If you click this photo a super large version will pop up so you can see the detail of these three Garand sniper rifles. The top one is an M1C we ordered from CMP for $3,000. It came with the mounting plate for the scope installed, but had no sliding mount for the scope rings. We went it out to Griffin & Howe for a fitted mount, as they are the ones who built the M1C for the US government back in the late 40s and 50s. The second one down is an M1D from CMP that was $1,500. We only had to order that one piece scope mount that screws into the side of it. The third rifle down is a Springfield Armory commerically produced Garand from the 90s that we sent to G&H with the M1C. They installed a mount for us. The scopes are the replica M82 from GPC, the replica M84, and a real Lyman Alaskan from the 50s, respectively.
This is how the M1C mount works. The rings are held by a sliding bar that is detachable from the plate mounted to the rifle. It is an elegant system, and one used on custom hunting rifles for several generations.
We tried to buy a few different types of original Griffin & Howe mounts on Ebay and GunsAmerica to see if we could get one to fit. None worked. The mount you see on the scope is the one that was made and installed by G&H. Note the plastic Delrin Ring Reducers we had to buy from Brownells to bring the rings down from 1″ to 7/8″.
You will also find Griffin & Howe mounting plates online, but only the true Garand plate is the right one.
This is how the single piece scope mount works on the M1D. It just screws into the side with a thumb wheel.
It isn’t as quick on and off, but the M1D works great, and it is a true 7/8″ scope ring, so it works with period correct and replica scopes.
This Lyman Alaskan is the original M1C scope, and the M82 was the military version. Note the plastic reducers on both scopes.
The M84 has flip up caps instead of screw caps. It was a little harder to adjust but worked fine zeroed at 100 yards.
Our most accurate of the group was the $3,000 M1C. Five shot groups were generally within an inch wide strung under 2 inches high.
We zeroed the guns with the Greek surplus that CMP is selling by the can, but all the accuracy testing was done with Hornady 168gr. Garand Match ammo.
The off the rack commercial Garand performed with optics at about what the Field grade Garands produced with iron sights. It was not built to be a competition gun and didn’t perform as such. The old Lyman Alaskan had very stiff turrets and we couldn’t get it to come into point of aim, but this was close.
The M82 replica has a 3MOA post reticle and is very comfortable to shoot, even though it is only a 2.5x scope.
The cheekpieces are sold by several sellers on Ebay for $25. I have not found a formula for tying them correctly. I cut the leather for the strap holder, but the military manuals show the cheekpiece forward.
We tried to remove the M1C mount and see if it returned to the same point of impact but it didn’t, and we got this wierd flyer. It is still all within the space of a man’s chest at 100 yards, which isn’t so shabby for 1932 technology. We didn’t think to try it with the M1D.
You can get the special M1D setup with the handguard and one piece mount as a kit from Gun Parts Corp.
Civilian Marksmanship Sales
Griffin & Howe Garand Sidemounts
http://www.griffinhowe.com/side (scroll down)
For those of you who have been following our Garands from the Government series, you probably remember back in the first article that we ordered two M1 Garand snipers rifles. They are called the M1C and the M1D, and as guns go, they are very different from each other. Both models are much more expensive than the other rifles available from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), and for the collector and military enthusiast they are far more exciting than run of the mill Garands. Sniper Garands were not a big factor in World War II, but they were the dominant sniper rifle in the Korean conflict, and many soldiered well on into the 1970s, serving in Vietnam and around the world. These CMP guns were mostly made during Korea, where both the M1C and M1D were used extensively. The condition on the guns is excellent and though both of the famous Garand Snipers have been extremely rare through the years, a recent re-importation of rifles from Greece that had been on loan has provided a entirely new wave of extremely collectible and shootable guns that will be the stars of any Garand collection. This article outlines what makes the two models different and what you can expect if you decide to buy one from CMP, as well as how to make your own versions of the M1C and M1D from an M1 Garand that you already own. We also cover the optics that were used on the guns back in the day, as well as some new replicas from Gun Parts Corp.
The M1C was released in June of 1944 to supplement the venerable Model 1903A4, but very few were produced during the war. Originally called the M1E7, the M1C is the more elegant rifle of the two sniper variants, because the government actually sent these Garands out to custom gunmaker Griffin & Howe for an elegant side-mounted removable sliding scope mount. Some sources say they were sent to Winchester and that it was they that installed the Griffin & Howe mount on it, but history can be confusing. Both of these may be true. The mount for the M1C itself says Griffin & Howe on it, and it closely resembles other removable mounts that G&H made for just about every sporting rifle of the era, and that they still make today. If you bought a custom hunting rifle before 1980, there is a good chance that it came with a Griffin & Howe removable scope mount, and this was the same patented design that was used on the M1C Garands. As you can see from the pictures, there are a number of different models of these types of mounts, so don’t run off to Ebay just yet thinking you are going to find an M1C mount cheap. I tried, and you can see the results here, not so good. We did however send a commercial M1 Garand out to G&H to have them install the side mount for us, and that is an option if you don’t want to spend the money on a real M1C from the CMP.
The M1C rifle we ordered came with the side mount slider piece already installed. The gun was $3,000, and they are still available for that price today. Note however that the CMP website warns that the mount may not be installed, so if you are within driving distance to either of the two CMP stores, you may want to take a ride rather than try to order one through the mail. The rifle we got is gorgeous, with some cartouches still visible and all the wood clearly matching and original. Is it imaginable that the government actually removed some M1C mounts and handed them off to CMP to call M1C rifles just because they have the holes drilled for the mount? Er, yea, it is. So make sure that you get the same thing we got at the very minimum. Three thousand bucks is a good price for these guns but it is still a lot of money. The problem is, even with that side plate mounted on the gun, it only gets you about 50% of the way to an usable M1C. You still need the top, removable mounting bracket and rings, which did not come with the gun and probably do not come with any of the guns. You have to buy them, and for that you have two choices. One is to try to find a set online, primarily GunsAmerica, or Ebay where a lot of them end up. There are several different variations of the top slider and only one works for Garands. And even then, these were originally hand fit to that side plate that came on my gun. So that leaves you with option two, regardless, which is sending the gun to Griffin & Howe. If you do get one of the original sliders, with the correct 1938 patent date and 7/8th” rings, you will still most likely have to send it in to be re-fitted to your base. Option two is to just buy the top slider from Griffin & Howe and have them fit it at the same time. Just the slider and rings is $375, and you will be hard pressed to find an original on Ebay for twice that. The only thing is that the new G&H base doesn’t have the patent dates on it (because the patent has long expired), and the rings are 1″.
That means that unless you get really lucky, you should assume that you are going to send your M1C out to Griffin & Howe, which is what we did. Of all the mounts I purchased on Ebay and GunsAmerica, none fit our test gun. So I decided to send not one but two guns to G&H, the M1C from CMP, and the commercial Garand you see here in the pictures. For a little history on the other gun, before the CMP got this load of M1 Garand loaner returns from Greece, there were very few nice Garands in the market, so the modern day Springfield Armory (home of the M1A and XD pistols) built what I call “commercial Garands” for the US market. These were made with a new receiver and mostly GI parts. Since the Greece shipments there haven’t been any more of these new guns available, but I managed to grab two before they came off the market. One of these went out to Griffin & Howe along with the M1C from CMP, and both guns are now complete and usable M1C rifles, though they shot quite differently, which we’ll get to.
Griffin & Howe charges $400 for the two piece mount, which is the side plate and the top slider, and it includes 1″ rings. It is another $250 to install it on your Garand. BEWARE! There is a copy of the Griffin & Howe mount being sold by a regular Ebay seller for $400 which is a high quality but nonetheless Chinese copy. Because it is the same price as the same thing from the original US manufacturer, I would stay away from it. The original M1C mounts have been made by Griffin & Howe from 1944 until today. The other option is to try to buy “new old stock,” or used parts, including the mounting plate, online, but buying the parts and having a working M1C are two different things. You are better off to let Griffin & Howe do the mounting, regardless of where the parts originate. The receiver on the M1 Garand is very hard, and drilling and tapping that plate in correctly isn’t easy. Griffin & Howe actually loses money from their hourly rate on M1C jobs, because the $250 only pays for 2 hours of custom gunsmith time, while the job usually takes half a day. It has to be perfect if you want the scope aligned perfectly with the bore, and a custom jig that aligns all the parts correctly is the only way to assure that it is done right. Custom gunsmiths will tackle a lot of projects, but the smart ones stay away from the M1C. If you want a gun to actually shoot, send it to Griffin & Howe. The money will be well spent. The only catch is that if you decide to but all the parts or just the top slider from G&H, they only offer 1″ rings, so you have to use plastic sleeves for any of the original or replica period scopes. More on that below.
The M1D is the other Garand sniper that saw service in several different branches of the US military. It came along shortly after World War II and uses a single piece scope mount that is bolted into the side of a special barrel sleeve created just for this gun. The system is crude, but it works. Our test gun also came from CMP in that first order from the first article and it was $1,500. They are still that price on the CMP website, and this may be the best buy out there if you want a true Garand Sniper. There are plenty of “new old stock” scope mounts around for the M1D, and they are the correct 7/8ths diameter. This rifle came to us also in very nice shape, but it does not have the cartouches that we found on the M1C. The simplicity of the design of the M1D made it the workhorse of the M1 Garand Sniper guns, and thousands of them soldiered all the way into Vietnam. In the collector market the M1D was rare, and CMP has even used their auction system for M1Ds, because they were so scarce, but as we explained in the first article, right now there is a glut of Garands at CMP because of Greece giving back hundreds of thousands of guns. Grab one while you can and before they run out.
Making a regular M1 Garand into an M1D is as simple as a barrel swap and headspace check. If you want to make your existing Garand into an M1D, this is probably the least expensive option you have. Gun Parts Corp., Numrich Arms, sells a kit with a the special M1D sleeve on a Criterion barrel, the replacement wood handguard and the one piece scope mount. It is currently $360 as I write this. Just about any gunsmith that is comfortable working on Garands should be able to change the barrel and headspace it for you, and you will be one scope shy of a workable M1 Garand sniper rifle, period correct and ready for the range. We are going to be back after SHOT with some reloading stuff for Garands, so hopefully we’ll have our kit mounted on the other commercial Garand for some tests side by side with these guns. It wasn’t worth holding this article up waiting to build our M1D. As you can see from the M1C we built, the commercial Garands aren’t the most accurate.
That brings us to optics, and this is the most confusing and frustrating aspect of the M1 Garand Sniper that you will encounter. If you remember back to our Carlos Hathcock scope article, the 1903A4 used a couple different scope options, the 3/4″ tube M73, and the Unertl barrel mounted scope. Supposedly, mixed in with that was the Lyman Alaskan, which is a 2.5x post reticle scope with a 7/8th” tube. This was the first scope used on the Garand M1C, both in the commercially branded Lyman variety then later renamed the M81 and M82. This scope has internal elevation and windage, and is adjusted by two standard capped knobs. Later, the same scope was duplicated as the M84 with a slightly different reticle, and the scope caps were made into hinged click caps. Originals in both of these scopes are available on the market, and they can run into the thousands of dollars, for not a very good quality scope. And as I explained above, if you choose to get the mount and rings installed by Griffin & Howe, they currently only have 1″ rings available. At last check they have been considering adding the 7/8ths option back to their line, but for now, if you want to use an original sized scope, you have to order Delrin Ring Reducers from Brownells. They have come down ten bucks from when I ordered them to $19.95, which is still absurd for a couple of plastic rings, but it is your only recourse at this juncture.
This includes using the replica scopes, which are both made by Gun Parts Corp., Numrich Arms (GPC). They make both an M82, $499 and an M84 $399, and both have the original sized 7/8″ tubes. As you can see from the pictures, we also bought a commercial Lyman Alaskan from the 1950s and the replicas are the same size. I liked the scopes, and the people who used them on the rifles all liked them and shot them well. If you Google around on the GPC scopes, you will find mixed reviews on them, though I haven’t found an actual review from a real reviewer. When you read bad things about these scopes they are from discussion board geezers who I think are just a bunch of whiners spoiled on 21st Century technology. The original of these scopes weren’t great scopes. To start with, they are only 2.5x, so the magnification stinks at long range. Apparently the military had a standard of 27 feet for the field of view at 100 yards and that greatly reduced how much magnification could be used to make that standard. There is a lot to be said for situational awareness, but as a sniper, that is what your spotter is for! GPC reverse engineered the M82 and M84 as faithfully as they could. Even the reticles are correct, and I’m sure that was no easy task on modern equipment. I have seen some complaints that the inside paint flakes off, but it did on the originals as well. If you plan on buying a new old stock or replica of these scopes, plan on it being an adventure in antiquity, not a precise science. The GPC scopes held point of impact perfectly under hundreds of rounds and they feel just like you are shooting with an old scope.
We were able to easily mount and zero the replicas, but the Alaskan has really gummed up turrets and needs to be taken apart and lubricated. We have one more Lyman Alaskan for that M1D project, so hopefully we’ll see that combination in a future article. We paid $350 for each of the Lymans from a GunsAmerica seller, and both came in bags marked M1D, though we have no research on the actual lineage. There were some Weaver 330 variations used on the Garand M1D apparently, and that scope has a 1″ tube so could be used with the new manufacture Griffin & Howe rings. There are a bunch of old scopes from that era that have a post reticle and 1″ tubes, and look valid on the M1C and M1D. Nobody is going to complain if you show up at a Garand match with an old Weaver 4x scope that was made in New Mexico in the 60s. I’m not sure I would, however, show up with a 24x NcStar. Good luck with that.
Our accuracy testing was on a total of three guns. The first is the M1C we got from CMP. Remember it had the side mount installed, but we sent it out to Griffin & Howe to be fitted with the top slide and we used the Delrin rings with the replica M82. It turned out that, though we told them not to, someone at G&H decided that the screws and pins in this historic M1C should be replaced, and we were charged $125 plus $15 for the screws and pins. This was a mistake, and probably hurt the collectible value of the gun. If you decide to order the M1C from CMP and send it in, make sure that you have communication with them ongoing and make sure they know that you don’t want the existing mount boogered with. It took several months for our order to come back, on two guns, so I hope you aren’t in a hurry. Such is the old world custom gun business. Amazon immediate gratification be damned. The original M1C was, however, the most accurate rifle of the bunch, shooting at close to MOA accuracy with the 2.5 replica M82 scope from Gun Parts Corp. at 100 yards. We again used only Hornady 168gr. Garand Match ammunition for all of these tests, as this has become the standard by which all others are measured.
The second gun was the commercial Garand we sent to Griffin & Howe with the M1C. They installed a brand new M1C mount on it, and the gun is as close to and M1C “as issued” as you are going to get. The accuracy wasn’t as good at the real M1C or even the M1D, but even though many of the GI parts on these guns are stamped NM for National Match, they clearly weren’t built for competitive accuracy. I elected to send my commercial Garands out for the mods because as we explained in the first article, even the inexpensive guns coming out of CMP will at some point be collectible, with the CMP paperwork, as shipped. If you take one of the new CMP Specials, with the Criterion barrels, and send them out for an M1C mount, you may be decreasing their value in the long run because that gun was not shipped from CMP as an M1C. Hopefully CMP will put out their own replicas under the CMP Special system at a reasonable price. That would be cool! We ordered some barreled actions from them for an upcoming article on the Sage Garand stocks and they are gorgeous, perfect for CMP Specials in both the M1C and M1D configurations.
The M1D was close in accuracy to the M1C. Later I tested both of these guns with a throat gauge to see how much wear they had, and both of them came in at around or just under a reading of 2, which is some wear, but not a lot of wear. Out of curiosity I measured the M1D kit from GPC and my virtually unfired commercial Garands, and they all measured 0 on the gauge. That means that though the Greeks may not have shot these guns, the US soldiers before them did, and there is at least 1/4″ of missing rifling at the front of the bore before the bullet engages. You can’t escape physics, and even with the perfect load an the perfect bullet these guns are going to be handicapped and probably won’t be capable of winning serious matches. Take that for what it is worth if you plan to compete in service rifle matches. These accuracy tests were replicated several times each with over 100 rounds of ammunition. If you are a very good shooter you will easily best these groups, but for an average good shooter, bench rested, this is what you can expect. Long range accuracy with sniper Garands is kind of a crap shoot. There is a serious parallax issue caused by having the scope off to the side, so when you zero your scope at 100 yards, it is going to be significantly impact to the right at 200 yards. The scope is on a different axis in relation to gravity, so testing is the only way you will consistently be able to shoot these guns at any significant range. Fun stuff though!
This has been a fantastic series to work on, and indeed a lot of fun. If you are interested in real Garand history, there are a number of good books available. The brief history here is only meant to be some background to our main focus, which is shooting the actual CMP guns. There are a couple more articles coming down the road. One is on reloading for the Garand, and how to use a wide range of bullets for a lot of different purposes. We would also like to build a Garand from the inexpensive barreled actions sold by CMP, but the tactical stock from Sage is too far back ordered to get into that right now. If you want to build a Garand from scratch, using those barreled actions, the American Gunsmithing Institute sells a really good video guide, which is what we will be using once the project is ready. There is no rifle more uniquely American than the M1 Garand, and if you haven’t ordered one from CMP by now, perhaps this sniper installment will inspire you to take the plunge. CMP is not an advertiser here and this isn’t a sales pitch. We have paid for and own every gun for this series. We also paid Griffin & Howe over $1200 for the work they did on our two guns. We even really bought all those incorrect mounts on Ebay to show you what kind of mess you can get yourself into trying to save money. The purpose of this series is to duplicate what you can expect, and we hope you have enjoyed it.