The Adoption Of The Early Springfield Rifle By The Bureau Of Investigation

Among handguns and other weapons, J. Edgar Hoover’s presiding June, 1933 Executive Committee decided upon the use of the Army Springfield Rifle based upon recommendations from the Army itself.  (Readers can acquire that document elsewhere on this site.)

Initially, documents reveal consideration of the Colt “Monitor” but after consultations, the Bureau elected not to initially implement use of the “Monitor.”  In the memorandum of the Committee dated June 28, 1933, it’s written, “the Committee….has concluded that such guns are not appropriate for our use. They have too great a range…for urban use.”  

In a June, 1933 memorandum to Clyde Tolson, Washington Field Office, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) John M. Keith stated that, “In further conference with Ballistics Experts of the Ordinance Division of the Army, I find that the proper Springfield rifle is: "NRA type-caliber .30-Springfield Sporter, 20 inch barrel.” ( my note: .30-06’ cartridges)

Keith, a member of Director Hoover's Exec Committee,  further states that, “it will not be necessary to procure bids on these guns because they can be obtained direct from the War Department.”

“Upon receipt of this order the Army will order the rifles from the Springfield plant and delivery will be made within a few weeks."

In a following memorandum for the Director dated June 29, 1933, SAC Keith elaborates, in part, regarding the Springfield Sporter rifle stating that, “Neither the pistol, shotgun or Thompson machine gun can possibly serve the purpose to which this rifle should be devoted. It is required for use in long distance shooting requiring absolute accuracy. It shoots the high powered military boat-tailed bullet. It has the greatest penetration and the flattest projector of any other modern rifle. The Sporter type ….affords deadly accuracy at a distance of 500 or 600 years. The tire could be shot from an automobile, the motor put out of commission or the gasoline tank punctured with this weapon. Such results could not be accomplished with the other weapons."

FBI files reveal a June 30, 1933 memorandum from Director J. Edgar Hoover ordering 21 Springfield Sporter rifles, adding that one rifle should be sent to each the Bureau field offices with the exception of Honolulu.  This order appears to be the first large order of Springfield’s obtained by the Bureau. 

The specs for the Springfield rifle, submitted to the Kansas Trunk Company, for a hard case is shown here.