Getting Excited: M1 Garand vs FG-42 Shootoff


October 11, 2013, 12:15 PM
We have a really fun 2-gun (rifle & pistol) action match down here in the desert that I shoot every month. It's more fun than the other multigun matches I've participated in because it emphasizes physical stress and unorthodox shooting instead of just hosing a ton of targets. It frequently involves things like shooting rifle weak-shouldered, crawling under things, hauling weights around, and sprinting between shooting positions. Great fun!

Well, the guys at SMG Guns saw some video I did of previous months' matches (the last couple I've shot with a semiauto Bren, semiauto Madsen LMG, SMLE, etc) and asked if I would be interested in running one of their repro FG-42 rifles this month. I said yes, of course, and then came up with a better idea.

I'm handing the FG over to a friend who also shoots the match (help run it, actually) - he will be using it and a Walther P38 for his pistol. I will be shooting the match with a lovely 1940 M1 Garand and my Ballester-Molina (which is basically a 1911). We're going to video both of us through the whole match, and then put the video together split-screened so you can watch us both go through the stages simultaneously. I did that on a previous match with bolt actions, and it made for some pretty cool video.

The FG has a number of advantages - 20 round mags, bipod, 4x scope, and recoil reduction built into the rifle design. The M1, however, is faster to reload and has outstanding iron sights. I also have a lot more experience with the M1 than my friend does with the FG, although he's overall definitely a better shooter than I am. We were just out at the range yesterday zeroing both rifles (my M1 is dead on), and I'm getting really excited about the match. I happen to have some inside info that it will involve prone shooting out of a ditch at about 175 yards at a 1/4 scale silhouette and a stage where you have to engage a bunch of pistol targets and then break out of your position with a rifle, loading on the run. Muahahaha!

The match is on Saturday the 19th, and I should have the video ready to go sometime the next day. I'm hoping I can win, but I know it's going to be a ton of fun regardless! :evil:

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October 11, 2013, 12:19 PM
My only question is WHY are YOU not running the FG-42?

October 11, 2013, 12:21 PM
Sounds like a good mix of challenges. The FG is likely to prevail at prone long-distance shooting, but the Garand may do better in the action shooting if you do your part.

October 11, 2013, 05:11 PM
Sweet Ian! Can't wait to see the video!

October 11, 2013, 05:15 PM
Your videos of the 2 gun matches with the old milsurps are the best. I'm looking forward to the video. Good luck in the match!

October 12, 2013, 10:05 AM
Dr. Rob - I'm not shooting it myself for a couple reasons. I wanted to see how it performs in the hands of a more skilled shooter than myself, I want to give myself the best chance to win the match (:D), and I know that my friend is dying to get the chance to play with one of the FGs. I did a bunch of shooting with one in 8mm a while back, so why not spread the fun around?

October 12, 2013, 10:40 AM
At least get the chance to plink with it, if not run with it ;)


October 12, 2013, 01:22 PM
I would love to see that FG42 in action. It's a gun I've always wanted to fire but will probably never get the chance.

Looking forward to your video.

October 21, 2013, 05:28 PM
Well, sadly the match didn't play out as I was hoping. On the morning of the match, we managed to accidentally destroy the stock on the FG-42, rendering it unusable. FYI, if your rifle doesn't have a metal buttplate, you probably should buttstorke it on the ground to clear a stuck case. :uhoh:

So instead, we broke out a backup rifle in the form of an SVT-40 (always have a backup!). It was still a great match, and the video turned out well - but I'm sad about the sidelining of the FG. Hopefully we'll be able to have it back out in a month or two for a rematch!

October 21, 2013, 05:45 PM
That damage doesn't look too horrible. You should have just duck-taped it back together and kept rolling.

October 21, 2013, 06:03 PM
I really like those reproduction FG-42's. Very cool.

October 21, 2013, 07:45 PM
Great video, fun watch. Thanks:). I cant help but feel that I would have still ran that FG though, not like it would be getting any worse. A chunk of cardboard n tape or a slip on recoil pad and good to go.:D

Willie Sutton
October 21, 2013, 08:31 PM
Ian, thanks for the data point.

I've got one of the FG-42's on order, ought to be almost done or so I am told. Can you shed any light on the jam that caused the old-fashioned clearing drill to be conducted?



October 21, 2013, 09:21 PM
Jackal, the problem is that the FG uses a recoil buffer spring in the stock. There wasn't any way to use it with the stock broken.

Willie - I'm not sure what caused the initial issue, sorry.

October 21, 2013, 10:18 PM
As expected when accuracy counts the Garand is far superior which is typical of American combat rifles. They are far more accurate than any other combat rifles. And in combat, it does count.

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