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M1 Garand - Questions/Concerns

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Hard Call, May 11, 2012.

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  1. Hard Call

    Hard Call Member

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    Gentlemen,

    Approximately one week ago, I was days away from buying my first firearm - a handgun. My research had been exhaustive. I had been to a myriad of LGSs, handling every possible candidate. I had decided on a model, size, and caliber after weeks of reading reviews, making pros & cons lists, and personal budgeting.

    Yes, I was ready.

    I was excited.

    I was utterly unprepared for what happened next.

    Struggling to stay awake during the late night hours on a staff duty shift, I found myself thumbing through an old issue of American Rifleman. An ad caught my eye. It was for something called the Civilian Marksmanship Program, and pictured front and center was a gorgeous looking M1 Garand.

    So here I am, one week of frenzied research later and ready to inexplicably pull the trigger on a CMP SA Service Grade. The handgun and rational thought forgotten. Were it any other firearm, I wouldn't be doing this. The opportunity to own the same rifle that both of my grandfathers carried through the Pacific is far too strong of an influence.

    Having said this, I'd like to fire off a few questions for you Garand owners before I blunder ahead.

    1. The intent is for this rifle to be a shooter. I don't care about collector-grade quality, all period-correct parts, or WW2 vintage. I want it to function well, reliably, and be able to maintain combat accuracy out to 300m. Yes, I'd prefer that it look nice, but it doesn't have to look immaculate or brand new. With that in mind, will a standard Service Grade suffice, or is the Service Grade Special really worth the extra three hundred-odd dollars?

    2. I've read that when you place an order for one of these rifles, you can "sticky-note" in a request for certain things (within reason). If I wanted to communicate that I had a strong preference for the aforementioned "shooter" characteristics, what could I ask for without overly-inconveniencing the guys at the CMP? Unfortunately, a trip to the South Store is not going to be possible for me.

    3. I realize that the rifle is probably going to arrive Han Solo-style in a solid block of cosmoline. What cleaning products do you all recommend for the wooden furniture and metal components? Any preference on oil/grease for after the cleaning is done

    4. Ammunition. I understand that this thing eats only M2 Ball, without the use of some sort of modified gas plug for modern cartridges. The only reliable source that I can find is from the CMP at $110+ per order. I'm not very familiar with pricing for .30-06, so is that a decent deal? I'm a little worried about keeping it fed in the long-term.

    5. Slamfires. I had no idea about this issue prior to looking into Garands. While I gather that they're fairly rare when using the right kind of ammunition, the thought of it occurring is somewhat unnerving for a new gun owner. I suppose this just comes with the territory of mil-surp semi-autos?
    None of this will necessarily prevent me from buying the rifle, of course, but given that it'll be my first, I'd like to find out as much as I can.

    Thanks for taking the time to read through this, everyone. I look forward to your replies.
     
  2. firesky101

    firesky101 Member

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    I cannot speak for most of your questions, as I have been looking for the right time to get a garand myself. The one I can answer is the M2 ball is a good price for '06 and you get a cool ammo can.
     
  3. Double Vision

    Double Vision Member

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    You will get a ton of excellent advice here on Garands. I would also suggest you look in the CMP forums. In any event, the CMP is the way to go when buying a Garand.

    Here is my 2 cents:

    1. I went with the Springfield Special. More pricey than a service grade, but it is a beauty and I love it. It shoot great. You may get a nice service grade from the CMP but if I was going that route I would want to hand-pick one from the north or south store.

    2. That may be.

    3. I think I used kerosene on cosmoline in the past. If you need to treat the wood, PURE tung oil works nicely. A good quality gun grease in the right spots works wonders on the moving parts.

    4. I buy my Garand ammo from the CMP only. Compared to commercial, it's a steal. Buy lots of it, and a bunch of clips.

    5. I have not encountered a slam fire.

    Best wishes and good luck. You will not regret buying and shooting a good CMP Garand. :)

    But go buy the handgun anyway. You may want a nice 1911 to go with your Garand. ;)
     
  4. az_imuth

    az_imuth Member

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    Service Grade. I think that most people are very happy with the service grade M1's they receive from CMP and the vast majority of these rifles should easily meet your criteria in question #1. Ask for the highest serial no. available in either SA or HRA.:)

    Sticky notes. My feeling is that a lot of people who receive what they requested on sticky notes just "got lucky". I could be way off, but that's my feeling for the most part. I do believe CMP may try to honor a serial no. range if you request it simply because that wouldn't require pulling the rifle and examining it like many of the other requests would require. In your case, asking for a "good shooter" may be ignored since the service grade is supposed to be the "good shooter" grade by definition.

    Cosmoline. Some come with a lifetime supply of Cosmoline while others are clean as a whistle. Wipe down all the metal parts with your favorite solvent while your wood sits out in the sun in a black plastic bag. Pull the wood out on occasion and wipe it down. Repeat until it's tolerable. First time you shoot it much the Cosmoline will likely ooze out some more, but should get better and better over time.

    Ammo. Buy from CMP...as much as you can, as often as you can.

    Slamfires. Own several Garands and have been shooting them for a number of years, but have never experienced or seen a slamfire occur. Stick with M2 ball ammo and you're probably more likely to get hit by a meteor.
     
  5. subdude

    subdude Member

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    First, welcome to the addiction. By all means, check out the CMP forums, you'll learn LOTS there.

    The CMP service grades are pretty much gonna be great shooters, and look decent. Last time I was at the South Store, they had quite a few that were quite nice. If you yellow sticky note the order, they will indeed try to accommodate. I'd ask for low numbers on the throat and muzzle erosion gauges first, then your choice of new or vintage wood.

    The SG special is nice if you want a pristine rifle for a collection. I like mine to have a little character. ;)

    Mineral Spirits melts cosmoline pretty nicely. I really wouldn't expect to have to clean it TOO much, the ones I've seen / received have been pretty clean.

    Greek surplus HXP from the CMP is a bargain. Budget for lots of it.

    Slam fires are generally caused by either soft cup primers, or primers not seated fully. MilSurp ammo will pretty much eliminate this, as they use harder primer cups.

    Buy it. You won't regret it, and you'll never get one cheaper. And believe me, the "ping" is VERY addictive......
     
  6. MJD

    MJD Member

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    As said, the CMP forums have just about any kind of information you want on the M-1. In addition to shooting-related information, there are a lot of threads related to correct/incorrect parts and collector-related material--interesting reading, if you get the desire to learn the nuances of Garand history and production.

    1. Mail order service grades are usually good-to-go based on my experience and looking at other buyers' feedback on the CMP forums. The service grade specials are really nice rifles; probably worth the extra money if you really want a shooter, but I don't think you can go wrong with a service grade for the most part.

    2. Sticky notes--luck of the draw.

    3. Just about any solvent you have will take care of the metal. Putting the stock in a garbage bag out in the sun for a few hours a day for a few days will take care of the deep-seated cosmoline--just take it out and wipe the excreted cosmoline off after each day. After it's all out, the CMP forums have some good how-to's on different finishes to put on the stock.

    4. Ammo: M2 ball, as much as you can from the CMP. The Greek stuff has been shooting well for me and I have yet to uncover a corroded round out of about the 900 I've shot so far.

    5. Slamfires--haven't seen one yet in mine or anyone else's.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  7. dogrunner

    dogrunner Member

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    Hardcall. Given your criteria I most strongly suggest you take a good look at the Service Grade Special.......#RM1SASSP.....go currently for 950.

    I picked one up at the North Store last August. Metal is pristine, flawless bore and finish. Apparently it'd never been fired. Wood is CMP cartouched and not original.......but you gotta look close to tell. With the correct stock it'd be an as new correct grade rifle.

    I had picked up a very good cond. H&R on that trip, had the office hold it while I looked around, that's when I found the rifle I bought. That H&R had a lot more collector appeal......all original except for a few minor parts, all the correct cartouches et al, but I was looking for a shooter just as you are. I'm happy to say that my choice will hold three under a dime at a friend's 50 yard range!

    Now if the wife hadn't been with me I'd have bit the bullet and taken both, but the aspect of having to endure a thousand mile trip with her after that was a bit more than I wanted to chance!
     
  8. mm1ut1

    mm1ut1 Member

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    If you intend to shoot in a Garand match and want to be competetive I'd post an ad at your local gun club. I've had several CMP service grade rifles that shot 8" groups at 100 yards. Others shot much better. Pretty much luck of the draw. Buying locally and having a chance to shoot it at the range might be worth the extra bucks to you.
    Hornady sells 30-06 ammo for Garands. Shoots better than milsurp for most rifles. It's about $1.00/round.
    Garands are really fun to shoot ! You'll probably end up buying more than 1 !
     
  9. james layman

    james layman Member

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    m1 garand

    I only met one person that had a slamfire. He was told the rifle was .308. It was 30-06. The first round chambered, and click. Tried to chamber round 2. The round set off an explosion. He was badly injured. Murphy happens.
     
  10. chevyman097

    chevyman097 Member

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    For 35 bucks you should be good to go to shoot whatever ammo you want according to this.

    http://www.garandgear.com/index.php...=com_virtuemart&Itemid=53&vmcchk=1&Itemid=109

    Im rather new to garands too but I picked one up and have shot a few different brands of ammo and havnt noticed a problem with it.

    I asked about it here shortly after getting my garand but didnt get much feedback. Maybe some more folks will chime in here.

    I still stay away from the hornady and high perfomance stuff until I know more about it.
     
  11. TenDriver

    TenDriver Member

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    I just bought a service grade SA this week. High serial number and it shows very little wear. I played hookie from work and went to the south store. A helpful customer there helped me take down 4 rifles at the counter, all SA's. They were all mostly SA parts except for the bolts. Mostly original barrels, some had H&R trigger groups and all had H&R bolts. Plenty were in new CMP wood and aren't slathered in cosmolene. Mine has plenty on the metal.

    I posted pics on a thread I started. My rifle seemed like a good representative of the SA's. They are nice.
     
  12. USSR

    USSR Member

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    A Service Grade will serve you just fine. I have several of them, and they are both reliable and accurate. Save the $$$ difference between a Service Grade and the Service Grade Special, and spend it on the HXP ammo that the CMP sells.

    Things like "USGI walnut wood" or "a low muzzle wear reading" are things that can readily be seen by the person selecting your Garand, and you would have a much better chance of your request being realized than something more specific.

    First, the current Garands are predominately returns from Greece. While a lot of guys are calling it cosmoline, it is not. The Greeks used grease, and turpentine or mineral spirits will work well in removing it.

    The Greek HXP ammo being sold through the CMP is the best deal going. It is good ammo, and much cheaper than anything you will find commercially. It is good for reloading, and if you don't reload, you can easily sell the fired brass to others who do, and offset your cost.

    While slamfires can happen with a defective rifle, it is primarily a concern for reloaders. If you reload, uniform your primer pockets to the correct depth, fully seat your primers, and don't use Federal primers. Hope that helps.

    Don
     
  13. ol' scratch

    ol' scratch Member

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    First off...Congrats! I love my M1 Garands. I have two service grades and a special-a Winchester, a WWII Springfield and one service special I made correct with a stock swap, it is an H & R.

    First answer..Get the standard service grade Garand. I have only one service special and it is as nice mechanically as my service grade, just with all matching HRA parts.

    Second...If you just want a shooter, I wouldn't worry about a sticky. Most guys put a sticky on the rifle to ask for a WWII serial number. In the service grade area, they should all be good shooters.

    Third...Cosmoline. I wipe off the heaviest globs with a rag and then clean with acetone. I have used a hair dryer heat to melt it off in the past too. Use BLO or Tung Oil to finish the stock. I use USGI grease, but only because I got it cheap. I have used Moly in the past with good results. Just make sure you use grease. M1's like their grease.

    Fourth...Ammunition. The best price on 06' at the moment is through the CMP. The Greek ammo is good ammo and has good brass. You can shoot commercial, but as you mentioned get an adjustable gas plug. You seem to have some reservations in this area and let me put them to rest. It really is no big deal to swap out the gas plug in a Garand. You then have to 'tune' the new plug...Also not a big deal. If you are concerned regarding the avalabilty of procuring ammo for your beast, might I recommend getting into reloading? Something else to think about and lots of fun :D.

    Fifth...Slam fires. I have never had one on a Garand. I think part of the problem associated with slam fires in a Garand was the combination of worn bolts and soft primers. Keep in mind that the AR 15, M 14 (M1A), SKS, AK and lots of other rifles use the same type of floating firing pin. I have personally taken sized and primed brass and let the bolt slam home on it until the primer looked as if it had fired. That was using a Remington Primer. It did not go off.

    Something else to think about. Get some enblocs. They are still cheap, but not for long. Get as many as you can.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  14. Welding Rod

    Welding Rod Member

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    If you want to be sure you will get a nice rifle get the SGS. If you don't mind a little bit of a gamble, go SG. Most recent reports have been that the SG rifles are in nice shape, but there is no guarantee that it will be any better than the minimum description criteria as stated by CMP.

    I have not recieved a rifle from CMP with any appreciable amount of cosmoline or grease on it.

    The 30-06 is easy to load for, reasonably cheap to load, and the brass is easy to hand and locate on the ground due to its large size. I would seriously consider reloading when shooting any semi-auto 308 or 30-06 rifle. They eat lots of ammo.

    The Garand has several safety features designed into to it to prevent firing out of battery, provided the gun is in proper working order. However a high primer could be a problem in this or just about any other rifle for that matter. It is good to inspect any ammo for this before loading.
     
  15. stonecutter2

    stonecutter2 Member

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    1. Service grades are shooters. No need for the special, unless you want a really pristine rifle. The service grade is exactly what you should get, sounds like! My service grade looked pretty darn nice, though :) I have an HRA Service Grade. The rifle will be a mix of parts from different manufacturers and time periods. My rifle has an HRA reciever, original HRA barrel in fantastic shape - little muzzle wear or throat erosion - post-war SA trigger group (complete) and WWII era SA bolt.

    2. Sticky notes aren't officially followed. Although it "never hurts to ask" as sometimes they seem to be honored (but no guarantees). I would recommend asking for a USGI stock, if possible. Some rifles come with new manufacture stocks, and well personally i like a real stock from "back then."

    3. I used mineral spirits to clean cosmoline off all of my parts that would fit in a tupperware tub (the Ziploc disposable type), soaked then scrubbed with an old toothbrush. This will strip any and all grease/oil from the steel. I dried off the mineral spirits then immediately followed with a generous spraying of Rem Oil from an aerosol can, in another Ziploc tupperware tub. Then wiped with a rag.

    The wood - use good ol' sunshine. Set the rifle stock on a black plastic garbage bag cut open, and let it sit in the sun. The cosmo will weep out, wipe it out occasionally. Cosmo was heated and then applied, reverse the process with heat. Don't do anything drastic, the cosmo will come out. Wipe the rifle down occasionally, until no more weeping - may take years. Bring a rag with you to the range :)

    Oil/grease - aside from Rem Oil, I used Outers Rust Preventative (any good rust preventative gun oil will do), and in the buttstock of my M1, I found two old little tubs of Plastilube 130-A and a little rope used as a bore snake. So, I went to Brownell's and bought the same grease, only in a big metal tub. Wiped out the old, replaced with new. Grease only where the CMP tells you to, cover adequately but not excessively.

    4. CMP M2 ball is the best deal i've found. Buy however much you can afford. Long term feeding concerns can be quelled with an adjustable gas plug, which will let you shoot commercial hunting ammo once you adjust the plug. I bought one for the day M2 ball dries up (whenever that is). It's a $30 insurance policy to let me enjoy shooting my M1 Garand forever; well worth it.

    5. I have never had a slamfire. They can happen, I guess. Inspect all parts when disassembling for initial cleaning - tell CMP if something seems excessively worn/concerning. If it's bad, it will be obvious. They will likely send you a new part - they are good people. Just in case, be prepared with that first clip. If it works fine, load again and keep shootin' :)

    You will never regret owning an M1 Garand, sounds like you have a personal connection to it, and they are beautiful machines. The cleaning/disassembly/assembly process really makes you appreciate what we had in WWII. They are still a devastating weapon, treat it well and with great respect.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  16. bryank30

    bryank30 Member

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    Here are my two baby's, a 1954 Springfield SG and a 1955 HRA SG. Both have new production boyd walnut stocks, and the HRA I did parkerize all metal :) Barrels were both 2 TE and 1 MW. New barrels can spec at that same amount. I"m very pleased!
     

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  17. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    I have, and no guessing, they do.

    They arent a normal thing, but they do happen, and trust me, its something you'd prefer to avoid.

    You can help reduce the likelihood by using proper ammo, proper reloading practices(if you reload), especially those geared towards the M1, and by using either a clip or SLED when single loading.
     
  18. Orlando

    Orlando Member

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    Get a Service Grade, enough said
     
  19. FlyinBryan

    FlyinBryan Member

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    what orlando said. speaking of orlando, why are you looking for s.a. garand #1382174? what would that be, like april or may of 1943?
     
  20. TxBobS

    TxBobS Member

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    I just got my first Garand and couldn't be happier. I got a Springfield service grade with 1 muzzle and 2 throat. The thing looks brand new. The stock IS new in fact. I'm attaching a few pics of it. Should be shot this weekend since my ball ammo has arrived from CMP.

    I'm not saying you will get one that looks like this but I have seen more like this than not coming from the CMP lately.
     

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  21. Hard Call

    Hard Call Member

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    Thank you all for the very informative replies. I greatly appreciate your input.

    I believe that I will make my order for the standard SA Service Grade. Strange as it sounds, I'm not sure that I want it to be pristine. I think I'll enjoy putting some time into the rifle to make it shine again.

    Thank you again, everyone. I feel a great deal more confident in moving forward with the purchase. Please feel free to continue the discussion - especially on cleaning products and strategies thereof.

    Man, I can't get this order in fast enough.
     
  22. ol' scratch

    ol' scratch Member

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    I would also like to know Orlando. Inquiring minds want to know!!!!
     
  23. DonP

    DonP Member

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    A gun is just a gun, but a Garand is your own shooting piece of history.

    I have 2 so far. One is an original Springfield Armory, issued to the Fleet Marine Force in 1943, the other is a Danish loaner with a VAR re-barrel. (Yes, you can trace them by serial number)

    My uncle was in the Marines in WWII (God rest his soul) and I took him shooting with my SA Garand. He actually started to weep holding one again.

    Every nick and gouge on those stocks is history in your hands.

    If someone told you you could buy one of the muskets from the Battle at Lexington, Concord Bridge or Cowpens for a few hundred bucks, you'd jump at it.

    This is no different.

    They shoot well and, with decent care, you'll hand it over to your grand kids.

    Buy one while you still can for under a few thousand $$.
     
  24. FlyinBryan

    FlyinBryan Member

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    one of mine. springfield service grade built in the spring of 1944
    Picture012.jpg
     
  25. TyGuy

    TyGuy Member

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    Does anyone know if the special grade comes greased up or not?
     
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