Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rifle of the Month – the M1 Garand

I’m back from visiting my wife’s family over the Independence Day weekend, and thought I’d start out with the “rifle of the month” – this month, the M1 Garand. General George S. Patton, Jr. pronounced it "the greatest single battle implement ever devised by man." It was the first semi-automatic main battle rifle adopted by any major army, and gave the American infantryman an important advantage over his counterparts in World War II. The rifle also served in Korea and to a lesser extent Vietnam.

H&R M1 Garand

Resources on the Garand are extremely common on the web, including good overviews at The Patton Society and a decent write up on Wikipedia. There are also clubs devoted to the history and collecting of the M1 Garand like the Garand Collectors Association.

One of the nice things about the M1 Garand, is that it is a fun rifle to shoot with a ready supply of ammunition. The Garand is fed by an 8 round en bloc clip (yes, it is one of the FEW firearms with a true “clip”). Most are chambered in 30-06, but there are a few chambered for 0.308 NATO which were made for the U.S. Navy. You can find Garands at most gun shows and internet firearm auction sites. For the best deal, you can order one from the Civilian Marksmanship Program. They have reconditioned surplus Garands in multiple grades. The M1 Garand was recently produced by Springfield Armory using the original specs and blueprints, but it appears to have been dropped in favor of the M1A.

Collecting the M1 Garand can be a satisfying, yet expensive, pursuit as the Garand is a very popular rifle for collectors. The Garand was produced by Springfield, Winchester, Harrington and Richardson, and International Harvester at various times during its service life. Several collectors guides can be found online. Joe Poyer and Craig Reisch have a decent one which can be found here. Premiums are paid for rifles in original condition or from a rare armory or serial number block. The bottom line is to have fun and enjoy these amazing rifles.

Until next time!!!

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