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I'm sure y'all have been beaten over the head with these questions, if so, I apologize. I'm not a forum-type guy, (I guess I am now) but I've been wearing google out looking for a way to get started on a match 168 gr load for my M1A. I'm looking for a starting point to work my way toward getting as close to M852 as I can. If any of y'all can help with this I'd appreciate it. My M1A is a Springfield "Loaded" model, 22" bbl, no fancy stock or scope or any of that stuff, just the way it was built with ne NM barrel and front sight. It took me 23 yrs to get this thing and I'm finally at a point where I can start on a goal I've had for a long time, which is shooting an M1A to the extent of it's ability, without a Multi-million dollar scope, just my eyeball and open sights. What I have started with is Federal cases trimmed to 2.005"", 168 gr SMK bullets, 39.1 gr of H4895 and CCI # 34 primers. 2.80" COL. I haven't chronographed these yet. I have a bunch of these primers, some Federal LR, a bunch of H4895, BL-C(2), and Varget. The brass I have is about 100 Federal and 200 Hornady TAP match brass. Thank all of you for any ideas you can give me.
 

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I'd say your on the right track! The biggest difference I see in your load vs. M852 is non mil spec brass, LC...
I don't post my load data EVER. I kind of don't think anyone on this site should, It's something you should work up to for your rifle ... But that's just me. It's one thing to give out basic info on bullet, brass, powder, and primer, and maybe a low starting load. But to give full on load data is a reloading SIN! It says so in every reloading book I have ever seen...
You are on the right track, work it up and test it out... It's part of the fun seeing what just a little tweek can make a big difference. =)
 

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I'd say your on the right track! The biggest difference I see in your load vs. M852 is non mil spec brass, LC...
I don't post my load data EVER. I kind of don't think anyone on this site should, It's something you should work up to for your rifle ... But that's just me. It's one thing to give out basic info on bullet, brass, powder, and primer, and maybe a low starting load. But to give full on load data is a reloading SIN! It says so in every reloading book I have ever seen...
You are on the right track, work it up and test it out... It's part of the fun seeing what just a little tweek can make a big difference. =)
Thanks. I'm kind of in my own world of M1A and M14 thinking as far as my social life and friends go. Everybody wants an AR nowadays and it seems everybody is an AR expert now. Nobody I know knows squat about M14's so I'm all the time googling stuff and I'm tired of it. It's nice to get advice from a real human.

I've never asked any advice on handloads from anybody, except my cousin and he's a bolt action-type guy, I just kind of started with a book and did my own thing, so it's good to hear somebody agree with what I'm doing. I'm not looking for any specifics and I wouldn't give any if I were asked.
I guess what I'm looking for is somebody to confirm my idea which is this- Doesn't matter what the headstamps are or what it looks like, as long as it consistently and dependably acts like M852, that's all I'm looking for. I think as long as its a 168gr SMK and its going the right speed, out of the right barrel, it should behave like M852, regardless of what pushed it down the barrel. Right?
 

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41.5 IMR 4895 works pretty good for me, 168 SMK.

At least keep your cases sorted as to head stamp/times fired.

CCI large rifle primers work as well as any with this load.
 

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Thanks. I'm kind of in my own world of M1A and M14 thinking as far as my social life and friends go. Everybody wants an AR nowadays and it seems everybody is an AR expert now. Nobody I know knows squat about M14's so I'm all the time googling stuff and I'm tired of it. It's nice to get advice from a real human.

I've never asked any advice on handloads from anybody, except my cousin and he's a bolt action-type guy, I just kind of started with a book and did my own thing, so it's good to hear somebody agree with what I'm doing. I'm not looking for any specifics and I wouldn't give any if I were asked.
I guess what I'm looking for is somebody to confirm my idea which is this- Doesn't matter what the headstamps are or what it looks like, as long as it consistently and dependably acts like M852, that's all I'm looking for. I think as long as its a 168gr SMK and its going the right speed, out of the right barrel, it should behave like M852, regardless of what pushed it down the barrel. Right?
Sorta right... Consistancy matters, so brass headstamps do matter, Brass are all pretty much the same on the outside, they have to be to fit in the chamber, but inside is and can be way different, Mil brass is thicker walled so holds a bit less powder but can develop higher chamber pressure with the same load of powder. So try to use the same brass with each load you work up. Powder too, I think there is 3 different 4895's IMR 4895, H4895, and a russian one... close but all different... As far as M852 goes, it's great ammo, but it was still made by a machine, hand loads can be even better than the best machine loads... Takes more time but it can be fantastic! I have a load for my 25.06 that is so tight no premium factory stuff even comes close! And it costs half as much, still working on a load like that for my M1A... lol
 

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Could not agree more about NOT posting ones personal load data for his particular rifle simply because your load may well not be a correct/safe load in some other identical rifle.
If you do quote a load reference the source, Sierra, Hornady, etc. to that load. From time to time someone will ask me to load some rounds for them, and I agree to do that but insist that they come to my shop and I will show them the steps to go through and then let them load their ammo.
I congratulate you on starting out with your M1A by using the issue iron sights. No better way to learn your rifle and how to use it at different ranges. Not to be critical of those using optics on the M1A/M14, but those rifles w/ optics requires a comb pad to get the eye/scope relationship useable and contrary to the optics mfg.'s a scope does not make the rifle more accurate. It's the shooter that makes it accurate. Once you master the correct sight picture w/ the issue sights, the rifle will deliver very good groups at ranges of 600yds or more. Master or High Master shooters w/ M1A will keep quite a few shots in the x ring (something on the order of 6") at 600yds in prone/sling position. There are a large number of good shooters who will keep all 20 shots in either the 10 ring or X ring for a "clean" target at that distance. Zero the rifle at 100yds, count and remember(mark down on stock if you want) how many clicks from bottom to get you on at 100, add 2moa for 200yds, add 3moa for 300yds add 10moa for 600yds. giving you 15moa total from 100yd zero.
Won't be exact, but good starting points to get you on target. Enjoy your rifle as it is and later on if you feel you need/want an optic, go for it. Just a suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Exactly my thoughts, 1100TAC and Zipp. All my brass is sorted and i plan on using only the federal or Hornady.
Ihave a Model 700 25-06 that is like a laser pointer with Hornady Superformance, but I think I can get it better if I can work out something for it. That's next on my list after I get this M852 deal worked out. Thanks.
 

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Could not agree more about NOT posting ones personal load data for his particular rifle simply because your load may well not be a correct/safe load in some other identical rifle.
If you do quote a load reference the source, Sierra, Hornady, etc. to that load. From time to time someone will ask me to load some rounds for them, and I agree to do that but insist that they come to my shop and I will show them the steps to go through and then let them load their ammo.
I congratulate you on starting out with your M1A by using the issue iron sights. No better way to learn your rifle and how to use it at different ranges. Not to be critical of those using optics on the M1A/M14, but those rifles w/ optics requires a comb pad to get the eye/scope relationship useable and contrary to the optics mfg.'s a scope does not make the rifle more accurate. It's the shooter that makes it accurate. Once you master the correct sight picture w/ the issue sights, the rifle will deliver very good groups at ranges of 600yds or more. Master or High Master shooters w/ M1A will keep quite a few shots in the x ring (something on the order of 6") at 600yds in prone/sling position. There are a large number of good shooters who will keep all 20 shots in either the 10 ring or X ring for a "clean" target at that distance. Zero the rifle at 100yds, count and remember(mark down on stock if you want) how many clicks from bottom to get you on at 100, add 2moa for 200yds, add 3moa for 300yds add 10moa for 600yds. giving you 15moa total from 100yd zero.
Won't be exact, but good starting points to get you on target. Enjoy your rifle as it is and later on if you feel you need/want an optic, go for it. Just a suggestion.
Y'all are giving me the best anything I've heard about M14's ever. I've calibrated the elevation knob for 200 yd zero and I'm writing in my book how many clicks from bottom different range zeros are, every 50 yd, from 50 yd on, for every good load i can come up with and for the NATO ammo i have. From what I can tell about M14 sights and from my experience with them, I think a scope is unnecessary, unless you just want to be able to count the hairs on your target. A good hit is a good hit in my book, no matter if you can see the hole or not. That's what spotting scopes are for in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Can anybody tell me the MV of M862? That's really the only specific question I have. Gives me something to work toward and a ballpark for my experimenting with loads.
 

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Can anybody tell me the MV of M862? That's really the only specific question I have. Gives me something to work toward and a ballpark for my experimenting with loads.
Dont remember the exact speed.

But if I remember right it is between 2500 and 2600 fps.

If my memory sucks, please someone correct me.
 

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I ended up being able to duplicate the load with 39.5 grns of IMR4895 and C-34 primers. I think you are a hair shy but gun to gun variations probably play a lot into it. Your (original poster) load is almost identical to my standard 168 grn load with Federal Gold Medal brass. It works well for me.
 

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Can anybody tell me the MV of M862? That's really the only specific question I have. Gives me something to work toward and a ballpark for my experimenting with loads.

Uncle Sam measured there small arms ammo at 78ft, M852 ammo has its M/V listed at 2550fps on the box. Some lots were a touch faster some a few FPS slower. For the reloader 2600/2640ish at 15ft from the muzzle is a good duplacate.
 

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I'm sure y'all have been beaten over the head with these questions, if so, I apologize. I'm not a forum-type guy, (I guess I am now) but I've been wearing google out looking for a way to get started on a match 168 gr load for my M1A. I'm looking for a starting point to work my way toward getting as close to M852 as I can. If any of y'all can help with this I'd appreciate it. .
It has been much discussed and is a good question. I Bing -ed the question and had hundreds of responses - many of them related to previous posts on this forum. Try this site: http://www.zediker.com/downloads/14_loading.pdf I would go back and look at some of the previous posts as several members have been very detailed in loading the 168's. Have a good time with your new rifle.
 

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If you guys don't believe in discussing load recipes then why are you frequenting the ammo forum? If you don't believe in discussing ammunition recipes then how did you guys know where to start when you began making your own ammo? Oh, that's right, you read about recipes from the manufacturer's reloading books. So what you are really saying is, private individuals who post load recipes are not to be trusted (do you think they are liars or just stupid?), but big corporations that post load recipes are to be trusted 100%, really poor reasoning fellas.

I have my own ammunition sub-forum under the professionals forum, I always post ammunition information that is complete and detailed, I also provide estimated pressures (chamber and gas port) along with muzzle velocities. In order to do that I have to have detailed info from the person involved and without it I can only provide commonly known estimates that any other EXPERIENCED hand loader would know.

Jason, if you agree with their thinking then why ask about what the muzzle velocity is? If each rifle is so different and no ammo recipe is reliable then how could you expect someone to be able to provide you with accurate muzzle velocity information?

All that being said, all load recommendations are just that, recommendations, and need to be worked up to from a safe minimum load. The problems that I see most often are not the loads but the loading technique that the hand loader uses, the variations in how a cartridge can be assembled are many and can cause problems. The person doing the loading is the biggest problem, not only can they improperly load the ammo but they will misread or misinterpret the corporate reloading manuals. There are very few professional reloading manuals that provide load information using the M1A or Garand rifles, Hornady is the only one I trust at this point. You have to recognize that the weapon used to develop the load is important, if the company didn't use the same kind of rifle you are using then there will differences, how much difference varies but having used a universal receiver to develop loads will not produce the same results as developing the load in an M1A rifle.

To be safe and reproducible you must have at least the following load information;
  • The case volume used (regardless of brand, volumes within brands will vary)
  • Powder brand and charge weight
  • Bullet brand and weight
  • Cartridge length overall (I prefer to use length at the ogive)
  • Crimp or no crimp

This is the minimum information that I use to reproduce a load. There are some more dimensional and component info that will help reproduce a load more accurately, some of which are assumed because they are considered to be standard to ensure mechanical operation of the rifle. Anything less than this and your loads will only loosely resemble the performance of the original cartridge. If the load is a top end load then the slight differences might be dangerous, then again maybe not, you just can't predict that without more detailed load data.

As for your load,
Federal cases trimmed to 2.005"
168 gr SMK bullets
39.1 gr of H4895
CCI # 34 primers
2.80" COL

It's too light and too slow. Your chamber pressure will be around 44,660 PSI, port pressure on the light side, and the velocity will be just under 2500 fps. The accuracy wont be optimum either.

The following should make for a good M852 clone;

Federal cases trimmed to 2.005"
168 gr SMK bullets
40.8 gr of H4895
Federal primers (I prefer the 210M)
2.83" COL
No crimp, neck's sized to be .002" - .003" smaller than the bullet's diameter

For best accuracy at ranges of less than 600 yards I'd recommend dropping the powder charge weight down to 40 grains.
 

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the tm says 42grs for that round
And the TM also specifies IMR 4895, and that's military grade powder not commercially available powder which is different than the OP's H4895.
 

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And the TM also specifies IMR 4895, and that's military grade powder not commercially available powder which is different than the OP's H4895.
i guess i missed the "h" part... how is imr 4895 not a commercial powder? am i missing something? i have a few pounds of it. not trying to be a smart @ss, im just curious
 
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