Customized Garands, musings, thoughts, pictures!


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Nightcrawler
November 10, 2006, 05:21 AM
I know many consdier it blasphemy to modify a military surplus gun in any way, but it's been going on for awhile.

My favorite rifle that I've never used is the M1 Garand. I see a lot of potential for the old warhorse yet, and with a few tweaks it can be "modernized" just a bit.

My first (heh) Garand will probably be a stock GI type, albeit in .308, becuase I have a bunch of .308 and M1s don't like most commerical .30-06 anyway (besides, the difference between 7.62x51 M80 ball and .30 caliber M2 ball is, I believe, three grains of weight and less than a hundred feet per second in velocity).

The Garand may not be, to everyone's mind, the best choice for a "serious" rifle, but in some places, it's the only choice. Chicago, for instance, bans all autoloading rifles with detachable magazines. The M1 is 50-state legal and can be owned in just about any place where one can own a rifle at all. (I'm not sure about, say, NYC or DC, though.)

To quote one of John Farnam's postings:

15Aug06 At an Urban Rifle/Shotgun course in MI last weekend, a student brought a Garand and shot the entire Course with it. His build and height are above average, but even he admitted that, after carrying it (and forty rounds of ammunition) for two, long days, he can surely see the advantage of short, light, compact rifles, with large, detachable magazines. He lives in Chicago, where one may not a legally own any species of handgun, but may have a Garand and a pump shotgun. No other autoloading, military rifle is allowed (not even M1 Carbines), and autoloading shotguns are limited to four rounds. Even then, all firearms are registered with the City, so the mayor can, at any time, and on any flimsy pretext, kick in the doors of gunowners' homes and snatch them out of their hands, leaving them defenseless in the face of (private sector) criminals (the "Nagen Method"). If I lived in Chicago, I'm sure I'd own several Garands! This student is making due, as best he can, given his circumstances. That is what I admire. Instead of spending all his time cursing liberal, anti-gun politicians, he has found a way to arm himself formidably, working around restrictive rules. After an arduous and exhausting, two-day workout, few, with any kind of rifle, would be a match for him! /John

As a matter of fact, Mr. Farnam is working with some custom house to produce the Farnam Defensive Rifle (http://www.defense-training.com/fdr.html). It is, essentially, tanker Garand in .308 with a forward-mounted optics base.

http://www.defense-training.com/images/jffdr.gif

I'm very interested in this type of rifle. It's retro-modern and eclectic enough to appeal to my weird tastes. And while the M1 might not fit in too well on a modern battlefield, I think it'd work well enough for most emergency scenarios. In most such situations, contrary to endless debates on the gun boards, protracted firefights with hoards of Kalashnikov-weilding gang members are actually quite rare (unless you live in West Africa or someplace, I guess). It's not that I'd prefer it over my FAL, but if I had to make do, I think I could do a lot worse.

Anyway, there are other types of customized Garands out there. The "tanker" carbines are the most obvious, but I've also seen ones converted to detachable box magazine feed.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b386/Wabird/M1Garand/000_0033-1.jpg
Picture courtesy of Warbirds Custom (http://www.warbirdscustomguns.com/)

More interestingly, one place is converting Garands to .338 Winchester Magnum (http://www.gokart.net/shop-utopia/mccann/rifles/garand/garand.html). They also make them in .458 caliber, apparently! :eek:

http://www.gokart.net/shop-utopia/mccann/rifles/garand/garandrev1-400.jpg

So what, if any, experience do you have with modified Garands? What gunsmiths can be recommended for such work? And, of course, post any pictures of any M1 rifle, modified or stock, that you care to. I'm especially hoping to see M1s with various BM-59 type stocks. :cool:

For starters, I submit Oleg and his Garand, Eight-Ball (http://www.a-human-right.com/garand.html).

http://www.a-human-right.com/grab-enblock.jpg

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Ian
November 10, 2006, 06:46 AM
I've got a .308 tanker, and I love it. It's a lot handier than a stock Garand (I took mine to a 4-day rifle class, and didn't have any trouble with its weight). I bought it because of all the .308 autoloaders I could find, it fit me the best (better than the M1A; my shooting grip is better without a magazine in the way).

Since the photo was taken, I've removed the pistol-grip stock - I just didn't like the feel as much as the regular stock. I've also added a Smith Enterprises muzzle brake (which significantly reduces muzzle climb) and an AmegaRanges scope rail (http://www.amegaranges.com/index.php). I'm in the process of getting a Burris 2x-7x pistol scope for it, which should really help with target identification out beyond 300 yards.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=47634&stc=1&d=1163158779

Nightcrawler
November 10, 2006, 06:58 AM
That's a great little carbine you've got there, Ian!

At SHOT Show 2006, Sage had an EBR stock prototype for the Garand. I don't know if it'll enter actual production, though.

Kaylee
November 10, 2006, 07:21 AM
That is cool!

Hey -- has anyone ever married an M14 style barrel and gas system to an M1 receiver? Seems that would make a great little woods gun.

hps1
November 10, 2006, 12:13 PM
http://forums.accuratereloading.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/2711043/m/449107765

Regards,
hps

Correia
November 10, 2006, 01:38 PM
I played with one of those mega caliber Garands at SHOT. THR's own Henry Bowman is the inventor's lawyer. They are very well done.

The Garand is a formidable gun. And there is a certain cool factor to the Ping! that no other gun has.

Nightcrawler
November 10, 2006, 03:31 PM
Do the large caliber Garands still use the enbloc clips, or do they just have an internal magazine?

mustanger98
November 10, 2006, 03:35 PM
Thinking of T-26 ("tanker") builds, while I've ordered some parts from Numrich with good results, I've also heard their tanker kits are a no-go. Other than that, I've been liking the sound of a .308 T-26 build for a while.

Hey -- has anyone ever married an M14 style barrel and gas system to an M1 receiver? Seems that would make a great little woods gun.

I have a picture I saved off the internet, but this rifle ain't the short handy little woods gun in your mental picture. I wonder if a SOCOM barrel and gas system would do it (and the BM-59 stock is cool in its way), but as a Garand owner, I think the shorter and shorter builds are getting uglier and uglier by the day. I like the T-26 and the full-length originals, but that's just me.

That said, for a showpiece like some guys build hotrod cars, I wouldn't be against using some real nice wood with some real fancy grain for the correct pattern stock and use blued finish and stainless or chrome on the gas cylinder, bolt, stock furniture, and triggerguard/floorplate. But that's not a JCG match legal deal and it's not a combat practical finish. As I said, that's a showpiece to look pretty under the spotlight. But for a using Garand, I like 'em mostly like mine came from CMP.

Correia
November 10, 2006, 03:47 PM
NC, they still use en-blocs if I recall correctly. The .458 held something like 5 of them.

smince
November 10, 2006, 07:13 PM
Fulton Armory has a full-length scout-type rail for the Garand on their site.

rockstar.esq
November 10, 2006, 07:57 PM
Beretta made a modified M1 Garand in (.308) that used the original barrel to some degree as I recall. It was called an M-26 or some such. It amounts to a cheap M1A without having M14 compatible magazines. Do what you want but I'm consistently amazed that I seem to be the only one who shoulders a stock M1 and feels like my right hand is against my shoulder! The friggin butstock on a stock M1 is so short that I just can't imagine shooting one without restocking it in something that's at least two to three inches longer at the butt. The barrel length shortening is predictably popular however I'd have to think that the weight savings by restocking in something lighter would be more worthwhile. The whole rail thing has lost what little charm it once held for me. At least to my eye, the utility of a leggo set hanging awkwardly from the front half of a long arm is lost once you've mounted optics high enough to allow the use of iron sights. Maybe I'm nuts but I'd rather be comfortable shooting than have a bunch of useless rails. Plus the doggone rails & associated mounted stuff weigh more than they should. The pistol grip show above is very functional looking however I wonder how much better it'd look if a laminated stock were made with one from the start.

Ian
November 10, 2006, 09:00 PM
FYI, the rail that Fulton has listed is the same one made by AmegaRanges.

smince
November 10, 2006, 09:51 PM
Beretta made a modified M1 Garand in (.308) that used the original barrel to some degree as I recall. It was called an M-26 or some such. It amounts to a cheap M1A without having M14 compatible magazines.
BM-59. You got the Beretta-modified M1 part right. Other than that, you need to do a little more research. And they are not "Cheap" compared to the M1A, as most atr in the $1600+ range.
the rail that Fulton has listed is the same one made by AmegaRanges
You are right. I didn't notice that when I saw it.

Trebor
November 11, 2006, 02:52 AM
Hmmn, part of me is intrigued by a Tanker Garand conversion with a M-14 mag set up and part of me is appalled by the notion. If I can keep thinking about the idea without throwing up, I may buy a Rack Grade CMP gun for the conversion. All my current Garands are too nice to muck with.

Ian
November 11, 2006, 07:38 AM
Well, Trebor, you should know that there were almost a dozen experimental modified Garand designs that the military toyed with towards the end of WWII. Of them, the magazine-fed one and the tanker-length one were two of the few that John Garand thought were worthwhile.

Mr White
November 11, 2006, 08:45 AM
.

MechAg94
November 11, 2006, 10:28 AM
Anyone know what a Garand converted for 20 round mags in .308 is worth?
My Dad has one that was made in the 60's or 70's. I'll have to talk to him about the origin some more. It works pretty well.

pwrtool45
November 11, 2006, 11:05 AM
That's an interesting idea, Nightcrawler. I'd go so far as to say that the Garand, as you envision and as executed in the Farnam Defensive Rifle, is a fascinating concept. Not the most practical for those who can own rifles with detachable mags, but still interesting. Retro meets something I just can't put my finger on.

The biggest problem I see is the obvious: Garand availability isn't what it used to be, and prices are going up. What used to be a $200 rifle is now a $550 rifle. With collectors buying them nearly in bulk (as opposed to the old DCM rules) prices aren't going to come down and the number of available rifles is dwindling much faster than the original DCM program would have anticipated. I don't see, in five years time, a new shooter getting into a real GI Garand for any less than a new Springfield Armory copy. (Which is to say I really don't see new shooters getting to a Garand at all.)

It would, however, be interesting to see a newly manufactured en-bloc-style rifle. One that doesn't necessarily use the Garand as a pattern (due to cost) but uses more cost efficient manufacturing approaches (maybe stamped sheet steel for a 7.62 caliber rifle, and polymer for 5.56 caliber rifle, etc). I think something like the latter will probably be produced by Kel-Tec if/when, some several years down the road, legislation (in CA, for instance) bans the use of detachable magazines. I don't doubt someone else would follow suit with the aforementioned stamped 7.62 shortly afterwards.

But for now, practicality aside, that's just a cool idea.

Nightcrawler
November 11, 2006, 05:14 PM
Honestly, I think if Springfield Armory can make a cast receiver M14 copy that works okay, I think their M1 copy will work okay too. Not traditional, not historically accurate, but if it WORKS, who cares? Especially if you're going to chop it up for a carbine anyway?

The thing is, not all M1s are historical collector's pieces. Not every Garand was carried through the gates of a concentration camp. A LOT of them were manufactured in 1945 and spent several decades packed in cosmoline before being surplused. A lot of them sat gathering dust in National Guard Arms Rooms for years.

I wouldn't cut up a mint condition GI Garand either. I probably wouldn't shoot it much, for that matter. But a beater gun that needs a new barrel anyway? Why not?

The Garand I want to get is a Fulton Armory rebuild. I want a rifle that's as close to new as possible. If I could even find a "like new" miltitary rifle, it'd be too collectible for me to want to shoot, muchless convert to 7.62mm.

I'm willing to bet that if the Gov't gets stupid and bans detachable box magazine semiautos at some point, Springfield Armory will keep making their M1 Copies just so they have something left to sell!

Let's hope it never comes to that at all.

mustanger98
November 11, 2006, 05:26 PM
I wouldn't cut up a mint condition GI Garand either. I probably wouldn't shoot it much, for that matter. But a beater gun that needs a new barrel anyway? Why not?

I don't think I know anyone who could cut up a mint GI Garand either. I sure wouldn't. Thing about those T-26 builds is that they're not actually cut up, but rather "re-fitted" with a shorter barrel, op rod, op rod spring, and a stock set that was either made that way or trimmed back. I'm agreeing with the "why not" when dealing with a beater, but I'm thinking of getting one of those woodless rack grades that came back from Denmark to rebarrel as a standard length .308/7.62mm.

The Garand I want to get is a Fulton Armory rebuild. I want a rifle that's as close to new as possible. If I could even find a "like new" miltitary rifle, it'd be too collectible for me to want to shoot, muchless convert to 7.62mm.

Yeah. I wouldn't want to do anything too one like that either.

pwrtool45
November 11, 2006, 05:54 PM
I don't disagree on any particular point, Nightcrawler.

I suppose my comment about Garand availability was directed more toward the fact that affordable shooter Garands have been vanishing for years due to the lifting of the original DCM restrictions by CMP. The whole collectors buying them by the dozen from what was originally a Marksmanship program... but that's an argument that's probably better suited for a different thread. I apologize for bringing it up.

Still, I think your idea is anachronistically wonderful. It's also sadly practical for many. In either case I'd pay for a handy little en-bloc-fed 5.56 with a polymer receiver. It doesn't necessarily have to be practical or tactical to be sufficiently useful and plenty fun. I mean could you turn down a 4.5lb polymer whatzit with a 10-round 5.56 en-bloc ping? ;)

Nightcrawler
November 11, 2006, 06:19 PM
I mean could you turn down a 4.5lb polymer whatzit with a 10-round 5.56 en-bloc ping?

I doubt it. I don't even like .223 rifles, but that would just be so fun at the range. :cool:

.45Guy
November 11, 2006, 06:29 PM
Heck there's a franken Garand sitting at Ameri-pawn in Painesville, OH for $500 if you're looking for a project gun. It's built off a cast receiver though.

pwrtool45
November 11, 2006, 07:05 PM
I doubt it. I don't even like .223 rifles, but that would just be so fun at the range. :cool:

Exactly. At $3.69 per box of 20 for Wolf .223 that's $1.85 per ping. The only way to get a cheaper ping would be to whack an en-bloc with a chopstick! :D

smince
November 12, 2006, 07:38 AM
The link on the Farnam Defense Rifle mentions a .223 version being developed. It wouldn't have that "satisfying ping" sound, but a Mini-14 with an Ultimak mount and 10-round mags would probably be a good compromise.

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