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Old July 31, 2009, 04:54 PM   #1
gschwertley
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Question re. M-1 Rifle Loads

Okay, I know this has been talked to death. I've been handloading for the M-1 Rifle (Garand) since 1985 with no problems. My principal reference for data has been the March, 1986 article in American Rifleman by John R. Clarke.

I typically use 150 grain bullets, either the nominal 150 gr. M-1 milsurp pull-down bullet, or generic 147 gr. FMJBT.

Also typically, I use 48.0 or 49.0 grains of IMR 4895. I also have used 50.0 gr. IMR 4064, 49.0 gr. Varget, and 48.5 gr. H-4895.

Recently I was at the range where I am a member, firing one of my two M-1 rifles. A certain know-it-all type member picked up one of my fired cases, noticed that it had a dent in the mouth of it, and said, "You're loads are too hot." He asked me what charge I was using, and I told him it was 49.0 grains of IMR 4895. He then said, "Your cases are dented because they are hitting the op rod and that means your charges are too high."

Next, this member whipped out a copy of the Hornady load manual and turned to the page with the .30-06 M-1 Rifle-specific load data on it. It showed a maximum load of 46.5 grains of H-4895. I don't have the page in front of me (I don't own the book), but as I recall it also showed a max. charge for Varget of 46.0 grains, and some of the other charges looked on the low side to my way of remembering.

Questions:

1. I've used the NRA data for years without problem. Is the data in the Hornady book overly-cautious? In fact, I've loaded 47.5 grains of IMR 4895 (one grain over the Hornady recommendation) and found that this load in my HRA M-1 wouldn't cycle the action about 10% of the time.

2. Even when firing factory military ammo in the M-1, I've noticed that the cases sometimes get beat up by hitting some part of the receiver or elsewhere on the action after being fired. Beat-up cases aren't necessarily a sign of overcharges are they?

3. When I mentioned that IMR and Hodgdon 4895 were comparable for loading purposes, I was told that "Oh no, they are different powders and take different data." Yet, I've seen exact charge weights for both powders listed given other components were identical. Am I wrong to consider IMR and Hodgdon 4895 interchangeable?

4. What about dispersal of fired brass? I've heard that proper charges firing 150 grain bullets will place the brass in a "neat little pile" at between 12:00 and 1:30 o'clock? Is this a hard and fast rule? One of my rifles places them about 2:30.

Okay, that's it. Thanks for thinking about this.
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Old July 31, 2009, 05:06 PM   #2
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I don't know the answers to your questions......

....... but I do know this: "Do Not Exceed" charges have gotten lighter over time......Older editions of the various loadbooks list heavier max charges.
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Old July 31, 2009, 06:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
4. What about dispersal of fired brass? I've heard that proper charges firing 150 grain bullets will place the brass in a "neat little pile" at between 12:00 and 1:30 o'clock? Is this a hard and fast rule?
That sounds good and all, but I've never seen a M1 throw brass in a "neat little pile". If you are single loading the brass seems to go 4:00 to 6:00. When shooting from the magazine (internal, of course) the first seven out of the clip go 1:00 to 2:30 and the last round can go just about anywhere as the clip is ejected too. The direction of the first seven probably has more to do with action lubrication than powder load. YMMV

If the American Rifleman data has been working for you I say stick with it.
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Old July 31, 2009, 07:15 PM   #4
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I would look at the primer first for signs of a hot load.
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Old July 31, 2009, 10:41 PM   #5
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Does your Garand function properly and are your loads accurate. If they are don't lose any sleep over it. About half of mine come out dented too and the empties cover a wide area, in my brothers gun but you could have put them all in a bucket with the gun I shot in the Navy, just the way it goes sometimes.
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Old July 31, 2009, 10:58 PM   #6
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1-keep in mind that comercial cases require more powder than mil. cases
when compairing load data, and magnum primers will make a differance to
48gr in a mil. case is a hot load but may be OK in a comercial case
2- no, that is only one thing that can cause that,extractor and ejector should
throw the case clear of the rifle
3- differant powders, but are very close, should not interchange data
4- neat little pile, no, should be between 12:30 and 2:00 but varies from
rifle to rifle with the same ammo, 2:30 for that rifle may be normal
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Old July 31, 2009, 11:05 PM   #7
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gschwertley comments:
Quote:
I've heard that proper charges firing 150 grain bullets will place the brass in a "neat little pile" at between 12:00 and 1:30 o'clock? Is this a hard and fast rule?
Depending on the load used, M1's will put empties at different places determined by the force the ejector spring has on fired cases coming out of the chamber.

When on and running US Navy rifle teams and we would get new 7.62 NATO converted Garands, I always had team members take a few clips of M118 match ammo to a test range, load one, then from the sitting position, see where the empties landed. Same thing could be done with 30 caliber M1's ( note there's no hyphen "-" between the M and the 1, just like the rifle receiver hump's stamped) and M14's and M1A's.

Once in a while they would come right over the rear sight, under the bill or our ball caps and bounce off our forehead; sometimes resting atop our shooting glasses burning a brand just above our eyebrows. These "brow burners" were caused by extra strong ejector springs flipping the empty around the extractor and backwards over the bolt as soon as the case mouth cleared the chamber.

Most empties with dents on their mouth are caused by too strong an ejector spring. The case flips hard and fast enough to bounce its mouth off of something at the back end of the receiver. Once in a while, a worn extractor will help this happen due to how the head of the case twists out of its lip holding the case rim. It has nothing to do with hot loads. We used to shoot special lots of ball ammo with extruded powder (IMR4475) after replacing the 147-gr. bullet with a 168 or 172-gr. match bullet. This load duplicated the "blue pill" pressure test load used by arsenals and we never had any empty case mouths dented; they all piled up very nicely at 1:30 o'clock.

Garands with weak ejector springs would not flip the fired case much at all and the bolt's extractor would still be holding them when the bolt started forward to load a new round. The fired case would be pushed forward over the muzzle out in front.

The objective is to get an ejector spring with just the right tension to let the bolt push the empties out somewhere between 1 and 2 o'clock. If the spring was too strong, we cut off a turn or two, then tried it again. You could watch the cases start moving counterclockwise from straight back to 5, 4, 3 and finally 2 o'clock. Weak springs were replaced with new ones then retested and cut some turns off to get the empties "zeroed" out at around 1:30 o'clock.

Depending on the load used, the op rod and bolt will move at slightly different speeds. This will move the empty's "impact area" around somewhat, but not very much.

Last edited by Bart B.; July 31, 2009 at 11:12 PM.
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Old July 31, 2009, 11:21 PM   #8
gschwertley
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I should've mentioned, commercial brass, mostly RP.

I've seen many loads recommending IMR and H-4895 in the same charges for otherwise similar loads.

All the loads I used work well in my rifles with as much accuracy as I am able to impart.
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Old July 31, 2009, 11:23 PM   #9
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My $0.02 worth

Case mouth dents in semi (or full) auto weapons are pretty standard. The dents in the case and where the empties go are a related subject.

They are both affected by the interplay between the strength of the ejector spring, the strength of the extractor grip and spring, the shape of the extractor and the opening speed of the bolt. The combined effect of these factors will cause the empty to fly rearward or forward or directly to the side. Sometimes, the ejector spring will flip the case as it leaves the chamber and the case mouth hits the side of the rifle or operating rod and dents. Chamber or operating pressure does not solely affect that function or event.

H4895 and IMR 4895 are related, but typically H4895 burns a bit slower than IMR. Starting loads are fairly interchangeable, but the top end will vary. Normally, Garands do not do their best with full bore, primer straining, teeth rattling loads anyway. (At least not in my experience.)

Loading data does change over time. Powder burn rates change over time (sadly) and lawyers get worse (sadder). Also consider every rifle is a law and system unto itself. I'm not saying one should casually exceed maximum loads, but every firearm will have a slightly different 'maximum' load.

In the final analysis, if your load works and you haven't seen any damage to your rifle or action (bent operating rod, f'rinstance), I'd say you are on pretty safe grounds.
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Old July 31, 2009, 11:51 PM   #10
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It has been my observation that the M1 using a 150 gr bullet works best at about 2800 fps MV. Do you have a chronograph?
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Old July 31, 2009, 11:55 PM   #11
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- Add a little to the discussion

First - I love the Garand. It is my favorite and nothing else I have ever owned comes close.

I routinely shoot 14 of them! Most are standard mixmasters from CMP while a couple are custom builds. Most of my shooting involves M2 ammo (LC & HXP) but I occassionaly put a few reloads through them.

Each of the 14 are different. A couple of 'em will neatly pile "most" of the brass in one spot - without the first case dent. Others just slings the brass where it wants to - and ofter with the case mouth dented.

I do use H4895 and IMR4895 in my garand and .308 loads. I have found that both are pretty much equal in performance in the 30.06.
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Old August 1, 2009, 01:31 AM   #12
gschwertley
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Yes, I have a chronograph and have used it to clock my loads. I didn't want to mention this, as others have stated before in similar threads something like "muzzle velocity has nothing to do with port pressure" etc, etc.

Just the same, it seems to me that knowing a muzzle velocity can be an indicator of whether you are in the ball park or not. I've kinda used the Army TM standard of 2,740 for M2 (please note - no hyphen!) Ball as a reference point while noting John Clarke's results.

So, what some of my loads did was this:

1. 49.0 gr. IMR 4895 clocked 2,810 fps. compared to the results that John Clarke published in his 3-86 Amer. Rifleman article of 2,792 using similar components.

2. 48.0 gr. IMR 3031 clocked 2,776 fps. John Clarke got 2,785 fps.

3. Hodgdon Varget wasn't on the hit parade of powders for John Clarke, but it's in the appropriate range for the M1 Rifle. 49.0 grains clocked 2,673 fps which is a little light on the muzzle velocity but it cycled the action properly through better than 50 test shots.

4. 50.0 gr. of IMR 4064 clocked 2,740 fps. exactly the same as M2 Ball in the Army specs, but I believe they test with the chrono farther out from the muzzle than most civilians (including myself). John Clarke got 2,736.

5. Okay, so I wanted to compare IMR 4895 against H-4895. Using the same charge of 49.0 grains, I got 2,719 fps from Hodgdon against the 2,810 that I got from IMR. All other components used were scrupulously the same. John Clarke didn't show any data for H-4895 using 150 grain bullets. He did test it using 168 gr. bullets and his loads using Hodgdon are .5 and 1.0 grains heavier than IMR 4895 using similar components. Same comment for his 180 grain bullet loads. Clarke felt that he needed a taste more Hodgdon powder than IMR in his work.

6. I have a supply of now-obsolete Alliant Reloader 12. It's also in the proper burn range for the M1 Rifle. I wanted to test this for use in the M1 Rifle, so here's the chrono data from three charges that I tested. 50.0 gr. gave 2,621 fps; 51.0 gr. gave 2,640 fps, and 52.0 gr. clocked 2,840. The 52.0 grain load felt a little heavy, so when I use this powder in future, it will be with the 51.0 gr. load. The sole reason for going up to 52.0 gr. in this powder was a lack of other guidance for M1-specific load data.

All of the loads listed above cycled the action properly in all shots fired and there were no failures to feed. I have data for some of these powders in lesser loads, but some of them will not cycle reliably so there's no point in listing them.

Primers used throughout these tests were CCI 200's.

So, back to one of my original comments. If I were to bump my loads all down to Hornady's more contemporary recommendations, they may or may not cycle properly in my rifles. I already know that a couple of them don't work for me because I've tried those load levels before I saw the Hornady data.
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Old August 2, 2009, 09:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Case mouth dents in semi (or full) auto weapons are pretty standard. The dents in the case and where the empties go are a related subject.
Agree.


Quote:
Just the same, it seems to me that knowing a muzzle velocity can be an indicator of whether you are in the ball park or not. I've kinda used the Army TM standard of 2,740 for M2 (please note - no hyphen!) Ball as a reference point while noting John Clarke's results.
Those TM values are dangerous. The printed values don’t show how those velocities were measured.

The acceptance velocities and pressures were calibrated to a Frankfort Arsenal (I assume FA) test barrel. The acceptance representative carried cartridges, calibrated to the FA barrel, for ammunition acceptance. These cartridges were fired in the ammunition plant barrel and velocities and pressures were “corrected” to the FA barrel. Lets say the cartridge gave 2750 fps in the FA barrel, but when fired in the ammunition plant barrel the velocity was 2600 fps. They would then add 150 fps to the values obtained when shooting cartridges through the ammunition plant barrel.

Neither of us has a FA calibrated cartridge or pressure barrel. But you can shoot US ball in your rifle for comparison. I recommend shooting either LC match, or the ammunition from the 50’s. The late 60’s LC is hot, and was being used in machine guns, and was made after the arsenals were turned into profit oriented contractor operated facilities. The stuff made in the 50’s was made to be used in Garands, and were operated by the military for the military.

It would not hurt to cut your 150 grain load to 47.0 grains IMR 4895. My load of 47.5 grains is a little faster than TW56 ball.

H4895 and IMR 4895 are close but not identical in burn rate.

If you notice, the Camp Perry Garand Match ammo used in 2002 clocks just under 2700 fps in a 26” match barrel. The 2001 stuff was made to commercial standards, clocked closer to 2900 fps, and people had malfunctions all along the line.

The Garand was type classified in 1936, the cartridge was not being loaded to todays’ magnum levels, and it is a easier on the rifle to load 150’s just at 2700 fps.



M98 26" 1-10 Wilson Barrel


150 gr FMJBT TW 56 Ball
24 Mar 04 T= 70 ° F

Ave Vel = 2680
Std Dev = 31
ES = 78
Low = 2620
High = 2698
N = 6

150 gr Sierra Match HPBT 47.5 IMR 4895 CCI#34 WWII cases OAL 3.290"
24 Mar 04 T= 70 ° F

Ave Vel = 2722
Std Dev = 26
ES = 76
Low = 2673
High = 2749
N = 10


150 gr FMJBT 2002 John Garand Match ammo Federal mgfr
23 Aug 03 T= 80 ° F

Ave Vel = 2699
Std Dev = 26
ES = 69
Low = 2668
High = 2737
N = 5
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Old August 3, 2009, 09:27 AM   #14
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SlamFire1's remark:
Quote:
The printed values don’t show how those velocities were measured.
... is correct.

Most folks don't realize that arsenals measured muzzle velocity for small arms at 78 feet. Why there was 26 yards between the muzzle and screens is probably not documented but it doesn't matter. Probably because they didn't want any muzzle blast effecting the numbers. Bullets on earth always start slowing down after they're a few inches in front of the muzzle. Gasses push it a bit faster for an inch or so after it leaves the crown, then it slows down.

Proof barrels were always at exact specs for bore, groove and twist dimensions. Service rifle barrels could be anywhere in the tolerance range. Some Garand barrels had .302" bore and near .309" groove diameters. Bullets will shoot slower out of these than those tight ones made when the rifling broach had worn down making the groove diameter about .307". If a barrel blank with a .299" bore was used and the broach was well worn down, these "tight" bores shot bullets best for accuracy but at a bit higher pressure and muzzle velocity than the average.
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Old August 3, 2009, 04:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Most folks don't realize that arsenals measured muzzle velocity for small arms at 78 feet. Why there was 26 yards between the muzzle and screens is probably not documented but it doesn't matter.
BartB: I am certain you have Phil Sharpe's Handloading book. Data for the 30-06 and 308 were measured using the Boulange Chronograph.

I have conducted a web search, nothing of real value is popping up. Read the section in Sharpe's book to see how the things worked. The semi conductor revolution has really made our lives better. The 78 feet is an average between the two screens.

If 78 feet is carried on in military specifications today, it is because DoD has lost the inhouse knowledge for small arms and ammunition decades ago.

"monkey see, monkey do"
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