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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok, I have a Springfield loaded m1a from around 1996. Ive been working on this rifle for almost a year now trying to get some consistent grouping out of it with little success. I have match conditioned it myself with help from a few books and this forum. No, I am not a professional gunsmith but i do all my own work on my rifles and handguns with good enough results that friends and family come to me. Since last year I have glass bedded the rifle with the bedding fixture from brownells, installed all new GI springs, sadlak NM op rod spring guide, NM flash supressor, NM TIN coated sadlak gas piston, shimmed and unitized gas cylinder, free floated the handguard with RTV silicone like the army does and I have also lapped the bolt lugs with at least 80% contact on both sides and also checked the headspacing. I am an experienced handloader and have experimented with different 150 FMJ bullets of differnet manufacture and also 168 SMK's, 168 A-Max and 168 Nosler match bullets, also tried different brands of brass, military and commercial. I prep all my brass to match grade condition and even outside neck turn and sort them by weight with no noticeable changes in accuracy/consistency. I have tried all the popular powders listed for the service rifle with no success. Ive tried tuning my loads to barrel harmonics to no avail. The rifle does have draw pressure, but i feel its kind of light, but i get very mixed vibes on that subject depending on who you ask about it. Once in a while it will shoot a sub MOA group at 100 yards but it can never be done twice it seems. Sometimes ill get a nice 3 shot group with a flyer 2-3 inches away from the group and sometimes they will string all over the place randomly. Ive also tried using multiple styles of rests including the led sled, Caldwell rock front rest with a rear bag and also just resting on sand bags, all with the same results. I have checked the throat erosion and muzzle erosion and both of them are fine. And i know what your thinking, its the loose nut behind the trigger, but i can assure you its not, i shoot 5 to 7 times a week pistol and rifle and i have the targets with one ragged hole to prove it, no brag, just fact. I have read through these forums until my eyes just about bleed and my head hurts and have found allot of good info but nothing has solved this issue and its driving me out of my mind that I cant get this fine rifle to shoot consistently. And in case you are wondering, I'm using an ARMS-18 scope mount with a Nikon Monarch III 4-16x with lapped rings and a Bradley cheek rest. Any input on this matter would be GREATLY appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have thought of getting a box of that or a box of Federal gold medal match 168's but unfortunately my selection is VERY limited in NY. I also feel that my hand loaded sierra 168's have to be more accurate than any box of factory ammo, especially when using new brass and i'm trimming them all the same length, primer pocket uniforming and neck turning them and sorting them by weight...
 

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What is your hand loaded recipe?

Is it the original medium weight barrel from SAI?

How is the trigger? Nice and crisp?

Did you purchase it new? How many rounds have been fired through it?

Original stock? You say you bedded it... I seem to recall someone saying that a bad bedding job can actually hurt accuracy, how confident are you in the job you did? Do you have a spare stock you can swap it into just to see the difference?

Is the hand guard touching the receiver or the stock on the sides?

Were those groups fired from a magazine or single loaded.

I'm sure a few other folks will chime in more once you've answered the above questions... but i agree that you should try a some Gold Medal Match if you can find it just to make sure it's not your handholds.
 

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I can feel your pain. I've owned a lot of these rifles over the last 15 years and have found that some just don't seem to shoot really accurately, meaning 2" groups or less consistently. I have come to the conclusion that if you have done all you have said and it still won't shoot that well, put a new criterian barrel on it. Particularly the medium weight 22" one. The one's I've had were all chrome lined on SAI receivers and shot great. That's my "valuable" advise. (It's worth every penny you paid for it!)
 

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Shoot 10 round groups so you can see more of the actual spread.
FWIW, Federal GMM doesn't shoot well in either of my M1A (Standard and Super Match).

I'm not much of a shooter but my Super Match will hold the 1.79" 10 ring of an MR31 target at 100 yards. I am shooting 39.5 gr IMR 3031, 168 gr SMK, Federal 210M primer, LC brass, 2.800" OAL. I think I get better groups with 40.5 gr IMR 4895, 175 gr SMK, CCI BR 2 primer, LC brass, 2.800" OAL. Maybe... It's a toss-up right now.

Somewhere around here I have a copy of the Marine Corps accurizing process. The acceptance criteria was a 2 MOA group as shot by a Distinguished Marksman. True, that's with iron sights but also with an awesome shooter. In contrast, a battle grade M14 is good for about 4 MOA.

Are there better M1A rifles around? Sure! Usually with Krieger barrels, bedded with JB Weld, possibly rear-lugged (also bedded), McMillan stock, etc.

Of course the groups on my Rem 700 are smaller. Heck, I have one target on the refrigerator with a 0" group. All three bullets went through the very same hole. But that rifle is inherently more accurate and it's a lot easier to shoot with a Timney trigger.

My problem is follow-through. I have to remind myself to stay on target (visually) until the bullet hits. I can't let up just about the time it goes bang. This is always my error and the only time I shoot a '9' is when I give up early.

There is always the possibility that your rifle has trashed the scope internals.

The other day I was getting some side-to-side variation over a few inches at 300 yards. The scope mount had come loose. The week before the mount on the other rifle had come loose. I have to keep after those things.

Just a few things to think about...

Richard
 

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Based on your groups most of the spread is a horizontal one versus vertical one. If vertical would lean toward the bedding system, but since it is not, my first "swag" would be in the sight system. Scope, mount, etc. and not that the optics are bad nor the mount, but are the rings holding the scope secure/tight?? It could of course be a barrel problem, ammo problem, but would double check the scope/mount set up carefully and re shoot to see if results are any better. Might want to try the old trick of "boxing" your scope on your target face, shoot one shot in or as close to center as possible. Come left say 8moa, up 8moa and fire that shot. Go right 16moa from that shot and shoot again. Come down 16moa and shoot, then left 16moa and shoot. Doing this you have formed a "box" or square to see if scope is answering the number of minutes you are asking it and the rifle to do. Go back to center of target for final test. If your scope/rifle will do this and be reasonably close to the adjustments, scope/mount not a problem. Just a suggestion.
 

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I have thought of going to a gunsmith but unfortunately i live in the Peoples Republic of New York where im not even supposed to have a so called "assault weapon" under the unSAFE act so thats not really an option. But the rifle lives in "Vermont".
Ummm, gee guys, if it's not legal for him to have the rifle then why are you helping him? Doesn't the forum have some kind of rule about helping people commit felonies?
 

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I would try several "groups" with iron sights only....
Oddly enough, at 100 yards, my groups with iron sights aren't much worse than those shot with a scope. I have one example where the iron sights group is better than my average scope groups. 5 rounds in the 1.79" 10 ring of an MR31 target.

Richard
 

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Does the trigger guard require some pressure to fully close and lock?
Is the rear of receiver heel pulled down into solid contact against the stock?

On next testing, between each shot 'flex' the barrel and stock at the front ferrule and band (the draw pressure point) to verify that those parts return to the same place.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What is your hand loaded recipe?

Is it the original medium weight barrel from SAI?

How is the trigger? Nice and crisp?

Did you purchase it new? How many rounds have been fired through it?

Original stock? You say you bedded it... I seem to recall someone saying that a bad bedding job can actually hurt accuracy, how confident are you in the job you did? Do you have a spare stock you can swap it into just to see the difference?

Is the hand guard touching the receiver or the stock on the sides?

Were those groups fired from a magazine or single loaded.

I'm sure a few other folks will chime in more once you've answered the above questions... but i agree that you should try a some Gold Medal Match if you can find it just to make sure it's not your handholds.
My load recipe is mainly with IMR 4895, but i have used W748, H4895, VIHT N-135, Varget, IMR 4064 and RL-15 with all of the bullet weights and brands mentioned in my original post. I have done ladder style load development in 0.5 grain increments with all of them at least twice. It does have the original SAI medium weight NM barrel. the trigger is pretty nice and breaks around 3.5 lbs. I bought it used but it has less than 1000 rounds through it. It is the original walnut stock, and im not an expert on bedding the m1a rifle but i have bedded almost a dozen bolt actions with much success. No spare stock to try. The handguard is not touching the stock or the receiver and is free floated except for the dab of RTV under the HG clip. All groups were fired from a good checkmate 10 round magazine with 4 loaded in it at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Does the trigger guard require some pressure to fully close and lock?
Is the rear of receiver heel pulled down into solid contact against the stock?

On next testing, between each shot 'flex' the barrel and stock at the front ferrule and band (the draw pressure point) to verify that those parts return to the same place.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
Yes, the trigger guard requires some preesure to close, I used the u-lock included in the brownells bedding collar kit for correct trigger guard tension. The receiver heel does have full contact against the stock. I have tried flexing the barrel as you said between shots with the same results, i even tried a little epoxy on the lip of the front band where it contacts the stock ferrule for perfect contact between the two surfaces with the same results as before.
 

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If you are confident in your ability with a gas gun then I'd think it's either a scope/mount problem or a bedding issue. Also to be realistic with these rifles every sub-2MOA group is a small victory so don't feel too bad if the best you can manage is a pair of 5 shot groups that are 1 3/4" at 100 yards. Even after bedding and unitizing and handloading and scoping and pulling your hair out......
 

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Are the front ferrule and barrel band polished and greased where they meet?
If they aren't or if the rifle is bedded off center it will cause side to side wandering.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Are the front ferrule and barrel band polished and greased where they meet?
If they aren't or if the rifle is bedded off center it will cause side to side wandering.
Yes, FB and SF are both polished and greased. Used the professional bedding collar to do the bedding job so its as centered as possible.
 

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Talk to the moderator, he can explain things to you.
 

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Are you guys serious? Like I could give a CENSOREDGI if some old fart in upstate NY has an 'illegal' M1A.

Two of those groups are about what I'd expect given the way you've described your rifle. It's possible that you buggered the bedding job and it is waffling around in the stock which is why it shoots a group here, then there, then it throws a flier...or it is your technique...or you are fighting scope parallax. To be honest getting one of these rifles to shoot consistently by the same standards you'd hold your basic hunting 30-06 to is hard enough and getting tiny groups is a battle all its own.
 
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