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Old March 29, 2013, 11:18 AM   #1
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Accurizing an M1 Garand

I have been trying to accurize one of my shooter M1's and read the following: (1) The trigger group should be tight; (2) The stock and the rear hand guard should not touch the barrel (aside from the clamp), and; (3) The front hand guard should be loose, not jammed up on the gas tube.

I've got two collectors and two shooters and all four of them have the rear hand guard tight as can be, pushing up on the barrel. These were all CMP rifles, all with military hand guards. Did the military not care that the hand guard was degrading accuracy or is this not true? It only took me an hour to get the barrel to float around the hand guard, why didn't they make them like this in the first place?

Last edited by 4V50 Gary; March 31, 2013 at 05:29 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old March 29, 2013, 12:16 PM   #2
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loose tolerances is an open invitation to water, mud, sand and other debris that cause, rust, extra weight and reliability issues, most successful military designs call for everything being as tight as possible in order to cut down on maintenance time and improve reliability.

if you were fighting in a rain forest would you rather have a gun that shoots 2.5 MOA that requires little upkeep or a 1.5 MOA rifle that you have to constantly remove the handguards and fish debris out of ?
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
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Old March 29, 2013, 12:16 PM   #3
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Calling Kraig!

I'm certain KraigWY will be by shortly. Having been staff in an ARNG sniper school with Garands, I'd put money on anything he says about them.
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Old March 29, 2013, 12:35 PM   #4
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Here's a good place to start:

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Old March 29, 2013, 12:51 PM   #5
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Having done a M1 in a 7.62 barrel..

I suggest that you buy Kuhnhausen's book for the Serviice rifles m1 Garand & M14 /M1A rifle.

It has the details for glass bedding the rifle.

I used "Bisonite" bedding compound other like the Acraglas series, some use "Marine-Tex".
Basically, you'll need to tighten the gas cylinder assembly into a unit, but still allowing for dis-assembly for cleaning/ repair.

Reduce the FRONT handguard in length and adhesived the handguard ferrule to the front handguard into one piece ( may want to remove the meetal line but that optional, read the book) center the stock ferrule on the stock and make it one piece.

The n rout the inlet for the reciever and trigger guard bedding.

It's complicated but take one item at a time and you can do it.
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Old March 29, 2013, 05:55 PM   #6
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As above, the Jerry Kuhnhausen shop manual on the US Gas Operated .30 Caliber Service Rifles, M1 and M14 contains the most detailed info on how to accurize the rifles.

This was written as a training aid for new gunsmithing students and contains the most and most detailed info there is about the rifles and how to gunsmith and accurize them to National Match standards.
If you want to do it right, this shows how it's done.
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Old March 30, 2013, 09:03 AM   #7
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I suggest that you buy Kuhnhausen's book for the Serviice rifles m1 Garand & M14 /M1A rifle.
+1 for Jerry's book.If you plan on serious compition then bed the rifle. Otherwise I would not bed it. Bedded rifle should not be disassembled often as it degrades the bedding.

There a few things you can do to the Garand to improve accuracy. Stock free of contact of the barrel and hand guard. Good clamping of the trigger group. A minimum of 3/8" from full lock. Fitting the stock ferrule.

Gas cylinder must be tight in the barrel splines, no movement. GC lock should be hand tight between 6 and 8 o'clock position.

60* barrel crown. Op-rod should function freely, a NM op-rod is a good investment if you can find one. NM trigger job= 4.5 lb break at the second stage. NM sights= finer moa adjustments, small front post, .062 or .055.

A quality barrel with the headspace set to 1.940-1.943"

My Garand with Krieger barrel, new wood and NM prepped, shoots 1 moa with my hand loads and under 2 moa with surplus.

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Old March 30, 2013, 05:03 PM   #8
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They built Garands to hit man sized targets, not Match rifles
There are small tweaks you can do to improve accuracy. I doubt you will see any by just reworking the handguards. The best way to see a huge improvement is the use of handloads
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Old March 31, 2013, 04:39 PM   #9
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They built Garands to hit man sized targets, not Match rifles
Actually, Springfield Armory did build match-grade, M1 Garand rifles from 1953 - the early 1960's. They were built exclusively for competition and known as National match (type 1 and type 2)
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Old March 31, 2013, 05:31 PM   #10
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Accuracy starts with the following:

1) Good barrel. The gun will only shoot as good as its barrel. This is 90% of the effort.
2) Good trigger.
3) Good sights.
4) Barrel to metal fit (glass bed it). In fitting handguards, a tight fit was seen as necessary and this work was performed by the military armorers who worked on the match rifles for the service rifle competition.
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Old March 31, 2013, 10:24 PM   #11
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Before I did anything to a Garand,I'd carefully review the CMP match rules.

The CMP Garand shoots may represent the best opportunity to enjoy your rifle in competition.It would be sad to disqualify yourself.

I do not know what all is allowed,but I know no glass bedding is allowed on a Springfield,I know the Scheuster adjustable gas plugs are not allowed on a Garand.

The CMP game is pretty much as issued.I'd be careful
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Old April 1, 2013, 07:38 AM   #12
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While CMP Garand matches are normally shot using as-issued rifles, the rules do allow for an Unlimited/Special class of M1 rifles (CMP rule 4.2.1) where features such as heavy barrels & bedding are permitted. Always check with the match director first before showing up with an unlimited-class rifle.

In addition, accurized M1 rifles are classified as service rifles for CMP National Trophy matches and also under the NRA service rifle class.
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Old April 3, 2013, 09:57 PM   #13
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I am not interested in matches with this rifle. What I am interested in is a rifle that is accurate as possible with the minimal amount of monetary investment. I work for a living, I work a lot and I work hard. I don't have the time for Appleseeds, JCG's or other related tests of manhood. If I make it to the range 1 time a month I am lucky. And I am a meticulous reloader with a decade of experience. That base is covered.

What I want to know, and which none of you have been terribly helpful with is, what effect the wood to metal contact has on accuracy?

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Old April 3, 2013, 10:46 PM   #14
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I don't think there is a simple answer to your question.

Books like "The M1 Garand Complete Assembly Guide" (Kuleck / McKee) touch on stock fit with statements like -

The stock has two critical areas that will affect performance. First, the inletting should be tight to the receiver. In particular, be certain that the inletting intended to retain the clip latch pin is undamaged. Second, the area where the trigger housing seats will eventually compress, making the achievement of proper receiver clamping impossible. You will find military stocks with glass bedding or metal shims in this area to salvage a stock whose clamping force has been compressed away.

And -

The op rod should touch only the receiver, the bottom of the barrel, the stock ferrule and the gas cylinder. The op rod should not touch any wood whatsoever. If the op rod touches the wood, the rifle will never shoot consistently.

One concern of having the rear handguard touch the receiver is that, as it heats, it will expand, which can push on the receiver and lower band and bend the barrel.

As to the front hand guard, there are two schools of thought. The simple approach is to relieve wood from the inside of the hand guard as necessary so the op rod doesn't touch during cycling. (Not just when the rifle has the bolt closed.) Also, don't drive the gas cylinder down so far during assembly that you trap the front hand guard between the lower band and the ferrule. This allows the barrel to move without stock interference during firing, but the mass of the front hand guard is still floating and, therefore inconsistent.

So the more complex (National Match) approach is to do the above and then also "unitize" the front hand guard by epoxying/screwing it to the lower band. And eliminate possible op rod rub by removing the handguard spacer. This "locks up" the previously floating mass near the muzzle and, theoretically, improves accuracy. However, a NM modified front handguard is weak, so the rifle should never be picked up by the handguard on a rifle so modified. (The handguard can split, without the reinforcement of the spacer.)

And, if you decide to get a new stock and fit it yourself, there is quite a bit of art to doing this correctly. As an example of the complexity, I believe Dean's Gun Restorations wants you to send your barreled action so they can guarantee a correct fit of a replacement stock.
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:52 AM   #15
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In a nutshell is wood to metal contact is critical in the bedding ( tight) and any area where you can affect that relationship is floated to keep that from happening.

In other words on the hand guard your hand can cause torque to the barrel.
At least that is my understanding.
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Old April 4, 2013, 02:19 PM   #16
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What I am interested in is a rifle that is accurate as possible with the minimal amount of monetary investment
I think that in order to satisfy your question, you need to approach this from one of two ways.

1) Set an accuracy expection and pay the costs needed to achieve that.
2) Set a budget limit and accept whatever level of accuracy that monetary limit can provide.

When I had my accurized M1 built I opted for a full-tilt national match rifle that is used to shoot in NRA across-the-course matches and occassionally in CMP Garand (unlimited class) matches. When I'm doing my part, the rifle will shoot but it cost me around $1100 for that level of accuracy.

If you want to get away with the minimum costs then you need to prioritize the previously mentioned accuracy modifications.
A quality new stock... $200+
A bedding job... around $150
A new barrel... $250-$450 installed
A trigger job... $60

I'd say at the minimum you need a nice, properly fitted stock and a quality trigger job. Total cost might be a few hundred dollars. Add on features, such as a new barrel & bedding, as you can afford them.

Since you're already an experienced reloader, feed your M1 quality ammo
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Old April 11, 2013, 08:38 AM   #17
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I have a copy of the USN's manual for match conditioning Garands to 7.62 NATO. I could make a copy of it for a nominal fee then send it to you.

The USN's Small Arms Match Conditioning Unit in San Diego rebuilt many 30 caliber Garands. The best of the 7.62 versions would shoot good lots of Federal Gold Medal .308 Win. or Remington 7.62 NATO match ammo with 168's inside 4 inches at 600 yards all day long. Good .30-06 ones would shoot inside 8 inches with good lots of commercial match ammo. The US Army and USMC rebuilt Garands never came close to that. These shot much better than the DCM's National Match specifications which were not all that great to begin with; about 15 inches (2 MOA) at 600 yards. The high scoring 5 ring on the 600 yard military "B" target was 20 inches with a 12 inch tie-breaking V ring inside of it. The arsenal 30 caliber and 7.62 NATO match ammo accuracy spec from bolt action test barrels was about 10 inches; 3.5 inch mean radius.

Four key areas of match conditioning the Garand (as best I remember without reading up).....

* Regarding handguards, the front one should have it's metal plate removed then epoxied to the barrel. The gas cylinder ring that goes around the barrel should be ground off 1/16th inch on the back to ensure clearance to the front handguard. The ring should be reamed out so it does not touch the barrel at all. The rear handguard should also be epoxied to the barrel. The original design was established for easy field maintenance.

* When the barreled receiver is epoxy bedded in the stock, there needs to be a 3/16ths inch thick spacer betwen the stock ferrule and barrel and the trigger guard in place on epoxy fillets then the trigger guard half closed and a staple holding in half way in. This puts the bore axis a bit high and when the lower band's fit to the stock ferrule, there'll be about 30 to 35 pounds of pull-down pressure on the barrel for best accuracy.

* After the epoxy is cured, remove the barreled receiver, knurl the barrel where the lower band goes then drive it on aligning the pin holes so it'll be a very tight fit and not shoot loose.

* Fitting the op rod is crucial. Without an op rod fitting gauge (of which none are available anymore), it is a hit-and-miss operation to get it right. I doubt there's 5 people left in the USA who can do it right.

Nobody got good accuracy reloading fired cases from Garands. Same for the M14NM's when they came out. Bolt faces were never squared up during rebuilding and fired cases had way out of square case heads. Both contributed to poor accuracy. Only new cases shot the most accurate; handloaded or new match ammo shot the best scores and smallest test groups.

When you're not shooting match grade Garands, release the safety half way so there's no compression of the stock in the receiver area.
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Last edited by Bart B.; April 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM.
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Old April 11, 2013, 10:20 AM   #18
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I highly recommend getting a copy of Hatcher's "Book of the Garand". Among other things it covers accurizing the Garand and competition using the Garand.

No serious Garand owner should be without this book.

There are two ways to accurizing the Garand, one as a National Match rifle, which takes a bit of work and expense, going this route I'd take up Bart's offer on the Navy Guide.

The other, is doing what you can while keeping the rifle "as issued" so it conforms with the CMP GSM's Garand Matches. This isn't expensive and is quite effective. This information is covered in the Book listed above and can be found on the CMP's web site.

The quickest and cheapest thing you can do (but won't comply with CMP rules) is not to modify the gun, but to shim bed it.

It's really simple, take the action out and examine the stock. You'll see some dark spots on the stock where the rifle mates up with the action. This will be on the side of the mag well, the horse shoe shape at the back of the action, and the two sides of the trigger group.

Now take some file folders, the yellow for flesh colored work pretty good. Cut them in strips where you can lay on the dark spots I mentioned. Be careful they don't fall out of place when you put the action back in the stock. Put the trigger guard in (which should take some force to get it to snap in).

You may, depending on the rifle have to use two layers of file folder but you'll greatly improve the accuracy.

Now, as I normally do, will chime in with my pet rant. IT'S THE SOFT WARE NOT THE HARDWARE. (hardware being the rifle and ammo, the software being marksmanship fundamentals.

To give you an ideal when people buy a surplus rifle they check for throat and muzzle erosion. Which doesn't hurt, but what does it really tell you?

I got my Garand in '80-81 when it was a once a life time buy from the DCM. Since then I've shot the crap out of it. I've shot it in matches, including the ITT (rattle battle), I took it to my sniper schools and shot it to the point sap was boiling out of the stock because it was so hot. Taking gages to the muzzle and throat tells me the barrel should be history.

But I can get a good prone rapid fire position and keep it under three inches.

The X-10 ring of the CMP GSM Garand Match targets is 3.5 inches. So this shot out rifle is capable of winning every Garand match I decide to shoot.....but it doesn't, we still have to deal with the weak link, that being ME. 1/3 of the match if fired on my hind legs, I just don't put in the time and effort it takes to shoot the rifle to its capabilities.

Think about it, the X-10 ring of the NRA HP 1000 yard target is 20 inches. A 2 MOA rifle is capable of winning every match you shoot.

It's the SOFTWARE.
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Old April 11, 2013, 12:24 PM   #19
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Think about it, the X-10 ring of the NRA HP 1000 yard target is 20 inches. A 2 MOA rifle is capable of winning every match you shoot.

It's the SOFTWARE.
I disagree. If one checks out the facts, they'll agree with me. For example. . . . .

The very best long range prone competitors keep their sights moving around in an area on target about 1/2 to 3/4 MOA. These folks are the top 2 to 4 percent of all classified competitors; NRA High Master classification. Their heart's pumping blood which pulses the muscles attached to the bones supporting the rifle. The aiming point bounces up and down as well as a little bit sideways in a distorted figure 8 pattern. They've got excellent triggers and have excellent trigger control and can break most of their shots inside a 1/2 MOA area. This adds 1/4 to 3/8 MOA to whatever accuracy ability the rifle and ammo has to start with.

As nobody holds a rifle exactly the same way after reloading it for the next shot, there will be small differences in how its held. So how the body resists recoil while the bullet goes down the barrel will vary a bit. The bore axis at the muzzle won't always be at the same angle and amount relative to where the sights were when the cartridge fired for every shot. This adds another 1/4 to 1/2 MOA to the rifle + ammo capabilities.

When using metallic sights, one cannot see the wind changing its cross wind speed like using a scope permits. Crosswind's are not constant; they vary a bit. Missing a 1/2 MOA correction adds that to the horizontal spread the rifle and ammo accuracy permits.

The Garands 4.5 pound trigger spec for matches, that's pretty heavy to master consistantly from shot to shot. If you hand doesn't grip the stock firm and at the same trigger finger angle for each shot, it will add another 1/2 MOA to your group downrange.

So, with a 2 MOA Garand and ammo system, the best one can hope for is shooting inside a 3.5 MOA area on the target; 1.5 MOA larger than the hardware can produce. Outside its 20 inch 10 ring is the 30 inch 9 ring and 44 inch 8 ring.

The very best Garands, accuracy wise, will shoot just under 1 MOA at 1000 yards. With the above conditions, you'll put all your shots inside 2.5 MOA with a score in the high 190's for a 20-shot match. A 197 score at 1000 yards with a Garand will win virtually all service rifle matches.

Virtually all these same situations happen with a bolt gun and its ammo with 3/4 MOA accuracy at 1000 yards and a 1-pound or less trigger pull. And you'll put 99% of your shots inside the 20 inch 10 ring with good wind doping, position, trigger control and, of course, a little bit of luck. You may even shoot a perfect score of 200, but not very often.

One other thing to consider; the more accurate your rifle and ammo are, the easier it is to learn how to shoot well. Otherwise, you won't know if your last shot that struck 1 MOA away from where it was called was caused by the rifle-ammo system or you.
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Last edited by Bart B.; April 11, 2013 at 04:56 PM.
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Old April 13, 2013, 01:08 PM   #20
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Bart is a world class shooter and accuracy scholar.
I am just a putz.

I have given up on my accuracy attempts with my Garands.
I have also given up on stock SKSs, AKs, Mosin Nagants, Mausers, 1903 Springfields, etc.

The way to accuracy for a putz like me it to put a fat select match barrel [stress relieved and lapped like a mirror at the factory] on a rifle. Shoot no further than 50 yards if there is any wind at all. Use heavy guns and light bullets.

I can shoot sub moa all day.
When I die, maybe someone else will take my Garands to the range again. I don't think I will.
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