Re: when and where was your !st encounter with the m1 garand
An M-1 story: This occurred during the '63/'64 PAC FLEET championship range competition held at Camp Eliot, San Diego, in '64. I was just a young 3rd Class PO, and had been shooting on different shooting teams in the San Diego area for a while when I was selected to be sent TAD to SATU San Diego, receive a shooting coach, and fire for the 11th Naval Dist. team. I posted this back in May in another location in this forum but thought it fits with the spirit of the Garand tales here.
I was just a kid, but was shooting pretty well with the wonderful old Garand. I was on the 11th Naval Dist. Team. My coach was twice a member of the President's 100 and one hell of a coach and shooter. He held the range record (Camp Elliot) for pistol, rifle and the aggregate of both. A big Seabee Chief PO had been trying to beat that aggregate score for a few years, but THIS year was to the IT! He told one and all that my coach's record was about to fall.
At this shoot they ran 3 relays of 75 shooters for each station, followed by an alibi round. Unknown to me, my coach had arranged (somehow) to place me on the same relay as the Chief and one target to his left. We were firing the old National Match course of fire. The 200yd. off hand slow fire round went well, as did the 300yd. standing to sitting rapid fire. As I prepared for the 400yd. standing to prone rapid fire stage, my coach pulled me off to the side and handed me a clip of, what looked like, the normal Lake City Match ammo. He then told me that, no matter what, when the targets started up from the butts I was to hit the dirt FAST! then get the first two rounds off as fast as possible....just as long as the muzzle of my weapon was pointed down range. He told me to look back at him when I went to re-load, and if he gave me anything other than a 'thumbs-up' I was to load that particular clip, settle down and not to worry......everything would work out. I figured that something was going on, but had no idea of what it was. Well, the targets started up and I hit the dirt as fast as possible and popped off those first two rounds like a machine. I looked back and my coach had his hands in the air as if to say "what the @#^$!!!?", so in went the clip I was given. One round out of it and that rifle jammed...tight. All I could do was hold up my hand to signal for an alibi. The cease fire sounded and then all I could hear was the Chief next to me cussing up a storm.....and he was looking at ME!
Now let me explain, I'm left handed....I shoot the Garand left handed. When in the prone position I'm bass akwards to everyone else on the line. When I hit the dirt and spit out those first two rounds, two pieces of red hot Lake City brass headed right toward that Seabee Chief, slipped right inside the starched collar of his Marine Corp fatigues and right down his neck. He flinched....badly......and ultimately registered a 'Maggie's Drawers". His record run was over. The Chief's attitude didn't improve any when my coach walked up to him and mentioned that he needed to learn to 'concentrate'. The round that jammed my rifle so badly was over-sized and had to be cleared at the armory and not on the range. I did well on my alibi round, but I stayed completely out of sight of that big Seabee Chief for the rest of the match. Fun n games in the Navy.