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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a few questions on the Mossberg Model 51M...

#1 The model stamped on the barrel of my rifle is S51M. Will someone explain the importance of the letter "S" in the model number? I can not find any mention of this (I really can't find much info on the model 51 at all) in my research.

#2 I know the years my rifle was produced but is there a chart anywhere that will let me know the actual year mine was manufactured (I have not found any serial number on the gun yet). How many Model 51M's were produced?

#3 Did Mossberg maintain production of these rifles through the war years?

Thank you in advance for any information you can share with me....

Don
 

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Question #1- The "S" indicates that your rifle was made for the Speigel catalog company. Mossberg made several models available to them for resale, and I think they were specially marked because they sometimes differed in equipment like receiver sights, etc.

#2- Prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968, serial numbers were optional for the manufacturers. Your Mossberg won't have a serial number.
 

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Up until 1940 all 51's with mannliker stock were sold by Spiegel. It is said that the stock style was Spiegels idea. They also sold a M42B, a M46B, a M51/51M with that stock. In 1938 they were listed as 'Specials', (I believe this stands for special production). In 1939 they were sold as Speigels. These were listed in Moss catalog, first time, as 51M, etc. in 1940. 1940 saw no speicial Spiegel model number. So I would surmise your rifle was made in 1941, when the S was added, maybe late 1940.
As for your S51M 2,765 were made in 1941 and 1,006 in 1942. However I think the 1942 numbers are 'delivery' numbers or 'sold by Spiegel' numbers. Moss was heavy into war production by 1941 70% if I remember correct and 100% by 1942. Civilian production did not start again til 1946. During the war they made the Lead Lease 42MB and the Navy contract 44US.
If anyone wants complete production figures for these models, let me know. Or I will mail copy of many production sheets for Wards, Moss, Spiegel, upon reciept of a stamped, addressed envelope. E-mail for my address [email protected] These sheets are for pre-war period only, no records exist for post war, accidently thrown away in a move by Moss.
 
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