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M1 Garand vs the M1A/M14

This is a discussion on M1 Garand vs the M1A/M14 within the The M14 forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; Wanted to kick this subject off for the Weekand, "Which of the two rifles are the most accurate".. It is a subjective question, but there ...


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Old May 18th, 2017, 05:08 AM   #1
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M1 Garand vs the M1A/M14

Wanted to kick this subject off for the Weekand, "Which of the two rifles are the most accurate".. It is a subjective question, but there is objective evidence to support choosing the Garand. That statement gives away my poition..

Added material to assist replys: Standard M1 vs Standard M1A/M14.
I call the standard models Rack Grade Rifles sometimes..

To narrow down this subject please stick with the Match conditioned models. Also, being a Match rifle implies the barrel is of Match quality.

Getting it started:

1. The single most important feature in M1 accuracy is a properly aligned opt rod..

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Old May 18th, 2017, 08:59 AM   #2
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Exclamation My experience

after 30 years of highpower competition is that a full match conditioned M14/M14 will routinely shoot .75 MOA and the full match conditioned M1 whether .30-06 or .308 routinely shoots 1 MOA occasionally slightly better. The USMC armorer I asked about this indicated that this was what the USMC teams had experienced as the norm.

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Old May 18th, 2017, 02:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by art luppino View Post
...
Getting it started:

1. The single most important feature in M1 accuracy is a properly aligned opt rod..
-----------------------
Art,

I disagree about the oprod alignment being the the MOST IMPORTANT accuracy feature. I believe things such as bedding, draw, and securing handguards are likely more important.

It might be the 'final thing done to wring out best accuracy' after all the other typical 'accuracy tuning' has already been done.

But regardless of that, I think the M1's long, springy, not-well-supported oprod is the M1's Achilles Heel compared to the M14 design.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA

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Old May 18th, 2017, 02:46 PM   #4
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I read years ago that the .308 was the more accurate round but that the M1 was the more accurate rifle, non match I assume. As for which is more accurate tuned up, I would have to go with the M14 system, just based on my own match experience and seeing what the pros were using. Not too many M1's on the line when I was into the HP matches. I did use my own M1 to shoot prone matches often though and did well with it.

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Old May 18th, 2017, 03:17 PM   #5
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In order for this too be a legit top of the food chain "Battle Royal", the M1 should be chambered in 7.62 not the 30.06 that is the norm...

Do we agree?

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Old May 18th, 2017, 03:20 PM   #6
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Issue I have heard about the match prepped Garand versus M14 is that initially either will give equal results, but the Garand will open up earlier accuracy wise than the properly bedded, built M14. Is that true, can't say but sure others will have evidence that is or is not true. Something about the bedding of the Garand is not as durable as the M14??
Have/had both and the Garand in 308 match prepped was a very accurate rifle but did not shoot it enough to wear out the bedding, so no personal experience in that area.

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Old May 18th, 2017, 03:34 PM   #7
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I think the comparison should be "accurate as fired from mag or enbloc"

There were millions of Garands built. I'm sure at least one of them shoots well. I've never owned one that does (only 5, 2 of which were fully match conditioned). I've read many accounts of great M1 accuracy, but I've yet to see it in person.

The only M1A I've owned has vastly better accuracy than any M1 I've owned, shot, or witnessed.

If you have an M1 Garand that can consistently put 8 shot enblocs inside 2 MOA with quality ammunition (you can even shoot it from the bench), then I'd like to make you an offer on that rifle.

In my opinion, the gas port near the muzzle of an M1 should lead to accuracy, but any advantage is negated by the op-rod construction, gas cylinder attachment, and by the mechanical advantage the systems exerts at the end of the barrel.

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Old May 18th, 2017, 03:43 PM   #8
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I'll just add that the best real world data is to simply look at service rifle match results. The M1, M1A, and AR15 are all still legal service rifle platforms. The best shooters will always gravitate to the best equipment for the game. When M1A's appeared, the M1's vanished. When the AR15 arrived, the M1A's disappeared. When optics were permitted, the Iron sights evaporated overnight.

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Old May 18th, 2017, 04:20 PM   #9
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Jay.... good point..

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayKosta View Post
-----------------------
Art,

I disagree about the oprod alignment being the the MOST IMPORTANT accuracy feature. I believe things such as bedding, draw, and securing handguards are likely more important.

It might be the 'final thing done to wring out best accuracy' after all the other typical 'accuracy tuning' has already been done.

But regardless of that, I think the M1's long, springy, not-well-supported oprod is the M1's Achilles Heel compared to the M14 design.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
Jay,

The second sentence in your Post is exactlly my point, "A properly aligned rod"..

I don't know how everyone Match conditions their M1 Garansd: But I do know the finial procedure is aligning the rod, or it shoud be the final procedure"....

This is why...

If all the many mods are completed and care taken to leave an un -obstruced channel for the rod fit, after the epoxy has dried, along with finish assembly, alignment often changes things aligment wise. It does not have to be a big change. There are some tight places the rod has to pass through un-inpeaded,, in both directions.. Failure to pass cleanly results in accuracy loss. Seldom can a rod be used in it's original condition if you expect to pass cleanly.. Usually one or two slight bends have to be made..

Bending the rod is a difficult undertaking. It is also not uncommon once a rod has been bent it will reture to the original shape upon firing.. Calling for a start over with a different rod..

The M1 with a proper fitting rod, which are scarce, is an accurate rifle, 7.62mm, as Phil suggests, is even better,,, keeping it that way is a giant PITA... It is no suprise the Match M14 is/was regarded as the better of the two, that is why I said," It has been a long time since seeing a properly aligned M1 opt rod".

When the properly bullt M1 is used across the Course I content it is the better of the two. If for no other reason the M1 has better holding qualities, way ahead of the M1A./M14.

Art

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Old May 18th, 2017, 04:34 PM   #10
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When I went through Rock Island Arsenal many moons ago, they showed us an M1 Garand op rod bending/straightening jig. I tried to get a drawing of it at the time, but they didn't have one (or weren't giving it up, anyway). I've wanted to fabricate one of those jigs ever since. If someone has a drawing, I'd certainly like to talk them out of a copy!

I know that Columbus Machine offers this service, but I'd like to be able to do it myself.

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Old May 18th, 2017, 04:38 PM   #11
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What do you mean by "holding qualities"?

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Old May 18th, 2017, 04:51 PM   #12
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Gentlemen, I'm not sure anyone can conclusively make that determination. Match conditioning was never stagnant. It kept evolving. Each year, the NM M1's were at least slightly different than the previous year until they were no longer being built after 1963. Long after 1963, match armorers continued the evolution process on M14's so I'd suspect that M14's in their final state were better than M1's. Just my two cents worth. Rick

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Old May 18th, 2017, 05:04 PM   #13
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As for "holding qualities" have been told that the Garand is easier to shoot off hand than the M14 and with my limited experience versus others I did seem to shoot better off hand with it than the 14, seemed more natural to me if that makes sense.

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Old May 18th, 2017, 05:42 PM   #14
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Here is the best I've done with a 14 in a reduced course match, reduced 600 to 2. I thought I lost this picture, found it by accident when I was purging files.

22 shots, slow fire prone.
Attached Images
File Type: png Screenshot_20170415-204228.png (2.79 MB, 65 views)

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Old May 18th, 2017, 05:52 PM   #15
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This is a highly subjective topic, and personally I think bedding is most important, esp with an M1. Your average "rack grade" M1 Garand likely has slightly worn or "D" shaped trigger guard lugs, so the stock-to-receiver lock-up is generally an issue that adversely impacts accuracy. M14s don't suffer from this issue.

From a broader perspective, I think the historical record is pretty clear about the intrinsic accuracy difference b/t the M1 and M14 based on the different cartridges..

(excerpt)
Quote:
Accuracy Facts

.308 Winchester versus .30-06 Springfield
By Bart Bobbitt
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seems to me that any time there's more metal contacting the bullet, the greater [the] chance that more variables come into play. Besides, folks who shoot highpower rifles the most accurate[ly] have very little case neck tension on the bullet anyway.

It's really easier to have uniform case neck tension by having it light in the first place; neck length doesn't come into play when this is how it's done. And ammo that's been handloaded [which is] then let set for several weeks or months will have a greater release force needed with long necks because of dissimilar materials bonding between bullet jacket and case neck/fouling. There's more area to bond when longer necks are used.

All that aside, lets go back to when the .30-06 and .308 were the only cartridges allowed in NRA match rifle matches. Both cartridges were used in barrels of equal quality as well as the same action and stocks by several top shooters in the USA. Both cartridges were used in matches at ranges from 100 through 1000 yards. Many thousands of rounds were fired in both types. Bullets from 168 through 200 grains were used with several powder, case and primer combinations.

In comparing accuracy between the .308 and .30-06, folks who used each quickly agreed on one thing: .308s were two to three times more accurate than the .30-06. In the early 1960s, it was also observed that competitors with lower classifications using .308s were getting higher scores than higher classified folks using .30-06s; at all ranges. By the middle to late 1960s, all the top highpower shooters and virtually all the rest had switched to the .308. The Highpower Committee had received so many complaints of ties not being able to be broke between shooters using the .308 and shooting all their shots in the tie-breaking V-ring, something had to be done to resolve this issue. In 1966, the NRA cut in half the target scoring ring dimensions.

At the peak of the .30-06's use as a competition cartridge, the most accurate rifles using it would shoot groups at 200 yards of about 2 inches, at 300 of about 3 inches. The 600-yard groups were 6 to 7 inches and at 1000 yards about 16 inches. As the high-scoring ring in targets was 3 inches at 200 and 300 yards, 12 inches at 600 and 20 inches at 1000, the top scores fired would have 90+ percent of the shots inside this V-ring.

Along came the 7.62mm NATO and its commercial version; the .308 Winchester. In the best rifles, 200 yard groups were about 3/4ths inch, at 300 about 1-1/2 inch. At 600 yards, groups were about 2-1/2 inch and at 1000 about 7 to 8 inches. It was not very long before the .30-06 round no longer won matches nor set any records; all it's records were broken by the .308 by a considerable margin. Some accuracy tests at 600 yards with the .308 produced test groups in the 1 to 2 inch range. These were 20 to 40 shot groups. No .30-06 has ever come close to shooting that well.

At 1000 yards, where both the .30-06 and .308 were allowed in Palma matches, the .308 was the clear-cut most accurate of the two. If top shooters felt the .30-06 was a more accurate round, they would have used it - they didn't. In fact by the early 1970s, the scoring ring dimensions on the 800 - 1000 yard target were also cut in about half due to the accuracy of both the .308 Win. over the .30-06 and the .30-.338 over the .300 H&H when used in long range matches.

Most top highpower shooters feel the main reason the .308 is much more accurate than the .30-06 is its shorter, fatter case promotes more uniform and gentle push on the bullet due to a higher loading density (less air space) and a more easily uniformly ignitable powder charge.

Military arsenals who produced match and service ammo in both 7.62mm and 30 caliber have fired thousands of test rounds/groups with both. They also found out that with both ammo types, the smallest groups were with the 7.62 by about 50 to 60 percent. M1 rifles in 7.62 shot about twice as small of groups as .30 M1s at all ranges. When the M14 was first used, there were some .30-06 M1 rifles that would shoot more accurately. It took the service teams several years to perfect the methods of making M14s shoot well, but when they did, they shot as good as M1s in 7.62.

There will always be folks who claim the .30-06 is a more accurate cartridge. All I have to say to them is to properly test .308 vs. .30-06 and find out. Theory is nice to think about; facts determine the truth.
...I have no reason to doubt the information in that article, and hence the accuracy edge goes to the M14.

One anecdote that supports this article, back in the late 1960s the Air Force M1 shooters at Camp Perry were using 30-06 match M1s, and getting thoroughly beaten by the Navy M1s that were chambered in 7.62 NATO, so the Air Force subsequently re-barreled a lot of their match M1s in 30-06 into the newer 7.62 between 1970-1972 or so (barrels were either SA barrels made in 1965-66, or RIA made in 1969 and a few in 1970).

In fact, according to Jim Adell (Navy retired, and a former Navy M1 rifle team shooter), the famous Navy M1 match builder, Don McCoy, was ordered to provide the Air Force with a bunch of "his" SA 7.62mm Navy match barrels that were air-gauged and found to be of match quality. He apparently was not happy about that...but the Air Force wanted to move to 7.62 for the match rifles, and so they got those Navy barrels. Their was plenty of M72 match 30-06 and M118 match 7.62x51mm ammo during that time, and thus the ammo was more or less equal and available, but clearly the Air Force was motivated to switch calibers on their match M1s during the transitional period that is discussed in that article (circa mid to late 1960s).

Moreover, Rock Island Arsenal was also tasked with making a batch of 7.62mm barrels for the Air Force premium grade match rifles in 1969 and 1970, presumably to replace their match 30-06 barrels as they wore out. These RIA barrels in Air Force match M1s are stamped as being chambered for the "M118" round. I guess the Air Force agreed with what Mr. Bobbitt stated regarding 30-06 vs. 308W accuracy in match-prepped M1s...and they were apparently tired of the Navy shooters beating them at Camp Perry.

Bottomline: The 7.62 NATO/308W is a more efficient cartridge, and consistently showed better accuracy with top competitive shooters 40+ years ago in more or less equally prepared match M1 Garands utilizing more or less equal quality match ammo. Personally speaking, I like both platforms, but I think the historic information in that article shows that the M14 is more accurate by virtue of its more efficient 308W/7.62x51mm round.

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Last edited by Random Guy; May 19th, 2017 at 06:41 AM.
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