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Some M1 Loading advice please

This is a discussion on Some M1 Loading advice please within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; So up until this point I have been loading everything my Garand shoots my self, after, of course learning that M1s don't particularly like commercial ...


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Old April 8th, 2017, 06:05 AM   #1
 
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Some M1 Loading advice please

So up until this point I have been loading everything my Garand shoots my self, after, of course learning that M1s don't particularly like commercial ammo. I've been using .30 M2 Ball ammo specs (49 gr. of IMR 4895 behind 150gr FMJ-BTs).

On the CMP forum I kept reading that 46 grains of 4895 works well, so I tried it, and it cycle the rifle 8 times.

I don't have a lot of experience working up my own loads, so my question is:

What considerations do I need to be aware of when working down a load? I want the softest, most gentle -06 round that will reliably cycle the rifle, I have no need for accuracy beyond being on paper, my Garand is simply a historic piece that I do not want to damage, and continue to plink with, and have fun with.

Can I safely load up some rounds with progressively lighter powder charges? if so, how much is recommended. I was thinking, that since 46 grains does cycle, Id like to degrees by half a grain and figure out exactly where the action stops cycling, and then load slightly above that. Is this safe? Am I out of my mind, Lol?



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Old April 8th, 2017, 08:15 AM   #2
 
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I have been loading for my M1 the past three years. The lower end (powder-wise) loads are quite accurate. The CMP Forum Reloading section is an excellent resource. It is pretty easy to work loads for the M1. I did the same as you when working around with the powder charge. I started with IMR4895, but have switched to IMR4064, due to the slight edge in accuracy. My main load is a 150-155 gr bullet with a mild charge of 4064. Working down a half-grain at a time, going on proper action cycling, is a fine way to work a nice paper punching M1 load. Less powder per round means more rounds from a cannister of powder, too. I don't think you will want to get too much below 44 grs for reliable function, but experimenting will show you that. Another avenue to try is lighter bullets for the 100-200 yd distances. A number of people get great results from 110-130 gr spitzer bullets in the M1. Another thing I would recommend is a new op-rod spring, if you haven't done so. GarandGear and Orion 7 sell good quality springs.
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Old April 8th, 2017, 09:00 AM   #3
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FWIW, you can also get an adjustable gas plug and I've read adjusting it can lessen recoil a bit (but it is intended for shooting heavier loads without damaging the Garand's gas system)...
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Old April 8th, 2017, 10:43 AM   #4
 
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It's been a while since I played with a Garand but my recollection is that you can get down to about 2550 fps with a 150 grain FMJ bullet before the gun stops running. That works out to about the 44 grain +/- about 1 grain when using IMR4895.

While the Garand will run with lighter bullets I think you'll be better served with the 165-168 grain projectiles.

A couple of notes -
1. The Sierra Rifle Reloading Manual warns against using powders that deviate from the medium burn rates in the M1 Garand. They recommend staying with 4895, 4064 and a few others.
2. In all of my years loading for 30 caliber rifles, IMR 4064 was often the powder recommended but I always found IMR 4895 to be every bit as good and often better. I eventually just settled on 4895 and I have the one hole groups to back up that decision.

The Garand is actually pretty tough and given some maintenance and proper ammunition I wouldn't stress to much in my efforts to find light loads. Shoot appropriate ammunition in the 150 -168 grain bullet weights loaded to stay within acceptable limits and you'll be fine.

Although the M2 ball ammo uses a 150ish grain bullet, the original M1 load used 173 grain bullet. Obviously the Garand will function with both but the M2 ammunition is far more common.
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Old April 8th, 2017, 12:22 PM   #5
 
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For quite a bit of the average (not premium) factory .30-06 ammo with 150-168 gr bullets, and especially if you are handloading, the adjustable gas plug is not necessary. Here is some testing data on various ammo types shot in an M1.

M1 Garand Ammunition and the Ported Gas Plug

Though most people handload 150-168 gr bullets for the M1, don't discount the 110-130 gr spitzer (pointed) bullets for soft-shooting target loads at the 100-200 yd range. This topic is addressed quite well in posts on the CMP Forums Reloading section. Though IMR4895 and 4064 are the more popular powders for the M1, many people find great results with other powders in the burn rate range between H4895 and Varget.

Proper cartridge case resizing and headspace maintenance, along with proper bolt lug/op-rod lubrication with light grease, is important to maintain the safe and reliable function of the M1. Quite a few M1s have been badly damaged by out-of-battery firing. Worn bolt and receiver parts are a main culprit, along with improper headspace.

Reloading - CMP Forums
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Old April 8th, 2017, 03:50 PM   #6
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The hornady reloading manual lists m1 garand specific loads, seperate from the 30.06, thats what I use in mine, with a 155 or 168 sierra bthp match. I do habe friends that run the Schuster adjustable gas plug, it does work once adjusted to your loading, however I do not have one in mine.

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Old April 9th, 2017, 02:17 AM   #7
 
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I have so much Danish military surplus ammo (1800 rounds in enbloc clips) that I have no reason to reload my own. I only shoot my garand a couple times per year tho.
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Old April 9th, 2017, 07:53 AM   #8
 
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That good info firescout, thanks.
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Old April 9th, 2017, 09:35 AM   #9
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The Garand was designed to shoot a 30-'06 cartridge with 147~150 gr bullets. As you may know, any gas operated rifle must have enough residual barrel pressure to operate the gas piston .... otherwise it will "short stroke", which will result in ejection and feeding issues. That's why IMR 4895 powder is the most popular choice .... it provides enough residual barrel pressure without exceeding max chamber pressure. Like commercial factory ammo, M2 Ball is loaded very close to the max allowable pressure. That means a reduced power load might not retain enough barrel pressure to operate the gas piston. Further, a reduced load does NOT mean the rifle will hold up longer but it does mean an over pressure load will reduce a Garand's life expectancy.

If you want to keep your Garand authentic (no adjustable gas plug) I would highly recommend staying with a 147~150gr bullet with IMR 4895 powder. You can experiment and try to find the minimum powder charge that will operate the gas piston reliably .... or you can just load to mil specs.
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Old April 9th, 2017, 12:40 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
The Garand was designed to shoot a 30-'06 cartridge with 147~150 gr bullets. As you may know, any gas operated rifle must have enough residual barrel pressure to operate the gas piston .... otherwise it will "short stroke", which will result in ejection and feeding issues. That's why IMR 4895 powder is the most popular choice .... it provides enough residual barrel pressure without exceeding max chamber pressure. Like commercial factory ammo, M2 Ball is loaded very close to the max allowable pressure. That means a reduced power load might not retain enough barrel pressure to operate the gas piston. Further, a reduced load does NOT mean the rifle will hold up longer but it does mean an over pressure load will reduce a Garand's life expectancy.

If you want to keep your Garand authentic (no adjustable gas plug) I would highly recommend staying with a 147~150gr bullet with IMR 4895 powder. You can experiment and try to find the minimum powder charge that will operate the gas piston reliably .... or you can just load to mil specs.
Since the OP does indicate that he really wants to just 'plink' with his M1, IMR4895 powder and decent quality 150-155 gr bullets should work quite well for him. The cheapie 147 gr FMJBT bullets available out there have apparently disappointed quite a few shooters, in terms of acceptable accuracy.

For the avid target shooting M1 handloaders, a number of them prefer the 110-130 gr bullets due to the reduced recoil, which can make a 200 round practice session more enjoyable. The lighter bullets can also be less expensive than the heavier ones. A slightly reduced (a few grains under published 'mil-spec' M1 max loads) IMR4895/4064 and 150-155 gr bullet loading can also make plinking more enjoyable, with reduced recoil. I found accuracy to improve a bit, too
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Old April 12th, 2017, 07:28 PM   #11
 
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Thank you all. I really appreciate the massive amounts of information.
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