Ping! What Not To Do With Your M1 Garand

Gathering data during load development for the M1 Garand.

Sometimes I like to do dumb things with firearms.  Dumb as in silly, not unsafe. I like to use them in the ways they were never intended to be used.  For example, see my story on using a Hi Point Yeet Canon XL to make Grand Master.

Such is the case with my M1 Garand.  The barreled action and other parts had been sitting in a box without a stock for well over a decade.  At some point I lost the original stock.  But one day while bored In the spring of 2021 I decided it was time to bring the Garand back to life.

The Dupage trading company makes very nice replica stocks for your Garand.  They make a few versions including some very nice laminate stocks, but I went for the standard black walnut.  I also opted to have all the metal parts pre-installed.  The stocks are mostly drop-in and mine only required some minor filing to fit my M1.  It’s a great value at only $180.

New stock and wood from Dupage Trading Company.

I wanted to make my M1 a little more modern as well.  Hopco USA makes an excellent red dot mount that fits the Garand and the M1A.  But before the Fudds start clutching their pearls and fainting over someone bubbafying a rare Garand let me explain.  My Garand is nothing special; it’s a run-of-the-mill Springfield made in March of 1943.  As far as I can tell it is just like millions of others and has no unique or historical significance.

Additionally, the Hopco RDS mount requires no permanent alterations to your rifle; that’s why I think this product is so cool.  In short, you remove the windage screw from your rifle then take out the rear sight and spring.  The Hopco mount block fits into the rear sight housing and is secured by re-installing the windage screw and drum.  Then two set screws in the block are tightened down to raise the RDS block up.  The windage screw locks it all in place.  Because of the manufacturing tolerance variance of old battle rifles Hopco includes a few thin shims to take up any dead space under the mount block if needed.  The entire process is easily reversed and you can return your M1 to its original condition in a matter of minutes.

The Hopco mount replaces your rear sight and spring and is held in place by the windage screw.

Now all you have to do is screw an optic to the Hopco block and zero it.  The Hopco mount comes in three flavors that accommodate most red dot sights on the market today.  Version 1 fits the Burris Fastfire, Vortex Venom and Viper, Doctor, Insight and Primary Arms Micro.  Version 2 fits the Leupold Deltapoint, JP Jpoint, Vortex Razor, Tasco Optima 2000 and C More STS.  Version 3 fits the Trijicon RMR and Holosun 407 and 507 variants.  It will not work with the 407K or 507K.

I went with version 3 and a Holosun 507C and later changed it to a 407CO.  Mine fit without issue but in talking with Hopco they have had some customers experience issues with the width of the 407/507.  It can be fixed with a few strokes of a file though.

No permanent mods are required to add a Hopco mount to your rifle.

.30-06 ammunition of the 1930s was different than today’s .30-06 and Garand users must be careful when shooting modern ammo.  The CMP recommends ammo with no more than 50,000 CUP pressure and bullets less than 172gr.  Good reloading manuals have a separate section for .30-06 and M1 Garand .30-06 loads.  First, you are putting a 70-year-old chamber trying to contain very high pressure right next to your face.  Second, ammo that is too hot can send your op rod back fast enough to bend it and they are not cheap to replace.  For more info about this there are hundreds of articles with more technical info all over the internet.

To combat the op rod problem I replaced the standard gas plug with an adjustable unit from Schuster.  It allows you to tune the amount of gas sent to the op rod, much like an adjustable gas block on an AR-15.  The speed of the rod also can affect barrel harmonics which affects the accuracy of your rifle.  So you can use small changes to the amount of gas to help tighten your groups. Learn more about the gas plugin this article from Jordan Michaels. Schuster Adjustable Gas Plug Review

I had a box of used but prepped .30-06 primed brass and it was time to use it.  I found a beat-up set of Lee steel dies on eBay.  This would be a low volume caliber for me so I was not worried about high-end carbide dies.  The .308 conversion kit for my Dillon 550C reloading press could also be used for .30-06 so I was good to go on tools.  I found some Hornady 150gr FMJ boat tail bullets from one of the big resellers.  Checking my various loading manuals I found some good loads for IMR 4895 which I already had.

I started towards the lower end of the spectrum from the manual and tested them in the rifle.  I settled on 43.5gr of IMR 4895 with the Horandy 150s at 3.190 OAL and crimped the case into the bullet’s cannelure. 10 shots past the chrono gave me an average of 2532 fps.  A little tuning on the gas plug and I was soon turning out 3.5 inches 5 shot groups at 100 yards.  Tuning the gas plug also allowed me to minimize recoil, so even though I was shooting a big ass .30-06, the recoil was fairly mild.

The rifle was back in service and I had plenty of ammo, so what now?  Do something dumb!

Cowtown Range’s Multigun match was about a week away and I was planning to use the Garand.  But I was missing something – a bayonet!  There are a variety of bayonets for the Garand over its multi-decade service life, but I went with the first one.  A 16 inch monster originally made for the 1903 Springfield.  These are rather rare and expensive.  Instead, I went with a replica made of the finest Chinesium for $35 because I planned to abuse it.

If you are going to stab targets in a match go with the 16 inch 1903 bayonet.

On match day I left the Garand in my bag until the last possible moment before I was to shoot.  My friends figured I was going to be shooting my regular AR competition rifle, the U3GR, but they were in for a surprise.  Out came 11 pounds of antique steel and walnut, made on manual mills and tools by old school craftsmen 73 years ago.  With Bayonet attached its 59 inches long, just an inch under 5 feet.  I remember playing with GI Joes as a kid and thinking no way are some of these rifles almost as tall as the soldier in real life.  Well, with a Garand they are!

PRS Gas Gun Superstar Travis Makeready poses with the giant Garand. It’s just like a GI Joe figure from my youth.

As I walked to the start of the stage, I got a lot of laughs and a lot of confused stares from my squad and all wondered why I basically had a machete hanging off my rifle.  Well, the Garand is fed by 8 round en bloc clips from an internal magazine.  To neutralize a paper target you need one hit in the A zone or two hits anywhere on the target.  My first stage had 14 paper targets; that is 4 reloads if you shoot each paper twice with a Garand.  But I had a plan.  The stage started with 13 falling steel targets that I shot with a PCC.  I dumped the PCC, grabbed the massive Garand and went to work.  I put 3 rounds into the first paper target (it was just out of reach) but the next three were close, I stabbed them!  The rest of the paper I shot, it was still a disaster time-wise but damn that was fun. 

My third stage of the match started with 16 falling steel with the PCC and 8 paper with the rifle.  I was able to neutralize each paper with a single center hit, but I had so much fun stabbing on the earlier stage I did it again after shooting the last target.

Stage 3, complete with stabbing!

I took the bayonet off for the long-range stage because it shifted my point of impact about 8 inches at 100 yards.  The stage featured steel targets at 100, 200, 450 and 540 yards.  I had to hit each one once, anywhere on the target.  Since I had a replica stock I had no qualms about drilling it for a sling stud so I could attach a Harris bipod for stability.  I went 3 for 3 on the first targets but needed 3 shots to hit the 540-yard IPSC.  With just a red dot a 500+ yard target is hard, so I was still very happy to get a third shot hit.

“Stage 4 of the Cowtown match with long-range targets. I finished this stage 15th Overall.”

I finished the match 30th out of 62 (quite a bit below where I normally finish) but it was still lots of fun.  Happily, I was 15th overall on the long-range stage.  I was also amazed at how well the 73-year-old battle rifle did on the long-range stage which led to my next bad decision.

Pro 2 Customs (formerly We Plead The 2nd) in Tempe, AZ made this prototype mag pouch to hold a Garand clip. It is still in development but expect to see a finished product in the near future.
Another view of the Pro 2 Customs mag pouch and an M1 Garand loaded clip.

The Rio Salado club hosted its Black Rifle match on July 4th.  This is a medium-range match with targets from 5 to 400 yards designed for AR15’s, aka the Black Rifle.  I brought a Brown Rifle.  It seemed like a great idea to shoot America’s greatest battle rifle in an action match on America’s birthday.  How wrong I was.

I quickly realized it was a mistake to bring the Garand to a match with 5 stages and multiple targets out to 400 yards on every stage.  I had not struggled this much with a rifle since maybe my first 3 Gun match 25 years ago.  Almost every stage had some type of challenging position to shoot from, kneeling at a barricade, out of a helicopter window, on top of a giant spool, or on top of a 55-gallon plastic drum on its side.  There was only one position that we shot prone in the entire match.

The button on the left side of the receiver is critical for competing with your Garand. Open the bolt and press the button to eject the en bloc clip and ammo. This way you can reload while moving between positions instead doing a standing reload.

It felt like I was constantly hearing the Garand Ping and having to reload.  There were 47 hits required (if you only shot one round on the paper) but I went through almost 200 rounds of .30-06; it was an expensive day.  Even worse, none of the targets were close enough to stab!

“When you bring a Brown Rifle to the Black Rifle match you are going to reload a lot!”

Even though I struggled and took a ton of makeup shots I still had a great time.  I like to win and shoot well, but that isn’t always the end game.  Don’t discount how much fun you can have at a match with an uncompetitive gun that you really enjoy shooting.

I won’t bring the Brown Rifle back to a Black Rifle match but I will definitely bring it back to a Multi-Gun match in the future.  No, I did not get Garand Thumb at either match.

Get an RDS mount for your M1A or M1 Garand from Hopco USA

Get your new M1 Garand stocks and other parts from Dupage Trading Company

Get a Schuster adjustable gas plug from Schuster Mfg.

Get M1 Garand mag pouches from Pro 2 Customs

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!***

About the author: Matt Kartozian is a current Hi-Point Grand Master and former professional competition shooter, and gunsmith. Matt now works as a photographer and writer and can often be found on the sidelines of professional sporting events and on racecourses around the world. You can follow Matt’s adventures on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/customglock/ and https://www.instagram.com/durkadurkaphoto/

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • D Gile June 13, 2022, 3:09 pm

    You should rethink using the insulting and condescending term “Fudd”. Our common interest in firearms binds us together, no matter what type, era, style, or usage of guns involved. The massive antigun forces in this country love nothing more than when we turn on our own and create division in the gun community with epithets like this. Try using “traditionalists” or some such. Conveys the idea you were expressing without the demeaning slur.
    Gun owners either hand together or hang separately.

  • jerry June 10, 2022, 3:31 pm

    I love that bayonet. I understand that most of those M1905 bayonets were shortened to 10″ for use in WWII. They were then designated Bayonet,M1, the same as the new 10″ blade bayonets. I have a fake M1 bayonet. It looks pretty good fixed on an M1Garand.

  • James Persinger June 10, 2022, 11:08 am

    Hi Matt,The little button your reffering to is the clip latch that ejects the clip,Very handy button ,But anyway there are several things you could have made your Garand more accurate,Lapping the bolt ,Peening the gas tube assembly,a trigger job to take the creep out .also making sure your barrel once it leaves the reveiver touchs no part of the stock and also the same for the oprod that all also throws off the barrel free float and harmonics..Also just before the rear receiver heel you want to be able to slide a small bussiness card between the receiver and stock wood when the reciever and stock are locked up.And you want a stock that locks up very tight ,Taking a rubber mallet to close the trigger guard is a good tight lock up,when stored leave your trigger guard unlatched so your wood does not compress over time.Also make sure your front handguard is loose not tight ,it is designed to be a little loose a tight one interfears with accuracy and check your gas cylinder with a pin guage to make sure it is with in specs ,an out of spec gas cylinder will also affect accuracy and function .If you have a timing block it is good to make sure your rifles operateing in time so everything works together like rowing a boatall the oars operateing at the same time in the same direction like a fine oiled machine and on lubracation if it slides very thin film of grease if it rotates oil it .Hope this helps you enjoy many days of fun shooting with your M1 they can be extreemly accurate if tuned well also you never told us your throat and MW readings was your barrel new or a used barrel or how the crown was that all also effects accuracy .Id bet with the proper work on your rifle you could turn a lot of heards in that black rifle comp next time and a little more pratice with it,Have a wonderful day ,By the way I have 37 many makes and models from a unissued cmp to a Air Force National match,M1D,Navy Garand,and many more very nice ones. Have fun ,Jim

  • Pantexan June 10, 2022, 9:42 am

    “Clutching their pearls” you mean like clenching their cheeks???

  • StoryTimeDavid June 8, 2022, 10:49 am

    Matt
    Thanks for bringing an M1 Garand to a match.
    I have a lot of respect for the M1 Garand.
    I have 7 of them one NM SA 1942, one Winchester 1943 and one SA tanker 1944 in 30-06, two SA tankers 1944, one Beretta, one Breda in 308.
    The Beretta and Breda are both M1 Garand receiver made by Beretta in Italy in 1949 that I put together as E-block shooting BM59 configurations.
    I have a Socom 16 and I have had a few other M1A’s but I like Garand’s the best over M1A’s.
    I like the iron sites on the Garand’s because they are just so accurate and adjustable for range as are AR-15A2E2’s and M4’s with a hand rail.
    Thanks again keep up the good work.

  • Larry W June 6, 2022, 1:06 pm

    I was trained with M1 Garand in ROTC 40+ years ago in Taiwan, and then served with M14. What a fun memory this article brought me! The technician I worked with in Raytheon Research was a marine in Korean war and he took me under his wing – we had so much good memory of Garand!

    Compared with the AR, the Garand is so much heavier and longer. My arms feel sore just thinking about shooting in off-hand position and bayonet charge!

    Time to bring out my CMP Garand to the range again!

  • James Spangler June 6, 2022, 11:53 am

    Ha ha, damn that sounded like you had fun.

    My father carried an M1 Garand up to the Chosen Reservoir as a Marine.

  • Starley L McGuyre June 6, 2022, 11:42 am

    That’s the way they did it on D-day, 76 years ago today.
    Outstanding.

    My small town has a fund raising rifle match
    for the local library every year.
    Some serious young men from out of town show up
    with chassis rifles and huge scopes.

    I brought my DCM M1 Garand to show to the kids.
    A Scout scope, McCann gas plug ports,
    and a Holbrook thumb saver were my mods.

    Shot 15th out of 20 shooters
    but had more fun than most.

    • Mad Mac June 6, 2022, 11:44 am

      Correction: 78 years ago today.

  • Scott June 6, 2022, 10:54 am

    To “speed load” for that you need the proper web gear. M1936 suspenders and the M1910 belt (10 pocket) are the best. The 10 pocket belt was originally designed for 2 stripper clips of ammo for the M1903 rifle and works fast with the M1 clips. The M1910 pack will do as it has the suspenders built in. Take some of the loaded clips and put the strap of the suspender in between the two rows of cartridges deep enough so it stays. Put one or two on the front end of your sling also. Then grab and go.

  • Ej harbet June 6, 2022, 10:48 am

    My dad’s weapon of choice was a garand and it got him home from Korea. I love the idea of a holosun and I wonder what he would think if I handed him a m1 with a 407c. Ill never know because he crossed the river. Rip cpl er harbet USA ret.

    The 16inch 03 bayonet is the best for raising the intimidation factor
    But I think id go with the m5 for a actual fight.weapons should be able to change direction fast and target enemies coming from different directions I have a m5 I traded a childhood friend out of. It’s been sharpened so for a little while it will bite great.

    I need to get another m1 and this holosun mount would make me lethal with it again. Front sight? What front sight? Age can suck

  • scott June 6, 2022, 10:12 am

    It’s funny to hear all of the Millennials speak of “Fudds” in a negative connotation. The “Fudds” made it possible to have that weapon in your young hands.

    You may want to pay a some respect on this day.

    Thank you,
    The “Fudds”

    • Ej harbet June 6, 2022, 10:51 am

      I always thought of a Fudd as a hunting man who thinks your modern sporting rifle is evil.
      I’m a boomer who loves liberty and will die to preserve it if I gotta.

  • Jon June 6, 2022, 8:25 am

    Dude, that was awesome. Love the ping, laugh @ the thumb. I shoot single stack and revolver in steel plate challenge matches, who cares. Be safe, stay outta the really good guys (people, sorry ladies) way, & have fun! Great job and Yeet on my friend…

    • Flip June 6, 2022, 12:39 pm

      Your my man Jon, I too shoot plates with revolver or single stack 38/9mm, who needs dozen or more rounds to kick 5 plates when five is all one should need? One or two make ups are plenty. Used M1 in regional and nation matches for years with not a single thumb bump ever, just hold pressure on the slide handle with hand edge while thumb does it job inserting load, quickly retract thumb when clip clicks in, and release slide. Simple task that takes practice like so much we do. The gunnies taught me well.

  • John June 6, 2022, 7:44 am

    That looks like a LOT of fun! I will say, though, the rear sight you have is considered a “lock bar” sight and they are kind of rare – or at least more sought after…. I’m happy to see these old rifles being used – we did something similar a few years ago when our entire team brought Garands the first year, M1A’s the second year, and 1903’s the next. We all did pretty well with those old rifles, and had a TON of fun doing it!!! It made me appreciate the guys that used those, and the fact that my AR platform is so much easier!

  • Will Drider June 5, 2022, 8:45 pm

    A lot of “Back in the day” fun with and old but true workhorse. Too often we “compete” ourselves to the point of eliminating the “fun factor”. Well done!

  • JB June 3, 2022, 10:54 pm

    If Commie Joe gets his way the M1 Garand will be the only legal semi-auto rifle permitted in civilian hands. That is until some deranged asshole uses it to kill 15 after reloading twice.

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