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Old March 5th, 2021, 10:31 AM #1
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M2 Ball Reloading Concerns

Yesterday I sat with Charlie Maloney while he inspected an import M1 Garand that I had purchased.

During our conversation he was adamantly against using reloads in the Garand. Basically, if I understood what he was saying, the only catastrophic failures of a Garand that he had ever seen, were caused by reloads.

Without being specific, he went on about the powder, the primer, the bullet, etc and if they weren't correct, Bad Things would happen. I did some reading on the CMP forums and some threads there seem to indicate something similar- that an improper reload was far more serious than out of spec headspace.

Now I'm not stupid, I know reloading is serious business. My friend, (an experienced reloader who makes his own competition .223 ammo) and I reloaded once-shot, Greek HXP brass. We used CCI #200 Large Rifle primers with 47.5 grains of IMR 4064 powder and capped them off with 150 grain Sierra Game King bullets. This is all in accordance with the Hornady reloading book as well as information found in the CMP forums.

We carefully measured the cartridge LOA to ensure that they conformed with the M2 ball specifications in the Hornady book. It is the cartridge length that seems to cause the greatest concern in my reading.

We used the proper materials, we followed the manual, we trimmed the brass, we measured everything continuously.

Should I be concerned? Is there anything else I should do for quality control before I fire these reloads?
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Old March 5th, 2021, 10:46 AM #2
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yes, you have to be careful but Master Po took care of us.
I actually load slightly lower qty of IMR4895 than what is on the list

https://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?t=234195
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Old March 5th, 2021, 10:56 AM #3
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Read the comments.

The biggest risk in reloading is operator error. If you under load, overload, grab the wrong powder, pick up a wrong piece of brass, your scale goes out of calibration, etc.

Factory ammo has multiple redundant quality checks including lot sample performance testing to insure they don't get sued. The factories have problems but catch them, where do you think all the pulled bullets offered to reloaders come from?
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Old March 5th, 2021, 10:57 AM #4
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I guarantee that there are tons of reloads being shot from M1 Garands with no ill effects, and have been for a long, long time. If you're a conscientious reloader and you've checked everything in triplicate, I see no reason to worry - an M1 Garand is like any other semi-automatic rifle, so why would there be an issue?

You've clearly done your research - if not IMR 4895, then you can use H4895, IMR 4064 or Win W748.

I have some enblocs in my safe where they are very clearly reloads - you don't have a soft tip on Ball ammo. These were reloaded by my Dad and as far as I can tell, he pretty much always used IMR or H 4895 in everything he reloaded for 30-06. I'd have zero qualms about shooting those rounds.
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Old March 5th, 2021, 11:00 AM #5
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Don’t use the wrong powder. That usually happens when someone puts powder back into the wrong jug or they forget to switch the powder in the hopper when switching calibers at their reloading setup. I never pour unused powder back into its original container. I always pour it into another container that’s properly marked so that’s all that would get contaminated if I ever put it in the wrong container. It is also a good idea to only ever have one type of powder at the reloading station. Everything else sits far away in a storage location.

Don’t use weak brass. A case head failure or case head separation will likely result in the high pressure gas getting vented into the receiver rather than being contained in the chamber. Look up how to use a bent wire to feel for an incipient case head separation.

Don’t have an out of battery detonation. Primers not seated at least flush, the safety bridge being cracked on the receiver, and brass being sized too long to fit in the chamber are all risk factors for out of battery detonations.
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Old March 5th, 2021, 11:02 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melnic View Post
yes, you have to be careful but Master Po took care of us.
I actually load slightly lower qty of IMR4895 than what is on the list

https://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?t=234195
Thank you for the link. Our chemistry and weights are proper and conform with the link you provided. The cartridge length seems especially critical but only gets a brief mention.

I measured every 5th cartridge for length, we didn't just measure the first one and start cranking them out. We checked the dispensed powder weight frequently during the process to ensure consistency.

My friend is very experienced but this was my first time ever reloading. It's my ammo and my rifle. I like my face and I'd hate to screw it up.

When the head armorer for the US Army Marksmanship Team says "don't use reloads" it gives you pause.
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Old March 5th, 2021, 11:18 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponder_MD View Post
When the head armorer for the US Army Marksmanship Team says "don't use reloads" it gives you pause.
Not trying to start an argument, but does this fellow have a full perspective of the world of reloading, and the ins and outs of what it can be, to be able to make that kind of statement, or is it possible he's passing along something he heard elsewhere as a statement of fact? I realize that this guy has found himself in an enviable position, and probably knows LOTS about guns currently being used by the US Army Marksmanship Team, but the last I knew the M1 Garand ceased to be Army's service rifle in 1957.

Maybe I misinterpreted this too, but as a kid it always seemed to me that Dad was never too thrilled about factory loads - my interpretation based on listening to him in conversations with his friends is that felt that they were inconsistent. That, or he was just more comfortable shooting rounds where he knew ever meticulous step of the process - how much powder, OAL, how much crimp, how the primers were seated, etc.

There were a number of hunters in my hometown who would pay him to reload for him - they trusted his reloads more than factory ammo.
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Old March 5th, 2021, 11:20 AM #8
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Need to ensure headspace/case shoulder position is correct on the resized casing. (I just want to note that up front) Use a case guage that indicates that. The cartridge overall length will be set based on where the bullet tip is but the case shoulder in a bottleneck cartridge needs to be properly resized so the cartridge goes into full battery before it fires.

The Garand and the M14 were designed to operate with certain gas port pressures. Using commercial hunting ammo or bullets of greater weight than used in the military rifles can cause the pressures to elevate into dangerous levels that can damage the rifle's operating rods. This is aside from issues that can arise from problems from over charging your load or improper resizing. Btw, Schuster makes a gas plug that can be adjusted to prevent such build up of pressures when using heavier bullets.

So if you have researched the types of velocities you are to get that mimmick the M2 performance and loadings for that you probably will be ok as long as you have meticulously checked the resizing in a case guage/COAL, etc. Most of us don't have a means for measuring pressure so you need to try and load for velocities that are correlated to proper pressure. Another thing to do would be to work up the loads looking for signs of overpressure in the cases. Also be aware that military brass has less volume than commercial often times so could be less room for the powder charge and can get the pressures up sooner than if you had a 'roomier' case to begin with.

Like you say if your friend is experienced and is familiar with the type of stuff I mentioned you'll probably be ok given a serviceable/ in spec rifle.
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Old March 5th, 2021, 11:26 AM #9
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He seems to have a full perspective. I think his issue is that he doesn't trust anyone to do the reloading correctly, combined with the certitude that his years of experience has brought him.

I mean, let's face it- People are reloading and firing ammo from their M1 Garands. Reports of failures are very few and seem to focus on damaged op rods. Reloading for competition is common. On top of this, military produced M2 ball ammunition is getting scarce and expensive. Eventually, we will be stuck with hand loads and commercially produced reproductions.

It's not just his advice that has my shying away, it's my own inexperience. LOL...well...if I have a cartridge malfunction it'll be my fault because I helped make these loads.
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Old March 5th, 2021, 11:42 AM #10
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AMU has their own handloading shop though

https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2015/...smanship-unit/
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