08 August 2017

The Culmination Of 433 Years Of Experience

It took the US National Armory at Springfield, Massachusetts from late 1944 to early 1959 to adopt a detachable box magazine fed Garand.

By 1961 the M14 had replaced the M1 in active Army service and by 1965 the Marines could say the same thing.

Italy, who'd adopted the M1 at the end of World War 2, and Beretta, who made them under license, agreed with the idea of a detachable box magazine for the Garand.

Like the US, they reasoned that they liked the Garand well enough, so why completely redesign the wheel?

Unlike the Americans, Beretta actually managed to keep using most of their tooling for the Garand.

Also unlike the Americans, they didn't linger over the decision and design.  By 1959 they'd equipped their Army with the new rifle.  Development and manufacturing had to have taken less than 5 years because it didn't begin until 7.62 NATO had been standardized.

Sure looks a lot like an M14, don't it?

Well, near as I've been able to find, there was no influence from Springfield on Beretta; this is just convergent evolution.

Beretta complied with the NATO standard for rifle grenades and included a grenade sight.

The ENERGA marked sight is stamped from sheet metal and can be removed from the sight arms.  This would allow a sight with calibration for a different rifle grenade to be used.

The bolt stop/release is a lot more Garand-like than the M14 and the magazine release a lot more prominent.  Missing from this semi-auto clone is the selector at the front of the receiver, it's also missing the clip guide.

The safety is in the normal Garand location.  Note the little notch under the bolt handle, that's where a portion of the full-auto guts used to protrude.  That's NOT where the selector used to reside!

The BM-59 is also equipped with a folding winter trigger.

There's storage in the butt:

The rear sling swivel can be rotated for both bottom and side sling use, the front swivel has to be moved from one position to the other with a screwdriver.  This gun is rigged for side slinging because it stays out of the bipod's way.

The bayonet looks hauntingly M7 except for the latch.  That's when it hits you, it's really coming from the same place as the M16's M7 bayonet; the M1 Carbine's M4 bayonet.  Nearly the same latch with a bigger ring to clear the NATO spec grenade muzzle.  Of course, the latch is much narrower than that on the M7.  I don't have an M4 bayonet handy to compare right now, but Willard does.

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