M1 Garand Clip: Loading Basics and Troubleshooting Tips



Nothing can cause the new Garand shooter more headaches than an intractable M1 Garand clip. Here’s how to load it and troubleshoot it.

Basics of the M1 Garand Clip

The M1 Garand clip is stamped steel. It holds 8 rounds of .30-06 Springfield (or .308 Win. for M1s so chambered). 5-round clips available, but the standard 8-rounder can be loaded with fewer rounds. The 5-rounder isn't necessary.

The clip is … not a magazine, for it does not completely enclose the cartridges. In fact, the Garand has a magazine, it’s integral to the receiver and receives the clip.  

The last round fired ejects the clip. That creates that signature M1 Garand stripper clip sound characterized by a “ping” that alerts you it’s time to reload.

When you shove the clip down into the M1’s magazine, and then release pressure, the bolt grabs a cartridge and slams it into battery.

Myth: One claim is that you can load 8+1 into the Garand. You can’t do it.     

Myth: The “ping” sound was not something that alerted enemy troops that a soldier’s rifle was empty. A Military Channel documentary spawned this cliché. It’s almost laughable to think the ping sound could be heard at distance among the thunderous roar of a firefight—or that a soldier would pop his head up and provide an easy target when his rifle ran dry.

Loading Garand Clips

There is a correct way to load the clip so that you don’t slam the bolt down on your thumb and earn the coveted “M1 Garand Thumb” Award.

Just make sure you use the side of your hand to keep the bolt retained while inserting the clip.

Here’s an excellent video on loading:


Seat all the rounds fully. If they're not, you'll have a dickens of a time inserting the clip.

From GarandGear.com:

“As a general rule you want the top round to be on the side of the clip with the indexed bump (Shown below). This positions the top round such that when right-handed shooters press the clip in the round is closer to the right hand. The clip can be loaded either way without issue.”

M1 Garand clip loading. Photo: Garandgear.com
M1 Garand clip loading. Photo: Garandgear.com

Additional causes of M1 Garand clip malfunction:

  • Excessive Parkerizing on the clip that causes binding (remove with abrasive paper)
  • Operating rod locked back fully (don’t touch!)
  • Op-rod correctly assembled
  • Inspect the slideway and follower for any burrs, and remove
  • Look for interference from the bullet guide
  • If clips don’t eject after last round you may have a weak or broken clip ejector

More tips and photos at GarandGear.com

Dig Deeper into the M1 Garand:

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