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Springfield Armory National Historic Site

Special 2nd floor Select fire section (closed to public) and 1st floor open to public

RightHand, Sep 24, 2015
    • RightHand
      Looking back in time.....2005, A rainy April Saturday

      Mike Sadlak (Sadlak Industries) arranged for a special guided tour of the second floor of the Main Arsenal of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site. Our small band of M14 enthusiasts spent a couple hours on this rainy Saturday, 04/23/05, immersed in the history and development of armaments. The arrangements took several months to accomplish and involved obtaining a special permit for a group limited to 10 people. We were accompanied by two(2) guides, one leading the group and the other bringing up the rear. This was not a place we were allowed to roam about individually and there was absolutely no hands on by anyone but our very knowledgeable guide, John McCabe, Chief Curator. As his white gloved hands took individual guns off the crowded shelves, he was able to give us the history of each weapon, manufacturing, and issues related to their use as he helped clarify the evolution of our modern select-fire rifles.

      The lower level of the Museum is open to the public and has samples of every weapon you can imagine on display, from the Revolutionary War through the present. The second floor is closed to the public except with a special permit but when you enter the area, you are rewarded beyond your expectations. Our arrangement was to bypass the early firearms and center the tour and discussion with the chief Curator exclusively on the M14 and other select-fire rifles including many test and prototype rifles. Photographs are allowed but they simply can't do justice to the sheer volume and diversity of weaponry stored there.

      The information provided by the National Park Services says the following:
      " Springfield Armory technology profoundly affected the lives of soldiers and civilians. Armory arms decided battle tactics. They were essential in all major conflicts in U.S. History. Armory inventions revolutionized the manufacture of consumer products like keys, shoes, baseball bats and furniture. Housed in the original Main Arsenal, the museum maintains one of the most extensive and unique firearms collections in the world."

      "Springfield Armory National Historic Site encompasses approximately 55 acres and several buildings of the original armory complex. The central attraction is the Arsenal building, # 13, constructed in the 1840's. The weapons collection housed in the Main arsenal was started about 1870 by Col. J.G. Benton as a technical "library" for armory personnel. It is now regarded as the Nation's largest collection of small arms."
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