United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1
The M1 Garand was officially designated as United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1 and later simply abbreviated as US Rifle, Cal. .30, M1, was the first semi-automatic rifle to be generally issued to the infantry of any nation. Called â€œthe greatest battle implement ever devisedâ€ by General George S. Patton, the Garand officially replaced the bolt-action M1903 Springfield as the standard service rifle of the United States Armed Forces in 1936 and was subsequently replaced by the selective fire M14 in 1957.
Itâ€™s creator, Canadian-born John Cantius Garand, was to become a iconic American firearms inventor. He went to work at the Armyâ€™s Springfield Armory and began working on a .30 caliber primer-operated breech. In the summer of 1924, twenty-four rifles, identified as â€œM1922″, were built at Springfield, At Fort Benning during the summer of 1925, they were tested against models by Berthier, Hatcher-Bang, Thompson, and Pedersen, the latter two being delayed blowback types. This led to a further trial of an improved â€œM1924″ Garand against the Thompson, ultimately producing an inconclusive report. As a result, the Ordnance Board ordered a .30-â€™06 Garand variant. In March of 1927, the Cavalry Board reported trials between the Thompson, Garand, and â€™03 Springfield had not led to a clear winner. This led to a gas-operated .276 model patented by Garand on 12 April, 1930.
During the spring of 1928, both Infantry and Cavalry Boards ran trials with the .276 Pedersen T1 rifle, calling it â€œhighly promisingâ€, shared by the Thompson. On 13 August 1928, a Semiautomatic Rifle Board carried out joint Army, Navy, and Marine Corps trials between the .30 Thompson, both cavalry and infantry versions of the T1 Pedersen, â€œM1924″ Garand, and .256 Bang, and on 21 September, the Board reported no clear winner. The .30 Garand, however, was dropped in favor of the .276.
Further tests by the SRB in July 1929, which included rifle designs by Browning, Colt-Browning, Garand, Holek, Pedersen, Rheinmetall, Thompson, and an incomplete one by White, led to a recommendation that work on the dropped .30 gas-operated Garand be resumed, and a T1E1 was ordered 14 November 1929.
Twenty gas-operated .276 T3E2s Garands were made and competed with T1 Pedersen rifles in Spring 1931. The .276 Garand was the clear winner of these trials. The .30 caliber Garand was also tested, in the form of a single T1E1, but was withdrawn with a cracked bolt on 9 October 1931. A 4 January 1932 meeting recommended adoption of the .276 caliber and production of approximately 125 T3E2s. Meanwhile, Garand redesigned his bolt and his improved T1E2 rifle was retested. The day after the successful conclusion of this test, Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur personally disapproved any caliber change, in part because there were extensive existing stocks of .30 M1 ball ammunition. On 25 February 1932, Adjutant General John B. Shuman, speaking for the Secretary of War, ordered work on the rifles and ammunition in .276 caliber cease immediately and completely and all resources be directed toward identification and correction of deficiencies in the Garand .30 caliber.
On 3 August 1933, the T1E2 became the Semi-Automatic Rifle, Caliber 30, M1
. In May 1934, 75 M1s went to field trials; 50 were to infantry, 25 to cavalry units. Numerous problems were reported, forcing the rifle to be modified, yet again, before it could be recommended for service and cleared for procurement on 7 November 1935, then standardized 9 January 1936. The first production model was successfully proof-fired, function-fired, and fired for accuracy on July 21, 1937.
Production difficulties delayed deliveries to the Army until September 1937. By September 1939, Springfield Armory had reached an output of 100 per day. Despite going into production status, design issues were not at an end. The barrel, gas cylinder, and front sight assembly were redesigned and entered production in early 1940. Existing â€œgas-trapâ€ rifles were recalled and retrofitted, mirroring problems with the earlier M1903 Springfield rifle that also had to be recalled and reworked approximately three years into production and foreshadowing rework of the M16 rifle at a similar point in its development. Production of the Garand increased in 1940 despite these difficulties, reaching 600 a day by 10 January 1941, and the Army was fully equipped by the end of 1941.