The M1 Garand
M1 Garand by Stuart Allan
Have you ever watched a WWII film and seen US Government GIs carrying a long rifle that does not appear to have a magazine? Have you heard a ringing sound after the rifle is fired a few times? Well, that is because this rifle (The M1 Garand) has a clip that you load into the top of the rifle. If done improperly, the action will slam shut while you are reloading and crush your thumb, earning it the nickname “The Thumb Buster” which results in “M1 thumb.”
That strange ringing sound is the disposable eight round clip being ejected high into the air once the final shot has been fired. The most successful allied general of World War Two, four star General, George S. Patton, said about the M1, “In my opinion, the M1 rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised.” Firing one of the hardest hitting cartridges to be used in hand held rifles at the time, a .30-06sprg cartridge. Patton wasn’t kidding. That cartridge is still very popular among modern hunting rifles.
This semi automatic M1 Garand was designed by a Canadian American named John Garand. During its days on the battlefield, this weapon replaced bolt action rifles like the M109 Springfield. It was later replaced by the smaller, less powerful Springfield Armory M1A which is also an interesting historical battle rifle you can use during your time at the range with the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience.
The M1 fires eight 30-06 Springfield cartridges as fast as you can pull the trigger and the bullets fly through the air at about 2,647 ft/s (807 m/s). It is heavy but many soldiers of days gone by and family protectors of our time determine it is more than worth carrying because of the punch it packs.
Be warned the recoil is also an ever present factor. My first experience with this rifle was after my father acquired our very own M1 Garand. We also bought a box of tracer rounds for it and fired them during the night. Red and green streaks almost too fast to see. That is still one of my most favorite gun experiences to this day. (A warning about tracer rounds, do not shoot them in dry conditions, they can start fires!)