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Hand loading for the M1 Garand

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tcrocker, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. tcrocker

    tcrocker Well-Known Member

    I just got my first Garand today, and I would like to know if I could shoot my hunting 30-06 ammo in it or would I need to step them dowm. I have them moving at 2700fps to 2750 fps using a 165gr bullet.
  2. VegasOPM

    VegasOPM Well-Known Member

    I have shot some full power hunting stuff through my Garand- but it seems to like the 150gr traveling at 2800 or so better. I don't want to tear mine up, so I stick with the mil-spec loadings. I'll be interested to hear from others.
  3. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Well-Known Member

    Some reloading manuals have specific loads for the garand due to the pressure curve that it likes in order to not damage the op rod. Don't have one in front of me right now, but do some research before you get started and you will find lots of good loads for your rifle.
  4. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Well-Known Member

    You can shoot any hunting 30/06 ammo in your M1 Garand.

    The Hornady manual has M1 Garand specific loads.

    I had an M1 Garand completely rebuilt by Miltech. The head honcho there said that the M1 Garand does very well with Remington 150 gr. Core Lokt loads; in fact, that's the load they test their rebuilt M1 Garands with.
  5. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    The loads for a Garand are based on pressure. Your hunting loads may have too much pressure and you could ruin your rifle.

    You cannot shoot "any" hunting load in your rifle.
  6. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...too much pressure and you could ruin your rifle..." J.C. fired his own proof loads at up to 120,000 psi. The left locking lug cracked. The same rifle went on to fire 5,000 rounds of service ammo, with no repairs, and no further damage.
    "...cannot shoot "any" hunting load in your rifle..." Commercial hunting ammo did nothing to my rifle when I first had the rifle. Including a box of 220 grain Silver Tips.
    "...have them moving at 2700fps to 2750 fps using a 165gr bullet..." That'll do nicely. .30 AP ammo ran at 2800fps with a 168 grain bullet. .30 M2 did too with a 152 grain bullet after 1940.
  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    This has been discussed many times. The first unpleasant thing to do is call the ammunition company and ask their opinion. Others have, and have been told that "we don't load for antiques".

    Modern commerical hunting ammo is loaded for people who want magnum performance. And the powder and pressures are not loaded for the M1 Garand.

    Your Garand was put into service in 1936. The ammunition used would be considered mild by today's standards. Pressures were often in the 40,000 psia range. What is most critical is the port pressure. Too high of a port pressure and the rifle opens up too early, the operating rod is accelerated too fast, the bolt rebounds off the receiver too hard, and the rifle is banged around too much.

    Issue ammuntion was a 150 gr bullet at 2700 fps, as measured in the Frankfort Arsenal pressure barrel. What you find if you shoot GI ammo in a Garand, that the velocity is closer to 2650 fps. The velocity of the 174 grain White Box match ammo was listed as 2650fps. I would not doubt it was actually slower in a rifle. My 168 gr match ammo turns out to be less than 2650 fps in a Douglas barreled match Garand.

    These rifles have been used and abused for over a half century. Some of them have seen a lot of use, and been through several rebuilds. The back sidewalls have experienced a lot of impact stresses.

    The pictures below are from the Garand forum on CSP. This guy cracked the back of his receiver with HXP 69. If you have not shot Greek ball, some of it is surprisingly hot. But I would wager, not as hot as commerical hunting ammo. This is what time, high port pressures, and bad luck will do to a Garand. Not common, but in the thread, posters provided discussion on other cracked receivers that they were aware of.


  8. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...Pressures were often in the 40,000 psi range..." .30 M2 and .30 AP ran at 2800 fps with 50,000 psi. .30 M1 at 2640fps at 48,000psi. Those being military specs.
    "...cracked the back of his receiver..." A 50 to 70 year old rifle will experience metal fatigue. Mind you, there's no reason to assume that that particular receiver didn't have some stress issues to start with.
    "...most critical is the port pressure..." You don't think a 120,000psi proof load is going to have much higher 'port pressure' than service ammo?
  9. Zeede

    Zeede Well-Known Member

    There is an adjustable gas valve you can get to shoot modern .30-06 ammo in your M1 Garand. If you don't or can't shoot military surplus, and don't or can't reload, then get one of those valves before you go shooting off-the-shelf .30-06 ammo.

    Unless, of course, you like battering your gun into a premature retirement. M1's are unique among collectors in that most M1 Garand collectors shoot their M1's a lot. If you are among that majority, listen to the wise advice. Just because Sunray has shot a lot of modern hunting ammo w/o problems means nothing. There are people who will tell you they shoot 3" shotgun shells in their 2 3/4" chambers w/o problems. Doesn't mean it won't cause problems prematurely down the road. Doesn't mean your luck might run out someday.

  10. Snapping Twig

    Snapping Twig Well-Known Member

    I have a Remington 740 that's practically NIB. I tried some of the loads I've made for my bolt guns with IMR 4350 and that didn't work out too well - something about the pressure pulse of slow burning powders.

    I looked up info for M1 rounds for a 165g bullet and found that IMR 4064 was recommended.

    Figuring that my 740 with a similar gas system and rotating bolt could benefit, I worked up some loads and hit pay dirt.

    Bolt gun loads and semi auto loads are not interchangeable.
  11. NotSoFast

    NotSoFast Well-Known Member

    While you might get away with it, why take the chance? I'm looking at the Hornady M1 Garand page for 168 grain bullets. Most loads are limited to 2600 fps and Win 748 Max load is 48.4 grains for 2700 fps.

    Having read a couple of books on the M1 Garand, the writers take this problem seriously, indicating that serious injury and even death could result if the op rod gives way due to overpressures. I don't know about you but I'd rather be safe than sorry. It's no big deal to hand load at the lower pressures. I get to reload and to shoot more, I last longer, my M1 lasts longer and I have fun in the process. :)
  12. moose fat

    moose fat Member

    Research, Research, Research

    I am in exactly the same boat you're in. I just got a new to me Garand. It was rebuilt, spec'ed, reparkerized,new stock, new barrel and reassembled by "The Garand Guy". I have already taken a bull moose with it a few weeks ago using Rem Bronze Tip 180 gr factory ammo. The manual I got with the rifle is from the CMP and "it says 180gr factory loads may be used", max wt. Before I went hunting, and even fired off a round I looked around and asked around on the net. Google is your friend and the search feature here.

    Check out the CMP fourms and Fulton Armory has info on, or not, reloading.

    -I installed a "Shuster Adjustable Gas Plug" from Brownells, it replaces the gas cylinder lock screw. I have the plug adjusted for the above load.

    - I got " The M1 garand: Owner's Guide" by Scott Duff
    Good genral knowledge about running a Garand.

    - I got a cartridge length gauge, Slam fire prevention

    - I full length resize my brass then run them through the cartridge length gauge, Slam fire prevention

    - I use not soft primers, Slam fire prevention

    Read your reloading manuals on loading for the Garand. The powder for the Garand is IMR4895 and powders that work well are between IMR4064 and 4895 in burn rates/preassure curves.(Loadbooks and the newest Sierra manual)

    Just realize there are special caveats that must be taken into consideration when reloading for gas guns. Begin at the starting loads and work your way up. Be safe and have fun.:D It is fun!
  13. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Well-Known Member

    All I can contribute is my own personal experience and knowledge. About 25 years ago I bought my first M1 Garand . . . .absolutely loved that rifle. I shot 600-800 rounds of M2 ball out of it with absolutely no problems. First 8 round clip of the first box of 150 Grain Remington spire points out of it bent the Op-Rod and jacked it completely out of the track.

    I wouldn't hesitate to use my Garand for deer hunting . . BUT I'd only handload for it using "Service Rifle" data.

    Just my .02

    Have a good one,
  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    M2 Ball has a not to exceed spec pressure of 50000 psia. Probably measured in copper units. Lot acceptance also measured port pressure and velocity. I have lot acceptance data from WC852, lot number BAJ47287. The mean corrected pressue was 40,200 lbs.

    The inspector had standardization cartridges from Frankfort arsenal. He shot those cartridges in the Contractor's pressure barrel. The values were then corrected to the Frankfort arsenal barrel.

    MIL-C-1313F(MU) M2 Ball
    3.7 Velocity - The average velocity of the sample cartridges shall be
    2740 feet per second (ft/see) plus or mins 30ft/sec at 78 ft. from the
    muzzle. The standard deviation of the velocities shall not exceed 32ft/sec.
    3.8 Cnamber pressure.-The average chamber pressure of the sample cartridges shall not exceed 50,000 (psi).

    Do you know the life history of the rifle in question? Is there a reason for someone to push the limits, just to see what happens?

    Well of course they can, they can do whatever they want. So can you, after it is your property, and unlike Wall Street, individuals have to pay for their bad decisions. You break it, its yours. (And when they break it, its yours too)

    You are going to have to be more specific about your proof test. I am unaware of any 120 Kpsia proof test as a regular acceptance test.
  15. redneckdan

    redneckdan Well-Known Member

    THe garand is designed for powders in the 4895 class. The majority of the commersial .30-06 ammo that I have pulled down was loaded with a 4350 class powder. Much too slow for the garand. The port pressure is too high with slow powders like these.
  16. strat81

    strat81 Well-Known Member

    Do not shoot commercial ammo in an M1 unless you have installed an adjustable gas plug.

    If handloading, stick with bullets between 150gr and 170gr and powder with a burn rate similar to 4895. Port pressure is key.

    A .30 caliber, 150gr soft point for hunting cruising at 2600fps or so will take a deer if you place it correctly. Ammo weaker than that has taken a ton of deer.

    Have you priced a replacement op rod lately? Get the adjustable plug or use appropriate powders and bullets.
  17. mallc

    mallc Well-Known Member

    Best read this before running hunting ammo on your M1

    Must reading for GAS RIFLE (M1/M14/AR15) type rifles.

    I kinda feel like this is required reading. It's the best article on M14 / M1 reloading ever put down on paper. I would pay special attention to the SLAM FIRE stuff as well as powder choices. Mr. Zediker has written several book with Mr. David Tubb on high power rifle reloading and comp. Bottom line is these guys knows their rifles and how not to BLOW them up.

    "You'll like this material, and, no fooling, if you have an M14 or M1 you best be paying attention to what's in it befo you hurt yoseff."

  18. Moptop

    Moptop Well-Known Member

    ...And please use "mil-spec" under sized primers to prevent "slam-fire". My buddy had that happen to him and he said it was not a fun experience! There is some very good advise in the above posts. Just do your homeworkd before working up some loads and you should be ok.
  19. Old Grump

    Old Grump Well-Known Member

    I use a fairly mild load of 4350 behind 180 gr bullets for deer hunting but I rarely use them in spite of being a nice accurate load in my rifle, my brothers slam fires with the same load. I prefer 4064 for accurate behind a 168 gr match king bullet for serious match shooting or 4895 behind 147 gr anything for target shooting.
  20. strat81

    strat81 Well-Known Member

    Under-sized? That's a new one on me.

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