“The M-1 Rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised.” Those words sum up the opinion of General George Patton regarding the M-1 Garand rifle. Many will agree with him, at least up until that point in history.
The M-1 Garand rifle was developed by John C, Garand in 1936 to replace the 1903 Springfield bolt action rifle. It was the first really successful semi-automatic battle rifle. Primarily due to large existing stocks of .30-06 ammunition that was produced for the 1903 Springfield, the M-1 was chambered in that caliber.
It was widely used by our troops in WWII and Korea, and was finally replaced by the M-14.
My M-1 Garand was bought many years ago from the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) for $165 and mailed to my door.
I qualified for that purchase by participating in Civilian Military Rifle Matches at my gun club.
The DCM also supplied our club with ammo loaded into bandoleers for our matches.
It is a very interesting rifle. It was defined as a “gas operated, clip fed, semi-automatic rifle”.
It weighs around 10 pounds loaded, depending on wood density.
It is fed by use of 8-round “en-bloc” clips, of .30-06 ammunition.
This ammunition would only be desirable in battlefield conditions when supplied by the military as already loaded clips in a bandoleer which held 6 clips.
The bandoleers and clips were intended to be disposable in battle. Of course, we recycled them many times in our rifle matches.
(Just as a side note… many people confuse the terms “clip” and “magazine”. Basically a clip holds cartridges and is used to load them into a magazine.)
To load the rifle, you simple press one of the en-bloc clips into the permanent magazine with your thumb.
If done properly, you use your hand to hold the action open like this.
If not done correctly, the action will slam shut before you can move your thumb and give you what was called “the M-1 thumb”.
Smart guys only have this happen once and that is enough to teach them to use the proper procedure.
On some rifles, it is necessary to give the bolt a push forward to load the first round.
The rifle can then be fired as fast as the operator can pull the trigger.
After the eighth round, the rifle’s action will lock open and it will eject the empty clip with a very distinctive “ping!”
It only takes a couple of seconds to reload the rifle with a new clip and you are in business again.
The M-1 is a true “battle rifle”. It fires a powerful round, has a fixture for a bayonet.
And even the butt can be used in close quarters combat for what was called a “butt stroke”.
Getting hit with the butt of this 10 pound rifle would ruin your day.
I do not find the recoil of this system to be heavy or punishing.
The weight of the rifle helps absorb the recoil.
A good rifle sling helps in position shooting to steady the rifle and allow more accurate shooting.
Here’s Tman shooting the rifle.
He actually qualified in the Alabama National Guard with the Garand.
The sights on the rifle are very good ones, with accurate adjustments on the rear sight to allow “come ups” to be dialed in easily.
Here I am shooting groups at 50 yards.
And here’s the results.
You will notice that the groups are high on the target, but this is because the rifle is sighted in for 200 yards.
Many of these rifles are now on the market, although prices are going up.
If you get a chance, don’t miss the opportunity to shoot an M-1.
You will understand General Patton’s admiration for this rifle.