My M1 Speaks for Me!
I was born July 17, 1944. You'll see why that's pertinent in a moment -- read on: I got my M1 from a 1990 import sale of few hundred thousand rifles gleaned from South Korea where they had spent their lives as training and armory-stored weapons following The Forgotten War. I and two friends paid only $219 apiece for them. When they arrived, we picked them out of the divided box at random. Mine is of Springfield Armory manufacture with a 3,028,xxx serial number, so it's not all that special except that -- according to Springfield Armory's serial number lists -- that serial number puts it about 66% through July, 1944's production. Hell, parts of it were probably made on my birthday--now, isn't that special!
The stock was almost black with dirt and oil buildup, but it cleaned up well. It is heavily distressed from rough handling as a training tool, but substantial. Many of the receiver parts have been replaced with new ones, but the important ones: spring, operating rod and gas cylinder, are in excellent shape. It fires. Well. It puts 8 rounds inside 1-1/2 inches at 100 yards for me, and at the age of my eyes, most of my iron-sight shooting is less than that.
I've replaced the Korean-marked OD sling with a U.S.-made one of the more commonly used khaki tan. I also managed to find an original issue cleaning rod with M10 handle and a grease tube set for the recess inside the stock butt. I then acquired an M5A1 bayonet, M8A1 scabbard, a supply of clips, .30-06 ammunition and a WWII-issue 10-pocket M1 ammo belt. Amazingly, the expanding belt accommodates my expanded waistline!
M1 Field Manual
I got my hands on a dilapidated copy of the M1 field manual (FM 23-5) circa 1965, and have re-typeset it. I worked diligently to reproduce the original type style and layout, including the cover, 26 photos (modeling the poses myself), 10 drawings and two data tables. Assembling the contents, I also took great pains to place specific paragraphs, tables and photos in their original places on the original page numbers. This is not just a photocopy like you get now from The U.S. Government Printing Office, it is a double-sided printed replica of the original manual (I was a professional technical writer for 12 years -- The USGPO would be proud of this manual!)
The table of contents:
Paragraph Page Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION 1-4 3 2. MECHANICAL TRAINING 5-11 5 3. OPERATION AND FUNCTIONING 12-15 14 4. STOPPAGES AND IMMEDIATE ACTION 16-19 19 5. MAINTENANCE 20-24 20 6. AMMUNITION 25,26 25 Appendix I. REFERENCES ---- 26
Here are some sample pages:
I sell hardcopy versions (14 double-sided pages with a cardstock cover) payable by check or money order or by credit card via PayPal, delivery by USPS in U.S.A. only) including postage and handling, or you can use PayPal and I'll send you a link where you can download my 3.5MB PDF version and print it yourself or have it printed locally. I do not copyright the manual, since I am not the original author, I just trust my fellow Americans not to abuse my good intentions. I do ask that if someone you know wants a copy, please refer them here, don't re-distribute the manual yourself.
(I've retired, so the manual PDF is now free for downloading here. I no longer offer a printed version -- take your PDF to a local copy/print shop!)
Don't Have an M1 Garand?
Don't have an M1 Garand? Well, you better get one to have ready when the Muslim Jihad or the Mexi-invasion storms your castle. Either that or learn two new languages. It's official nomenclature is (was?) 'U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1.' It is a gas-operated, clip-fed auto-loading personal weapon for an individual soldier. By definition of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, you, as a U.S. citizen, are a soldier in the popular militia; as such you should be armed against all enemies, foreign or domestic. What more appropriate weapon could you acquire than the rifle deemed 'the greatest implement of battle ever devised' by General George S. Patton.
The M1 Garand was the world's first semi-automatic rifle to be put into active military service. As used by U.S. forces in World War Two, it fired .30-06 caliber rounds fed from a self-ejecting 8-round 'en bloc' clip at an effective rate of up to 24 rounds per minute. It was easily maintained in the field, reliable and accurate in the hands of a trained marksman. With the exception of the bolt, parts were interchangeable between weapons.
The Infamous En Bloc Clip
Considered stubborn on this point, John C. Garand insisted for his own reasons on utilization of the Mannlicher-designed en bloc clip for rapid loading of the magazine, rather than a bottom-feeding removable magazine, a NATO-pressured feature adopted in the M14, the M1??s successor. Garand introduced his design at a time when marksmanship was regarded as the prime concentration of an infantry soldier. The ?03 Springfield, the M1's bolt-action predecessor, was essentially an accurate militarized hunting rifle, with a handloaded interior magazine which held 5 rounds. So, at the time, Garand's 8-round upgrade seemed appropriate and attractive.
I've heard various disparaging remarks and anecdotal complaints regarding the en bloc clip; for instance, most M1 articles insist single round loading is either impossible or difficult.
- Open the bolt. If the barrel is hot, wait for it to cool to prevent a "cookoff."
- Eject the clip and un-fired rounds, saving for later reloading or topping-up.
- Dip the muzzle toward the ground.
- Drop a round into the chamber.
- Keeping the muzzle in a safe direction, pull back slightly on the operating rod handle, press the bolt release stud and release the operating rod.
Done. The second so-called 'failing' popularly circulated (cut and pasted?) is that you can't top-off a clip of 4 or 5 rounds. OK, try that with an M14, M16 or other magazine-fed 'fantastic-plastic' rifle, without removing the magazine.
This should be under a topic heading of 'Ammunition Management.' In a WWII firefight, most M1 riflemen kept a full clip in the left hand, ready for rapid reloading upon exhausting the clip in their weapons. They also tried to use up all 8 rounds or ejected un-fired rounds during a lull in fighting, so a round left in the chamber would not "cook off" from the heat of the hot barrel. To resume firing, all you had to do was release the bolt. With the issue of select-fire weapons to newly-drafted inexperienced jungle warriors of the Viet Nam era, a non-subtle 'spray and pray' attitude towards shooting was recommended, as opposed to the aim-and-fire, one round at a time accurate killing taught in WWII boot camps. No offense intended towards `Nam vets, they courageously fought fanatical NVA and VC armed with Chi-com and Russian select-fire weapons in a rainforest. Often at night. In the rain. I??d use the same technique, believe me!
But to counter the rumors, there are two ways to accomplish "topping-off". The obvious way is to eject a partially-exhausted clip and reload with a full one. The other is to lock the bolt back and insert loose rounds into the clip in the weapon, although, I don't think WWII M1 riflemen often had loose rounds in their pockets! I practiced (as all sensible rifleman who depend on their weapon for living in a battlefield environment did) and can now easily add two or three rounds to a partially emptied en bloc in the Garand:
- Open the bolt, catching the ejected un-fired round, while pressing down on the bolt lock stud to the left of the magazine well. If the barrel is hot, wait for it to cool to prevent a 'cookoff.' If the clip ejects, press it into the magazine well.
- With the bolt held back, press rounds into the partially emptied clip with a downward, rotating motion until the round snaps into place. Avoid pressing down on the clip itself.
- With the knife edge of your right hand holding the operating rod handle to the rear, press down on the clip to release the bolt lock.
- Slowly raise the right hand, seeing that the bolt engages the top round, and swing the right hand up and to the right to release the bolt to chamber the top round.
In this way it is easy to top-up to 7 rounds. The eighth would be difficult, I grant you, but then you should have just ejected the partial and loaded a full clip in the first place!
After firing the last round, the M1??s bolt stays open, and the en bloc clip is ejected with a distinct 'ping.' Suffice it to say that in squad skirmishes characteristic of the WWII European theater, one guy's 'ping' is going to go unheard in the heat of battle. One-on-one at night, it might be a different story, but there has never been any evidence of a U.S. soldier being wounded or killed by an enemy thinking he was vulnerable upon hearing that 'ping.'