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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has it ever been resolved that a Devine receiver built to Match specs is a "Devine", or just another M1A built on a Elmer Ballance receiver? All the Matched conditioned receivers made by Elmer that I have seen were built elsewhere, by other people. art
 

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I think I read in Lee's material that Elmer is known to have traded some receivers to the Army Marksmanship Training Unit for some match conditioning of other receiver/barrel combinations. How many there were done like that I have no idea. I would "guess" that since the Air Force had a marksmanship training unit at Lackland in San Antonio that he may have done the same thing there. I have seen a couple that while they exhibited the same kinds of work the AMTU would have done appear to have been done in San Antonio by Elmer (at least two). I believe one of the two "Devines" that I have may have been built by the AMTU but there is no way to know for sure that I am aware of. However, every one I have seen has both a Devine receiver and a marked barrel. As such that makes them more than just another rifle. Because the marked barrel contains the NM markings. That means it's more than just another Devine in my opinion. It's a Devine NM rifle.

I was interested to note that the last one I picked up had the appropriate barrel markings and was not a NM rifle (did not have NM on the barrel and had a chrome lined bore). But it did have a reamed flashider done before the parkerizing process and the front band behind the gas cylinder did have two punch marks where it would have to be drilled to get into the gas piston area for a screw and glue set up of a NM gas cylinder. It looked like he was either running short of standard parts or that originally he was going to use those parts to build a NM rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not done -

Warren, I have offered the information regarding the use of NM term when describing a M1A. There was never a hope it would be enough education to change things. In this Thread alone the NM term had been used in connection with a M1A, Elmer never told anyone he was being subsidize by the US Govt. to build NM M1A's to my knowledge, but I learned otherwise that today..

My Thread question was about Devines or not Devines, it appears the answer is consistent with who owns the rifle in question.. there are those that feel the M1A receivers build out of Elmer's shop to Match specs are not true Devines and are therefore less valuable. The opposite position is held by the other side. I am not putting my Dog in this argument.. It was just a search for information, nothing else. Art
 

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All the Matched conditioned receivers made by Elmer that I have seen were built elsewhere, by other people. art
Based on all the documention I have and all of the interviews I have conducted, Elmer Ballance never did the bedding himself. For example, the 1973-1974 L. H. Gun Company brochure states,

"MATCH GRADE MODELS - accurized by trained military/rifle smiths, testfired, group tested and fitted with glass bedded stock."

I have the original Tom Buss M1A Curve. From that document, we know that Wayne Young and Glenn Nelson were building M1A rifles as early as serial number 001000 (late 1972), perhaps earlier. Wayne Young and Glenn Nelson did build match M1A rifles for Elmer Ballance. Wayne Young had a FFL and a shop off base from Fort Benning.

Aside from those match built M1A rifles shipped back to Texas, there were about 120 bare and barreled M1A receivers sent to Wayne Young and Glenn Nelson as payment from Elmer Ballance for services rendered. Those 120 receivers were built into complete rifles by Young and Nelson and not returned to Texas.

There were other gunsmiths that built Texas era receivers into match rifles. A gunsmith known by his initials, J J H, built serial numbers 000049, 001119, and 001193. Whether or not J J H built the match M1A rifles for Elmer Ballance or for the owner(s), I don't know.
 

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I have one of the JJH stamped NM rifles, 001717. BTW, the stock is the Big Red variation, does that make any difference in determining if these rifles were part of a specific order by Elmer Balance? Thank you,

Charlie
 

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Thanks for reminding me on M1A serial number 001717. I have that one in my records as well. M1A serial number 000049 was built by J J H using a big red birch stock. I don't know if M1A rifles 001119 and 001193 were put together with the same type of wood stock. My opinion is that J J H bought the receivers from Elmer Ballance, built the rifles, and then sold them to private individuals.
 

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Does 00049 have a Devine barrel? Is it in NM configuration? I wonder if JJH worked on service grade rifles, or just on NM rifles? I suppose it's possible Elmer Balance sent complete woodless NMs to JJH for the bedding? Did Elmer do his own bedding? Now I'm wondering if JJH lived near or in Devine, Texas. It doesn't seem like parts were sent out, and returned as complete rifles, I agree. Fascinating subject! Thanks,


Charlie
 

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Does 00049 have a Devine barrel? Is it in NM configuration? I wonder if JJH worked on service grade rifles, or just on NM rifles? I suppose it's possible Elmer Balance sent complete woodless NMs to JJH for the bedding? Did Elmer do his own bedding?
1) No
2) Yes
3) All four known J J H rifles have match conditioning features.
4) Possible or J J H built the rifles and sold them to private individuals if he was a FFL. Tom Buss bought complete rifles, stripped receivers and barreled receivers and sold or traded many of them during the time Springfield Armory, Inc. was located in Texas. When I say many, it was in the dozens.
5) IMO, Elmer Ballance did not do the stock bedding (see post # 6 above).
 

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Well, based on what I've read so far, someone other than Elmer did the final work on these. It really doesn't matter if a private gunsmith or military armorer did it, IMO. Even if "JJR" did the stock work and returned it to Texas, it isn't 100% a Devine anymore. Sort of like the situation with Garands in a way-if the receiver is a SA, the rifle is a SA, even if every other part is HRA.
 
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