View Full Version : Tanker vs. Standard Garand

June 12, 2001, 06:40 PM
Forgive the misnomer, but i like to call em tanker garands. What are the advantages/ disadvantages of a Tanker length barrel and gas system vs. a standard length version. How well do they handle when compared, how's the reliability, accuracy (in general) and so on.

June 12, 2001, 06:47 PM
First off, all the "tanker" Garands you'll encounter are just some gun dealer's idea of a neat idea, they're just cut down Garands. They'll have more muzzle blast, and less reliability than a standard Garand. IMO, there is no advantage to them, and lots of disadvantages.

June 12, 2001, 07:56 PM
i totally agree with you, johnwill.

They have no advantage at all. just disadvantages.

and "tankers" are often presented by unscrupulous sellers as something authentic.

June 12, 2001, 10:12 PM
Springfield manufactured a Tanker Garand until 1990, and Arlington Ordnance offered them 1994-96.

I had one of the AO rifles, and my experience was just as johnwill described: increased muzzle blast and inferior reliability. It would often eject a partially-fired clip.

I recently inherited a full-size M1, so I traded the Tanker away.

Art Eatman
June 13, 2001, 10:39 AM
The Italians rebuilt some regular Garands, IIRC, with the short barrel. Check out "BM 59".

If you're dealing with elbow room in a vehicle, they're okay. Face it, they're handier. Remember, armored personnel carriers are pretty much a post-WW II concept, and the Garand was a pre-War design.


Oleg Volk
June 13, 2001, 12:06 PM
Slightly less accuracy than a full length (shorter sight radius).
Greater muzzle flash *in theory* but not in my practice.

Lighter. Better balance by far.

I have a shortie and like it. It has been 100% reliable so far.
http://www.a-human-right.com/garand.html It hasn't shown the theoretical drawbacks in my use.

Do shop with care, it is easy to buy a poorly made "tanker" but I like mine enough to get a shortie M1A if I ever decide to add that to my list.

May 31, 2002, 07:51 AM
Oleg: Have you tried firing your rifle with a regular gas plug lock on it? I'm curious about how much difference the T37 flash supressor makes.

Yes, I realize this thread is a year old. I'm still trying to exorcise the Tanker Garand demon from my head.

Oleg Volk
May 31, 2002, 08:41 AM
I've fired the Garand recently. I could see no muzzle flash witht he flash hider but, based on what I've seen from other rifles of similar barrel length in that caliber, not much should be visible. Accuracy is slightly inferior to a full-length M14 but superior to a Yugoslav 8mm Mauser; probably because of the sights rather than any inherent barrel differences. Accuracy was much better with soft points (Remington, better yet with PMP) than with Talon ball. I am still peeved at missing a sale on Greek 30-06 surplus. Soft points are actually practical in clip-loaded rifles because their tips don't hit the front of the magazine on recoil as they do in an AK, for example.

The difference in balance is considerable and favors the shortie. I fired three full-length Garands and (just those three specific examples, two of which were an original US, one was recently built from Italian kit on an old receiver) only the recently built one worked reliably. The other two had problems whereas my chopped rifle did not. Accuracy was fractionally better from the recently built one and similar from the older full-length guns. The advantage of longer Garands may become more pronounced at ranges longer than 25m, though.

May 31, 2002, 11:14 AM
Your M1 which ejected partially loaded clip could have been corrected by bending the follower arm (SLIGHTLY) Replacing it with a new one would also work.

The hole in the follower arm quite often wears and is noticeably egg shaped. This changes the "timing" and in effect, "tells" the rifle the clip is empty, time to eject. You can correct the problem by bending the arm just enough to offset the wear.

This is probably one of the most common failures in the Garand, next would probably be extractor/ejector failures. If I were to select common spare parts to keep a Garand running, the kit would contain the follower arm & pin, op-rod spring, ejector and extractor. Have seen individual Garands fired enough to wear out the barrels having no more maintenance than regular cleaning and replacement of the above parts.

Great rifle, but make mine the full size rather than the "tanker".
Op rod configuration is critical on the Garand and it takes a really good armorer to bend an op-rod so that the rifle functions reliably and is accurate (if op-rod rubs anywhere, accuracy suffers and can cause feeding problems if really off). The tanker model compounds the op-rod problem as the short rod is much more difficult to get the correct clearance.


Unkel Gilbey
May 31, 2002, 01:27 PM
Funny in that there is always a question that needs to be answered, but sometimes it takes a while for that question to formulate.

Anyway, please correct me if I am wrong, but weren't some of the first 'Tanker' Garands to be offered made up of parts and pieces cobbed together from demilled and/or worn out parts?

I seem to remember that for this reason, it was prudent to avoid these rifles at all costs, as they could fail at any time. All the other comments made here are also legit - as far as tolerances and so forth. I personally don't think that one could really 'improve' the Garand by shortening it.

If you have access to Julian Hatchers Handbook, you can read a fascinating history of the development of this battle rifle. You'll begin to see that the Garand that we know today represented the culmination of years of effort and material development. I quite honestly believe that any 'changes' made to this final design can only be to the worse.

This isn't to say that the development of the M-14 is a step down from the Garand. But when we consider the 'Tanker', we see just modifications of the design, and not entirely new developments as we saw in the M-14, and these can only be a step down from what John Garand intended in the first place.

Oleg, have you ever fired your shorty at dusk? I would be interested to see what your reaction would be with Ball ammo at dusk even with the T37 flash suppressor...


Unkel Gilbey

Oleg Volk
May 31, 2002, 01:30 PM
I've fired it at dusk and saw pretty much no muzzle flash, far less than from a 20" AR15 with good ammo.

May 31, 2002, 03:06 PM
Gentlemen, (and ladies),
I don't know what a tanker" M1 is. As one of five tank crewman I was instructed to "bail out" carrying my pistol and one of the following: M2 carbine, M3 "Greasegun" or 30 cal Browning Machinegun with ground mount tripod. These were all part of a basic load for a tank. I do confess that I cheated and stored a full size M1 Garand behind the radio rack with a bandoleer or 10 eight round clips with it. I think there are times when you need to reach out and touch someone. But tanker M1's, no way jay!

May 31, 2002, 03:10 PM
Unkel Gilbey: You are correct that the early tankers available to the public were usually cobbled together and not too reliable. Those were the only ones I had any dealings with and most of those had op-rod problems (scraping on front end of stock or barrel flange.

As you said, Hatcher's Notebook is good reference on the Garand during early development. Julian Hatcher also wrote "The Book of the Garand" which goes even further and is a great reference book.

Oleg, sounds like you got a keeper, that's great. They sure are a lot of fun to shoot, aren't they?


Oleg Volk
May 31, 2002, 03:14 PM
Had I known the reputation of Federal Ordnance Tankers, I would have avoived the rifle I have. Buy I was ignorant and lucked out a lot. Mine has worked well. I just wish I could find some cheap surplus 30-06.

May 31, 2002, 03:22 PM
Senior Rifleman:
The so called "Tanker" M1 was a regular M1 shortened approximately six to seven inches (based on memory, the upper hand guard is only about an inch or so long).

I can't remember where I read it but I THINK they were experimental only and were supposedly something the paratroopers were interested in, rather than armor. Perhaps someone can provide more accurate information on this??


May 31, 2002, 05:43 PM
hps1 is correct. The short M1 was a request by the WWII European command paratrooper generals, especially General Gavin. They considered the M1 Carbine as unreliable and underpowered. They wanted an M1 that could be jumped assembled, ready to go.
Two prototypes were built, one destroyed, and one on display at Springfield Arsenal. The rifles had excessive muzzle blast and recoil, and before a fix could be developed, the war ended and the project was canceled.

In the late 1950's the owner of a California surplus gun company had a stock of M1 rifles that weren't selling. After seeing the T26/M1 at Springfield, he decided a carbine M1 would help sell his overstock, and he converted a number of rifles. He coined the name "Tanker Garand" as a sales gimmick. The rumor started that the Tanker was requested by the Pacific command for issue to tank crews.

As a historical note: Klein's Hardware in Chicago had ads in Field & Stream in the 1960's, selling M1's in excellent condition for $99.99. P-38 Walthers were $39.95. Lugers were about $5.00 higher.

May 31, 2002, 06:45 PM

Thanks for the information on the T26. It's been a long time since I read up on this and could not recall the details but THOUGHT it was designed as a paratrooper weapon.

Boy, do I remember the Klein ads! I purchased one of the $99.00 M1's from them and must say their concept of "excellent condition" differs somewhat from mine. The rifle itself was excellent outside appearance but the stock was terrible.....there was a 1/8"gap between the rear of the receiver and the stock. I suspect that the rifle had been fired w/corrosive ammo and not properly cleaned as the bore had very light pitting full length. After bedding the stock, however, it shot quite well. I was on the Ft. Polk AMU at the time and my rifle shot almost as well as the NM grade rifle I was issued in spite of the pitted barrel. It did require a lot of scrubbing, though, to get the bbl. clean after shooting.

The best thing about that rifle was the British proof marks on the barrel. It had been one lend leased to GB during WWII.


June 1, 2002, 06:12 AM
When I was stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1964, there were at least three variations of the "Tanker" Garand on display in the Ordnance Museum. The Museum has since moved into a new but much smaller facility, and I'm not sure if they still have all of them on display.

I had a friend who in the 1960's who built complete Garands (both issue and "Tanker" variations) using demilled receivers. He fabricated a jig that let him align two receiver parts, and then he had a skilled welder weld them back together! They were Parkerized, and a new rifle assembled from parts. I fired dozens of the finished guns, and they performed well, but the Tankers were less reliable overall.

June 1, 2002, 12:30 PM
While this has nothing to do with tanker M1's, thought there might be an interest in this web site:



Chief Jones
June 1, 2002, 06:34 PM
M1 vs "Tanker M1"

M1 = the rifle that won WW2
Tanker = a gimmick

Just my opinion.....

October 15, 2011, 10:33 AM
100% reliable Arlington Ord. T26 7.62mm. This shot with iron sights prior to Match conditioning using SF71 M80 ball

October 16, 2011, 08:07 AM
Tanker vs. Standard Garand
Forgive the misnomer, but i like to call em tanker garands. What are the advantages/ disadvantages of a Tanker length barrel and gas system vs. a standard length version. How well do they handle when compared, how's the reliability, accuracy (in general) and so on.

The so called "Garand Tanker" can be made reliable. There are at least two good shops building them in both '06 and .308. I shot a friends, it had a bit more muzzle flash and recoil. It did feel good, I liked to balance. No way I would cut a good Garand to make one, but if I had a rifle with a bad muzzle I would consider it.

I've built a couple of "Tanker Enfields", easy with a bolt gun. These started as a sporter that had the barrel cut already. I just made a new cut and made short wood.


October 16, 2011, 08:21 AM
Happy 10th birthday to this thread!

But be careful it doesn't eat your brain....

October 16, 2011, 09:27 AM
I know this is an old thread, but I'd like to address the "paratrooper" aspect of rifles.

I was on jump status for most (all but two years) of my 24 years in the military between the Reg. Army and National Guard. I jumped with a lot of rifles including the Garand, M-14, M16 and even a M700 Rem sniper rifle.

If you cover (tap over) the muzzle of these guns, they are all "ready" when you hit the ground. I never used a weapons carrier with a rifle (have with a M-60), they are not needed. If you jump with snow shoes, or skis you'll discover the rifle isnt in the way at all.

I'm infantry, not armor, but our mech units were carrying Grease guns until we went to the M16s so I never really saw the need for the "tanker" model, I don't know of any USGI models.

I played with one and wasn't impress, nothing it would do that a standard M1 wouldnt, but the standard was more reliable, and more accurate. (Longer sight radius has a lot to do with that).

October 16, 2011, 11:14 AM
I thought I would “up date” this thread with a warning about Tanker Garands. There are some real turkeys on the market.

I don’t know who was the maker of this tanker but they sure understood their market. Winchester parts look like they were chewed out of barstock by angry beavers, but people will pay out the yin yang for anything with the Winchester label. I remember tankers were being sold for more than standard Garands, and there was probably a premium for this tanker because it is a “Winchester”. But the receiver is not all Winchester. The front half is Springfield. It is a reweld job.

The pictures below will show you color changes and hopefully will give you a clue if you every run across a reweld for sale. If you do, walk away.

This one is such a poor assembly job that the barrel unscrewed itself. This was brought to a rifle match by the owner who was giving it to a gunsmith/competitor to make the thing work. I don’t know the end result.






October 16, 2011, 12:00 PM
I would have bet someone would have claimed to have been issued a Tanker Garand. A Singer made tanker Garand.:D


Tim R
October 16, 2011, 03:58 PM
As I understand Springfield built a total of four (4) Tanker Garands. The project did not move foreward. So this would mean there were none issued.

October 16, 2011, 07:01 PM
In the late 70s early 80s I was in a Army Ordinance GS level company where we had M88 Recovery Vehicles and the M3s were authorized to the crews and they qualified with them.

July 11, 2012, 09:23 AM
Multi stage NM pressure bedded and accurized. Sub MOA is common if I do my part. Hand load is once fired Hornady Match brass, LC M118 FMJBT, 44gr. RL15, WLR primer at 2.820" OAL. Upper right called pulled on shot. 4-12X Barska scope. Almost as accurate with subsonic's also.


James K
July 11, 2012, 07:17 PM
"In the late 1950's the owner of a California surplus gun company had a stock of M1 rifles that weren't selling ... he converted a number of rifles. He coined the name "Tanker Garand" as a sales gimmick."

True but the stock he had was not of functional M1 rifles, which were much in demand but in very short supply and almost unobtainable, being sold only through DCM to bona fide competitors. The "stock" was de-milled parts of condemned receivers that had been cut in half with a diamond saw. Those parts were matched up so they overlapped, faced off, then welded together. (I can't say "back together" since it was impossible for the two parts of the same rifle to be welded together even if they could somehow have been found.)

Most of those "cut and weld" rifles stayed together OK, though a few cracked at the weld. An often-overlooked problem is that the receivers were condemned in the first place, but with luck a good front might be mated to a good rear. Of course someone got the bad front and the bad rear, but that was the luck of the draw.

Some "tanker Garands" were converted to 7.62 NATO, using M14 magazines; a more complex conversion and one that gave a lot of trouble.

Since those "tankers" were built by dozens of small shops, some of which were, to put it mildly, less than skilled, I would recommend that no one purchase a "tanker Garand" unless it is one made by Springfield Inc. who will stand behind the product.


July 12, 2012, 12:09 PM
I have for a long, long time, wanted a "tanker", but never made the jump. The article that lit the fire was in "Guns and Ammo" in the late 70's early 80's and was written by Ross Sefreid (?) describing the model produced by the commercial firm Sprngfield Armory and was chambered in .308. Come to think of it, I bought more than one gun reviewed by Sefreid.

The .308 should be more efficient. A T-37 flash hider could help but defeats the purpose of shortening the rifle for me.

The latest itch has been "Shuff's Mini-G" which I guess is still in procuction. I have a Garand to spare, but the increasing value of the M1 overall has stopped me from sending one off to be cut. That and 50+ eyes that are not managing iron sights os well anymore.

July 12, 2012, 09:56 PM
shown here with my CMP Rack Grade M1.


It was built on a CMP M1 receiver that I bought at CMP's Camp Perry store. I had Tim Shufflin build it with a Numrich Tanker Kit; Shuf also parkerized the whole gun.

Altough regarded as a "fantasy" gun, in addition to the few "officially" built tankers, in the Pacific Theater some M1 Garands were built in theater but like the others, they didn't make it either.

For the record, using CMP .30 M2 Ball it is a good shooter and recoil/muzzle blast isn't an issue.

July 12, 2012, 10:23 PM
I have a Garand to spare, but the increasing value of the M1 overall has stopped me from sending one off to be cut. That and 50+ eyes that are not managing iron sights os well anymore.

I had same issue w/eyesight and came up with the following solution which requires no alterations to the rifle other than removal of rear sight and allows mounting a Burris FastfireII.


After taking my idea to a local gunsmith and having one made, I became aware of a very similar commercial product that became available about the same time mine was completed. http://m14forum.com/modern-m14...1a-m14-platform.html

Any rate, lets me get the old girl out of the safe and on the range again in spite of ageing eyes.


July 13, 2012, 02:09 AM
I was told a long time ago that the tanker models were chambered for 308 and just a few inches shorter and the standard m-1 was 30-06
And was planning on one day getting a cmp special so I could get it in 308 thinking that it would probably be a tanker model
So what’s the real story behind the m-1 in 308?

July 13, 2012, 03:15 PM
The navy tried a 7.62 conversions but didn't work out too well. Doubt you'll find any .308 garands @ CMP.


I had a 7.62 nato match grade rifle custom built on a commercial springfield armory action which worked quite well until the op-rod spring weakened after a couple thousand rounds were fired. This caused reduced follower pressure on the bottom round in clip and allowed the top round to slide forward due to rifle recoil. This occured somewhere around the fourth or fifth round IIRC. When the bolt hit the base of the round which had slipped forward, bolt had gained sufficient speed to shove the round forward hard enough for bullet point to strike butt of barrel @ 12 o'clock, causing jams. Couldn't figure what was occuring until condition worsened to the point that a round was "batted" completely out of the rifle and I saw it bounce across the hand guard. A magazine block installed to shorten magazine and a new op-rod spring resolved the problem.


July 13, 2012, 05:59 PM
Go figure a new spring. A very important part of any M1. Every owner should have several.

July 13, 2012, 07:35 PM
They offer the CMP special in both 30-06 and 308
For no rhyme reason or research when I do get a garand I want a Springfield
Either they were out or I over looked the cheaper service grade Springfield
And for $45 bucks more than the service grade Springfield with new wood could have got the special with a new barrel in 308 but after reading this thread think it’s better to sick with the 30-06

July 13, 2012, 09:54 PM
They offer the CMP special in both 30-06 and 308

Really! That's interesting.

could have got the special with a new barrel in 308 but after reading this thread think it’s better to sick with the 30-06

If you want a 308, I wouldn't hesitate to get one in a garand. I had both calibers in match grade M1's and would rate them equal for competition. The 308 performed flawlessly until the op-rod spring weakened and that was after a couple thousand rounds. The 308 will do almost anything the 30-06 will do.

As Wireman said, good idea to keep a couple of op-rod springs on hand. I maintained our club's 8 M1 garands for a number of years and they got a lot of hard use. In fact, we completely shot out two of them and CMP exchanged them for us. About the only parts I ever replaced were extractors, ejectors & spring, firing pin, op-rod springs and most common follower arm and FA pin.

A common "failure" of the garand is ejecting the clip on the 7th round and the usual fix for this situation is replace follower arm & maybe the pin. The hole in follower wears and this "tells" the rifle the clip is empty so clip is released w/one round left;a very badly worn follower can eject w/two rounds remaining. Replacing the arm/pin fixes the problem,

I later found out the old follower can be easily restored using either a vise or a portable jig I made for the job. The arm is not clamped tightly in either the vise or the jig so as to allow arm to move when struck by hammer. First mark old follower near center as shown in this picture and measure from face of jig to top of arm for future reference.
Next, using a brass punch (larger than one pictured), strike punch w/a medium weight ball pein hammer and re-measure to see if arm bent. If at the range, you can assemble rifle and test fire. If not, I usually try to bend the arm about 1/32" and try it out later.


This changes the angle of the arm to compensate for the worn hole.

All in all the garand is an extremely reliable rifle requiring little care other than cleaning/lubrication.


July 14, 2012, 05:50 PM

Now that is an interesting arrangement. I betcha John Garand didn't see that one coming!

My eye issue is depth of focus. I can still run aperature sights well enough on the full length Garand, M1A, and my CMP .22. But an M4 is now a challenge, and my much loved Marlin .357 (with peep) nealry so. So to my 4" handguns. A set of perscription shooting glasses is likely in the future.

But....back to your mount, ....what make is the base? Plus, I can get a buy on a Fastfire.

July 14, 2012, 06:22 PM
But....back to your mount, ....what make is the base? Plus, I can get a buy on a Fastfire.

I designed and had a gunsmith build the base, then put a piece of picatinny rail on it to mount the Fastfire, but these guys http://m14forum.com/modern-m14...1a-m14-platform.html came up with basically the same idea and were just about ready to put them on the market or had just put them on the market while my smith was building mine. You can purchase theirs for a bit less than it cost to have mine fabricated and I like their idea of mounting the FF II directly to the base block better than mine since without the Picatinny rail and the FFII Picatinny mount, sight would sit about .420" lower.

Here's a link to a thread I posted complete w/range report if you're interested. http://forums.accuratereloading.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/7811043/m/4781009961

If you plan on giving one a try, I'd recommend contacting Hopco and save a few bucks.


July 17, 2012, 08:41 AM
My dad had a Tanker he bought in the early 1990's the only problem he had with his is that it emptied the clip with one pull of the trigger (which wasnt supposed to happen factory screw up) Dad having working with the Armorers while in the Marines 60-64 knew what the problem was he talked with he armorers from Springfield they were skeptical about sending him the parts and once dad talked to them they felt confident that he knew what the problem was. And they sent him the parts to replace the worn out parts. The hammer was barely catching the sear,and the recoil alone was releasing the hammer.

Along with that the op rod spring had a slight kink in it so he was sent another one. In all dad has had the gun for a number of years and has never malfunctioned The muzzle blast makes a AK sound like a .22 though. It functions just as reliable as the originals. When she did empty the clip I got to say that was impressive. we have never taken her out past 300 yrds but she seems just as accurate as the original A gimmick yes but they are eye catchers. If I had the chance I would buy one they just look mean:D

Tim R
July 17, 2012, 08:39 PM
Springfield manufactured a Tanker Garand until 1990, and Arlington Ordnance offered them 1994-96.

I had one of the AO rifles, and my experience was just as johnwill described: increased muzzle blast and inferior reliability. It would often eject a partially-fired clip.

I recently inherited a full-size M1, so I traded the Tanker away.

This was Springfield Inc, not the same Springfield which was owned by the goverment and where the M1 was developed. Springfield Inc bought the name and are not even related.

The navy tried a 7.62 conversions but didn't work out too well. Doubt you'll find any .308 garands @ CMP.

The Navy's first attemmpt at making 308 m1's was a bust using the incerts in '06 barrel chambers. The Navy then asked Springfield (the real one) to build some 7.62 Nato barrels and some M1's were converted. These were good shooting rifles. In the past I have seen Navy 308 M1's at the CMP auction. Too rich for my blood.

Jeff #111
August 29, 2012, 09:41 AM
Well there always has to be one in every crowd. My dad purchased one of the 30-06 "tanker" Garands that were sold in the 80's. It started out as a genuine full sized M1 Garand manufactured at the Springfield armory in 1942. Sorry guys but at least in my father's case the rifle is very reliable and fairly accurate. In the past twenty-five years of shooting it it hasn't given him any trouble. I guess it goes to show that there are exceptions in everything.

Art Eatman
August 29, 2012, 08:52 PM
"The thread that would not die."

Eleven years old and still going? Sheesh!

August 30, 2012, 12:19 AM
This thread will probably still be going when you and I are long gone, Art. 1911's & garands have a life of their own, ya know, and rightly so! ;)


Jeff #111
August 30, 2012, 09:23 AM
Yep. When World War III ends all that will be left will be cockroaches, twinkies and M1 Garands.

August 30, 2012, 02:52 PM
Yep. When World War III ends all that will be left will be cockroaches, twinkies and M1 Garands.

...and this thread.

Jeff #111
September 13, 2016, 11:01 AM
That's right. Sorry couldn't resist bringing it back from the dead. Any day now it will be locked I have no doubt.

September 13, 2016, 12:02 PM
Old Garands never die, and thankfully so! :D