From Walter J. Kuleck
When the U.S Army adopted the U.S. Rifle, Cal..30, M1, they were faced with a dilemma. A short-term dilemma, to be sure, but a dilemma, nonetheless. The requirement placed on John Garand to incorporate an en-block clip into his rifle design, rather than the detachable box magazine Garand had adapted hitherto, created the need for ammunition loaded into said clips.
The previous standard Service rifle, the Model of 1903 “Springfield” bolt action rifle, was loaded via five-round stripper clips of Mauser design. The millions and billions of Cal..30, Model of 1906 (.30-’06) that Chief of Staff MacArthur had cited in his rejection of Pederson’s .276 cartridge were loaded on said clips, when not loaded into cloth belts for Browning machine guns. Neither would work in a Garand.
Until ammunition suppliers began loading ammunition in en-bloc clips, the Garand was a very elaborate single-shot rifle. But keep in mind that Garand designed the M1 Rifle and designed the tooling and processes to manufacture the rifle efficiently, so it’s not surprising that he anticipated that loaded en bloc clips would be in short supply for some time after the rifle was officially adopted.
So, Garand designed a solution: the clip loader. The clip loader accepted cartridges on ’03 stripper clips, then quickly and efficiently allowed its user to strip the cartridges from the Springfield clips into Garand en-bloc clips. These clip loaders were used during the initial period of field evaluations and issue, until en-bloc-clip-loaded ammo was available
The clip loader shown here is of pre-WWII manufacture. How do we know this? The drawing number cast in the base is in C-prefix prewar format. It is lacking its stripper clip guide. However, the loader remains useful because .30-’06 ammo doesn’t come on stripper clips anymore anyway. It’s particularly handy when loading 7.62x51mm for my NATO-chambered Garands.