M1 Garand Instructions & Info
I am providing this information mostly for new or novice Garand owners. I make no claims about being the greatest Garand expert, but I have learned a lot over the years from many friends, including my late friend Mike Gingher. Any loading info contained here is based on my personal experiences. You should always consult manuals and use common sense when loading.
Geek HXP M2 Ball– Good, usually GI velocity.
US Lake City M2 Ball– Good, not always GI velocity, and hard to come by.
Federal American Eagle 150gr FMJ– Commercial ammo that is loaded with the proper powder for the required M1 pressure curve.
Hand load– 47grs of Reloader 15 in a Lake City case with a 150 gr FMJ bullet and WW primer will duplicate the Federal American Eagle.
Hunting ammo- If you have a choice, don’t shoot it. Most have powders that do not provide the proper pressure curve. Long term shooting could cause oprod damage.
On parts that slide (rub) use military rifle grease, “lubriplate”, or a commercial bearing grease available at most NAPA stores. On parts that rotate, light oil (something likeTetra). Here are some areas to pay extra attention to.
Note: The terms left and right are based on a view from behind the rifle looking down.
NO LUBE of any kind on trigger/sear engagement area. This will lead to doubling, or worse.
Inside upper part of receiver,rear. The bolt rubs in this area when it cycles.
Raceway where bolt slides in receiver,left inside.
Locking lug areas in receiver.
Notch where bolt engages oprod. I use a Q Tip or small artists brush to get in there.
Groove where oprod slides in receiver, outside right.
Lugs (round pins) that lock trigger group to receiver (part of trigger guard)
Side of barrel where oprod rides (on some rifles the oprod will not touch the barrel in this area). This can be seen on the right side of the barrel by retracting the oprod to the rear. It will appear as a shiny area on the barrel.
Oprod spring, lightly grease before installing.
***The stock ferrule (metal part on the front of the stock) where it engages the lower band (band pinned to barrel that holds the front of the handgaurd).Lubricating this point gives the stock it’s best chance of settling into a consistent position after each shot is fired. No lube in this area can cause binding.***
NEVER push down on the magazine follower without holding the oprod to the rear! The oprod catch is located under the front of the receiver. The follower has nothing to do with locking the oprod to the rear. Pushing down the follower instantly releases the oprod. If your thumb or fingers are in the receiver, you will be VERY unhappy.
The proper way to load a clip is to: insert clip partially with right thumb on top of clip. Place your other four fingers flat against the right side of the receiver with the rear part of your hand holding the oprod to the rear. As you push down with your thumb, you will feel the oprod release. You then move your hand towards the front releasing the oprod fully. You may have to bump the oprod handle forward to load the first round. Once again, NEVER insert a clip or your thumb into the receiver with out controlling the oprod. You will have a case of “M1 Thumb”, which is very bad!
Never remove any of the metal from the wood (except the buttplate), and never remove the handguards from the rifle (best done by a trained individual, and only if necessary for repair) unless there is a very good reason.
Unless you shoot a LOT (1000 rounds or more per year), there is NO reason to disassemble the rifle beyond removal of the stock for annual lubrication.
Garands will shoot poorly (usually) after having the stocks removed and replaced. It could take 30-40 rounds or more to get your old zero back after stock removal.
Never remove the gas cylinder lock screw. Do check to make sure it is very tight. (40-50 ft.lbs. or more).
Make sure you have a quality oprod and clip latch spring. About 75% of all Garand functioning issues will be rectified by replacing those two springs.
***After shooting and cleaning, pull the oprod to the rear to lock open, place the rifle muzzle down (on a soft surface) in a secure place (as vertical as it can be), and place a few drops of Hoppes (or other solvent) on the exposed oprod as close to the gas cylinder as possible. The solvent will slowly creep down the oprod to it’s front end and soften any powder residue. Leave over night if possible.***
When shooting from the bench always grasp rifle firmly. Recoil can cause doubles if the rifle is not placed firmly into the shoulder.
*** You will not find these maintenance items listed anywhere as far as I know. I was taught these by a friend (former USMC match armorer, former board member of the Garand Collectors Association, nationally known Garand expert). These were common practices among the USMC rifle team members (in the old days).
Even with a rack grade Garand accuracy can usually be improved by doing a few simple things.
Tighten the stacking swivel. On a lot of rifles the stacking swivel will swing freely. Fold it forward as far as possible and tighten the screw so it stays there. It may sound crazy, but even that little vibration can make a difference.
Make sure the gas cylinder lock is tight. Use a good gas cylinder wrench and a combo tool if you have one and put some muscle to it.
Make sure the rear end of the upper handgaurd is not touching the front of the receiver. If it is, remove it (or have someone with the proper tool remove it) and with a sanding block remove some material from the rear until there is a small amount of clearance. The handgaurd will heat up during firing and put pressure on the receiver and barrel causing accuracy problems.
Proper lubrication is important, especially the stock ferrule. After each shot the rifle wants to “settle down”. With the ferrule lubed it will give the lower band/barrel interface the best chance of achieving a consistent shot to shot position.
Muzzle crown. As with any rifle the crown is very important. Having a clean well cut crown and protecting it while cleaning is very important. Hand held muzzle crowning tools are available in many places. Having one in the shop is a good idea. Look to Brownells for a good kit.
A loose gas cylinder is a major source of accuracy loss. The splines can be peened in a way that will tighten the cylinder and in most cases really help accuracy. I would suggest the new Garand owner seek help from an experienced friend or armorer for this step. I am hoping soon to have a video on the site showing just how it’s done.
Trigger group lock up. Usually a rifle likes a reasonably firm lock up with respect to the trigger group. I have seen rifles that shot well with a very tight or very loose lock up, but for the most part they were the exception. Having to firmly close the trigger guard after it tightens up about ¾ “ from the locked position seems to be best. Swap trigger groups and see how it works. Also, keep those locking lugs on the trigger guard lubed!
Thanks for looking
I hope something here helps your Garand experience. I would not call myself an expert, but I have had the pleasure of shooting with and meeting a few men who truly were experts. I think it’s important to pass along what we know so the information will not be lost.