M1 Garand Field Strip

The American M1 Garand was the world’s first general issue semi-automatic rifle. It is famous for many reasons (such as the harmonious ping it makes when ejecting its en bloc clip), but it is a magnificent piece of engineering that you can only truly appreciate by seeing what’s inside.

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Transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C. With TFBTV.

And for today’s Field Strip, we are finally getting the M1 Garand.

This rifle in many ways is America embodied.

Designed by an immigrant who came to the country in 1899, swearing the Oath of Allegiance in 1920, and becoming a citizen, pledging to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

And, Mr. John C. Garand’s contribution sure helped accomplish this.

Anyways, on with the field strip process.

The first thing you’re gonna want to do is make sure the Safety is on and pull the Trigger Guard towards the end of the Buttstock, and that should release the entire group.

Next up, you can lift the entire Action right out of the Stock.

As a side note, competition shooters who use the M1 will very rarely do this as it interferes with the bedding of the rifle.

Next, grab this Op Rod Guide, and pull it so that it unhooks.

This is a little tricky, and to be honest, I had to do multiple takes on this because it was quite slippery.

And, that will release the guide and this large spring that runs the length of the barrel.

Next up, bring the Op Rod to this little section right here, and it should pop out once you have it lined up.

That separates the Op Rod from the actual Bolt.

Then, you can freely remove the Bolt by moving it forward and kind of tilting it, and pulling it up and out.

You can, at this point, also remove the Op Rod.

Sorry, at this point, my arm blocks that from view.

But, it’s not tricky.

Just pull it down and pull it to the rear.

Now to disassemble the Gas System, you’ll notice that, the Gas Plug is shaped like a cross.

So, you’re going to need a special tool that’s normally housed in the Buttstock of the rifle.

So however, the standard GI tool is not as good as the little after market wrench you can buy for just a few dollars.

So, I prefer to use those.

So, go ahead and unscrew that plug.

And, I do a time lapse here, just because it does take quite awhile.

Set that plug aside, and then, you can remove the End Cap by unscrewing that.

And, I did another time lapse there in case you didn’t catch it.

And, you can pull off this sleeve here that does contain the Front Sight, and you have a fully field stripped M1 Garand or Gurand rifle, which ever you prefer really.

Apparently, Mr. John C. Garand didn’t really care how you pronounced the name of his rifle.

He was just pleased that we adopted it and we’re using his invention.

But, everything I’ve read about him is been overwhelmingly positive.

He was a humble man, an extremely hard working guy who designed a rifle that helped us win World War II, and served until much after World War II.

Really, it’s a great gun.

It’s an amazing piece of American history.

And to me, that is very cool all in and of itself.

And of course, the rifle has great merits too.

So, I hope you enjoyed this Field Strip.

We hope to see you next time.

And, a special thanks to Ventura Munitions for helping us out with the cost of ammunition.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Lance

    The most classic US battle rifle ever made.
    One pointer to Alex C avoid oiling a Garand always use grease than oil! other wish get a oil bath every time you take one shooting.

    • M.M.D.C.

      MMMM, an oil bath…

      • Jack

        Do not take off the gas cylinder. This should be pinned by a gunsmith to the barrel. Normally, it is just staked to the barrel, but can be removed. Once removed it becomes loose and zero is hard to reset, because the front sight is attached to the gas cylinder. Bad design because nothing bolts the front sights permanently to the barrel.

        • Limonata

          I have several M1’s and also attended the Advanced Armorers class the CMP used to offer where you built one from the ground up with pieces. Even double checking the notes from class, I have no idea what you are saying.
          You do not need to stake the plug. You have a bad plug or bad gas cylinder. What you described should not be an issue. They never staked the plugs on the M1 and I have never had the issue you described.

          • Gary Kirk

            Same thing with M-1A/m14s.. Said part is seldom removed, if ever.. And then as long as you aren’t swapping barrels.. Everything is already fit.. unless you do a tear down just for s&g all the time

          • Heretical Politik

            Frow what I understand, you can peen the barrel splines slightly, and this will help with the very slight lateral movement of the gas cylinder/front sight. Maybe that’s what he’s talking about?

          • Red79cj5

            Agreed, I also took the armors class and we were shown how to peen the edges of the slots in the barrel in order to tighten them up to keep the gas cylinder/front sight from wobbling side to side. We also chose a gas cylinder lock that timed just right to tighten up just as it swung into position over the gas plug opening

          • JSmath

            I almost feel like he’s talking about an AK instead or something…?

    • Trey

      Some parts need grease some can use oil. One saying I have heard is if it slides used Grease if it spins use oil in reference to the M1 Garand. Personally I have a light oil in all of the trigger group and full synthetic grease lubricant on the parts that are supposed to be greased as per the original manual

  • Major Tom


    • Gary Kirk


  • Bob

    If competition shooters don’t like dismantling it, then how do they clean the rifle?

    • Richard

      They lock open the action and swab out what they can

      • Heretical Politik

        This. The action doesn’t get that dirty anyway, it’s not like an AR that dumps gas (and thus carbon) directly into the receiver. Not knocking the AR, it’s an excellent rifle.

    • Gary Kirk

      Majestical super club only secrets.. (Otis/ Boresnake).. Or they clean from the muzzle, which completely disregards any thoughts on accuracy they thought they had.. But..

      • DetroitMan

        Nothing wrong with cleaning from the muzzle as long as you aren’t mashing your cleaning rod into the crown. Better yet, use an aluminum cleaning rod, which is softer than steel and much less likely to damage the crown.

        • Gary Kirk

          Use bronze rods.. Softer than the steel, but hard enough not to pick up particles that may scratch the muzzle crown or bore like aluminum.. Also less flex than the aluminum rods

    • Michael Hintz

      Complete disassembly only after season is over?

  • Jerry The Geek

    Okay, I’ve had a Garand for about 15 years, took it out shooting once, and have been afraid to try to clean it because … FM got lost. Thanks for info on the FIELD STRIP but the really important information would be how to put it all back together again. (When I was a small boy I was really good at dismantling clocks … not so good at making them run again.)

    • DetroitMan

      You can find lots of instructions for both disassembly and reassembly on the Internet, both video and written. The M1 is really easy to reassemble. The only tricky part is the orientation of the follower guide.

  • Bub

    I got the great ideal once to take the lifter apart and clean everything.

  • Mmmtacos

    “As a side note, competition shooters who use the M1 will very rarely do this as it interferes with the bedding of the rifle.”

    I had heard before that field stripping an M1 was bad but never knew quite why. How does this mess with the bedding? Just by removing and reinserting it? Is that all that it interferes with? I remember hearing at one point it was just a no-no unless necessary, as it could “damage” the rifle (on one occasion I believe it was said that it can harm the op-rod). So obviously I have been reluctant to field strip a piece of history so as to maintain it for as long as possible, despite my love for field, if not detail, stripping firearms fairly often to marvel at their mechanics and make them super duper clean and properly oiled.

    Thanks for the vid!

    • Tom Currie

      If you are clumsy enough you can damage just about any part of just about any rifle at any time, but disassembling a rifle certainly makes it easier to damage more parts – which is why I’m sure people have managed to damage some parts of some M1 rifles and have blamed it on field stripping the rifle instead of blaming it on their own clumsiness (hint: there is nothing on the M1 that needs to be disassembled, assembled, or adjusted with a hammer and the only part that requires any tool is the gas cylinder plug).

      All that being said, the issue about “bedding” and competition shooters applies equally to nearly all rifles. Basically, the way that the barreled action fits into the stock has some amount of influence on the accuracy of any rifle. For competition where you want to put every round through the same hole every time, the idea is that you don’t want ANYTHING about the rifle to change from one shot to the next. Since most barreled actions CAN move around somewhat within the stock, part of what a competition shooter wants to do is to minimize such movement.

      The most common approach on most rifles today is to “free float” the barrel so that the barrel and stock do not touch at all, that way it doesn’t matter much if the gap is 1/2″ or 1/4″ or 1/100″ so long as the barrel never touches the stock. The alternative would be to try to make everything as rigid as possible.

      Obviously you can’t “free float” the action, so at that end we are limited to trying to make everything rigid and as tight fitting as possible so there is isn’t room for the action to move around within the stock.

      For military firearms, reliability usually takes precedence over accuracy. Parts are made deliberately a little loose (within careful tolerances, of course). This accomplishes two essential things: 1) it makes interchangeable parts practical, and 2) it allows room for a reasonable amount of dirt.

      Also, if you look at how the M1 action comes out of the stock, you can see that a certain amount of clearance is needed between the metal and the wood to allow the assemblies to come apart and go back together without requiring more time and care than could be expected for a soldier in the field.

      So, the normal military M1 has its action fitting relatively loosely in the stock and held in place by the clamping effect between the action and the trigger group. Competitive shooters want the action to fit more tightly so they have the action bedded so there is less room, which makes the rifle a somewhat more accurate AND somewhat harder to take apart. How tightly it is bedded has a lot to do with how much “somewhat” really is. Also, taking it apart frequently would wear the bedding. I’m sure you realize that just about anything to take apart and put back together repeatedly, gradually wears and becomes less tight. And, so far as the competition shooter is concerned, less tight is also less accurate.

    • JSmath

      Competition M1s use a bedding (“glass bedding”) that’s an epoxy, not just steel-on-wood contact, so basically think of anything you’ve ever glued. What does removing (and reinstalling) do to anything that’s glued? Usually the glue stretches, breaks, cracks, crumbles, etc.

      There are ways to mitigate it and to fix it (more glue!), but it all just adds considerably to the complexity of the act of disassembly/reassembly.

  • Sebbie

    It’s a good article. Glean what is useful & pass on the rest.
    I have an Ole’ Sayin’ “First liar don’t stand a chance.”

  • WRustyLane

    Now let a Marine tell you about an M1 Garand. I’ve owned a 1943 (May) M1 for over 30 years and the only “grease” you use on an M1 Garand is Lubriplate. Lubriplate is a high heat grease and the only recommended grease for an M1 Garand, M1A1 (M-14) or a 1903 Springfield. You can use light machine oil on the trigger housing group if so desired. The lubriplate is placed on the bolt lugs and the channel the lugs ride in and on the bolt where the hammer rides. You should always field strip your M1 Garand after using it in the field (after firing). The gas plug should always be removed and the op rod face cleaned off because carbon from the burnt powder will collect on the op rod face. It should be lubed with light machine oil then wiped clean. The barrel should be lightly lubed on the outside with light machine oil and of course the barrel must be cleaned on the inside. You can use hops for this and keep swabbing until the patches come out clean. You should use a chamber brush for the chamber to remove any fouling that may have collected in the chamber. Butt stock tools that fit into the butt stock were designed for cleaning the M1 Garand. These cleaning rods were steel, but I do not use them in my barrel. Also pull through strings were packed into the butt stock and they work better than the metal rods to keep from scoring the rifling. After firing my M1, I always field strip it and give it a thorough cleaning including removal of the gas plug and gas cylinder. You should also pass a pipe cleaner through the passage that leads from the gas cylinder to the bore of the rifle barrel. I’ve cleaned many an M1 Garand, M-14 and M-16 in my career in the USMC. Military rifles were meant to field stripped and cleaned–your life depends on it!!!

  • WRustyLane

    The first thing you should do is not remove the trigger housing group. The first thing you should do is pull the bolt rearward and check that the rifle is NOT LOADED!!! Your are an idiot if you don’t do this first!!!!

  • Mc Cain

    If you really want to have fun, enjoy a detailed take down of the complete trigger group. Good times.