OPERATION AND FUNCTIONING
12. Loading the Rifle
(a.) Single round. To load a single round, pull the
operating rod all the way to the rear. While holding the muzzle
below the horizontal, place a round in the chamber an seat it
with the thumb. With a knife edge of the right hand against the
operating rod handle, force the operating rod slightly to the
rear. Push down on the follower assembly with the right thumb and
allow the bolt to ride forward. Remove the thumb from the
follower assembly and release the operating rod handle, allowing
the operating rod to go all the way forward.
(b.) Full clip. To load a full clip, hold the rifle at
the balance with the left hand and pull the operating rod handle
all the way to the rear. Place the butt of the rifle against the
thigh or on the ground. With the right hand, place a full clip on
top of the follower assembly. Place the thumb on the center of
the top round in the clip and press the clip straight down into
the receiver until it catches. Swing the right hand up and to the
right to clear the bolt in its forward movement. Note that the
operating rod is not held to the rear during loading since there
is no danger of it going forward as long as pressure is
maintained on the top round in the clip. It may be necessary to
strike forward on the operating rod handle with the heel of the
right hand to fully close and lock the bolt.
(c.) Partially filled clip. To load a partially filled
clip, hold the rifle in the same manner prescribed for a full
clip. With the operating rod all the way to the rear, place an
empty clip into the receiver. Place the first round into the clip
and on the follower, to the left of the follower slide. Press the
second round into the clip, exerting a downward, turning motion
until the round snaps into place. Load the remaining rounds in
the same manner. With the knife edge of the the right hand
against the operating rod handle force the operating rod slightly
to the rear. Push down on the top round with the right thumb,
allowing the bolt to start the top round forward. Remove the
right hand and allow the operating rod to go forward.
13. Unloading the Rifle
(a.) To unload a round from the chamber, support the
rifle butt on the thigh or on the ground; with the right hand
grasp the operating rod handle and pull the operating rod slowly
to the rear. At the same time, place the left hand, palm down,
over the receiver to catch the round as it is ejected. This keeps
the round from falling into the dirt or away from your position.
(b.) To unload a filled or partially filled clip,
unload the round that is in the chamber as described in (a.)
above. When the operating rod reaches its rearmost position,
hold it there. Place the palm of the left hand over the receiver
and depress the clip latch with the left thumb, allowing the clip
to be ejected up into the hand, Do not relax the rearward
pressure on the operating rod handle until after the clip has
14. Loading Rounds into a Clip
(a.) Insert eight rounds into the clip, holding the
clip, open end upward, and the rounds in palm of your left hand.
Start placing the rounds in from the lower left of the clip and
make sure that each round is against the rear wall so that the
inner rib of the clip engages the extracting groove of each
round. The top round will then be on the right, making the clip
easier for a right handed firer to load in the rifle. For the
same reason, clips are loaded this way at arsenals.
(b.) Each time rounds are loaded into a clip, the clip
should be checked for long rounds. If one rounds extends beyond
the others, it will be hard to load the clip into the rifle. The
long round should be seated by removing the top round, pushing
the long round into place and then replacing the top round.
Tapping the bullet against a solid surface to seat the long round
may result in the bullet being pushed back into its cartridge
case. This may damage the bullet or break the bullet seal which
could result in changes in the ballistic performance of the
15. Functioning of the Rifle
(a.) The trigger must be pulled to fire each round.
When the last round is fired, the empty clip is automatically
ejected and the bolt remains to the rear.
(b.) Each time a round is loaded and fired, many parts
inside the rifle work in a given order. This is known as the cycle
of operation. This cycle is similar in all small arms. A
knowledge of what happens inside the rifle during this cycle of
operation will help the soldier understand the cause of and
remedy for various stoppages.
(c.) The cycle of operations is broken down into eight
steps. These steps are listed below, together with a brief
description of what actually occurs inside the rifle during each
step. Assume that a full or partially filled clip has been loaded
into the rifle and that the first round has been fired and the
bolt is in its rearmost position (fig.
Cycle of Operation
(1.) Feeding. Feeding takes place when a round is moved
into the path of the bolt. This is done by the follower assembly
exerting an upward pressure on the bottom round in the clip. The
follower assembly is continuously forced up by the pressure of
the operating rod spring through the follower rod and the
follower arm (fig. 24).
(2.) Chambering. Chambering occurs when a round is
moved into the chamber. This takes place as the bolt goes forward
under pressure of the expanding operating rod spring, picking up
the top round in the clip and driving it forward into the chamber
(fig. 25). Chambering is
complete when the extractor snaps into the extracting groove on
the cartridge case and the ejector is forced into the face of the
(3.) Locking. Locking is complete when the bolt is
fully closed. This prevents the loss of gas pressure until the
bullet has left the muzzle. The bolt is locked by the rear
camming surface in the recess in the hump of the operating rod,
forcing the operating lug of the bolt down. This engages the
locking lugs on the bolt with their recesses in the receiver (fig. 26).
(4.) Firing. Firing occurs when the firing pin strikes
the primer. As the trigger is pulled the trigger lugs are
disengaged from the hammer hooks and the hammer is released. The
hammer moves forward under the pressure of the hammer spring and
strikes the tang of the firing pin, driving the firing pin
against the primer and firing the round (fig.
(5.) Unlocking. Unlocking occurs after the firing of
the round. As the bullet is forced through the barrel by the
expanding gas, a small portion of the gas escapes through the gas
port into the gas cylinder, forcing the operating rod to the rear
(fig. 28). The camming
surface inside the recess in the hump of the operating rod forces
the operating lug of the bolt upward, disengaging the locking
lugs from their recesses in the receiver. The bolt is thus
unlocked and ready to be moved to the rear (fig.
(6.) Extracting. Extracting is pulling the empty
cartridge case from the chamber. The extractor, which is engaged
with the extracting groove on the cartridge case, withdraws the
empty case as the bolt moves to the rear (fig.
(7.) Ejecting. Ejecting is throwing the empty case from
the rifle. As the bolt moves to the rear, withdrawing the case
from the chamber, the round is held in place by the chamber
walls. When the mouth of the empty case clears the chamber, it is
ejected up and to the right by the expanding ejector spring and
(8.) Cocking. Cocking occurs when the hammer is forced
into the proper position for firing the next round. This happens
as the bolt continues to the rear. The rear end of the bolt
forces the hammer back and rides over it. The hammer is caught by
the sear if the trigger is still held to the rear, but it is
caught by the trigger lugs if trigger pressure has been released (fig. 31).
[Back to M1 Garand Page.]
..- OPERATIONS AND
AND IMMEDIATE ACTION