View Full Version : Which is more accurate? M1 Garand vs M14..

June 11, 2001, 09:06 AM
I'm looking to get a Semi in 308, which is more accurate?

Also, I'm not just looking for accuracy, but durability, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and overall good value. That includes availability of spare and aftermarket parts etc..

I've shot both, don't know all that much about either.

A friend made the statement that for semi's, the Garand is the undisputed in accuracy, and overall dependability, period. (But he owns an M1 Garand)

I don't know if that statement is true or not..

My other friend makes the same statement, but about the M14 (which he owns)...

Also, I'm a bit confused, the old WWII Garands are 30-06 right? The new Springfield stuff is is 308 right? Caliber aside, any real huge differences?


June 11, 2001, 11:23 AM
The M1 Garand is chambered for .30-06 and the M14/M1A for .308. However, there are M1 Garands that have been converted to .308.

Both the M1A and M1 Garand have great spare parts availability and there are a lot of gunsmiths who are intimate with them.

The M1 Garand will be much cheaper to buy than an M1A. IMHO, the M1A will be a little more accurate given the same shooter assuming no match modifications have been made.

I've shot both and the recoil seems the same to me. If you like synthetic stocks and magazines, the M1A is the answer.

June 11, 2001, 11:54 AM
The M1A and the M1 Garand when compared to each other each have pros and cons IMO. Conventional Wisdom says the M1A is better since it's basically an evolutionary product-improved (some would say "cost-reduced") M1 Garand - it takes a detachable magazine, has a simplified gas system, a flash hider, a roller bearing bolt lug, and is easier to scope. Spare parts for both abound.

In practice the only real advantage I can find in the M1A is the ease of scoping. M14 magazines are expensive ($45ea for VG), they make the rifle unwieldy, and though they might look cool they offer the civilian shooter no real advantage over the Garand's 50 cent enbloc clip. The advantages of the M1A's gas system are pretty esoteric. It's suppose to be more accurate because there is less moving mass and the piston is not directly attached to the op rod. Personally I think the M1's gas system works just fine and it's location nearer the muzzle makes the Garand balance better and recoil less. The M1A's flash hider looks cool but adds no performance advantage, it can negatively effect accuracy, and it makes the M1A longer than the Garand even though it's barrel is 2 full inches shorter. I like the concept of the M1A's roller bearing but the Garand's bolt works just fine without it.

A Garand rebarreled to .308 is a smart move. .308 is far more plentiful and a lot cheaper. When considering performance the .308 and .30-06 are equivalent in their military form. The 7.62x51 was specifically designed to duplicate .30-06 performance in a shorter case. Everyone knows it possible to get more velocity out of a .30-06 but it's not wise to hot rod a M1's gas system (or the M1A's either).

Having both I like my Garand more. For plinking or hunting with open sights I think the Garand is more practical. If I were going to war I'd take a M14. If I wanted a scoped rifle I'd take the M1A. If I were going to build a match rifle to seriously compete in Service Rifle matches I'd go with a M1A over a Garand but if I were going to seriously compete I'd build up an AR15 since they're undisputedly more accurate than either. Finally, the M1A may have a higher "coolness coefficient" but the Garand has far more collector interest and historical significance. -- Kernel

Robert Foote
June 12, 2001, 12:19 AM
About all I can do here is agree with Kernel. I have used (and own) both. The 'advantages' the $1000 plus M1A has over the M1 are largely cosmetic and theoretical. I have had a scope mount for the M1A for years but never had a valid reason to put it on--and I shoot these rifles out to 500 yds and beyond.

The M1As have cast recievers and a mix of GI and commercial parts. Having used the M14, I much prefer a forged reciever on principle. M1 recievers, of course, are forged.

Accuracy depends on many things, with the operator being the big variable. My guess is that a decent M1 with a decent barrel and basic accuracy work ($200) will serve you very well. Spend the money you save on loading good ammo.

For further info go over to Mecca at www.jouster.com and become enlightened. :eek:

June 12, 2001, 04:29 AM
Aww Crap! You guys are making me want to add an M1 to my collection now. I already spent $1000 on my M1A!!! Can't you just give it a rest. Money doesn't grow on trees you know! :rolleyes:

June 12, 2001, 08:03 AM
I have 2 Garands and 1 M1A. I like all of them. But I will say that my M1A is much more accurate than either of my Garands. YMMV.


June 12, 2001, 08:04 AM

I have an M1-A and multiple Garands. Both are great, but I definitely shoot the Garands more, even though the M1-A is more accurate and will take a scope when I want to do serious loadup work.

For me the M1 balances better than the M1-A, especially in offhand shooting.

Also depends on why you want it.....

I shoot my M1's in our local CMP clubs summer "Garand League". Gives me an excuse to practice with the M1 and get ready for each months match.

For other highpower matches (CMP or NRA Service Rifle), I take the M1-a or an AR.

There is also some seriously MAJOR nostalgia factor with the Garand that the M1-A just can't match. I can't pick one up without having mental flashbacks of "Sands of Iwo Jima", "The Longest Day", "Combat", and all the other WWII & Korea movies I saw when I was a kid (I'm 45 now). Yes, I saw "Saving Pvt. Ryan" too...

The history I hold in my hands makes me wonder exactly WHAT this highly refined collection of wood & steel went through before I got it.

Was it carried by some bored GI on Guard Duty, walking fence around a base in New Jersey??

Was it transferred from hand to hand at a basic training facility in Missouri, training recruit after recruit in the skills of military marksmanship.

Was it carried by some Marine over the bow of an LCI, into salt water, and up a volcanic sand beach as bullets and shrapnel from Japanese guns whizzed nearby.

Was it slung across the shoulder of a GI as he walked across the Rhine River bridge into Germany.

Was it held by some freezing and terrified 19 year old soldier in a Korean foxhole on a pitchblack night, held like grim death itself, knowing that if the SHTF in the dark, the M1 he held might be the only thing that could save his life.

As I hold a Garand and look through the sights I wonder, "how many of our countries enemies have been viewed through this little metal peephole"?? Has this rifle ever "drawn blood" in defense of our freedoms???

How many Americans have held it, carried it, fired it, cleaned it, swung it like a club, or used it as a cane as they hobbled back to an aid station..........

Have any of the American servicemen who carried this rifle died with it in their hands???

Only GOD knows.

It may only be a man-made collection of wood & steel parts to some, but to me the M1, any old Garand, means just a bit more.

I can't help it..... Being a 4F from birth I never served our country in uniform, but when I hold an M1 in my hands I can FEEL a connection with the men who did serve.

Sorry if I got a bit maudlin.....


June 12, 2001, 08:51 AM
Are there replacement barrels for the M1-garand readily available?

When you all say "less accurate", are we talking seriously noticable, or not really, unless you are sandbagging on bench?


June 12, 2001, 10:31 AM

Barrels for the M1 can easily be had. Wilson, Douglas, and Kreiger (and probably others) all make M1 barrels in both .308 and 30-06.

The .308 (if that's what you want) is an easy conversion. Any M1 smith worth his salt can install a barrel for you...

A while back Midway was selling Wilson M1 barrels in .308 for something like $140 each. These were "in the white" and short chambered.


June 12, 2001, 11:37 AM
I'm confused...

OK, M1's are chambered for 30-06 right? I can get a barrel that is for the 308? What about the receiver? Don't I have to make changes to the receiver (and magazine) to be able to convert the 30-06 to a 308?

The M1A's are $$$!!! I'd love to have one, but if I can spend $400 on an M1-Garand and another $140 for a 308 conversion barrel, then that would be great. But I'm going to assume that there is a lot more I need before the conversion is complete.

Also, what's the reliability of that?


June 12, 2001, 02:24 PM
2blink, you wrote:

"OK, M1's are chambered for 30-06 right? I can get a barrel that is for the 308? What about the receiver? Don't I have to make changes to the receiver (and magazine) to be able to convert the 30-06 to a 308?"

Std. chambering for the Garand is 30-06.
To convert to .308, change out the barrel and it's done. No other parts or work necessary.
The magazine of the M1 is internal. Std. en-bloc clips work with .308 ammo.

"The M1A's are $$$!!! I'd love to have one, but if I can spend $400 on an M1-Garand and another $140 for a 308 conversion barrel, then that would be great. But I'm going to assume that there is a lot more I need before the conversion is complete."

No. A gunsmith changes barrels and finalizes-confirms correct headspace. Conversion done.

"Also, what's the reliability of that?"

There is nothing non-standard about a .308 Garand. The Navy issued 30,000 .308 converted Garands in the late 50's when they had no funds available for the new M-14's. It is also reported that the Danes, Italians, and Pakistanis converted numbers of their M1's to .308 when it became the std. Nato chambering.

Last but not least, highpower shooters have been competing with .308 converted M1's for 40 years. They work and work well......

Have at it,


June 12, 2001, 02:58 PM
swampy beat me to it, but since I'd already written mine I'm gonna post it anyway...........



To convert to .308 all that's required is changing the barrel. I'd advise this to be done by a competent gunsmith familiar with M1s, but the only hardware required is the barrel. Some guys like to install a filler block that fits in the clip-well, it prevents you from loading .30-06 cartridges by accident, but the filler block is not absolutely necessary. To offset your costs you can then turn around and sell the take-off barrel - used USGI barrels will go for $50 to $200 depending on make, vintage, and condition.

Years ago converting M1s to .308 was very popular in competition circles. I'd guess the majority of Garands used in Service Rifle events before 1990 were shooting .308. Now with the dominance of ARs the M1A has become the second tier rifle and the Garand is all but disappeared from competition circles except for specific Garand-Only events. If you do want to compete in one of these competitions, like the CMP's John C. Garand Match, the rifle must approximate "as-issued" condition - it can be rebarreled, but if it is it's gotta be standard GI contour (no heavy barrels) and it's gotta be in .30-06. -- Kernel

Vince Fischelli Sr
May 14, 2010, 07:15 AM
I was in the USMC in 1956 and we were issued M-1 Garands. I qualified Expert every year after Boot Camp. In 1962 I was issued brand new M-14 and loved the 20 round magazine and the rifle. The first time on the firing range for qualification I had a tough time on the 500 yard line using my new M-14. I did everything as I did with my old M-1 and almost missed Expert but barely made it. I realized the M-14 barrel was 2 inches shorter than an M-1 and that made a big difference at 500 yards using standard iron sights that appeared the same as the M-1. With the M-14 at 500 yards I had to hold a better sight picture and squeeze the trigger better.

If you intend to shoot distances of 500 yards with iron sights be aware that increased rifle skill is needed. Any imperfection in your marksmanship skill will show up at longer distances with an M-14 like missing the traget. If I had to choose between them I would choose the M-14, a beautiful rifle with 20 rounds. Oh yeah!!

May 14, 2010, 07:48 AM
The M14/M1A is more accurate then the Garand.

Look at the High Power/Servicer Rifle 1000 yard matches. The M14 beat the records set by the M1, which beat the records set by the Springfield, and now the ARs are beating the records set by the M14/M1As.

A lot of it, has to do with the M14 being easier to shoot then the M1, as the AR is easier to shoot then the M14.

The shorter operating rod has a lot to do with it also. Both can be accurized but its easier to accurize a M14. Much easier.

I've run sniper schools using both for the Guard. I always started the school by shooting a NM course on the KD Ranges. (W/O the scopes). The scores were always higher with the M14s (M21s). Also ran the students on the 300 meter Pop Up targets, again the scores of were higher for the M14s. I wont go into the use with scopes as its not fair to compair the ART Leatherwood with the 2.2 power M1C/D scopes.

Personally, I think the M1 is more fun to shoot, but I've never come close with the scores I fired on the NM course or 1000 yard matches with the Garand as I did with the M14.

I am aware the ARs are out shooting the M14s, I haven't reached that point yet, but I dont have the rounds down range with the AR as I do the M14/M1s.

I dont mean this as Bashing the Garand, I'd never let mine go, No M14 can beat the history of the Garand. Since I got my Dist Badge, and retired from the NG, I shoot for fun, my scores arent what they were, but I have nothing to prove, But I am having more fun. Thats why you never know (nor do I) what I will show to to a match with. Depends on the mood I'm in.

Shoot, I'm looking for a Springfield, when I get one, I'll be shooting high power with it. I also want to shoot a 1000 yard match with a 1873 Springfield in 45-70.

But to answer the OPs question, overall the M14/M1 is more accurate. Yes the M1 could be coverted to 308, but I would no more convert my M1 to 308 then I would convert my 1911A1 to 40 cal. To me it just seems wrong.

May 14, 2010, 08:33 AM
Which is more accurate? M1 Garand vs M14..


May 14, 2010, 08:52 AM

Sweet response above. Gives a person a lot to think about. Thanks for taking the time to post.


I do not own an M1 but do have a loaded M1A.

May 14, 2010, 10:39 AM
Dad brought home some neat stuff from WW2 and Korea. I never inquired about how he was able to get them back here, but they were acquired throughout the islands and korea. Amongst them were some 03's, Garands, and Carbines just to mention a few. I dont know why, but I prefer to fire the Garand more than anything else.

May 14, 2010, 11:28 AM
Even if the M1A is more accurate, which i think it probably is, I think you could buy a CMP Garand and spend money on it up to the price of a base M1A and end up with a more accurate rifle(NM sights, barrel, etc).

May 14, 2010, 12:05 PM
depends on the indivual rifle. the Garand is supposed to be an '06. it just ain't right if it's not. just my very traditional opinion.

Denny Hansen
May 14, 2010, 12:31 PM
Both are accurate, however, comparing an M1 that has been issued/shot a lot to a new M1A is not really fair. It's like comparing an older, shot out 1911, to a new production 1911.

If fitted with a new barrel (and having fired both rifles a lot), I have my doubts that the M1A would perform noticeably better than the M1.

May 14, 2010, 01:44 PM
you were not getting maudlin at all. That was actually a pretty good piece.

- JKHolman

May 14, 2010, 02:14 PM
M-14 is a simpler mechanism. Also it has the obvious advantage of a 20 rd. detachable magazine. The clip feed mechanism in the M1A is fairly complicated. I haven't had mine apart in a few years and would need to refer to a schematic to re-assemble a Garand ammo feed mechanism. I haven't stripped down an M-14 since active duty, but I'm betting I still can. It's an intuitive mechanism with few intricate parts.

I'm going to guess that the Garand is significantly heavier. Garand uses 8 rd. "clips" (not magazines), and they're less than convenient to load up with ammo. It's not rocket science, but a M-14 mag is much simpler, and 2.5 times the capacity.

.308 v. 30-06 -- .308 is lighter, smaller. Similar ballistics, the .308 is a couple hundred fps slower. Both are highly effective out to 600 yds and beyond. Accuracy is going to be a matter of how the rifle is set up and a function of ammo quality.

I own a 1943 Springfield, (not a reproduction). It's essentially a "safe queen." If I were forced to choose one over the other, I'd opt for the M-14 on account of capacity, weight, mag feed, and a simpler mechanism.

Flatbush Harry
May 14, 2010, 04:35 PM
I have several of each. Trigger mechanism, the same, bolt, the same, gas mechanism, advantage to M14. As to accuracy, I'd say M14/M1A...my match rifle (a 1978 vintage Super Match with all GI parts) shoots to 0.75 MOA, while my Garands (in excellent shape, 3 SAs, 1HRA all Correct Grades or Special Grades) won't do better than 2MOA. I use either FGMM 168gr or handloads in the M1A, mostly HXP Greek M2 which is less accurate. I'm planning to try some handloads using Varget and Hornady A-MAXs and Sierra MKs. While I expect improvements, the Garand is less accurate than the M1A because of the bedding and the differences between .30-06 and .308 cartridges themselves. In my case, my primary M1A has a heavy barreled Douglas match bbl which helps as do the NM sights.

As to weight, I believe 9.5lbs is nominal for each. I actually find reloading the Garand to be quicker because of the wiggling of the magazine that the M1A needs to seat the mag.

Keep in mind that 3-4MOA was acceptable in M1s and, more importantly, there is a natural tension between accuracy and reliability, because high accuracy requires close tolerances. Decide what your use will be. My M1A is a match rifle, but for personal defense, I'll go with one of my Garands.

NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Life Member

Ignition Override
May 15, 2010, 06:09 AM

A year ago my wife and I got together with a Flemish guy at the parking lot of the US memorial in Bastogne, Belgium. Reg Jans provides excellent personal tours in his van (some excerpts might be on Youtube).

On his own initiative at a young age he read a lot, and later got to know some of our E and F Company veterans and their unique personal stories from the "Bulge".
Some experiences are Not recorded in the "Band of B".
While standing in the same pine woods, foxholes, barnyards etc and hearing what happened to Sergent 'A' and 'B' etc during various skirmishes/battles,
guess which rifle is my choice?

Standing in the tiny German bunker which was blasted by Patton's Shermans, thereby allowing the first penetration of the encirclement also helped me to "see the light".

May 31, 2010, 11:49 PM
Post #7 makes me wonder if SwampMO gave up TFL to write bestsellers.

May 15, 2011, 09:19 PM
I'm going to revive this thread because I've been thinking of this very issue recently. Good thing for "search" function, or I would have stated another thread!

I'll ask one hypothetical question though - given they M1 and M14 seem evenly match, both having their pros and cons, how would they match up against eachother in a combat situation? To make it interesting, lets say two opposing platoons of soldiers are to fight on another. One platoon has the M1 and the other the M14. They are all proficient and well trained and employ the same tactic against one another. No scopes, only iron sights.

Which platoon has the edge, solely on the basis of their issuance of weapons?

May 16, 2011, 06:16 AM
I'll let you guys argue this out, I'm taking my M1A's and new Garand to the range this morning:)

May 16, 2011, 03:36 PM
It's an interesting thread to resuscitate. I can't imagine that there's enough difference between these two fine battle rifles to make any difference in the outcome of a confrontation in a combat situation where everything else is equal.
Fortunately, regardless of anyone's opinion, no matter how tightly held, there's no way to prove anything re Famas's proposed scenario. :) As to whether one is more accurate than the other, enough shots fired downrange with enough specimens of each rifle could prove something.

May 16, 2011, 03:39 PM
A standard grade M1A will be about as accurate as a Service Grade CMP Garand-depending on the barrel/throat condition.

My CMP Garand will shoot 2 MOA all day long.

May 16, 2011, 05:47 PM
I own a DGR rebuilt M1 Garand and in my younger days was on a military marksmanship team for a command. I had an M14 from the motherland at the USAMU at Ft. Benning that was issued to me to use in competition. They are equals in the accuracy department.

If you had equal rack grade rifles I say they would still be comparable in the accuracy department.

In the opposing squads situation the difference would be the people and their skills.

May 16, 2011, 07:38 PM
I have shot a wide variety of rack grade Garands. These rifles are not target rifles. Even in their day, a 03 Springfield would always shoot inside a Garand.

I have never shot a “rack grade” M1a. All my M1a’s have match modifications. I am still shooting my Super Match M1a.

I have competed with three different NM Garands. Two of these were in 30-06 and one in 308. These rifles had all the match modifications and had Douglas heavy barrels. The 308 was exceptionally accurate. I am still shooting my rear lugged 30-06 match Garand.


Based on my experience, a match grade Garand, in either 30-06 or 308, is fully the equal of a match grade M1a. It is just that a match grade Garand will loose its tune sooner than a match grade M1a.

A match grade M1a is also easier to shoot than a 30-06 Garand.

Any shots outside the ten ring are due to position, not the rifle.


May 16, 2011, 08:01 PM
I also own a match grade SA M1A and the groups are about the same as my DGR M1 Garand