Today I want to continue with the surplus rifle series I’ve been working on. So far we have been trying to stick with “budget” guns which this one really isn’t. I bought the gun for 300$ cash but that was just plain lucky. Expect to spend 800$ on up usually. Still though it’s a surplus rifle and I think the coolest one ever! M1 Garands just radiate “BADASS”, these things are just plain tough. I feel tougher every time I pick her up. 🙂 I think sometimes about what this rifle may have seen and wish she could talk. Maybe she was in the Battle of the Bulge, possible went ashore at Normandy, could have been in the hands of a US Marine in the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, possibly made the trip to the top of Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima, maybe she was guarding old Quonset huts full of GI boxer shorts at MCRD San Diego, who knows. One thing is for sure though, whatever roles this rifle ever filled she served them well. General Patton said this was “the greatest battle implement ever devised by man”. Enough said.
A bit on this rifle’s history: I bought this thing from my buddy Jerry Klock, this guy was a badass too. Sadly he died from unknown causes when I was on active duty still and was at Hurricane Katrina and couldn’t attend his funeral. Well back in the day we shot on the Marine Corps 30 cal service rifle league together. Those dudes were all “old” 🙂 and I was the kid. They were great to me and the best bunch of guys ever, all Nam vets. I still keep up with them today. So one day Jerry, known for his temper, was shooting at our team practice, he gets up and is yelling F this, F that, F this Fn piece of ……you get the idea, he was angry. Last thing he says as he’s walking off is “I’m going to bust this F’n thing over that f’n tree!” WHOA!! BIGBOY! Because he was going to do it. What do you want for it??. He thinks a second and says 300$. SOLD!! So that’s how I got it. The rifle shot fine, Jerry was just going blind like I am now. So I gave the rifle to my Gramps at Xmas time years ago. He was thrilled and we shot it together many times. I have an old jeep with no top I get out once and awhile, so we were driving along a dirt road together in the country one nice summer day, the M1 on his lap. When we got there he was silent and not moving. I asked him what’s up? He said “for awhile there I was back in Europe in WW2”, then he said “it’s been 60 years since I bounced down a road in an old jeep with an M1 on my lap”. I felt kinda bad and apologized and he said “No, it’s ok. I haven’t felt that young in a long time” It’s a day I won’t ever forget. This is what gun banners want to steal from us. Let’s make sure that never happens. Join the NRA if you haven’t already, your rights depend on it! So anywho, the old girl is mine again. Personally I never wanted it back. I wish he were still here. Incidentally he was a infantryman with the 95th and a tanker under General Patton in the 10th Armored Division.
Now lets talk a bit about the rifle itself. Obviously a 30’06 semi-auto and uses the en-bloc 8 round clips. It’s a Springfield Armory and she was born in July of 1943. Making her 68 years old right now. She could use a spring kit, really that’s it. 24.99$ from Wolff. With an additional 6$ for a clip retaining spring. Every so often it will eject the clip early. All things point to this spring and it’s an easy fix. I hope when I’m 68 I only need 30$ of maintenance to be good as new. The wood is a bit banged up and looks great because of it. I would never try to refinish this stock. It’s perfect as is. So is the metal, plenty of finish wear and it only adds to how pretty this old lady is. There’s nothing about this rifle I would change except the springs. As far as I’m concerned it’s perfect.
Ok lets get out there and bust some caps at a few paper plates. I have about 10 sealed cans of ammo from CMP at Camp Perry but I have never busted one open, it’s about time we open one and see what we got. Well, what we have is 10 cans of not her favorite ammo 🙁 I was very disappointed in the groups, sadly the one pictured was one of the better ones, guess I have some ammo I can just blast away with. I had 3 rounds left in my glove compartment of 180 grain Federal Softpoint ammo I used on a Tanker Garand test, the tanker hated it. This regular Garand seemed to like it a lot more than the carbine did. You can check out the pics, on the Federal ammo target I called that right shot, I knew that was right when I fired it. My fault there, not the ammo or rifle. The Greek surplus from CMP I feel is a bust in my rifle, while the Federal did fine. Oddly this was the exact opposite in the tanker, I tried the Greek in the tanker and it shot beautifully. Funny how much difference there can be sometimes from rifle to rifle, ammo to ammo. Also I want to say there were no failures to function of any kind and none of the clips ejected early today. All in all though I don’t feel like the rifle was well represented today, I’ve seen her do better. I think I was having an off day myself, I wasn’t very sharp with a pistol today either. It could have something to do with all the Crown Royal I had on the rocks last night, it’s possible that had a bearing on it.
Well I hope I didn’t bore you to death with all my rambling about friends and family but I felt like I needed to explain completely just what this rifle means to me and why I love her so much, it’s a mix of the sentimental thing and the FACT that these rifles have proven themselves in battle literally millions of times. Not to leave out all the game they have put on tables, the matches we continue to enjoy and the satisfaction of just owning such an incredible piece of history. The GI’s best friend.
I wouldn’t trade this rifle for a million dollars, I truly wouldn’t.
As always thanks for reading and happy shooting.
By: Cary Kieffer