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M1 shooting in the 60's and the eventual passing of the M1 as a service rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Doug Bowser, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Doug Bowser

    Doug Bowser Member

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    M1 shooting in the 60's and the eventual passing of the M1 as a service rifle

    by Doug Bowser


    I was just given 24 American Rifleman Magazines for the years 1963-64. Unlike the present day Rifleman, there are technical articles by the best firearms experts of the time. Each magazine is a wealth of knowledge for any gun owner.

    Even the cover photograph on the cover is explained in technical terms. IE: Rolleiflex Camera with F2.8 Zeiss Planar Lens used by Rifleman Editor John Grubar. Shown are competitors firing from the sitting position at Camp Perry during the NRA HP Championships in August 1963. Taken on 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 Professional Ektachrome exposed for 1/50 second at F/16.

    camp perry m1.jpg

    The photograph above was taken 1/3 of the way down the line from firing position 1 at Vaile Range. The fence line was not visible when I was there in the 80's. There are trees there now and the place is known as the tunnel. This was because there were errant winds that caused swirling gusts and they could give a shooter fits at the longer ranges.

    As you see, in '63, the M1 was king. There must have been a few 1903-A3 rifles there because they were not discontinued as a Service Rifle until 1966. The 03-A3 was kept in the matches because many ROTC units in College had the 03-A3's and they wanted them to be able to shoot them in "LEG" Matches. They actually made a Match rifle version of the 1903-A3, with target receiver sights and globe front sight.


    The .30 M72 of the 1963 National Matches was made by Frankford Arsenal. We got 29,000 rounds of FA 63 .30 M72 ammo at Camp Perry in 1984. The cardboard ammo boxes were unusually numbered. Not only did the boxes have a LOT number, each box had a can number matching the .50 can it was packed in. IE: FA 1963, .30 M72 in Boxes, Lot #116 can # could be from 1 upward.

    I never went to Camp Perry in the 1960's or 70's. I did compete in NY State on reduced targets and 500 yard Mid-Range. The targets used at 500 yard Mid-Range were the Army "A" and "B" 5V targets. The 5V "B" target as I remember it had a 20" - 5 ring (maximum score is 5). It was not that difficult to shoot 5's at 500 yards with a 1903-A3 and a good lot of .30 M2 Ball ammo. Add to the mix, NM M1 rifles and FA 63 .30 M72 ammo and the shooting of perfect scores (many with all V-S) became common. It was difficult to break the ties of the perfect scores and they introduced the decimal targets "A" and "B". The "A" target is the same as the SR and the "B" target is the same as the MR-1, except the black extended only to the 8 ring. The decimal SR was used at 200 & 300 and the Decimal MR was used at 500 & 600 yards.

    The photo reminded me of the progression in the passing of previously used service rifles from the National and State Matches. The small number of 1903-A3 rifles used at Ft. Smith and Camp Perry in the 1960's then the drastic lowering of the number of M1 rifles in the late 80's. The M1A was king in 1990 and no AR-15 rifles were at the matches, that year. Now the AR-15 is the centerpiece in Service Rifle Competition. Who knows what will replace it.

    Say what you will, a properly accurized M1 will perform as well as the M14-M1A. The .30 M1 has a niche. At 1000 yards the .30 173 gr M72 round is not subsonic. Subsonic bullets at long range tend to be more unstable than those bullets that are supersonic. One of our SW Gun Club members won the 1000 yard Farr Trophy at Camp Perry in 1974 with a NM M1 .30 rifle. His name is Charles Schroeder and he was a premier shot. He was the first man I ever saw who won a "LEG" match with the AR-15 Rifle.

    The big advantage in favor of the M1A over the M1 is in the "Rattle Battle". As slow as I was the M1A would let me shoot 26-29 aimed shots in 50 seconds. My best time with the M1 from loaded to time's up was 19 shots and 19 hits at 600 yards. I have never observed a rattle battle fired with the M16 rifle. The most amazing thing about the rattle battle is the noise it generates. The British call it the Rattle of Musketry. The report of single rifles starts after the targets appear and the shooting builds up to a crescendo of rifle reports.

    One thing I know about Riflemen, when the rifle they have become attached to is replaced, they lament it's passing. Whether it is on a rifle range or a South Pacific Island named Guadalcanal during World War 2.
     
  2. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Great stuff. Thanks for posting.
     
  3. Big7

    Big7 Member

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    WOW.. You post some good stuff!:cool:

    I was T(-) 3 months old when that pic was taken! :D
     
  4. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Member

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    My son is into 'mil-surps'. We have an Arisaka, K-98, and a Swiss K-31. He goes for quality over numbers, each being in nice shape for the age.

    As a combined effort we just picked up a 1953 Harrington & Richardson M1 Garand in seemingly very nice condition. We haven't shot it yet, just setting up to do so with the proper loads. Anyway, such an iconic rifle no doubt.
     
  5. Doug Bowser

    Doug Bowser Member

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    Have you checked your rifles for headspace? Try 150 gr bullet with 46 gr IMR 4895. Stay away from slow burning powder, they can damage the Op rod, bolt and receiver.
     
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  6. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    As a young'un I subscribed to that outfit during that time period (I was 15 years old then....) and that magazine was my first education on the topic. When I went off to school a few years later I allowed both my membership and the subscription to lapse... You bring back memories of a time long lost.... and pretty good ones at that.
     
  7. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Member

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    Yes, this Garand comes from a local, very knowledgeable M1 owner & shooter. We talked a fair bit about loads & powder, which I already knew IMR-4895 is one of the most commonly used, with modest charges.
     
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  8. hps1

    hps1 Member

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    Excellent write up, Doug and great load suggestion. Brings back lots of memories. I was issued my first Garand in 1954 and it was still used by our Division until my separation in 1962. They brought out several M14's for our AMU to try out in 1961 or 62, but ammo was limited so each team member could only fire three rounds. By the way, you are 100% correct about troops reluctance to accept change from familiar arms.

    Shot lots of matches on the old 5V target. Shot only one rattle battle (4th Army Matches at Ft Hood in '62) and it took me several weeks to regain proper trigger control. :(

    The carrot that enticed me to shoot that first match after a 21 year hiatus was that they had a 1903 Springfield match scheduled as an addition to the 1983 State Service Rifle Match. It was to be a 600 yd. 20 shot match (w/unlimited sighters as most of us did not have 600 yd. zeroes for our 03's). Couldn't resist the urge to see all those old (as issued only) 03's on the line at one time. My first surprise when I started shooting competition again as a civilian was the 10X target. Also missing was the number of the old familiar "Smoky Bear" hats on the line.:)

    In spite of severe misgivings, I dusted off the old DCM Garand and shot all stages of that three day match plus the 03 match and, in spite of the fact that I had worn a 1" broken blister on my left elbow, didn't embarrass myself too badly. I was hooked all over again and shot the Garand as long as I could still see the sights before switching to a bolt gun w/aperature sights.

    IIRC, in the 80's, some matches would not allow M16's beyond the 300 yd. line due to the rainbow trajectory and the concern that a bullet might drop into the pits. When the heavier bullets were introduced, that rule went by the wayside. Anyone else run into that exclusion?

    Thanks, for the memories!

    Regards,
    hps
     
  9. oneshooter

    oneshooter Member

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    I still shoot a Garand at Highpower Matches. I bought a Blue Sky 1945 Springfield Garand that would keyhole at 50yds!!. The barrel stamp was so deep that you could feel it with a tight cleaning patch. I accepted the challenge!!
    It took a year, but I now have a very accurate M1.
    The only item I kept was the action and trigger group. New stock, Match sights, NM Op rod, bedded, floated, Krieger mid weight 1-10 match grade Cryo treated barrel, trigger at 4.0 lbs. All metal refinished in a dark grey Park.
    It no longer keyholes at any range.
     
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  10. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Head over to Garandgear.com. They have tables and charts showing peizo-sensor pressure readings of many factory loads at the gas port, both with and without their ported gas plug installed. Interesting stuff.
    I did get one of their plugs and I run factory hunting loads. Did a tilt test after about 300 rounds downrange and no problems. I can recommend the product, but it is made of somewhat soft steel- I managed to bugger up the first one and had to order another. Still, I'd rather damage the plug than the cylinder...lol.
     
  11. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    Headed out in about 45min to Talladega to shoot the M1 Carbine and M1 Garand match.
    If you own either, you should go sometime. It's great fun.
     
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  12. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    Not entirely true.... A .38 Special shooting target wadcutters has bullets that are not only very stable, they are very accurate.

    A well designed bullet (even a boat-tailed spizter) is still perfectly stable at subsonic velocities. The problem is that as bullets pass through the trans-sonic region (about Mach 1.2 to 0.90), they encounter a massive increase in drag during this passage (see image below). Since the distance from the shooter that this region is encountered by the bullet depends on the muzzle velocity, the distance from the shooter (and hence to the target) that this occurs varies. During this extremely high drag transition the bullet will drop a predictable amount, but where it starts and stops varies.

    For example:

    A M852 bullet is launched at nominal 2600 fps muzzle velocity at at target 1000 yards away. At this speed the bullet hits Mach 1 at 987 yards, However, the velocity is never always exactly the nominal 2600 fps. It will vary about +/- 30 fps. At the low end, 2570 fps, it hits Mach 1 at 974 yards, and now starts to drop faster (due to the higher drag and lower speed) for the remaining 26 yards. And at the high end of the tolerance, 2630 fps, it goes subsonic at 1005 yards, having remained supersonic all the way to the target, and thus maintained a higher trajectory.

    They will also encounter uneven pressure distribution around the bullet as the shock wave collapses when they pass through Mach 1.

    So, the drop at the target is larger or smaller depending on how close to the target the bullet is when it goes subsonic, and this exacerbates the effects of velocity variation. Windage is effected in the same manner, the slower subsonic bullets being "in the wind" longer.

    So, it is not the fact that the bullet is subsonic, but if bullets are allowed to pass through the trans-sonic region, that causes the group size will open up.

    For best accuracy, keep them all subsonic, or keep them supersonic all the way to the target (+ 10% for a cushion).

    lapuadrags.gif
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 10:03 PM
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