Shooting Sports USA - August 2014 - 33

without backing in or out of the case and causing
jams, something you'll have to consider when
building your own cartridges. Bullet crimp, of
course, is another variable affecting pressures.
I'm not aware of any manufacturer making the
M72's 173 gr. match grade bullets today, but
Sierra has a 175 gr. MatchKing, and Berger,
Nosler and a few other premium bullet manufacturers offer match grade bullets in this weight, as
well. There are plenty of 150 gr. and 168 gr. match
bullet offerings, the former being routinely used
in .308 Win. by long range Palma match shooters.
The longest distance fired in Civilian Marksmanship Program Garand matches is 200 yards,
so the lighter bullets are totally adequate for
competition. So are cheaper, non-match grade
FMJ bullets, for that matter, and there are beaucoup of 'em in the 150 gr. and 168 gr. class. Hunting bullets may suffice, but exposed lead noses
can be damaged when you "tap" them on a hard
surface to seat cartridges fully in the en-bloc clip.

Primers
Conventional wisdom has it that handloaders
should use "hard" primers in Garand ammunition to reduce the possibility of a slam fire or
an out-of-battery firing. All the discussions and
conventional wisdom notwithstanding, what is
important is that you use standard or match primers, not magnum primers (which could change
the pressure curve or peak), and that primers be
seated correctly in their pockets. That means the
primer face is slightly below the face of the case
head and seated snugly in the pocket. While a
primer that protrudes above the case head might
be cause for a slam fire or out-of-battery firing,
there are other likely culprits for these undesirable events. A slam fire occurs when the cartridge

fires as the Garand's bolt slams closed. The single
most common cause of a slam fire is improper
handling, and I've personally witnessed this. A
shooter pushes a single cartridge all the way into
the Garand's chamber, then lets the bolt slam
onto it full force when he releases the op rod.
Instant "bang. The proper method is to push the
"
cartridge only about halfway into the chamber,
ease the bolt forward until it depresses and rides
over the carrier, then release the bolt to go forward into battery. This way, with the bolt traveling a shorter distance (less momentum), coupled
with the friction of chambering the cartridge, you
preclude a slam fire. Some shooters make or buy
Garand en-bloc clips modified to hold just one
cartridge, but these aren't really necessary.
Slam fires might also be caused by poor
maintenance or a broken firing pin, improper
headspacing or poor handloading technique,
like failure to resize the entire base of the case.
The latter could, in theory, even lead to an outof-battery firing, an event in which the rifle fires
before the bolt is fully closed. The potential for
injury is pretty good, as you can imagine, but
out-of-battery firings are rare, and many of those
conclusions are only speculation.
Any standard (not magnum) rifle primer will do
for a start when handloading. I use Winchester
Large Rifle primers or Federal 210Ms. Other
shooters go for CCI 34s or 200s. Use "whatever
trips your trigger, and try something else if your
"
accuracy isn't what you want.
In the fall, Part 2 will cover brass and address
a generic handload recipe for the Garand;
a few options when shopping for Garandspecific commercial ammo; and two aftermarket
drop-in devices that allow safely shooting any
.30-'06 ammo in the Garand.
Contact Art at shootvmr@gmail.com.

FOOTNOTES
1

2
3
4
5

Department of the Army (29 April 1994). Technical Manual TM 43-0001-27 Army Ammunition Data Sheets,
Small Caliber Ammunition, FSC 1305.
Colonel Townsend Whelen, Small Arms Design, Vol. 2, (1934). (Reprint 1990). Prescott, AZ: Wolfe Publishing Company.
ANSI/SAAMI (1992). Z.299.4, Centerfire Rifle.
American Rifleman (1969, September). Cal. .30 National Match Ammunition.
John R. Clarke (1986, March) Reloading for the M1 Rifle American Rifleman. 50-53, 78.

SHOOTINGSPORTSUSA.COM 33


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Shooting Sports USA - August 2014

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Contents
Shooting Sports USA - August 2014 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - August 2014 - Cover2
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Shooting Sports USA - August 2014 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - August 2014 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - August 2014 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - August 2014 - 7
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