Yep, I bought myself something that I always wanted. General George S. Patton Jr. called it "...the greatest battle implement ever devised." While that statement is arguable what isn't is that the present I bought myself is one of the best rifles in history:
CAL 30 M1
More famously known as the M1 Garand. There were over five million of these rifles made before and during World War II. The serial number (above below Springfield Armory) dates this rifle back to 1942. The barrel was replaced in the 1950's. This was the first semi-automatic rifle issued in quantity as the main battle rifle for an army. The Germans, British, Russians and Japanese all used bolt action rifles as their main battle rifle.
It's heavy, too, close to 10 pounds in weight and the clip holds 8 rounds of .30-06. There are a number of people at work who have one and when they replaced he barrels they went with a smaller calibre round, the .308, because it's cheaper and more plentiful than the non-corrosive .30-06 ammunition recommended for the M1.
What I need to do in the coming months is to apply to a local gun/sportman's club for membership so that I can target shoot. There aren't many public places that are close to where I live where high powered rifles can be fired. Safety, as always, is of the utmost importance. I was a very good shot in the army, qualify either expert or just below at sharpshooter if I had a bad day on the range. I'd like to enter competitions once I become proficient with this rifle. Eventually, I'll buy an M1A (civilian version of the M14) and use that for competition shooting.