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Old December 30, 2011, 06:31 PM   #1
'88Scrat
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Scared of M1?

The title pretty well sums it up. When I got my M1 Garand in September I was happy as could be and couldn't wait to get it to the range. Since than I have become almost afraid of it.

Seems like every time I take it out I hear from some old gun nut that it MUST be fed the right ammo that MUST use a certain grain bullet, that MUST use a certain type of powder, and MUST NOT have a muzzle velocity of over 2,700 fps. This is usually followed by a story about a friend of a friend who had some horrible instance that resulted in anything from a bent op rod to a trip to the local hospital.

Now I know that it likes to be fed a certain type of ammo (I like the Federal stuff that is for M1s) and that it is an older design but it is still a battle rifle that was intended to be able to survive the abuse of combat.

At first I thought these guys were just nuts but this conversation has became more and more common whenever I take it out. Am I being paranoid?
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Old December 30, 2011, 06:38 PM   #2
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It is generally true that M1's were designed to be used with a particular ammo. I'm not the expert that people like Kraigwy is, but basically, a whole lot of commercially produced .30-06 ammo is more powerful than what was being made when the M1 was produced. So, part of the answer to your question is yes - prolonged use of the wrong ammo (read - too powerful) will eventually bend your op-rod. But there is some ammo that is quite suitable. One of the best ways is to get bulk ammo through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. There are some hoops to jump through, but you can buy surplus M2 ball ammo fairly cheap.

Another option is to buy an adjustable gas plug. It allows you to adjust how much of the gas is cycled back into the action (it basically lets you bleed off some) so you can shoot a much wider variety of ammo. I think Schuster makes one you get get through Midway or Brownell's for about $45.
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Old December 30, 2011, 06:43 PM   #3
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I have several friends that shoot the M-1 all the time using all makes and bullet grains to feed them. From what I've seen for a while now as long as you're shooting the correct caliber for your rifle (30-06 or 308) you're good to go. Have fun and enjoy.
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Old December 30, 2011, 06:54 PM   #4
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I'm of the opinion that, yes, the Garand M-1 will oprerate best between X and Y parameters. That said, the powder and bullet choices are not so rigid as to not be commonly available. IMR-4895 (45.0gr starting work up to 47.0gr???) or IMR-4064 (45.0gr starting work up to 48.0gr???) and a 150gr bullet should duplicate the original M2 Ball military load.

(not my information, but from other Garand shooters/reloaders).

Unless you have a reason to look into different powders or bullet weights, stick with what works.

Just my 2 cents worth!
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Old December 30, 2011, 06:56 PM   #5
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M1's were designed such that a certain amount of gas pressure was required to function the gas piston and cycle the next round into the chamber, but too much pressure can actually bend the operating rod. The best way to assure that you are in the correct pressure range (with an unmodified M1) is to shoot surplus M2 ball ammo (most of the current stuff appears to be from Greece).

But, all is not lost if you wish to use other ammo - the easiest thing to do is to replace the stock gas plug with an adjustable gas plug. Here's a thread which will help you learn more and decide which option is best for you: http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=351266
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Old December 30, 2011, 07:00 PM   #6
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Like romeo said the garand is designed to operate within X and Y. Do some reaserch into the weight of bullet that was used in the weapon. Dont be scared of it, just get to know it. I went through the same thing with my 1903. I mainly stick to light boat tail ammo.
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Old December 30, 2011, 07:07 PM   #7
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Basically from my understanding, the problem comes from the operating rod going back too violently and that causes it to bend. I don't think the rifle would fail catastrophically from shooting normal 30.06 ammo in it. There are adjustable gas valves available that way you can control it.
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Old December 30, 2011, 07:52 PM   #8
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I've been around Garands a long time, used them in sniper schools, shot them in competition and I'm a CMP-GSM Master Instructor. Heck I've even parachuted out of airplanes with a M1 strapped to my side.

All I can say is you have a lot of "MUST" in your concerns. Think about it, the M1 was designed and produced for GIs at a time most GIs were draftees. Not to discredit Vets, but a military rifle has to be made "idiot" proof and the M1 is no exception.

Now instead of listening to internet gossip, I'd suggest going to the horse's mouth for info on the M1, today that would be the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Their web site has a lot of good (and real) information on the Garand. I would recommend you go there and see for yourself.

http://www.odcmp.com/Sales/askarmorerindex.htm

Below is the Inspection checklist for the Garand put out by the CMP.

I'd highly recommend you attend a CMP-GSM Clinic in your area, the dates and locations are posted on the CMP website. (Might have to wait until spring before they start showing up.


Quote:
CMP As-Issued Military Rifle
Clinics and Matches

RIFLE INSPECTION CHECKLIST

When CMP-sanctioned Rifle Clinics or As-Issued Military Rifle Matches are
attended by large numbers of new and inexperienced shooters, the CMP
recommends that the host shooting club set up a rifle inspection station where all rifles brought to the range to be fired in the clinic or match can be inspected.

The inspection steps recommended in this “Rifle Inspection Checklist” will help to detect many rifles that are not safe to fire. Specially trained armorers or gunsmiths are not required to complete these simple inspection steps, although it is recommended that the inspectors be experienced in handling As-Issued Military Rifles. Inspectors should follow these inspection steps:

STEP 1 -- CLEAR THE RIFLE
When receiving a rifle from a competitor (or anyone for that matter) keep the
muzzle pointed in a safe direction while you verify that the bolt is open, the
chamber is clear and the magazine is empty.

STEP 2 -- CHECK THE RIFLE’S TRIGGER PULL WEIGHT

This ensures that the trigger meets minimum trigger pull weight requirements. A light trigger pull may also be a sign of an improper trigger job. Cocked triggers on As-Issued Military Rifles must be capable of lifting the following minimum weights:

• Semiautomatic rifles----4 ½ lb minimum
These include the MI Garand, M14/M1A, M16/AR and M1 Carbine. The
only exception to this is the 1941 Johnson that has a minimum trigger pull
of 3 1/2 lbs.

• Bolt action and straight pull rifles----3 ½ lb minimum
These include the U. S. Krag, 1903 Springfield, 1917 Enfield, Swiss K31
and Swedish Mauser M96 as well as many others.

The process of checking trigger weights should follow this guideline:

1. Once the rifle is confirmed to be unloaded, manually close the bolt on an
empty chamber.

2. Verify that the rifle’s safety is in the “off” position.

3. Hold the rifle in a vertical position, with the muzzle up. Hold the rifle above
a trigger weight with the correct amount of weight on it. Engage the rifle’s
trigger with the trigger weight hook. Note: Minimum trigger weight should
be checked with a weight set like Brownell’s Universal Trigger Weight
System (Stock# 678-650-000AE).

4. Slowly raise the rifle until the trigger slack is completely taken up.
Continue to raise the rifle until the trigger weight is lifted off of the ground.
The trigger must lift and hold the weight to pass the test.
CMP Rifle Clinic Rifle Inspection Checklist Update: 8Oct11, Page 2

5. If the rifle fails to lift and hold the weight it should NOT be fired in the
match due to safety concerns. Note: If a qualified armorer or gunsmith is
available, the trigger may be adjusted and reweighed. Unqualified
personnel should not attempt to make trigger adjustments.

STEP 3 -- CHECK FOR A TWO-STAGE TRIGGER

• Almost all older military rifles, particularly semiautomatics, have two-stage
triggers.

• A two-stage trigger can be identified by feel. When you apply pressure to
the trigger you will feel initial movement or “take up” (this is the first stage).
You will then come to a point of increased resistance where you have to
press harder to cause the trigger to release the hammer or striker.

• A single stage trigger only has only one step or pressure level to
overcome.

• If a rifle does not have a two-stage trigger, this can be a sign that
something is broken or missing or that a bad trigger job was done on the
rifle. Such a rifle could be dangerous and should NOT be fired in the
match.

STEP 4 -- CHECK SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES FOR PROPER
DISCONNECTOR OPERATION

The purpose of this inspection step is to minimize the likelihood of unintended
multiple rounds being fired with the single pull of the trigger. Semiautomatic rifles use a disconnector to do this. The disconnector is a device that prevents the continued firing of the gun while the trigger remains depressed. The disconnector holds the gun at full cock as long as the trigger is held back. To check for proper disconnector operation in a semiautomatic rifle:

1. Keep the rifle pointed in a safe direction.

2. Verify that the rifle is unloaded and place the safety in the “off” position.

3. Close the bolt.

4. Pull the trigger and hold the trigger to the rear without releasing it.

5. Open the bolt to reset the hammer (while continuing to hold the trigger to
the rear), then close the bolt.

6. Release the trigger (listen for the disconnect click), then pull the trigger
again, the hammer should drop if the disconnector is working properly.

7. If you hear the click and the hammer drops when you pull the trigger, it
passes the test.

8. If you did not hear the click and the hammer does not drop when you pull
the trigger (because it has already followed the bolt forward), the
CMP Rifle Clinic Rifle Inspection Checklist Update: 8Oct11, Page 3
disconnect function Is not working correctly and the rifle should NOT be
fired in the match.

Note: CMP Staff finds 15 to 20 rifles every year at the National Matches that
fail this test. These competitors often decided the night before the match to
adjust their trigger or do a “trigger job” on it. In the process they caused their rifle to be left in an unsafe condition. Others simply had a part break or wear out that caused this condition.

Step 5 -- General Visual Inspection

The purpose of this last inspection step is to detect obvious problems where the competitor may not realize the rifle violates certain rules or where there are other safety concerns. A minimum list of things this check should cover is as follows:

• Safety Compliance: Are there any issues with the rifle’s condition that
might create a safety concern?

• Rule Compliance: Does the rifle meet the requirements for competing in
the match to be fired?

• Bore Obstructions: Verify that the bore is clear and unobstructed (no
grease, patches or other objects)

• Correct Ammunition: Verify that the chambering of the rifle and the
ammo intended for use in it are compatible.
Step 6 – Empty Chamber Indicators (ECIs)

• If the rifle did not come to the
inspection station with an ECI in it,
issue an ECI and explain how it is
used to confirm that the action is
open and the chamber is empty.

• Explain that the ECI must remain in
the rifle at all times except when
the rifle is on the firing line and the
Range Officer has authorized the
removal of ECIs during preparation
or firing periods.

• CMP Rule 5.5.1. Empty Chamber
Indicators (ECIs) must be placed in all rifles and pistol when they are
brought onto a range. ECIs must remain in the rifles or pistol at all
times, except during preparation and firing periods.
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Old December 30, 2011, 08:11 PM   #9
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Great info Kraig.

Only my thumb is afraid of my M1
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Old December 30, 2011, 08:25 PM   #10
Art Eatman
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Post #5 pretty well speaks to the OP's concern...
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Old December 30, 2011, 09:18 PM   #11
leadchucker
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I've also heard horror stories that the M1 design allows the firing pin to lightly contact the primer when the bolt chambers a round, and this situation could lead to a slam fire, if you used civilian ammo with softer primers. True, or urban legend?
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Old December 30, 2011, 09:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
I've also heard horror stories that the M1 design allows the firing pin to lightly contact the primer when the bolt chambers a round, and this situation could lead to a slam fire, if you used civilian ammo with softer primers. True, or urban legend?
Factory ammo wont cause that problem. Reloads do. When gas guns go off, the gas started down the barrel. At some point it hits a gas port where the gas starts pushing the operating rod back to extract the case.

At that point the brass is hot and soft, it also expanded to seal the chamber.

Now what you have is some gas still in the case pushing the inside of the shoulder toward the chamber, and the extractor trying to extract the brass. This causes the brass to stretch in the shoulder area.

This is not a problem if the brass is resized to proper specs. This is where a case gage comes in when setting up your sizing die. The brass should be checked to see that it fits the case gage.

If its too long, (shoulder to base) it wont go in the chamber all the way. This could cause failure to fire, failure to eject, and makes it difficult to remove an unfired round from the chamber. AND, in worse cases slam fires.

Though slam fires aren't too common in ARs, they do happen in M1 & M1As.

This is why, at many HP matches, you'll see the match director walking up and down the line with case gages, to check suspected brass. If he finds some that doesn't meet specs, its removed from the line.

A lot of talk on the Internet says you should use Small Base dies to eliminate this problem. Small base dies are just that, small base. They are no better then FL dies when it comes to pushing the shoulder back to where to provide proper headspace.
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Old December 30, 2011, 10:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Factory ammo wont cause that problem.
Nothing is a guarantee. My DCM M1 slam fired on me during a match using issue LC 69.

Slam fires are not normal, but they do happen. Id suggest you use a SLED if single loading and not just slip a round in the chamber and let the bolt fly.
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Old December 30, 2011, 10:25 PM   #14
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I have seen factory ammo in boxes marked M1 Garand. As I understand it, they are loaded to a lower chamber pressure vs. hunting ammo. I have shot both commercial ammo and milsurp without any issues. If you are not comfortable using hunting ammo, buy some of the stuff made for the M1 or get GI ammo. I think the milsurp I have was marked M2 ball.
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Old December 30, 2011, 10:45 PM   #15
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IMHO semiautomatics in general are more ammo sensitive. Also remember the M-1 was adopted 75 years ago, in many respects it's a First Generation design..And using ammunition/reloads within certain parameters-no different that keeping loads on the light side for on older revolver. Just my 2 cents.
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Old December 30, 2011, 10:45 PM   #16
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Id suggest you use a SLED if single loading and not just slip a round in the chamber and let the bolt fly.

They are more trouble than they are worth. Put a round in the chamber and DO NOT LET THE BOLT FLY. Close the bolt gently.
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Old December 30, 2011, 11:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Think about it, the M1 was designed and produced for GIs at a time most GIs were draftees. Not to discredit Vets, but a military rifle has to be made "idiot" proof and the M1 is no exception.
Given the concern of this thread is about using the appropriate round (i.e., pressure, bullet weight, etc. so as not to bend the op rod), we don't really think that the draftees of that time were rolling their own reloads in the barracks after lights out or going out to the local hardware store to buy an extra box of '06 ammo, do we?

The OP has a valid concern/question.....and I for one can appreciate a person that wants to safely do the right thing. That is much better than the idiot that attempts to blow his rifle apart on shooting bench next to you because he doesn't ask a question when he is unsure.
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Old December 30, 2011, 11:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
I for one can appreciate a person that wants to safely do the right thing.
I agree with that. That is the reason I posted the information about the Civilian Marksmanship Program which addresses his concern.

The CMP was commissioned by congress to do just that, provide SAFE training in marksmanship, stressing Surplus Military Rifles, the majority of which are Garands. This includes SAFE reloading procedures for the M1 Garand.

Their secondary mission is the sale of surplus arms and equipment. Its through these sales they get the funding for their programs.
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Old December 30, 2011, 11:47 PM   #19
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You can also get an adjustable gas block, you can use just about any ammo you want.
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Old December 31, 2011, 06:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emcon5
You can also get an adjustable gas block, you can use just about any ammo you want.
Wow, it took 19 posts to get to the right answer.

If you want to shoot anything other than M2 ball from your Garand buy a Schuster adjustable gas plug. It's DMC approved. Peace of mind only cost $32.

Quote:
Made from hardened tool steel and parkerized. Service rifle legal! Has the same appearance and configuration as original; CMP 4th Edition #4-13-2-b. By adjusting the volume of gas in the cylinder you change the speed of the op-rod and the harmonics of the barrel. If you want to tame things down, it can be opened up just enough to function, or opened fully for single shot functionality. If you are working on your own hand loads, a quarter turn WILL affect group size. If you have a 308 Garand this is a necessity if you want to safely shoot heavier 168 grain match bullets. Also a must have if you hunt with your CMP Garand but want to shoot heavier 30-06 loads. Includes instructions and the adjustment tool (Allen wrench). Made in the USA. Lifetime factory warranty.
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Old December 31, 2011, 02:00 PM   #21
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All semi autos are made to operate in a relatively narrow range of pressure. Narrow compared to a bolt gun, that is. Some designs have greater tolerance than others.

The M1 Garand was designed to shoot GI ammo. This means a 150gr @2740fps +/- or the 172gr @ 2650fps +/-. Look at the specs for commerical ammo today. 150gr @ 2900! This puts a strain on the gun.

Also, due to its design, the M1's op rod is long and has some bends in it. This makes it vulnerable to damage when it is moved too fast. Does it happen every time you exceed the design parameters by a little? No.

But it can happen, and often does when its run hard, too long.

As to being a GI battle rifle, and should be both idiot proof, and invulnerable, the Garand does a pretty fair job of surviving both GIs and combat, evidenced by the fact that they are still out there being used by us.

However, military service and combat virtually always means using the ammo supplied by the same folks who put the rifle in the soldier's hands. And that ammo will be in spec for the rifle. (please don't start on the M16 and Vietnam era ammo, that's a specific anomaly).

The M1 is sensitive to port pressure. If the gun is stock, shoot only GI spec ammo. If you replace the gas plug, you can adjust the rifle to deal comfortably with a much wider range of ammo.
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Old December 31, 2011, 02:07 PM   #22
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Now that the adjustable gas plugs have been discussed, the only thing to be afraid of is "M1 Thumb" which is easily avoided by holding the operating rod back until after you lock in the new clip and get your thumb out of the way.

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Old December 31, 2011, 03:03 PM   #23
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Easiest solution to your fears is to buy M2 ammo in bulk. Its cheap, you can still get it, and its made for it. I think its like 50 cents a round, and I have also seen commercial ammo marked for garands. Adj. gas plug also works.

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Old December 31, 2011, 05:17 PM   #24
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If you reload, just use a 150-ish grain bullet and 47gr of 4895, or get an adjustable gas plug for commercial hunting ammo. Easy.
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Old December 31, 2011, 05:53 PM   #25
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Quote:
Now that the adjustable gas plugs have been discussed, the only thing to be afraid of is "M1 Thumb" which is easily avoided by holding the operating rod back until after you lock in the new clip and get your thumb out of the way.
it's pretty hard to get bit loading the rifle. the ammo in the clip does a decent job of keeping most of your thumb out of the hole. cleaning, and otherwise playing with an empty rifle is the best way to get got.
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