A New Golden Age of M1 Garand Ammo?
For guys who own a few vintage and rebuilt M1 Garands– like this guy– sourcing suitable .30-06 ammo to feed them can be rough. Why not just use commercial .30-06 hunting rounds, well, the guns were designed for 150-grain ball at a certain pressure, and the newer, hotter stuff, can snap op rods, which are kinda expensive and tough to find these days. Plus, go price a box of even mid-shelf Federal blue box 150s ($34.99 per 20 plus tax and shipping) and you realize that shooing matches or practicing for such hurts the wallet at $2 per “bang” and $16 per “ping.”
When I first got into Garands in the late 1980s/early 1990s, the CMP had just pulled in tons of surplus M2 ball ammo from European sources (Norway, Greece, etc) with most of it produced in the coldest period of the Cold War to feed their FMS’d Garands, M1903s, and M1919s then stockpiled for “Der Tag.”
You could get it pretty cheap. Like $99 a 192-round spam can packed in bandoliers and en bloc clips delivered to your house kinda cheap.
By around 2017 the last of that boon had dried up, seemingly for good, and the only glimmer of hope out there was that Sellier & Bellot in the Czech Republic and Privi Partisan in Serbia were boxing up low-pressure 150-grain loads for about 75-85 cents a round and you could even get Berdan-primed gray-case 168gr FMJ Wolf Military Classic for about 60-cents per round.
Then came the Great Ammo Whammy of 2020 in which everything, everywhere sold out and became unobtainable, even common 115-grain 9mm ball, and the production of niche low-pressure 150-grain ’06 halted overnight.
This left some moody 1970s-produced Ethiopian ammo as about the best option by about 2020.
Now, we have a three-punch combination of great news to try and fix the shortage.
Last February, RTI in Florida announced they were bringing in containerloads of U.S.-made Korean War surplus .30-06 M2 ball from Ethiopia, packed in factory-fresh 384 round cases. The cost, at launch, was $800, which I said at the time was way too high (over $2 per round).
Echoing my thoughts exactly, RTI smartened up and dropped the price to $499 (sometimes lower on weekend sales) per case, and have almost sold out at this point, with just about 30 cases left still listed as being “in stock.” With the drop in price, I bit the bullet so to speak, and bought a couple, and am really happy with their condition.
Check it out.
This totals out to 384 rounds, 48 reusable clips, and eight cloth bandoleers with cardboard inserts. Kind of an ok deal for $500. Not great, mind you, but OK.
Winchester just announced they are making new U.S.-production 150-grain M2 ball ammo, especially for Garand users. Of course, that’s nice, but the price is a “whomp-whomp” worthy $35 a box. so there’s that.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program just announced the recent acquisition of .30 carbine, .22 pistol, M2 ball, and .22 Long Rifle surplus ammunition supply that will soon become available to CMP customers.
Currently, the items are in the cataloging and assessment stage by staff members.
“The CMP plans to make the ammunition available to our loyal constituents sometime this spring, after the surplus ammo goes through all CMP in-processing procedures,” said Mark Johnson, CMP’s Chief Operating Officer and Director of Civilian Marksmanship. “Purchase limits and restrictions will be set to ensure that the mission of CMP is well served.”
The CMP intends on maintaining a surplus ammo inventory large enough to support CMP Matches for the next several years and to provide discounted surplus ammo to competitors attending CMP events. All sales will include set limits to remain in compliance with guidelines specified in the Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of the Army and the CMP.
CMP recently received significant quantities of surplus ammunition.
Further surplus sales details will be forthcoming in the near future. Commercial ammunition sales are currently available on the CMP E-Store to qualified individuals. Register for an account or browse the CMP E-Store at https://estore.thecmp.org.
I’m headed up to Anniston/Talladega next month for the Shooting Sports Showcase and will be sure to get the scoop as to where this stuff came from and what the deal is with it.
Stay tuned, and cross your fingers.
I still have two sealed SPAM cans of Greek HXP from the late `60’s and early `70’s. I had bought a mix of 20 round boxed and clips in bandoliers, as well as a few hundred loose de-linked M2 machine gun ammo. All great stuff! I plan on buying a couple more cans when they become available.