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Hey troops. Got an M-1A question. I got an M1A with Springfield Armory Mount and Nikon M-308 glass. From 100 meters, I shot a fist sized group using 150 gr. Winchester Power Point JSPs. These I bought just to roughly zero the rifle.
My buddies in the sniper community suggest that I use Federal Matchking w/168 gr jhp as that is what they use. They also tell me that once I find that round that works, buy all of that lot number I can. They tell me that is THE round for that rifle and Nikon says in their literature that their calibrations are based on a 168 gr. bullet
My questions are, first, would the load make that much difference at 100 m ? I was well sandbagged and am fairly decent behind a rifle. Second, what types of variance can I expect from this "better round" in different lot numbers.
Thanks,
Bravo One Six standing by.
 

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Groups are dependent upon the rifle, the ammo, and the shooter with the shooter being the most important part of the equation.

If you can hold less than 2 inch groups at 100 yards with a bolt action rifle you should be to do the same with a scoped M1A and Federal 168gr ammo. Yes, ammo changes can cause groups to go from as little as under an MOA at 100 yards to as much as 6 or more inches.

The only problem I see with your setup is the scope mount, the Springfield mount (up to the 3rd generation) is notorious for coming loose, not all of them but enough that most experienced M1A shooters wont buy one.
 

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Groups are dependent upon the rifle, the ammo, and the shooter with the shooter being the most important part of the equation.

If you can hold less than 2 inch groups at 100 yards with a bolt action rifle you should be to do the same with a scoped M1A and Federal 168gr ammo. Yes, ammo changes can cause groups to go from as little as under an MOA at 100 yards to as much as 6 or more inches.

The only problem I see with your setup is the scope mount, the Springfield mount (up to the 3rd generation) is notorious for coming loose, not all of them but enough that most experienced M1A shooters wont buy one.
I wonder if that’s due to the user not installing correctly? I have one on my Socom and it’s been pretty consistent with the glass at 1.5moa and under from a rest. The instructions tell you to use a mallet, which I have to admit is a bit unusual...
 

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I use FGMM 168s and they work great in my M14. They also work great in most other peoples M14/M1As here. I was using Remington UMC 150s to get dialed in, and I noticed a huge difference in group sizes when I put the 168s in to finish my zero.
 

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My Experience,

Disclaimer: I am not an expert marksman, nor an expert in anything having to do with the shooting sport so take my post as it is written , basically just what I have experienced with the M1A for the last 2 years.

How far down the road do You want to go with this, take a look at TonyBen's posts this man is 'in deep' , He is putting propane torches on each brass case and separating brass by each variable , He has put a bunch of money and parts into one of His high end M1A and has not broken the sub MOA boundary on this particular rifle >>>>>>>> ' yet' >>>and He is loving it lol ,GI3


Here is a synopsis of my own intermediate accuracy evolution with my SAI 'Loaded' version with the Nikon M-308 non BDC version and Basset mount.

With the same basic ball ammo You have been using I was getting MOF = Minuet Of Frisbee lol , very disappointing.RNGR4

I bought every type of ammo I could get my hands on from new manufacture Lake City to remanufacturer Lake City, to CBC, to junk corrosive foreign ammo to high end hunting ammo and factory tactical ammo such as Norma Tactical and the vaunted factory Federal Gold Metal Match 168 SMK.


The Tactical ammo shot the best even better than F-GMM , but still I have factory hunting rifles that put it to shame.


As thee other gentleman above my reply has already said , > You are the biggest variable, and so I decided to put a very experienced and highly skilled bench rest man Jim aka 'shooter' we will call Him from now on , who is also a great ammo crafting re-loader behind my rifle.

Jim was trained back in the day on the M14 in Army boot camp, and so I immediately took myself out of the equation.

With His finger on the trigger my M1A still shot like a rigged 22 at a gypsy carnival .

So my 1st attempts at accuracy showed me that the high end ammo was much more accurate that any type of mil ball ammo, by far but still I could not accept shooting only high end expensive ammo in a rifle and stlil not get 1MOA.

I like to shoot a lot and so I knew I would have to roll my own and also work on the rifles inherent factory flaws = trigger - stock etc....

I am noticing rifles tend to be highly individualistic, I see that to a lessor extent with hunting rifles, one shoots great it's next serial number mate is not so great a shooter.

So we both knew this was not a squared away rifle as far as wood to metal fit that was becoming obvious, we also both knew that the trigger was less than optimal and that thee only way to see if it was able to get down to 1 MOA ( or better ) was to start working on making our own ammo to try and find the magic bullet.

Check List by chronology

Shooter: ...... check

Best factory ammo: ...... check

Trigger : Ted Brown trigger 'adjustment' work ...... check.

Note : Trigger work made the rifle much more consistent and pleasant to shoot , it now felt 'refined' and so the groups shrunk.

Reloading: We now started to make out own ammo from a LARGE stock of 308 bullets, from 110 grain ( not used ) to 168 gr Sierra International Match ( pre Match king ) to *Sierra 150gr BTSP Nosler Partitions, Game Kings, SMK's and eventually settling on the most accurate of them all in out bench testing = Berger VLD's

Note: Once we spent about 6 months playing Frankenstein in the reloading room ( 100 yard range 5 miles from the homestead ) we got the groups down to 1MOA with Sierra 150 Boat Tail lead spoft tip Spire Point hunting bullets ( pre VLD experimentation

Stock change: New Archangel stock.......check.

Note: Changing out the stock did the #1 biggest mechanical improvement to groups and to our shot consistency, in other words the wood stock was so inconsistent it would put3 or 4 on the X and then one flyer like a Tiger Woods back spasm drive into thre ruff lol, due to shrinkage and swelling winter / summer, and due to torsional flexing, air gaps etc..... I mean the wood stock exhibited everything You do NOT want in a rifle stock for accuracy & consistency it had to go.

The Archangel was a logical replacement due to what other guys said about the value to price, thee only other drop in stock was an ultra cool very well made tactical stock that showed to be a BIG improvement was a LOT more as expensive when compared to the American made Archangel .

As soon as we shot the Archangle M1A the rifle changed to a sub MOA weapon right off the bat.

Berger VLD :.....check.

Once we eliminated the SMK's as only 'pretty good' accuracy in this one particular M1A, we jumped over to Berger VLD's and the rifle is now more accurate than all my rifles, I can shoot bullet hole touching bullet hole 1/4 MOA , some times 2 & 3 shot 'hole thru hole' with Berger reloads using Norma Match and Nosler Custom brass ( expensive stuff ) and 1.5 MOA with some of my ball ammo !!!

Note: This is with some detailed but not fanatical reloading techniques and gear such as a competition micrometer seating die , high end digital powder measure scale, using a powder trickler counting down to 1 single granular of power etc.....

Since we got excellent accuracy with good basic disciplined reloading and load testing and because this is still a military battle type rifle we are NOT going to ever measure neck tensions, anneal, or use the dial true gauge , check internal brass volume's etc.....

We also played with seating depths within reason for what a battle rifle using a box magazine will accept which is less than pure optimal but very acceptable.

Going back to Your journey into accuracy,

Do You want to only shoot expensive ammo in a non-bedded 'wood stock' rifle and know that those flyers are not Your fault ?

Do You want Your groups shrinking one day and expanding like crazy the next day so badly that You have to walk up to Your target to look for the lost flyer ?

Do You want to 'plink' with Buck-O-Shot ball ammo that is so UN-accurate out of Your UN-tuned M1A as to be kind of like like that cheap 1970's 30 Carbine M1 clone You traded for a load of fire wood ?

Do You really want to plink and share Your M1A experiences with newbies and old buddies on the firing line only to watch dust kick up all around that dam bowling pin and the pin just sits there mocking You while You explain to they why You paid almost 2 grand for a lame shooting rifle ?

Then work on that rifle and watch in amazement as You and the guys see You pinging metal every single shot way out a spotting scope distance, and watch as Your paper target spotter says " I think You missed the target all together' and You say 'No the bullet when thru the hole of the 1st bullet" GI2.

These rifles are so fun to accurize because every thing helps along the way, its an adventure, there are not many of them out on the rifling line and You can see the dramatic improvements, Your own marksmanship and rifle skills really ' get with the program' and it's a civilian battle ready - homestead defending and real 308 hunting rifle all in one, what could be better. DI5

I hope this was helpful.....cheers.
 

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I have an EBR with a SAK NM barrel. The junk surplus ammo shot better out of it than the Federal Match ammo. Just keep trying to find what it likes..DONT give up on it yet..You'd be surprised how much a nice trigger job can help also.
 

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I wonder if that’s due to the user not installing correctly? I have one on my Socom and it’s been pretty consistent with the glass at 1.5moa and under from a rest. The instructions tell you to use a mallet, which I have to admit is a bit unusual...
Its not that there a bad design its the material that used too make them, using a rubber mallet too peen the vertical rail on the mount isn't good, fire it enough times and it pounds out in the other direction. See what I mean?
 
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Reality check time.

You can get really looney trying to get bench rest rifle accuracy out of an M1A.

It's a really great battle rifle and if you delve into what it was designed to do you'll find that it was made to do great harm to America's enemies.
SO, given that premise, if you can put an M1A/M14 bullet into a 5" circle at 100 yards , you win!!!!

If you can hit a 13" circle at 200yds, you win!!

And so on.

If I wanted to shoot submoa , I'd spend X amount of dollars into a great bolt rifle instead of X TIMES 3 dollars into an M1A.

Of course that doesn't count if you have really deep pockets. I'm only talking to the average retired Vets like myself.

I reload but I don't make myself crazy with every little detail.
I do use only one bullet , the SIE 168gr match. Buy them in big bulk.
LC brass and CCI 34 primers, 4895 powder.

If you just concentrate on one setup like that, you'll get really excellent results, maybe not the NTH DEGREE of accuracy but a really excellent group.

The plus side is that you'll have lots more money to spend on wine, women, and song.

Safe shooting !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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