Having worn out four 7.62 NATO Garand barrels shooting top scores on a military rifle team, I've never seen any difference between first shot from a clip shooting to any other point of impact as the remaining 7 rounds do with those Garands. And all rounds single loaded shoot to the same point of aim as the first round from a full clip.
The only way I know of that the first round doesn't go where the rest of them do is I had the problem with my first .30-06 Garand issued to me and the Command Small Arms Marksmanship Instructor showed me how to fix it.
'Tis a common belief that the first round from an M1's clip (M14/M1A's magazine, too), or a round single loaded, that the op rod handle needs to be bumped forward with the heel of the trigger hand to make sure the round's fully seated, chambered, fit to the bore or whatever goofy reason the novice believes is the thing to do.
But wait; there's more. . . . all the remaining rounds fired semiautomatically shoot into a decent group. They didn't need the op rod handle bumped by anything to chamber the round the best way. The op rod was semiautomatically positioned just right for every shot. What's the difference?
Bumping the op rod on a chambered round in these rifles will certainly change how it fits at its various contact points to the receiver, follower, barrel, op rod guides, gas cylinder or whatever. And if the op rod ain't exactly in the same place for each and every shot, bullets will shoot improved cylinder bore groups like a shotgun does.
So, if the first rule of loading one of these rifles is to put the pointy end of the round into the chamber first, here's the second rule. Let the op rod spring push the round fully into the chamber and seat (go back into battery) all on its own accord. Learn how to single load a round such that the bolt slams forward full force. If, after charging the magazine with a full clip, the bolt stops against the head of the top round, then bump the op rod handle just enough to overcome the friction of the top round against the clip's inside surfaces and the rounds below it. Do not, (repeat) do not touch the op rod whatsoever after the bolt's closed on a chambered round. That is unless you want that shot to go astray.
The above aside, if that first round is loaded properly and still goes wild, compared to the others, the op rod is not bent/shaped/fit properly to the rifle. Few people on this planet fit Garand op rods correctly. Or the op rod spring may be too weak to properly chamber the first round, but with the op rod and bolt bouncing off the back end adding force to the spring moving them forward to pick up the next round, it may well be chambering the remaining rounds such that the op rod is set back in battery correctly.
Those tooling marks don't seem to effect the last 7 shots from a clip, so they're not the problem.
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master
Last edited by Bart B.; December 21, 2012 at 06:30 PM.