Two opinions have been offered as to the original intent of the USA-F markings. One opinion is that the markings stand for the United States Armed Forces (Houchins, page 542) and a second opinion expressed elsewhere offers it as Hunter Arms inspection markings. Neither of these opinions have any factual support. I cannot claim any factual support for the theory I present below but I do offer some reasonable evidence.
My theory is that (1) the army/Rochester ordered more Hunter (HAC) guns than were delivered to them (2) HAC marked the guns USA-F on the assumption that they would be delivered and (3) HAC sold excess marked guns on the civilian market.
Here are the reasons I believe in my theory
First, I contend that the sequence of marking was initiated by HAC applying the USA-F markings in their factory followed by ordnance markings by the army at the armory because there are guns in circulation with USA-F markings and no ordnance markings.
Second, I contend that the USA-F marking stands for the US Armed Forces because the army bought guns on behalf of all the military; in support of this is a mention on our website of "...SN 200947 surfaced in 2016...shipped to Rochester Ordnance in 1942. It is marked United States Coast Guard."
(see Album: Hunter Arms Military Purchase Guns on our website)
Third, the military has a propensity, then and now, for ordering more than they need. They probably gave a blanket order for guns and later refused to accept delivery in the same manner that bankrupted HAC when the Navy, at the end of WWII, asked for repayment of a government $167K advance during the war. (Houchins, page 18)
I readily admit that this is pure conjecture but I cannot believe that USA-F is a mark for any other reason than presented here.
I put this on our website in hopes of generating some opinions, further insight and a call for those in possession of USA-F marked guns, with or without armory markings, to provide serial numbers so that we can obtain a better picture of when the guns were produced.
Responses are not allowed!