View Full Version : hunting round suitable for M1 Garand?

November 22, 2009, 06:49 PM
When I go home to see my family in TN at Christmas, my dad and I always go deer hunting. This year, he's thinned out his collection a bit and the only 3 rifles he has that are legal for deer are his .308 (which he'll use), his .223 (which is apparently legal now in TN, but just makes me nervous to that small of a cartridge), or his M1 Garand.

So, I figure I'll use the M1. I know that most factory ammo has too strong of a pressure curve for the Garand's normal set up, and while he's got tons of milsurp ball ammo, it's all FMJ and doesn't expand, so it's not suitable for a clean kill unless I get luck.

Can anyone suggest a factory .30-06 that will be function well enough in a Garand to avoid damaging it but has a good, expandable hunting bullet?

Flatbush Harry
November 22, 2009, 07:40 PM
I'd advise you to get a Schuster or McCann adjustable gas plug for the M1. They can be ordered easily from Brownell's or Midway. This will allow you to use any .30-06 round...indeed, with the plug wide open, you have the equivalent of a bolt action rifle. Make that replacement of plugs, sight in with your round of choice and you're good to go. Alternatively, you can work out how the action will work by following the instructions that come with the plug but stay at 168gr or less.

Good luck and good hunting,


Old Grump
November 22, 2009, 07:41 PM
150 grain Remington Core Lokt bullets and 47 grains of 4895 for hand load. I heard Hornady makes a commercial hunting load but its pretty pricey and I have never seen it. If you can get somebody to load these up for you you will have the same or real close to the same point of impact as you get with 147 grain ball ammo.

November 23, 2009, 09:09 AM
You should be fine with 150 grain commercial loads. The action may not cycle properly, but you won't hurt the rifle any. The real question is accuracy, some of those Garands just don't like some loads.

I'd get a cheap box of Winchester to try first, if you can keep three shots inside 4 inches at 100 that should be fine for most hunting scenarios.


November 23, 2009, 09:38 AM
I hear that there is a adjustable gas valve for the Garand. If they work as advertised you can put any commercial ammo through a M1. After some research, maybe another present under the tree for dad?

November 23, 2009, 10:45 AM
2800fps with a 150gr. bullet. find a hunting round that does that and you should be fine. iirc Hornady has a round specifically made for the Garand.

November 23, 2009, 12:00 PM
Sierra 165-gr Gameking and 46.0 gr. Win 748.

November 23, 2009, 12:35 PM
It is recommended to use bullets of 172 gr or less with M1 Garands. I have shots lots of commercial 150 gr and 165 gr SP ammo (Federal, Winchester, Remington) through my M1 with no ill effects. Practically any .30 caliber bullet of 150 or more will be fine for deer. Core Lockts, PowerPoints, etc are good enough. We used 180 gr bullets for elk (bolt actions) but deer is fine with the lower weights appropriate for the M1.

November 23, 2009, 12:46 PM
Buzz, its a pressure curve thing...thats why there is only about 3 powders that is used when loading for garands.(and many more for loading for .30-06 in general) You can load the wrong powder, but withen stated velocity, and bend the op rod

your not going to blow a garand up with any .30-06 load, but you can put it out of action with a bent op-rod.

At one time Remington 150gr core-lokt was loaded Garand safe, and It functioned quite well in mine at the time(call Remington and ask)

or as others have said, get the adjustable gas plug, and the range of ammo
you can use gets kicked wide open.

Flatbush Harry
November 23, 2009, 12:53 PM
Were I you, I would either go the adjustable gas plug route or the reloading route. The former is a $40 solution while the latter should specifically reference a manual from either the bullet manufacturer or the propellant manufacturer. Using two different manufacturer sources for reloading data is a good idea.

The reason you don't just want to use any old 150gr hunting round is that the gas action of the M1 Garand was designed to work with a specific gas pressure curve. Only M2 ball equivalent load (and a bullet of M2 ball specs as different thicknesses of jacket material and bullet density can create substantial pressure differences) can be expected not to put extra stress on the operating rod. Many loads may not harm the rifle (and you) though some might, especially any of the light magnum rounds. While I believe all the posters are well-meaning, I'm going to rely on the advice of a few very experienced military armorers on this one.

Hornady's current reloading manual provides loading data specifically for the M1 Garand as distinct from all other .30-06 Spfld rounds. I'd advise you to use that data as your starting point. I have not personally seen, but have heard of, kB!s from using reloads in M1s.

Good luck,


November 23, 2009, 01:02 PM
Thanks for the replies. I've shot that rifle a fair amount (considering it isn't really mine :)) with M2 ball and have become relatively accustomed to it. My plan then is to go with the gas plug if I can.

If I can't get a hold of one by Christmas (shouldn't be a problem but weird things happen) I'll probably go with a box of Remington CoreLokt 150's. It'll only be as many rounds as necessary to zero at 200 yards and shoot a deer. Hopefully that won't require more than a box and hopefully less.

November 23, 2009, 09:58 PM
I would go with the .223 55 gn ballistic silvertip.

November 23, 2009, 11:08 PM
FMJs are prohibited for hunting in TN. :(

November 24, 2009, 04:13 AM
Hummmmmmmmm.......... M1 garand, chambered in .223? Honestly, I have never heard of one.

November 24, 2009, 07:11 AM

Sounds like a good excuse for you or your dad to buy a new rifle. Something like a CZ in 6.5x55 would fit the bill:D

My guess is deer hunting so you are only going to shoot once or twice. I would be less concerned about an op rod issue although it may be conceivable that one shot could bend it. I think a couple rounds of any '06 ammo would be fine for that, but if you are going to shoot a bunch and don't reload, get the adjustable plug.

I think mtnman is referring to the other choice of his dad's rifles since those .223 Garands are rare to the point of non-existant.:)

November 24, 2009, 12:22 PM
i have used and found that the federal 150 soft points work great in my M1. they shoot about 2-3 inch groups at 100 yards with irons. now, just because they havent detonated my rifle (yet), dosent mean they wont yours. ill be getting a schuster valve here in the near future, just to put my mind more at ease.

as to hunting with an M1, i cant wait to take mine hunting one day. unfortunatly, i live in communistic like illinois, so i cant use it to hunt deer here, but im thinking of taking her coyote hunting one day... :D brian

Art Eatman
November 24, 2009, 08:42 PM
Odds are that two or three shots to verify sight-in, plus a few shots on deer, won't hurt the operating rod. As near as I can tell from some years of reading about the op-rod bending, it seems to come about from fairly lengthy repetition of the use of commercial hunting ammo.

November 24, 2009, 11:31 PM
My M1 chews up lead/soft tips something awful. You might keep an eye out for those polymer tips, hollow points, or minimally exposed lead.

Just a thought.

November 25, 2009, 12:12 AM
Easy answer, get some surplus '06 ammo from cmp, pull the bullets and stuff in some comerical 150 gr bulles of your choice.

December 7, 2009, 07:26 AM
I thought you said your father had a .223. If so I would leave Garand at home.

P.S. you can still find accelerator bullets for 30 cals and they are 55gn bullets. It is a .223 bullet in a plastic sabot. They may not cycle well in the M1 though.
Just my opinion on leaving the Garand at home but if you are going to take it consider Hornady 150 grain ballistic tips. Freinds have told me they cycle well in the M1.

Old Grump
December 7, 2009, 05:37 PM
He has a perfectly good M1 why in the world would he want to leave it home and limit himself to a varmint round?

December 8, 2009, 08:29 AM
If you like to eat the deer the .30 cals tear up a lot of meat. So I was suggesting that the .223 would do fine. It was also my mistake to assume he would be hunting in the woods. For long range shooting I would go with the .30 cal. For most woods hunting where the shot is going to be a max of 50 yards the little .223 is more than enough medecine.

December 8, 2009, 11:06 AM
If you like to eat the deer the .30 cals tear up a lot of meat.Unless you're eating lungs, neck, and every ounce of the ribs, how in the heck is a rifle bullet going to tear up meat it doesn't touch? It's a rifle, not a howitzer. Nothing except a hollowpoint which you'd never use on deer would leave a hole much bigger than a baseball at most. Or is there something you do when you shoot a deer that the rest of us don't?

Old Grump
December 8, 2009, 04:12 PM
If you like to eat the deer the .30 cals tear up a lot of meat. So I was suggesting that the .223 would do fine. It was also my mistake to assume he would be hunting in the woods. For long range shooting I would go with the .30 cal. For most woods hunting where the shot is going to be a max of 50 yards the little .223 is more than enough medecine.

Okay I'm just an old dinosaur who has shot deer since the 60's with everything from 357 mag revolvers to 12 gauge and from 20 yards to 135 yards. Maybe I'm just lucky but I don't ever use hollow points except for my first deer and I don't get a lot of torn up meat, ever. Admitted the .348 and the 12 gauge makes bigger holes than my 32 Win Spcl or my .308 guns but dead is dead and I like my deer falling down where or close to where I shot them. I do it with enough bullet, no need for super velocity super expanding bullets out of whiz bang rifles with the newest extrem wunderbar caliber. I just prefer bullets meant for medium sized game when I am shooting medium sized game. I also like the M1 and have hunted with it and if a fellow wants to try it out encourage him, need to expand your horizons and try something new once in awhile.

December 8, 2009, 09:49 PM
I like to shoot a deer in the shoulder or in just behind in the ribs. All my hunting rifles are sighted in for max dead on range for deer sized game. So you just hold center of kill from 20 to 278, 283 and 312 yards. With the exception of the .223 at which I try not to shoot over 50 yards and 75 yards is absolute max. In the process there are some ranges where the bullet is near the top of the kill zone. A hit high in the kill zone with anything larger than a .243 with an 80gn bullet will depart a considerable amount of tissue damage into theback straps. They will not be torn or shredded but will be blood shot and jellied in texture and taste. Not the best eating. A deer hit in the shoulder on the thick part of the blade will give similar results.

December 8, 2009, 09:51 PM
But by all means if you want to hunt with a Garand please feel free to do so. I may buy one just to hunt with in the future.