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Thread: Accuracy Standard for M1 Rifle Firing M2 Ball?

  1. #1

    Accuracy Standard for M1 Rifle Firing M2 Ball?


    Today I was doing some reseach on the .30-06 Cartridge, Ball, caliber 30, M2 as I wanted a standard to test various handloads against in my M1 rifles. The physical characteristics such as bullet weight, powder type and charge, velocity, and pressure were quite easy to find, however, I could not find a standard for acceptable accuracy in a service grade rifle firing this ammunition.

    A search of the web turned up a lot of answers stating that the standard was between three and four m.o.a., but nobody gave any sources as to where this information was obtained.

    I searched through FM 23-5 - (MAY 1965) U.S. Army Field Manual for the U.S. Rifle, Cal. .30, M1, TM 9-1275 - (JUNE 1947) - Maintenance U.S. Rifles, Cal. .30, M1, M1C, M1D, and Jerry Kuhnhausen's book "The U.S. .30 Caliber Gas Operated Service Rifles - A Shop Manual - Volumes I & II without finding the answer I was looking for.

    If any member knows of an official government publication that states a minimum accuracy requirement for a service grade M1 rifle firing M2 ammunition I would appreciate knowing of this resource.


  2. #2
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    JeffinNZ's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
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    7.5 inch mean radius max average at 600 yards according to Cartridges of the World.

    I guess that is 2.5 MOA.

    Doesn't state if this is out of a service rifle of test rig however but 2.5 MOA is what I would expect from a battle rifle.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    NuJudge's Avatar
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    May 2005
    SE Michigan
    I've shot a lot of M2 Ball through Garands in lots of different conditions. Late M2 Ball, especially LC69, does not shoot very well. That from the 1940's and 1950's shoots very well. The Greek HXP shoots very well.

    Through a Garand with a nearly new barrel, really tight trigger guard, and properly set up front handguard, I'd expect about 2.5" at 100 yards.

    I'll look and see if I have a technical manual for Field Grade Garands.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Aug 2008
    NuJudge: I'm glad someone else said that about the LC69 stuff. Mine doesn't shoot so great either. From my 1917s and 1903s it does good to go under 4 MOA while the same rifles with handloads go well under 2 MOA.


  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    i believe the spec is on the ammo, not on the rifle.

    i remember reading the spec for 308/7.62x51, velocity at 78 ft, and 6 inch mean radius at 300 yd(mayabe, maybe wa a while back....1967)

    ammo spec, not the rifle

    mike in co
    only accurate rifles are interesting

  6. #6
    Thanks for the response guys.


    I agree that this is the ammunition specification. On page 394 of Hatcher's Notebook he has a chart displaying the accuracy requirements for the purchase of Caliber .30 Ball, M2 and Caliber .30 Armor Piercing, M2 during World War II. The figures are danged close to 3 m.o.a. The equipment used for these tests is not mentioned.

    I found a reference to a publication entitled "U.S. Army Weapons Command Depot Maintenance Work Instructions for Overhaul Of The Rifle, U.S. Cal. .30: M1 (Garand)", but have been unable to obtain a copy. I would think that if such a standard existed it is most likely to be found in at the Depot Maintenance level.

    Four m.o.a is a reasonable figure for the intended purposes of this rifle. Consider that the average human torso is about 12 inches wide by 18 inches in height, with a 300 yard battle zero, the rifle is capable of keeping all it's bullets on target out to that distance. Also, the old "5V" target had a 12 inch bull, that's 4 m.o.a. at 300 yards, and we know the old Gunny just wouldn't tolerate a rifle that could not keep 'em all in the black.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master georgewxxx's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    South Dakota
    When our club first decided to offer a high power course we got 40,000 rds of that sorry "LC69" ammo. At the time we has classes for guys that wanted to qualify just for a M1 Garand from the DCM program. It's CMP now of course. I don't recall more than a handful of people reloading their own to shoot the course. With reduced targets we shot at 100 yards. Shooting from the bench to get on target, most groups with the issue ammo averaged 8". I had no trouble at all firing cast boolits in a 03-A3 or a Krag bolt-gun to out-shoot 99% of the them during matches. ....Geo
    N.R.A. Life Member

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona
    TM 9-1305-200, Small-Arms ammunition, dated June 1961 lists the accuracy acceptance standard for Caliber .30: Ball, M2 as; "The average of the mean radii of all targets at the time of acceptance at 600 yards is not greater than 7.5 inches."

    Mean radii is different than moa and the TM states; "A number of targets, usually 10 shots for each, are fired from an accuracy weapon mounted in a fixed rest. The mean radii are determined for the shots in each target and an average of all targets is obtained. This value is a measure of the dispersion or accuracy of firing of a lot of ammunition."

    Since the M1 was the standard service weapon using M2 ammo in 1961 I assume the "accuracy weapon" was an M1. I have read that "mean radii" is usually about 1/3 of what the moa would be for a group. Thus we are probably looking at an accuracy standard of 24" at 600 yards for M2 Ball ammunition or about 4 moa. Remember that was the minimum acceptance (largest acceptable goups) for any lot. Those lots that shot worse were linked into MG ammo. That does not mean all MG M2 ammo was thus inaccurate. Many lot, of course, shot much better than the minimal acceptable standard. I also have found LC 69 to be very inaccurate in M1s and M1903s.

    Larry Gibson

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    skeet1's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Helena, OK
    I know that you really weren't asking for a load to use in your M1 but this is mine anyway. 47.0 gr. IMR4895, 150 gr. pulled M2 bullet in GI cases; this works very good in my M1 and I have heard of others using a similar loads. With cast bullets I am currently experimenting with 35 gr. of IMR4895 and the Lee 312-185-1R sized .311. This load shoots well, functions the action and does not seem to do any leading.


  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Doc Highwall's Avatar
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    May 2007


    The only thing that I shot out of a M1 Garand is M72. I think I still have some around here, I know I have some M118.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Apr 2005
    Northern Lower Mich
    I think Bob S. has posted the specs, but maybe it was on another forum. He has first hand knowledge.

  12. #12

    I've been mulling over the responses to my question concerning a documented accuracy standard for M2 ball ammunition fired from an M1 rifle. The initial question was raised because I found many replies that said three or four m.o.a. was the standard, I just wanted someone to point to the source.

    The good people here have mentioned a figure of 7.5" mean radius @ 600 yards. Larry Gibson was kind enough to provide "TM 9-1305-200" as the source. The same figure is quoted in "Hatcher's Notebook", so I will accept that figure. However, Larry mentions that the manual states the rounds are fired from an accuracy weapon mounted in a fixed rest. This could be an M1, or a 1903, or perhaps a test receiver of some other type.

    Larry also says that mean radius is diffrent from m.o.a, and again he is correct. I thought I knew what mean radius was, but just to be sure I looked it up. Nope, I was wrong. Mean radius is found by firing a number of rounds, locating the center of the group, measuring the distance from the center of the group to the center of each hole, taking the sum of the measured distances and dividing by the number of rounds measured. It is an average of how far each round is from the center of the group.

    This got me to wondering if there was some type of correlation between mean radius and m.o.a. I didn't have any data pertaining to the M1 rifle and M2 ball ammunition, but I did have some first hand data with the M1A at 600 yards in the form of scorebooks from high power matches. I decided to use a CAD program to layout the MR-1 target full size, plot the shots recorded in my scorebooks, then use these layouts to determine both mean radius and extreme spread of each group and record this figure in m.o.a. If there was a correlation between mean radius and m.o.a. it should be apparent in the results obtained from my layouts.

    The NRA high power rule book was used to obtain the actual diameter of the scoring rings on the MR-1 target. Diameters are as follows: X ring = 6 inches, 10 ring = 12 inches, 9 ring = 18 inches, 8 ring = 24 inches, 7 ring = 36 inches, 6 ring = 48 inches, and the 5 ring = 60 inches. Bullet holes were represented by a half inch diameter circle to make measuring to the center of each a bit easier.

    The rifle used to fire all the targets recorded was a standard grade Springfield Armory M1A, standard weight barrel, G.I. issue sights, stock trigger, no glass bedding. Off the bench, with an old steel Weaver K10, this rifle has proven itself to be a 1-1/2 to 2 m.o.a. rifle for 10 round groups fed from the magazine.

    All ammunition was handloaded by myself. Cases were LC 74, primers were Federal #210 Large Rifle (Relax, I'm not using these in the M1 or M1A any longer.), a charge of 40.0 grains of DuPont IMR-4895 was used in all loads. Bullets were Speer .308 168 Match or home swaged .308" 172 grain rebated boatail open points.

    All firing was done from the prone position with a sling during sanctioned NRA high power matches. Twenty rounds were fired for record within twenty minutes in accordance with NRA rules. Spotting was done with a 60X scope and recorded in the scorebook at the time of the match.

    Five targets were selected at random. This provided 100 rounds, the good, the bad, and the ugly, as fired under actual match conditions, to be plotted.

    As can be seen in the first three targets, the of 7.5" mean radius @ 600 yards was exceeded, however the average extreme spread was under 5 m.o.a. The last two targets have an average mean radius of 5.6 and an extreme spread of 3-1/2 m.o.a. I can find no relationship between mean radius and m.o.a. with this collection of data. As matter of fact, while manipulating bullet holes around the target in the CAD program, it was found that the 7.5" mean radius @ 600 yards criteria could be met by a ten round group with and extreme spread of 75 inches. That's almost 12 m.o.a.! (Put eight rounds centered on the "X" for a total spread of 0 inches, throw a round 37-1/2" inches high at 12 o'clock and a round 37-1/2 inches low at six o'clock for a total spread of 75 inches, divide by the ten rounds.) Unlikely, but possible.

    This exercise has led me to believe that for our purposes mean radius is a meaningless measurement as it does not actually describe a fixed limit on the extreme acceptable spread between the two widest shots in a group. M.O.A. however is a concrete value for any given range (1 M.O.A. @ 600 Yards = 6.28") and can be used to describe the maximum acceptable spread in a manner understood by any fool that can read a tape measure.

    For years I've used a standard for accuracy that stated any good quality rifle in decent condition, from a solid bench rest, should be able to shoot ten groups consisting of ten rounds each and that sum average of these ten groups should not exceed 3 or 4 m.o.a. Most rifles will do better, some much better.

    Well, I guess I've ranted on about long enough. "Good Night, and have a pleasant tomorrow!"

    Last edited by Phineas Bluster; 02-24-2011 at 12:07 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Bob S's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Northern Virginia
    Below is quoted what I posted on the CMP board some time ago, the discussion was about the differences between "regular" ball ammunition and ball ammunition that is certified for Overhead Fire.

    The accuracy tests were done using an "accuracy fixture". For Government plants, that would have been (until very, very recently) a M1903 receiver with a heavy barrel 24" long ... the barrel would be clamped into modified Mann rest. Commercial contractors would use something similar; today most use a Universal Receiver for both pressure and accuracy testing.

    Mean radius is the average of the distance of each shot from the geometric center of the group. There is no fundamental relationship between mean radius and extreme spread, but statistically the extreme spread is usually about three times the mean radius, unless the lot of ammunition is very inconsistent, then the extreme spread can be much higher. That's why there was an extreme spread requirement in addition to the mean radius requirement for overhead fire ammo.

    In the real world, I have found that I can usually hold ten shot groups with good ball ammunition in one of my tuned (but not epoxy bedded ... in other words, a "Garand Match" compliant rifle) into about 2-1/2 MOA, and that was my standard for my cast loads as well, and I acheived that with 311284 and 42 grains of WW II surplus 4831.

    With a rack-grade (not the CMP "rack grade" rating, but a new untuned rifle) and a random lot of M2 ball ammunition, expect about 4 MOA for ten shots.

    From Mil C 60832, Cartridge, Cal .30, Ball, M2, Overhead Fire Application:

    3.4 Accuracy: The average of the mean radii of the sample cartridges fired at 600 yards shall not exceed 5.0 inches. The extreme spread of each target of the sample cartridges shall not exceed 25 inches.

    3.6 Velocity: The average velocity of the sample cartridges conditioned at 68 to 72 degrees Farenheit (F) shall be 2740 feet per second (ft/sec), plus or minus 30 ft/sec at 78 feet from the muzzle of the weapon. The standard deviation of the velocities shall not exceed 20 ft/sec.

    From Mil C 1313: Cartridge, Cal 30, Ball, M2

    3.5 Accuracy: The average of the mean radii of the sample cartridges fired at 600 yards shall not exceed 5.0 inches for cartridges scheduled for packaging in cartons or clips, nor 7.5 inches for cartridges scheduled for packaging in belts or links.

    3.6 Velocity: The average velocity of the sample cartridges shall be 2740 feet per second (ft/sec), plus or minus 30 ft/sec at 78 feet from the muzzle of the weapon. The standard deviation of the velocities shall not exceed 32 ft/sec.

    Note that the overhead fire ammunition must meet the rifle requirement for accuracy, and that there is an extreme spread metric as well as mean radius. That metric is not in the Mil Spec for "regular" M2 Ball, Mil C 1313. In the mid-1960s, the accuracy requirement in Mil C 1313 was changed to mean radius of 7.5 inches for all M2 Ball ammunition without prejudice as to end-use packaging. This obviously did not apply to ammunition certified for Overhead Fire, since it was procured to MIL C 60832.

    Note also that the standard deviation of the velocity of the overhead fire ammo is smaller, and there is an additional requirement to temperature-condition the sample cartridges prior to velocity testing.

    Delving into the Q/A requirements, the required sample sizes for overhead fire ammo are larger, and the AQLs are much smaller.

    Ammunition that has been processed and repackaged by CMP looses its production lot identity, so it is almost certain that the cartridges in any container are are not from the lot number that is marked on the container (which is probably why CMP attempts to obliterate the lot number data). Further, there is no assurance that the ammunition in the container came from only one lot: it very likely did not. It is reasonable to assume that a significant portion of this bunch of M2 Ball that CMP is selling was originally certified for overhead fire, based on the markings on the containers (unless, of course, CMP just happened to get a bunch of empty containers that are so-marked). If so, he ammunition would have met the more stringent velocity and accuracy requirements when manufactured. Certainly, after going through the delinking process, the ammunition gets banged up to some degree, disturbing the profile and alignment (there was a gauge for checking that, too), which would adversely affect accuracy. Its still a great bargain. The days of bright shiny 1950s Ball in 20 round cartons for a buck are long gone. I still have some, though.

    Bob S.

    USN Distinguished Marksnman No. O-067

    Bob S.
    USN Distinguished Marksman No. O-067

    It's REAL ... it's wood and steel!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Doug Bowser's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    In my experience a service grade M1 is sledom better than 3" at 100 yards with ball ammo. Our club was issued several lots of .30 M2 Ball in the 1970's and 80's. LC Ball made before 1969 seems to be of better quality than lots made after 1968. I have been told that Remington operated Lake City under contract until 1968 and after that Federal has the contract.

    At 600 yards with a 1903A3, I have shot groups of 16" from the prone with a sling. This was with a special lot of LC1966 ammo. When firing a NM grade M1 at 600 with LC 1969 from the prone, I was able to keep the rounds in 24".

    The CMP Garand I have now is service grade and will shoot 10 rounds 1966 ball into 1.5" at 100 yards. My barrel measures a 2.5 at the throat and less than 1.5 at the muzzle. The receiver has no side to side movement in the wood or forward to backward movement either. The barrel exerts about 15 pounds of upward pressure at the forearm. It is fortunate to find an M1 with the unglassed upward pressure. This is what you get when you glass bed the rifle.

    My rifle is legal for CMP Garand Matches and I should do well with it at ouir State Championship on April 11th.
    Doug Bowser
    Shooter of anything that has a trigger and shoots lead
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Pacific Northwest
    The standard for group size has not changed since 1855 it was and is 4 moa for a rifle. This equals a hit on a man sized target at 300 yards. However, I have owned and shot many military rifles over the years and most do much better than this. I have own or have owned 12 Garands. A match tuned and bedded M1 will easily hold 1 to 1.25 moa with match grade bullets and 2 inches with M2 Ball. I currently have a "Field Grade" CMP Greek return rifle that I shoot. With Korean made M2 ball it will hold about 2.5 inch groups. I did change the stock to a new one I got from CMP as the original one needed a lot of shimming to get a good clamp on the trigger guard.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    My best friend told about this fellow he knew that loaded paneling nails in his twelve gauge loads. He said the fellow said that they came in many different lengths and were coated so in his use wouldn't rust. I don't know which direction he loaded the points nor the load. We laughed saying he could really nail his target.


  17. #17
    Boolit Master

    nicholst55's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Daegu, Korea
    An 'accuracy weapon' would consist of some type of universal receiver and a 'Mann' barrel. M1903 receivers were used for many decades, but I believe that a true universal receiver is utilized these days. We utilized these receivers to fire everything from 7.62X51mm NATO to .50 BMG (even 20 and 30mm in the past) at Yuma Proving Ground.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Dec 2009
    Only thing I remember about Garand accuracy standards was that when freshly manufactured before acceptance the center of a test group with both front and rear sights set dead center of their mountings had to be less than 2 MOA from the point of aim.
    Regulating the sights to reach dead center POI from that point was fairly easy.

    I've yet to see much less shoot a Garand that was not pin point accurate at two hundreds yards. Greater ranges I'm not as sure about.
    WW 2 manufacture .30-06 Ball ammo ranged from super high quality to abysmal.

    The 1:10 twist of the Garand bore is best suited to bullets of 172 gr and above so any imperfection in the lighter 152 gr Ball bullets is greatly magnified. I figure that is why they went with a slower twist for the M14.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    There were different criteria for rifles and ammo. I don't remember them now. A lot of garands were zeroed at 25 yds with a thermometer target. This target was a small aiming point with hash marks for 100yds out to 1000 yds.
    The basic useable accuracy of the rack grade rifles has always amazed me. Let alone what a tuned one is capable of.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Accuracy and targeting test of the M1 garand

    I found this info in the US weapons command over haul of the US 30 cal M1 rifle this digram as seen is placed at 1000" INCHES and the group must fir inside a 1.77" dia circle.

    here is the 1st test group with a as received SG M1 from the cmp. Other than cleaning and making sure everything was clean and tight nothing was done to the rifle.

    Then here is the same rifle after I went through and fixed some issues
    op rod rub, gas cylinder spline peen, handguard fit, solid gas plug, tightened lower band. I posted some videos on what I did.

    My as issued purpose built cmp games M1 with a new criterion barrel, fitted new stock, best fitting gas system/op rod lots of "new parts" along with a trigger job just shy of 5lbs with a very short 2nd stage I can get into 3moa with some 1962,67,68 HXP the 1972 hxp I used in this test is not the most accurate of the hxp I have. I get down to 2 moa with out much effort from a supported position with reloads with several groups getting just under 1.5 moa
    On a good day prone with sling im a 3moa shooter squeezing just below on really ideal days and my eyes are working well. I shot my al time high personal score the last match this year with a 278/300/3x my off hand really kills my score with my average being in the mid 80s

    here is my 10 shots for score with my recent 308 build. New criterion barrel , new stock and trigger job.
    168 grain noslers over 42 grains of Varget for a 97
    Last edited by mac1911; 11-28-2017 at 02:12 AM.

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