The M1 Garand was referred to by no-less of gunslinger as General George S Patton as "the greatest battle implement ever devised". This venerable weapon can be yours (after jumping through a few hoops) via the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).
In military speak; the M1 Garand is officially known as Service Rifle, .30 Caliber, M1, NSN 1005-00-674-1425. Between 1937 and 1957, at least 5,468,772 Garands were produced by four manufacturers for use by the US military. The government, always tight with a penny, kept these in front line service until 1963 and then transferred them to reserve and National Guard where they were often seen giving hippies some love as late as the mid-1970s. The Army likes the M1 so much that they still keep more than 68,000 of them on hand for training and ceremonial purposes.
More than a half-million were transferred to the CMP since 1968 to sell to you of which some 125,000 are left. The weapons in the CMP's inventory are in numerous grades from $195 stripped bare receivers to welded drill rifles to complete and $3000 correct collector grade sniper weapons and everything in between. Likewise, they have numerous grades and manufacturers to choose from.
The CMP is transferring ownership of a surplus US military weapon to you that were carried by US service members during the WWII-Korean War era. Typically the firearm went from its factory, to the Army, to the CMP and you are the first civilian not in that chain to ever touch it. That's what makes it special. So to receive it, you need to be worthy of giving the old warrior a good home.
You have to be:
1. Over 18 years of age
2. A US Citizen
3. Be legally eligible to own a firearm (I.e. Not a felon, unstable, etc.)
4. Belong to a CMP-affiliated organization. Almost every state has some sort of CMP/DCM organization that promotes the use of civilian marksmanship training with military style firearms. If you cannot get out to these or do not have one close by, there are several other organizations that qualify. These include the VFW, DAV, USPSA, and the Garand Collectors Association.
5. If you are under 60, you must show evidence of some sort of marksmanship training or firearms related activity. Odds are, if you are reading this, you probably have done something that qualifies already can include hunters education training, a CCW card, a NRA or other association certificate for almost anything that involved live fire. Firearms collecting such as having a Curio and Relic or other FFL also counts towards meeting the CMP's requirement. Another big thing that counts as one credit in lieu of the above is either past or current military or law enforcement service.
For a full list of these, see the CMP's eligibility website
My personal experience
As a shootist and a writer with above average integrity, I do not write about what I do not have any experience with and this is no exception.
Last August I ordered a field grade Springfield M1 Garand through the CMP. After completing my purchasing packet application and sending my check for $495, I sat back and waited.
My order was received and verified, then ten days later sent to sales and processed, then sent to shipping and shipped via fed-ex in a large, well-padded box. During the entire process, I was emailed with updates at every step, the last one containing my tracking number. It arrived at my doorstep on August 29th, after a total elapsed wait of 23 days including shipping. While your wait time maybe longer, and the CMP states in all of its literature to expect a 90-day turn around, I was happy with what I got.
My "field grade" M1 would grade out to an NRA grade good to very good with nice finish on the metal surfaces, no rust, and normal scratches, scuffs and dings. The rifling is sharp and crisp and the throat is beefy with lots of life left in it. The stock, though mismatched, is functional and has no splits, cracks, or chips. She shoots fine and to sight, making softball-sized groups at 100 yards with surplus 1960s Greek ball ammunition firing from a standing position. Her serial number range places her coming off the Springfield lines in June 1943, so the old warrior may be a WWII veteran of France or the Philippines and later Korea.
I love it, I would not trade it for any other, and it's getting passed down.