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Found this article and thought it was very informative. I have more than once heard supposed "authorities" claim that you should not shoot any bullet heavier than 150 grain in an M1.


John
I remember reading an article about surveyor's in Alaska right after WW2 using 220 grain soft nosed ammo for bear protection in a 1903 Springfield rifle, but when a M1 garand became available they switched and never looked back. I've seen no reports that they had any trouble with that ammo

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Shoot what you want to in your M1, I will stick with loads I'm "pretty sure" are safe in mine (LC and my handloads).

The article posted by the OP is the second in a 3 part series on ammo for the M1 included in the Grand Collectors Association Journal. Part 1 was a caution not to use some ammo. Part 2 is posted above by the OP. Part 3 (Volume 34, Issue 2, Spring 2020, pages 25-27) was written by Gus Fisher, Jim Swartz and Rick Gushman.

In part 3 the authors caution shooters to be careful about what ammo they shoot in the M1.

If your mind is made up I wish you well, if you're still on the fence about ammo, please read all three of the articles.
 

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I think that article is a little too cavalier. Yes, the military had hotter loads than M2 Ball that were used in the Garand. However, at the time the Garand was in service, the military did not have the modern powders available today, which can produce much higher pressures.

Garand Gear has done extensive testing on commercial ammunition. Short version: they measured the pressure of M2 Ball and then compared many modern commercial loads to it. Their data is freely available online: M1 Garand Ammunition and the Ported Gas Plug

So the real answer is "it's complicated." Sticking to 150 grain is the safest possible answer if you don't have data. The reality is that many modern loads fall in the range expected from M2 Ball. Some significantly exceed it. It's your rifle. Garand parts aren't cheap.
 

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If you want to find out what an M1 Garand can take for pressure you should read "Hatcher's book on the Garand" or "Hatcher's Notebook", I can't remember which one it was in. The M1 in a maximum pressure test withstood with slight damage(blew off the floor of the trigger housing, cracked surface hardening of bolt with no change in headspace), guessed pressure of 125K that destroyed the 7.7 Ariska. The first article in the series incorrectly states that the Garand was designed to operate at "not more than 50,000 psi", this is not correct. At the time they were not using piezo electric transducers for measuring pressure, the copper crusher method was in use at that time. A copper crusher pressure of 50K is equivalent to a 60K psi rating, check the SAAMI website, they list both pressure ratings for .30-06.
 

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Some "experts" don't know what they are talking about. Note that M72 ammo, which is loaded specifically for the Garand, has a 173 grain bullet. Millions of 168 grain Sierra bullets have been fired in the Garand without issues. That said, common sense dictates that you should not fire bullets heavier than 185 grains although a good many 190's have been successfully used for long range competition. It's just not something you should make a habit of.
 

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DetroitMan,
The information I take from these articles is if you handload ammo you need to keep powder burn rate within the proper area so as not to cause issues with the Garand. The actual bullet weight (within limits 110-175) will not cause rifle problems as long as burn rate is kept within the correct powder range, which is usually in the band that encompasses 3031 to 4064 or equivalent of other makers. You could load ammo with 150 grain bullets with 4350 or 4831 and the chamber pressure could be in the correct range but the port pressure would be way to high, for this reason i don't agree with the blanket statement " Sticking to 150 grain is the safest possible answer if you don't have data ".

John
 

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Gentlemen, Firstly, the statement that the M1 rifle was meant to shoot 150 grain ammo is incorrect. When the rifle was adopted (1936), the standard service cartridge was the M1 ball cartride which weighed 172 / 173grainis. The 150 grain M2 ball cartridge didn't come along until 1940 - although it was just a modernized version of the .30-06 cartridge. Secondly, what renders many types of commercial ammo unsuitable for the M1 rifle isn't the proijectile weight - it is the port pressure. The M1 rifle was designed around ammo that used a propellant that had a burn rate similar to IMR 4895. Slower burn rate propellant can create damaging levels of port pressure.
 

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My main M1 match load is/was 48.5 grs of IMR4064 behind a 168 match bullet, prefer the old Nosler Solid Base but those are long gone, the Nosler Custom Comp shoots well though. I also used for 5-600 yard prone matches, 185 Lapua's using if IIRC, Re15 powder. Never had any issues.
 

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Talked to a few old timers who shot when the M1 was the rifle to shoot.
When they could use there own ammo at matches many prefered the 220 gn bullet and would load to pressure signs and back off a bit. Many o these guys will also say, thats when op rods could be had by the fist full . I had a few say that reciever stretch was a problem for the real heavy loads and the high count shooters.
Its all good. Now these days unless your still running 600 yards plus theres really no reason to run ammo anywhere near damaging limits. If your buying factory ammo theres enough choices safe for the M1 and is cheaper than "hunting" ammo . Do what you will.
My reloads are below M2_ball specs. I shoot 200 yards max. So no need to really go to crazy.
So far all my garands will shoot better groups in the lower mid range of any data out there.
 

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DetroitMan,
The information I take from these articles is if you handload ammo you need to keep powder burn rate within the proper area so as not to cause issues with the Garand. The actual bullet weight (within limits 110-175) will not cause rifle problems as long as burn rate is kept within the correct powder range, which is usually in the band that encompasses 3031 to 4064 or equivalent of other makers. You could load ammo with 150 grain bullets with 4350 or 4831 and the chamber pressure could be in the correct range but the port pressure would be way to high, for this reason i don't agree with the blanket statement " Sticking to 150 grain is the safest possible answer if you don't have data ".

John
I think we actually agree. My key point was "if you don't have data," meaning if you know nothing about your ammunition. So if you are buying from the store and have no data on the loads available, you should stick to 150 grain to be safe. I understand that there are loads heavier than 150 grain that are safe, and the data I linked shows that. A person needs to be informed if they are going to shoot heavier loads, and I recognize that you are. I just think the article you linked could give a novice Garand owner the wrong idea if they haven't also looked at other sources.

Also, while Hatcher's data is interesting, he was testing to the point of catastrophic failure. That is different a different standard from incurring gas system damage. You can bend a Garand operating rod with M2 Ball if it is binding on the handguard. It is the weak point in the system, even if the handguard is properly relieved. Because the Garand is a long stroke system, you are hammering the bolt into the receiver heal and the op rod against bolt lug with every shot. I have seen plenty of guys on forums who have bent op rods, and even a few that cracked their receiver heals. People can do what they want with their rifles, but a lot of guys buy a Garand because it's cool and feed it commercial ammo. They need to understand the risks to their purchase.
 

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Gentlemen, Firstly, the statement that the M1 rifle was meant to shoot 150 grain ammo is incorrect. When the rifle was adopted (1936), the standard service cartridge was the M1 ball cartride which weighed 172 / 173grainis. The 150 grain M2 ball cartridge didn't come along until 1940 - although it was just a modernized version of the .30-06 cartridge. Secondly, what renders many types of commercial ammo unsuitable for the M1 rifle isn't the proijectile weight - it is the port pressure. The M1 rifle was designed around ammo that used a propellant that had a burn rate similar to IMR 4895. Slower burn rate propellant can create damaging levels of port pressure.
This is true, but with commercial ammo there is usually a correlation between bullet weight and port pressure. The projectile weight is printed on the box. The pressure and powder type are not.
 

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This is true, but with commercial ammo there is usually a correlation between bullet weight and port pressure. The projectile weight is printed on the box. The pressure and powder type are not.
As I have often said, correlation doesn't imply cause and effect. The cause of high port pressure in an M1 rifle is slow burning propellant. It just so happens that commercial ammo manufacturers use slow burn propellant in order to enhance performance without exceeding the SAAMI chamber pressure specs. The idea is to get more area under the pressure vs. time curve without raising the peak pressure. They are definitely more likely to do this when they are using heavy projectiles since most who purchase commercial ammo with heavy projectiles are seriously into performance. The bottom line is you can get high port pressures with even 150 grain ammo depending on what propellant is used.
 

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As I have often said, correlation doesn't imply cause and effect. The cause of high port pressure in an M1 rifle is slow burning propellant. It just so happens that commercial ammo manufacturers use slow burn propellant in order to enhance performance without exceeding the SAAMI chamber pressure specs. The idea is to get more area under the pressure vs. time curve without raising the peak pressure. They are definitely more likely to do this when they are using heavy projectiles since most who purchase commercial ammo with heavy projectiles are seriously into performance. The bottom line is you can get high port pressures with even 150 grain ammo depending on what propellant is used.
Agreed. However, I meet Garand owners at my club all the time who think they can use any .30-06 load available without consequence. Most of them aren't reloaders or historians. They think they can treat a Garand like an AR-15. They don't even know they have to grease it and wipe the surface with oil. I tell them to stick to 150 grain and avoid high performance ammo because that is easy to remember. I also point them to Garand Gear for more information. I am teaching a class on the Garand in a couple of weeks where I will cover this topic and others in detail.
 

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I have 2 Garand's and over the years have had about 10, and they all shot best with 175-180 grain bullets loaded with one of the powders that was recommended, but i settled on Accurate 2520. I went through Basic in 59 with an M1 and used them until 60 or 61 when I was in the 101st Airborne and we were the first full Division to get the M14's. The machine guns still used M1 Ball ammo and if we were going someplace interesting the senior NCO's stripped belts and loaded them into M1 clips, but they wouldn't let us do that. The M1 ball had double the effective range of the M2 ball.
 
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