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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I'm new to posting on forums but I've definitely gained a lot of good intel by poaching from them on google (thank you all for that by the way), and I figured this would be the best place to solicit some advice about a problem M1A. Sorry if it comes out a little long winded; I'm trying to be as detailed as possible since, as they say, the devil is in the details.

My wife bought me a brand new SA M1A loaded model a few years ago (the one with the medium contour carbon barrel, NM sights, and traditional composite stock). I'd been killing pigs with an old garand for years and loved the idea of getting a similar platform but with a scope. I modified it from the start by switching out the flash suppressor for a SA OEM muzzle brake, since in California it's an assault rifle if the thingy on the end has slots, but if it's got holes it's okay ?. Initial range sessions printed about 3" groups through the iron sights... right around what the Garand can do.

Then I ran into trouble. In pursuit of my aforementioned goals, I installed a Sadlak scope mount, and a Leupold VX3 in Leupold rings. I also added a Harris bipod/sling swivel adapter to add on a 6-9LM Harris bipod. The adapter was initially contacting the gas cylinder, but after filing the adapter down to almost nothing the forend has a free (I might even say loose) fit. I threw on a lace-up cheek rest with some closed cell foam to bring my eye alignment up and went off to the riverbar.

To my astonishment, the POI was almost ten feet high at 100yds! My scope maxed out still 6" high. I decided I must have done something wrong in the installation of the scope/mount, so I went home, reduced it to parts and reassembled it. I went back the next week, and this time the initial POI was 8-9 feet right. I could get it into the area of the bullseye, but only if the windage was maxed out hard and it still wouldn't print better than a 6" group (I assumed because of the maxed scope adjustments. I can't imagine they perform at their best like that). So, I took it to a gunsmith and had them mount the scope. After a month and $50 I will never get back the results were the same. I finally got pissed and threw it into the back of the safe where it stayed for a year or two.

Recently I had a burst of inspiration (and a surplus of rings and scopes) and decided to try again with it. I switched the rings out for Vortex PMR rings and got a VX3 with a 30mm tube from another rifle (thinking that wider adjustment range might lead to better performance). I followed the instructions exactly and torqued everything down exactly like I was told. The mount seems to fit the side of the reciever well, so I can't see any problems there. Still, the best I can get it to do is 6-9" groups, usually starting up near the top of the target and gradually stringing down more toward the middle. The windage and elevation adjustments were close to center this time, blowing my previous theory. I usually shoot hand loads, and started with some recipes that other successful M1A hunters suggested, and also tried several factory loads as a reality check. I still can't get this thing tamed down, and I have no use for a rifle that can't hit a cantaloupe at 100yds. I have finally stripped all of the optics off and now have a naked M1A that still prints 3" groups (which, if I'm honest is about the best my naked eye can do).

I've gone back to shooting .308 in bolt guns and a gas AR10 (blasphemy around here, I know), and can usually shoot around 1moa with the bolt and 1.75-2moa with the AR. I hate to give up on a $1600 rifle and I still love the idea of it. I often wonder about trying a new pro-mag archangel precision stock or a different mount in the grasping hope that it might magically fix this, but I hesitate to throw any more money at this problem. After all, if I'd invested this much time and money into something else I could have one hell of a rifle. Instead, I have two Garands, only one is mag fed.

Any suggestions? Thanks again for bothering to read all that. ?
 

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That synthetic stock supplied by springfield isn't doing you any favors especially with a bipod. If you don't believe me, grease the bottom of the gas cylinder assemble and shoot. Take it off and see where the grease is transferred to the inside of foreend. Did you try it off of a sandbag eliminating the bipod? Put the bags close to the mag well without contacting the magazine.

My suggestion would be to take it back to stock and start over. One change at a time and evaluate.


I will add, are you using a rear bag with that lace-up cheek rest? I've had some strange instances with a scope on my socom using a rear bag and a cheek riser....
 

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I don't have a Sadlak mount, but they may be able to help. I think SAI receivers can be a pain sometimes??
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Holy cow y'all respond fast. Thanks for that.

Most of the sighting in I did prone with the bipod and rear bag. I did try shooting off of my backpack too, but in fairness I didn't take the bipod or the adapter off. The lace up cheek pad is an interesting idea. I'll try something else (back to styrofoam and duct tape I guess) and see if that helps. Greasing the gas cylinder is a good idea, but I can already almost guarantee that there's some contact under pressure, which I assumed was normal. The rifle is not, by definition, free floated anyway.

I know that the answer is to take it apart and try again, but having done that four or five times already I have to admit I'm discouraged. Especially shooting with two others in my circle of friends who have identical rifles (except for stainless barrels) that shot 1.25moa out of the box.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
And yes, I've kept the same mount. It came highly recommended and I can't afford to try them all in hopes of getting lucky. It seems to fit well and tight when torqued down.
 

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Any relation to the YouTube flannel god?
 

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An SAI Loaded in a factory polymer stock should shoot around 2 moa with Match ammunition, 3 moa with service grade.

A bipod will give you a steady picture, but can cause all sorts of erratic behavior if not installed and utilized properly. I recommend doing your accuracy tests slung up tight over a sandbag, just to eliminate and variables.

M14's shoot naturally high, especially with a scope. The military XM21 was zeroed at 300 yds. Anything closer and you simply aim lower. RNGR2

A 30mm scope tube will give you more adjustment range than a 1 inch. Low power scopes give you more adjustment than higher power ones.RNGR2

I shoot irons far more accurately than I do scopes. RNGR2
 

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I'm in agreement. You need to check the mount to receiver fit. You shoot 3 MOA with iron sights, but can't get any satisfaction with scopes. So it has to be either the scope or the mount. Switching scopes got you closer, but you still have an unpredictable variance in shot group consistency. Has to be the receiver to mount interface.
 

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If you're doubling your group size with the scope vs irons there's a problem with your mount fit. Sadlak has a fix to check the lugs on the mount. Give them a call and things will be fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've kinda come to the same conclusion: it has to be a problem with the mount. But for the life of me I can't see it. The mounting kit comes with a pair of little machined pins that serve as a rudimentary "go/no go" to check the fit in the horizontal slot and (according to that at least) it should work. It's also rubbed the parkerized finish on the reciever evenly, so I'm guessing it's contacting it evenly like it's supposed to. The only other thing I'm wondering is if I'm installing that cam bushing wrong. I've been turning it to the rear until the mount touches the reciever at the stripper clip key, and then I hold the cam in place when I torque down the screw that holds it there. Are there any other tricks to that part?

I'll definitely try calling Sadlak and see if they have any advice.
 

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Do you have another scope to try? I have recently had a Leupold VXI red dot scope fail on one of my bolt guns. When I say fail, I mean it was all over the paper similar to what you are describing. I changed out scopes and the gun was sub MOA the whole time. Try another scope to see if we can eliminate something.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Could you post a picture, from the left side.
I'm on the road for work now, but when I get home I will put it all back together and add a picture if I can. It will probably be at least a few days, and maybe a few weeks. My job is unpredictable that way.
 
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