Pièce de résistance is the
Mini-G carbine. This is, thankfully, not
a T-26-style “Tanker” Garand. This one actually works. You can send Shuff an
old beater Garand or, in my case, a crappy Federal Ordnance Tanker, and he’ll
cut the barrel down to 16.1-inches, re-shape the operating rod to a precise new
angle, install a Schuster DCM adjustable gas plug and parkerize all the metal
to match. The barrel is short enough that the front handguard is eliminated
altogether, cutting a little more weight and doing away with the stubby two-inch
handguard used on the Tanker conversions. Shuff can do a barrel in the original
.30-06, .308 (in which case he adds the necessary spacer block, something my
Tanker lacked) or .35 Whelen. He can also add a muzzle brake or install an Ultimak
Scout Rail, which requires some modification to work with the Mini-G’s modified
When all is said and done, the Mini-G is 35.6-inches long, just a hair away from a full 8 inches shorter than a full size Garand, and weighs only 7.7 pounds compared to the M1’s empty weight of 9-1/2 pounds. If you’ve ever wanted a Garand shorty carbine but didn’t want to gamble on finding a Tanker conversion that may or may not work, just have Shuff do you up a Mini-G conversion and you can rest easy knowing it will work. Period.
I returned from a vacation trip to find my Mini-G was already back and waiting for me less than two weeks after I sent it in. I was tickled pink and couldn’t wait to play with my shiny new toy.
That dog obviously wasn’t gonna hunt, so I tried the old Tasco. The Japanese produce much better quality glass and that extra 1x of magnification is nice, but my particular Tasco sports an old, discontinued reticle. The crosshairs start out thin enough at the outer ends and then taper away to nothing towards the center, where there’s a non-illuminated aiming dot. The dot must be close to 3 MOA, since it completely covered the 2-inch aiming square as well. I found myself aiming by holding off so I could see the square, then placing the dot over it and trying to hold it there while I squeezed one off. Admittedly, such an outfit on the Mini-G would work just fine for rapidly putting holes in silhouettes, it just didn't give me the kind of precise aiming point I would have prefered for accuracy testing.
For short range work, the Mini-G handles and balances very well in the hands, still retaining the ergonomics of the full size Garand that we all love so well. It shoulders and points naturally and easily. It's fast onto the target with the standard aperture sights. With the Amega Ranges or Ultimak mount, you can add whatever optic floats your boat; scout scope, red dot or holo sight.
Sans optics, a Mini-G is almost exactly the same size as the old M1 carbine, but it's still a by-God Garand so the weight might seem heavy if you're used to the more modern mouse guns. Just remember you're throwing full-size .30-caliber projectiles, not 110-grain round nose slugs from a hopped-up pistol cartridge as in the case of the M1 carbine and certainly not .224-inch poodle slayers. With either the .308 or the .30-06 the whole "double-tap to chest, observe, repeat as often as necessary" routine can be done away with. A single center mass round will suffice and you can move on to the next target.