The M1 rifle fires several types of ammunition. The rifleman should be able to recognize them and know which type is best for certain targets. The M1, M1C and M1D Garand rifles fire .30 U.S. (.30-06) ammunition. Commercial sporting type ammunition will usually function if the bullets are of the right length, and are loaded to pressures approximating those of military loads. When using other than military issue ammunition, the sights (peep or scope) must be zeroed in for various ranges with the particular type of ammunition, due to differences in velocities and wind-bucking characteristics of the particular round. Military ammunition is marked on the tip of the bullet in color, indicating the type of bullet.
a. Ball, M-2. This cartridge is used against personnel and unarmored targets, and can be identified by its unpainted bullet. M-2 ball is the most common of the military loads, is not marked in color, as it is the only one left plain (aside from the frangible ball). It has a gilding-metal jacket. The length of the bullet is 1.123 inches
b. Armor Piercing, M-2. This cartridge is used against lightly armored vehicles, protective shelters, and personnel, and can be identified by its black bullet tip.
c. Armor Piercing Incendiary, M-14. This cartridge is used, in place of the armor piercing round, against flammable targets. The tip of the bullet is colored with aluminum or white paint.
d. Incendiary, M-1. This cartridge is used against unarmored, flammable targets. The tip of the bullet is painted blue.
e. Tracers and M-25. These cartridges are for use in observing fire, signaling, target designation, and incendiary purposes. The tips of the bullets are painted red for the M1 and orange for the M25.
f. Blank, M-1909. This cartridge is used to simulate rifle fire, firing salutes, training and signaling. The cartridge is identified by having no bullet, and by the cannelure in the neck of the case which is sealed by red lacquer.
g. Rifle Grenade Cartridge, M-3. This cartridge is used with the grenade launcher to propel grenades. The cartridge has no bullet and the mouth is crimped.
h. Dummy, M-40. This cartridge is used for mechanical training. These are two types. One has longitudal grooves in the case, and is usually tin plated. Another merely has small holes in the case, and no primer. These are also of use on the range when mixed in with a clip of ammo, to detect flinching on the part of the firer.
i. Match. This cartridge, used in marksmanship competition firing, can be identified by the word "MATCH" on the head stamp.
j. Frangible ball M-22. This cartridge is unmarked, but is identifiable by its bullet length, which is 1.185 inches (as opposed to 1.123 for M-2 ball).
The approximate maximum range and average muzzle velocity of the .30 ammunition issued for the M1, M1C and M1D rifles is:
Ammunition for the .30 M1 series of rifles usually comes packed in eight-round clips, which in turn are packed in bandoleers, and in metal cans. Ammunition may also come packed in 20-round boxes.
The standard means for carrying ammunition for the M1 was in the cartridge belt. The M1923 cartridge belt adopted for use with the M1903 Springfield rifle and its five round chargers was the belt originally issued with the M1. This belt had ten pockets which could hold either two 5 round '03 chargers or one eight round M1 clip each. After the adoption of the M1, the Model 1938 cartridge belt was adopted. This belt was essentially identical to the earlier M1923 belt but had twelve pockets instead of ten to provide extra ammunition for the greater firepower of the M1.