M1 Garand v. M1A, which one and why?


October 26, 2003, 02:54 AM
I am finally going to save my money. Though I have the money for a gun (an affordable one) I'm going to save a month or two for a nicer gun. Anyway, there are two rifles on my list that seem to be very similar from a practical standpoint. Give me some plusses and minuses on the M1A and M1 Garand. Why should I pick one v. the other?

A few M1A advantages. Removable box mag. Lighter and smaller ammo, means more can be carried (though I doubt that I'll ever be carrying it around). Plenty of .308 surplus available. A little bit lighter.

A few M1 Garand advantages. History, history, history. Even with a new manufactured gun the design has more history. Otherwise, the clips are a bit lighter than the M1A's box mags (and no worries about unreliable mags).

Both are very reliable, very accurate, and very solid guns.

Anyway, there are a few others on my list (AR, FAL, Kimber Pro Carry, Kimber CDP, Python). More expensive guns I've long wanted but put off to buy cheaper guns immediately. However, these are much more similar than some of my other options and I have more trouble deciding between them.

If you enjoyed reading about "M1 Garand v. M1A, which one and why?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
October 26, 2003, 05:46 AM

I just ordered the Garand. In Maryland, they aren't considered and "assault rifle" like the M1A is.

That was not my only reason. The Garand in my estimation, is as about as good as it gets with a battle rifle for the money. Through the CMP you can get a Springfield Service grade for $500 plus freight. If you want you can have it converted to .308...although Ammoman.com has 30.06 ammo for a very reasonable price.

I also own the Kimber Pro Carry, after the initial bugs were worked out,m this is a GREAT handgun. BTW this is the only hand gun that I own.

There are some guys on this site that own ALOT of Garands, I'm sure that they will give you more info that what I can.

October 26, 2003, 07:00 AM
The Garand will cost you less than half what an M1A will if you go the CMP route. If you paid $0.40 a round for 30.06 (and that's commercial price) versus $0.15 / round for .308, you'd still have to shoot 2,000 rounds to save $500. As you can rebarrel a Garand to .308 for between $200 and $300, you'd still be ahead.

You don't mention what you'll use it for but a good Garand is close to as competitive as an M1A in standard service trim. The AR's will beat either as long as they are allowed in "High Power" matches. National Match version of either IMHO are too finicky. And the JC Garand matches are designed for Garands and great fun.

The Garand has a significant combat history and you can by the real war veterans from CMP. It was also used in the Korean war and those vets are still around to talk to about their training and use. And their NCO's and officers were mostly WWII officers, so there's a significant oral history.

Garands are a lot of fun to shoot and always garner attention at even the most jaded range. Other Garand collectors will gather around and you can start comparing your rifles. The first rifle I got from CMP was an original barrel and receiver combo made in June 1944. I've since gotten the stock and other parts required to put it back to WWII configuration. Pretty cool. There are a lot of books available - start with "Hatcher's Book of the Garand."

For about $75 you can buy the Band of Brothers series on DVD. If you watch that, 1. You'll be in awe of WWII paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division, and 2. you'll buy a Garand. ping!

Chris Rhines
October 26, 2003, 08:21 AM
Both the M1 and the M1A are good rifles. The Garand's main advantage is price, both price of the rifle and price of the en-blocs. A good Garand will run $500 from CMP, enblocs go for around $1 apiece last time I looked. A good M1A will cost around a thousand, with a forged reciever $1500 minimum, and 20-round magazines run $40-50 each.

The M1A is probably a little bit more reliable (better gas system,) lighter, and as you said, it has the box magazine feed. Accuracy is a wash.

For a sporting rifle, I'd get the M1 and shoot lots of John C. Garand matches. Fun stuff. For a fighting gun, I'd take the M1A, but it wouldn't be my first choice (much rather have an AR-15 or AR-10.) It all depends on what you want to do.

- Chris

October 26, 2003, 08:22 AM
VG, that was a really nice rundown. Thanks.


October 26, 2003, 09:03 AM
M1 Garand: Battle tested, match proven.
M1a: Battle tested, match proven.

It comes down to your original quandry....what do you want to spend.

Buy a garand, you will not regret it.
Then save like crazy for a used M1a. Many people buy them and then end up sellin' em to recoupe theere losses.:D

I own both.
A 1954 International Harvester M1.
A Springfield National match M1a
Im the National Matches, the service grade Garand is just as accurate as my m1a.:cuss:

October 26, 2003, 09:04 AM
the m1a....:neener:

October 26, 2003, 09:18 AM
m1 for history
m1a for SHTF.

Both are a hoot!

October 26, 2003, 09:20 AM
I will mention a few things that I like about the M1 that I do not believe have been listed.

You can get a lower prone with the M1 as there is no box mag.

The M1 is easier to carry in hand because there is no box mag hanging down at the balance point.

If you use leave the feeding devices loaded for long periods of time, I believe (and I know that mags can realistically be left loaded for a looooong time!) I would have more confidence in the en block clips.

The advantage of the M1A is that it is easier to scope.

Also, you cannot "top off a half empty rifle", however, this has never been a problem for me.

Not even counting the history side, I prefer the M1 over the M1A.

Brass Balls
October 26, 2003, 11:40 AM
Both are great rifles and you can't go wrong with either. You nailed the biggest reason to favor a Garand over an M1A and that is history.

Personally I prefer the M1As as a practical rifle. There are more configurations available from the factory including the Scout Squad which works terrifically with an EOTech or other red dot sight mounted on its forward flat top receiver. The other big plus is using 20 round magazines rather than 8 round clips.

clic pic
http://www.springfield-armory.com/images/rifles/Scout%20Squad.jpg (http://www.springfield-armory.com/prod-rifles.shtml)

Before you plunk down your money checkout the prices at Sporting Arms (http://www.sportingarms.com/index.asp) on the M1A (http://www.sportingarms.com/results.asp?mfr_name=74&category_descr=5&subcategory_descr=0&max_price=&keyword_descr=M1a&B1=Submit&page_no=1) and the M1 Garand (http://www.sportingarms.com/results.asp?mfr_name=74&category_descr=5&subcategory_descr=0&max_price=&keyword_descr=garand&B1=Submit&page_no=1). I have no association with them other than being a satisfied customer several times over.

October 26, 2003, 11:51 AM
Dumb question:

I saw an M1A NIB at a recent gun show...

It looked a whole lot like an M-14 - a whole lot.

Is an M1A an M-14 clone?

October 26, 2003, 12:16 PM
M-14=Full auto
M1A =Semi auto

October 26, 2003, 04:51 PM

You have a 50/50 chance of getting a problem M1A from Springfield Armory. Supposedly, they have great customer service. But, they need it.

Did I mention mags? The M1As are expensive. The Garand loads faster and can take a bayonet.

October 26, 2003, 06:41 PM
Dave 3006 stated:
You have a 50/50 chance of getting a problem M1A from Springfield Armory. Supposedly, they have great customer service. But, they need it.

An M1A is on my wish list - something I'm seriously considering buying. It is surprising to hear that there's a 50/50 chance that if I buy one it'll be hosed up right out of the box.

What kind of problems do they have right out of the box? And if it's truly half of them then why in the world would anyone waste their money and time on one? Are the problems minor - i.e. something the average user can fix or a competent gunsmith could do in a day? Or are they something more serious that requires the weapon to be sent to SA for repair?

NOTE: I don't give a hoot how good SA's service is. If I spend $1000+ on something it better work - sending it back and not having it for the 3 to 6 weeks I imagine it would take them to make it good is just plain unacceptable.

Brass Balls
October 26, 2003, 07:01 PM
I've got two M1As that have been 100% reliable. The first is a National Match and the second is a Scout Squad. I don't know where that 50% number came from but it certainly hasn't been my experience or that of a few friends who own M1As.

For more info on both rifles checkout: http://www.battlerifles.com/

October 26, 2003, 07:41 PM
My 50% number is anecdotal. It could be a little lower. The fact is that many, many, many of their rifles need to be returned for fixing. There is also some problems with the cast bolts they are using. Do a search concerning Skunkabilities problems with his M1A. Other sites will tell like stories.

They go for $1200-$1500 in Kali. That is too high in my opinion for what you get.

October 26, 2003, 10:13 PM
50/50 huh. Well we took all these babies out yesturday and not one. I REPEAT not one of these M1As had a problem.

Actually I lied.....there was a MAJOR problem. Not enough time and they eat too much ammo!! :)






October 26, 2003, 10:35 PM
I've never had any problems with my M1A. Shoots accurate as heck. For people in the free states, you can get 20rnd M1A mags for $37 from http://www.coledistributing.com/

I also have a Garand. Your choice really should be which one will you get first. I enjoy both rifles, but the M1A gets the nod.

October 26, 2003, 11:22 PM
Never had any reliability problems with mine either plus know 3 other people that have M-1A's with out any complaints.

October 27, 2003, 12:22 AM
Okay, add me to the positive side of the 50/50 list. The only problem I had with my M1A was when I installed a recoil buffer. Made ejected brass get caught up between the bolt and the scope mount. No problems since I removed the buffer.

Shoots sub-2" groups all day with surplus ammo. Prolly better w/ handloads or match ammo, but I'm too dumb/cheap to do either.

Oh, and I recommend the .308 Garand. Definitely. :)

October 27, 2003, 12:46 AM
Other advantages that a Garand has over an M1A

1.) Left in the original 30-06 chambering, the M1 Garand is more powerful than the M1A.

2.) The M1 Garand has a longer sight radius, resulting in fewer sight alignment errors.

3.) You can get into a lower prone position with an M1 Garand.

4.) The M1 Garand Receiver is stronger. Has been successfully tested in CUP pressures in excess of 120,000 psi, with out the receiver failing.
(Try that on a cast M1A receiver)

5.) The En Bloc clips can be kept fully loaded indefinately and the shooter doesn't have to worry about a magazine spring becoming fatigued from the constant state of compression like he does with an M1A.

October 27, 2003, 03:56 AM
Someone said that the M14 is fully auto, but it isn't... that's a common misconception

M14A2 was fully auto. Also had a pistol grip and integrated bipod. Much different than the M14 which is essentially identical to the M1A. The name M1A was used to show it as a further evolution of the M1

I know this because my old unit (the Old Guard) had M14s, and the appropriate manuals, which detail the difference between the M14 and the M14A2

If anyone has a pic I'd love to see it (of the A2 that is) because all I've seen is the drawing in the FM


October 27, 2003, 05:49 AM
All it took to convert an M14 to full auto was a kit with the selector switch.

The only time I used one was in Ranger School, 1983 (just befor ethe SAW was fielded) and they were all full-auto and no pistol grip. Not sure whether it was to be used as a Squad Automotic Weapon, or just to weigh us down a little more. The RI's would consider the latter a "Major Plus." Firing on full auto was entertaining as long as you weren't really trying to hit anything.

October 27, 2003, 08:46 AM
I can't speak to the reliability of the M1A, but of the three at my local gun botique, one had a loose handguard. Coupled with Skunkabilly's tales of woe, I decided to go another direction.

Actually, two directions: I had decided on a CMP Garand (or a Browning A-Bolt II 7mm-08 - I was conflicted :D ), then spent the money on a Winchester M70 instead.


October 28, 2003, 03:38 AM
If you are left handed, then I'd say M1A.

I'm left handed, and "M1Thumb" from an M1Garand is not pretty..
And the first time, if you are too stupid, then you try to yank your thumb out, and that leads to cuts and bleeding..

The PRK muzzle breaks are horribly loud and ruin the vision of shooters next to you.

Thanks a lot moron legislators of the PRK :cuss: :banghead: :fire: :barf:

October 28, 2003, 01:44 PM
According to the m14 manual, the full auto feature could be enabled by installing the full auto kit, if it had been approved for that unit. (There was also a funky "winter trigger kit" available, as well as the "grenade launcher kit", which to a certain extent anticipated the "lego rifle" abilities of the M-16/AR-15 platform.

The m16 has the opposite: a kit that can be installed to PREVENT full auto/burst fire, which regulations I've read said MUST be installed for domestic deployments.

In general, I understand that the full auto feature is discouraged in the military, as the m14 was famed as nearly impossible for most people to control when firing full auto.

The M1A, on the other hand, is ALMOST an m14, but the reciever was specifically designed for the civilian market so that the full auto kit COULD NOT be installed, and thus obtain the ATF blessing.

IIRC, CMP was also brought on, and issued a waiver so that m1a's could be used in matches.

BTW, I'm a little surprised @ all the springfield/m1a bashing in this thread, but hey, to each his own.

Nando Aqui
October 28, 2003, 08:59 PM
I was in the same predicament about a year ago. Ended up buying a new, loaded, SS, walnut stock SA M1A from my dealer at a decent price, and an M1 Garand from a reputable armorer. The M1 is SA 1945 vintage, with a new barrel and new stock, and all USGI parts. The M1 will be a present for my Grandson.

M1A: Great, no problems, really like it. It does extremely well with Australian surplus ammo, and even better with Black Hills. I plan to use it in matches.

M1: Had some functional problems, then some accuracy problems. All fixed now, and it shoots fine with Danish surplus that I bought last year for very little $$ and it included the bandoleers and the end blocks.

About the M1 problems. I could say that I wished I had not had the problems. But the truth is that in the process of solving them, I learned a WHOLE LOT about the rifle that I probably would not have learned if everything had worked just right from the beginning.

If you want to learn the good and the bad first hand, visit www.battlerifles.com

For sure: Whichever you get, you will enjoy it!


February 27, 2004, 07:22 PM
Both are good.

I'm a diehard M1 nut and told my wife I want to be buried with my match Garand:D

The M1a is just an upgrade of a M1.

The faults of the M1 in combat were:
8 rd capacity
no top off
weight- I took mine hunting once. I will never complain about the 12ga anymore.

The M1a are answers to those problems
20 rd mag
change mags when fighting slows
a little less weight

The bottom line is I think the M1 is more defensive and the M1a is more offensive. You can still get 30.06 AP. Which takes a whole lot to stop.

The M1 one is still winning wars though. Hatti. The M1a never won a war.
If I had to chose running out the door. I would chose the one I can hit the target the most.

Art Eatman
February 27, 2004, 08:42 PM
I bought a Garand off a buddy some 23 years ago. Glass-bedded and some match parts. Shoots about two MOA, for my old eyes. Maybeso better, for young and healthy eyeballs.

I bought an M1A Match in 1984. Shot real good. But, a guy came along and wanted it worse than I did, so I let him buy it.

I still prefer the Garand. "Just 'cause."

:), Art

Highland Ranger
February 27, 2004, 10:01 PM
I may have asked this before, but if you want to buy one new in the box, are your only choices Springfield and Fulton?

February 27, 2004, 10:33 PM
I like them both, but if forced to choose, I'd go with the M1. I got a SA/SG through the CMP. It was produced in the latter stages of WWII and has been rebuilt, but still looks good and shoots about 2 MOA.

Personally, I like the en-bloc clips, and I picked up a SLED from Brownells that makes single shots very slick. The price of high-cap mags for M14-style rifles is getting into the "Wow!" range, while clips are cheap and readily available.

As far as match shooting goes... neither is a first choice anymore. Nearly all of the top shooters have switched to the AR. Some people don't like it, but it's a reality. ARs are cheaper and have some distinct competetive advantages.

Like I said, I like them both, and may get an M1A (or equivalent from another builder) someday... but for now I'm happy with the Garand. BTW... you can always pick up the Garand in .30-06, and then have it rebarreled to .308 if surplus .30-06 becomes prohibitively expensive. Then again, there's always reloading.

February 27, 2004, 10:42 PM
I gotta go with the ole' Garand on this one. The M1 is just a nicer rifle aesthetically and from a shooters standpoint I feel it balances nicer. It also oooozes history and cool factor and to add icing on the cake you get that wonderful PING sound.

Yes an argument could be made for the M1A as far as a
SHTF scenario but let's be honest even if society breaks down for a few days or a week do you really think that hunkering down with an M1A vs. an M1 Garand is really going give you any real advantages. If a total CF and breakdown of society as we know it occurs having a weapon of any type will do and assuming you survive for any length of time you will be able to pick others up along the way.

Now post apocalyptic movie scenarios aside an M1 Garand is plenty of firepower for anything you will ever likely face, which will likely be nothing, and at the range it is just so much fun ..... which you will hopefully face very often.

Go with the original, go with the Garand.


cracked butt
February 28, 2004, 02:24 AM
The M1 has a stacking swivel.
You need 3 M1's to stack them.
You can buy 3 M1's for the price of a M1A.


The M1 is also prettier to look at IMHO.

February 28, 2004, 07:48 AM
Which has more soul: some newly-minted replica from Illinois, or an actual veteran of the great World War Two?

Highland Ranger
February 28, 2004, 09:04 AM
Which has more soul: some newly-minted replica from Illinois, or an actual veteran of the great World War Two?

I was on the Garand forum (http://www.battlerifles.com) looking for the answer to my question, who makes new other than Springfield and found out that:

1. The new SPringfields (and others) are REPLICAS, and not quite the same as a real Garand, using cast parts, not as strong etc.

2. Someone also said that they cannot be used in a CMP match . . . not sure that's true but if so, makes them less attractive.

So it's more than just soul!

Two companies make "new" Garands from WWII USGI parts and usually new barrels and wood:



Orion 7 - http://www.m1garand.com

both look like pretty small companies. Not cheap, but if I am laying out $1200 for new, I think I'd pass on the Springfield Garand.

Their advice over there for newbies is to get a CMP rifle as the best value.

Problem for some of us is getting in that 50 shots to qualify. (see http://www.civilianmarksmanshipprogram.com/)

February 28, 2004, 11:27 AM
It may not be 50/50, but I am one of the unlucky ones.

As the owner of a 4 month old M1A I suggest buying something else. M1 or FAL. Springfield Armory has had 20 years to figure out how to make a reliable rifle and they are still not there. My M1A would not seat a fully loaded mag (several) and it was only 97% reliable. It came with a broken stock. The stock was replaced before I bought it. After 3 range trips the hammer began to follow the bolt forward after each shot. Fortunately it did not go full auto at the range. The problem was reproducable with a empty gun, so it was not bad trigger control. I had to send it back and they fixed the out of tolerance problem by replacing the trigger group and bolt with USGI parts. That tells me something about their ability to make parts. Well it is much better in that I can seat a fully loaded mag now and the hammer stays back after each shot, but it is still only 97% reliable. It fails to eject. I called them and they told me it is not expected to be reliable with surplus ammo. I have tried South African, Portugese, and Austrailian. They wanted me to send it back again but I told them military rifles should work with military ammo and I was not going to send it back again as I think it just needed a USGI extractor and ejector. I made the replacement of those parts. Going to the range soon. Wish me luck.

If you don't like problem solving and visiting UPS I would get the Garand AND a FAL for the same price.

February 28, 2004, 08:17 PM
I suspect that 24 rounds of 30-06 in M1 clips takes up less space than 20 rounds of .308 in an M1A mag.

Can anyone confirm?

I'm beginning to lean toward the opinion that the M1 is actually a better rifle, all the way around--the only place the M1a wins is weight and perhaps accuracy. And I don't think that the accuracy edge is significant in the issue versions of both.

Dave Markowitz
February 28, 2004, 08:46 PM
BANG ... BANG ... BANG ... BANG ... BANG ... BANG ... BANG ... BANG ... PING!!!

Get the Garand.

February 28, 2004, 08:57 PM
The M1 has a stacking swivel.
You need 3 M1's to stack them.
You can buy 3 M1's for the price of a M1A.

Coincidence? Or you can buy two M1s and a 1903 Springfield which also has a stacking swivel and shoots the same ammo as the M1.

Further coincidence?

March 6, 2004, 03:28 PM
Well first let me say I am no expert,[the older I get the less I know] But I do have a bit of experience shooting both the M1 and M14/1A in competition.Here is the armory list:

1: M1A Super Match Built by a very good friend who prefers to remain nameles. 7.62

2: M1A standard with skim bedding, trigger work and NM sights. 7.62

3: U.S. Army M14NM, Springfield Mfg. 7.62

4:CMP M1, Springfield mfg.[1955,end of the line] been restocked and tightened up the gas system a bit, smoothed up trigger. 30-06

5:M1 Springfield mfg.[early 42] built into full on match rifle by Arrington accuracy in Az. 7.62

I started highpower with rifle #2 and did reasonably well for a newbie. However I yearned for the historic robustness of the Garand and aquired rifle #5. It was a serious learning curve. The M14 type Rifle is a little easier to shoot in rapid fire due to slightly less recoil thanks to the gas system, this also makes the M1 a little less forgiving if you have a sloppy position, however any .30 cal. will let you know in a hurry if your position isn't right. Rifle #5 and #1 shoot almost identically, I say almost because the Arrington M1 is the most acuurate rifle I own. With 168 MK's and 42.0 of 4895 off the bench it will shoot a ragged hole at 200. Now keep in mind this is from a bench and not a field position[god I wish!!]

The CMP M1 holds 2MOA easy with handloads and cuts it a little closer with the right recipe, better than most of us can shoot from a field position. Same for the standard M1A. Again the M14 type rifle is a little easier for me to shoot well but I still prefer the Garand for the following reasons. 1: offhand, few rifles balance like an M1 in offhand and I have shot my best offhand scores with this type of rifle. 2: Rapid fire: ok the 14 belts you a little softer but the M1 has the fastest slickest reload there is, you don't take anythig out, you just put stuff in. This gives you several seconds too look through your spotting scope and check your wind and target. No fumbling with a box mag. 3: If you d0 even reasonbly well with an M1 at a match people take notice, if you do really well its a real kick in the pants because you did it with a "REAL" rifle, and there in lies the whole point to shooting in the first place........the fun factor. If I had only one rifle for all purposes {perish the thought!!} it would be John Cantius Garands great arm of freedom and democracy.....the U.S. Rifle, Cal.30 M1

March 6, 2004, 07:56 PM
A possible advantage of the Garand is that reloading can be way faster than the M1A. With the Garand you pull the trigger eight times and PING! You grab another enbloc, slam it in, move your thumb real fast and you are done. You can police up your clips later, although you might lose them. They are incredibly cheap though.

With the M1A you have to remove the 20-50 dollar magazine, put it away, get a new one and put it in, then chamber a round.

If you enjoyed reading about "M1 Garand v. M1A, which one and why?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!