Tyler Kee and I have recently purchased a pair of M1 Garand rifles. We have some grand plans for these guns involving much hog slaughtering and paper punching, and are planning to put them through their paces this Saturday. But before we can fire them, we need to load them. And I get the idea Tyler has no idea how that whole “clip” thing works. So, in the five minutes between the time my box of M1 clips arrived and when I had to go to work today, I slapped together this video.

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21 Responses to Ask Foghorn: How to Load an EnBloc Clip for an M1 Garand

  1. Is there a mechanical means to do this? Guys probably weren’t doing this by hand back in WWII to supply the millions of clips needed on the front.

    • I have seen pictures of factory clip loading machines and I believe I saw one for sale once. But as far as I know they are extremely rare now and are more of a collectors item. That is if you can even find one! And I can only imagine what it would go for price wise!

    • I have seen pictures of factory clip loading machines and I believe I saw one for sale once. But as far as I know they are extremely rare now and are more of a collectors item.

  2. are there any recommendations for where to get these en bloc clips? Are there two different types (a good one and a ‘bad’ one) like for the mosin? BTW, the method for loading the mosin involving stacking each successive round on the lip of the prior works very well for the clips I have…

  3. Hey Leghorn – I noticed you are loading that clip with commercial (Federal?) ammo. As you know, some commercial ammo is “garand safe” but others are not. I have generally been shooting M2 ball that I acquired from CMP, but supplies of that seem to be dwindling.

  4. Nice video for anyone that has never loaded a M1 clip. I confess I was hoping you were going to show us some secret Marine Corp method that was faster, easier, better, etc. I know after loading a couple of dozen of these, my thumbs hurt and need a break.

  5. OFWG Garand shooter tip for shooting a LOT of clips through your Garand, especially in chilly weather: Load the clips so the top round is on the right side of the clip as you look down on it. That will put a loaded round directly under your thumb when you push the clip down in to the rifle, and you won’t be pushing on the upper edge of the clip. When you are shooting in a rapid fire squad-type match and loading ten clips or so, you will notice the difference on your bare thumb. This also gives you a slightly raised surface (the top of the top round) to push the clip in, plus keeping your thumb over on the open side of the action, thus helping to avoid the dreaded “M-1 thumb”.

    If you look at the video, the first (already loaded) clip had the top round on the right side, while the second clip ended up with the top round on the left side. It’s a minor issue unless you are going to be loading and firing a lot of clips in a short period of time. This may be why all of the CMP Garand ammo I have shot had the top round on the right – it was set up for soldiers who were going to be running through a lot of clips quickly. (No actual DoD written evidence of that last speculation, however.)

  6. When loading the enbloc, make sure the ronds are seated fully in the bloc. There is a ridge inside the bloc that will hold the rounds. I start with 3 rounds in the bloc and use my left index finger to hold tension on the rounds. Then insert each of the 5 remaining rounds into the open end of the bloc including the last round. The top round should be on the right. Works easier for me. When loading the bloc into the M1, place your right hand with the bottom edge of against the charging handle and push down the bloc with your thumb. This will force your thumb out of the way before the bolt closes. Fulton Armory has all the parts and accessories you may want/need for your M1, M14/M1A

  7. I hadn’t used anything like this sort of loading system before… so I bought 30.06 metal training rounds… I figured it was best to learn how to put the eight in, pop the en bloc in, cycle manually eight times, hear the cheery “ping” and repeat a few times, before I started with live ammo..

  8. In the ’80’s I fired in NRA High Power rifle competition using an M1. For the timed fire stages we were required to fire 10 rounds in a set time with one reload. For M1 shooters that meant loading 2 rounds to start and then reloading with a full en bloc clip. How do you load 2 rounds into an M1 clip? We used to wedge 2 rounds into the clip in an X pattern. At the command “with 2 or 5 rounds load” we would jam the 2 round clip into the rifle. Half the time the rounds would come loose before the clip was seated and then we were looking stupid trying to load while everyone else on the line waited. We learned to have 2 or 3 of these X pattern loaded clips handy just in case. In later years someone came up with an en bloc clip modified to hold 2 rounds securely, but I never had the benefit of one of those.

    • I;ve seen the two round clips. They’re pretty common these days. But why were GIs stuck with an eight round clip for a ten round gun?

  9. The quality of after market enblock clips does vary greatly. US surplus or third party made to US specifications are fine, but there are some Chinese made copies that are worse than useless, cheap flimsy metal poorly formed and unreliable for any serious purpose whatsoever. Set the two along side each other and it’s impossible not to see a distinct difference. The cheap knock offs just look flimsy, like they were beaten together from rejected blue metal binder clips.

    • If you are shooting in a NRA or CMP Garand match and you pay for the ammo, insist on keeping your clips! You may have to wait until the shoot is over to be allowed to police up the clips and brass, but don’t just leave them for someone else. Hey, you paid for them.

      Not sure what the cheaper Chinese clips sound like, but if you drop a good M-1 clip on a hard surface (cement), it gives a very distinctive higher-pitched bell-like “ting”. If you just flick it on one side with a fingernail, you will hear a clear “ting” sound also. Something to keep in mind if you see a batch of these for sale. A reputable seller should have no problems with you testing these clips before you pony up a buck each, or whatever they are going for.

      A better route is to buy a pallet/box of .30-06 Garand en-bloc ammo from CMP, if it is still available. My last batch came in steel ammo cans, and the loaded clips were in cloth 8-clip bandoleers.

  10. There’s a “Machine” made of wood out there that you put a stack of cartridges in and push the lever back and forth to push them into a clip. You have to make it yourself. I’m searching for it now.

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