Sneak Peek

We’ve wanted to design an optic mount for the M1 Garand rifle for years, and people have been asking us for one, but it always seemed like there was something else we had to do.  Well, here’s our M1 rifle optic mount prototype.  I think it’s going to be designated the M12 optic mount.  You saw it here first.

I don’t know how many people have told me that their “old eyes” can’t make use of the iron sights like they use to, or that it would sure be nice to have a simple way to mount a scout scope or dot sight on a Garand, etc., but it’s been a lot.

If you’re not familiar with the M1 rifle, it has to be loaded from the top, and when the clip of ammo you shove into the magazine runs empty, the clip is ejected forcefully out the top when the last shot is fired.  That means you can’t put an optic over the top of the receiver, ’cause it gets in the way of loading and ejection.  Some M1 rifles were used with scopes mounted off to the left side, but few people like that arrangement.  It works, but you need a special mount and I understand you have to drill the receiver on your classic rifle, plus your manual clip eject button (“clip latch”) is there on the left side.

This new mount replaces the handguard just in front of the receiver, clamping solid to the barrel with steel clamps and screws similar to the UltiMAK M8 for the M-14 rifle.  This is the prototype, and is left “in the white”.  The production units will be anodized and finished in black.  It sits low enough to co witness (use the iron sights without removing the optic, right through the optic, in case the dot fails) with most tubular dot sights which also means you need no comb riser to get a decent cheekweld.  On this example (a vintage Springfield war horse – Thanks Mr. Devoe) I can center the dot in the Aimpoint Micro, with the rear iron sight all the way down hard, and the rear aperture is completely out of the way, yet I can still aim with the irons if I want.  It’s as if the rifle, mount and Micro sight were all made for each other.  That’s the way we like it.

[shameless self promotion = “off”]

I’m not putting it on our web site just yet, because we have more tweaking to do, and a lot of other things before it goes into production.  This post is just what the title says.

The M1 rifle is fascinating for several reasons.  One reason is that the gas port in the barrel (where high pressure gas is bled off to operate the action) is right near the muzzle, under the front sight, so the operating rod goes full length form the charging handle to the front sight.  We were talking here the other day about how much machining went into one of these rifle, and how many were made in a short time.  Amazing.  Its design led to a whole family of long guns, including the M-14, M1A, Mini-14, Mini-30, and the M1 Carbine shares some things in common with it.  Back in the day the M1 was state of the art, but today it would be considered on the high end of heavy for a battle rifle, it holds a small number of rounds in the magazine, doesn’t lend itself to “tactical reloads” very well, but it sure is a lot of fun, and its .30-06 cartridge packs a punch.  And look how pretty it is.  Just..just look at it.


8 thoughts on “Sneak Peek

  1. That is one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time. Christmas is coming up…

  2. You do have some competition out there. Fulton Armory sells a rail system that looks somewhat similar.

    They also sell a completely different type of mount that replaces the rear sight assembly…it bolts between the “ears” of the rear sight on the receiver. I tried one, and the only thing it does to permanently alter the rifle is to leave small set-screw marks on the top of the receiver. But those are covered if you put the rear sight back on, so it didn’t bother me. I did have to put a leather cheek pad on, but those just lace into place.

    It’s offset so that you can load an en-bloc clip without any problems, and even though I put a fairly big (50mm objective) scope on it the ejected shell cases didn’t whang the scope.

    It’s kind of fun to shoot the Garand with a scope, but it makes a big, bulky rifle even bigger and bulkier.

  3. Fulton is one of our distributors, so I’m aware of much of what they’re offering. They were asking us for an M-14 forward mount, and had sent us some barrels for comparison to our own rifles (very generous of them) but they got impatient and went with those other guys. Now they’re being loyal to them, which I suppose I can understand to a point. As for that other forward Garand mount; it’s taller (can’t co witness) and heavier. That business started out after we first introduced our Mini-14 & Mini-30 mounts (same basic concept) and after we had been promoting it in Shotgun News and on the web. There has been a parade of UltiMAK wannabes ever since, all of course pretending that they thought it up on their own.

    It was a funny, and to me a bit annoying, experience. As I would tell people of the mounting systems we were going to produce, I’d get tons of nay sayers, telling me that my ideas would never, or could never work. Some of most bizarre claims you could imagine. One kid, obviously a genius, told me with complete confidence that escaping gas from our AK mount would cut into the optic (like a plasma cutter I guess). Others told me, and there were many, that aluminum would never hold up in contact with the barrel. I guess they’d never heard of the AR-15 or other alloy framed guns. Once we actually did it, we got a bunch of copy-cats. Heh. It’s nice to know, I guess, that we created a whole accessory sub-industry than never existed before. Now even the Russians are copying our AK forward mount concept. No doubt they’ll call it a great innovation coming, once again, from the Motherland.

  4. That looks like a great mount, Lyle. I have a shorty Garand (one of the John Farnam spec “politically correct non-assault rifles”) with the Robar NP3 finish, .308 caliber, in a fiberglass stock. It has a scout mounted Burris optic on what I believe is an older Smith Enterprises rail. The scope eyepiece is just beat to heck by ejecting brass. I was thinking the Aimpoint Micro would be a great replacement to that scope, and your new mount with the Aimpoint really does look to be the ticket.

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that the venerable SKS is also based on Simonov’s interpretation of the Garand action. So not only are there numerous US offspring from the design, but foreign ones as well. I really enjoy collecting these semi-auto forebears of the modern battle rifle: the Garand, FN-49, etc.

  5. Yes, I suspect Simonov was influenced by Garand, but only in a conceptual or doctrinal sense. The two actions are quite different. It’s hard to say sometimes, since there was so much development in fighting tactics and arms design in those days. On another note; I’ve maintained for years, and still do, that Kalashnikov took Garand’s trigger design and adapted it to his action. They are very much the same. The SKS and M1 Carbine mechanisms are more different, each in its own way. And for the record I’ll make the claim that Glock pistols use the SKS camming and tilt lock system (though of course one is tilting the barrel and one is tilting the bolt). They even look the same.

  6. Lyle, because guns were designed with utility in mind, it’s easy to look at them as one wood a hammer or pliers. But many of us see so much more than metal, wood, and mechanical actions. Judging by your last sentence, I think you are one of those people.

    I’m not sure if it’s a trick of ergonomics, utility, or entirely made up in our heads, but you don’t have to look hard to see the art in the design of many firearms. Perhaps the “correct” design of firearms lends itself to the application of certain elements or art, but I’d prefer to think their designers had the artistic eye, and worked with two goals in mind. (Whether they were aware of it or not.)

    The combination of utility, reliability, color, lines hard and soft, and even wear can become something so much more than a sculpture, a painting, or a likeness of any kind.

    It’s functional art.

    I’m glad to know that there are still people out there designing firearm parts who have an eye for the art that goes into firearm design.

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