Back to The Collection Back to Home

M-1 Garand

Length Overall Barrel Length Weight  Caliber Action Type Magazine Capacity
43.6" 24" 9.5 Pounds 30-06 Gas Semi Auto 8
    The legendary Garand Rifle. The last and greatest battle rifle ever made. Formally adopted in 1936, it was produced until 1957. This rifle was carried in WWII, and Korea, and was extensively deployed to our allies in various other conflicts. It fires a full sized rifle cartridge, the 30-06. The original military specs for the design of this cartridge required that it be lethal at 2000 yards, although the rifle itself can not be considered usable at any more than half of this range. The 30-06 was designed on the eve of the First World War, in an age of riflemen, for the original bolt action Springfield. This is vastly superior to any military cartridge in use today, and with the proper hand loads can be brought up to near magnum rifle performance. The gun itself is large and heavy by today's standards, weighting in at over nine pounds.
     Though the gun was, and continues to be, well regarded, by skilled riflemen, many of the troops had a few issues with the ammunition system. The rifle does use a true clip, not a box magazine which most people erroneously refer to as a clip. The rifle is quickly loaded by pushing the clip straight down into the magazine through the top of the receiver. You must do this fast or the bolt will close on your thumb; but this was not the reason that some riflemen had a problem with the Garand. The previous issue rifle, the Springfield, was a classic bolt action, loaded via stripper clip, through the top of the action.
    The designers of the Garand, rather than going with the box magazine of the BAR, or Thompson, decided to take the Springfield system to a higher level of development. Rather than sliding the cartridges off of the stripper clip, and into the internal magazine, the new style clips are inserted, with their cartridges, directly into the action. The new clip system seemed to be a great improvement, on paper; but it had a few tactical complications. This is because the clip, after the last shot, is jettisoned straight up out the top of the rifle. This had the double disadvantage of both alerting the enemy that the rifle had emptied, by the distinctive sound made as the clip was ejected, and giving away the position of the rifleman, by flying through the air. This problem may have been overstated a bit; but could cause difficulties, in situations where the fighting was at very close range; but then, this was a rifleman's rifle, and was designed for deliberate, long range, precision shooting, not close range brawls.
    This clip system makes the Garand a bit difficult to scope, due to the need to leave the top of the receiver unencumbered for ejection. This is similar to the problem encountered trying to scope classic lever action rifles. In both cases, the problem was solved by a couple of different methods, using special scope mounting systems. One method is to use a long eye relief scope, like a pistol scope, mounted far forward, on the barrel rather than the receiver. The tradeoff here, is that the rifleman is limited to a scope of rather low power. A typical long eye relief scope has somewhere between 2.5, and 4 magnifications. This is a terrible wast, on a rifle firing such a powerful, long range, cartridge. My particular Garand has a sort of a side saddle scope mount, which permits the mounting of a regular rifle scope. This mount sets the scope above and off to the side of the receiver, so that it does not block ejection. It also permits the retention, and use, of the rifle's origonal peep sight, for those rare close range encounters. The scope on my gun is unremarkable, being a 3-9x 32mm, though this is due for an upgrade. The disadvantage of this system is that it mounts the scope a bit off axis, on both the horizontal and vertical planes. Typical scope mounts are off axis only on the vertical plane.
    The action itself is the now classic gas port and piston type, where the piston forces back an operating rod which, in turn unlocks and pushes back on the bolt. The action is, in theory, self regulating, since the gas port is closed as soon as the piston begins to move back.
    I have read estimates of between four and six million of these fine rifles being produced. The Garand which I own was issued during WWII, and afterwards used to arm ROK soldiers in Korea after the Korean War. The gun was refinished at the Blue Sky Arsenal, and then sold as part of a lot to an American distributor so that after fifty years it came back home and was purchased by me. This was made possible by the passage of the Dole amendment, which permitted the importation of of American made arms, used by foreign armies. Previously, importation of such arms had been forbidden. The gun as it is shoots a little better than three inch groups at 100 yards. The Garand lends itself to tuning, and with some work, I could probably get the groups down to an inch or two. In the mean time, I have a historically significant rifle, which fires a powerful cartridge with acceptable accuracy, and is semi automatic. The 30-06 is generally chambered  in bolt action guns with three to five round magazines. One exception to this is the BAR, which is very expensive and considerably less rugged than the old Garand..