"Loading M2 Ball Ammo for the Garand" written by Gordon

Tuesday, November 14, 2023


There are thousands of articles and blogs on the subject of loading M2 ball ammo for the Garand. In most blogs I've read, someone asks for help with a recipe for standard G.I. M2 ball ammo which results in hundreds of responses about custom loads for competition, hunting, and plinking, but seldom results in a straightforward answer and usually leads to arguments about gas port pressures, do this, don't do that, etc. 


I've been collecting WW1 and WW2 rifles for many years and enjoy the nostalgia of shooting the type of ammo that would have been available when the rifles were in service. Sure, I know how to custom load for them, to squeeze out every bit of accuracy, but what many shooters want is a standard G.I. ball load that will work in their Garand, as well as the 1903 Springfield, the 03A3, M1917 Enfield, etc.


When it comes to duplicating vintage ammo, I do months of research and when possible, I obtain some original rounds for testing, because these rifles are getting older every year and I don't want to destroy it by guessing. 


Based on the WW2 Era M2 ball ammo I have fired, here is what I've been using to duplicate the rounds:


Remington brass, trimmed to 2.484”.

PRVI Partisan 150 gr. M2 bullets 

46 gr. of IMR 4895

CCI #34 NATO style primer

Overall length is 3.330”.

Be sure to use a Lee Factory crimp die.


This load gives me the same recoil, the same point of impact and the same ejection pattern and the same velocity as WW2 Era M2 ammo.


You must remember that these rifles are well used and each barrel is worn according to the amount it was fired, which will result in velocity differences, so I will not quote the velocity from my rifles; just know that I was able to match the original ammunition exactly and can enjoy the experience of shooting these old rifles the way they were when they were in service. 


If you use a different component than what I have listed, be sure to back off your powder charge by 2 grains and work up in small increments, to ensure the rounds are safe for your rifles. These loads are below maximum, but I have no idea of the condition of your rifles or loading equipment or how experienced you are in loading. 


There are hundreds of other things I can say about loading for the Garand, but the intent of this was to provide a recipe that works, and I think you would be wise to research everything you can learn about loading for it. There are a lot of great books on the subject, and you should invest in them. Never guess what you think will work, because these old rifles are expensive, and your eyes and fingers can't be replaced. Happy shooting!!

Leave your comment
11/14/2023 1:30 PM
Good Info!

Gordon has given us some very good load info for our old rifles. We do not need to
"smoke em" , we need to preserve and enjoy! Save the heat for your bolt guns!😉
John Kennedy

11/14/2023 7:12 PM
Very good info, Gordon.

Gordon has written a very good article on loading the equivalent of .30 M2 Ball ammo.  I have a Dillon 550 set-up, but when it comes to loading for my Garand I prefer my old RCBS Rock Chucker single state press.  I feel I get more consistent, precise loads using single stage for this ammo.  Gordon is correct about there being hundreds of other things to say about loading for the Garand.  He has given basic load data.  Now, as he stated, do your research.  Keep Loading!
D. Ray Perkins

1/2/2024 9:13 PM

Good advice for the 150 gn for target practice my preference is 168gn H4895 before IMR 4895 just a hair difference 100 yards out to 300. Yards+ my eyes aren't as good as they used to be, good job guys, AES Disabled veteran with hobby

1/3/2024 10:37 AM
DM 45 M2 Ball

I have several hundred rounds of DM 45 M2 Ball ammunition. I have pulled down many of these rounds and found that they are loaded with 50.0 grains of 4895 powder. Most times I pull the bullets and dump it in new commercial brass with new primers, then I seat the original bullet and fire. I have and do shoot the original rounds but it is such a PITA to clean my M1's after shooting the corrosive ammo.

4/19/2024 10:03 PM
M2 Match

I developed a 30-06  load for my 03-A3 using 168 gr Hornady match bullets , CCI  #34 primers, 42 gr. IMR 4895. This load gave me very good results.