The M1 Garand is an all-American rifle and the 30-06 Springfield cartridge it fires is an all-American martial and big-game hunting round. But shooting commercial 30-06 ammunition through an M1 can be risky business. The M1’s action has ample strength to fire most of what you can find, but feeding and longevity are another matter. Without tinkering with an adjustable gas piston plug, some commercial loads run fine, others are too weak to cycle the action, while others can bend the operating rod over a prolonged period.
In the heyday of the M1 rifle, the CMP recommended ammunition with pressures not exceeding 50,000 CUP. Unfortunately, with common hunting loadings varying from 110-grain varmint loads to 220-grain moose-mashers, pressures vary as does the functionality in the M1.
For maximum reliability with the least amount of guesswork, loadings that approximate the original 150-grain M2 ball ammunition. But you don’t have to dig up old Korean War surplus or load your own ammunition in order to enjoy shooting the old M1 Garand. At Shot Show 2023, Winchester added their name to the list of those producing quality M2 ball ammunition optimized for the M1 rifle. Available in twenty-round boxes, Winchester’s 30-06 M2 load uses a 150-grain full-metal-jacket spitzer bullet with an advertised velocity of 2740 feet per second to approximate the same load that saw millions of American servicemen through decades of conflict.
Winchester’s reintroduced M2 ball load is a welcomed addition to M1, M1903, and M1917 shooters, as well as for anyone looking for a practice round no less than a 30-06.