Garand

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The M1 Garand (more formally the United States Rifle, .30 Caliber, M1) was the first semi-automatic rifle to be put in active military service. It replaced the Springfield 1903 rifle.

Contents

Notable features

It weighs 9 pounds 8 ounces (4.3 kg) unloaded, and is 43.5 inches (1.1 m) long. The rifle is fed by a en-bloc clip which holds eight rounds through the top of the receiver; this made the reloading of the rifle in mid-clip somewhat more time consuming than firing off the remaining rounds. Upon the firing of the last round sustained within the en-bloc, the clip is automatically ejected and the bolt locked to the rear. Contrary to popular belief, the "ping" sound emitted by this action is not as loud on a battlefield as some would believe. Originally chambered for the 0.276 in (7 mm) Pedersen cartridge using a 10 round clip, it was later standardized to use the then-official U.S. military rifle round: "Ball Cartridge, 0.30 in (7.62 x 63 mm), Model of 1906," commonly known as the .30-06 (thirty-ought-six). Its maximum effective range is listed at 550 m, with capability of inflicting a casualty with armor-piercing ammunition well beyond 800 m.

History & design

Developed by weapons designer John Garand in the 1930s at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, it eventually became the standard rifle of the US military, being adopted in 1932 and formally entering service in 1936 because of the executive decision by the current Army Chief-of-Staff General Douglas MacArthur. It served through World War II and the Korean War where it proved to be an excellent rifle, so much so that the Axis Powers used as many as they could capture. The Japanese even developed a prototype copy for their own use near the end of World War II, but it never reached production. Some Garands were still being used in the Vietnam War in 1963, although it had been officially replaced by the M14 rifle in 1957. U.S. military drill teams still use the M1, including the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill team.

Perhaps the distinct edge it gave the Allied forces over their enemy in battle is why General George S. Patton called it "the greatest implement of battle ever devised." The rifle remains popular with civilian weapons collectors and enthusiasts all over the world.

Variations & accessories

Most variations of the Garand never saw duty, with the exception of the sniper variants. The sniper versions were Garands modified to accept scope mounts and from this came two systems. These are M1C (also called the M1E7) and M1D (also called the M1E8). However, neither were produced in significant quantities during the second World War. The only difference between the two versions is the mounting system for the telescopic sight. In June of 1944 the M1C was adapted as the standard sniper rifle by the US Army to replace the venerable M1903A4. The M1C and M1D first began being widely used during the Korean war. The US Marine Corps adopted the M1C as their official sniper rifle in 1951. The US Navy has also used the Garand, rebarreled for the 7.62x51mm NATO round.

One good example of a variant that never saw duty is the T26 (or M1E5), popularly known as the "Tanker Garand." The T26 has a shorter barrel at 18 inches and comes with a folding stock. The tanker name was actually added after the war when it was used as a marketing gimmick to sell the rifles. Another example of a variant that never saw duty is the T20E2. This variant is, at its simplest, a Garand modified to accept Browning Automatic Rifle magazines and has selective fire capability in semi- and automatic modes.

Similar to most modern rifles, the M1 had many accessories available. Several different styles of bayonets fit the rifle: the Model 1905, 16 in (406 mm) blade, Model 1905E1, 10 in (254 mm) blade, M1 10 in (254 mm) blade, and M5 6 in (152 mm) blade. Also available was a Grenade launcher that fit onto the barrel using the M7 Spigot. It was sighted using the M15 sight which fit just forward of the trigger. A buttstock cleaning kit was also available for use in the field.

Desipite similarities in naming, there is no relationship between the M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine. Both of these firearms, along with many other articles of military hardware, were named by the designating them the "Model One".

Operation

Missing image
Garand_clip.jpg
M1 Garand "en bloc" clip (loaded)

By modern standards, the M1 Garand does have drawbacks, particularly in the clip loaded magazine system it used. The magazine holds 8 rounds which are loaded by inserting an "en bloc" clip down into the rifle from the top while the bolt is locked back. In the bottom of the magazine there is a follower which keeps constant upward pressure (provided by the operating rod spring) on the cartridges so the bolt could strip the next one from the clip to chamber it during operation. When the last round is fired, the empty clip would be automatically ejected, producing a loud, high-pitched "ping" sound which might alert an enemy that the wielder cannot continue firing until the weapon is reloaded (although this generally could not be heard over the din of battle despite the commonly-heard myth to the contrary).

It is possible to load single cartridges into a partially loaded clip while the clip is still in the magazine, although it required both hands and a bit of concentration. Partially loaded or fully loaded clips could also be ejected by the operator by pulling the operating rod handle all the way back and then pushing the clip latch on the left side of the receiver. In practice however, some wielders of the weapon found it more expedient to simply shoot the remaining rounds in order to empty the weapon prior to reloading a full clip. Despite its intricacies, the clip-fed, semi-automatic, gas-operated system of the M1 Garand was much more advantageous than the manually operated bolt action systems used on the main battle rifles of nearly every other country during the era.

Ammunition types

The M1 Garand fires several types of ammunition.

Ball, M2. This cartridge is used against personnel and unarmored targets, and can be identified by its unpainted bullet.

Armor Piercing, M2. This cartridge is used against lightly armored vehicles, protective shelters, and personnel, and can be identified by its black bullet tip.

Armor Piercing Incendiary, M14. This cartridge is used, in place of the armor piercing round, against flammable targets. The tip of the bullet is colored with aluminum paint.

Incendiary, M1. This cartridge is used against unarmored, flammable targets. The tip of the bullet is painted blue.

Tracers and M25. These cartridges are for observing fire, signaling, target designation, and incediary purposes. The tips of the bullets are painted red for the M1 and orange for the M25.

Blank, M1909. This cartridge is used to simulate rifle fire. The cartridge is identified by having no bullet, and by a cannelure in the neck of the case which is sealed by red lacquer.

Rifle Grenade Cartridge. This cartridge is used with the grenade launcher to propel grenades. The cartridge has no bullet and the mouth is crimped.

Dummy, M40. This cartridge is used for marksmanship training. The cartridge has six longitudinal corrugations and the primer has been removed.

Match, M72. This cartridge is used in marksmanship competition firing, and can be identified by the word "MATCH" on the head stamp.

Civilian use

United States citizens meeting certain qualifications may purchase U.S. Military surplus M1 Garand rifles through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), a not-for-profit corporation created by Congress in the early part of the 20th century to promote rifle skills in case of future war but latterly to promote firearms safety training and rifle practice.

Military surplus Garands, as well as postwar copies made for the civilian market, are popular among enthusiasts.

See also

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Template:WWIIUSInfWeaponsNav

Also, Springfield Armory, a company that shares the name of the decommisioned federal armory, makes new production M1 Garands using many old but unused military-surplus parts.

External links

fr:Garand ja:M1ガーランド pl:M1 Garand zh:M1式加兰德步枪

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