December 21, 2013

Garands Are Good For You

"Now that right there was just pure fun. I don't know if it was good for you but it was good for me" - Jerry Miculek, upon doing some rapid fire work with a Garand.

Oh yes - there's video.

Here's the full length Youtube vid of Miculek's Garand episode. His history is slightly off, but seeing how fast he can shoot I'm not gonna quibble. I do find it amusing that he's been shooting revolvers so long he's doing 6 shot strings with the Garand instead of 8.

Mr. Miculek revisits the Garand, this time with some high speed camera action, for all your slow motion needs. Oh, and he goes ahead and uses 8 rounds. :)

The Garand isn't the best choice for home defense in an apartment (mainly due to the over-penetration problem with full powered rifle rounds) and for room clearing a submachinegun would be a better choice, but in a pinch a Garand will do just fine as long as it's handled well. It's a battle rifle, and it can still fill that role as well or better than anything that's come along since.

The CMP was reported to be down to around 82,000 Garands this past summer. It is estimated that they sell around 30,000 Garands each year. That works out to about 2 years & 9 months before they run out of their current supply. There are a few countries that still have Garands that may be returned one day, but I don't expect that to happen anytime soon, nor do I think the numbers will be large enough to sustain sales at the CMP for more than a few months at a time.

So barring another wave of panic buying and/or a large influx of foreign returns there's around 2.5 years worth of Garands at the CMP. Buying now would be better than buying later. (They're currently running 2 to 6 months delivery times depending on what you order, although in November and December they were trying to get as many shipped as they could before their Christmas break, and some folks got their Garands in a little over a month.)

(After the CMP runs out there will still be Garands available in the market. There were roughly 6.25 million Garands made worldwide, with a bit shy of 5.5 million rifles being made in the u.S. However, the CMP Garands sell for less than what you'd see from a private or commercial seller. For example, in 2003 I paid $300 for a CMP Garand. It'd have cost me over $600 at a gun show or a gun store. Today a CMP Garand will set you back $625, whereas one at a gun show or a gun store will approach or clear $1000. When the CMP runs out, there'll be no more below-market [so to speak] price point to anchor retail prices, and the later will go up accordingly. So the CMP running out won't mean a shortage of supply, just an increase in cost.)

The CMP has estimated the end of Garand sales before but this time I suspect they're not just being overly cautious. They've even opened up a custom shop to do gunsmithing on Garands (and '03 Springfields, '17 Enfields and M1 carbines), which they're hoping will help sustain their mission. Remember, the CMP's purpose is to teach and promote marksmanship, especially to youth. They fund that by selling Garands and other items, but sustaining and expanding participation in target shooting is their raison d’ętre.

Bruce Canfield has a new book out entitled The M1 Garand Rifle. I haven't read it yet, but I've heard it's the most extensive single volume concerning the history of the Garand.

There are more options than ever if you feel the need to "modernize" your Garand:

Fulton Armory, Ultimak and Amega have scout mounts for the Garand, if you'd like a LER or electronic sight instead of irons.

I've mentioned it before, but some folks are selling a ported gas plug that requires no adjustment to use commercial ammo. I like the Schuster adjustable gas plugs on match rifles because you can tune things to the load you're using, but for a grab-and-go Garand, this new ported gas plug seems like an ideal solution to the commercial ammo problem.

Sage has "tactical" stocks if you feel the urge to modernize your Garand. If I ever decide a pistol grip is a necessity I'd likely go with to the wooden offerings of LAW483, but to each their own.

Some time back PDB pointed out these neat little pull-out Garand trays from SOE. 6 en bloc clips in any pouch designed for 3 AR mags.

Shuff's Parkerizing offers a conversion to allow your Garand to use M14 mags. Of course that means converting your Garand to .308 Winchester or 7.52x51mm NATO.

Shuff's also does a conversion he calls The Mini-G. It shortens a Garand to 35.6" overall length (with a 16.1" barrel) and a weight of around 7.7 pounds.

Now it seems to me that getting the Mini-G conversion, along with an M14 mag conversion (making it a .308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm NATO chamebering of course) then adding a Safari Ching Sling would turn a Garand into a Scout Rifle. Add a forward optics mount and it'd likely exceed the weight limitation of a proper Scout Rifle, but it'd still be in the ballpark. Chamber it for .35 Whelen (which is ballistically very close to Cooper's preferred .350 Remington Magnum) and it'd be very close to Cooper's "Lion Scout" concept. (Here's a nice write up of Cooper's musing on these types of rifles.)

But if you take away the length and weight and other specifics of Cooper's Scout Rifle concept, what you walk away with is a general purpose rifle, handy to carry, accurate to about 500 yards, using commonly available ammunition that is suitable for taking game as well as self defense. For that, a plain old en bloc clip fed Mini-G in '06 with the standard sights should be about right.

Of course, I don't think anything is wrong with an as-issued Garand. If it'll hold under 4 MOA it's good enough for most anything you'd want to use a battle rifle for and a lot of chores that are meant for other types of rifles. A little work and that 4 MOA can be halved, which should make it suitable for any situation that calls for a battle rifle, along with a few other things.

So now you can do more than ever to customize a Garand to your tastes, and for now you can still get them relatively cheaply from the CMP. If you were thinking of getting a Garand, especially from the CMP, sooner is better and much more economical than later.

If you're on the fence about getting a Garand, I'll tell ya right now that it's a good design that seems to hold its value well. It can be worked into a very accurate match rifle, turned into something more handy to carry, can be used to hunt in any state where semi-automatic rifles are allowed, and avoids almost every states "assault weapons" laws and/or magazine capacity restrictions. The recoil isn't too harsh for most folks, the sights are well designed and easy to use, the two stage trigger ain't bad and can be improved upon, and overall it's a battle rifle, which everyone should have at least 1 example of (imnsho). It's reliable, accurate and fairly easy to maintain, with a decent amount of customization options available.

Besides, shooting a Garand is just plain good for you. :)

Posted by Publicola at December 21, 2013 06:04 AM | TrackBack

I've got a Ultimak mount on mine; love it.

Posted by: Firehand at December 23, 2013 03:20 PM

I'm thinking about grabbing an Ultimak myself. Do you have any posts at your place on it? Installation? Scope selection? etc?

Posted by: Publicola at December 27, 2013 01:32 AM

Massage McHenry

Posted by: Massage Woodstock at March 27, 2014 03:52 PM
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