Q: I recently purchased an M1 Garand rifle and am looking forward to taking it out to the range. However, I was informed that the rifle has a “cut” operating rod. Is this a defect, and should I be looking for a replacement operating rod?
A: Assuming everything else on your rifle is in serviceable condition, you have nothing to worry about regarding the so-called “cut” operating rod. For shooting purposes, it is actually something of a benefit.
It was discovered during World War II that some M1 rifle operating rods could develop hairline fractures at the juncture of the tube and handle. It was determined that a 3/16"-radius “relief cut” in the area would reduce the propensity for cracking and also added a bit more flexibility to the operating rod. None of the M1 (or earlier) operating rods were manufactured with this relief cut. However, post-war replacement operating rods and all-new operating rods produced when M1 rifle production resumed in the early 1950s incorporated this feature. Also, most of the operating rods produced during World War II were subsequently modified or “cut” to add this feature during the widespread post-war overhaul programs. “Uncut” operating rods are in demand today for restoration of World War II (and earlier) M1 rifles, but the “cut” operating rods are preferable for shooting.
—Bruce N. Canfield