By Bill Porter
I received an email from my friend Keith Lam in Hong Kong with information on some of the previous postings:
(Sept 2003 Porterís Page 1)
"I have the wrapping paper translated by a Korean customer"
M5 side arm (bayonet)
Quantity 2 pcs
(October 2003 Porterís Page 2)
"The inside handle slabs do read Left & Right. But those in the picture were reversed!"
(January 2004 Porterís Page 5)
"The characters read from right to left are: National Army"
Keith also sent a photo of a Kiffe M4 in his collection that is marked on the front of the crossguard KIFFE over JAPAN.
Keith also sent me photos of an additional piece in his collection that he felt was related to the previous topic of foreign M1 Garand bayonets. It is a US M1 Garand bayonet that has had a new, larger muzzle ring attached to the crossguard and been stamped with a seven digit serial number on the ricasso and the scabbard. The bayonet is actually an Argentine BM59 bayonet. I considered including them at the time but decided to leave them out, as they are no longer a Garand bayonet.
Thank you Keith for sharing this information with us.
I recently spent three and a half days in Baltimore for the Maryland Arms Collectors Association show and the Society of American Bayonet Collectors (SABC) annual banquet. For those of you out there who are bayonet collectors, this is the place to be. Iíll admit that itís not the greatest place for contemporary blades, but it is probably the largest assembly of bayonet collectors anywhere in the world. There are easily 200 of the top bayonet collectors from the US and Europe there. The amount of knowledge present is phenomenal. The best part of all is that most of the guys are more than happy to share their information freely and enjoy the opportunity to speak with a fellow collector who shares their enthusiasm in the subject. I strongly recommend that everyone experience this show at least once.
Weíll pick up here where we left off last month; foreign manufactured bayonets for the US M1 Carbine. Iíve thrown in some non-M4 variations to make it a little more interesting.
Argentine M1 Carbine Bayonets
These bayonets started out as Argentine Model 1891 bayonets with aluminum alloy grips. At first glance it appears that the hook quillon was removed from the crossguard and the blades shortened. Upon further examination it was determined that an entirely new crossguard has been installed and it is set approximately 6 mm further down the blade (toward the tip) than the original crossguard. As a result, the original alloy grips have been replaced with a much more crude, longer set of alloy grips. A notch has been milled in the back of the pommel to allow the latch to mate with the M1 Carbine bayonet lug.
These bayonets hit the US surplus market about 15 years ago. They were advertised as being a Mauser bayonet modified to fit the US M1 Carbine "by an un-named South American arsenal". In Bayonets de la Republica Argentina by Mario Suffriti and Oscar Albino, the existence of these bayonets are acknowledged, but the authors state that they have not been able to gather any information as to who made this modification. I classify them as Argentine based solely on their origin. They bear a number on the top of the tang and also on the right ricasso. The pommels still bear the original Argentine markings.
There are two different scabbards for this bayonet, both painted white. The first is a modified M1891 steel scabbard that has been cut down and rewelded. It still has the original serial number visible under the white paint. The second scabbard is a standard USM8A1 scabbard.
Overall length 294, 300 mm
Blade length 166, 172 mm
Blade thickness 4.9, 5.5 mm
Blade width 24.5, 23.9 mm
Taiwan M4 Bayonet
The identification of this bayonet is based on the marks molded into the scabbard body. They are identical to those found on the Taiwanese M1 Garand bayonet scabbard. This bayonet is a standard M4 style bayonet with all metal parts Parkerized. An unusual characteristic of this particular model is the plastic grips. They look like most other grips at a glance, but they have very sharp, pointy diamonds cast into the surface. It is rather uncomfortable to grip the bayonet in your hand. Thereís no doubt that you would not loose your grip on this bayonet if it became wet or slimy.
The scabbard is similar to the US M8A1. It has a blackened steel mouthpiece marked M8A1 on the front. The scabbard body appears to be a fiber reinforced plastic
Overall length 296 mm
Blade length 170 mm
Blade thickness 4.7 mm
Blade width 21.8 mm
Chinese (PRC) M4 Bayonet
This is a commercial M4 that was imported right before the ban on military items from China. Itís a standard M4 configuration with what appears to be a stainless steel blade. A quick test with a magnet proved that to be incorrect. The pommel is secured to the grip with a Phillips head screw. The one-piece grip seems to be molded right on to the tang.
The scabbard is an un-reinforced green plastic body with a blued steel mouthpiece. The scabbard is completely un-marked.
Overall length 298 mm
Blade length 169 mm
Blade thickness 4.7 mm
Blade width 21.5 mm
Chinese AK81 M1 Carbine Bayonet
These bayonets, in their original configuration, showed up on the US surplus market sometime in the late 1980s. The supply very quickly exceeded the demand and the distributor was left sitting on a bunch of bayonets. Shortly thereafter an advertisement appeared for "foreign manufactured M1 Carbine bayonets". If I remember correctly they were relatively inexpensive so I ordered a couple. They turned out to be the Chinese AK81 bayonets that were rather ingeniously modified to fit the M1 Carbine.
The first change made was to weld a small flat plate to the top of the pommel. This reduced the width of the mortise slot from about 8 mm to 4.5 mm. It also reduced the top of pommel to muzzle ring dimension. Secondly, a machined bushing was welded into the muzzle ring to reduce its interior diameter. The hilt has the basic overall style of the Soviet AK series of bayonets, only slimmer. The blade is cruciform at the hilt with the side ridges diminishing as they approach the tip of the blade, creating a double fuller on each side of the blade. It is a very unique design.
The scabbard is interesting but of poor quality. The green body is a molded soft plastic. There is a bright steel band molded into the mouth of the scabbard body. The retaining strap and hanger are made of a brown vinyl material. It does not appear that this scabbard would hold up to any substantial field use.
Overall length 298 mm
Blade length 169 mm
Blade thickness 11.6 mm
Blade width 23.7 mm
Thatís it for this month. Weíll continue with more of the same in our next installment.
If you have any questions or comments please drop me a line. If youíd like to correspond about any other bayonet related topic Iíd love to hear about your interests, too. I can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
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