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Discussion Starter #1
For a number of years the search for M1A Accuracy at 100 yards has proven to be somewhat elusive, not because accuracy can not be determined, but because I have nothing to compare my results against. That may sound a little convoluted, so allow me to explain..

What I wanted to find out was, how accurate can a M1A be made to shoot {10 shot groups** at 100 yards, using all USGI parts, including a USGI NM standard barrel. Using the technology that was available until the demise of the NM and Match Grade M14 rifles. Two M1A's were used to compile the information. Approximately 2,000 rounds were fired.

The M1A's, Included, USGI Mounts and Scopes used during the time frame mentioned, and the several types of Military ammunition, M118 and M852.

The accuracy information has been recorded and I can state, with some degree of confidence, I was pleased with the overall results. What would be appreciated is feedback from those interested in the accuracy of M1A's that have the new equipment and technology and loads found to be the best.

I would ask that terms such as Tack Driver, All Day Long and NM rifles, unless you actually have a NM M14, be withheld.. Also, it is necessary to have an average group size rather than an one time surprise.

This is not, by any standard, a valid experiment, but it is the only one that I know of at this time. Art
 

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Ok, I'll start, The best accuracy I have witnessed is not from a NM barrel, but in fact an SAI factory barrel. The loads are :

42.0 grs.- IMR-4064 behind a 165gr. Remington PSP...
Average group size of 1 1/4''- 1 3/8" over a period of one year with timed shots, approximately 30-60 seconds in between each for a ten shot total. Some eight shot groups are consistently under an inch, therefore I would gather it is my fault. I really like the flat based power soft points for accuracy.

42.4 grs.- IMR-4064 behind the 147gr. FMJ or the Hornady 150gr. FMJ both exhibit the same average size groups at 100yds. in the same rifle used for the above. Seating depths in my test range from 1.762- 1.795 for both......the tighter 1.762 seating depth of the 165gr. gets pretty sporty for recoil when raised to 42.4grs....ouch is how I like to refer to it, and do not recommend it to anyone for care of your weapon. Although pressure signs are not indicated, I can definately feel the difference.
 

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Accuracy Data

The problem I have with this is that no two rifles of any type are likely to exhibit any kind of consistant results. Firing ten shot groups allows a lot of variables that effect group size. I usually shoot 5 shot groups to check accuracy. This lessens the effects of outside influences.

The military tested rifles for accuracy using an accuacy test cradle. This eliminated the biggest factor in inaccuracy, the operator. Rifles simply had to meet certain standards to be acceptable.

During the many years I have been building match grade M14/M1A rifles, i've had them shoot as well as 3/8", but many would shoot 5/8" to 3/4" with the proper ammo. I've concluded that any NM type rifle shooting an inch is good to go and I found most standard grade rifles would shoot under two inches. There are always exceptions, but they are few when dealing with custom builds.

Barrel weights do have an influence on accuracy. When I was building NM rifles for the State National Guard, standard weight NM barrels would do well to keep most shots within 1 1/2 ". When we went to heavy barrels, accuacy improved to under an inch in the same rifles. M852 ammunition also was a big factor in accuracy improvement. The use of the Sierra 168 grain Match King bullet and heavy barrels is what made the M14 competitive at the National Matches and finally allowed the M14 to win a National Rifle Championship.

So Art, remember the big jump in scores at 29 Palms back in 81-82?
 

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Maybe it just is not possible

Thank you Ted for the experienced information and I do agree with all you state. Perhaps it is not possible to narrow down what I am looking for, we all have different interests.

After approx 2,000 rounds of M118 and M853 fire through two M1A'a built as similar as possible, the average 10 shot group was 1-3/4". That is respectable in my camp, It was my hope to learn from those that have newer equipment how my average stacked up to theirs.

Even if the data I was seeking is not going to result, it is interesting to hear how well you are doing and what you are using for loads. Being a traditionalist and 76 years old has narrowed my interests. In reading range reports on the Forum, regarding accuracy, sometimes with great pictures, I have come to the conclusion that some small measure of accuracy has occurred, not enough, or often enough in my mind to justify the expenditure involved. That comment is not going to sit well with some, but it is only an honest opinion...

Ted and I shot together at 29 Palms last Century, how old does that make you feel Ted?? Thanks Guys. Art
 

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1-3/4" is probably dead on from what I've experienced as an average from owning fourteen M1As over the years. The most accurate being the .5" MOA John Miller rifle and the worst being a 2.5" SOCOM 16, which I'll throw out as a flyer. But I have found that I really don't know my rifle until 300 yards and out. With a standard $1200 SAI M1A 22" I've averaged 1.5" to 2.0" ten shot groups at 100yards. With a $4500 M14 SA with USGI parts and some NM mods, 1-1/8" average. With a $6000 rifle, no expense spared, .5" groups. Not saying this is typical for everyone, but money has had results for me. Fed GMM SMK was the only ammo used for serious groups.
 

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Art,

I realize that this is a departure from the traditional wood and steel, but we keep records on the 5030 M14EBR-RIs that we have built in the last couple of years. With a four man build team and only two of us shooting for group size, we have an average of .89 across the board. Our rejection point is anything greater that 1.50 MOA with only one Code A barreled action failing to meet that criteria.

These are Rack Stock M14s right out of Anniston that we install in Sage stocks with the only modification being the reaming of the flash suppressor. The Sage stock takes all the voodoo out of stock bedding and gas cylinder mods, etc. It allows us to build a consistant rifle in about 15 minutes instead of 15 hours.

This gives a pretty good picture of the accuracy capabilities of the M14 platform when you remove most of the variables.ARMY1
 

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Art,

I realize that this is a departure from the traditional wood and steel, but we keep records on the 5030 M14EBR-RIs that we have built in the last couple of years. With a four man build team and only two of us shooting for group size, we have an average of .89 across the board. Our rejection point is anything greater that 1.50 MOA with only one Code A barreled action failing to meet that criteria.

These are Rack Stock M14s right out of Anniston that we install in Sage stocks with the only modification being the reaming of the flash suppressor. The Sage stock takes all the voodoo out of stock bedding and gas cylinder mods, etc. It allows us to build a consistant rifle in about 15 minutes instead of 15 hours.

This gives a pretty good picture of the accuracy capabilities of the M14 platform when you remove most of the variables.ARMY1

M14s in SAGE EBR stocks = Winner!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ebrbuilder..

The first experience I had with the Sage stock was two weeks ago when one came into my shop from Austin. A very attractive piece of equipment. Knowing nothing {zero** about this new stock presented a problem. I told the owner, who was complaining of unacceptable accuracy, to send it to someone else.

I did agree to look into the mounting of the Gas System, as this is the usual place I have found problems. There is no Front Band, a thick Space, to thick to be called a Shim, fills the space of the absent Front Band. This condition produces a Free Floating barrel. Free floating barrels have not Historically in my experience, produced consistent accuracy. You have overcome this problem, congratulations,..

If possible, I would like to see your written material.
Thank you for taking the time to write, most interesting. Art
 

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Age

Jeeez Art... you didn't have to remind me. I'm sure your eyes are getting as bad as mine so I don't feel so bad.

I'll never forget those wonderful matches at the Palms with tumble weeds blowing 100 feet in the air. They put on great matches back when there was still pit service and seven relays. The Marines really ran a tight ship.
 

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The Marines Do It RIght.

The day the target frames started going end over end across the beautiful landscape was enough for me.

Did you win anything while shooting there, I blamed my poor performance on having to climb all the stairs to get on the 600 yard line.

The good news was, we could leave at any time.. Art
 

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At the Stumps

I didn't win anything, but I did place in a couple of matches. Never high enough to win any of the several thousand dollars worth of guns and accessories they gave away. I was classified as an Expert at the time. They should have named those stairs the "puff and puke stairs". I lost a lot of brass over the front of the firing lines there. Brass piled two inches deep and not allowed to step of the line to pick it up. Still, a great match.
 

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Picking up brass

Hey, Ted, I was told the reason we could not go forward to pick up brass was because the footprints disturbed the crust on the sand and when it blew, this loose sand was a problem. When didn't it blow there?

I have a question, I do not want you to think I am being controversial however. Regarding the reaming of the FS...

The No. 7 tapered reamer has been the reamer of choice for as long as I can remember, and that is a loooog time. My question is, How did the no. 7 become the final choice? Did they start with no. 2 and work their way up testing each, or what? This is a crappy question I know, but it has bothered me for years. If you do not know, please make something up so I can get on with it... Best regards, Art
 

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Mrgoodrifle

Art,
Back in the late 70's and through the 80's I built or rebuilt a fair number of M1A's and heavy barreled M14's. Among those were the rifle's for some of the state national guard teams. We tested the rifles with a T-16 Weaver and 24X Leupold and all were shot at 100 yards off a bench. Each rifle was fired by at least two and usually three HM classified shooters. All groups were 10 shots and using both M-118 and M-852 issue ammo. Our goal was to weed out those rifles that didn't produce acceptable accuracy and rebuild accordingly. The maximum standard was 1.75" groups with M-118 and 1.25" groups with M-852. Sometimes we would use two lots of ammo (not mixed) for comparison.
Most newly built guns would make the standard but not with much to spare. Occasionally a sub MOA rifle would surface but not often. Most rifles would hold that accuracy for 2000 to 3000 rounds then surface glassing would buy another 2000 or 2500 rounds before complete rebuild. One item of note was the different results from shooter to shooter with the same rifle. What was a 1" rifle for one shooter might only produce 1.25 for the next. I saw a variant in this when shooting for the NGUS rifle team. We were assigned a "buddy" to trade rifles with and instructed to get zeros on that rifle in case we got to a match and our issued rifle didn't.
The shooter I traded rifles with and I both had groups about 4 to 5 inches off center in the opposite direction using the other's data. Also some shooters couldn't seem to get a particular rifle to shoot acceptable groups when fired in position and then another shooter would shoot knots with it. All shooters with high 480's or 490's averages. Maybe the rifles just didn't like the way they were held or talked about. Would that would possibly indicate that most M-14s were female?
 

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Ha, ha. As in "For best results glue 'em in." Art's got a trick for doing that with stiff varnish, right where the can's on the edge of going plastic.
 

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M1A Standard

I have been working on a hunting/defense load for this SA M1A for a few weeks now and have used the following:
46 grains IMR-4064
Nosler 165 Ballistic Tip
CCI #34 primer

This load is warm but functions flawlessly. I don't shoot groups of 5 or 10 rounds, I shoot groups consisting of 2 or 3 shots performed correctly from a proper bench technique. My M1A standard put 4 groups into 1 moa with room to spare and as luck (and I do mean LUCK) would have it, the last two shot group fired went into the same hole at 100 yards.

I have consistently been informed that the standard "will not shoot that well" and "especially with iron sights"... I am no stranger to this type of sight system and I have gotten to know this rifle through dry fire work upon the very bench that I shoot from. Anyway, knowing how to use these sights is key.

I am reducing this load to 45 gr. which should bring pressure back down closer to 52k so that I'm not working the action so hard. I am certain that the accuracy will follow that load.
 

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What a HOOT

Maybe the rifles just didn't like the way they were held or talked about. Would that would possibly indicate that most M-14s were female?
I was reviewing older threads under” accuracy” and came across the above posting which I have edited/quoted by mrgoodrifle
So I just had to breathe a little life back into this one, over my good friend and old rifle team Pard’s comments above… That is mrgoodrifle’s stone cold but effective humor at work… I about feel out of my chair laughing when I read it…
 

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In reading range reports on the Forum, regarding accuracy, sometimes with great pictures, I have come to the conclusion that some small measure of accuracy has occurred, not enough, or often enough in my mind to justify the expenditure involved. That comment is not going to sit well with some, but it is only an honest opinion...

Art
I have no where near the experience most people in this thread command. However I have come to this same conclusion when shopping for a 7.62x51 platform.

When I chose the m14/m1a rifle system I quickly understood theres a certain love for the rifle that has to be present when putting money into them. 4000.00$(arbitrary number) put into an m14,according to my research is just not going to be as accurate as 4000.00$ into another system. I won't mention names but I'm sure anyone can think them.

especially accuracy at base cost is much better with other systems. (bolt guns, Armalite pattern guns).

All that being said the money I've spent so far, with more to come has been worth it for the enjoyment I receive.

I have owned, and do own more accurate rifles but my m1a is my favorite rifle.

Thanks for the info, this has encouraged me to improve my range logs.
 
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