Preserving A Piece of American History: The Iconic M1 Garand Care and Feeding

| May 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

M1 Garand History Overview

John Cantius Garand a Canadian-born inventor had his design adopted by the US Arms factory Springfield Armory in 1936 as the standard US Infantry Rifle. 1937 through 1940 Springfield Armory was mass producing and working out all of the bugs for the M1 Garand. The peak of the war brought the US Government to solicit Winchester to also start making the M1 Garand. Together Springfield Armory and Winchester produced WWII Garands to the tune of 4Million rifles produced.

Post WWII Winchester ceased it’s production which makes many collectors desire this model. The United States was the only country to equip its troops with an auto-loading rifle as the standard infantry weapon of WWII. It gave our troops a tremendous advantage in firepower, and led General George Patton to call the M1 Garand, “The greatest battle implement ever devised.”

Unfortunately Korea decided to attack South Korea in 1950. This lead to the M1 Garand being called upon again. I consider there to be two periodic versions, those which served in WWII and those that came after. Springfield continued to produce the M1 for the Korean conflict along with International Harvester and Harrington & Richardson or often referred to as H&R which lead to around about 1.5Mil additional M1’s being built. Shortly after this conflict the shortest lived combat rifle went into production the M14 which lead to retirement of the M1 Garand. Which is why we must preserve this great piece of American History.


The Iconic M1 Garand Care and Feeding

Part of preserving this Icon is finding one. Of course there is CMP The Civilian Marksmanship Program, though you must read the requirements. There are other shops with some pristine examples of relics that exist like Palmer Firearms LLC. 


Bringing Your M1 Garand Home

After getting your M1 Garand home do a complete once over. This is the one thing I love about Palmer many will not allow you to inspect in detail prior to leaving the store. This place will work with you and the owner is so knowledgeable that upon request he will often disassemble for you to let you have a visual. He even gauged the throat and muzzle for me which is a great indicator of wear or usage. What I typically am looking for is tight fitting parts, no rust or pitting and proper function. Once inspected CLEAN AND PROPERLY LUBE your rifle. Lubing requires grease, I specifically use Valvoline Full Synthetic Grease and Q-Tips. I also put in new recoil and hammer springs all achievable at home with no tools required. The clip spring fortunately I have never had to change but I do have spares just in case.

It is probably important for you to have a manual as well, if nothing more for the historic factor.

Proper Ammunition

After cleaning, inspection and changing your springs it is time to head to the range. This is a highly flammable topic. I am not going to debate the full spectrum that could be covered, remember this is what I believe is best to preserve the M1 Garand, it deserves to be treated like the Icon it is after what it has seen. It’s fairly simple for me use M1 M2Ball non-corrosive ammunition specifically made for the M1 NOTHING ELSE.

Caution even when using period specific surplus ammunition make sure to do as much research as possible. I will no longer use ammunition prior to 1951, 1950 is when non-corrosive primers were introduced. 1950 ammunition can be perfectly fine again this is about my safety and American History preservation. For you wise guys I know I am old but I am talking about the rifle NOT ME. I personally have purchased some Korean surplus ammo only to find out later there were issues with the Lot number I had. For the reloaders out there acquire yourself a Hornady Reloading Manual it has a section specific to the M1 Garand. It has many powders and combinations but I will only use IMR 4895 recipe’s.

Additional Insurance

If you are utilizing the right ammunition and according to CMP this is ammunition with pressures less than 50K CUP with a bullet weight less than 172 grains. I still prefer to use a ported gas plug. There are two brands that I have used personally and they are the Garand Gear Plug and the Schuster Adjustable Plug both meet my needs and I have rifles with both types and they work extremely well. Most that want want to try and test their luck and shoot the hunting ammo often lean towards the Schuster for the adjustability to specific rounds. Both are worth the additional insurance as it leads to even longer life of the Iconic M1 Garand.


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