M1 Garand vs. M1A: Which is Better?

   05.27.20

M1 Garand vs. M1A: Which is Better?

I happily admit that when I saw this video from Paul Harrell, I wondered as I clicked whether he’d pronounce “Garand” reasonably, or instead say it like Ian of Forgotten Weapons. And once the actual video presentation began about 1.5 minutes in, he made me laugh by not pronouncing it at all!

During the intro, he gets to the Garand and calls it “the M1 this word right here,” gesturing at a space where the word “Garand” appears. That was good for a nice guffaw out of me… and I was further pleased when he deigned to pronounce it in the way I happen to prefer.

Getting down to brass tacks and the purpose of the video, we look at the M1A (7.62 NATO / 308 WIN) and the M1 Garand (30-06 Springfield).

I have very little experience with either of the rifles, but my father had considerable shooting time with the Garand and and he was not a fan in the least. I believe I could sum up his opinion like so: The Garand is heavy, rattly, inaccurate, and will do its best to take off your thumb.

Paul clocks some ammo, demonstrating that each rifle produces similar velocity with similar bullet weights. Then he shoots for accuracy at 60 yards.

His results show better accuracy out of the M1A. Then he decides to shoot more rapidly and toss in a reload — preceded by a demonstration of how each rifle is loaded and reloaded. Accuracy results this time are not different enough to matter.

After pronouncing the M1A the “winner,” — which one would hope, since it was intended to replace the Garand — he bends the ol’ brain a bit and decides to compare the guns against the rifles they actually went up against in battle.

This approach first pits the Garand against a Mauser 8mm bolt action rifle, fired by Chuck. Although Chuck can run a bolt action pretty well, he of course loses the race to the semi-auto. Notably, the Garand also wins the accuracy comparison by a large margin.

Next, Chuck shoots the M1A while Paul fires an AK clone, and the AK wins. So they fire the drill again, after swapping guns… and this time, the results are much closer.

Enjoy the video, then comment to let us now which one you prefer.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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