The M1 rifle was first used in competition shooting in the Marine Corps Pacific Division Match held at Pearl Harbor on February 26-27, 1946. This was followed by other matches held by the Marines. Most of the early improvements to the accuracy of the M1 were developed from field experience and carried out by Marine armorers on selected weapons.

The Ordnance Dept. began studies by the Spring of 1948 to improve accuracy in the M1 rifle as an eventual replacement for the '03 Springfield in the National Matches. In March, 1953, the Ordnance Dept. was directed by the Chief of Ordnance to furnish 800 U.S. cal. .30” M1 rifles for use in the National Matches. The rifles selected were hand-picked from newly manufactured weapons that had workmanship and accuracy superior to the average service weapon. Since Springfield Armory was still making Ml's, only hand-picking of superior quality weapons and some minor gunsmithing were needed to bring the weapons to required standards.