TFB Armorer's Bench: By The Armorer Book – M1 Garand Maintenance

by Sam.S

Welcome everyone to the TFB Armorer’s Bench! As mentioned in the little blurb below, this series will focus on a lot of home armorer and gunsmith activities. In this article, I figured with Memorial Day around the corner it may be a good opportunity to talk about M1 Garand maintenance or even a touch of general firearm maintenance and conservation. The last time we did something like this was with a Glock and a Glock Armorer’s Book. Perhaps you have Pappy’s M1 and want to clean it according to the military manuals or you just want to be on top of preservation. Let’s dive right in!

More TFB Armorer’s Bench Content:

TFB Armorer’s Bench: M1 Garand Maintenance

Here, we at TFB hope to inform, entertain, and even inspire any would-be gunsmith or armorer out there. Ideally, with the information I provide and with the help of our sponsors, you can have some useful knowledge about the conservation and improvement of firearms technology while at the same time sharing experiences and teaching each other new tips and tricks along the way in the comments. Digging deep into what it is to be an armorer or gunsmith has significance but what is important is what those people do to show they’ve earned that title. I am happy to share my experiences and knowledge and hope it is informative!

Make your personal safety a priority:

  1. Practice proper gun safety. Always make sure before the firearm hits your bench that it is unloaded and safe to be handled.
  2. Wear the proper safety equipment. The main one would be safety glasses (decent ones) since parts are often under spring tension and you may work with high RPM tools. Other honorable mentions would be latex gloves or a respirator when working with potentially harmful solvents and oils. Also hearing protection when working with loud machinery or test-firing firearms.
  3. Modifications, alterations, and customizations will void your firearm’s warranty 9.5 times out of 10. Please take that into consideration before attempting any at-home gunsmithing.
  4. If you are unsure about proper safety practices, disassembly procedures, or warranty standards, stop, put down the tools, and consult a competent gunsmith.

By The Book? – M1 Garand Maintenance

So, the book I am referring to this time is the basic service manual for the M1 Garand. It is super straightforward and even obvious to folks who clean guns frequently but I thought it would be fun to share what is directly from the manual and general preservation tips. GarandGear has some service manuals that are free to view.

Not sure how an M1 Garand comes apart? First, if you are not sure you are up to the task please hand it over to a competent gunsmith or armorer for maintenance. Otherwise here is a source for instructions.

Cleaning – M1 Garand Maintenance

The manual states that all metal parts should be wiped down with a gun solvent. The same sort of stuff you use to clean a barrel or scrub an action. No need to drench anything and in most cases there it’s not necessary to take things apart to the extent I have. For the sake of being thorough and photogenic, I took things down as far as someone understandably may after a long period without maintenance.

This is a good opportunity to scrub spots with large deposits of lead, copper, or carbon. Places like the gas assembly (the cylinder, cylinder lock, gas port, and end of the pistol rod), bolt face, bolt guides, and charging handle cuts. On top of all of this, the bore should get some attention as well with a rod or bore snake.

I use different gunsmith liquids depending on what I have on hand but for those hard-to-reach spots, gun barrels, or small parts in a bin I really have grown fond of this CVA foaming bore cleaner for muzzleloaders. It seems to have that extra kick to knock grime off quickly after soaking. For more info on various gunsmith liquids check out this article!

Lubrication – M1 Garand Maintenance

With all the metal parts gone through, cleaned, and wiped down with solvent (and dried), we can reassemble (mostly) and lubricate by the book. According to the manual things are to be greased. As your humble gunsmith, I would say grease works but if you don’t have any on hand, CLP (or any gun oil) will work for the time being. According to the service manual, the attention is to be directed to the receiver, bolt, and trigger assembly. raceways and cuts for the bolt and charging handle to ride in should have some grease. I put a generous amount on for pictures’ sake. You should not need this much.

The bolt lugs and underside/inside where the bolt slips can get a small amount as well. The manual mentions adding some to the hammer and trigger cams however I would advise avoiding this unless it’s a small single drop of CLP. As a general rule, trigger/hammer assembly should not need any attention besides cleaning. Lubrication opens up spots for grim to stick to and gum up over time.

Note on wood care: It is okay to put gun oil on gun stocks. Some solvents may have things in them that will remove layers of finish but normally oil is fine. If you find your stock needs refreshment, a light rub of linseed oil or Danish oil will rejuvenate a stock quickly (assuming it does not have a glossy lacquer sort of layer on top of its finish.

If you have a 3D printer some handy dummy rounds for Garand cycling without chambering or ejecting can be found here. They actually work pretty slick.

Final Thoughts: M1 Garand Maintenance

That is basically it. The manual is short and sweet on maintenance. Just make sure to not go overboard on any of it. To me, preservation would be swabbing the bore and wiping it down with rust-preventative gun oil after the range. Nothing needs to be torn apart unless it has been several range sessions or it has been in the humidity or rain. General storage maintenance is simply keeping things oiled (not dripping) to prevent rust and corrosion. One additional spot where I would apply some grease would be the underside of the barrel where the op rod moves. Hopefully, this was an educational read and I will see you all again soon!


I have been thinking of doing a Q&A sort of TFB Armorer’s Bench article. Please submit any gunsmith questions or questions about the series you want answered in the comment section or DM me on Instagram or Facebook. I will do my best to respond to any questions on the spot. If I get an article worth of questions then you will see it over here (I will keep things anonymous as well).

As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Armorer’s Bench! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.


Writer | TheFirearmBlogWriter | AllOutdoor.comInstagram | sfsgunsmithOld soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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