The M1 Garand’s rich history continues to grow as this rifle remains a popular option among collectors and competitors.
The rifle taking shape on John Cantius Garand’s drawing board in the 1920’s, even to 1932, was a very radical departure from its predecessors, not merely because it was a semi-automatic.
Garand conceived and designed the rifle and the tools and machines that would produce it. For the first time, it was a truly unique U.S. design. The Springfield single shots had been mundane but reliable, nothing that startled anyone. The Krag-Jorgenson rifles, from 1892, were beautifully made, the work of Ole Herman Johannes Krag and Erik Jorgenson, but genuinely obsolete from their inception. The ’03 Springfield was a fine rifle, based purely on the Model 1898 Mauser, license arrangements resulting in the payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the originating firm in Oberndorf.
Any new military firearm stirs up the “old guard.” This wild new thing, controversial from the very first announcements, stirred up imaginations and resentments far and wide.
Using the “gas trap” system, involving a false muzzle, handling a huge volume of hot, still expanding gases, was radical enough with the then-new .276 Pedersen Center Fire cartridge. There was considerable use of stainless steel in the gas cylinder and the piston of the operating rod. Using new, faster powders, it seemed the new cartridge would obviate the issues of sludge, residue and secondary ignition that plagued other such contraptions in the U.S., Great Britain, Belgium, Germany and Russia.
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