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Anyone reload for an M1 Garand?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Cujo17, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. Just got one as a gift, it is at my gunsmith getting a once-over. Can I use standard 30-06 brass? How about dies in a lee classic single stage press? I have never reloaded rifle ammunition and something about 40+ grains of powder makes me nervous. Any suggested reading?

  2. Brucev


    Jul 19, 2009
    I would suggest that you take a look at the appropriate forums at CMP and CSP. There you will find very helpful information on reloading service equivalent ammunition for your M-1. Please do note that the M-1 Garand is set up for using USGI M-2 ball or equivalent ammunition. The important consideration is the gas pressure at the port on the barrel/gas cylinder. To much gas pressure will overdrive the operating rod and accelerate wear or even damage your rifle. Use loading information that takes into account the issue of port pressure and you will have no problems loading for your M-1 Garand. Select a powder recommended for the M-1, use good quality bullets and pay attention to basic loading procedure and you will produce very good rounds for your rifle. The main thing is you need to educate yourself as to the particular issues to which you need to give consideration in loading for the M-1. The NRA has some excellent information on this subject. HTH. Sincerely. Brucev.
  3. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA

    Mar 1, 2000
    The Garand is chambered in .30/ any .30/06 brass will work.

    No experience with Lee dies, as I use RCBS dies for everything.

    Hornady has a section dedicated to reloading for the M1 Garand.
  4. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    The Lee dies may or may not wrok well for you. Some M1/M1A shooters like to use small base dies w/ chmabers that are cut tight, a bit more reliable. The Hornady data is very good. Remember to NOT use full power 06 loads, do not use powders slower than IMR4320, do not use bullets heavier than 172gr. All this is to prevent damage to the op rod.
  5. Thanks for the suggestions, lots of good info at CMP and the other sources. Can anyone elaborate on which dies they use and why. Thanks, CJ
  6. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I use the RCBS small base dies for the reason stated earlier. Some chambers will not accept a slightly larger case head/body. For the cost, you can certainly buy the Lee & give them a try, little lost if they don't work.
  7. I guess the first thing to do is wait to see if the rifle is safe to fire and then go with Lee FL dies. Does your Garand have a different barrel that requires the use of SB dies?
  8. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    It is not the original bbl, but a new one. Mine was a pretty badly used DCM that I sent off for a 308 rebarrel. Another I have went for a national match bbl. I have had no issues w/ either but use small base dies for both. ALso, you will NOT want to use the soft Fed. rifle primers. There is a potential for a slam fire w/ soft primers. The CCI #34 milspec primers or even the CCI200 will work fine, but I have had no issues w/ Win. or RP primers either.
  9. I would suggest using milspec brass, CCI milspec primers, and RCBS X Die. I do not like using commercial brass in the M1, it just puts too much stress on it and it will fail faster then military brass. Military brass is slightly thicker and can handle more abuse.
  10. Brucev


    Jul 19, 2009
  11. If I may tack on a question...

    Planning on a Garand here in a couple months. Is it absolutely necessary to do all the extra steps when reloading such as case prep/trimming etc?
  12. Sheepdog Scout

    Sheepdog Scout Behind you!

    Jan 23, 2010
    Who knows?
    I don't know anything about reloading. But I just wanted to say congrats on the Garand. It's a special weapon.:wavey:
  13. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    The only "case prep" would be to trim to proper length. If you use a RCBS X dies, you only have to do this once. Regular case trimming is pretty much mandatory for all bottleneck cases at some point, often 4-5 firings. They stretch quite a bit & you do NOT want the too long case neck getting pinched into the bbl upon firing. Raises pressures quite a bit, bad for a M1.
  14. rg1


    Aug 5, 2003
    No problems loading for the Garand. Just use powders that are appropriate for the Garands gas system, powders between the burn rate of IMR 4895 to IMR 4064. Bullets from 150 grain to 168 grain do best. No need for small based dies, a regular full-length sizing die works fine. I do recommend a case headspace gauge such as the RCBS Precision Mic or Hornady's headspace gauge set:
    Headspace of Garands can be on the long side of spec and sizing the shoulder back to zero overworks the brass and can lead to case stretching and possible case separations.
    Here's some good info:
    Military surplus Garand 150 gr. M2 FMJ flat-based bullets which are good for general Garand shooting can be found here:|281|727
    With these 150gr surplus FMJ-flat based bullets, 46-48 grains of IMR 4895 shoots good with no pressure problems in different Garands with RP, LC, HXP, Win, or other cases. I use Remington 9 1/2 primers. Make sure primers are seated flush or below to prevent possibility of slam-fires. Be extra careful and closely inspect cases for signs of stretching and possible separations. Garand case ejection is hard on case rims. I sometimes file knicks and dings from the rims of fired cases. Good Garand info and forums at:
    plus some other sites have good info. HXP ammo from the CMP is good ammo. Don't shoot regular factory ammo as you don't know what powder they have used and it can damage your rifles op rod. Hornady and Federal now make Garand-Safe factory ammo. Just make sure it's the factory ammo specifically for Garands. I have no issues with any standard 30-06 cases and use a lot of RP and Win cases for loading for the Garand. Not much difference in case volume or weight from the military cases such as Lake City. My load is the 150 M2 150 FMJ-FB with 47-47.5 grains of IMR 4895. Hornady has a Garand section in their 7th Edition manual with their bullets.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  15. mineralman55


    Dec 4, 2009
    The M1/30-06 combination is very amenable to reloading and experimentation if you have the patience to do it. For cases I've used lots of IMI, Remington and LC surplus. Standard Lee Precision dies have worked fine. I'll get 8-10 loadings from a case before I'll get a neck crack... probably more if I bothered to anneal. I've loaded Accurate 2520, H414, H380, H450, H870, Win 760, and surplus WC852. These range from medium to pretty slow powders. All worked well, some better than others. Just don't load for maximum with any of them. The M1 prefers powder loads toward the lower end of ranges for a given bullet. I watch for pressure signs on the primers, as well as too violent functioning. Incidently, I load using standard Federal or Winchester LR primers, and have never had a slam fire.

    Of bullets, take the advice given and don't use the mil-surplus 147-150 grain FMJ bullets. They aren't usually very consistent in weight or shape, and will give you lots of flyers. I found mine likes the Sierra 165 grain BTSP best of all, and the Sierra 180 grain BT spitzer next. The Sierra 168 grain BTHP also works well as does the Lake City 173 grain FMJBT.

    Okay, best load ever for me: 40 gr Accurate 2520 behind a 180 grain Sierra BT spitzer, WIN LR primer, IMI case, 3.280" LOA. 1/2" 10-shot group @ 100 yds, iron sights. Had to be the phase of the moon in conjunction with Venus.

    Best of luck with a great weapon.
  16. From Guns and Ammo magazine....I picked up a copy of "M1 Magazine" a few weeks ago and, lo and behold, there is an article called "Loading For the M1 Garand." Pretty much everything you want to know, what to avoid, powders to use, bullet weights and types, brass to use, primers, sizing, dies, etc. I guess the bottom line, the M1 is a finicky eater, so much so that Federal and Hornady sell special M1 rounds.
  17. GIockGuy24

    GIockGuy24 Bring M&M's

    Jul 14, 2005
    With Amber Lamps
    If you have never hand loaded for a rifle some differences from handgun cartridges are, cases must be trimmed AFTER full length sizing, case mouths should be chamfered after trimming to allow bullets to be seated. Case life will be much shorter, especially in an autoloader rifle. Inspect cases and primer pockets. Federal brand rifle cases/brass is thin and soft at he case head and is rarely good for more than one firing. Federal primer pockets expand and hold primers loosely and this also a sign the case is stretching a lot. Remington 30-06 cases seem to hold up well. Winchester cases are high quality but may be slightly lighter than Remington cases. Read all of the Garand hand loading info on powders, primers, bullet weights and loads. Some primers are more sensitive than others and more importantly, primers must be seated below flush with the case and primers must be fully seated (bottomed out) in the primer pocket. Do not try to roll crimp bullets that do not have a cannelure. A crimp isn't required in 30-06 and seating dies can be set to not crimp. The Lee Factory crimp Die can be used but doesn't require a lot of force. Lubing cases for full length sizing is very important. Try to keep the lube off of the case shoulders though as this can dent the cases. A little lube inside the case mouth and plenty of lube on the side of the case BELOW the shoulder will help keep cases from sticking in the die. A stuck case can often require a special tool to remove, or at least disassembly of the die.
  18. El_Ron1


    Apr 15, 2004
    Redneck Sparta