PART I: Velocity Theory

If you're anything like me (and I know that I am) you get a certain appreciation out of trying to duplicate or clone and already existing load. Some may call it a fool's errand, I call it entertainment. One such load I have set out to clone is the 30-06, M2 Ball, for my M1 Garand.

The truth is this is a super simple load to clone. The powder, primer, case, and bullet are already chosen for us. And since this is not a particularly accurate round (by modern day standards) the main variable we are solving for is velocity.

It actually amazes me how little information there is regarding the velocity of this round. Don't get me wrong, everyone and their mom is tracking that it is clocked in at 2740 FPS at 78 ft from the muzzle, but I was only able to find a few sources where someone had actually chronographed the round.

If you are trying to duplicate the round and you don't have any factory ammo to chrono then the next best thing is to try to convert 2740 FPS at 78 ft to X FPS at 15 ft. If you assume a Ballistic Coefficient of .390 for the 150 FB projectile, and you play around with a ballistic calculator, you will find that 2740 FPS at 78 ft comes out to 2789 FPS at 15 ft (and 2793 FPS at 10 ft).

PART II: Actual Velocity (Sort of)

A while back my father-in-law gave me a handful of Lake City M2 Ball Rounds from 1953. They were pretty tarnished and I didn't think I would ever fire them from any rifle I owned (I didn't own an M1 Garand at the time). Since they were in pretty bad shape I decided to pull and 'refurbish' them. I pulled the rounds, resized and decapped them, washed the brass with SS media, annealed them and reloaded the round with the original bullet, powder, and case. The only thing that was new was a CCI 200 LRP.

While I de-milled these rounds I weighed a few charges, of what I assume was IMR 4895, and found them all to contain around 49.0 gr. I do not remember the exact measurements, but I do know that I used 49.0 gr when I put the rounds back together.

Even though the rounds that I used for my baseline velocities are not TRUE M2 ball rounds, they are closer than any other LC M2 Ball that I have seen chronographed… which is none.

I took readings on two different occasions, once on 28SEP2019 in Dundee Oregon, and another on 12AUG2022 in Sandy Oregon. Both at 15 ft using a Caldwell Chronograph.

Dundee
Velocity: 2739.8FPS
SD: 40.8 FPS
ES 88 FPS

Sandy
Velocity: 2768.3 FPS
SD: 12.6 FPS
ES: 35FPS

I fired 8 rounds of each load (including the control group) all on the same day from a range of 15 ft. I used the components below for my clone load.

Bullet: PPU 150gr M2 bullet (NEW)
Brass: Lake City 67 30-06 (Once Fired)
Powder: IMR 4895
Primer: CCI 200 LRP

Powder Charge: 46.0 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2669 FPS
SD: 36.5 FPS
ES: 86 FPS

Powder Charge: 46.5 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2695 FPS
SD: 55.2 FPS
ES: 166 FPS

Powder Charge: 47 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2765 FPS
SD: 51.1 FPS
ES: 146 FPS

Powder Charge: 47.5 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2765 FPS
SD: 51.7 FPS
ES: 147 FPS

Powder Charge: 48 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2785 FPS
SD: 44.7 FPS
ES: 127 FPS

Powder Charge: 48.5 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2779 FPS
SD: 28.5 FPS
ES: 79 FPS

While all of the rounds cycled just fine, I found the 47.0 gr - 47.5 gr most closely resembled the 'original' M2 Ball that I fired.

ron
This is why my M1 is an 03-A3.

Lulz

PART I: Velocity Theory

If you're anything like me (and I know that I am) you get a certain appreciation out of trying to duplicate or clone and already existing load. Some may call it a fool's errand, I call it entertainment. One such load I have set out to clone is the 30-06, M2 Ball, for my M1 Garand.

The truth is this is a super simple load to clone. The powder, primer, case, and bullet are already chosen for us. And since this is not a particularly accurate round (by modern day standards) the main variable we are solving for is velocity.

It actually amazes me how little information there is regarding the velocity of this round. Don't get me wrong, everyone and their mom is tracking that it is clocked in at 2740 FPS at 78 ft from the muzzle, but I was only able to find a few sources where someone had actually chronographed the round.

If you are trying to duplicate the round and you don't have any factory ammo to chrono then the next best thing is to try to convert 2740 FPS at 78 ft to X FPS at 15 ft. If you assume a Ballistic Coefficient of .390 for the 150 FB projectile, and you play around with a ballistic calculator, you will find that 2740 FPS at 78 ft comes out to 2789 FPS at 15 ft (and 2793 FPS at 10 ft).

PART II: Actual Velocity (Sort of)

A while back my father-in-law gave me a handful of Lake City M2 Ball Rounds from 1953. They were pretty tarnished and I didn't think I would ever fire them from any rifle I owned (I didn't own an M1 Garand at the time). Since they were in pretty bad shape I decided to pull and 'refurbish' them. I pulled the rounds, resized and decapped them, washed the brass with SS media, annealed them and reloaded the round with the original bullet, powder, and case. The only thing that was new was a CCI 200 LRP.

While I de-milled these rounds I weighed a few charges, of what I assume was IMR 4895, and found them all to contain around 49.0 gr. I do not remember the exact measurements, but I do know that I used 49.0 gr when I put the rounds back together.

Even though the rounds that I used for my baseline velocities are not TRUE M2 ball rounds, they are closer than any other LC M2 Ball that I have seen chronographed… which is none.

I took readings on two different occasions, once on 28SEP2019 in Dundee Oregon, and another on 12AUG2022 in Sandy Oregon. Both at 15 ft using a Caldwell Chronograph.

Dundee
Velocity: 2739.8FPS
SD: 40.8 FPS
ES 88 FPS

Sandy
Velocity: 2768.3 FPS
SD: 12.6 FPS
ES: 35FPS

I fired 8 rounds of each load (including the control group) all on the same day from a range of 15 ft. I used the components below for my clone load.

Bullet: PPU 150gr M2 bullet (NEW)
Brass: Lake City 67 30-06 (Once Fired)
Powder: IMR 4895
Primer: CCI 200 LRP

Powder Charge: 46.0 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2669 FPS
SD: 36.5 FPS
ES: 86 FPS

Powder Charge: 46.5 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2695 FPS
SD: 55.2 FPS
ES: 166 FPS

Powder Charge: 47 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2765 FPS
SD: 51.1 FPS
ES: 146 FPS

Powder Charge: 47.5 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2765 FPS
SD: 51.7 FPS
ES: 147 FPS

Powder Charge: 48 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2785 FPS
SD: 44.7 FPS
ES: 127 FPS

Powder Charge: 48.5 gr IMR 4895
Velocity: 2779 FPS
SD: 28.5 FPS
ES: 79 FPS

While all of the rounds cycled just fine, I found the 47.0 gr - 47.5 gr most closely resembled the 'original' M2 Ball that I fired.

This is why my M1 is an 03-A3.

Lulz
I’m not sure I follow, can you elaborate?

Tagged

Joe

You are asking to duplicate the M2 Ball load? I have reloaded ammo for my Garand's for competition shooting
for many years. The M2 ball load is fairly accurate load but on the hot side. Not a "Match" load. I like to down
load for the 30/06. I am looking for accuracy and I don't need to beat up the shooter or the rifle. My go to
load is 168 SMK with 46.0 grains of IMR 4064 and LC cases. I have found that IMR 4064 slightly more
accurate than IMR 4895. 168 SMK are exspensive bullets. The Hornady 150 FMJ work well OK accuracy.
Some Garands with worn barrels seem to shoot better with a flat bottom bullet verses the boat tail.

I was really just wanting to share my journey of duplicating the M2 ball round. I had seen a lot of recipes out there (mostly 47-49gr IMR 4894) but very few examples of comparing their load to actual, us made, m2 ball.

I appreciate you sharing your load! Do you find that the 168 performs significantly better than the 175? I only ask cause I have A lot of 175gr smk.

ron
Recently, I was reloading for my M1 Garand and I was running short of my stock of H4895 (yeah, it's not the genuine IMR 4895). BUT, But, but......anyway, I figured that I'd turn to the wisdom of Master Po.

Huh......Who is this Master Po?

OK, Ok, ok......if you'll allow me to link.......

Sorry.....I don't have a chronograph. And, in this case, I was just trying to get a "safe load" for my Garand with the powder that I had on hand. Yeah.....it's NOT like the shelves are filled with A VARIETY OF POWDERS (at good prices).....yet.

YEAH......Dream on.

BTW and For the record......
My H4895 started out as an 8-pound jug. But then, thanks to my son (he used it for his .223 loads)......well, I had to use W748 for my .30-06 loads.

Life is full of compromises.

Aloha, Mark

Thanks for sharing Mark! Interestingly enough on that same thread @Certaindeaf also commented ‘This is why I use an 03-A3.’ It must be a catch phrase

Last Edited:
The 47 to 47.5 grain load of IMR 4895 with a 150-grain bullet is a standard, proven load in 30.06 in the M1 Garand. Check out the CMP Forum, especially the reloading section for a wealth of information on this subject. Hodgdon powder reloading has loads listed for the Garand (30.06) and 308 service rifle on their website. Also, if you are using 150 grain FMJ bullets, they are usually not the most accurate.

RE : 150 grn bullet for M1 loads.

My take on it......
147 grn FMJ bullets are also a lot easier to find in bulk. Not to mention, cheaper.

Aloha, Mark

I do have a lot of 147gr FMJ that I will certainly use for plinking. I loaded these mostly for kicks and giggles.

M2 ball isn't always the same load. I've found that later LC ammo seems to be loaded lighter for some reason. Just today fired some LC69 rounds over the chronograph - 2600 fps.

Greek surplus HXP is hotter. I recently bought some more HXP (thanks again Mark), but forgot to take any along when I had the chronograph out. I've clocked it before at around 2800 fps. 200 fps is a pretty big difference between variations of the same load.

M2 Greek is significantly hotter with noticeably more recoil. Other US M2 seems to be all over the place on velocity. Some even slower than spec on my chronograph. Pulling down some, I have found both stick and ball powders depending on the manufacture and date. I suspect they used whatever available to meet the minimum velocity. That being the case, to accurately duplicate it, grab whatever powder you have on the shelf in the recommended burn rate and load it until you meet velocity minimum.

M1’s are outperformed by the AR at matches. Dedicated M1 matches are typically shot now at 200 yards max. For cheap accurate match loads, I have gone to cheap 125gr Speer TNT flat based bullets that are as or more accurate at the short distance and have noticeably less recoil.

Pulling down some, I have found both stick and ball powders depending on the manufacture and date.
I've noticed the same thing. There likely was a velocity spread for original M2 Ball ammo that allowed for minor variations in speed. Due to variations in materials. Powder lots can vary. When this occurs, they can dial the charge up or down, but it's difficult to come up with the same hard number when you're making millions of rounds.

I've loaded for M1 Rifles for decades, I pretty typically load 150 gr. bullets in the middle to high 2,600 fps range. Mostly using IMR 4895. But I've also loaded some 165/168 and 180 gr. loads, mostly using IMR 4064. However, when I down-sized a few years ago I changed to a ball powder, BL-C(2).

Thanks guys. I've not loaded 30-06 yet, but have a Garand and working on an 03 project (and maybe an 03A3 too). Will need to start loading for them.

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