Reloading for the Garand


October 1, 2006, 05:25 PM
What powder do you use and how much of it? I recently got a Garand and I put together some reloads for it but when I tried them out, they didnít work very well. I read online you should not use powders slower than 4350 and it is best to stay between 3031 and 4064. In Bostonís Gun Bible, he says he likes 4064. I used 48gr. of 4064 with a 168gr. Bullet and it wouldnít cycle right. With the first clip, after 2 or 3 rounds, the clip actually popped out. It didnít leave the rifle but it popped up. My buddy shot another clip and the op rod popped out the side slightly when it was back all the way. Being a lefty, that op rod scares me because I really donít want a hole in my skull if it comes loose!:uhoh: It was after this, I decided not to use the hand loads anymore so I got out some regular Ball M2 and it seemed to work well. Does anyone know what was wrong with my hand loads? What powders should I try out next? Iíve heard 4895 is supposed to be good but Iíve never tried it.

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October 1, 2006, 06:07 PM

You don't say what brass you're using, but assuming it's military brass, your load is a warm one. Try backing off 1 full grain (47.0gr) of the 4064. 46.5gr of surplus IMR4895 in LC brass is a good load with the 168gr bullets. Your clip and op rod problems may be or may not be unrelated to the warm loads. Try backing off the powder and see what happens.


October 1, 2006, 06:53 PM

Back in the late 50's, when the M1 rifle was just being made available for civvy Highpower shooters, the SA tech weenies gave the following "M1 Gas System Safe" ammo load rules to the NRA to pass along......

1) NEVER shoot bullets HEAVIER than 180 grains
2) NEVER shoot powder that is SLOWER then IMR-4320

Violating either or both of these rules puts the bore pressure at the gas port above the M1's design limit, causing excess battering of the op-rod, bolt, and receiver heel. Minor damage from pressures "just over the limit" can include a gradually bending op-rod that begins rubbing and affecting function and accuracy. High End excess pressure can include a snapped op-rod or a cracked out receiver heel.....

Having said that..... with the addition of a ported gas lock screw (Like the McCann version) you can vent off excess gas port pressure and shoot just about any ammo you want. Note that the "non-issue" gas lock screws are legal in NRA Highpower and in CMP-EIC events, but NOT in the CMP's John C. Garand events.

Just my thoughts,

Garands forever

October 1, 2006, 09:29 PM
My M1 prefers either H4895 or even more, W-748.
I load 47 grains of W-748 in LC (Lake City) brass, or, Federal brass, trimmed to the 'proper trim-to' length, and I use Winchester primers in the '06 cases.

EDIT: I use Sierra 168 gr. BTHP over that W-748.

Side note: Several years ago, one of the 'regulars' at my local club had just received his DCM M1 Garand, and picked up some Winchester factory hunting rounds.

He fired his rifle in the club High Power Match that following week, using those hunting rounds.

We used to share information amongst the High Power shooters, but, he didn't read the info from the NRA on proper loads for the Garand. "It couldn't happen to him."

Well, he got throught the standing stage, just fine.
We started the prone-rapid stage. He got into position and fired his first two rounds. In comparison to all of the other shooters, his rounds sounded like magnums.
He did the mandatory reload after round two had been fired.
On round three (3), the rifle fired o.k., but, the stock shattered in his hands!!!

The reason. . . we believe. . . excessive 'port pressure' caused the rifle to self destruct.

Fortunately for all of us, no-one was injured. This man's hands 'stung' for several days, but there were no lasting injuries.

October 1, 2006, 10:23 PM
H4895 is probably the defacto commercial powder you should use for M1 Garands chambered in .30-06.

IMR 4064 is also another common powder used.

If you can get it, military surplus 4895 from, Pat's Reloading, Wideners, or your favorite powder supplier is good. It's pull down from actual M2 ball so you know it's Garand safe.

I haven't handloaded for the Garand in a long time since JCG matches issue LC or HXP M2 ball, so I practice with HXP M2 ball ammo. Anyway, here's a link to my personal notes on M1 Garand .30-06 handloads:

46.5gr IMR 4064 with a 168gr Sierra Match King averaged 2539.8fps in my HRA with an LMR barrel (LC brass, Winchester LR primer).

So you used 48.0gr of IMR 4064 with a 168gr bullet and had the oprod jumping the track? According to the Hornady manual in the section for the M1 Garand, 47.2gr IMR 4064 is listed as max. It's probably that you're running it too hot. Drop it down to 47.0gr and you should be fine and running at around 2600fps which is ideal.

I would also suggest you have the oprod gauged by a competent M1 Garand gunsmith like DGR or Warbird. It's possible that the oprod is worn and needs to be serviced or replaced. Even though you say that M2 surplus seems to run ok without any oprod problems, it would still be an good idea to have the oprod checked. And if you haven't done so, replace your oprod spring with a stainless steel oprod spring from Orion 7.

October 2, 2006, 08:54 AM
Look at some load data for Hodgdon BL-C(2), (Ball C).
It is a powder specifically created for loading cartridges such as the .30/06 and 7.62 NATO*- the stuff burns clean in a Garand too.
Here are a couple .30/06 loads from Lyman to tickle your interest.
168 grain jacketed MATCH bullet 43 grains BL-C for 2540fps and 42,000 CUP of pressure at the low end. I like 45.5grains and still way safe.

150 grain bullet, pick a form, HP, SP, FMJ etc. doesn't matter, and 46 grains at 2770 and 44,600 CUP at the low end and plenty safe in a Garand, I like 48 grains, it all but duplicates the service load and still in the safe zone. HTH

October 2, 2006, 09:22 AM
Copy & Paste from Hodgdonís website re: powder for .30-06 loads for the Garand

If loads are to be used in a semi-auto, especially the Garand, H4895 should be the powder of choice to protect the operating rod. The gas system of the Garand was designed to use the amount of gas produced by H4895 for proper function.

October 2, 2006, 09:37 AM
One of the only on the shelf, at Wal-Mart loads that is M1 safe for sure is
the Remington Green/Yellow box 150gr core-lokt...M1's like it well. I Called Remington about 12 years ago about loads for M1 use that they might make
and that was the suggested round as it was made with the M1 and older '06
guns in mind. Have used it in two different ones over the years with no harm,
it feeds well and goes bang. So thats what I use when I didnt get around to reloading, and I cant get a decent supply of .30M2 types.

October 2, 2006, 03:05 PM
IMR-4895. ;)

October 2, 2006, 09:23 PM

I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who was fixing to say he used IMR4895.

My brass is liable to be either Winchester or Lake City.

Powder's liable to be either IMR4064 or IMR4895... the latter is 42-48grs... according to the Hornady 5th Edition manual depending on the bullet weight. The heavier the bullet, the less powder.

Bullet's liable to be a 147gr BT-FMJ, 150gr spitzer, or 168gr BTHP.

My last handload I fired in my Garand was a 147gr BT-FMJ over 42grs IMR4895. It cycled the action reliably and grouped tight, but I need to load up some more and see what they do further out. Also needs comparing to a 48gr charge (as well as in between) for accuracy.

October 2, 2006, 10:25 PM
Before you do anything else, have a smithy who knows the rifle, look at your rifle. If parts are coming out there's something wrong with it. Likely worn parts. The follower rod is likely worn or damaged and is likely the cause of the clips coming out prematurely. A good bath and re-greasing wouldn't hurt either. The op rod may need replacing too. That won't be cheap, but if the rod keeps jumping out of its rail, it's worn out and needs replacing. Have a look at the rail first though.
Go buy a loading manual. Seems to me the Hornady manual has a section specifically for M-1 loads. Then use IMR4604 with 150 to 180 grain bullets. 165 grain hunting bullets give the best hunting accuracy and 168 grain match bullets for target shooting. IMR4895 is fine, but the 4064 seems to give more consistent accuracy.
The brass MUST be full length resized every time and the OAL is critical. Also check the case lengths.
And don't worry about the op handle. I've been shooting my rifle left handed for eons with no trouble whatsoever. A copy of Hatcher's Book of the Garand would be a good idea too. Most gun shops or Amazon.

October 2, 2006, 10:36 PM
A quick related question-
I read pretty much every post on this topic, and I was wondering for those of you with .308 cal garands, what ammo you like to use? What do you avoid?
I've shot hundreds of rounds of SA 7.62x51 from my .308 M1 and it runs great. What others would work, though?

October 2, 2006, 11:46 PM
Re .308 Match Grade M1's... of which I own two.

Mostly handloads as follows:

JLK 175 grain VLD over Re-15 and 4895 (GREAT 600 yard load.)
SMK 175 over Re-15
SMK 168 over Re-15 and 4895
SMK 150 over 4895

Milsurp Portugeuse 7.62 Nato, South African, and Hirtenberger all run fine in my M1's.

Best to all,

Garands forever

October 3, 2006, 12:21 AM
Mostly handloads as follows:

JLK 175 grain VLD over Re-15 and 4895 (GREAT 600 yard load.)
SMK 175 over Re-15
SMK 168 over Re-15 and 4895
SMK 150 over 4895

One thing any bystanders or new handloaders need to understand is that when "and" is used in the bold type in this quote, it should be read to mean "or" because, as every knowledgeable handloader knows, you choose one powder or the other. You never mix two or more because they have different burn rates and any mix can very well over-pressurize the rifle.

Also note that Swampy didn't include the charge weights. Whenever you work up a handload for yourself, always consult a manual or three and realize that you operate at your own risk of serious injury or death in the event your rifle explodes. That's already been illustrated very well in another post even though the shooter was un-injured by his rifle's demise in that one case.

Dave R
October 3, 2006, 12:26 AM
FWIW, Speer No. 13 has several loads in both .308 and .30-06 section "starred" as being recommended for gas-operated semi-autos.

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