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Thread: My M1 Garand cast bullet experiment

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    My M1 Garand cast bullet experiment

    I've been digging into the idea of using cast in my Garand, partly for savings on bullets, mostly for a light practice load. After searching here, decided to give it a try.

    I've got a RCBS mold that throws a 150-grain gas-check flat-nose bullet, originally bought for .30-30, that's also worked out nicely in .30-06, .308, 7.5x55 Swiss and in a M39 Finn Mosin Nagant. So, being chea- er, just wanting to see if it'd work in the M1, tried it. The load I started with is that bullet, sized .309, over 34.0 grains of IMR4895. Five rounds of it, five with 35.0, five with 36.0. Five because this was to see if A: that bullet would shoot at all well in it and B: to see if these would cycle the action.

    The first round of 34.0 didn't move the bolt back quite far enough to pick up the next cartridge but did eject the empty; the next four functioned fully. The 35 and 36 loads all functioned with no problem. Recoil with all was light, and at 30 yards(indoor range, no time right now for outdoor) came in with 2.5", 1.5" and 2" groups(in that order). All hit about point of aim at that range, but no doubt will have to raise the sight for 50 & 100 yards. And with the first two, the cases all landed about two feet to the right; the .36.0 load tended to eject forward and a touch left.

    A very successful experiment overall. Now to load up some more and hit the longer range.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Was thinking last night about using H4895 in my Garand with cast. From your experiment it appears it will work and gives me a starting point.
    Did you get any leading in the barrel or gas system?

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I did the same last summer. Fired about 250 rounds never could get better than 4 minute groups.
    Thought it might be time to get the lead out and fired 8 jacketed rounds. A small bead of lead went through the gas port and jammed the op rod.
    Soaked it out with shooters choice in a tall skinny olive jar. Mentioned the jamming to a freind and he reccomended some shotgun spray choke cleaner. He said it would remove lead I have not tried it yet.
    Plan to try more bullets this spring in the M1. Oven temper vs water dropped.
    Bought the wifey a new range and the old one is in the garage now. I can melt bullet lube, temper bullets, and do all kinds of stinky stuff she frowned upon in the past.
    To lazy to chase arrows.
    Clodhopper

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Well some of it may be the shooter, and I don't mean to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but consider this...

    That average of 2" at 30 yards will equate, all things being equal, to about 6 1/3" at 100 yards. A garand that shot only 6 MOA would not in my mind be doing well. From a bench I can easily group 5" at 200 yards, with jacketed bullets and a good M1 with good muzzle and throat. So 2.5 MOA. Still, not great but better.

    Additionally, the powder charges you list probably aren't igniting consistently without filler. I know, I've shot similar loads over a chronograph, albeit from a bolt action. You're right on the border of the point I'd cut out the filler, but you might try some dacron fluff- I bet it helps accuracy with those loads.

    Finally, the speed you are going to be at is also going to be right around the 2000 fps mark. Fine for a hard cast properly fit bullet with gas check and good lube but also right at the point that this shooter usually starts getting leading. I know some of you guys blow way past 2000 fps but I've never managed it without going to a very linotype-heavy alloy and I don't want to waste my lino like that.

    So for a host of reasons I'd personally keep experimenting; however if you are happy with it, that's what matters.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master at heavens range
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    I shoot mine with the piston take out of the gas plug. Run the op. rod by hand.You get better accurtize that way. You may have to float the top wood . A good load is 17 gr. 4759 and will work with bullets 150 gr. up to 220 gr. 40 grs, 4064 and CBE 311215 or 311284 will run the bolt and very accurate load. I have fired over 400 rds. and never lead the gas port hole up.Last year I shot a 90 with 4 xs at 200 yds. in a cast bullet shoot at Wind Hill, One other load that is about like 4895 is AA2495,35 grs. and the RCBS 165 gr. Sil. bullet, Working now on 2- M1Ds to shoot this summer. There is no troubles shooting under 2 in. at 100 yds with a M1 Garand. I have working on cast bullets loads for 6 years now to get a story to write on them. Hope this helps. Joe

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
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    I took it down for cleaning, found one speck on the op-rod head that may have been lead, but if it was it wiped off with a dry patch. None to be seen in the bore, it wiped out with a couple of patches just like after ball.

    Jonk, this was from a not-overly-steady rest, and the range had some lights out, so may well have been me. However, that's the same size groups I got with a '03A3 Springfield with a practice load at this range, and from a solid rest at 100 yards that one gives 1.5" groups. This may not work out to give great accuracy at 100, if not I'll try a different- probably heavier- bullet and/or sized .310 or .311 as many have reported good results with.

    One big reason for this was a practice load that would reliably work the action and give good accuracy out to 100, for those days I don't have time or the weather is too ratty for the outdoor range. I now know this'll work great for the indoor, I'll find out if it holds up at 100(don't have access to a longer range at this point).

    Smokem, thanks for the info.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Ok, finally was able to hit the 100 yard range. Got about 4-4.5" groups. A lot of the dispersion was vertical, and I'm pretty sure that was at least partly me(glare on the sights, and I need a bigger bull for this nowadays). So I'll make up a few more and, next time I'm out, try it again.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    Ok, finally was able to hit the 100 yard range. Got about 4-4.5" groups. A lot of the dispersion was vertical, and I'm pretty sure that was at least partly me(glare on the sights, and I need a bigger bull for this nowadays). So I'll make up a few more and, next time I'm out, try it again.

    And no sign of lead fouling, so that part's ok.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master at Heaven's Range 2010

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    short range

    I wonder if shooting at short range,that the bullet might not stablize.
    If some one uses it in hand charging 13 gr RED DOT with 150/180 gr bullet would work good.my spring field is tack driver with that.soon as it gets warm enuf for these old bones I will be out there with the garand.
    WILDCATT

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I'd suggest going to a heavier cast bullet and lower velocity to increase accuracy. To funtion the action of the M1 you are having to drive the bullets too fast for best accuracy. Using 175-210 gr bullets works better with 200+ gr bullets being the best. Lyman's 311299 or 314299 are excellent bullets to use in the M1 with 311284 also being a good choice. Over 28-32 gr of 4895 with a 3/4 gr dacron filler accuracy can be fully what the rifle is capable of. Velocity will be 1800-1950 fps and the action will function reliably. I've used quite a few of those loads and with Javelina lube I got littl to no indication of lead in the gas system.

    Larry Gibson

  11. #11
    Boolit Bub
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    After reviewing some of the information, I decided to try what Larry suggested: a heavier bullet. And since so many used bullets sized .311, and I've got a Lee mold for .311 gas-check bullets I got for .303 British and 7.62x54r, decided to try it.

    Over 35.0 grains of IMR4895, it functioned the action with no problems, and accuracy was good.

    Adjusted sights first at 50 yards, eight clicks over the zero for M2 ball put the shots dead on, and also at 100. At 100, the first two shots were about 3-4 inches below point of aim and within an inch of each other. Of the next six, one I pulled to the left; the other five were in a group of a fraction under 1". I'd only loaded two clips worth to try, so I've got more loaded for further testing. Also, if the wind's a lot lower next time, I'll set up the Chrony to get a look at velocity.

    I don't know if the first two were my fault or something weird about the load; they were directly beneath the following shots, so no windage problem.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Firehand

    Do chronograph the load. The AV, ES and SD will tell us something, whether it is "weird" or not. I suggest a 10 shot string for better statistical certainty but a 5 shot string is ok.

    Larry Gibson

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    What alloy are you using?

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    Firehand

    Do chronograph the load. The AV, ES and SD will tell us something, whether it is "weird" or not. I suggest a 10 shot string for better statistical certainty but a 5 shot string is ok.

    Larry Gibson
    These are Gaands, right? How about 8 round strings?
    Shoot Straight...Shoot Safe
    DrNick

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    311284 .310" 2500
    33.0 Varget
    .7 Dacron

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I use a Lee 200 grain, Hornady gas checks, sized .310. I have loaded H4831 (BobS Load) as well as Varget, Reloader 15, WC846 and WC872. I now shoot for a velocity of 2000 fps based on this quickload data.

    I have had varget loads from 32 grains and up and Reloader 15 loads from 34 grains and up, both stopping about 40 grains.

    I generally can match Greek HXP surplus ammo accuracy at 50 yards with cast boolits with any of these powders. The rifles are both 1943 Winchester mix-masters from the CMP, field grade.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I use the same Lee bullet as SQL with ACWW. I had a large quanity of the old WWII 4831 and shot it all up, over the years, using 43 grs. Now I have been using 872 and 860 because it's cheap and it shoots well with 46 grs. No fillers. Never have opened up the gas cylinder and have never had a problem with leading.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    Been a while, but finally got off my backside and did some more work on this. Tried several things, and right now I'm looking at this:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    HXP cases, 31.5 grains IMR4895, 200-grain gas-check bullet from a LEE mold, at 50 yards. Had several different combinations, this one worked the best.

    Range was BUSY, so wasn't able to set up the Chrony. This load cycled the action about half the time- the last 4-5 rounds, better than the others- and shows no sign of fouling in the bore or gas cylinder. I'm going to up it 0.5 grain, I think that should give reliable functioning, and next time I should be able to try it at 100 yards.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Lead Fred's Avatar
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    You can still get 500 147gr boat tails for $100
    I just cant see chancing damaging a Garand
    I have sworn on the altar of GOD eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
    Thomas Jefferson

    " Any law that is NOT constitutional is not a law" James Madison

  20. #20
    On Heaven's Range

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    -low chamber pressure...

    -low gas-port pressure...

    -softer-than-issue bullet metal...

    Exactly HOW do you envision these factors "damaging a Garand"?

    Many, many of us have been using cast bullets with perfect safety and satisfaction in our Garands for years. "Safety", meaning safety both for the shooters AND the rifles, in the full knowledge that the rifle design has a few peculiarities which must be allowed-for in the ammunition.

    If one decides NOT to use cast bullets in his Garand, that's well and good.... but he's missing-out on some very entertaining shooting (and interesting handloading, too.)
    Regards from BruceB in Nevada

    "The .30'06 is never a mistake." - Colonel Townsend Whelen

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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