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Garand conversion to .308?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Preacherman, Oct 30, 2003.

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  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    I know that others have posted on this subject in the past, but I've just got my first Garand ( :D ), and am thinking about having the conversion done, due to the low cost of practice ammo.

    A few questions:

    1. Could those of you who've done this conversion post about your experiences - pre-conversion, post-conversion, level of satisfaction?

    2. Which are the good places to do this work?

    3. I assume that milspec 7.62mm NATO ammo is within pressure specs for the Garand action, and that no modifications are necessary. Is this correct? Does the lower-pressure 7.62mm. ammo alleviate the op-rod problems sometimes experienced in .30-'06 Garands using commercial ammunition?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. jem375

    jem375 Member

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    In the first place why change over to 308 when the cost of surplus ammo is just about the same............I bought ammo from 3 different sources and they all came with M1 clips, so now have over 200 clips, and plenty of military surplus ammo......you can get 30-06 ammo from a lot of places...
    Look in Shotgun News, that is where I buy most of mine........
     
  3. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Member

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    I don't have a Garand, so I'm curious. Wouldn't a conversion to .308 require a new barrel, and wouldn't that barrel allow the rifle to shoot more accurately than the "four inches at a hundred yards" that I understand is standard?

    Jaywalker
     
  4. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    If it is an actual GI Garand with a good bore, you will be haunted by the ghosts of GI's for the rest of your life. :uhoh:

    (Federal loads an M2 ball duplicate for a reasonable price in their American Eagle line.)
     
  5. Backwoods

    Backwoods Member

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    I've got a Garand in each of those calibers, there is no real difference between the two rifles other than ammo. The 7.62 NATO barreled rifle has been match conditioned and shoots tighter groups, as you would expect.

    Reliability seems to be the same, the shorter round does seem to need a slightly larger gas port.

    I have a magazine block in the front of the mag well to prevent loading the longer '06 ammo by mistake. BTW, that's all the mag block does, has no effect on the feeding or any other factor of the rifles function.

    If the rifle is in primo shape I wouldn't convert it though. Unless you are absolutely going to shoot matches or the current barrel is shot out, it's probably best to leave things as they are. Just my two cents

    Don in Ohio
     
  6. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    "haunted by the ghosts of GI's for the rest of your life"

    Whoaaaa!

    Ok...that's out....

    Like I don't have enough problems..now I want my off hours to resemble old "Combat" reruns.
     
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...lower-pressure 7.62mm..." What lower pressure 7.62 is that? The 7.62/.308 and the .30-06 are virtually identical except the 06 will give you 220 grain bullets and about 100 fps more in some loads. Other than that they're the same.
    Having said that, surplus ammo is not for practicing with. It's for shooting for the sake of shooting without much regard for serious accuracy. And you're still limited to under 180 grain bullets as it's the same op rod. Those chamber inserts don't workeither so it's a new barrel and a mag(clip well?) well filler at the least. Although the filler may not be totally required.
    Mind you, Patton was scary enough when he lived. You don't really want him sitting on your bed post because you bubba'd a perfectly good rifle, do you? Find one that has a poor barrel and convert that one.
     
  8. Frohickey

    Frohickey Member

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  9. VG

    VG Member

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    The Navy converted thousands of them. 7.62 ghosts can buy surplus ammo for $0.11-0.15 per round versus $0.22-0.28 per round for 30.06. Almost every Garand collector I know who has more than three Garands includes one .308. A few are one of the authentic military conversions, but most have been done commercially..

    There are several manufacturers of GI contour 7.62 barrels for the Garand. Most of the 7.62 Garand barrels made by Springfield Armory have been used long ago, either for rebarreling Garands or for modifiation to use in M1A parts kits. This was done after the experiments the Navy did with adding a sleeve in the chamber of a 30.06 barrel were abandoned.

    The gunsmithing is not difficult but requires enough tools and expertise that most folks send their rifles to a specialist shop - Champion's Choice, Orion 7, and Fulton Armory are just a few of the many shops that do such conversions. The cost runs from about $225 to $300 depending on the shop, barrel, and other services required. A spacer can be added to prevent chambering of 30.06, but it's not necessary. The USGI 7.62 is nearly identical ballistically to the 30.06, but some think they recoil less.

    One common course of action isl to buy a Service Grade Garand and rebarrel it, as the take-off can be sold on eBay or elsewhere to recoup part of the cost. I' have two Rack Grade rifles on order and will likely convert one of them. I don't believe in ghosts. The enemies of civilian rifle marksmanship are far more real.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Triad

    Triad Member

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    Why? Does converting it damage the rifle in some way, or permanently alter the rifle so it can't be restored? Couldn't you keep the old barrel and have it put back on to restore the rifle to its original condition?
     
  11. Swampy

    Swampy Member

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    Preacherman,

    VG and triad have nailed it......

    I own NUMEROUS M1's.... all purchased through the CMP.

    So far I only have one .308 Garand, an IHC I had built into a Match Grade early in '02. Very sweet rifle and a great shooter. Has the Douglas .308 barrel, installed by the same 'smith that does all of Champions Choice's shop work. He also did all the Match conversion work.

    I do have one or two M1's that have less than primo barrels. These will most likely be re-barreled to .308 with either the Douglas or the Wilson barrel.

    Milsurp .308 is just too cheap to pass up if you are going to do the barrel change anyway. I don't know if it's worth it if your rifle already has a decent barrel. The 10 cent difference in price between surplus '06 and 7.62 would take about 3k rounds to just break even.

    BTW, all the ammo caveats that apply to an '06 Garand also apply to the 7.62 or .308 versions. Note that milsurp 7.62 ammo DOES meet the requirements for the M1's tender gas system.

    Best regards,
    Swampy
     
  12. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    If the price of 30-06 gets to you, just invest in some reloading gear. It can be quite a bit cheaper.

    Convert an M1 to 308? I'm thinking about doing that to one of mine. Champions Choice seems to do it for a good price. Not on the top of my project list though.

    Regards.
     
  13. NEtracker

    NEtracker Member

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    It is my understanding that when you have the barrel changed, you either get it headspaced for .308 or for 7.62 NATO, as there is just a slight difference in tolerances. Can anyone comment?
    The M1 that I have now will remain 30-06, but that next Rack Grade is a .308 candidate.
     
  14. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    And now a comment from the Old Skul:

    To paraphrase Pete the Pony, neigh, neigh from conversions stay away.

    First, I have seen too many conversions, of all sorts, go awry.

    Second, what's the point? If you want a shooter, why not just buy an M14 clone which was designed for the .308?

    If you do decide upon a conversion, be careful. Pay extra money to get it done right the first time.

    VG, nice piece!:)
     
  15. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    Tamara....I may be the only person that got your joke.

    You are slippin girl!
     
  16. VG

    VG Member

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    Fulton Armory has an article on this precise topic.

    http://www.fulton-armory.com/308.htm

    His short version:

     
  17. DMK

    DMK Member

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    Before I sent my Garand to Dean's Gun Restorations for a rebuild w/ .308 barrel, I asked him a similar question:

    Me: Is it possible to headspace the barrel to allow 7.62x51 surplus and
    occasionally shoot .308 commercial ammo?

    Dean: Yes, I chamber them to 1.632 and we have never had a problem with shooting either cal.

    I've got enough 7.62 Nato stocked up that I'll probably never shoot commercial .308, but it's nice to have options.
     
  18. bernie

    bernie Member

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    I say go for it. I have had both a .308 M1 rifle and an M1A. I actually preferred the M1. IF you put a .308 barrel on it, it can always be rebarrelled back tol .30-06. Many will tell you to put a mag well block in it so that you cannot accidentally put a .30-06 round in it. If you only have one M1, that is not an issue, except for whoever might get the rifle after you know longer have it.
    My point of all this rambling is....308 M1's rule!
     
  19. MagKnightX

    MagKnightX Member

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    If it is a good milsurp with some history behind it, then:

    What did that poor Garand ever do to you? Send it to someone who will love it just the way it is *points to self*!

    If it's not historical or any such, go for it.
     
  20. Publicola

    Publicola Member

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    Funny someone should mention the difference betwixt .308 Winchester & 7.62x51mmNATO. I spent several hours of my life arguing about it on another forum with a guy who couldn't quite grasp the idea that cartridges had a headspace measurement.

    The bottom line is if you get your chamber reamed to a little over the minimum 308 Winchester dimensions (i.e. 1.632, which is +.002 over the min. of 1.630) then everything should be cool. If however you have a 7.62x51mmNATO chamber then you should only use 7.62x51mmNATO ammo in it.

    But for more info on the subject, look here

    http://outdoorsbest.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=87590

    Now as far as rechambering goes, personally I wouldn't, but I'm partial to the '06. It'd be more economical to simply get a new barrel for the Garand chambered in '06.

    In any event you can use heavier than 180 grain bullets in a Garand, or cartridges with a slower burn rate than IMR 4064. But you have to use an adjustable gas system, such as the one offered by McCann in order to avoid Op Rod damage.

    http://www.gokart.net/shop-utopia/mccann/scope/parts.html

    Then again if you want to go all out you can just have it modified to shoot .338 Winchester Magnum

    http://www.gokart.net/shop-utopia/mccann/rifles/garand/garand.html

    Personally though I use handloads or mil-surp ammo in my Garand. It has the standard gas system & I don't even put commercial ammo through it. The commercial stuff leaves the barrel a bit too fast which leads me to believe it's gonna have unecessarily high gas port pressure. Although Federal's Gold Medal Match ammo would probably be okay, if I was looking to spend $25 for 20 rounds.

    & of course if you disable the gas system entirely & use the Garand as a manually operated straight pull bolt action you can use whatever weight bullets you want. All that requires is replacing the gas lock screw with one that's hollowed out substantially so no pressure builds or acts upon the op rod. Ya could just remove the gas lock screw completely, but I'd only do that at the range & double check the gas lock & gas cylinder after every shot as it'll probably work loose. (I've never done that myself but I know a few people who have in order to take their Garand deer hunting in states where semi's aren't allowed)

    But if you want any work done, look at the following gunsmiths & see which one will be right for you

    http://www.gokart.net/shop-utopia/mccann/index.html

    http://www.arringtonaccuracy.com/

    http://www.dgrguns.com/index.html

    http://www.m1-m1a-ar15.com/

    http://www.miltecharms.com/index.htm

    http://www.smithenterprise.com/startpage.htm

    http://www.kriegerbarrels.com/heavy_match_barrels.php
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2003
  21. Matt G

    Matt G Moderator Emeritus

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    I must confess I was not aware of the spec dimension difference. Another victory for knowledge overcoming ignorance, brought to you (okay, to me) by the armed-with-knowledge Members of T.H.R.!!! :)
     
  22. VG

    VG Member

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    The majority of rifles that come from CMP have been rebarreled, used, sent to Denmark, Greece, etc., had all manner of parts swapped, likely do not have correct wood, trigger group, or op rod in addition to the replacement barrel, and so have no real interest to collectors.

    Whether we will rue the day when these were "sporterized" is hard to say. But for every Garand getting converted to 7.62, there are probably two that are being restored with "correct" USGI barrels from the same date range.

    I've ordered four Service Grade rifles, and they've all come with original barrel/receiver combos. I've ordered a Rack Grade that will probably be converted, though.
     
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