M1 Garand Bolt Disassembly/Reassembly

Other posts in the series: M1 Garand Disassembly, M1 Garand Reassembly

OK…da bolt.

The M1 Garand bolt is put together almost exactly the same way as the M1 Carbine bolt…just on a larger scale. Like the M1 Carbine bolt, the extractor has a pin that passes through the body of the bolt and holds the firing pin and the ejector in.

Also, just like the M1 Carbine bolt, there is a spring and plunger underneath the ejector that places spring tension on the ejector, allowing it to catch and hold the rim of the cartridge as the bolt closes and locks.

Again, like the M1 Carbine, the ejector is a simple post (you can see some significant wear on mine…65 years of use will do that to you…but it still works flawlessly).

And finally, like the M1 Carbine Bolt, there is a special tool for assembling and disassembling the Garand bolt. Had I known that before taking mine apart the first time, I probably would have anticipated it being just as difficult as the Carbine and would have invested the $50 to $70 in the tool. I didn’t know any better though and, by trying it without the tool, discovered that it really isn’t very difficult at all.

There are two features that make it easier than the Carbine bolt…first it’s just bigger and easier to work with. Secondly, the extractor has a beveled edge that helps to push the extractor spring and plunger down as it’s going into place. You don’t have to manually compress the extractor spring to get the extractor seated over it…which is a major headache on the M1 Carbine bolt.

Disassembly is simply a matter of driving the extractor out of the bolt body with a pin punch.

Put your thumb or a finger over the bolt face as the extractor is coming out in case the extractor spring tries to escape.

Conveniently, as the pin punch goes in and drives out the extractor, the punch itself locks the ejector into place so that it doesn’t fire itself across the garage. The thumb or finger over the bolt face will ensure no mishaps in that respect as well though.

With the extractor removed, pull the extractor spring and plunger out and set them aside; then, again with your thumb over the bolt face to catch the ejector, and with the your pinky over the rear of the bolt to keep the firing pin from falling out onto the floor, slowly work the pin punch back out of the extractor pin hole.

I apologize for the blurry photo…My new camera does MUCH better than the old one, but having it on the tripod and taking pictures with the timer means that I can’t check every picture every time and in a few cases, the lens seems to have autofocused on something in the spirit world rather than the intended subject of the shot. Don’t worry, I’ve got a couple that are much worse than this one coming up.

After the pin punch is pulled out, the firing pin will basically fall out of the bottom of the bolt and the ejector and spring can be pulled from the front.

That’s all there is to disassembly.

You’ll probably notice that in subequent pictures, I start wearing nitrile gloves. I actually shot the disassembly and reassembly on two different days.

On the second day, I was cleaning and then lubricating as I was reassembling. My skin soaks up Hoppe’s Number 9 like a sponge and if I don’t wear gloves, I can smell it (and, more importantly, my wife can smell it) on my hands for days no matter how many times I wash.

One of the little tricks I use is I keep a cotton rag (piece of an old t-shirt) lightly impregnated with gun oil in a zip-lock bag.

For general lubrication and protection of metal surfaces after cleaning, I simply wipe each component down with the rag to give them a light coating of oil. I’ve been using this method (and probably this same rag) for years.

It’s important that areas like the firing pin, ejector, extractor, etc. have a light coating of oil to lubricate and protect against corrosion, but too much oil in those areas can trap dirt, carbon and powder residue which can bind things up. This oiled rag method allows me to put the perfect amount of lubrication on these areas; and, because I re-use the same oiled rag over and over, I don’t waste a bunch of gun oil by oiling directly and then wiping off and discarding excess.

To reassemble the bolt, first drop the ejector spring and ejector into their well in the bolt face.

Be sure to turn the ejector so that the notch that the extractor pin engages is aligned with the extractor pin hole.

Then the firing pin goes in from the bottom.

Here’s the secret to putting the Garand bolt back together without the tool: I secure a fairly large pin punch in my bench vise.

This picture is VERY blurry and I apologize for that. I included it anyway because I think you can still get an idea of how I’m using the pin punch in the vise to put the bolt together.

Basically, you press the ejector against the face of the pin punch with enough force to push the ejector back into it’s proper position in the bolt.

Be sure to keep the firing pin seated by putting pressure on it with the pinky of the hand holding the bolt.

After the ejector is seated deeply enough, slip a smaller pin punch through the extractor pin hole to temporarily hold the ejector and firing pin in place.

Next, drop the extractor plunger and spring into the well in the bolt lug.

Observant people may notice that there is no pin punch sticking out of the bolt in this picture.

That’s because I did it in the wrong order when taking the pictures. I put the extractor plunger and spring in before securing the ejector and firing pin with the pin punch. After doing it, I realized that it was stupid to do it that way because I could have dropped the extractor plunger and spring and lost them while I was pressing on the ejector with the punch secured in the vise.

I’m putting in the pictures out of sequence with the way I ACTUALLY did it, in order to tell you the CORRECT way to do it. In other words…do as I say, not as I do…er…did.

Meanwhile…back in the garage…

With the extractor and firing pin held in by the pin punch, and the extractor plunger and spring inserted into their well in the bolt lug, now is the time to place the extractor on the bolt.

Carefully back the pin punch out (be sure cover the top and bottom of the bolt with fingers just in case you go too far and release the firing pin or ejector) until enough of the extractor pin hole is clear that you can start the extractor pin into the hole.

Then, while still holding everything together carefully to keep anything from slipping and rapidly departing the area, lay the top of the bolt against a solid, but relatively soft surface…a block of wood works perfectly.

the bolt should be placed extractor down, the handle of the pin punch should be straight up in the air.

Then give the top of the bolt a firm tap with a plastic, rubber, rawhide or possibly brass mallet.

The extractor should seat and push the pin punch out of the bolt.

When properly seated, the top surface of the extractor should be flush with the top of the bolt body.

Viola…there you have it.

Next time we’ll reassemble the rifle.


7 thoughts on “M1 Garand Bolt Disassembly/Reassembly

  1. Excellent article. I just had my firing pin break and need to replace it. You have helped me a great deal as I dont have the tool and didnt wish to buy one. Kudos to a brilliant desiegn.

  2. Dude, you saved my bacon with this article! Haha! I couldn’t get the damn bolt back together for anything. Thought I was gonna have to spend 60 bucks on the bolt assembly tool, plus super expensive shipping to get it here fast (I’m supposed to go shooting again in 2 days.) I found your article, followed the steps and it was a piece of cake! Thanks so much!!

  3. As above, excellent article. I’ve been looking for something like this for years, and also found it when I needed to replace a broken firing pin. Wonderful, thank you.

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