December 07, 2012
By Gus Norcross
Gus Norcross, originally trained on National Match rifles and pistols by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit, specializes in Garands, M14s and 1911s at his small shop on the coast of Maine. His website is www.angusarms.com. He will be offering gunsmithing tips and tricks on Fridays.
Garand lovers are lucky that aftermarket stock sets are available to restore and beautify their pet .30 cal. battle rifles, but there may be some fitting involved that most shooters aren't aware of. Like M1As, Garands require barrel tension to moderate barrel harmonics and this tension is provided by the stock ferrule pulling down on the lower band.
Commercial stocks may not provide any tension at all. On NM rifles, we epoxy bed the action so the barrel is at a slight upward angle, but action bedding is time consuming and, frankly, a lot of work. If the action fits nicely in the stock, why not move the position of the stock ferrule down rather than change the angle of the whole barreled action? This is a modification anyone can do to improve accuracy.
The stock ferrule seat is filed and ground with a 1/2" Dremel sanding drum so the position of the ferrule is moved downward 1/8" to 3/16". The barreled action and lower band are test fitted as the filing proceeds until the ferrule is low enough to provide hard contact and downward pressure on the band. At this point a shim is glued in place and shaped to mimic the original ferrule mounting surface. The thickness of the shim determines the amount of tension on the barrel and the modification isn't noticeable when the rifle is assembled.
The barrel channel may have to be clearanced slightly because we don't want any part of the barrel to touch the stock forward of the receiver. I consider this modification "blueprinting" rather than accurizing and I don't see why the stock manufacturer can't tweak the program on their CNC machine so we don't have to modify anything in the first place. It would be an easy fix.
The unmodified stock
The unmodified stock looks great but provides no downward tension on the barrel, which is required for best accuracy when shooting a Garand.
Gluing a wooden shim
Start by gluing a wooden shim at the bottom of the stock tenon. It needs to follow generally the line of the existing wood.
Then shape the shim to fit inside the stock ferrule, using a file and a 1/2" Dremel sanding drum so the position of the ferrule is moved downward 1/8" to 3/16".
Comparing with the unmodified stock on the left, it's easy to spot the lowered ferrule on the right-hand stock.
Moderate barrel harmonics
The lower band is pulled down by the stock ferrule to moderate barrel harmonics. A free-floating barrel is not what you want on a Garand.
The barrel channel should be relieved so the barrel doesn't touch the stock. You don't want the barrel to touch wood in front of the receiver.