"Tanker" my M1 Garand, or get an M4gery?


March 13, 2005, 06:36 PM
Fair warning, this is a rambling "what should I do" thread...

I bought a CMP Danish Garand, taken it shooting twice. Liked it more the first time than the second time, so maybe it's growing on me. However, I'll soon be leaving California for good, in order to go to grad school in Austin, TX. So, I thought maybe I'd celebrate "leaving CA/successfully surviving my contract/ entering grad school" by getting an M4gery.

Then again, I've always had a strong desire to get a "tanker" shortened Garand from a reputable builder, and my Rack Grade CMP seems a good base. I know someone will write in and accuse me of butchery for destroying a relic, but it's better than the folks that stack Garands in piles and torch them. Better a shooter than tinder.

Thought process is as follows:

PRICE: TIE CMP Garand ($390) + .308 Barrel ($175) + Tanker conversion by Roland Beaver ($275) plus shipping/fees ($30) = $860 About the same price as a decent RRA/BM AR-15.
SIGHTS: TIE To my eyes, they're basically the same sights, which IMO are about the best open sights you can get.
AMMO COST: TIE Argentine .308 surplus and Lake City bulk .223 are running around 19c/rd these days.
MAINTENANCE: TIE Possible heresey, but you have to clean out the gas system on an M1, and have to stock both lube and grease. Balances out the AR, whose gas-impingement is a bit grimy, and whose star chamber is a pain. Plus you can clean an AR from the breach with a rod.
RESALE HIT: TIE I think I'd lose about 30% on either one if I sold it after the first shoot.
DURABILITY: M1 Seems pretty intuitive. Kind of why I picked the Ruger over the Buckmark. Pick it up and think "makes an effective bludgeon."
NIMBLENESS: AR Half the weight, a few inches shorter. Dodge/weave and whanot.


Tanker M1: High-quality product rebuilt by an accomplished and respected gunsmith (Roland Beaver). Time-tested design, "built like they used to build them", etc. Downside: heavy, limited capacity. Recoil is a little stout off the bench, and double taps will probably not achieve AR-type quickness. Though ego should not play a role in the decisions, it would be cool to have both my primary rifle and primary pistol be pre-1950.

M4gery: High-quality modern product from respected company (RRA or BM). Design refined since Vietnam, unlimited potential for modification and accessorization. Very similar to the rifle I was first trained on (M16A2), thus comfortingly familiar and ergonomic. Negligible recoil, would be great for teaching attractive coeds to shoot.

Or perhaps I should just sell my M1, pocket the cash, and buy an SKS to fill the void until I figure out what I really want. Just my rambles, would welcome any opinions from the gallery. Take care, -MV

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March 13, 2005, 07:20 PM
To start with, the "Tanker" was never built for the military. It was a gunsmith idea dreamed up many years back. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. IMHO, the Garand is the sexiest gun EVER made. Not Pamela Anderson sexy, but Greta Garbo sexy! Kind of an old flair to it, know what I mean? You might think it is cool when you get it back, but trust me, one day you will regret modifying it. Leave it as is, or restore it. And one day, even if you do shorten it, you are going to wake up and realize that you are missing that AR-15 in your life and you will wind up buying one anyway.
So I say go forth and pick out that M4gery!!!!!! And let the Garand live the life John C. Garand intended for it!
Now, on to picking out your M4gery.....
I suggest A Rock River Arms, and take a look over at the AR15.com website and check out the dealers for sale area. Look up "Pete in NH" He usually stocks everything at great prices.

March 13, 2005, 08:13 PM
Scott: I am aware that the "tanker" is basically a fictional weapon, and that many shoddy copies have been made through the years. However, it is still a much handier version of a classic weapon, and it's said that Fulton Armory, Farnham, Roland Beaver, and other reputable shops have turned out perfectly reliable "tankers". I am hesitant, in that we today roundly condemn those who sporterized Krags back when they were cheap in the 1950s, contributing to the modern lack of pristine Krags. However, it does have a well-used bore, has been rearsenaled by the Danes, used as a Boot Camp rifle by numerous platoons of Scandanavians, etc. Not the same thing as Grandpa's bring-back from Iwo Jima.

Would it make any difference, morally speaking, if I bought a stripped receiver from CMP and built a pseudo "tanker" on that? Or is it the destiny of every stripped Garand receiver to be rebuilt into a 30-06 Garand? I go back and forth on the issue myself.

Regarding RRA: that's who I'm looking at, mainly their mid-length "Elite" model w/ detachable handle. I do admit, I do feel most comfortable with the M16 relatives.

March 13, 2005, 08:21 PM
Now I'd never knock anyone for modifying a rifle. I hunt with a "Sporterized" .308 Ishy I "Bubbaized" myself! At least with the Garand, someone will always make barrels, stocks, and anything else you need for parts. I was just suggesting that I really like the Garand as is.
But you've got to admit it, if your thinking of an AR, you're not going to be happy long term with anything else you might think will do the job. There is no substitution for the real thing!

March 13, 2005, 09:09 PM
I just got the RRA CAR-15A4...midlength, removable carry handle, collapsible stock. Don't like it as well as my M1A for "serious" use, but man, is it fun. It's not Pam Anderson sexy, or even Greta Garbo sexy, more of a Carmen Electra sexy. Like Scott said, you'll always want one, so just get it.

I'd feel bad sawing up any Garand, they've been around far longer than I have, and have done far more in history. That's just my take on it though.

Oh, and if you tanker-ize that Garand, I'm in San Antonio, so if you have a vast selection of attractive coeds that absolutely must shoot an AR, by all means, I'll jump on that grenade for ya. :evil:


March 13, 2005, 09:33 PM
IMHO if you get the AR you'll have a battle rifle in 30-06 and one in .223, two niches filled in your safe, next you can get an M1A, STG58 or AR10. Plus you'll be supporting the type of american company that the politicians in CA hate, great way to say good riddance and fangu! :)

March 13, 2005, 09:43 PM
Keep the M1 as is, get the M4gery.

March 13, 2005, 10:48 PM
2 guns beat 1 any day. Get the evil black rifle, and let the Garand live a life of peace. You know that you will buy one anyday anyways, so it might as well be now.

March 13, 2005, 11:00 PM
Don't convert that Garand. The "Tanker" conversions are just not as reliable or durable as the stock GI guns. This is true even when a good smith does the job. Yes, a lot of the problems with tankers are from poor workmanship on the conversion, but even if it is done well, you've still changed the operating parameters of the weapon from the original design. The gas system and spring set-up on the Garand can get especially finicking once you've changed them and problems with tanker guns are notoriously hard to diagnose and correct.

The other problem is that once you convert the rifle you are commiting yourself to non-standard parts. GI parts are getting hard enough to find as it is. To get a replacement "Tanker" op-rod, if you ever need one, you'd pretty much have to get the smith who built your rifle to convert another standard GI op-rod to fit your gun. That's more expensive than just dropping in a standard part.

One last thought: A M4 clone will hold it's resale value much more then a Tanker Garand. Even if it's built by a good smith, the collecter value is ruined by the conversion and there just isn't that much interest in short Garands on the general market. A good M4 clone, by a reputable company, is one of the "hot" guns right now and interest, and resale value, are pretty high.

March 14, 2005, 02:17 AM
I'd get the M4 now and save your money for a shorter barrel version of the M1A later. The shorty M1As use mostly standard parts and shoot .308 from standard mags; all of which should help hold it's value and give you more configuration options. Garands are nice old rifles, but they have parts and ammo issues that's only going to get worse over time. Mil-surplus 30-06 isn't as common anymore and I don't know how much of the Korean surplus is available and where the next surplus will come from. I have a nice CMP garand that I flip-flop over keeping or selling and I have the ammo, brass, and spare parts/clips to keep it running for a long time. It's also the closest thing I have to a safe queen and I'm not (and don't want to be) a serious collector. Make sure you'll enjoy what you end up with.

You might be able to get into an M4-clone cheaper if you are inclined to assemble it yourself.

If money is much of a consideration, an SKS has alot to offer IMO and 9-10 cents per pop vs. 19-20 cents makes for cheaper shooting. If you get a decent SKS and take care of it, they'll definitely hold their value, if that's important. A Yugo model 59 (not 59/66 with grenade launcher) looks to be a clone of the Russian SKSs and those were/are some very sweet shooting rifles. AIM has Yugo 59s for $160. You should be able to get one shipped and transferred for close to $200 total and maybe even keep your garand then have 2 oldies that are shooters.

March 14, 2005, 07:35 AM
Welcome to Austin

+1 on the RockRivers

Bartholomew Roberts
March 14, 2005, 08:39 AM
Well, I have limited experience with the Tankers, and none with the gunsmith you mentioned, but it seems to me that in one scenario you pay $860 to have a single semi-auto rifle that will likely be less reliable and durable than your existing M1. In the other scenario, you end up with two rifles, both of which have an excellent reputation.

March 14, 2005, 10:03 AM
First off Get the RRA.

Ok Roland is a great smith, lives up the interstate from me, and I've been to his shop and seen his work. But besides all of the other things, have you seen his wait time? I'd say get the M4 keep the garand the way it is or just buy a new barrel for it.

March 14, 2005, 11:05 AM
You might be able to get into an M4-clone cheaper if you are inclined to assemble it yourself.

+1 on that. I recently purchased a stripped lower for ~$99.00 and just this morning ordered a 20" AR Kit from Del-ton (A3, detachable carry handle, blah, blah,blah) for $550.00. So for $650.00 and about an hour of my own labor I'll have a new AR.

March 14, 2005, 12:47 PM
Here you go, right here on THR:


March 14, 2005, 02:19 PM
+1 on the "buy an M4-gery". Keep the Garand as is...it looks to me from your trade-offs that what you are trying to do is get a CQB type weapon. A Tanker isn't going to give you that. As said above, if you want a short, full power rifle, save your money for a M1A SOCOM or Para FAL.

Get the M4-gery for about $600 with no assembly work required. J&T M4 upper = ~$400. DPMS M4 lower complete with 6 pos M4 stock =~$200. $600 and you have excellent quality M4-gery.

Plus, you now have 2 guns with an excuse to buy another.

March 14, 2005, 02:45 PM
There is the possibility we may see another AW ban, especially in about 3 years, so get whatever evil rifles you want now.

March 14, 2005, 06:59 PM
Definetly M-4. I was considering "tankerization" myself, but as soon as I got that classic warhorse in my hands, I couldn't bring myself to it. Garands are generally very reliable, but the chopped gas system can cause some trouble. I've heard the same from at least a half-dozen individuals. And, no matter how short you chop the Garand, it'll still be "a Garand", and not an "evil" assault rifle, which every California refugee needs to get at some point.

March 14, 2005, 07:01 PM

If not, M4.

Dave Markowitz
March 14, 2005, 07:11 PM
To start with, the "Tanker" was never built for the military. It was a gunsmith idea dreamed up many years back.

Not quite. The proper designation is T26, and rather than being designed for tankers, it was intended to be the American equivalent of the British No.5 "Jungle Carbine" for use in jungle warfare and issue to airborne troops. For the military only prototypes were made. The "Tanker" sobriquet was coined in the 1950s by Robert Penney.

See: http://www.scott-duff.com/t26.htm

March 14, 2005, 07:30 PM
as much as it pains me to say it...Get the M4gery...Leave the Garand alone...Your children will thank you...

Now I feel dirty :mad:

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