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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have 3 M1903's and have never really fired them more than once. I'd like to take them out more, but am wondering about what commerical ammunition is best for the M1903's.

Now a few disclaimers:
1. Yes I know you can't find ammo anywhere but assuming the world goes back to normal in the future and things are back to normal is why I'm asking.
2. Yes all my M1903's are 'high number'
3. Yes I know that M1 Garands should have softer loads to not damage the rifle.
4. No, I do not have a reloading setup yet so for now I am reliant on commerical ammunition. I know that would solve this problem.

I like FMJ rounds, because they feed easiest and feels more correct for these milsurps. Anyhow the only FMJ rounds I can find are 'for M1 Garand', so I assume they are down-loaded a bit to ensure no M1 garand blows up firing full power modern loads. Do M1903's need soft loads though? As bolt actions, I didn't think they are so sensitive. I don't want to fire any corrosive surplus or steel cases through my rifles. Just want non-corrosive, FMJ .30-06 that isn't loaded super soft to keep Garands from exploding.

Does anybody have any commercial reccomendations that are normally avilable when the world isn't crazy like it is today?

Thanks in advance.
 

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If you can find commercial ammo marked "For M1 Garand" then it is built to M2 ball spec.
This is what the military used at the time.
I would just shoot that and call it good, it will, most likely, match the sight settings on your rifles.
Beyond that, almost any commercial ammo will function in and not hurt your rifles, you may have to play games with your sight settings though.
Probably wise to avoid some of the lesser known surplus ammo out there, some of it has "issues" beyond the corrosive priming.
Not that corrosive priming is any problem, just clean accordingly.
 

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Can not say that I do but, then again, I never looked.
IIRC, there was some surplus foreign stuff out there that had a FMJ projectile loaded hotter than the M2 spec but, since I didn't pay any particular attention to it I can not recall what it was or where it came from.

I'm curious, though, as to what, exactly, you are looking for.
The M2 stuff throws a 150 grain bullet at a nominal 2750 FPS, been used for decades.
It is "downloaded" from the M1 spec but it is still potent enough, I would not consider it a "cream puff" load built to pamper the Garand.
You could try and find some M1 spec stuff but all of that would be corrosive.
Another option would be to get some AP loads, I don't recall the exact specs on that stuff but know that it has a heavier projectile or, maybe, some of the "match" loads with the 168 grain bullet.
Both of those have a similar bullet profile to FMJ and will feed just fine.
Just options.........
 

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As others have said are all good options. Mostly what I have been shooting is generic ammo from the cmp (if your lucky enough to live close enough to the store). I paid I think 180 for 200 last week when I was there. I picked up a Krag to add to my collection, now need some ammo for that that lol.

one comment of personal advice that I have arrived at regarding my Garands, 03, a3s 1917 etc is to buy ammo that is Garand safe (surplus or commercial) and shoot it in all of them. If your just punching paper and not hunting with it, it will keep things easier. Like say showing up to the range with no grand safe ammo. I just found it to be easier to go to lowest common denominator. I do however segregate my brass by gun on the 03, a3 and 1917 (but not garands) with the new shot brass and then neck size only those for reload (and then I like to bump up to a 168 gr). I full length on the semi stuff. Either way even if you don’t reload, police your brass because you may reload in the future. It is cost effective IMO to reload 30-06. I use a single stage and basically reload what I shoot from each range trip so it isn’t like a high production deal.
 

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Thanks for the info guys. Are there any quality commercial manufactures you guys know of that make .30-06 FMJ that isn't downloaded to M2 ball specs?
DOWNLOADED? What's the 'hurry'? A 150 grain bullet at 2750 feet per second is plenty powerful for just about any need you might have for it (except for maybe elephant hunting), and does its job without putting any kind of undue strain on your rifle.

I REALLY don't understand the guys who brag about shooting 150 grain loads at 3000+ FPS from their 1903's just because they can, and I REALLY don't want their used rifles.
 

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I've found S&B marked "For M1 Garand" to be very good in a M1 - so it should be even better in a 1903.

The best commercial .30-06 ammo that I've used is Hornady168gr Match - but of course it is expensive. Creedmoor also has high quality .30-06 match ammo.

My rifles did not care for PPU, but there's nothing wrong with it.

Some of the heavier hunting rounds may be good, but I don't think there's any reason to go past M2 Ball spec. Many top competitors are using a 125gr bullet at moderate velocities out to 300 yds or so with excellent results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The main reason I don't care for .30-06 that's 'loaded for the M1 Garand' is because on my Garand that I got from the CMP, it won't even cycle with that stuff, it ejects shells (most of the time) and never loads the next round. Plus, the .30-06 for M1 Garand that I've gotten (american eagle and PPU), both leave the shells half packed with powder so you can hear the powder shaking around in the casing. From the ~70 rounds I've put through my M1, I've already had a hang fire with this M2 ammo. Needless to say I don't have a high opinion of the commerical 'M2 ball' imitations.
 

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The main reason I don't care for .30-06 that's 'loaded for the M1 Garand' is because on my Garand that I got from the CMP, it won't even cycle with that stuff, it ejects shells (most of the time) and never loads the next round. Plus, the .30-06 for M1 Garand that I've gotten (american eagle and PPU), both leave the shells half packed with powder so you can hear the powder shaking around in the casing. From the ~70 rounds I've put through my M1, I've already had a hang fire with this M2 ammo. Needless to say I don't have a high opinion of the commerical 'M2 ball' imitations.
Then there is a problem.

I've never had that type of problem with any of the "For M1 Garand" ammo.

I'm not a M1 expert, but I would look at the gas system. I've heard of leaking gas lock screws and misaligned gas cylinders. That, or there may be some binding of the Op Rod.

Something isn't right.
 

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While I can not speak to the quantity of powder in commercial M2 clone ammo (since I have never used any of it), it would have to match the pressure curve of the original ammo.
I suppose an unscrupulous vendor might "cheap out" but that would be a one way ticket to bankruptcy, it would not take very long for word to get around about substandard ammo.
I agree that there might be another issue with your Garand, I have never seen one, in proper operating condition, choke on regular M2 ball.
What might actually be causing this issue is open for debate but upping the power ante without finding the root cause is asking for problems further down the road.
I'm assuming that since it came from the CMP that it is in spec although it may have been on the edge depending on what grade it was.
I'm also going to assume that it is lubed correctly, that is highly important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My M1 Garand was the 'special grade' if I recall correctly. Had the new stock and criterion barrel. I shot it out of the box just one time. Then I cleaned it and haven't taken it to the range since. I would have assumed the CMP would have lubed it sufficiently. Perhaps I can send it back to them to have it evaluated. What parts should be lubed in the M1? I can dig it out and check.
 

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Yes......maybe......for shipping.......
There are specific points in the Garands system that need grease, not oil, the OP rod spring for one, the point where the OP rod rubs under the barrel by the receiver for another.
Give some time and I'll post a link to the manual.

I don't know what "Special" grade means but with a replacement barrel and stock I'll bet it was test fired more than once, with standard M2 ball so something must have changed.
Or, maybe, being essentially a "new" build it was just stiff and cranky.
 

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I have several variants of '03s (most with WW2 rearsenaled barrels), and in my experience they are not picky with what food goes through them.

I generally shoot M2 spec ("made for M1 Garand") through them, but I've put stuff ranging from 140gr to 180gr and they have shot just fine.

I would avoid bubba's gunshow special handloads for obvious reasons as well...
 

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My M1 Garand was the 'special grade' if I recall correctly. Had the new stock and criterion barrel. I shot it out of the box just one time. Then I cleaned it and haven't taken it to the range since. I would have assumed the CMP would have lubed it sufficiently. Perhaps I can send it back to them to have it evaluated. What parts should be lubed in the M1? I can dig it out and check.
Not necessarily. I haven't purchased a M1 from the CMP, but I'm pretty sure somewhere in the paperwork it says you should lube and inspect the rifle yourself before use.

Here's their lubrication instructions - Reassembly Of the M1 Garand Rifle

And another - Greasing the M1 Garand

Look for any contact of the Op Rod and the stock. Something isn't working correctly.

You could contact them and see what they have to say about it.
 

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The main reason I don't care for .30-06 that's 'loaded for the M1 Garand' is because on my Garand that I got from the CMP, it won't even cycle with that stuff, it ejects shells (most of the time) and never loads the next round. Plus, the .30-06 for M1 Garand that I've gotten (american eagle and PPU), both leave the shells half packed with powder so you can hear the powder shaking around in the casing. From the ~70 rounds I've put through my M1, I've already had a hang fire with this M2 ammo. Needless to say I don't have a high opinion of the commerical 'M2 ball' imitations.
Short-stroking. Check for a worn gas cylinder or an undersized (worn) gas piston.

I bought a Blue Sky Garand back in the day for REALLY cheap because it had the same problem, and the owner got disgusted.

One 'new' gas cylinder (and a couple of cheap parts related to a couple of other minor problems it had ) later, everything was hunky-dory with it.

Your problem with 'incomplete combustion' of the powder charge COULD also be your problem. How is firing pin protrusion (And I guess headspace)? A weak hit by the firing pin might not set the primer off as strongly as one would like, and cause a (sorta) flash in the pan.
 
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