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Discussion Starter #1
Ok Guys I need your input, I have a SA M1A (STD) and I have done a few things to it over the last few months trying to wring every bit of accuracy out of it, here is the boring stuff

LC Mil-Surp brass (various years)
All sized to 1.628" and trimmed to 2.007"
41.5 gr of IMR 4895
WLR primer
Nosler 168 CC with a OAL of 2.255" (Base to ogive)

The rifle itself is in a STD fiberglass stock and has had the GC shimmed and the GC piston is a Sadlak Tin along with a Sadlak Op rod spring guide, also I have relived the stock some near the ferrule as there was some rubbing and I put some brass shim stock (.015") between the trigger group and stock to increase lockup and I also installed a Sadlak alum mount with a Burris Fullfield 2 3x9 scope.

Everything that has been suggested to do from you guys in the past has improved accuracy, the only thing I have not done is trim the handgard (no real sure on what I need to do their) but any way I went to the range today with 25 hand trickled loads and 25 that were just cranked off of my 550, the latter loads vary in weight due to the powder and the way the hopper cyles the powder if I were guessing I would say +/- .1-.2, so I started off running a few foulers into the berm like always and then started getting serious

All shots were fired from 100yrds with front and rear bags and the first 5 were running about 2.5-3" groups and the next 3-4 sets of 5 shot groups did about the same regardless of being hand trickled or not so I figured ok that's the best I am gonna get so I continued to fire and set my zero and as I did the groups started getting smaller and smaller and by the time I had about 25-30 down range I was getting 1.5-2.0" groups and finished that way, so my question is why does it take that long to settle down ? it was suggested to me to leave the barrel dirty but I have never done that

I am still very new to the M1A platform and still have so much to learn but for the life of me I can't figure this out and my cleaning is not what I would consider extensive all I usually do is pull 3-4 soaked patches of Hoppes 9 down the barrel then a few dry followed by light oil and I do pull the GC piston and clean as well every outing regardless of how many or few rounds fired.

Thanks

Sorry for being long winded MCORPS1
 

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accuracy

The settling most likely occurs from removing your action from the stock,....and a little fouling, but mine shoots the same clean or dirty. If it were me, I would take it out of the fiberglass stock and try it in a walnut stock.....EBR if I was rich.....Then again, it might just be one of those barrels that will never reach the level you wish to attain. I found some surprising things in my wandering through the platform....the G.I. barrels up to and including MW readings of 1.0-1.5 and TE of 1.5-2.0are yielding as good or better accuracy than the SAI new ones....go figure...

I know that some barrel when new did not have readings of 0, so you never know where they started at.

I didn't ask about your shooting ability or how long it takes you to settle in, but I assume you are doing your best, so I would switch stocks.....I still get a little excited even now, after many many years at the range, when I step out onto the field.
 

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It may not be the rifle or the ammo, it may just be you settling-in on that particular outing...

Let me say this, when the competitive season starts ramping up, I shoot a full match course when I train. Sometimes, given enough time, I will shoot two full match courses. I would say 80% of the time I shoot a higher score on the 2nd go-around. This I can assure you has nothing to do with the rifle or the ammo. Im just more "in-the-zone"....

So, how are you shooting, from position, from the bench, etc?

There are many reasons why this might happen and it could be rifle or ammo related or it might not be...

Are you sorting your brass? The "precision" of my match loads does not change whether I throw or weigh, BUT if I do not sort the cases, groups do open up. Its possible that some of the brass, just by koinky-dink was a little more consistent. I realize thats a long shot, but food for thought.

Does all your brass have the same number of firings on it or is it mixed...?

How old is your barrel? Barrels "foul" to a certain point, then don't foul no more. The fouling remains consistent, until cleaned. Its possible it took that many rounds for the barrel to "get good". DONT overlook that the cylinder fouls as well. It could have taken it that long to get to a point where is was just right in terms of the harmonics (boy Im tired of that word) it generated in the barrel was good for your rifle.

Its also possible you got you barrel to a specific temp that was just right....?

Did you load all your ammo at the same time and under the same conditions?

Lots of questions, and its more complicated than you handloaded 41.5 of XYZ and threw the others. You have to look at everything, including you pulling the trigger.....
 

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Whenever you take the receiver out of the stock, or clean the gas cylinder or piston, or leave oil in the bore of a rifle; you are going to have to shoot a few rounds before the rifle and the parts settle back in. What I suggest before going to the range is to DRY the bore and chamber as best you can with clean patches and you won't see as much variation on the first few shots - and as long as you didn't do any of the other things mentioned.

Combat accuracy was not affected enough by field stripping to worry about, but when we try to punch tiny little groups in a target, we have to be concerned with these things.
 

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Try letting the hopes soak over night, depending on your round count copper fouling is deffinetly accumulating. A quick patch through will not get the copper out even if you use a bore brush. Let it soak and do it's work. Not saying your groups will get better but a really clean barrel never hurts my groups. I like 40.0 gr of IMR in LC brass with 168grSMK, 41.0 with Winchester brass. Like others said get the oil out of the bore before shooting. You may have better luck with sierras over the Nosler, I never could get the Nosler 168 cc to shoot, the 165 ballistic tips shoot great though.
 

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Is this a new rifle fresh out of the box? If it is, some factory barrels take up to 100 rounds to smooth out and settle in.

It happens. A guy will buy a new rifle shoot a box or so of ammo, and sell the thing as a worthless POS. Next owner picks up from there and can never understand why the guy sold it in the first place.
 

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Is this a new rifle fresh out of the box? If it is, some factory barrels take up to 100 rounds to smooth out and settle in.

It happens. A guy will buy a new rifle shoot a box or so of ammo, and sell the thing as a worthless POS. Next owner picks up from there and can never understand why the guy sold it in the first place.
Hah! Cause the guy who sold it to him told him was the most accurate rifle in the world....MCORPS1

But this is true. Gotta get that bore smoothed out some. I find that its about 300 rounds when its starts "hitting" on all cylinders...
 

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All of the suggested will help. To trim the hand guard, you just trim about 1/16 inch. What I do is using masking tape, I tape the hand guard so that the 1/16 is left out and the tape is your guide to cut or sand till you have it trimmed. My choice is a drimmell with a cut off wheel. Then sand to even. It helps! The loads your gun will like, you will have to find, just takes time. I know how much you hate to go to the range but you got to man up and do it. Just have some fun while your doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The rifle has had over 1K thru it (most of which was ADI, Port and SA Milsurp) I have only been reloading for it for a short period of time. I had been doing a complete tear down which included using Hoppe's 9 followed by Butch's Bore Shine to get the copper out I also scrubbed out the GC as well each and every outing, I was told by several here that I was most likely over cleaning so I scrubbed all clean several outings ago with Butch's and let it soak and after that all I have been using is Hoppe's 9. I have not been removing the action from the stock the last couple of outings, I do use a light gun oil after I clean but I figured after 3-5 rounds down the tube it would burn off so right now my girl sits all dirty after (50) rounds and my plan it to take it back out and see how she does, BTW all the ammo that was taken out today was all loaded in the same sitting and the brass was not sorted by weight it's all LC Milsurp and various years and all have been fired the same amount of times.
I have to ask will it hurt things if I don't clean till my next outing ? I only shot (50) rounds
 

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clean

I have to ask will it hurt things if I don't clean till my next outing ? I only shot (50) rounds
I can't say it would hurt anything, but i am like you use to be...I can not and do not put a weapon away dirty, just the way I was raised. also, it kind of defeats your purpose in finding the ins and outs of the rifle...what I mean is, if you want to get it shooting right... out of the bag, and no doubt it will be in the bag when and should you need it....then I suggest keeping it clean like before,........ after this set of experiments.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can't say it would hurt anything, but i am like you use to be...I can not and do not put a weapon away dirty, just the way I was raised. also, it kind of defeats your purpose in finding the ins and outs of the rifle...what I mean is, if you want to get it shooting right... out of the bag, and no doubt it will be in the bag when and should you need it....then I suggest keeping it clean like before,........ after this set of experiments.
How often does everybody clean there gas system ? I have been cleaning it every time I clean the bore but I have researched some and found out that may be to often
 

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I used the data from the Hornady book, 168 grain Sierra Match King bullets with 38.7 grains of IMR 4895 and got a 1.0625" five shot group. Both my Loaded and Scout like that combination.
 

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I can't say it would hurt anything, but i am like you use to be...I can not and do not put a weapon away dirty, just the way I was raised. also, it kind of defeats your purpose in finding the ins and outs of the rifle...what I mean is, if you want to get it shooting right... out of the bag, and no doubt it will be in the bag when and should you need it....then I suggest keeping it clean like before,........ after this set of experiments.
The problem with the 14 is that it never goes back together the same way (unless its a rebuild) and variances are induced in the fit and function. Like someone here said, combat accuracy is a different thing than match accuracy. Everytime you take your weapon apart you are pushing the tolerances closer to the issue tolerances, 2-3 MOA. Match 14's are rarely broken down during a season of competition. They are taken down after the season for full rebuilding and cleaning. You do not need to tear your rifle down every time you come home from the range. You need to set a "roundcount" schedule for full break-down, and then just general barrel and chamber cleaning after a range session. I will say this though, there are people who never cleaned the weapon during a match season, except for the chamber and maybe some oil trough the bore. They would leave the copper and bulk of the gunk in the barrel. You can only have so-much fouling in the bore! It cant foul past a certain point. Once you hit a limit, it wont foul any further. If thats where your rifle shoots the best or most consistently, then thats just the way it is, and if you are going to shoot the 14 XTC then you have to weigh that into the equation.

I will say this, I will never shoot a match with a newly cleaned barrel if I can help it. I will pop off 10-20 rounds before any match the day or days before leading up to it, if the barrel has been since cleaned. I do this for the AR and I did it for the 14....

Look at it this way, When you get to the prone slow fire string, your barrel is fouled and that's where accuracy and precision matters most. You dont clean it between the 300 and 600 yard line. Why would you scrub the bore after 20-30 rounds at the range, which brings your rifle to a good point of accuracy, then go home and scrub all that out? You just have to start over the next time you head out.

Of course this all matters in terms of precision, it does not pertain to a combat weapon, which has to be marginally accurate, but function flawlessly. The reason the military cleans their weapons so much, is because its also an opportunity to inspect for damage which is much more prevalent in a combat situation. Your average soldier or Marine doesn't need 1 MOA, he needs to make sure there isnt a glob of sand stuck in his bore or a rock in his trigger parts. What the military does, it does for reasons that do not pertain to us (unless you are a hunter or serious tactical shooter). So just because the military does it, doesnt mean you should, if all you do is pop the weapon up on the bench every other weekend and put 50 rounds through. The 14 isnt going to malfunction after shooting 50 rounds off the bench with no other abuse. This is a combat weapon first and foremost, it can and will go many more rounds than that functionally before "needing" a good scrub....

People pulling their 14's apart completely every 20, 50, 100 rounds are never going to see 1 moa "consistency" from their rifles, unless pulling it apart means a very careful rebuild where all the tolerances are rechecked and are only fooling themselves thinking that its going to fail to function in an emergency on the 101st or even the 201st round they pull the trigger on. Ive had 14's go 600 rounds (and probably would've gone further) without much more than some grease on the bolt roller and light patches of Kroil through the bore. Tearing a 14 apart at 50 rounds for general cleaning is beyond anal and will likely do more harm than good if your expectations are itty-bitty groups...
 

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Qualifications

People pulling their 14's apart completely every 20, 50, 100 rounds are never going to see 1 moa "consistency" from their rifles, ......
Tearing a 14 apart at 50 rounds for general cleaning is beyond anal and will likely do more harm than good if your expectations are itty-bitty groups...
I would really like to hear your qualifications for making a statement like this ?
Especially when I have stated time and again, so has Rammac and many others, that we have MOA accuracy and consistency from our M14's...and most are not even bedded or match rifles....I also have many witnesses should you care to doubt my statements of Fact.
Your insistence on denying a known fact just makes me wonder about the condition of your rifle...as to whether or not it is capable, or are you, of moa shooting ?
My published scores as a member of five associations and from matches of 17 years and my barn full of trophy's and NRA badges will attest to my rifle's abilities.

Granted, not all rifles are created equal, and not all will exhibit these abilities, but when someone says theirs will, I think it is a bit presumptuos of you to tell others what they will or won't do, without having had one do it for you personally.

I realize you are speaking about strictly match shooting, but
these rifles and all firearms are designed to shoot clean, and be kept clean, otherwise when Garand designed it, he would have directed the military to fire them so many rounds and put away dirty for the next firefight to be accurate.....ridiculous.......I might be anal, but my accomplishments speak for themself.

P.S.
I believe all type shooting is Tactical......DI5
 

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Gas

How often does everybody clean there gas system ? I have been cleaning it every time I clean the bore but I have researched some and found out that may be to often
Everytime its fired...Lets look at it....You loosen the plug, remove piston, clean cylinder , piston, plug....anti sieze the threads, and re-torque it in place....I don't think you can hurt it by doing this...only if you make a mistake.

I recently fired my rifle 48 rounds, and when pulling the plug, found a respectable amount of unburned powder and nitrates residue build-up in the plug...thats enough for me to know it needs looking after better than some do. A friend of mine fired 300 rounds of Port. through his, and when cleaning with the drill bit, I had enough residue to roll a cigarette !!
 

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I would really like to hear your qualifications for making a statement like this ?
Especially when I have stated time and again, so has Rammac and many others, that we have MOA accuracy and consistency from our M14's...and most are not even bedded or match rifles....I also have many witnesses should you care to doubt my statements of Fact.
Your insistence on denying a known fact just makes me wonder about the condition of your rifle...as to whether or not it is capable, or are you, of moa shooting ?
My published scores as a member of five associations and from matches of 17 years and my barn full of trophy's and NRA badges will attest to my rifle's abilities.

Granted, not all rifles are created equal, and not all will exhibit these abilities, but when someone says theirs will, I think it is a bit presumptuos of you to tell others what they will or won't do, without having had one do it for you personally.

I realize you are speaking about strictly match shooting, but
these rifles and all firearms are designed to shoot clean, and be kept clean, otherwise when Garand designed it, he would have directed the military to fire them so many rounds and put away dirty for the next firefight to be accurate.....ridiculous.......I might be anal, but my accomplishments speak for themself.

P.S.
I believe all type shooting is Tactical......DI5
And I suppose you retain this 1MOA constant pushing 3000+ rounds a year AND taking your rifle down every 50 or so shots including removing the barreled action from the stock?

I guess all your 14's always shoot inside an inch at 100 yards then? Never 1.25, never 1.75, never 2? ALWAYS inside an inch...? Wow, that's some feat! Send me some of that "tactical Ransom rest" fairy dust when you get the chance...

Define "clean"? So when in combat you hit 50 rounds, I guess you just raise the white flag and call for a "cleaning ceasefire"....? My point is that a schedule, whatever that schedule is, is the most important thing. Wall hanger "immaculate" and neglected are 2 different things...Im not promoting "neglect". Im also not stating a soldier about to head out on a misson should go with an "uncleaned" and inspected rifle.

Im an NRA Master, just missing Highmaster by 1.6 pts this year with an AR. I came in 47th in the M1A Match at Perry in 09. Im my club's yearly Offhand Match champion (This was done with an M14 against folks shooting space guns). Im the current Rhode Island State High Power Service Rifle Champion....I even have a few little trophy trinkets laying around myself....
 

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How often do you clean the gas system to keep NM accuracy? Well, each rifle is different and each will tell you after you shoot it enough. Our shooters normally had us clean them somewhere between 300 and 500 rounds, though one rifle wanted to have it's gas system cleaned after every match.

Since most of us don't shoot 300 rounds over a short period of time, I suggest one cleans the gas system every two or three months (during a shooting season) to ensure carbon doesn't build up and rust doesn't form. If you aren't sure how long it will be until you fire it and/or at the end of the shooting season, clean the whole rifle and put it away clean.

In the days when we had wood stocked rifles, we were taught NOT to take the rifle apart during the week we shot it for qualification and NOT to take the gas system apart to clean it. Just clean the barrel and chamber during the week and then clean it completely after we qualified.

Daily cleaning in the field was to "get the chunks out" and maybe run a patch through the bore and chamber just to ensure gunk and crap didn't build up there. One didn't need to take it all the way apart on a daily basis, unless sand, crud, mud or snow got in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well Guys I went back out today with 100 rounds of freshly loaded ammo with the load mentioned and the rifle was dirty from the previous day, the first 15-20 did ok (best group was 2") I then proceeded to set the zero and it stayed fairly consistent at 2-2.5" then I cleaned just the bore with Hoppe's 9 and fired off another 15-20 and the groups were again 2-3" then I cleaned the gas system and the barrel and on the first 3-5 out of the barrel the groups open way up then after about 10 rounds they tightened up again and on my last 10 rounds I ended up with this, have no idea on the last round fired I most likely hurried the shot as I wanted to to get the targets and they were getting ready to do a target change and then I would have had to wait another 30-45 mins

 

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I am your average Joe shooter that during the course of any given year will shoot 1000-1500 rounds in any one of my 14's. I did my time in the Army and yes cleaning our rifles was akin to a religiosity experience. We were tought that way, we could not turn a rifle in that did not pass the armorers inspection. Some of of took pride in the fact that when we went to the arms room to turn our weapons in, we did not get them handed back to us. One of the motivational factors was we knew we were going to the chow hall right after weapons cleaning and knew if it got handed back to us we were only going to have to wait that much longer to eat. I liked to eat!
My training has and will always carry over to my own personal weapons cleaning. I have a number of match conditioned 14's and they are bedded. I base my complete teardown cleaning based on a round count. As for cleaning after the range all I do is clean the chamber, boreand the face of the bolt. I don't clean off the grease and apply new grease. I will add more if needed. I apply grease using an acid brush. You know those cheap little paint brush looking things. It makes it easy to get grease to the roller. Again as far as the gas system I will typically clean it as Gus said anywhere between 300-500 rounds. One thing I do that has not yet been mentioned and is oh so often overlooked is, I use a COPPER cleaner to remove copper fouling. Copper will build up and copper will cause inconsistancys with your groups. It's been written and read an many posts in the past as well as any decent barrel manufacturers website. I'm not here to argue the point. Copper fouling will build up to a point that you can't remove it. Please use a copper cleaner in your cleaning regiment. I know what I am about to say some of you might think is a bunch of BS, again, I simply don't care to get in a dispute over it. As many of you know I am a Krieger barrel freak! All my rifles have them and I have never ever seen a difference in accuracy or point of impact or group sizes from shot number one to shot number 100 in any given range session. That is clean or dirty hot or cold. The barrels just perform perfect all the time so I can't speak from experience using anything else. My opinion when it comes to cleaning your rifle! Do what you feel is best for your rifle and the perfomance you feel you are getting. Don't neglect your rifle by any means just shoot it and find the sweet spot your rifle likes. It's like finding an ammo that shoots great out if your rifle. What works great for one person might not give you the same results and your Ol standby ammo is the one that you always go back to. No need for us to get into any contests here. We all know what we are capable of and love to do and that's shoot this platform.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I am your average Joe shooter that during the course of any given year will shoot 1000-1500 rounds in any one of my 14's. I did my time in the Army and yes cleaning our rifles was akin to a religiosity experience. We were tought that way, we could not turn a rifle in that did not pass the armorers inspection. Some of of took pride in the fact that when we went to the arms room to turn our weapons in, we did not get them handed back to us. One of the motivational factors was we knew we were going to the chow hall right after weapons cleaning and knew if it got handed back to us we were only going to have to wait that much longer to eat. I liked to eat!
My training has and will always carry over to my own personal weapons cleaning. I have a number of match conditioned 14's and they are bedded. I base my complete teardown cleaning based on a round count. As for cleaning after the range all I do is clean the chamber, boreand the face of the bolt. I don't clean off the grease and apply new grease. I will add more if needed. I apply grease using an acid brush. You know those cheap little paint brush looking things. It makes it easy to get grease to the roller. Again as far as the gas system I will typically clean it as Gus said anywhere between 300-500 rounds. One thing I do that has not yet been mentioned and is oh so often overlooked is, I use a COPPER cleaner to remove copper fouling. Copper will build up and copper will cause inconsistancys with your groups. It's been written and read an many posts in the past as well as any decent barrel manufacturers website. I'm not here to argue the point. Copper fouling will build up to a point that you can't remove it. Please use a copper cleaner in your cleaning regiment. I know what I am about to say some of you might think is a bunch of BS, again, I simply don't care to get in a dispute over it. As many of you know I am a Krieger barrel freak! All my rifles have them and I have never ever seen a difference in accuracy or point of impact or group sizes from shot number one to shot number 100 in any given range session. That is clean or dirty hot or cold. The barrels just perform perfect all the time so I can't speak from experience using anything else. My opinion when it comes to cleaning your rifle! Do what you feel is best for your rifle and the perfomance you feel you are getting. Don't neglect your rifle by any means just shoot it and find the sweet spot your rifle likes. It's like finding an ammo that shoots great out if your rifle. What works great for one person might not give you the same results and your Ol standby ammo is the one that you always go back to. No need for us to get into any contests here. We all know what we are capable of and love to do and that's shoot this platform.
How often do you use a copper cleaner, I have Butch's Bore Shine but have only used it a few times, I normally just use Hoppe's 9
 
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