T-26 Tanker Garand Review


I picked up a little sweetheart a day ago. I was in my usual Johnsons Sporting goods in Adrian MI and was just about to leave. I hadn’t seen anything that caught my eye and was saying goodbye to my man Smitty in there when I turned and saw her. A Tanker Garand 🙂 I’ve always admired those carbine versions of “the greatest single battle implement ever devised by man.” This little girl is in great shape. At $800 I figured if I didn’t like it I could recoup my money on as they regularly sell for more. So we went home together.

Tanker Garand

As you can see it’s a beauty. Great wood, only a tiny nick or 2. A good even parkerizing job over all the metal. I haven’t torn her apart yet except to look at the trigger group but so far it looks like all USGI parts. Of course it’s a parts gun, HIGHLY unlikely you will find an original T-26, unless it’s in a museum. I ended up with a Springfield Armory (SA) receiver, a SA bolt, SA op rod and a H&R trigger group. I don’t know about the gas tube or the barrel. I need to remove the wood and look for a barrel marking just to satisfy my curiosity. The springs are all very strong and feel new. I have another Garand to compare it too. This rifle seems to be a recent build or at least one showing no appreciable use. My old full size shows a ton of use but this tanker feels tight, strong and new. Everything feels perfect and I am quite pleased with her.

Now a bit on the history: Very few of these were ever made period, there seems to be some conflicting stories (lot’s of arguing) Anyway with the war in the pacific coming to an end the Tanker Garand was scrapped. From what I gather though there is 1, JUST 1, original rifle left and it’s in the Springfield Armory Museum. Well apparently people wanted them as SA made some for awhile and some other companies did kits and then there was Federal Ordnance making one, if their Garands are anything like their 1911’s I would disassemble it and make a wind chime out of the parts. What a junk pile my one and only Federal Ordnance was. So let’s just save all the fighting and say that if you have one. It’s probably a copy for civilian use. Many were also in 308 incidentally but this one is an ’06.

tanker test ammo

Anyway, moving forward my excuse for purchasing this rifle was simple, I am going on a hog hunt. I know about as much about hunting as I know about brain surgery. Unless your wearing a man-dress, smell bad, have dirty sandaled feet and are toting an ak-47 screaming “allah Akbar” I have no idea how to hunt you. If you have 4 legs or wings I’m lost. This hunt I am told will be in dense weeds and trees. So I wanted a “brushgun”. Of course I have stuff that will do the trick (DSA Para Fal in 308) but it’s all “tactical” stuff and I need a “hunting rifle” 🙂 So there you go, my excuse.

Tanker Garand

So off to the range Jack the Dog and I went. With 5 en-bloc clips of 8 rounds each. 3 clips of Lake City USGI ball ammo from the 70’s and 2 clips of Federal 180 grain softpoint ammo I thought would be good for hog killin’. I do want to say I have been having some eye trouble the last few months and I haven’t been seeing so well without a scope. This was iron sites and I couldn’t see the damn paper plates well enough at 100 to shoot at them 🙁 So I moved forward to 50 yards, I know, not that far but I couldn’t see the target well enough to give the rifle a fair accuracy test. Even then I kept getting watery eyed from straining to focus. Anyway as best as I can tell this rifle will shoot very well. If it turns out otherwise later I will update after I get glasses. I have pictures with the ball ammo, best, worst and average groups. So at 50 yards double them. The best group was pretty good and I feel that the thing lacking here was me. I do feel like the rifle is capable of 1.5-2 MOA. I really do. I think I short changed her today. The best group was pretty close and the average wasn’t bad. I mean really the worst one wasn’t THAT bad, with the old ball ammo. I think with better loads and somebody who isn’t blind we can tighten those up a bit.

Tanker Garand

Now the federal 180 soft point was a whole other story. I couldn’t hit crap with those, she doesn’t like them one bit. I only managed to get 2 rounds to ever hit the paper and they were pretty far apart. I gave up on that stuff. I’ll find something else for my hog killin’. Maybe too heavy a bullet for the short barrel?? Wrong twist?? I don’t know, I just know there’s no more reason to waste that ammo on that rifle.

Tanker Garand

Anyway you can see the groups and overall I am happy with it. I think it shoots straight and it was flawless in operation so far. Only 40 rounds but it’s a start. I feel that to make me happy reliability wise I need to see the first 200 rounds go downrange without a hitch and without cleaning. I will then clean a gun but want to see the next 300 go off without an issue as well. I don’t care if they all go at once or over 10 trips as long as we get from round 201 to 500 without a failure. That’s just my rule to satisfy myself that the weapon is sound and ready for whatever I use it for. Also that I am familiar enough with it to employ it properly. If I can’t find a damn good reason for a failure, like operator error, bad ammo or magazine then I get concerned and start looking for a problem with the gun, that’s just me though.

Tanker Garand

Well I guess that pretty well wraps it up, this thing is a beauty and I really like it. I think it’s a sound, accurate rifle and it’s a Garand! That in itself is a compliment. I think the shorter look is awesome! More importantly than that though it handles very well, snaps up quickly and on target and is overall a tad bit “handier” than the full size. I like carbines more often than not. I think this rifle is a keeper. If you see one priced right and it doesn’t say Federal Ordnance on it I say go ahead and treat yourself.

As always thanks for reading and happy shooting.

By: Cary Kieffer



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Cary Kieffer

USMC Infantry/Combat Veteran - Med Retired LEO/8yrs.

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3 Responses to T-26 Tanker Garand Review

  1. How much do you remove from the standard front handgaurd to make the Tanker handgaurd?

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Philip, I don’t know. I bought it done already. I have since traded it off for a Shufflin Tanker which is a tanker style built by a well known, top notch Garand guru and he doesn’t use the wood “nub” upfront. The one I had was great but the “Mini-G’s” built by Shufflin are top of the line. So I can’t even measure it for you. Sorry.

  2. John Burtis says:

    The Army was always pleased that Gen. Douglas MacArthur, while serving as Army Chief of Staff under President Hoover in those lean budget years of the early depression, demanded that the next infantry rifle be semi-automatic and be of .30 caliber, and hopefully be able to the same ammunition used in the BAR and in the Springfield Model 1903, of which there was plenty. The foregoing request meant a caliber .30-06 rifle was almost guaranteed, despite arms hawkers demonstrating the effectiveness of smaller caliber rounds to MacArthur and members of his staff.

    It is hard to imagine Eisenhower’s, MacArthur’s armies, or A.A. Vandegrift’s Marines fighting with any other rifle. For the Marines, it meant saying sayonara to their beloved Springfield ’03’s, which had replaced their five round .30 cal. Krag-Jorgensen rifles. In addition, for the Marines, it also allowed them to shed the problematic .30-06 m1941 Johnson rifles which, when field stripped, there was a good chance in losing one of the myriad of tiny parts, which separated the Johnson from the Garand in the ham hands of the Gi in the field.

    Toss me that neat little brother of the M-1 Garand rifle, the M-1 Tanker carbine, or the M-1 Garand Tanker, anytime. For its time, it gave my father’s generation superior and accurate fire power in all situations, in all climes, against all foes. And thank “Mac” for his foresight in selecting the round that served us through Korea.

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