A Bittersweet Moment...
...and a Unique
By Scott Duff
It is with great sadness that I announce I have been selected to sell the firearms collection of James E. “Mac” McCollum. Mac was a dear friend and a tireless M1 Garand researcher and collector. He passed away in June of 2008. I miss him. We all miss him.
In the early 1990s Mac began compiling a database of M1 rifle serial numbers and related information. His list grew to include over 200,000 entries. He was kind enough to share that database with me. Much of what we know about post World War II M1s is the result of Mac’s research.
Mac’s Garand collection was unique, perhaps the most complete that has ever been gathered. It includes: “new-in-the-cosmoline” World War II Springfields and Winchesters; unissued condition post World War II SAs, IHCs, and HRAs; very low and very high serial number rifles from many of the assigned serial number ranges; numerous variations of IHC including examples of all of the rarest; M1C and M1D sniper rifles, scopes and mounts; National Match rifles; consecutive serial-numbered pairs of WRAs, IHCs, and HRAs, and M1Ds; consecutive serial-numbered Springfields and Winchesters; and duplicate serial-numbered Springfields and Winchesters. Mac had it all.
Mac was a lifelong supporter of the NRA and Youth Shooting Sports. In the Fall of 2009 we will auction an M1 National Match Type 2 on GunBroker with 100 percent of the net proceeds of the sale being donated to the NRA Foundation’s Youth Shooting Sports Endowment in the memory of James E. “Mac” McCollum.
It is now the family’s desire for
other Garand collectors to have the opportunity to own some of Mac’s M1 rifles
that he loved so much. The sale begins
at the Baltimore Show on
This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own some outstanding M1 rifles from the collection of one of the preeminent Garand researchers, and to be one of the new custodians of the history Mac preserved for us all.
Some of the rifles and accessories that will be made available include:
· Low Serial Number Garands
· High Serial Number Garands
· Consecutive Serial Number Garands
· Winchester Garands including Educational Contract, ‘43, ‘44 and WIN-13s
· Duplicate SA and WIN Serial Number Garands
· Rare IHC Variant Garands, including Arrowhead and HRA/IHC
· Garand Sniper Scopes and Mounts
· M1903 Rifles from Low Serial Number to 03A3 and 03A4
James E. “Mac” McCollum
By Scott Duff
In addition to his career in the ALARNG, Mac owned the Circlewood Gun Shop for 59 years. Mac was an accomplished gunsmith. He built countless service grade and match-conditioned M1 rifles, M14/M1A rifles, and AR-15’s. In addition, he provided full-service gunsmith services for commercial firearms. He also specialized in restoring and refinishing M1 Garands for collectors. Over the past 10 years, several of his grandsons have apprenticed with him and plan to keep Circlewood Gun Shop running for many years to come.
Mac volunteered for the DCM and CMP processing rifles. For several years he also worked as a paid employee for the CMP beginning shortly after its transition from the DCM. He trained many CMP employees in how to identify a Collector Grade rifle. In the early 1990’s he began keeping data sheets on original rifles he had observed. They number in at least the hundreds, if not the thousands. Around that time he also began building a database of serial numbers, receiver drawing number revisions, receiver heat lots, barrel dates, and stock cartouches that now numbers in the hundreds of thousands of entries. He was kind enough to share many of those data sheets and his database with me and a few other researchers. Mac’s data sheets and database have taught Garand collectors more than we would ever have been able to learn without it.
One example of his contributions to our body of knowledge happened in 1994 during one of my visits to Anniston Army Depot with him. He opened a crate and about the third rifle he pulled out appeared to be an ordinary IHC and as he read the serial number off to me we realized the he had discovered the first ever observed “4.407” IHC rifle. He was also the first to discover an SA in 5000000 to 5000500 serial number range. He did this sort of thing more often than can be imagined.
All Garand collectors owe Mac a debt of gratitude that extends well beyond his database. In 1993-94 when Captain Crunch was grinding up M1’s, M1C’s, and M1D’s, Mac was so upset by the destruction of this part of our nation’s history that he helped call this to the attention of the right people, and we were able to get it stopped. Shortly after the cessation of destroying M1’s, Mac had an idea. This was back in the day when people could only buy one M1 rifle in their lifetimes. Mac realized that a service grade M1, an M1C, and an M1D all had different National Stock Numbers (NSN), and suggested that each person was technically allowed to purchase one of each NSN rifle. This suggestion was passed along to the Director of Civilian Marksmanship, was accepted, and soon after that the first M1C auction and the M1D monthly lottery began. If it were not for Mac, none of us would own a CMP documented M1C or M1D.
Mac attended many of the GCA Conventions with Jane, his wife of 59 years, and through that attendance developed a long friendship with Richard and Kathy Garand. Even to his last days, his enthusiasm for the M1 Garand and the research he conducted never waned. As recently as April of 2008 he called me with something new that he had discovered through study of his database and he kept adding to that database until his health began to fail in May.
He lived a long life and enjoyed working on firearms of all kinds, but especially the M1 Garand. He was truly blessed in that he had the opportunity to enjoy what he did for a living and touched many collector’s and shooter’s lives in such a positive way. As much as he enjoyed his work, he was truly the happiest when he was surrounded by his wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He will be missed by all who knew him.