Saturday, October 3, 2009

M1A vs Garand

Commenter Windy Wilson asks:

"And incidently, didn't the gun at the top of your webpage used to be an M1 Garand? I've resisted buying an M1A, mostly because of lack of money (almost completely due to that), so I was wondering what you thought of the M1A and how it compares to the Garand."

To address the first... scroll down to the bottom of the blog and look at the rifle there.

To address the second...

I love both guns and both happen to take the same ammo. (The Garand is a 'Navy Garand' converted to 7.62 NATO sometime. Prolly the 60s. I guess they figured shipboard rifles can be a bit more obsolete and the real rifle shooters in the infantry can use the new M14s and M16s for their work, while a sailor has his shipboard artillery to do his talking for him, mainly.)

The M1A has a center of gravity a bit further back so it is better balanced. Unloaded it seems a bit lighter than the Garand, too. Loaded is a different story and that is the obvious advantage it has over the older rifle: a 20 round magazine.

Other than those relatively small details they are practically the same gun. And I like them both.

I have set up the Garand with a Scout scope, so it actually has 2.5x magnification. I will some day add optics to the M1A, but that will almost certainly be a red-dot style device of some kind. Probably EOTech. If I were to go afield hunting the wily white-tail, I'd take the Garand. If the Garand was broken I'd take the M1A. If that were broken, I'd guess I'd have to take the less-adequate (only because it's the old style iron sights) Springfield '03, but I'd hate to get that gun too dirty.

I don't have any other rifle that would be appropriate for deer. 1894 lever gun with .357 is a bit frowned upon by the local Dept of Natural Resources for that.

If I was restricted to one rifle, only, for the rest of my life, it would be the M1A. But man, I'd miss the Garand.


Sailorcurt said...

I think it's important to note that most M1 Garands are chambered in .30-06 rather than .308.

There are plenty of .308 barreled garands out there, but the most common to run across in my experience is the .30-06 version.

It is important to note that the .30-06 barreled Garands were designed for mil-spec ball ammo. Modern commercial .30-06 ammo is designed for, primarily bolt action, hunting rifles and is loaded to higher pressures than mil-spec ammo.

The danger is that commercial ammo can over-pressurize the gas system on a Garand and can damage the op rod, bolt, or other gas system components.

An unmodified .30-06 Garand should only be fed military surplus Ball ammo or roll your own ammo carefully loaded to stay within the mil-spec pressure ranges.

There is a work-around if you don't mind not having a historically accurate Garand...There is an aftermarket gas plug that comes with interchangeable jets. The jets bleed off the extra pressure created by commercial rounds and prevent damage to the gas system.

Basically, when you are trying a new round, you put the biggest jet in and try it. If the action doesn't have enough pressure to cycle, you progressively move to smaller jets just until the gas system is retaining enough pressure to cycle reliably.

Anyway, Fulton Armory sells them for about $40.

Not a show stopper...I love my.30-06 Garand and until I built the National Match AR that I just finished, it was the most accurate rifle I own.

But it is something that prospective buyers need to be aware of.

Besides, I like being able to shoot it in dedicated Garand, and "as issued" service rifle matches.

lordjim said...

FYI Federal's American Eagle brand now makes an M1 Garand ammo. About a $1 a round but it is new production Garand ammo.