An M1 Garand Beginner

An M1 Garand Beginner

This is a discussion on An M1 Garand Beginner within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; ... and I'm full of questions. So my wife and I cashed in our one mutual fund, and got some bills paid down. There was ...

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Thread: An M1 Garand Beginner

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Pro2A's Avatar
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    Question An M1 Garand Beginner

    ... and I'm full of questions.

    So my wife and I cashed in our one mutual fund, and got some bills paid down. There was some left over cash, so I decided to look for an M1 Garand. I'm glad I did... but maybe someone can translate. I think I get it... but I'm not sure. This is what he told me about it and he attached some photos. I'm gonna buy it, but I'm not sure what he means by most of this. He basically told me he customized it so all the parts matched for 1945 (the year and month the receiver was made).

    • SA 3.4 mil s/n with 1/45 barrel
    • Nice matching walnut wood
    • no stampings on the wood
    • Finish looks original, about 85%.
    • Lockbar sites, bolt and uncut oprod and trigger group to match the 1-45 build date.


    Here is a copy of a photo he sent me. I already talked to him and he explained it a bit, but I'm still full of questions.




    For example what ammo can be used with the above configuration. He said not to use modern loads. What I don't understand is what I can use and what I can't use. Where is the cut off on date, or grain etc... that I can use?

    I understand the serial number, but I'm not sure whats up with the stock. Or for that matter what an uncut oprod is or the advantages or disadvantages. He explained it to me a little, and recommended that this rifle is more of a collector rifle and a few rounds now and then won't hurt it, but not to put 10k rounds through it.

    It's a beautiful rifle and I already love it. I'm mostly looking for a collectors piece because I love WW2 history and rifles. I don't plan to shoot the heck out of it, but I would like to take it to the range now and then. I'm yet to pick it up... it will probably be later this week when I actually get it.

    If anyone can help me with what the specs mean and my questions I would appreciate it!


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array jem102's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro2A View Post
    ... and I'm full of questions.

    So my wife and I cashed in our one mutual fund, and got some bills paid down. There was some left over cash, so I decided to look for an M1 Garand. I'm glad I did... but maybe someone can translate. I think I get it... but I'm not sure. This is what he told me about it and he attached some photos. I'm gonna buy it, but I'm not sure what he means by most of this. He basically told me he customized it so all the parts matched for 1945 (the year and month the receiver was made).

    • SA 3.4 mil s/n with 1/45 barrel
    • Nice matching walnut wood
    • no stampings on the wood
    • Finish looks original, about 85%.
    • Lockbar sites, bolt and uncut oprod and trigger group to match the 1-45 build date.


    Here is a copy of a photo he sent me. I already talked to him and he explained it a bit, but I'm still full of questions.




    For example what ammo can be used with the above configuration. He said not to use modern loads. What I don't understand is what I can use and what I can't use. Where is the cut off on date, or grain etc... that I can use?

    I understand the serial number, but I'm not sure whats up with the stock. Or for that matter what an uncut oprod is or the advantages or disadvantages. He explained it to me a little, and recommended that this rifle is more of a collector rifle and a few rounds now and then won't hurt it, but not to put 10k rounds through it.

    It's a beautiful rifle and I already love it. I'm mostly looking for a collectors piece because I love WW2 history and rifles. I don't plan to shoot the heck out of it, but I would like to take it to the range now and then. I'm yet to pick it up... it will probably be later this week when I actually get it.

    If anyone can help me with what the specs mean and my questions I would appreciate it!
    You actually want the stock to have some proof markings esp if you want the nostalgia.

    The Lockbar sites are a big collectors plus.

    The uncut oprod is a big collectors plus but not so much for a shooter, the cut was done to enhance service life.

    The trigger group and trigger guard have to match the receiver maker in name and be period correct for the collector. For the shooter as long as the trigger guard locks the action to the stock tightly, good to go.

    The bolt must match the receiver maker in name and be period correct for the collector. For the shooter as long as headspace is correct and it runs true in the race way good to go.

    You need to know the muzzle wear and throat erosion numbers. These are accomplished with special gauges and he should know the numbers if he is selling this as a collector rifle. The lower the numbers the better I.E. 4's are rack grade that might hold 2 MOA @ 200 yds. under 2 will hold 1 MOA.

    YES, Grands are ammo sensitive! you must shoot ammo designed for the piston driven gas system. It is designed for low port pressure which means the ammo must be loaded with a faster burning rate powder than is supplied in over the counter 30.06 hunting loads which are loaded for bolt action long barrel hunting rifles with a slower burning rate for max velocity. If you fire this ammo you will bend the op rod in short order and/or burn the gas piston.
    I believe Hornady and Black Hills have a Grand load but your best bet is to find some surplus at a gun show or buy it from the CMP. You are looking for MC-Ball2 with 150 grain bullets (some load a 147 gr.)

    If you handload, powders with acceptable burn rates are IMR-3031 through and including IMR-4064 with IMR and H 4895 being centered in the range.
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  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Pro2A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jem102 View Post
    You actually want the stock to have some proof markings esp if you want the nostalgia.

    The Lockbar sites are a big collectors plus.

    The uncut oprod is a big collectors plus but not so much for a shooter, the cut was done to enhance service life.

    The trigger group and trigger guard have to match the receiver maker in name and be period correct for the collector. For the shooter as long as the trigger guard locks the action to the stock tightly, good to go.

    The bolt must match the receiver maker in name and be period correct for the collector. For the shooter as long as headspace is correct and it runs true in the race way good to go.


    You need to know the muzzle wear and throat erosion numbers. These are accomplished with special gauges and he should know the numbers if he is selling this as a collector rifle. The lower the numbers the better I.E. 4's are rack grade that might hold 2 MOA @ 200 yds. under 2 will hold 1 MOA.

    YES, Grands are ammo sensitive! you must shoot ammo designed for the piston driven gas system. It is designed for low port pressure which means the ammo must be loaded with a faster burning rate powder than is supplied in over the counter 30.06 hunting loads which are loaded for bolt action long barrel hunting rifles with a slower burning rate for max velocity. If you fire this ammo you will bend the op rod in short order and/or burn the gas piston.
    I believe Hornady and Black Hills have a Grand load but your best bet is to find some surplus at a gun show or buy it from the CMP. You are looking for MC-Ball2 with 150 grain bullets (some load a 147 gr.)

    If you handload, powders with acceptable burn rates are IMR-3031 through and including IMR-4064 with IMR and H 4895 being centered in the range.
    I understand most of everything you said except the bolded parts. Could you elaborate on what you mean about those? Thanks for the other info

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Hmm....I've been shooting 150 gr ball loads in mine for a couple of years....haven't had a problem. I shoot it once or twice a year.
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    Go to CMP Home and look at the service grade springfields for 595.00......

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    Distinguished Member Array Pro2A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akapjr View Post
    Go to CMP Home and look at the service grade springfields for 595.00......
    Ya, I looked at CMP already. I know some people may like going that route, but IMO it's too much of a hassle. I was going to try and do it but I found out I'd be waiting half a year or more for the one I wanted... not to mention there were no CMP ranges within 50 miles of here... I could have drivin out and get it but between gas and hotel, I just said screw it, I'd rather buy one local. I actually got a deal with this one. He bought it from CMP and put a lot of TLC into it. It's worth the price IMO.

    That's just me though. I will however buy ammo through them.

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    Senior Member Array Shadowsbane's Avatar
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    There is an upgrade that allows you to shoot commercial loadings in Garands
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowsbane View Post
    There is an upgrade that allows you to shoot commercial loadings in Garands
    An adjustable gas plug. About $35, and you can adjust it to shoot just about anything in 30-06 (except Light Magnum - big no-no).

    What you have is one that someone tried to get "Correct". Correct wood would have the proper cartouches punched into the wood. The thing is, almost none of them are "correct" by this point in time. Armorers in the field would take whatever parts they had available to fix them so they would shoot. And when they were rebuilt at an armory, they paid no attention to who the manufacturers of the parts were (they were designed for the parts to interchange, after all).

    The cut operating rods were done to improve the durability of the op rod (stress relief, if I remember correctly).

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    Senior Member Array jem102's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro2A View Post
    I understand most of everything you said except the bolded parts. Could you elaborate on what you mean about those? Thanks for the other info
    You stated the seller was recommending this rifle to you as a collector/correct grade Garand and I assume priced as such. What you have marked in bold are the basic items another person (collector) would want to be period and manufacturer correct for the serial number range. If not it is a rack grade rifle and should be priced as such. Avery good rack grade/shooter could go as high as $875.00 if it was in great shape and lets say a Win. receiver. A "truly correct" WWII Win. in collector condition is an easy $1,275.00 and up.

    The muzzle and throat wear numbers will add great value if 2 or under "IF" it is the correct barrel for the rifle and again collector grade. If a shooter accuracy is much better with these numbers. I have seen some high 3's-4 shoot well out to 300 in the right hands, but quite a few fliers at 600.

    The adjustable gas plugs were designed to keep the bolt in battery longer so the bullet is out the barrel before the oprod starts to move not to allow a gross difference in burning rate. The oprod moving too soon causing barrel vibrations that don't help at the 600 line. If you shoot the rifle regularly with a high port pressure round you will bend the rod sooner than later IMHO. Your call on that one.
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    The adjustable gas plugs are designed to limit the amount of gas going into the port, in order to keep the the op rod from bending when you use non-M2 ammo. I've never heard of using them to keep the op rod from moving too soon. Wouldn't think it would make much difference considering how close to the muzzle the gas port is (about an inch).

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    "He said not to use modern loads."

    He really didn't give helpful advise if he didn't define "modern load." The M1 is not delicate. It is more adaptable than it is given credit these days. An M1 will eat modern standard factory hunting soft point ammunition like candy. Just select ammo with bullet weights between 125 grains and 180 grains. Stay away from the Hornady Light Magnum .30-06 offerings or ammunition loaded with bullets heavier than 180 grains.

    The M1 will thrive on properly prepared handloads. Again, stay with bullets in the 125-180 grain weight range. Use powders that fall in the medium burning range. Powders ranging from Reloder 7 on the fast side to IMR 4320 on the slow end are appropriate and there's a large number available. See the link.

    Powder Burn Rates

    Port pressure is elevated when a slow burning powder is used, when a heavy .30 bullet with a long bearing surface is used, or when an excessive charge of powder is used, or any combination of these.

    A happy M1 will throw it's empties forward and to the right of the muzzle. If one contemplates the rifle as the minute hand on a clock pointing to 12:00 then the empties should be ejected to land at 1:00 or 2:00. Rifles fed heavy bullets, slow powders, hot handloads, or else have mechanical problems will begin to fling their brass around towards 3:00 or even behind the shooter. They may also exhibit erratic ejection, flinging the brass all over the place and with great violence. It's distressing to be on a firing point to the right of such a rifle during a high-power match.

    When seeking an accuracy handload especially suitable for one's M1, it pays to observe the ejection habits of the rifle in addition to the regularly accepted signs of elevated pressures. The M1 will handle near-max handloads but will complain if pushed. I once developed a load for the 600 yard line at Camp Bullis in San Antonio using 180 grain Sierra Matchkings and IMR 4895. Good performance and accuracy was had with various near-max loads of this propellant. Continued incremental increases began to result in erratic ejection causing me to back off the powder charge weight a bit.

    I confess to knowing nothing about adjustable gas plugs but have to wonder if they aren't really an unnecessary marketing gimmick.

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    The gas plugs are used to adjust the amount of gas going to the gas cylinder that runs the op rod. The idea is to develop your load (or buy your commercial ammo), start with the gas cylinder completely open (or just slightly closed) and keep closing it incrementally until the action functions. You then set it, and you can run your ammo with confidence you won't damage the op rod. There is a guy over on the CMP forum who has actually measured the port gas pressure with a number of commercial loads and compared them to a baseline of Lake City M2 ammo. It is amazing what ammo is safe and which produces a high gas port pressure. And what can change. Greek HXP bought through the CMP is fine, but put a muzzle brake on and the pressure at the gas port jumps dramatically.

    The gas plugs allow you to use commercial ammo (within reason).

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    I'm still a little skeptical of this gizmo. Lake City M2 ball as manufactured in the 1960s is extremely mild. There's lots of ammunition out there that likely shows somewhat more port pressure than L C ball yet is still is perfectly suitable.

    I've owned M1s since the mid-1970s and have fired more rounds through the M1 than any other center fire rifle I own. I've shot my current M1 12K-15K times in competition and for fun since 1987 with all sorts of factory loads and lots of handloads of all flavors. It has given flawless service and perfect satisfaction. The (original uncut) op rod hasn't bent nor has the gas cylinder burned. Everything is still tight and crisp. If such loads were going to give trouble, it would have shown up long before now.

    Proper cleaning and lubrication is more important to dependability and long life than anything one can add to the basic design.

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    So I got the mutual fund check in the mail today that will pay for my M1, my tax theft... err I mean debt and still have some leftover to put into savings

    So I rushed down to the bank all giddy with excitement... Only to have all my hopes and dreams dashed in an instant... It's too big of a check, so they have to hold it for a week... Luckily the guy I am buying this from was cool about it. We arranged a date to meet next week. I want to hold it in my hands and love it and say it's mine darn it! I guess I have to wait another week... the wait is killing me

    Sigh... I guess the greater the anticipation, the better it'll feel when I get it.

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