belief is these, and other similar parts I have seen, were not "re-finished" in the typical sense of the word. I believe that the corrosion happened at the Beretta factory, and since they were a military configuration rifle and the corrosion did not affect function, they decided to "use as is". As such, I think this is one of the naturally occuring characteristics of a few original Beretta BM59 parts.
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Old 08-06-2005, 06:53 PM   #19
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Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Posts: 5,783
From the Government of Canada Prohibited Weapons Order No. 13 here is a list of BM59 models:

(d) the firearm of the design commonly known as the BM 59 rifle, and
any variant or modified version thereof, including

(i) the Beretta

(A) BM 59,

(B) BM 59R,

(C) BM 59GL,

(D) BM 59D,

(E) BM 59 Mk E,

(F) BM 59 Mk I,

(G) BM 59 Mk Ital,

(H) BM 59 Mk II,

(I) BM 59 Mk III,

(J) BM 59 Mk Ital TA,

(K) BM 59 Mk Ital Para,

(L) BM 59 Mk Ital TP, and

(M) BM 60CB, and

(ii) the Springfield Armory

(A) BM 59 Alpine,

(B) BM 59 Alpine Paratrooper, and

(C) BM 59 Nigerian Mk IV;
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Old 08-11-2005, 06:16 PM   #20
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Springfield Armory BM59

I have BM59 receiver marked 7.62MM BM59

The armory has a circle with r in it .trade mark? ,rifle has removeable muzzel break ,bipod .garnade sights . Rifle shots great is this one of their better ons ? about how many did Springfield Armory
make . thanks value ?
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