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"The Longest Day" at the range: Pt 1. The CMP Clinic

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Trebor, May 19, 2003.

  1. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    Yesterday I was at the range from 8:30 in the morning until about 4 in the evening. I started with me leaving the house at 7:30 after 4 hours of sleep to attend a CMP clinic at my club.

    The weather was perfect and we had a great turn out. I think there were 16 shooters. The ones who made the largest impression on me were a father who brought his 10 year old son, and 12 and 14 year old daughters to shoot the match. They all shot AR-15's and shot on both Saturday and Sunday.
    This was the first match for all of them, and one of the first times shooting for the kids, and they all shot very well. The match director said he noticed significant improvement in the girl's shooting from the first day to the second. I caught a glimpse of one of the girls' score sheets and she was within two points of my own score, and just barely missed meeting a U.S. Army qualifying score.

    Personally, I had only a so-so match. I was shooting a Select Grade CMP Garand that I got about a year ago but haven't fired yet. I got good zero pretty quickly, and the off hand went ok, but as soon as we switched from single loading to clip loading in the rapid fire stages, I had problems. I couldn't get the clip to lock up in the receiver and the bolt to go forward. At first I thought it was only because I was loading two rounds in the clip for the first part of the rapid fire string. I finally got the two rounds loaded, but the bolt went over the top round without stripping it into the chamber, so I had the work the action again to chamber the round. This happened each time I had to load only two rounds in the rapid sitting and rapid prone.

    It was even worse with the full 8 round clips. I just couldn't get the clip to seat, and when it did bottom out in the receiver and the bolt was released, the bolt wouldn't go forward with enough force to strip and chamber the top round. When I was only oading two rounds, at least I could get the bolt to go over the rounds and then work the action again to chamber the round. That would't work with the full clip because that top round HAS to go into the chamber. Because of this, I had one or two saved rounds in the rapid fire sitting string and five or so saved rounds in the rapid prone. Since it was only a clinic, and not a match, they ran the target back up for me, but it was embarrasing and I was flustered by then and more or less wasted the rounds, with the majority going into the five and six rings. Like I said, this was the first time I fired this particular rifle and there's nothing like a match to find the bugs. I know what gun I will NOT be taking to Camp Perry.

    I redemmed myself slightly in the slow fire, 82 and 86. I've shot better slow fire scores, but they were respectable for me and I was able to call my shots pretty well. It wasn't the best showing I've ever made, and was actually one of the worst, but I don't feel that bad about it. I've had a long shooting layoff, especially rifles, and I need to get ahead of the curve again. I had a good time and really enjoyed watching the kids shoot. That was one of the most encouraging things I've seen in quite awhile.

    After the clinic, my day wasn't nearly over. The rest is in General Handguns under "My wife picks a gun."
  2. Kharn

    Kharn Well-Known Member

  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    Moving to Rifles..
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    Glad you had a good time. Don't feel bad about anything...I had a pretty miserable match Saturday myself. I know there was a clinic here in CO on Sunday, was that where you were?
  5. hps1

    hps1 Well-Known Member


    Since this is your first match with this rifle, perhaps the loading problem is technique, not rifle problems. First, it is normal to have to "bump" the op-rod handle with the heel of your hand to start it forward on the first round out of an 8 round clip in the garand.But do not get complacent, as it will go forward without this assist once in a while and can cause M1 thumb!

    A very safe and effective method to load the M1 (for right handed shooter) is to place the right hand, palm against the right side of stock and thumb pointing same direction as the rifle as you lay the loaded clip on top of the follower. Next, pull the op-rod handle slightly to the rear, using the side of your right hand (the part with which you would deliver a karate chop) and hold it there while pressing firmly down with your right thumb until clip "clicks" into place. The loaded (two or 8 round) clip is latched into magazine at this point and you raise the thumb to clear bolt, then sharply move your hand forward and upward (Just in case the bolt does follow and slam shut. Next, use the heel of right hand to bump op-rod handle forward hard enough to assure the first round is stripped from clip.

    Keeping thumb pointed toward the muzzle of rifle is important as an added safety precaution as the bolt will slip under the thumb in event you are a little slow in raising it, rather than catching the thumb in front of bolt face.

    You can safely practice loading with a clip full of fired cases as most M1's will feed an empty case.

    Also, don't forget to bump the bullets in each clip on the heel of your boot to guard against long rounds. Failure to check this can cause saved round and is not an alibi.:uhoh:

  6. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    I have a M1 Garand SA/SG and it will not latch with the two-round clips. The eight rounds clips always latch. I load the two-round clips as described, keeping the knife edge of my right hand against the op-rod, push down with my thumb, then release.
  7. hps1

    hps1 Well-Known Member

    Does your rifle sometimes eject the clip on the 7th or 8th round? Loose fit of the follower arm/follower arm pin can cause this problem. This can be caused by badly worn follower arm. You can replace the follower arm and see if that helps. This is one of the most common parts to wear out on the garand. I made a jig from two pieces of 1/2" square hot rolled steel. Held the two "jaws" separated slightly wider than the thickness of the follower arm with two screws and a couple of washers. You place the follower in this jig (or you can use a machinist vice, just do not tighten jaws on the follower) right side up (as it sits in rifle) supported by the two cross pins in the follower. Measure the height of the follower above the jig at the lowest point in the curve in the arm and then pop it with a hammer and brass punch. Measure again and if you moved it 1/32" or so try it in the rifle. This usually compensates for worn follower in a pinch. Have some club M1's that have "fine tuned" followers that have been running several hundred rounds later.:cool:

    I suppose the clip latch and/or clip latch spring could be bad, but would first look at the follower, if it is badly worn (pin should fit the hole snugly), it could be "telling" the clip latch to release the "empty" clip prematurely.

  8. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    No......with the 8-round clips everything functions fine.....no premature ejections at all. So I don't really want to start swapping around/tinkering with the internals....atleast right now. All internal parts look to be in excellent condition....with nothing showing undo wear and tear.

    As some others have said......when loading the 2-round clips, it just seems that you can't push the follower down enough. i can see the logic in that i guess, since the other end of the clip is empty. I've heard and read that this is somewhat a common problem with the 2-round clips.

    Its a minor problem that I'll figure out I guess. I don't see it as that big of a problem. When I get around to shooting a Garand match I don't have a problem loading the way I previously described.

    Just an excuse for more range time.....to work out things!!!! :D
  9. hps1

    hps1 Well-Known Member

    This is exactly what a worn follower arm does. The tip of the worn follower arm is too low with only two rounds, therefore it blocks the clip latch. I'd give the follower arm a good look and see if it wobbles on the pin. If it does, bet a new one would correct the problem.

    I would never have tried bending a follower arm but had several old worn out ones from club rifles that had gotten so bad they prematurely ejected clip on 7th or 8th round. Gave it a try and it worked so quit replacing them and started bending them.

    But.............everyone needs an excuse for more ranged time and if it gets worse you have a good idea where to look!;)

  10. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    The match was in Williamston, Mich at Capitol City Rifle Club. I've been a member there for a couple years and it's a nice range. If any of you are in Michigan nearby I'll take you out there if you like.

    This wasn't actually my first time shooting a Garand, just my first time with this particular gun. I've shot about a dozen CMP clinics in the past four or five years and did the Garand Match at Camp Perry in '00. I've NEVER had the problems loading any of the various Garands that I've shot before like I did on Sunday.

    Even when I bumped the op rod forward, the bolt would hit the back of the top round, but wouldn't move forward to strip the round into the chamber. Maybe a spring issue? I dunno, but I'm sure I'll get it worked out. It was frustrating, but I still had a good time.

    Thanks for the advice everybody. I'm serious about the range trip if anyone's in the area.

  11. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    I'll check out the follower the next time I have the rifle apart and see if thats the problem.
  12. hps1

    hps1 Well-Known Member

    Have never run into that problem before. Wonder if the clip latch might be holding the clip a little high & the bolt is actually hitting the back of the clip rather than the top round. Can't visualize anything else that would hold the bolt back that firmly. :confused:

    It'll be a lot easier to sort it out when you're not under that 60 or 70 second pressure to get it loaded, though.:)


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