As the Rifle Springfield M1903 is to World War I and the M-16 to Vietnam, so is the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1, the M1 Garand to World War II and Korea.

What World War II-era American vet isn't familiar with the Garand?

I venture to say, very few - perhaps rear - echelon types - if any.

The M1 was the first semi-auto rifle issued to American troops, in 1936 - no infantry soldier in the world had seen a semi-automatic rifle prior to the Garand.

It takes a giant to fill the shoes of another, and the Garand replaced an aging war-horse - the Springfield 1903 - as the main battle rifle of U. S. forces. That said, Springfields are around, in arsenals and collections, as the sniper weapon of choice.

I have one - a 1940-version that has been sporterized as a hunting rifle.

And boy, can that old rifle outshoot most of today's modern deer guns.

Fact is there are few rifles - new or old - that can outshoot the Springfield.

If the M1 Garand replaced the Springfield, it had to be some shooting iron.

The Garand saw heavy action in WWII and Korea. It was used some in Vietnam.

At the height of its production, the M1 was manufactured at the Springfield Armory, by Winchester Repeating Arms and at a number of American manufacturers.

And it's still being made, thus far to the tune of 5 million units and counting.

The M1 Garand is chambered for the hard-hitting .30-06 Springfield. This rifle and its round - at close to 3,000-fps - can really reach out and touch someone - anything.

I fired my first Garand at a rifle range near Phoenix, Arizona. I shot the Springfield 1903 at the same time. Both .30-06 rifles shoot extremely well with iron sights. With a telescopic scope, like the old Lyman 4x that I have mounted on my Springfield, in the hands of a good shot, they are certain death at targets out to 500 yards.

Targets set at 100 yards quickly become Swiss cheese.

No Maggie's drawers, here!

How many brand new, out of the box, scoped rifles can do the same?

The M1 has a gas-operated, rotating bolt. It is loaded by way of an en-bloc clip, and the Garand's internal magazine holds 8 rounds of .30-06 or 7.62x51mm NATO.

The M1 rifle is a must have for every serious gun collection.