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Old 01-11-2023, 06:45 PM
postal postal is online now
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 133
Default Need assistance with Blank firing Honor Guard Garands malfunctioning

I'll first say Please, then thank you for responses in advance.

That said, a machinist friend of mine (Charley) who I've taught Firearms Safety with for 25 years and is also our clubs CMP liaison, brought us a project.
The Minnesota State Patrol presented him with several M1 Garands that they use for Honor Guard salutes at Police and State Trooper funerals.
I believe they got these Garands from the CMP (or DCM?) years ago but nobody knows. There seems to be a lack of record keeping on the guns, the ammo used and other pertinent info. We can see they had been kept clean but probably not lubricated fully as required.
The rifles HAD been working okay but lately have been misfeeding the second round, failing to eject the second round as well as the enbloc after the last shot. First shots usually are okay.

First, Charley tore the rifles down, made a few necesary repairs (padding up a couple worn areas on trigger group camming lugs, etc.) As well as a complete cleaning. FYI, Charley is an awesome job shop machinist with over 50 years making stuff. He's good.real good.
I'll be writing up a cleaning and care instruction list for proper care as well.

The BFA is a standard USGI device within specs.
The guns seem to be in goid, serviceable condition.

The blanks they were using were "Perfect Shot LLC" blanks. It is unknown what they were using before these or when they switched to Perfect Shot, or exactly when the malfunctioning began but we're betting when they ran out of what they had and switched, then the problems began. These blanks are definitely underpowered for the M1 Rifle with USGI BFA.
The Perfect Shot blanks are star-crimped and on the first shot, the star opens up completely. The second shot (if it cycles and feeds at all) never opens the crimp and the case fails to obturate at all ....no seal. In fact, the carbon traces reverses back to the shoulder and crushes that for about 90-120 degrees, then fails to eject.
We're guessing these blanks were designed for bolt guns.

Charley modified a USGI BFA with an adjustable setscrew and although it seemed to help a bit, didn't solve the problems.

Charley doesn't use the internet much but did track down another source of blanks. He ordered a couple hundred for testing from "Western States Props" a movie prop supply.
These too were star-crimped and exhibited similar problems to the Perfect Shot blanks.
One determination we made was that both of these blanks are made from once fired commercial brass. I'm pretty cretain the obturation problem is due to any annealing process being skipped, and that would definitely help.
I say this due to the third blanks Charley ran tests with, genuine USGI blanks (LC54) that he had in his collection of gear. You can see the LC54 blanks were annealed, but also constructed diffeently.

ALL RIFLES FIRED FLAWLESSLY with the LC54 blanks. Obturation was 100% and perfect, all sealed up and fired with no deformation of cases occurring..... good souvenirs for the surviving families, to be sure.....and would insure no embarassing misfires at the funeral.
Of course, these rifles with their designated BFAs were designed to function properly with USGI blanks. The LC54 blanks are not star crimped but roll crimped at the tip with a cannelure indentation a bit south of the crimp. This holds a piece of card stock in place which is lacquered with red sealant.
I have no idea what primer, powder or charge is used, but if anyone has USGI blank ammo specs for the 30.06 M2 blank, that would help a great deal, as we're sorta having to reverse-engineer how these work.
Maybe the Government has a publication on blanks, but I have no idea where I'd find one!

My questions are, do Honor Guards use only USGI blanks?
Do they only use a USGI BFA, or some type of Hollywood BFA?
I've been to several services at Ft Snelling Nat. Cemetery and their Honor Guard uses M1 Rifles (they're next on my contact list!) and their M1s function perfectly. Maybe they're using USGI blanks, but I don't see a lot of those available......
I sold a bucket if commercial 30.06 brass once to a gentleman in southern Minnesota who was making blanks for Honor Guards but I have no info on who he was or what vrand name they were for.

Does anyone have Honor Guard wxperience who can lend us some information, andwer our questions and help us out?

Honestly, if I could procure a decent set of dies (or blueprints for Blank dies that Charley could manufacture) I'd start making good blanks as I had time for.....my way of thanking those in service to our country.

Please let me know what you can.....either posted here or better yet, post it here and also email it to me at retiredshooter@gmail.com, then I'll have printable solutions for Charley and I to peruse.
Or, if you know anyone on an Honor Guard ysing an M1 rifle fir salutes, PLEASE ask them what BFA and blank cartridge's they are using.

Thanks so much for any answers, hints or tips.

God Bless.

John (postal)

Last edited by postal; 01-11-2023 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 01-11-2023, 07:00 PM
Jakeroub Jakeroub is online now
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,946

I would start by reading through the CMP resources:



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Old 01-13-2023, 09:23 PM
postal postal is online now
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 133

Great info here.....thanks!
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Old 01-13-2023, 09:58 PM
BobJ50 BobJ50 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Georgia
Posts: 653

The "Old Style" blank is the Caliber .30 M1909.
My AL Post usually uses the crimped blanks and is not happy with them.
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Old 01-13-2023, 11:42 PM
W9IXI.MN W9IXI.MN is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Posts: 63

I will PM you. I am local to the Twin Cities, retired L.E.O. I should be able to help.
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Old 01-22-2023, 10:27 AM
postal postal is online now
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 133

All. Problems taken care of (underpowered aftermarket blanks were the main cause).
Some repair, cleaning and grease helped too.
Git them online with the CMP programs and believe that all will keep the salutes problem free.
Thank y'all. CMP and it's members are really the best!

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Old 01-24-2023, 08:06 AM
Det. Jason 714 Det. Jason 714 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Northern MN
Posts: 8,330

What do you expect from AAA with guns?(State Patrol) LOL. sorry couldn't help it. Anyway they can get ammo from Uncle Sam for free. One of the requirements for using their rifles is you use their ammo, process is pretty simple and straight forward. PM me if you want more info. The boys in Maroon probably dont know about this program.
"Let Freedom PING!"
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Old 01-25-2023, 12:20 PM
BTD76251 BTD76251 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 65

Here is a great YouTube video from Jim Johannes discussing the inspection, cleaning, and maintenance of ceremonial M1 Garands. Mr. Johannes has also published a 3-part series of articles on the subject in the Garand Collectors Association Journal. Here is the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g80jx1G_qUM
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Old 01-26-2023, 10:34 AM
postal postal is online now
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 133

Thanks, good vid and we'll pass that on.
Yeah, they apparently had some staffing changes (retirements or?) and those who set their CMP program in motion are now gone. I believe they probably used the rest of their stock of CMP blanks and then went "freestyle" after that, not knowing of these programs. Charley and I werent aware of these either so we both learned a lot!
Seens the torch was dropped but we got that lit again and rifles are in goid shape now so they can give theirs proper sendoffs.

Thanks again y'all for all the help.
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Old 03-25-2023, 02:08 PM
packrat2 packrat2 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Utah
Posts: 172

Quote " if I could procure a decent set of dies (or blueprints for Blank dies that Charley could manufacture) I'd start making good blanks as I had time for."

It is very hard to make your own blanks as the blank powder is not available...The Army will send blanks to VFW, DAV, etc. Honor Guards, a officer in the chapter must request the blanks not the HG commander on the request form...Blanks must be sent to HQ of the Post not the HG Commander. Shooting blanks in M! rifles is very dirty and rifles must be cleaned often and have the right blank firing device on the muzzle..
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