Skip to comments.M1 Garand: Our New Service Rifle (Original 1938 Review)
Posted on 05/18/2012 11:00:10 AM PDT by Mikey_1962
For more than thirty years the Ordnance Department endeavored to obtain a satisfactory semi-automatic or self-loading rifle to replace the bolt action Springfield. These efforts were not confined to the development within the Department. Invitations were extended periodically to gun designers in this country and abroad to submit weapons for test, and tests were made of those received which showed any promise of meeting the specifications prescribed.
During this period of thirty odd years many rifles were received and tested. Mechanisms embodying every known principle of operation were represented in the many types submitted.
After many tests of various calibers, it was decided that the caliber .276 cartridge developed sufficient power for a shoulder weapon and that the use of this smaller cartridge would facilitate the design of a reliable and durable self-loading rifle within the prescribed weight limit and would also reduce the load of the individual soldier due to the lighter weight of the cartridge. Of the several rifles in this caliber submitted for test, two were outstanding: the Pedersen; and the Garand, designed and developed by Mr. John C. Garand. Both Mr. Pedersen and Mr. Garand carried on their development work at the Springfield Armory.
A number of each of these types were manufactured and submitted to the services for test. Both rifles performed very well. However, to adopt a weapon of this caliber involved further complication of the supply problem by the introduction of another type of ammunition.
In the meantime, Mr. Garand, who has been in the employ of the Ordnance Department at the Springfield Armory for the past eighteen years as a designer of automatic weapons, completed a test model of a semi-automatic rifle designed to function with either the Caliber .30, M1, Model 1906, or the caliber .30, M1, service cartridge. This rifle appeared so promising in its preliminary tests that decision to adopt the caliber .276 was held in abeyance. The results of continued tests of the caliber .30 weapon were so excellent that the caliber .276 project was abandoned altogether and the caliber .30 weapon as developed by Mr. Garand was adopted as the standard shoulder weapon of our Army. This action was taken in January, 1936.
The new rifle, with which our troops are to be equipped, is officially known as the U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1, and popularly as the Garand Semi-Automatic Rifle. It is of the gas-operated type and employs an en-bloc type of clip holding eight rounds. It varies somewhat from the conventional type of gas-operated weapon in that there is no hole drilled in the barrel is provided with a sleeve and just as the base clears the muzzle, a small amount of gas is diverted through a port at the muzzle into a cylinder where it impinges upon the piston of the operating rod, driving it to the rear. The location of the port at the muzzle rather than at some point nearer the breech permits the use of gas at a lower pressure, thereby decreasing the stresses on the operating parts of the rifle. The rifle has seventy-two component parts, which include springs, pins and screws; weighs about nine pounds; is forty-three inches overall in length; has a pistol-grip type stock; and provision is made for attaching a bayonet.
The rear sight is mounted on the receiver as close to the eye as possible and is of the aperture being seven-hundredths of an inch. The front sight is of the blade type protected by guards similar to those on the U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1917.
The first production models were completed and delivered to troops in August, 1937. Since that time a small but constant monthly production, limited by the equipment available, has been maintained.
The total number of rifles for which funds have provided to June 30, 1938, is approximately 7500, and it is expected to complete the delivery of these during the current calendar year. For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1938, funds have been provided for the manufacturer of and additional quantity of rifles, and funds have also been provided to greatly increase the equipment, such as new and more modern machines, tools, jigs, fixtures and [gages], required in the production of this weapon. These additional facilities will permit a much greater daily production rate than is now available.
In the meantime, the rifles which have been delivered to troops continue to give excellent service. Every organization so far equips has submitted enthusiastic reports of their performance under all conditions which have been encountered. Demands for this rifle to replace the Springfield are increasing tremendously as its superiority is realized from actual experience with it. This undoubtedly will result in greatly increased yearly appropriations for the production of larger quantities. Even so, it will take several years to complete the rearming of the Regular Army and the National Guard, and as priority will undoubtedly be given to equipping these organizations, it will probably be many years before any of these rifles will become available for other purposes.
My Garand & my M1A. Love ‘em both!
There was at the time, and still is btw, a school of thought that the .27 caliber is about the ideal for combat purposes.
Hence the drive to 'upsize' the 5.56 to 6.5 mm (.255 caliber).
Bob the Nailer likes it (Night of Thunder).
Might depend on when and where the Kar.98 was made. The one I had was a 1941 Mauser, one of the “Soviet capture” rifles that was overhauled and put into war reserve. Save for having a slightly stouter recoil, I’d say it was every bit as good as any 1903 Springfield I’ve ever fired.
The British before WWI had decided to go to the 7mm and developed a new rifle, the pattern 14 Enfield for it. Their decision might have been greatly influenced by the fact that the South African Boers used the 7mm Mauser with great effect against them around the turn of the century.
When WWI began, the decision was made to stick with the .303 to prevent supply problems. I think I have read that Churchill himself made the decision.
The pattern 14 was chambered for .303 and contracts made to have it built in America. When the U.S. got involved in the war, we could not provide enough 03 Springfields and the decision was made to modify the Enfield for the 30-06, thus the 1917 Enfield.
Nope. ‘twas a tornado.
Same way I lost that Kar.98 I mentioned...(sniff)
I don't know if it is true, but I read somewhere that the .276 Pedersen also had an ever so slight taper to the case which would make extraction easier than with a straight walled case.
There were also crew served machine guns developed in the same caliber for the same reason. But as said upthread, millions of stored 06 rounds dictated the final decision.
I shot one of my M1s yesterday, trying out some new reloads. I also own several K98k Mausers, and the ones in original condition are just as solid as any Garand. The “Hitler Garand”, the G43, is a different story. They’re a slap-dash midwar effort, and they do rattle when shaken. They also tend to break parts with much use, as they were made to be overpowered for reliability in the extreme cold of the eastern front. If you own one of these, be sure and put a “shooter’s kit” in it, consisting of a smaller gas vent and new springs, before you shoot it.
Garand’s original design was a 10-round gun- the smaller .276 facilitated that.
I have owned a bunch of Mausers. None of them were loose in any way except that when the bolt is all the way back it has some play which is the way they meant it to be. I forget why but I have read that.
When I arrived at Fort Knox in ‘69 I,a kid from a middle class Boston suburb,had never even *seen* a firearm let alone fired one.However,I soon came to realize that rifle range was the only enjoyable part of BCT.We qualified with both the M-14 and the M-16 and I felt much more comfortable,and scored higher,with the M-14.
My dad had an M1, and showed me what “M1 Thumb” meant. Scared the hell of out me to load the thing. It was a nice rugged rifle though.
I was just pinging Archy to chime in with his links and much greater knowledge on the M1 .30/.270 subject.
My dad had an M1, and showed me what M1 Thumb meant. Scared the hell of out me to load the thing. It was a nice rugged rifle though.
That has always puzzled me. I am right-handed and always load the Garand with thumb on top of the clip and palm against the RH side of the rifle, little finger edge of palm toward the bolt handle. In the rare case the bolt doesn’t hang up on the first round, the bolt handle hangs up on the fleshy side of the palm above my little finger.
Just like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, seat clip securely with thumb and slap bolt handle to strip and chamber first round.
Anyone else do that?
I always enjoy reading Arch’s comments and his large arsenal of images. Also a lot of interesting information which I probably would not see anywhere else.
I sometimes wonder how one person could know so much.
I’m left handed so it was always a little awkward for me.
“I also own several K98k Mausers, and the ones in original condition are just as solid as any Garand.”
Amen. My K98 is actual battlefield salvage, and was in better shape than a new WASR-10...
Sure. That’s how they taught it in the service.
Where many people get M-1 Thumb, I believe, is that they don’t pull the bolt all the way back...and it hangs up on the follower instead of latching open. At that point, when you push down on the follower, either with your thumb or with a clip, it WILL go forward! When latched back, the follower has to be shoved practically to the bottom of the magwell (don’t try this at home, just take my word for it) before the latch releases the bolt.
The trick is to 1.) yank it back HARD till it stops, and 2.) look at the bolt face. There’s an air gap between the follower and bolt face when the bolt is locked back properly.
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