Chapter 15

HE basic weapon of any infantry organization is the rifle. The basic weapon of
Marine infantry units is the Ml Rifle (U. S.
Rifle, Caliber .30, M l ) . If you are assigned
to an infantry organization, you will probably be armed with an M l . About half of the
members of all rifle companies are. Become
thoroughly acquainted with your rifle and
treat it well. Your life and the lives of your
buddies may depend on the way you use it.
The Ml rifle is a gas-operated, clip-fed, aircooled, semi-automatic shoulder weapon.
Its
principal characteristic is its rapid mechanical operation which enables the individual
rifleman or a group of riflemen to deliver a
large volume of accurate fire upon any desig-

nated point or area within range. The effective range of the Ml rifle is considered to
be about 500 yards. Some of its other characteristics are:
WEIGHT

9.5 pounds

LENGTH WITHOUT BAYONET

43.6 inches

LENGTH O F BARREL

24 inches

AVERAGE RATE OF AIMED
FIRE PER MINUTE
CHAMBER

30 rounds

PRESSURE

PER SQUARE INCH

50,000

pounds

MUZZLE VELOCITY

PER SECOND

2600-2800 feet

C L I P CAPACITY
MAXIMUM RANGE

CARTRIDGE)

8 rounds
(M2

3500 yards approx.

Nomenclature and Stripping
Before taking the rifle apart, you should
know the nomenclature (that is, the names)
of all visible parts. On your own rifle, find
and learn the names of the parts shown in
Figure 1 5 . 1 . Then, as you come to them,
learn the names of the inner parts with the
help of pages 173 through 176.
The Ml rifle has three main groups as you
can see in Fig. 1 5 . 2 : the trigger housing
group; the barrel and receiver group; the
stock group.
A. Trigger Housing Group.
Pictures
1 through 8 on page 173 show the inner parts
of the trigger housing group. Following is a
discussion of how to remove the group from
the rifle and how to disassemble it.
1. Grasp the rifle with your left hand so

that the base of the trigger housing is included in the grip of your fingers.
2. Place the butt of the rifle against your
left thigh, sights to left.
3. Grasp the rear portion of the trigger
guard with the thumb and forefinger of your
right hand.
4. Exert enough pressure toward the butt
to unlatch the trigger guard from the trigger
housing.
5. Swing the trigger guard away from the
trigger housing to its extreme opened position. See Fig. 1 5 . 3 ( 1 ) .
6. Pull out the trigger housing group. See
Fig. 1 5 . 3 ( 2 ) .
7. Close and latch the trigger guard.
8. Release hammer to fired position.
171

THE Ml RIFLE

15.1

Basic nomenclature of the MI Rifle.

9. To relieve the tension on the trigger
pin, hold the trigger group in your right hand
with the right thumb on the sear, pull on the
trigger with your right forefinger, brace the
base of the trigger housing against a firm support, and press on the sear with the thumb of

15.2

172

The three main groups.

your right hand.
1 0 . Holding a bullet or combination tool
in your left hand, start the trigger pin from
its seat.
1 1 . Remove the trigger pin.
1 2 . Let the hammer spring extend to its
full length by gradually releasing the pressure
of your right thumb and forefinger, meanwhile steadying the hammer spring housing
with the fingers of your left hand.
1 3 . Remove the trigger assembly. Do not
remove the sear pin or sear.
1 4 . Remove the hammer spring housing,
hammer spring, and hammer spring plunger.
Separate these parts.
1 5 . Push out the hammer pin from the
left side, and remove the hammer.
1 6 . To remove the safety, push the stud
out from its seat in the left side of the
trigger housing, then lift the safety out from
its slot.
1 7 . To remove the trigger guard: (a)
Hold the trigger housing in your left hand,

THE Ml RIFLE

173

THE Ml RIFLE

174

THE Ml RIFLE

175

THE Ml RIFLE

with the base of the housing down and away
from your body. (b) Swing the trigger guard
to the open position with your right hand.
(c) Slide the trigger guard toward your body
until the hammer pin holes are over the center of the safety slot. (d) Rotate the trigger
guard counter-clockwise with your right hand
until the wings of the trigger guard clear the
edge of the trigger housing. (e) Remove the
trigger guard.

176

1 8 . To remove the clip ejector: (a) Place
the trigger housing on a solid surface with the
left side up. (b) Insert the point of a bullet
or combination tool in the dismounting hole
in the left side of the trigger housing. (c)
Push out, and remove clip ejector.
1 9 . To re-assemble the trigger housing
group, follow these steps in reverse order.
B. Barrel
and Receiver
Group.
1.
Separate the barrel and receiver group from
the stock group by grasping the rifle over the
rear end of the receiver with your left hand,
muzzle to the left, then strike and grasp the
small of the stock with your right hand. (See
Fig. 1 5 . 4 ( 1 ) and ( 2 ) . Pictures 1 through
16 on pages 174 and 175 show the inner
parts of the barrel and receiver group.)
2. Place the barrel and receiver group on
a smooth surface with the sights down. Be
sure that the aperture is set at minimum
elevation.
3. Grasp the follower rod with your left
thumb and forefinger. (See Fig. 1 5 . 5 ( 1 ) . )
disengage it from the follower arm by pressure toward the muzzle. (See Fig. 1 5 . 5 ( 2 ) . )
4. Withdraw the follower rod and operating rod spring toward the butt. (See Fig.
1 5 . 5 ( 3 ) . ) If the follower rod and operating
rod spring are attached, do not separate them.
5. With the point of a bullet or a combination tool held in your right hand and applied
on the side of the receiver farthest from your
body, you now push the follower arm pin
from its seat.
6. Use your left hand to pull the pin out
from the side nearest you.
7. Grasp the bullet guide, follower arm,
and operating rod catch assembly. Pull to
the left until these parts are disengaged.
8. Lift out these three parts and separate
them. Do not try to remove the accelerator
from the operating rod catch assembly, since
the accelerator pin is riveted in its seat.
9. Lift out the follower with the follower
slide attached. Do not separate the follower
from the follower slide.

THE Ml

15.3(1)

Swing trigger guard away from
trigger housing.

RIFLE

15.3(2)

Pull out the trigger housing group.

15.4(1)

Grasp rifle over rear end
receiver.

of the

15.4(2)

Strike and grasp the small of the
stock.

15.5(1)

Grasp the follower rod with thumb
and forefinger.

15.5(2)

Disengage follower rod from arm by
pressure toward muzzle.

15.5(3)

Withdraw follower rod and operating rod spring toward butt of rifle.

177

THE Ml

RIFLE

15.6(1) Pull back and up on the operating
rod handle until it engages in the
dismounting notch.

15.6(2) Then with an upward and outward
movement disengage operating rod handle
from bolt operating lug and receiver.

15.7

15.8

Lift the bolt up and out to the right
front.

15.9

Pry the extractor out until ejector snaps out against your thumb.

1 0 . To remove the operating rod, grasp
the barrel and receiver group with your left
hand and the operating rod handle with your
right hand. You will notice that the operating
rod is bent. Do not attempt to straighten it,
178

Hold little finger over firing pin. Hold
thumb firmly over extractor.

for it is purposely bent to provide clearance
at the enlarged portion of the barrel. Move
the operating rod slowly to the rear, pulling
upward and away from the receiver. When
the lug on the operating rod slides into the

THE Ml
dismounting notch of the operating rod guide
groove in the receiver, the operating rod will
disengage from the bolt. When the operating
rod is disengaged, remove it with a downward
and rearward movement. (See Fig. 1 5 . 6 ( 1 )
and ( 2 ) . )
11. To remove the bolt, grasp the operating lug. While sliding the bolt from the rear
to the front, lift it up and out to the right
front with a slight counterclockwise rotary
motion. (See Fig. 15.7.)
12. Before you attempt to disassemble the
bolt, learn the correct names of its parts as
shown on page 175.
13. Grasp the bolt in your left hand. Hold
the firing pin in place with your little finger,
extractor to the right, front end up, with your
thumb on the front end of the bolt. Hold

RIFLE
your thumb in this manner to prevent the
ejector from flying out and injuring someone or being lost (See Fig. 15.8.)
1 4 . Insert the point of a bullet or the
blade of a combination tool between the lower
edge of the extractor and the cartridge seat
flange on the bolt. ( See Fig. 15.9.) Pry the
extractor out until ejector snaps out against
your thumb. Remove ejector and spring.
1 5 . Remove
the
extractor,
extractor
spring, and the plunger.
1 6 . Remove firing pin from rear of bolt.
1 7 . You can reassemble the barrel and
receiver group by following the above steps
in reverse order.
C. Stock G r o u p . Pictures 1 through 9
on page 176 show in detail all of the parts of
the slock group.

Functioning of the Ml Rifle
When you fire the M l . there is an instantaneous series of actions which operates to
eject the empty cartridge case, cock the rifle,

15.10

and put a new cartridge in the chamber of
the ride. This series of actions is called the
"functioning." You must understand it thor-

The hammer strikes firing pin and ignites primer at base of cartridge.
179

THE Ml

RIFLE

15.11 Gas strikes piston and drives operating rod to the rear.

oughly, so that you will know immediately
what to do if at any time your rifle fails to
operate correctly.
The functioning of the Ml consists basically of two steps; the rearward movement,
which ejects the empty cartridge case and
cocks the rifle, and the forward movement,
which puts a new cartridge into the chamber,
ready to be fired.
A. Rearward Movement.
There are ten
steps in the rearward movement: ignition,
action of the gas, movement of the operating
rod, unlocking of the bolt, withdrawal of the
firing pin, extraction of the empty cartridge,
ejection of the empty cartridge, cocking of the
hammer, action of the follower, and termination of the rearward movement of the operating rod. These movements occur as follows:
1. Ignition. When the rifle is loaded and
the bolt closed, the hammer spring is compressed and the trigger lugs are engaged in
the hammer hooks, holding the hammer in the
cocked position. If pressure is then applied
to the trigger, the trigger lugs are disengaged
from the hammer hooks, and the hammer is
released and actuated by a strong hammer
spring. The hammer rotates about the hammer pin, striking the firing pin, which then
protrudes from the face of bolt and strikes
and ignites the primer in the base of the cartridge. (See Fig. 1 5 . 1 0 . ) The bolt must be

180

in a fully locked position before this can take
place, as the tang of the firing pin must be
properly aligned with the slot in the bridge
of the receiver. If bolt is unlocked, rotation
of bolt to a fully locked position is also done
by action of the bolt camming lug striking
the cam surface in the rear face of the bolt.
The shape of this cam surface is such that the
bolt will be fully closed by positive camming
action when the hammer is released. Of
course, the safety must also be in its foremost
position, so it will not block the hammer and
trigger.
2. Action of the g a s . When the bullet
passes the gas port, some of the gases escape
into the gas cylinder. Here the gas strikes
the piston with sufficient force to drive the
operating rod to the rear, compressing the
operating rod spring. (See Fig. 1 5 . 1 1 . )
3. M o v e m e n t of the o p e r a t i n g rod.
The initial movement of the operating rod to
the rear imparts no motion to the bolt for
about the first 5/16 of an inch. The operating
lug on the bolt merely slides in the straight
section of the recess in the operating rod.
This delay in the initial movement of the
operating rod permits the bullet to leave the
muzzle, thus decreasing the enormous chamber pressure in the barrel and chamber before
the bolt is opened.
4. U n l o c k i n g the holt.

After the initial

THE Ml

15.12

RIFLE

The ejector throws the empty cartridge out to the right.

movement, the cam surface of the recess in the
operating rod contacts the operating lug, camming it up, rotating the bolt counterclockwise,
and disengaging the locking lugs from their
corresponding locking recesses in the receiver.
5. Withdrawal of the firing p i n . Rotation of the bolt also cams the hammer back
from the firing pin and withdraws the firing
pin into the bolt.
6. E x t r a c t i o n of the e m p t y cartridge.
The operating rod continues to travel to the
rear, carrying with it the bolt, which slides
along the receiver. The empty cartridge is
carried from the chamber by the extractor.
(See Fig. 1 5 . 1 2 . )
7. E j e c t i o n of the e m p t y cartridge.
The base of the empty cartridge case continually presses against the ejector. When the
cartridge case clears the mouth of the breech,
the ejector throws the empty round to the

right, through the action of the compressed
ejector spring. (See Fig. 1 5 . 1 2 , right.)
8. Cocking of the h a m m e r . The rear
end of the bolt rides over the hammer, forcing
it back, compressing the hammer spring, and
comes to rest near the end of the receiver.
(See Fig. 1 5 . 1 3 . )
9. Action of the follower. With the
bolt in its extreme rearward position the top
cartridge is uncovered. The follower, actuated by the follower arm, and the follower
rod which transmits this pressure from the
operating rod spring, forces the cartridges
upward in the clip so that the top cartridge
lies in the path of the bolt. (See Fig. 1 5 . 1 4 . )
1 0 . T e r m i n a t i o n o f rearward m o v e m e n t . The rearward movement ends when
the square shoulder of the operating rod contacts the front of the receiver.
B. Forward Movement.
In the forward
181

THE Ml

15.13
Bolt rides over hammer, forcing
hammer back and thus cocking it.

15.15

182

RIFLE

15.14 Follower, actuated by follower arm
and rod, forces cartridge up in clip.

Trigger and safety functioning.

THE Ml
movement of the bolt there are four steps:
action of the operating rod spring, feeding,
locking, termination of forward movement of
the operating rod. These steps take place as
follows:
1. Action of the operating rod spring.
As the bolt starts forward, actuated by the
compressed operating rod spring, the lower
front face of the bolt contacts the base of the
top cartridge of the clip, sliding it forward
into the chamber. The hammer, actuated by
the hammer spring, rides on the bottom of the
bolt and tends to follow it, but is caught and
held by the trigger lugs, which engage the
hammer hooks if the pressure on the trigger
has been released. If the trigger is still held
back after firing, the sear will engage the rear
hammer hooks. Subsequent release of the
trigger disengages the sear from the hammer,

RIFLE
which then slides into engagement with the
trigger lugs. (See Fig. 1 5 . 1 5 . )
2. Feeding. When the bolt approaches
its forward position, the rim of the cartridge
is engaged by the extractor and the base of
the live round forces the ejector into the bolt,
thus compressing the ejector spring.
3. Locking. The operating lug on the
bolt is cammed downward by the rear camming surface of the operating rod. This
rotates the bolt clockwise, engaging the locking lugs in their locking recess. This locks
the bolt.
4. T e r m i n a t i o n of forward m o v e m e n t .
The operating rod continues to move forward for about 5/16 of an inch until the
rear end of the straight section of the recess
in the operating rod contacts operating lug on
bolt. Thus the rifle is ready to fire again.

I m m e d i a t e Action a n d Stoppages
There may be times when your rifle does
not operate properly or does not operate at
all. This is called a "stoppage." If a stoppage
occurs at a moment when you need your rifle
badly, there are steps you can take to put the
rifle back into use. These steps are called
"immediate action," and you must learn to
perform them quickly and automatically.
A. Immediate Action.
Your rifle may
fail to fire, the bolt may not lock, the bolt may
lock but the rifle again fail to fire, or the rifle
may not feed. In these cases, immediate action can be applied to the Ml rifle in the following ways:
1. Rifle Fails to Fire. Use the little finger of your right hand, held palm up, to pull
the operating rod fully to the rear. Release
it quickly. If the operating rod goes fully
home, re-aim and fire. The little finger is
used instead of the forefinger in pulling the
operating rod to the rear, so that no portion
of the palm or wrist might be struck in case
a hangfire exists and the operating rod is
driven back rapidly.

2. Bolt D o e s Not Lock. If you have
performed the above operation and the bolt
cannot go fully to locked position, pull the
operating rod to the rear again. Then check
your rifle for a battered round, dirt, or obstruction on the face of the bolt, in the chamber, or in the locking recesses of locking lugs.
Remove any obstruction, reload your rifle,
aim, and fire.
3. Bolt Locked, but Rifle Fails to
Fire. You may perform the first step for immediate action and the bolt goes to locked
position, but your rifle still fails to fire. In
this case you pull the operating handle to the
rear again. If no cartridge is ejected, examine for a round in the chamber. If there
is a round, remove it. If there is no round,
you can reduce a possible obstruction in the
clip by rotating the upper cartridge. Then
you reload, aim, and fire.
4. Rifle Fails to Feed. By operating the
bolt manually, you do your utmost to keep the
rifle in action.
B. Stoppages.
Stoppages
result from
183

THE Ml
three causes: failure to fire, failure to feed,
and failure to extract. The methods for
remedying these failures are as follows:
1. Failure to Fire. When your rifle fails
to fire, the usual causes are defective ammunition, a defective firing pin, or a bolt not
fully in place.
(a) When defective ammunition is to
blame for failure to fire, the primer will be
deeply dented. This dented primer means
that the round is defective. Discard the round.
(b) If the primer is just slightly dented or
is not dented at all. the firing pin is short,
broken, or unserviceable. The firing pin must
be replaced to remedy this failure. If your
rifle fails to fire and in addition the operating
handle cannot be moved to the rear by a
sharp blow with the heel of the hand, the firing pin may be broken. It would be wedged
in the mechanism between the rear of the
bolt and the top of the receiver. Remove the
trigger housing to get it out. If the trigger
housing cannot be removed easily, do not
force it out. Just open the trigger guard as
far as it will go. Turn the rifle barrel down
and shake the piece. The broken firing pin
usually falls out when this is done.
(c) If the bolt of your rifle fails to go
home, you check for dirt or obstruction which
prevents the bolt from locking. Remove the
obstruction.
2. Failure to F e e d . When your rifle fails
to feed, a number of things might be wrong.
The action of the bolt can indicate to you
what is probably wrong. Failure to feed
always results when the bolt fails to go full)
home; it may result when the bolt does go
fully home.
(a) If the bolt does not go fully home, dirt
or an obstruction may be to blame. Check
the rifle for a battered round, dirt in locking
recesses, an obstruction on the face of the
bolt, a dirty chamber, or a ruptured cartridge
case which has not been completely removed.
Remove this dirt or obstruction if it is present. A ruptured cartridge is removed with

184

RIFLE
the ruptured cartridge extractor. The stoppage also may be caused by a loose clip which
has lost its tension. This puts the cartridge
out of alignment, with the nose of one bullet
over another at the entrance of the chamber.
In case this happens, discard the clip that is
defective and has lost its tension.
(b) When your rifle fails to feed but the
bolt goes fully home, this is usually what has
happened: the empty case was not ejected
but was fed back into the chamber. Lack of
proper lubrication, excessive friction, or insufficient gas usually cause the stoppage when
your rifle fails to feed despite the bolt going
fully to its home position.
3. Failure to Extract. When your rifle
fails to extract a cartridge case, any one of
five things can be wrong. The causes for failure to extract are: the chamber of your rifle
is extremely dirty, the ammunition is extremely dirty, the rifle is improperly assembled
with the extractor plunger spring and plunger
left out, the cartridge was chambered in a
hot barrel, or the extractor is broken. The
steps to be taken when your rifle fails to extract are as follows:
(a) Push the operating rod handle fully
forward. Then retract it smartly to the rear.
(b) If the above act does not remove the
case, use the combination tool or cleaning
rod.
(c) Sometimes the extractor will rip
through the case, leaving the empty case in
the chamber. When this occurs, the bolt
generally will attempt to feed another cartridge into the chamber. It therefore will be
necessary to remove this round before the
spent cartridge case can be removed.
(d) In case your rifle's chamber is dirty
it should be cleaned thoroughly in the manner described below. If the ammunition gets
wet or dirty, wipe it off at once. If light corrosion forms on cartridges, it should be
wiped off. However cartridges should neither
be polished nor oiled to make them look
brighter.

THE Ml RIFLE
Care and Cleaning
General information concerning the care
and cleaning of small arms may be found
in Chapter 11. The following information
applies to the Ml Rifle:
A. Cleaning The Chamber.
The chamber may be cleaned by using the chamber
cleaning brush on the combination tool.
Place the brush on top of a patch in the
palm of the left hand. Close the left hand
over the patch and brush and give the brush
about three turns to the right. This causes
the patch to wrap neatly around and cover
the brush. A slight pressure with the forefinger of the left hand while turning the
brush, will twist the end of the patch like
the finished end of a hand rolled cigarette.
This insures cleaning the full length of the
chamber. Clean by twisting the patch covered brush in the chamber. After cleaning
the chamber, inspect it by inserting the little
finger and twisting it. If no discoloration
shows on the finger, oil the chamber lightly.
B. Before
Firing.
1. Before firing your rifle, clean it as

explained in Chapter 1 1 . Then apply a thin,
uniform coating of rifle grease (lubriplate)
to the following parts: Bolt lugs (locking and
operating), bolt guideways, cocking cam on
bolt, firing pin, operating guideway on receiver, and operating rod contact surfaces.
2. Make certain that clips are kept free
of sand, grit, snow, mud, oil and other
foreign matter.
C.
After Firing.
1. Clean your rifle as explained in Chapter 11, making sure that all carbon is removed from the piston and operating rod.
2. Do not remove the gas cylinder for
cleaning. Remove the gas cylinder screw
and clean the gas cylinder as you would the
bore.
3. If rifle bore cleaner is not available,
an instrument with a sharp blade should be
used to remove the carbon from the piston
on the operating rod. Care must be taken
to see that the edges of the piston are not
rounded. The use of any type abrasive is
prohibited.

Safety Precautions

Firing Positions

A detailed explanation of safety rules to be
followed in handling small arms will be found
in Chapter 11.

Correct positions for firing your Ml rifle
are shown on the following pages. Study
these pictures carefully.

THE PRONE POSITION

185

THE Ml RIFLE

186

THE Ml RIFLE
THE SITTING POSITION

187

THE Ml RIFLE
THE KNEELING POSITION

188

THE Ml

RIFLE

THE STANDING POSITION

Sight Setting
The rear sight is adjusted for range by
turning the elevating knob. This knob has
numbered graduations for 200, 400, 600, 800,
1000, and 1200 yards of range and index
lines between these graduations for 100, 300,
500, 700, 900 and 1100 yards. Adjustment
for windage is made by turning the windage
knob. Each windage graduation on the re-

ceiver represents an angular adjustment of 4
minutes. Elevating and windage knobs are
graduated in "clicks" which represent 1 minute of angle or approximately 1 inch on
the target for each 100 yards of range.
Arrows on the knobs indicate the direction
in which to turn them to obtain corresponding changes in the point of impact.
189