U.S. Rifle, Cal. 30, M1
"The greatest battle implement ever devised."



"The greatest battle implement ever devised," said Patton of the M1.  John C. Garand began work in the 1920's when the U.S. military realized the need for a semi-automatic rifle.  During that decade, Garand competed with other designers and their rifles for acceptance by the various military committees and trials.  Originally, the M1 was chambered in the .276 Pederson caliber, but that was changed in the 30's to 30-06 due to vast quantities of that ammunition already on hand.  In 1933, a few rifles were sent to the Army for testing.  Numerous problems were discovered and reported, so the M1 underwent several changes until it was finally recommended for service in late 1935.  Springfield Armory put out the first production model for the military in 1937.  In 1939, the gas system was redesigned to make it simpler and more reliable.  By early 1941, Springfield could produce 600 rifles per day, and the Army was fully equipped with them in the same year.  During WWII, Winchester also got a contract for producing M1's.

The M1 Garand was a semi-automatic, self-loading rifle.  Pressurized gas from firing was tapped from the barrel via a small hole near the muzzle.  This gas put force on a pison head, which moved the operating rod and bolt rearward, ejecting the spent case.  A spring moved the bolt forwards again, loading a fresh round.  The rifle utilzed an 8 shot enbloc clip that was fully inserted (both the clip and rounds) into the magazine.  After all rounds were fired, the empty clip was ejected out of the top of the receiver.  Contrary to popular belief, the rifle could be reloaded in the middle of a clip.  The M1 was the first semi-automatic rifle to be generally issued to the infantry of any nation in the world.  Also, uncommon on a military rifle of the time, it featured a receiver mounted, rear peep sight that was fully adjustable for windage and elevation.  The M1's rapid rate of fire gave U.S. GI's a considerable advantade during WWII.  It was also used in Korea and even in Vietnam, until being replaced by the M14 in the late 50's and early 60's.  However Garand's design lived on, as the M14 was basically an M1 modified to accept detachable magazines and fire fully-automatically.  The M14 is still in limited use in the US military today, as is its accurized sniper rifle counterpart, the M21.  The M1 Garand was a trail-blazing weapon that played a part in the Allied victory in WWII and even continues to fight to this very day (in modified form) in the hands of US soldiers in Iraq.  It still holds the respect of both veterans who carried it and civilian collectors alike.

My Rifle

I purchased my M1 Garand from the Civilian Marksmanship Program, or CMP (http://odcmp.com/).  They sell U.S. service rifles (including Garands, M1 Carbines and M1903 Springfields) to civilians in order to encourage and promote marksmanship.  Their rifles are priced well below normal market value, with the only drawback being that it can take a relatively long time to receive your purchase.  My Garand was a "field grade" rifle that was loaned to the Danish army and returned to the US.  It was made in Springfield Armory in Feb. 1943.  It's in excellent, original condition except for the muzzle, which is rather worn.  Unfortunately, this makes the rifle rather inaccurate.  I'm hopeful that a counterbore can fix it, though, and I plan on getting one done eventually.  If not, I might look into a whole rebarrel.  In any case, it's still a lot of fun to shoot and it truly is a piece of history.  It's about my favorite rifle for that reason.  It's an honor to be able to own and shoot the weapon used to defend the free world by the Greatest Generation, and more specifically, my very own grandfather who is a WWII veteran.

M1 Specifications

  • Caliber: 30-06
  • Length: 43.5 inches
  • Weight unloaded: 9lb 8oz
  • Barrel length: 24 inches
  • Magazine: 8 round, clip fed
  • Type: semi-automatic



Photos (click to enlarge)


(Notice the ejected clip in the air above my head)