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Recently at a gun dealership, I heard someone ask, “Can you hunt with an m1 garand?” Someone next to him retorted that he could pretty much use any gun to get the job done. It brought back nostalgic memories of when I began hunting and had the same mindset. But now that I’ve gained a couple of years’ experience, I try to ensure I help whoever I can to pick the right weapon for hunting.
Would I hunt with an M1 Garand? Yes, I would! This semi-automatic rifle has impressive features that support hunting: An 8-round chamber, iron sights, and is chambered in the most popular hunting cartridge: The .30-06 Springfield. You can accurately hit prey at 500 yards.
If you’re debating whether to buy or take out your M1 Garland for hunting, we’ll be looking at some supporting factors that make it a good choice. But first, here’s a bit of history to get you started.
The M1 Garand: An Overview
The M1 Garand rifle was the first standard-issue autoloading gun in the U.S, making it one of the most prolific weapons in American history. It was used primarily in the Korean War and WW2 as the official military gun for over 20 years.
The M1 Garand is named after its proprietor, John .C. Garand, an American-Canadian gun builder.
The M1 Garand is an eight-shot, clip-fed, semi-automatic rifle in .30 caliber. It measures 43.6 inches in length and weighs a whopping 9.5 pounds (4.31 kgs). This gas-powered gun has safety and easily adjustable iron sights. One significant advantage is that it can be field stripped with great ease, making it a viable hunting weapon.
So, Can You Hunt With an M1 Garand?
Although the Garand is a handful at 9.5 pounds, it is a sturdy weapon that performs equally well as a hunting rifle. The commonly-used 30-06. Springfield cartridges have low recoil and can be loaded with a wide range of bullet weights, making them ideal for hunting various prey. You sure wouldn’t want to be a deer on the other end of this machine.
So what makes the M1 a fantastic choice for hunters? Turns out, the features that made this gun formidable on the battlefield work just as well in hunting scenarios.
The M1 Garand comes with incredible iron sights that are easy to use, fast, and super durable.
The iron sights can be modified to shoot at 100 – 1,200 yards. It has a rear receiver aperture sight protected by sturdy “ears” calibrated in 100 yds (91 m) increments. They can also be adjusted for wind drift by turning a windage knob that moves the sight in 1 MOA (minutes of arc) intervals.
En Bloc Clip
Hunters can fire eight rounds as quickly as they can pull the trigger thanks to the semi-automatic operation and reduced recoil. All without moving their hands on the rifle, which would possibly interfere with the firing position and point of aim.
I have hunted with bolt, pump, and lever-action guns that require you to operate an action between each shot. In some scenarios, one has to reload after every two shots which may cost you the biggest buck you’ve ever seen.
Eight rounds of .30-06 Springfield ammo are housed in an en bloc clip. The clip latch button on this firearm makes it simple to eject partially or fully expended clips from the rifle. Hunters can also readily load single cartridges into a partially loaded clip with the clip still in the magazine. However, this requires a certain level of skill with both hands and some practice.
Some local governments have restrictions when the Garland is used for hunting. Most limit you to 5 clip rounds. So be sure to adhere to such rules to avoid fines and penalties.
Best M1 Garand Hunting Ammo
Using match rounds for hunting will get you nowhere because they are not designed to expand. Although opinions differ, this is what I’ve found out:
Modern high-pressure hunting ammo can damage your M1’s operating rod. Always use an adjustable gas cylinder with factory-made M1 bullets to be on the safe side. Opt for lower-pressure ammunition, such as Sellier & Bellot 150-grain .30-06, designed for the M1 Garand. Another viable option is Hornady’s 168-grain Garand ammo load, which works well with the M1’s gas system.
Some expert hunters claim that hand-loaded rounds give the best performance while protecting their firearms from damage. If you’re new to this, you can either find someone to assist you or do what I did: Read a reloading manual that includes a section on “Service Rifles” and watch a few tutorials. This is how I do it:
- Use bullets weighing 110 – 175 grains (regardless of the style of bullet).
- Measure the amount of powder equivalent to the military loadings with those particular bullets in each weight. Many hunters use 150 to 165-grain soft point or hollow-point bullets for deer.
- Load the powder in the amount specified by Garand’s pressure curve.
IMR3031, IMR4064, and Varget are standard powders for handloading. Remember to load sparingly – there should be an allowance for rounds to feed on the clip.
Is It Legal to Hunt With the M1?
Not to burst your bubble, but most states limit you to a five-round magazine for hunting with a semi-auto like the M1. Fortunately, there are 5-round clips available if needed.
In most regions, you are not permitted to hunt big game with anything larger than a 5 round magazine, which is why we use blocks in our en-bloc clips or purchase 5-clip cartridges. After all, if you need more than five rounds to take down a target as a big game hunter, you’re doing something wrong.
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