February 21st, 2017, 07:05 AM
This rifle is one of around 180 or less that was imported by Reese's Surplus and were built by Beretta in the 1960's. Bob Reese was the former owner of SAI until he left and started his surplus business, and he went on buying trips abroad including Beretta in Italy around 1990, I got this story from Colleen Reese at RSI, that Bob went there asking about Garands, and these rifles were found stored "Down in the bowels of Beretta" where they pretty much had been forgotten, this is supposed to be one of those, and Colleen told me records indicated #055 was imported onto their books as a complete rifle from Beretta, then transferred to an FFL in Michigan, which happens to be where this rifle came from when I won it in a gun auction at the end of 2009, as new with an Italian sling.
long story short I've shot it sparingly, and often wondered about it's origins. No secret that Beretta built them, was the source of Garands & refurbishment services for Europe & Middle Eastern countries, and a military on a budget could have their existing Garands overhauled or converted over to 7.62mm NATO. Have to wonder if this particular lot was a contract unfulfilled, or built as commercial samples then lost interest in marketing them for some reason, as most all of the military ones end up with a national crest for the country that bought them.
Not much more to know on these, Reese's Surplus shut their doors a few years ago, and haven't found out anymore interesting details, except every once in awhile one with a low digit serial shows up in an auction, some with Arabic markings...