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I've never shot an M1. I've always considered my hunting rifles as possible SHTF SD rifles.

Last Saturday, I sighted in two rifles: Winchester model 70 bolt action 742 (I think) Remington woodsmaster. Naturally the bolt action had a little more recoil.

I must have shot 20 - 30 rounds total (mix of 150 & 180 gr 30-06 - 50 yds, 100 yds, 200 yds). My shoulder was tender. Then I was watching some WW2 footage, and was thinking, how much of a beating could the M1 have given in combat.

Anyone know?
 

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The M1 could be a hunting rifle. Of course the bolt action will have more recoil than the Woodsmaster (nice rifle by the way) semi-auto.
Then I was watching some WW2 footage, and was thinking, how much of a beating could the M1 have given in combat?
How much of a beating recoil-wise? It's really a mute point when you use something to save your life. You also adapt to the tools you use. Back in the days of WW2 and like, the infantryman was more of a sniper than one to lay a field of fire on an objective, and figure carrying several hundred rounds of 30cal ammo compared to several hundred 22cal. I used to have an Argentine Mauser in 7.65 original with steel butt plate. It kicked my butt at the range just shooting six rounds or so. But those were made for the troops in war as well. Recoil.......it's either a weekend thing, or something you get accustomed to in short order. All of my hunting rifles are bolt action.
 

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Remember that a soldier will be wearing lots of gear. The webbing and suspenders for his web belt will take some of the recoil. He might also be wearing a field jacket, depending on the weather.

But yeah, when you're trying to stay alive, recoil becomes a non-issue rather quickly.
 

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M1s are not that bad recoil wise. The weight helps. 30-06 recoil can be tolerated by most people. Feather weights with heavy bullets can get your attention though.
 

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Other things being roughly equal, I've found a bolt action rifle to have more of a kick than a semi-automatic rifle in the same caliber. The Garand is heavy and that weight absorbes some recoil. I would guess that the volume of fire was less during a WW II engagement than during more recent combat.
 

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The garand I shot was pretty soft as far as recoil. Much less than a bolt gun but like the others said it's a characteristic of gas operated semi-autos coupled with the weight.
 

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The M1 is an old softy when compared with bolt action .30-06 rifles.
 

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The M1 weighs 9.5-10.2 pounds. That absorbs recoil very effectively. As well as the fact the action absorbs recoil as well.
 

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Also, the M1 Garand has a gas-operated system with helps lessen recoil to a small degree. Some of the gasses of the burning propellant are siphoned off to push the bolt backward with the help of recoil and assist the extractor to eject the spent cartridge. Then allow the bolt to ram forward, strip off a fresh round and inject it into the chamber to repeat the firing cycle.

Bolt action rifles however do not use the propellant gasses and all the recoil of the rifle hits the shooter.

I have never fired an M1 Garand. I own an 1893 Chilean 7 x 57 Mauser, that, when fired, kicks like a disgruntled mule on a Monday. Even with a smaller cartridge, a bolt action will always recoil harder than a gas-operated rifle.
 

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When I first started shooting hi power competition , the M1 garand felt really harsh (I was a 16 yr old skinny guy) . After shooting 2-3 matches it didn't seem bad at all.
 

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I shot a 1903-A3, and an M1. Both 30.06. 1903 left a bit more in me shoulder. The M1 was rather a pleasure to shoot, lighter on the shoulder.

But yes I often wonder in the WWI-WWII just how some of those shoulder felt.....nice and loose. But no time to think 'bout that in war.

I had kinda the same thoughts/wonders when I shot 30rnds of 7.62x54R out of my 91-30 Nagant the other day. Shoulder is still a lttile discolored.
 

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They are a joy to shoot!! I've gotten kinda use to mine but still after sending 6-8 clips down range you can feel it. I'd have to say my Mauser 8mm kicks harder but still they're fun.
 

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My M1 is a soft kicker. I have some specially adapted clips that only hold 5 rds for hunting. Never used them though.
 
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