Denix M1 Garand Customisation Guide

Here is a guide to make the already fantastic replica M1 Garand, even better with just a couple of hours work!



Essential Items:

  • Electric drill
  • 22mm metal drill bit
  • 5mm metal drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire wool
  • Black shoe polish
  • Wood stain
  • Black paint (either spray or model paint)
  • Paint brushes
  • 500 grit sandpaper
  • Thin, flat metal file

Optional Items:

  • Original butt plate
  • Sling
  • Brown shoe polish
  • Bayonet

Step 1. Strip Down

Carefully remove the screws from the replica and ensure you don't damage the wood. Screws are located as shown below. You can take it apart completely, but you don't need to strip it down any more than we have pictured. You can fit original wooden furniture if you want, however it may need some work to get the Denix metalwork to fit.

Step 2. Prepare the Wood

Before doing anything else, you will need to prepare the wood. Take some sandpaper (we used 500 grit) and give it a light rub down.

Step 3. The Butt Stock (Optional)

We have attached an original butt plate to our Garand. The Denix replica has a butt plate, but unfortunately, the door flap is just cosmetic and does not open. To attach an original butt plate, remove the Denix plate (2 screws) and put the original plate in place. Mark the centre of the where the top and bottom holes should be. Using a 22mm drill bit, you need to (CAREFULLY) drill two holes. The top one should be approximately 20cm deep and the bottom one should be approximately 17cm deep.

In some cases, you may need to cut a recess into the wood so the hinge on the butt plate will fit flush.

Step 4. Foresight

You will see that the Denix has the foresight holes filled in. To correct this, we took a 5mm drill bit (suitable for metal), and carefully drilled out the holes. Be careful not to go too deep!

Once you have drilled the holes, we used some of our matt black spray paint, and gave a little bit of a spray between the sights. DO NOT do too much, just a light spray. Alternatively, you can get some modelling black paint and apply carefully by brush. This just hides the bare metal showing from the drilling.

When this paint dries, we used some soft wire wool, on the outside of the sights, to remove a bit of the black paint that had been over sprayed.

Step 5. Wooden Furniture

We used black shoe polish, and worked that into and over the wooden parts. We let that dry overnight. Use a wood stain (we used dark oak). Apply this carefully along the wood and let dry.

Once you have applied this, let it dry. Apply a second coat of the wood stain. Again, let the wood dry. You can either add a third coat, or leave as is after this section depending on if you are happy with the colour or want it a bit darker.

Step 6. Metalwork

Using a soft wire wool, run it gently over the metal parts. Focus on areas that would see a lot of use. Around the trigger guard, the trigger itself, the slide for the cocking lever, the cocking handle, the adjustments on the rear sight etc.

The key is to not over do it! Remember, these rifles were issued new to soldiers back during WW2. Prior to combat, they would have been used on the firing ranges, or for bayonet drills. They aren’t meant to look 80 years old!

The Finished Product

We have also taken one of our M1 Garand slings and attached it to the rifle. Prior to fitting, we used a small coating of the wood stain along the length, let that dry, and then used brown and black shoe polish to darken the sling. This is the rifle with sling fitted.

Overall, we are pretty pleased with the final result! A few hours work, and some effort, and you can really improve the look for your impression!

Optional Bayonet

We decided to get one of our reproduction bayonets to fit the Denix. The Denix will not fit a bayonet as standard, but with a bit of time, you can make one fit.

Using a small, flat file, carefully file down the front and sides of the bayonet lug. The key is, do a bit, try a test fit using your bayonet, and keep going until the bayonet slides on and locks in securely. Don’t worry about the paint wear on this part. Bayonets would begin to scrape off the surface of the bayonet lug being attached and removed anyway.

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