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Thread: Garand Load Performance

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Garand Load Performance

    I have not been satisfied with the cast boolit groups that I have been shooting in my scoped Garand. I have been shooting a PCed 200+ grain 314299 boolit in front of 34 grains and 35 grains of IMR4895. Sized 0.311”to 0.312”. Groups run 3” to 3.5” and sometimes go to 4” plus at 100 yards. I decided to see if it is the rifle or the load. I loaded some 150 grain Speer jacketed bullets in front of 46 grains of IMR4895. I shoot two 10-round groups.

    1st group. I backed the Schuster plug out almost completely to ensure the rifle functioned as a single shot rifle. Fired two shots to find the zero. Then fired a 10-shot group. Measured 1.97” center to center at 100 yards.



    2nd group. I closed the Schuster plug almost completely to ensure the rifle functioned as designed. Then fired a 10-shot group. Measured 2.25” center to center at 100 yards.

    Does not appear to be a problem with the rifle. I weigh and group the boolits by +or- 0.5 grains. Lead composition is Lyman #2 and is water quenched from about 425F. I am wondering if the powder charge is not where it needs to be or if I am trying to push too much boolit diameter down the barrel. I will be very interested in any comments. Will post photos later. Having problems uploading photos.

    Pirate69
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    Last edited by Pirate69; 02-23-2018 at 11:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I've found that pc doesn't give as good of accuracy as traditional size and lube.
    Try sizing and lubing with SPG or NRA 50/50 for accuracy.
    I like and use pc for 9mm action type shooting but find traditional lube and sizing more accurate.
    I mostly shoot PPC and accuracy trumps lack of smoke and fouling. .357" cast with SPG from PC S&W PPC9's give equal accuracy to Hornady or Sierra JHP's.

    Given low price of Hornady 150gr FMJ, I mostly shoot jacketed FMJ for .30cal High Power CF.
    With .5.56 I shoot 55gr FMJ for practice at 100yds and 75gr Hornady BTHP Match for competition. 80gr Sierra for 600yds at 2.555" oal.
    Last edited by GooseGestapo; 02-23-2018 at 12:45 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    In several M1s I've used in the past I used 4895 (milsurp IMR) under mostly 311299s but did use 311284s also. I found 3 to 4" groups were common in 2 moa capable rifle when the rounds were chambered from the enbloc clip through the rifle functioning. Unless you carefully and consistently single load from the bench the powder is very haphazardly positioned in the case by the chambering action. That leads to larger groups because of inconsistent ignition and burn. Using a Dacron filler solved the problem by consistent position of the powder which gave much better ignition and burn. Groups shrunk to a very satisfactory size. You might try using a Dacron filler. I suggest a 1 - 1 1/2 gr one.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    historicfirearms's Avatar
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    I second the use of a Dacron filler. It shrunk groups in my garands and 03a3s. It adds a small step in reloading but I think it's well worth it.
    I was a dog on a short chain
    and now there’s no chain.
    Jim Harrison 1937 -2016

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I chemically cleaned the barrel to remove any copper that was deposited during the jacketed bullet test and reset the scope to its original setting. Made some NRA 50/50 lube and loaded some 205 grain GC boolits in front of 35.0 grains of IMR 4895. Boolits are sized to 0.311". Dacron filler was also used.

    First shot hit high and to the right of where expected. Guess a flier is expected from a clean, unseasoned barrel. Shots 2-5 settled in where expected and was starting to generate a respectable group. Shots 6-8 really opened up and the POI seemed to move. I changed nothing except a 5 minute break to warm my hands. Strange. I noted what looks like some leading at the muzzle but at the same time there was a nice lube star forming.

    Lead is of Lyman #2 composition and should be around a 15 BHN. Should take about 21,600 psi to obturated the boolit. Quickload says I should be getting about 20,000 psi from the load with a lead boolit. I realize that this indicates there may be some issues with obturation but I am already pushing a 0.311" boolit down a 0.308" barrel. Don't think obturation is necessary.

    Still more to be done; but it is fun. Would love to hear comments and suggestions.
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  6. #6
    Hi,
    That load performed almost the same with my M1 and the original peep sights. Changed to 17 gr or 2400 or 19gr of 5744 and the groups went down to 2 inches for five shots. The I tried the Lee 180 unsized and then it shot close to an inch. So it appears it takes trial and error (a lot of error on my part) to find what works. Hope it helps a little.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Hrothgar, thanks for the input. I may have to go that route but I am trying to find a magic load that will fully operate the action and give excellent accuracy. Really, I think I am looking for something that I may not find with the current rifle configuration. I am pretty confident that I can shoot an 8-shot cast boolit clip into a 4" group at 100 yards most of the time. But I am looking for the consistent 2-2.5" group with cast boolits. I have seen that with some good jacketed loads in this rifle. If you can do it with jacketed; should be able to come close with cast, is my thinking. Ah, I love the challenge and the learning's from it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Your original groups are quite respectable imho.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I have not worked on my loads much but my biggest improvement (from holding the 8 ring with strays going as far out as the 6 to holding the black with regularity) was bullet size. I was running 314299 sized to .311 like you pushing them to cycle with H4895 not happy with results. Next I dropped the charge down a tad closer to Hodgdon directions for reduced loads for H 4895.
    Still not happy. Grabbed my range dog 160 flat nose TL design bullet at .310" gas checked, LLA lubed and 16 grains of 2400 I use in the 1903a4 , produced sub 6moa.
    Moved along to a Lee 180 .309" bullet that looks much the 314299(the flat nose did not feed well in the M1) started with 28g of H4895 and I shot 3 10 shot groups under 4 moa .
    I want to use cast and have the action cycle so more work to be done. If I can get 3moa (10 ring) from cast and cycle the action I will be very happy.
    For the record the M1 I use for cast can shoot 3moa with privi M2 from a supported position.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I think I will be trying some different boolits also.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master georgewxxx's Avatar
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    No one mentioned your boolit size. Most M-1's I've shot with lead, have done better with .309. The faster you push a lead boolit the smaller you should size it to get the best performance from your gun. If all you wanted to do is have the boolit exit the bore, your .311-.312 is fine, but when pumping up the velocity, smaller is better in most cases.

    Read my Castpics M-1 article

    http://castpics.net/subsite2/ByFireA...1%20Garand.pdf
    N.R.A. Life Member

  12. #12
    You're welcome. My Lee 180 mold tends to throw .309 to .310 bullets, depending on alloy.
    My loads have to be single loaded since they don't have enough energy to cycle the action.
    The 4895 and Varget loads that did cycle the action were way worse than single loading. Tomorrow may be my chance to chrono and recheck to make sure it isn't a fluke.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Maybe a little progress

    Made a little more progress towards my goal of shooting a 10-shot 2” cast boolits group at 100 yards. Obtained some NOE 312299 boolits from one of our forum members to compare to my Lyman 314299 booolits. A comparison:

    Boolit Length Bore Diameter
    NOE312 1.172” 0.302”
    Lyman314 1.188” 0.301”

    Can’t say I see a significant difference between the two boolits as cast.
    I sized a few to 0.311” while installing a GC. Lubed them with a NRA 50/50 lube with a bit of STP added. These boolits were loaded into two powder loads. One load being 34.0 grains of IMR4895 and the other being 16.0 grains of 2400. Two 10 round groups were fired at 100 yards.

    Results:
    IMR4895

    10 rounds 5.2”
    9 rounds 3.25”
    8 rounds 2.4”

    2400

    10 rounds 2.9”
    9 rounds 2.4”

    Looks like the 2400 load is starting to get me closer to my goal. This is the first time I have shot 2400 powder. Not sure if I am seeing any significant difference in the 4895 load between the 312 and 314 boolits. The high and right 5.2” outlier is unexplainable. Have no idea what happened. I felt I had a good sight picture on all rounds.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master iron brigade's Avatar
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    Dacron will tighten up your groups, it did in my M1. I have also shot some excellent groups with 32 grains of 3031, again with half a grain of dacron.
    Have you tried the Bob S. Load? 39-41 grains of 4831. It's the first load I tried in my Garand with 314299 sized to .311. It shot great.
    The nice thing about the Bob s. Load is the rifle throws the brass at the 1 o'clock position. Which is In the grass. The other loads toss them at 3 o'clock on the concrete. Yeah, brass takes a beating.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    I experimented for years with various Lee and Lyman moulds for the M1 Garand. I found that as soon as accuracy got better, functioning went down hill, I finally sent a pound cast to Veral Smith at LBT bullet moulds and he cut a 190 grain mould that matched my rifle's throat and bore with my alloy of AC COWW +2%tin. My M1 is far from a "National Match" grade but now will keep 10 shots in a 2" circle at 100 yards from the bench rest with the LBT boolit and function properly. Fit is KING." My best load is 34.5 IMR 4895, dacron filler, and boolit seated to kiss the rifling lead as it chambers. LBT "blue" lube is my go-to lube, Hornady gas-checks and R-P brass match prepped. I can trim a half inch of these groups by replacing the gas plug and operating as a straight pull action.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master iron brigade's Avatar
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    Hello curator
    Thanks for that post! Alot of good information on LBT site. I have been shooting and casting for military rifles for 30+ years, always more to learn.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Looks like good advice. Will be playing with another load this weekend.

    Quote Originally Posted by curator View Post
    I experimented for years with various Lee and Lyman moulds for the M1 Garand. I found that as soon as accuracy got better, functioning went down hill, I finally sent a pound cast to Veral Smith at LBT bullet moulds and he cut a 190 grain mould that matched my rifle's throat and bore with my alloy of AC COWW +2%tin. My M1 is far from a "National Match" grade but now will keep 10 shots in a 2" circle at 100 yards from the bench rest with the LBT boolit and function properly. Fit is KING." My best load is 34.5 IMR 4895, dacron filler, and boolit seated to kiss the rifling lead as it chambers. LBT "blue" lube is my go-to lube, Hornady gas-checks and R-P brass match prepped. I can trim a half inch of these groups by replacing the gas plug and operating as a straight pull action.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Loaded some rounds at 16.5 grains 2400 to see how they would perform. As with the 16.0 grain 2400 loads, the 10-shot group was on the border of 3 inches at 100 yards. I think I am to the point of accepting that a 3 inch group is the best I can normally expect from the Garand even though it has demonstrated 2.0" and 2.25" groups with jacketed boolits.

    Had some extra loads and wanted to test them in my Model 1903. Shot a 10 shot group at 100 yards. 10 rounds in a 3.75" group and 9 rounds in a 2.8" group. At this point, my irons sights on the 1903 is performing as well as a scoped Garand. Does not look like any problems with the loads.

  19. #19
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    historicfirearms's Avatar
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    Did the 2400 load cycle the Garand? I've never tried 2400 in my M1s but have had good accuracy in my bolt actions. I always assumed that 2400 wasn't gassy enough for the semi auto.
    I was a dog on a short chain
    and now there’s no chain.
    Jim Harrison 1937 -2016

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    In my experience, #2400 will not cycle a Garand at typical loads (16-24gr).
    H4895 at 34-36gr will cycle the action using 160-200gr cast bullets.
    Dacron definitely improves accuracy in my experience and will allow a 1-3gr reduction in powder charge.

    My favorite M1 load for cast is the Lee 200gr .309” RNGC over 34.5gr H4895 with ~2gr of Dacron.
    Runs about 1,970fps.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check