Can I Shoot Hunting Ammo out of A Garand?

A lot of folks new to the M1 Garand look for a way to source ammo a box or two of ammo at their local shop on the way to the range. 

While I know not everyone can afford cases and cases of HXP, the M1 Garand is designed to shoot a very specific round. Exceeding the M2 ball pressure specification puts excessive stress on the op rod and can cause catastrophic failure.

Internet lore might tell you “just shoot anything 150 grain or less” or some nonsense about FPS, as opposed to powder burn rate, well…

The results of heavy hunting ammo shot through a reader’s garand. 

Your call.

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MD State Championship

I headed down to the hollar for Fort Hill’s season end championship match. The
CMP state championship match is a 800 point aggregate following CMP rules which means no sighters and starting from standing.

It was a beautiful day in western Maryland for a match. I was on relay one so I shot first. For a nice change, off hand went well. I was able to get into my “fast and angry” pace, I’m not sure why but that seems to really help my off hand. Good pit service helps me keep pace and in this case I managed to post a 180, not my best but factoring in a 6 I slung on the target when I wasn’t quite ready to do so I’ll take it.
Sitting went great for the first 2 rounds. Then my bolt didn’t lock back. I didn’t do a great job trouble shooting it and only got 3 out of the second mag before the target went down. For 3 fast shots they stayed in the middle, even when the middle was a twelve o’clock 6. 

The second string went well enough with a 95. The excuse I’m going with there is my between string routine was thrown off. 

It turned out the gas rings in my bolt were long past their prime. 

In the middle at 300 I dropped 7/200 most of those due to a bad wind call on the first string. 

Out back was a little odd. My 600 yard zero for this range gave me a six o’clock 9. I corrected for it and moved into the X. Then shot 3 was an eleven o’clock 7 more or less twice the correction I had just put on. Baffled, and with nothing to lose after saving 5 rounds at 200 I sent another which neatly went within a couple inches of the 7. Turned the knobs (and tapped on them) to the X and managed to stay more or less in the middle after that. 

Looking over my data book this doesn’t seem to be the first time this happened. While it easily could have been me I’m starting to doubt the performance of my Leupold VXR 1-4. 

I had planned on staying for the EIC the next day and making my last stand as I have already shot four of the five allowed EIC matches. But with my busted rifle I decided to limp home and try again in October.

Lesson leanred, Check your equipment before the match!

Running to Camp Perry!

  I hate when bloggers start post with “sorry it’s been awhile”mostly because I’m snobby. I am, however, behind on  posting but It’s because I’ve been busy shooting!

After I got back from Talladega I was determined to dial it up a bit and shot as many full course matches as I could!

First weekend back I went to Wilkes Barre to shoot a reduced 200 yard National Match walk and paste. After posting some not so hot scores at Talladega I turned around and posted my personal best at this match!

The next weekend I drove down to Cumberland Maryland to shoot a full course NRA 800 agg. I kept the streak going and shot my first master level score across the course! Just one point less than my high at York the month before! 

The next weekend I had two days of reduced course matches at Kimberton and York. Well that kill my steak, bleading points allmost every stage. 


Went back to the lab a bit shot on my scatt a little and practice with my m44 training rifle. Then hauled back to Ft Hill looking for some redemption. Well, it wasn’t a great day in the hollar. I let a mistake in rapid prone get in my head which cost me in the end. 


I hit the range after work this week and applied some new things I’ve picked up along the way this month and I feel optimistic I can kick the slump. 

Just 2 more weekends before the National Matches! I’m focusing on service rifle this year, my poor Garand has only fired once this month! I’m not going to let up yet. I’m packing the next couple weekends with an 800 agg, a 3×600 and a EIC at New Holland!

2016 D-Day Match at CMP Talladgea Marksmanship Park 

We had so much fun at the inaugural D-Day match at  Talladega last year we flew back down. This time for both the Garand match and the EIC.

It really is a great range to shoot at. This time around there was less fanfare as the range had been open for a year. The Friday before we were about to check our zeroes and get a little practice on Range 1.

Saturday was the Garand match, I did really well in prone. However that’s where it stopped, as I seem to have forgotten how  to offhand with the Garand.

My  buddy remembered how to do all three stages right and brought himself home a gold medal! Most impressively he shot a 98 in rapid prone after his clip latch gave out and ejected his eight round clip about five rounds too soon.

On the upside I didn’t leave empty-handed as my name was picked to win a nice DuPage stock. I’m going use this for a match grade garand with a heavy barrel.


Sunday was EIC. Which was what we came down to Alabama to shoot.

I was a little soggy office and dropped more points than normal in rapid. However I was able to post one of my better 600 yards scores and beat my personal EIC best by one point. While that was not good enough for points I’m happy with my score, I’m making progress in learning some things.

CMP put on a great event. A games match and an EIC the same weekend really make the trip worthwhile and without pit duty an entire EIC match takes less than an hour. Which leaves lots of time for relaxing afterwards!

Electronic Targets: reliable but not infallible.


There was some drama last year around the KTS targets. It was much less of an issue this year. While there were several challenges, only in one case that I am aware of did the shooter win.

The new rules for electronic targets seem a bit harsh to me. If a shooter challenges and loses they will lose 3 points as opposed to the typical cash fee. I am in the “pro electronic target” camp but let’s be honest they are not infallible and risking 3 points is an awful hard choice to make with no information other then your shot calls.

Personally I’d like to see CMP back off on this one and apply the same challenge rules that have applied to paper targets for years to electronic targets.
PS If anyone from CMP reads this my wife would like me to ask if maybe next year you could sell hotdogs and snacks durring the day 🙂

Movin’ on up: Matches at New Holland, Kimberton and York

In the run up to the CMP eastern games I shot a series of matches over two weekends.

First the season opener NRA 800 Agg at New Holland.


With the exception of a saved round in sitting due to a round that turned out to have some moisture in it, this turned out to be a great match for me. I shot slightly better than my average which should have been enough to earn an expert card!

Kimberton NRA and Garand Matches.

Back at my home club for the first NRA service rifle match of the year. This was my first match at this club with my new 2016 service rifle. It is a reduced course 100 yard 600 agg on a dark range which really gives the scope an advantage as it’s easier to see. I posted my first master scores and I was most proud of a pair of 99s I posted in slow prone on that tricky MR-31 target.


York Rifleman Spring Garand Match and 500 agg. 

Despite all the travel games I’ve been to York Rifleman’s Garand matches are some of my favorite.

I have been to every garand match at York since 2012 and I’m happy to report I finally made the medal cut. It was a close one due to a bad LC round (At least that’s my excuse) but it felt good to break the York curse!