Garand ejection problem--Please help.


May 19, 2003, 01:24 AM
My friend's Garand his having problems. At first, it would fail to feed rounds every fourth or fifth shot. The previous round would fire and the bolt would fly back, but it wouldn't go back far enough to catch the next round.

Now, the problem has worsened to the point where spent cases do not eject. After firing, the bolt catches the case and pulls it out, but it doesn't have enough clearance to eject the case entirely and the case ends up getting caught lengthwise between the bolt and the receiver.

The place he purchased it from has very good customer service. I'm sure they'll take care of it if they can discover what's wrong with it. That's the problem, however. The first time we brought it in, they stripped the rifle down, cleaned and inspected it, and eventually couldn't find anything wrong with it.

Could someone more experienced with the Garand please help diagnose the problem? Thanks in advance. :)

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May 19, 2003, 01:45 AM
Surf over to and/or Helpful and friendly bunch in both places. It could be the ammo too. What's he using?

May 19, 2003, 01:52 AM
On a USGI M1 short stroking is usually caused by a fouled gas system, a loose gas cylinder lock screw, or a lock screw with a defective or dirty gas relief port.

In your case, I'm assuming the rifle isn't a USGI rifle so when dealing with put-together M1's it could be anything.

Since the problem seems to get progressively worse the more it's fired, I'd guess something in the gas system is either fouling, or working itself loose.

I'd look for a gas cylinder lock screw working itself loose, a fouled gas port into the barrel, a fouled gas cylinder, or a weak spring on the gas cylinder lock screw port allowing the plunger to open up and leak gas out the lock screw.

Again with a non-GI rifle it could also be something off the wall like a binding stock or a mis-fit op rod.

May 19, 2003, 02:17 AM
It's a Danish Garand (at least it has a VAR barrel and a Danish label adhered to the inside of the stock). At first, he was shooting Danish surplus; he later switched to some of my Lake City surplus. After the switch, he noticed a slight improvement, then the downhill slide.

I suspected a bent op rod because I assumed the rifle (including the gas system) was completely cleaned after the first shop inspection. I'll look over his rifle (with an untrained eye :scrutiny: ) to see if I can spot any of the other problem areas you listed. Thank you for your speedy and knowledgeable reply.

May 19, 2003, 08:25 AM

YOu can determine whether or not you have a bent op-rod (or at least whether or not the op-rod is binding) by doing the M1 "tilt test".

Remove the action from the stock.

Remove the op-rod spring and guide.

Holding the action by the tip end of the barrel and by the back end of the receiver slowly tilt the action forward and backward. The op-rod and bolt should open and close by gravity action alone without any "grabs" or binding.

Most M1's will open and close within 30-45 degrees of horizontal.

Next, put the action back into the stock WITHOUT THE SPRING AND GUIDE and do the same tilting test. This will show if the op-rod is binding on the wood anywhere.

It will take a fairly hard bind in the op-rod to impede ejection to the point you describe. Light binding won't do much more than screw with accuracy.

If it does seem fine (and it probably will be), then the problem is most likely one of the ones mentioned already.

One problem that was not mentioned but is a real possibility is a worn gas cylinder and-or op-rod piston. Just plain old wear will leave a Garand with too much "blowby" in the system, making ejection weak.

To correct this problem you can have a new op-rod piston installed. If the gas cylinder is pretty worn, an oversized piston will be in order.

You'll need a micrometer and an M1 gas cylinder gauge to make a determination on this. If you have a local "Garand Guru" he will most likely have these gauges.

Also... check the ejected brass for rings, protrusions, gouges, or crud. A very dirty chamber or a chamber with "problems" can impede ejection.

Good luck on finding the problem,


May 19, 2003, 11:46 AM
worn recoil spring, easy to fix

May 19, 2003, 12:08 PM
dude wrote:

worn recoil spring, easy to fix

Sorry. Not a chance.

A weak spring would not cause any of the problems described. A weak spring would tend to ALLEVIATE the type of problems described by making it EASIER to open the bolt and eject the case.

Best regards,

May 19, 2003, 03:30 PM

Great post. Loaded with tons of info and written in concise layman's terms (greatly appreciated, BTW). Scott Duff's got nothing on you, sir.

If anyone's a "Garand Guru," it'd have to be you. ;) :)

Jim K
May 19, 2003, 06:24 PM
First, clean the gas cylinder and piston. Check the size of the piston (min is .5253") and gas cylinder internal diameter (max is .530). If these are off, gas leakage will prevent full cycling.

Also check the barrel bearings and the inside of the cylinder front ring. Rather than giving specs, just look to see if there is a lot of carbon in that area. Then with the cylinder in place and the lock in place but without the lock screw, look in and see if the gas port is lining up with the hole in the cylinder and if the port is ahead of the piston head.


May 20, 2003, 02:45 AM
a new recoil spring happily solved my feeding/cycling trouble (but I'm not a guru)

May 20, 2003, 07:55 AM

Me no "guru" either...... just well studied in M1 problems.

A weak spring will cause FTF's, by not having enough force to strip rounds from the magazine on the op-rods return stroke.....

This is not the problem that BamBam has. He describes problems with the rifle not having enough "oomph" on the op-rods power stroke. It's not going back far enough to pull the case out of the chamber.

This is totally indicitave of a problem with the gas system either not getting enough pressure, or with binding, or of a problem with the chamber (dirty-deformed).

Remember, the op-rod spring is OPPOSING this opening and eject action. A new, more powerful spring would make this situation worse, not better.

BamBam... hope you get it solved.


May 20, 2003, 04:47 PM
My Garand was having failure to feed probs this last trip to the range. The action was not going far enough back to strip the next round out of the magazine. I figured it was my latest reloads. I had put together a batch of rounds with Hornady 150 gr. FMJ/BT using 47 gr. of IMR 4895. Most fed fine, but a few required that I cycle the bolt manually to feed the next round. My initial thought was to load up a bit hotter, say 47.5 gr.

Other ammo has fired fine, but this should be a good load. I think I may check out a few of the suggestions mentioned in this thread.

May 21, 2003, 01:45 AM
Your load very closely duplicates the M2 Ball ammo. Same charge behind a 168 gr. matchking gives similar results as the M72 Match @ 2640 fps in my M1's. Both should function well in a fit M1. (Usual disclaimer.........start low and work up, your mileage may vary!).

As previously posted, check fired case for signs of a pitted or rough chamber, if that's OK, check your gas system as described above.


David Wile
May 21, 2003, 02:06 AM
Hey folks,

I would point out somthing that should be obvious to all of us, but no one has mentioned it as yet. The M1 action really does require grease at the obvious wear points to function properly. If your action has no grease in the rails, military ammunition will often fail to operate the action. This is true even if the rails have oil on them. I know this may seem obvious to many, but over the years I have seen several shooters have functioning problems with the M1 because the action was not greased according to instructions. In each case, the application of grease made the rifles function with the same ammo that was previously not working the action properly. Just a thought.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

May 21, 2003, 07:08 AM

Good point, and perfectly right......

I guess we assume that everyone maintains their rifle the same as we do and go straight to diagnosis of a real "problem" instead of looking at something that should be obvious... ;)

GREASE that Garand.

Best regards,

Nando Aqui
July 8, 2003, 01:44 PM
I have the exact same problem with me 'new' 1945 vintage SA M1, beautifully rebuilt by a very reputable gunsmith.

Using the Danish surplus, about half the empties don't eject, they get caught between the bolt and the receiver; and the other half of the time the rifle ejects fine but does not pick up a fresh round - doesn't go back quite far enough.

(1) I measured the piston at .525 and the cylinder bore at .530. At first I thought that this was too much of a gap, but perhaps not?

(2) Gas plug is tight, and the gas port is clear.

(3) Without the spring, the oprod & bolt slide back and forth all the way very easily by just tilting the rifle a bit, with or without the stock.

(4) With the spring in place, however, as soon as the bolt clears the follower, it becomes more difficult to move it back the rest of the way, say the last 1/2-inch or so. Perhaps this is the way it is supposed to be?

(5) A new spring from Orion7 was suggested, if it didn't already have one. The existing spring, which is 19-5/8 inches long, is magnetic, so it most likely is alloy or carbon steel. According to Orion7, their springs are made of 17-7, which is semi-austenitic, and I believe not magnetic, but I am not sure. Martensitic stainless, such as 410 and 420 are magnetic.

(6) But if a new spring means a stronger spring, it more than likely would aggravate the problem.

(7) I have not greased the rifle as suggested. What grease do you guys recommend?

Thanks for all the help!


July 8, 2003, 02:44 PM
Any good grease works on the Garand. The gov't issued small tubs of Lubriplate when the Garand was in use. I generally use lubriplate but Shooter's Choice red grease works equally well as does Tetra Gun grease.

Have also shot the M1 dry in extreme conditions to avoid malfunctions, but it was an issued rifle, not my own. Shot two 80 shot regional matches on two consecutive days @ Ft. Bliss w/o a single malfunction; those who greased their rifles properly had lots of alibis due to blowing sand.

There should not be noticeably increased tension on the recoil spring at the end of stroke (last 1/2" as described). IIRC, if the follower rod is installed upside down, it can cause increased friction at the end of stroke.
This is probably not your problem, but won't hurt to mention it. The follower rod should be parallel to barrel, if upside down will run at an angle and contact the bullet guide when near end of stroke.


David Wile
July 8, 2003, 02:45 PM
Hey Alex,

I have no idea what the piston and cylinder should measure, but what you describe sounds like you really may just need to grease the wear points on the moving parts. Your plug is tight, port clear, and it sounds as if the op rod and bolt are sliding properly without the spring in place. What you describe with the spring in place does not sound wrong to me.

Before you spend any money on any unnecessary parts, you have to grease that rifle or it will never function properly. As far as what type of grease to use, plain old automotive moly grease is just fine. I use a heat resistant bearing grease for my semi autos, but I really doubt if it is any better than a plain moly grease. As far as where to grease the rifle, there are field manuals available that will tell you exactly where Springfield Armory said to grease them. If you do not have any, send me an E-Mail and I will send you a scanned copy of the info on greasing in the manual. In short, you will need to put a light film of grease on the rail bearing surfaces of the bolt and the receiver. Then you will also want to put a film of grease on the op rod know and the slot it moves in. I also put a film of grease on the piston and move it in the cylinder. The surfaces where the bolt rides over the hammer to cock it should also be greased.

Without looking at it, I cannot think of the other wear surfaces, but I am sure there are a few I missed. Like I said, if you need a copy of the part of the manual on greasing, send me an E-Mail.

Before doing anything else, grease that Garand and see if that fixes your problems. Oiling the parts mentioned above does not do the same thing as greasing them.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

Nando Aqui
July 8, 2003, 07:30 PM
I'll try the grease and see what happens. I already have several manuals and other sources for determining where to apply it. I'll report back after my visit to the range, hopefully this coming weekend.

Thanks for the advice.


A comment:
I was really surprised at how many people have experienced the same problem with their M1 Garand, as posted both here (THR) and at I have another 30-06 semi-auto, an FN49, and it has never malfunctioned with any ammo, including the Danish surplus.

David Wile
July 8, 2003, 09:32 PM
Hey Alex,

You may have a semi-auto that will actually function without grease, but any semi-auto will have an increased life expectancy if you do grease the wearing surfaces. I have three M1 Garands, and one will actually fire and function without grease, but it puts increased wear and tear on it to do it that way. The same is also true of semi-auto handguns.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

Nando Aqui
July 8, 2003, 10:03 PM

Good point. I've always been concerned about too much lubrication attracting (sticking) dirt and causing more problems, but I am also very much aware of the need for lubrication between sliding surfaces. (I've been designing machinery for over 30 years)

I had always gotten by with a light film of CLP on my semi-autos (FN's - besides the 49- , Colt AR's, DSA's, several HK's, M1A;s, etc.) but will start using a thin film of grease from now on. I guess I'll worry about the dirt sticking problem if I ever have to go to the Iraqi desert, which at my age that is about as likely to happen as winning the lottery.



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