World War II Manufactured M1 Garand Rifle that was rebuilt after the war shown with a canvas sling.
Though Bolt Actions made up the vast majority of issue rifles for most Allied and Axis combatants in World War II, several armies also issued semi-automatic rifles and carbines.
The M1 Garand was a battlefield revolution when it began being issued in 1936. Thought there were numerous other semi-auto rifles both prior to and during WW II, none became the standard rifle for their country. The M1 Garand was the primary rifle of the U.S. Army by 1941.
As early as 1919, John Garand began experimenting with rifle caliber semi-automatic designs. By 1928 a Garand prototype competed in U.S. Army trials but there was no clear winner. The Garand however, did seem promising and was further developed. Interestingly for several years the development was focused on a .276” chambering instead of .30”. Finally, by 1933, it emerged as the U.S. Army’s choice for its next battle rifle chambered in .30”.
The semi-automatic rifle, caliber 30, M1 that was eventually selected was revolutionary. It fired the powerful and accurate 30-06 cartridge developed for the Springfield 03 in 1906. Being a gas operated semi-automatic, the operation tamed the recoil and allowed the infantryman to fire 8 rounds as rapidly as he could pull the trigger. The ergonomics and sights were excellent for the time and all 8 rounds could also be delivered accurately on targets up to 500 yards or more distant. Even the safety which is considered flawed by today’s standards was much easier to use than many of its contemporaries, like the Mosin Nagant. Its only real design flaw was its use of an 8 round en-bloc clip. The design made it very difficult to load individual rounds and like a modern rifle’s magazine, it could not function without the clip.
The basic rifle was also made in sniper versions called the M1C (WW II) and M1D (Korean War). These have the scopes offset to the left to allow for the ejection of spent cartridges. Italy produced its own M1 and further modified the design to accept 20 round box magazines, which became the BM-59 used by the Italian military and numerous other armies. Though an entirely new rifle; the 20 round magazine fed, full-auto M14; and its semi-automatic civilian M1A version, are largely based upon the M1 Garand. The company Springfield Armory even produced new rifles in the mid 2000s.
The Rifle served with the U.S. Army throughout WW II in every theatre of operations. It was very highly regarded and General George S. Patton called it, “the greatest battle implement ever devised.” During WW II 4,040,832 were produced by Springfield Armory (87%) and Winchester (13%). Production resumed for the Korean War and another 1,403,643 were produced by 1957. The producers were Springfield Armory (45%), Harrington & Richardson (31%), and International Harvester (24%). In Korea, it served both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. It was still used by some units at the beginning of the Vietnam War and continued on in Guard and Reserve units until the 1970s.
After WW II, several hundred-thousand rifles were given to many U.S. Allies with especially large numbers given to Denmark, Greece, Italy, the Philippines, South Korea. Many of these guns are now returning to the U.S. as surplus rifles. The gun has also been widely sold to the U.S. civilians via the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) and surplus vendors.
Version - World War II M1 Garand
Caliber - .30"-06
Receiver - Milled with Manufacturer and Serial Number. As most rifles have been rebuilt multiple times it normal to have parts from several manufacturers
Action - Semi-Automatic gas operated via long-stroke piston and rotating bolt.
Barrel - 24.0”.
Length - 43.5” long
Weight - 9.5 lbs.
Stocks - Wood.
Magazines - 8 rd en-bloc clip. 1, 2, and 5 rd en-bloc clips also available for target shooting.
Sights - Adjustable Peep Hole and Post.
Bayonet - 9.625” M1 Blade or 9.875” Shortened M1905 Blade in World War II. 6.625” M5 Blade Postwar.
M1 Garand Rifle with M1 Carbine below
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