National Match Armory

M1 Rifle Upgrades Explained:

    National Match Armory has become nationally known for building world-class service rifle competition firearms using rack-grade and service-grade M1 Garands (as well as 1903 Springfield and M1A rifles) as our raw material.







    While the other competition rifle builders have moved on into the high-tech world of the AR-15, National Match Armory has continued to develop and apply 21st Century technology to these venerable WWII-era rifles, making them more accurate and more reliable than ever before. 

   In fact, NMA-built .30 caliber Service Rifle Competition M1s are completely capable of "possibles" (500 of 500, or 800 of 800 possible points) in today's across the course competition...if the shooter is up to the task, that is. 

    "There is no better choice for the basis of a competitive Service Rifle than John Garand's remarkable matter what anybody else says."

     We are also widely recognized for our CMP rifle accuracy upgrades and for our 100% legal John C. Garand Match Rifles as well. 

    There is really no reason to switch to a mouse gun to be competitive, as many of our nostalgia-minded clients have discovered. A well-prepared M1 will do the job, and give the shooter an even stronger sense of accomplishment having done it "the hard way."

    While there are many sources for used M1's, the Civilian Marksmanship Program ( sells the ideal rifle to start with for just $500 - a true bargain in this world of over-priced, buyer-beware gun show Garands. 

    Called the Service Grade M1, the as-issued Garand from CMP will be complete and serviceable as-received, and will feature a good condition gas system and other major parts. 

    Be aware, however, that the barrel, the wood parts and the overall function, fit and finish may or may not be up to new rifle standards, as they must be for the rifle to be even minimally competitive in today's Service Rifle competition arena. This, of course, is true of any M1, regardless of where it came from.


    Because each CMP Service Grade M1, like those from any other source, will have its own unique combination of strengths and weaknesses, it is essential that it is competently diagnosed to determine its exact condition in all areas before any corrective work is done.

    It is at this point that NMA Riflesmith Eric Pierce and the rifle's owner get together and come to an understanding of exactly how his particular rifle will be used. This conference is of the utmost importance to the overall success of the rifle-building project.

    Every owner has unique plans for and expectations of his shooting future with his M1, and this - not the price list - should be the roadmap by which the new rifle is crafted from the old. 

    Because Pierce shoots M1 Garands exclusively in local and regional Service Rifle and John C. Garand competition, including an annual trek to the National Matches at Camp Perry, he is well qualified to recommend a rifle-building program to exactly fit the needs of each individual M1 shooter.

    "Sometimes I recommend that nothing whatsoever be done to a particular rifle," Pierce explains. "If a guy gets a really nice one from the CMP and all he wants to do with it is plink at rocks with his buddies a few times a year, there's no point in putting a dime's worth of modifications into it. It's perfect for his particular needs as it is.

    "The same is true for a collector, or a shooter who just wants one for nostalgia reasons and will keep it displayed on the wall most of the time.

    "But if a moderate-to-expertly skilled shooter wants to compete seriously - or even semi-seriously - he needs a rifle that's not going to be a hindrance to him. It must shoot better than he can, or he'll soon leave it at home in favor of one that will."

    Once a rifle has been put in tip-top original condition, there's still plenty of room for improvements in the areas of accuracy, reliability and appearance.


    The rifles built by National Match Armory fall into three broad categories: "John C. Garand" Match Rifles, "Expert" Match Rifles and "Master / High Master" Match Rifles.

  "One very popular version of the M1 rifle is the John C. Garand Match Rifle in .30-06. This one is typical of the ones we build for our customers, often using a CMP service-grade rifle as a starting point."

  The National Match Armory John C. Garand Match Rifle Package is the first step up. It includes all the "careful assembly" that's allowed, while adhering strictly to the current CMP regulations for the J.C.G. Class. (See our "John C. Garand" Match Rifles: page for details.) Accuracy is noticeably improved if recommendations are followed, while the rifle is still 100% legal for John C. Garand Competition.

    "If its being competitive in across-the-course CMP/NRA Service Rifle competition that's desired, the  M1  is still an excellent choice as a place to start," Pierce continues. 

    The application of the National Match Armory 12-Step Accurizing Program provides a quantum leap over the JCG Package because it includes steel bedding of the receiver plus handguard, gas cylinder and other proprietary accuracy modifications. This package is the foundation of the National Match Armory Expert Match Rifle, the most popular rifle NMA builds.

"Expert Level Match Rifles like this Winchester are by far the most popular type of rifles built at National Match Armory. The basic model is very affordable and can be upgraded at the outset, or (though we don't recommend doing it this way...) later as the budget allows."

    "We build moderately priced Expert Level rifles in either .308 or .30-06 which are capable of accuracy right around 1 MOA. When fitted with optional NM 1/2-minute sights and a good quality sling, an Expert Level M1 will get a skilled shooter well into the upper scoring levels. (See our "Expert" Match Rifles: page for more information.) And, they can be upgraded as the shooter's skills improve through practice and competition experience.

    "From there we progress into the Master and High Master Level Match Rifles. These feature more aggressive modifications such as pressure steel bedding, pillar bedding, premium barrels such as Douglas and Krieger, custom unitized front ends and specialized gas system modifications to wring the ultimate accuracy out of these 65-year old rifles. (See our "Master"/"High Master" Match Rifles: page for additional details.) Lots of hand-fitting and custom finishing round out the package which can be capable of well under minute-of-angle accuracy with match grade ammunition.

"The top end of the National Match Armory line is represented by this Krieger barreled 'High Master' Competition Service Rifle  with steel pressure bedding and sub-MOA accuracy... .308 or .30-06, the choice is yours."

       And, unlike the cranky and delicate NM Garands of technology past, National Match Armory match-conditioned M1s can - and have! -  survive being dropped or being picked up repeatedly by the front handguard with no ill effects! 

   Gone, too, are the days when a work rifle had to look like one. We routinely build custom M1 Garands with Fancy and Extra Fancy oil-finished walnut stocks that both look and shoot like a million bucks. Take a look at this year's Camp Perry Award Rifles (see "2001 Camp Perry Award Rifles" page), for example. If you want great looks to go with extraordinary performance, you've come to the right place.

"National Match Armory specializes in building M1 rifles to fit your needs. We build them one-by-one, each being as individual as its owner. No, they are not cheap, but the good stuff rarely is."

   While the Civilian Marksmanship Program can provide a basic M1 at a very reasonable price to be used as a beginning, National Match Armory can also provide turn-key match-conditioned rifles if you'd prefer.

   We usually have several of each level in stock, ready to go, or we can build one to suit your needs on your rifle, or on one of our GI receivers. We also have a rifle exchange program if you'd like to trade your M1 for one of ours. 

    Master and High Master Competition Service Rifles are built-to-order only, though we occasionally have a sample rifle or two in stock. 

    Call, or check our "Rifles For Sale" page for availability and price. And remember, the best doesn't cost that much more, so why settle for less? 

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National Match Armory

"Why settle for less?"

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