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i have only seen a couple of santa fe guns and bot hwere very bad rewelds. the one was visibly crooked. i didn't even need the steel rule.
 

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BM59

while ago I madeup the following on the BM59. I have the Ital model and the Nigerian. I know there's a lot of misinformation on them out there, this was an attempt to clear up some questions.

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 hate to see people bidding too much for stuff, so by encouraging people to ask for information, they will get a bit more knowledge about which BM59’s are of value. If they want to bid on a re-weld, they are free to spend their money there.

The original BM59 began as a reworked USGI M1 Garand reworked by Beretta. 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.

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 quite possibly either the early ones were not so marked (because licensing had not been obtained) or the later ones are not so marked (possibly because Beretta was not happy with the quality). 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.

Because of the Gun Control Act of 1968, Beretta could not import the BM59’s. 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. Apparently, in the group of surplus parts SA, Inc. bought, there was some finished receivers, and some forged receiver blanks. 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. 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 built by Beretta are marked on the heel with:

P. BERETTA
7.62mm BM59
GardoneV.T.
Italia
(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 gunbroker.com 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.

http://www.reesesurplus.com/
http://www.machinegunbooks.com/
 

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I have a Santa Fe version of the BM59. I got it about 10 years ago because the price was right-free. It is SN 000003. It looks like new. As others stated, the recvr is likely a reweld, but I can't tell for sure because I see no reweld signs. I have read several writings regarding reweld identification and even compared it to both of my Garands and still cant tell. Reweld (likely) or not it does not extract spent rounds. They hang in the chamber and must be pryed out. I had it inspected by a gun smith before first firing, but have not had it back to a gun smith to check the extraction issue. Other than that it seems fine. All parts look like new and are a combination of US military and Beretta. Barrel is mirror like but has no markings. I just keep it a curiosity.
 

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Please note that Reese's Surplus is no more. They closed their doors. Don't know where the remaining BM-59 parts went. There wasn't a lot left from what I could tell.
 

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Cranky Old Vietnam Vet
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Please note that Reese's Surplus is no more. They closed their doors. Don't know where the remaining BM-59 parts went. There wasn't a lot left from what I could tell.
I heard "Fred's" bought them all up ?!?

GI3

Ok, Seriously...It's hard for me to believe 'Reese's' ran out of all their stuff all at once...
My understanding was they were kind of an 'in-law' relationship to SAI ?
(somebody correct me if that is wrong!)
And on another thread...I think we talking about somebody who knew individuals at SAI might call SAI and ask them?
I would love to hear that one of our good Sponsors here had them?
I did buy one of their Folders quite a while back, and am pleased with it...it was not as loose a lock-up as I feared it might be...

CAVman in WYoming
 

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JD, you looking for a BM62 complete with gorgeous stock, if so I know a guy that I nitrided two for, and cleaned up the stocks on them both, he wants to sell one last I heard. If you are looking I will contact him to let him know. I do know he has two stocks for each rifle, he found some extras and had me do them for him to match the rifles.
 

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JD, you looking for a BM62 complete with gorgeous stock, if so I know a guy that I nitrided two for, and cleaned up the stocks on them both, he wants to sell one last I heard. If you are looking I will contact him to let him know. I do know he has two stocks for each rifle, he found some extras and had me do them for him to match the rifles.
Excellent! - PM sent
 

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MGySgt USMC (ret)
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I have a Santa Fe version of the BM59. I got it about 10 years ago because the price was right-free. It is SN 000003. It looks like new. As others stated, the recvr is likely a reweld, but I can't tell for sure because I see no reweld signs. .
The easiest way to check a Garand or BM59 receiver for being a reweld is to compare the serial number on the heel of the receiver to the drawing number on the front right side of the receiver - where it goes into the stock. If the drawing number is not correct for the serial number, then it positively is a reweld. Fortunately, though it is possible someone could have welded up the correct pieces where both numbers matched, I have never seen a reweld receiver where the numbers did match.

If you buy this Ten Dollar book, you can easily check serial numbers vs receiver drawing numbers.
The M1 Garand: Serial Numbers & Data Sheets - A pocket reference guide to the M1 rifle. The 8" x 4" size makes for easy pocket carry to Gun Shows. Includes 84 Data Sheets.

Or, if you already have a such a receiver you think may be a reweld, give us the serial number and receiver drawing number and we can check it for you.
 

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Reese surplus was owned by Bob Reese and he gave SA inc. to his children.This came from his Daughter in law who,helped run RSI for Bob. She was always pleasant to deal with and even after they closed the doors on RSI ,she helped me out with some parts that I was looking for.
She also mentioned that Bob was getting up in the years and was looking to retire. I would bet that there sre still some parts around. We are "sold out" is an easy out instead of saying NO.
Good folks and I certainly hate to see them close,for BM59 stuff they were just about the only game in town.
 
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