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M1 Garand: Project Fudd Wrecker

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Making 20th Century Firearms Surplus More Usable with 21st Century Optics on an M1 Garand

“The greatest battle implement ever devised” was how General Patton described the now-legendary M1 Garand. After all, the Garand is a proper wood-and-steel battle rifle used to defend freedom from World War II to the Vietnam War. 

Through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), the Garand and many other service weapons have made their way to the happy hands of American shooters for recreational use. Many of these rifles are returns from lend-lease programs and military surplus, with some interesting stories — if only they could talk. While some continued their lives as bull’s-eye rifles, collector pieces, and even trophies, some have been poorly sporterized. This refers to the practice of modifying military-style firearms for various civilian uses by lobbing off sights, cutting down barrels, modifying stocks, and other changes. 

Many classics such as the Lee-Enfield rifle, 1903 Springfield, and Mauser K98 have been irreversibly ruined and sold at gun shows. It’s hard to blame folks, back when these guns were sold by the pound. Unlike most monsters you see at gun shows, the M1 Garand in this article doesn’t fit this description.

At one of the CMP Stores you can buy them right off the rack (when there’s stock).


Many CMP rifles end up as wall hangers and display items. However, this rifle isn’t a museum piece, but a shooter’s rifle made to emphasize CMP’s mission to promote firearm and marksmanship training, with an emphasis on youth. 

This M1 Garand was manufactured by Springfield between January and February of 1944, based on the serial number on the receiver, which is the only original part of the rifle. The rest of the rifle was rebuilt after being inspected by the CMP. 

This Garand shoots great regardless of the sighting system used.

This version is called a “CMP Special” and has a new CMP-marked stock, crisp 4-pound trigger, and a brand-new Criterion barrel. CMP Specials are modestly priced and can be had for less than $1,000 shipped to your door, whereas collector-grade rifles with original matching parts, interesting history, or unique variations can easily fetch twice or even three times as much. 

Each CMP firearm, including their 1911s and 1903 Springfields, includes a certificate of authenticity, and every purchase from CMP helps them fund their ranges and programs.

No special pouches needed for reloads during competition.


First, we had to ensure there was a good foundation for the build. With Creedmoor match-grade .30-06 167-grain SCENAR ammo and iron sights, this rifle was used to qualify at CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park’s 600-yard range. To classify and use the 600-yard range, the shooter must display successive shots in the black of a Kongsberg Target Systems target at 100, 200, 300, and 600 yards. Should you decide to use this rifle for hunting, you have a great platform as the .30-06 has a proven track record of taking down not just two-legged game but anything from feral hogs to elk. 

The iron front sight of the M1 Garand is 8 MOA wide. At 100 meters, this equates to 9.168 inches, which compounds for each additional 100 meters (18.336 inches at 200 meters, 27.5 inches at 300 meters, and so on). This is where the Hopco USA Micro Red Dot mount comes into play. The Hopco red dot mount replaces the rear iron sight aperture sight with a mount for a red dot. This one is the HS02 model, configured for the Trijicon RMR footprint. The HT01 has a Doctor/Noblex footprint and the HS01 a Leupold DeltaPoint Pro footprint.

Entirely by accident, your idiot cousin who always says “clip” instead of “magazine” will be right for once.

Installation is easy with the removal of the rear sight aperture and housing, and it’s easily reversed. If there’s any play, the mount ships with several shims to ensure a secure fit.

Unlike shooting with iron sights, a red-dot sight allows the shooter to be much more efficient in target-focused shooting, low light, and engaging moving targets. The 3-MOA floating dot also doesn’t obscure as much of the target when compared to using the stock iron sights. 

It’s altogether a much more enjoyable and usable rifle.


Installing a red-dot optic on a classic battle rifle has upset a lot of people on the range and the internet. Despite the non-permanent modification, some see it as a mortal sin — at least until they shoot it. 

At the 2021 SGM Charlie Mohr Memorial 3 Gun match held at Richwood Gun and Game Club in Ohio, this rifle was used to win an Open Division stage. This match was created to support the Ohio Green Beret Support Group (a subsidiary of Chapter 45 of The Special Forces Association). To say the rifle was a head turner is an understatement, and the mounting system attracted the attention (good and bad) of a lot of attendees. 

Some shooters, including cadets from Ohio State’s Army ROTC unit, got to send some rounds downrange with it. Many veterans felt the hit of nostalgia contrasted with modernity, with a rifle that had stormed the beaches of Normandy, took Iwo Jima, and fought viciously in the Chosin reservoir sporting an MRDS.

The Hopco simply replaces the rear sight. Easy day.


The Fudd Wrecker has drawn a lot of strong opinions ranging from disgust and irrational hatred to genuine interest and happiness. The Hopco mount isn’t just for the M1 Garand, but also for many other rifles that share the rear aperture assembly, such as the M14 or M1A. The biggest irony with the Fudd Wrecker is that while 1911s, and now the Beretta 92/M9, have red dot options and nobody really bats an eye, but when you slap a red dot on a steel-and-wood fighting rifle it’s suddenly like pineapple on pizza or beans in chili. Despite the heated opinions and wrecking of fudds, when you shoot the rifle with the modern sight and timeless .30-06, the experience overrides the apprehension. No need to bolt on a kludgey Picatinny rail or swap on a polymer chassis to play ninja. 

Classics sometimes don’t age well and attempts at “upgrades” can lead to tears, but here a simple swap to a modern optic makes for an accurate rifle that can be enjoyed by all ages. 

It belongs on the range, not in a museum!

Civilian Marksmanship Program (Springfield Armory receiver)

CMP Special M1 Garand

Caliber: .30-06 Springfield

Capacity: 8

Barrel Length: 24 inches

OAL: 44 inches

Weight (unloaded): 9 pounds, 8 ounces

MSRP: $670 (in-store only)


Swampfox Liberty Optic: $229
Hopco HS02 Mount: $99

Price as Configured: $998

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  • AZAM jean-pierre says:

    Bonjour, je viens d’acquérir un Garand M1 et j’aimerais y adpter un bi-pied..??? est-ce possible ? si oui quel adptatation et bi-pied ?.


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  • Bonjour, je viens d'acquérir un Garand M1 et j'aimerais y adpter un bi-pied..??? est-ce possible ? si oui quel adptatation et bi-pied ?.


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