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Federal Ordnance USGI M14
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello - first time poster to the forums but been a lurker for a while. Proud owner of a Federal Ordnance M14A in the low serial number range, almost all USGI parts besides the receiver. Took my rifle to the range today and it shot great, decently accurate. However, I had some issues firing on the first few shots. It all went as follows

1) Lock the bolt back, insert a loaded 20 round CMI magazine into the magwell
2) Pull the bolt back and release to chamber the first round. Bolt pushes round forward a bit, but does not chamber. Have to push bolt forward manually to chamber
3) Fire the rifle. Rifle ejects the spent round and chambers the next. However, the bolt is not forward completely and the lugs are exposed/not turned into their proper recesses on the receiver
4) Manually push bolt forward the rest of the way
5) Repeat step 3 and 4 twice
6) Rest of the magazine fires without issue

*Note: I did get one nasty jam within this whole session. Casing was stuck in the chamber after firing once. Had to really work hard to get the bolt back but after did not happen again.

I used only 1 brand new CMI magazine the entire time at the range. I fired 60 rounds total - the steps above were consistent to a tee. The mag when fully loaded was a bit tight especially on the last round. Wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and if so what a good check/remedy would be.
 

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Federal Ordnance USGI M14
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Discussion Starter #3
I just measured the spring in my rifle. Looks like it's 14.5" - what is the acceptable length for a recoil spring for the M14 platform?
 

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The spring should be around 15 1/4 inches or there about. Length isn't the only consideration. A spring can be the right length but just be weak and worn out. I would say you need a new one.
 

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Federal Ordnance USGI M14
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Discussion Starter #5
Hmm ok - ordered a new one from Fulton Armory. Will update when it gets here. Much appreciated
 

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Federal Ordnance USGI M14
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Discussion Starter #7
I only briefly looked at the jammed round once I got it out. It looked perfectly normal at that moment. The ammo I was shooting was PPU - I believe 147 grain. I did save most the brass I shot. None of them look all that bad, although some do have dented edges right on the lip of the forward edge of the case - I'm assuming that's from when the case hit the ground after firing.
 

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You’ll find far more knowledge from others here but first thing I would have done after the stuck case would be to give the chamber a good cleaning.

FWIW I’ve shot a good bit of PPU match without issue.

Bolt not going fully into battery does sound like a worn op-ros spring as was mentioned.
 

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Federal Ordnance USGI M14
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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah I'll be honest the rifle needs cleaned and new lubrication applied. Op rod spring ordered as well as some CLP for cleaning/light lubrication. I have grease for the necessary spots. Will update after done and tested
 

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Are you unintentionally slowing the op rod's forward movement with hand placement?
It's been known to happen.
 

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Federal Ordnance USGI M14
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Discussion Starter #11
Don't think so, I typically fire with my hand past op rod cutout on the stock. Sometimes my hand is closer to the magazine, but then my fingers are below the op rod rail
 

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Clean chamber with usgi chamber brush, lube rifle and then only load 18 rnds in magazine max. Op rod springs should be changed after 2000 rnds or when length is under 15".
 

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I only briefly looked at the jammed round once I got it out. It looked perfectly normal at that moment. The ammo I was shooting was PPU - I believe 147 grain. I did save most the brass I shot. None of them look all that bad, although some do have dented edges right on the lip of the forward edge of the case - I'm assuming that's from when the case hit the ground after firing.
PPU has a KNOWN reputation for these problems you describe
 

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Besides the above advice, it probably wouldn't hurt to burnish the finish of the inside feed lips of the magazine with some scotch- brite pads. No need to polish it to bare metal, just a little smoothing.
 

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This is a mag or mag spring problem, not an op rod problem. The mag spring/follower is putting too much pressure on the bottom of the bolt and stopping it from moving into battery until the spring pressure is reduced by firing a few rounds.

You can verify that this is the problem by loading a couple of rounds in to the mag and see if it functions properly, if it does then the spring pressure is the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The rifle is new to me. This is my second time shooting. The first time I only fired one mag through and a friend fired one as well. Believe we used a different mag to the one I have now. We were shooting Federal 147 grain FMJ.

Yes, the mag was pretty tight loading this time around all the way to 20 rounds. Previously when shooting it was not this tight. I understand what you mean when you say the mag spring is putting pressure against the bolt. If I were to load 20 rounds into a mag and seat it into the rifle without pulling the bolt back first it is quite difficult!

Typically, do most M14 owners only load 18-19 rounds when using a 20 round mag?
 

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Because of variations in stocks, trigger housings and spring guides, the position of the magazine may not be optimal. It should not be hard to lock the magazine into place.

Full mags are generally locked into place with the bolt open. If you are in a fluid environment, it is best to carry mags down loaded by a round, so that you can easily keep the weapon fully loaded at all times.

(Loading a tracer 3rd from the bottom is also common.)

PPU ball ammunition has been known to have issues with tight chambers.
 

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The rifle is new to me. This is my second time shooting. The first time I only fired one mag through and a friend fired one as well. Believe we used a different mag to the one I have now. We were shooting Federal 147 grain FMJ.

Yes, the mag was pretty tight loading this time around all the way to 20 rounds. Previously when shooting it was not this tight. I understand what you mean when you say the mag spring is putting pressure against the bolt. If I were to load 20 rounds into a mag and seat it into the rifle without pulling the bolt back first it is quite difficult!

Typically, do most M14 owners only load 18-19 rounds when using a 20 round mag?
54 years ago, the Marine Corps taught us to put no more than 18 in a mag. I have found no reason to disagree with that philosophy. It is still a good practice to smooth out the feed lips. I like to take new mags apart, wipe them down and re-assemble.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Did a little test last night. Took my 'main' magazine (which is broken in at this point) and loaded it to 20 rounds, locked my bolt back, inserted the mag, released and chambered the first round without issue. I could not fire as I was just testing inside my house. Then I tried the same with the magazine I used at the range - pushes that first round forward about 1/2".

So, I then loaded the magazine from the range with only 18 rounds, opened the bolt, seated the mag, released the bolt, and it chambers without issue. This is with a recoil spring that needs replaced, I'll have to run the test again once I get it. Also the rifle needs cleaned and lubed so I'm sure all of it in combination will add to the overall situation.

Kind of don't like the idea of running 18 rounds in a mag designed to hold 20. It's only 2 rounds but I feel I should be able to use the whole thing. I guess it's a trade off of capacity vs reliability - I don't think so highly of myself as to question the Marine Corps on its practices, anyways. On an aside note, does anyone else get little dimples on their primers if you chamber a round then eject it without firing? I know the firing pin in the bolt floats.
 
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