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#6233928 - 03/23/16 11:52 AM M1 and M1a
Deerhunter61 Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 4930
Loc: DFW

I'm curious if any of you load for these rifles. I have two M1s and a M1a but I've never loaded for them. I'm wondering how much they would tighten up with hand loads and if it'd really be worth the time etc to load for them. I don't shoot them a whole lot. I have shot them with factory ammo and one garand shoots 3" 5 shot groups while the other shoots 4" 5 shot groups.



#6234058 - 03/23/16 01:21 PM Re: M1 and M1a [Re: Deerhunter61]
Tactical Cowboy Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 2788
Loc: Abilene
My old man has one a CMP Service Grade, and it holds around 2" with good bullets. I don't recall the bullet or load that he's using. I know the 147 grain FMJBT (which I assume your factory ammo is loaded with) does NOT have a reputation for accuracy, as the bearing surface is very short.
Hardcast bullets for sale!

The secret to a long life is to try not to shorten it

#6234196 - 03/23/16 03:37 PM Re: M1 and M1a [Re: Deerhunter61]
Teal28 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/10/08
Posts: 3326
Loc: Hen House Tx
My M1 didn't like the 147gr either. 168 SMK's are the ticket. The 175 SMK's did ok too. Factory Ammo (165gr Soft points and FMJ) I'm getting around 2.5" to 3" groups shooting form a rest. Hand loads are 2" and a few times slightl smaller. I think I can get it smaller just need to do a little tweaking. Been thinking about trying some 155gr FMJ.

#6235440 - 03/24/16 02:27 PM Re: M1 and M1a [Re: Deerhunter61]
HTDUCK Offline

Registered: 09/30/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Parker,Tx
My Garand likes 168 Hornady's on top of BLC2
Never shot factory or surplus ammo through it so have no baseline to compare.
It's a CMP Special with a new Criterion barrel.

The M1A 2.5 to 3 in groups with the 168 Hornady's on top of H4895.
ZQI 147 FMJs shoot 3-4 inch groups.
155 Sierra Palma shoots 1 to 1.5 inches on top of H4895.

Make sure you read the fine print on reloading for these two rifles.
If you are not careful you will over power the gas system and end up bending the operating rod.

Federal and Hornady both load ammo specifically for the Garand but it's around $25.00 a box.

#6236000 - 03/24/16 10:15 PM Re: M1 and M1a [Re: Deerhunter61]
nak Offline

Registered: 08/26/12
Posts: 767
Loc: DFW
My Garand likes Barnes TTSX 168 gr and BLC2

Pigs do not like them grill
NRA Lifer / Member TSRA

#6236046 - 03/24/16 10:58 PM Re: M1 and M1a [Re: Deerhunter61]
thedoveshooter Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 1189
Loc: Tomball, TX
Garand Match Load
(but these HPBTs are devastating on game as well lol)

168 grain Nosler Custom Competitions HPBT
47 grains Varget
CCI #34 primer
HXP surplus brass

My 1955 HRA (the one below) loves this load. First four I shot sighting in at a match theu were easily covered with a 50 cent piece. I also shot 6 Xs in my slow-fire prone (out of 20 shots) and 3 Xs (out of 10 shots) in my rapid-fire prone in a match once.

This load shoots half the group size of HXP surplus and more mild recoiling than HXP.

- thedoveshooter

Edited by thedoveshooter (03/24/16 11:02 PM)
Fightin Texas Aggie Class of 2009

#6236049 - 03/24/16 11:07 PM Re: M1 and M1a [Re: Deerhunter61]
thedoveshooter Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 1189
Loc: Tomball, TX
A couple more things that help tighten the group on a Garand:

1. Trigger job down to 4.5 lbs (CMP doesn't allow less)

2. Peen the barrel splines to tighten the gas cylinder on the barrel.

3. Use the sling properly.

4. Darken the rear and front sights with a match, paper burning, etc. It seems a small thing, but it really helps.

5. Join a rifle club that has Garand matches and practice, practice, practice.

Before all of these I shot a 220-250 (out of 500). After I started listening to my club members, learned the positions, peened the barrel, got a trigger job, and started handloading for it, I improved to my best so far. A couple months ago I shot a 442!

Good shooting!

Edited by thedoveshooter (03/24/16 11:11 PM)
Fightin Texas Aggie Class of 2009

#6237830 - 03/27/16 07:07 AM Re: M1 and M1a [Re: Deerhunter61]
Deerhunter61 Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 4930
Loc: DFW
Thanks guys! Great info here. I'll definitely load a few rounds and see what happens.

#6237867 - 03/27/16 08:02 AM Re: M1 and M1a [Re: Deerhunter61]
Cast Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 14901
Loc: North Texas - God's Country
It's a 30-06 it will benefit from hand loads and likely tune right in.

I have a short attention spa

#6238265 - 03/27/16 04:16 PM Re: M1 and M1a [Re: Deerhunter61]
ASIC777 Offline

Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 211
Loc: McKinney, TX.
It has been said, if your M1A wont shoot Federal Gold Medal Match it wont shoot. The gold standard accuracy load for the M1A was 39.5 grains IMR 3031 with a Sierra 168 grain Match King in military brass. Supposedly this was the FGMM recipe in the 80's.

Again, supposedly to gain a little more velocity, Federal changed to 4064 and upped the pressure a bit. Internet searches should show loads in the 41.5-42.8 range in Fed/LC/Mil brass that duplicate the "New FGMM". BHA / Win brass hold slightly more powder due to the head design so loads have to be adjusted accordingly.

Any of the 4895 ( or AA 2495) are also good for reloading M1A.

I would never use Varget in an M1A, or load above the 168 grain match bullet weight without having the ports re-worked. Too much port pressure, beats up the rifle and brass.

And to answer your initial question, yes hand loading helps but realize you are talking battle rifles here. Fun to shoot but dont expect bolt gun accuracy.
Lifetime NRA Member


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