The T26 “Tanker” M1 Garand

The T26, otherwise known as the “Tanker” Garand, was an experiential 18″ barreled carbine version of the M1 Garand. It was designed late in WWII for use in the Pacific jungles. Tom emailed me photos of his new T26-style M1.

 Pics Firearms T26 Compare
Tanker (top) fitted with Smith Enterprises muzzle brake.

 Pics Firearms T26 T26 Compare01
Note barrel length and the upper handguard difference

 Pics Firearms T26 T26 Compare02
Note the odd bend in the T26 short op-rod and the major
difference in length of the follower arm/spring guide.

Tom had this to say about his new Garand:

I did get the chance to shoot the shorty a week or so ago before the rain started up. It functions flawlessly, despite the somewhat seedy reputation of gunsmith custom T26 Garands like this one. Many of the first shorty rifles to hit the market many years ago were rewelded receivers, which are much weaker and downright dangerous in many cases. On many of these reweld guns (this is true of full sized Garands and T26 style ones both) the op-rod may dismount while firing, which as you can imagine causes quite a few problems.

That muzzle break is a real shoulder-saver, and surprisingly the shorty Garand has considerably less recoil than the FAL I recently built. I don’t have a huge range, but from about a hundred yards I was on the paper on the first shot (after a full strip and thorough cleaning) and managed to tune my way to a fairly respectable group around three inches with Lake City ammo. It may not be a match gun, but it’s definitely more accurate than I was expecting. Really a blast to shoot and more than acceptable accuracy in my opinion!

The T26 is a very interesting rifle. In a sense it is much more modern than the full size M1. As I mentioned yesterday in the post about the new Italian service rifle which even in the designated marksmen version has a 16″ barrel, the modern trend is to compromise maximum ballistic performance with maneuverability.

A big thanks to Tom for emailing me the photos and information. More can be read about the T26 at the Wikipedia M1 Garand page.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Dan C

    You should check out Tim Shufflin’s Mini-G…

    http://shuffsparkerizing.com/Conversion_Tanker_Sniper.php

  • Tom

    Sorry for the quality of the images folks, I’m a gunsmith, not a photographer!

    I’d also like to mention that there are a few really skilled guys out there that provide conversion services or custom builds in the T26 style. Warhawk is one, and Fulton Armory sells them as well. A member of the PerfectUnion boards makes an even shorter Garand that completely eliminates the upper handguard, shortening the full length to a tiny 16.5″ if I remember right.

    Get a pro to do it, or do the research and know how to spot a reweld if you come across a T26 in the wild. If you get a diamond in the rough like I did, it’s a fantastic weapon, a blast to shoot, and a real conversation piece!

  • Dan

    +1 on the Mini-G by Tim Shufflin…

  • susan

    can anyone tell me the name of the armorer who worked for Gen Patton who developed the t26? we think the name is something like ‘francis von mueller’, but we can’t find any reference to that name.
    thank you.

  • John Meadors

    I purchased a “Tanker” at a gun show several years ago. The receiver and barrel are Parkerized and all parts appear to be new. I waiteed until only reecently to fire the rifle. I fired two clips (eight rounds each) without problem. The recoil was much less than expected for a 30.06. The accuracy was very good. After the last clip the operating rod bound with the bol to the rear.
    My quesions are: 1. Will a new operating rod correct this problem?
    2. Is this a “gunsmith” ptoblem?
    3. Where do I finda “Tanker” gunsmith?
    4. Where do I buy parts for this ifle?

    Any help I could ge on this would be greatly appreciated.

  • Mike Brassfield

    I have fired a Tanker many times. I guess it all comes down to who did the work. I would recommend that you contact Dean at DGR or try Warbird to start with you questions. I know there are others but this is a place to start.

    The Racker

  • Jesus

    A good rifle to kill pigeons, pigs, rabbits and butterflies…maybe even people, but goblins, ghosts and aliens for sure…Sala-vee!!!

  • m1tanker

    I have sucessfully converted about 20 m1 garands to the tanker configuration and love doing them. The most important is to get the operating rod right. They are a blast to shoot. I have shot several antelope and 2 elk with a converted garand tanker . Most prefer a 308 to a 30-06. With a 308 there is less muzzle flash than the 30-06 and I suspect that is to the lesser amount of powder. Anyone wanting to contact me can email me at m1tanker90@yahoo.com

    John