M14 Forum banner

Junking my SOCOM Update after shimming

6648 Views 24 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  echokilo60
To reiterate: open groups and wide fliers with my SOCOM. I put it away for awhile but last week decided to try to get it right. I pulled it apart, shimmed the gas system, cleaned and lubed with SuperLube. Got it all back together with minor issues and got to the range this early morning. Temp mid 50s, rain, 1/2 value wind.

Well, not much change! First three shots at 25 yards using American Eagle 168 OTM. This is with factory iron sights that was sighted in before shimming. Not very reassuring the SOCOM has improved in accuracy. First shot was just right of center and low, #2 was left of center low and third opened up went way high = large open group for 25 yards!


Two more shots with irons.


Mounted my EoTech on and got this. Better and POI has not really changed, took a dip low, I made no adjustment to EoTech before this group from last time out, I removed it before shimming and then mounted it back on today at the range torqued to 25"lbs.


Second target of the day at 75 yards with same AE 168 OTM with EoTech on.


More rounds down range after 4 clicks bullet impact up on the EoTech. Not happy at all. Nothing really changed. I am beginning to think the SOCOM and I are not compatible.


Picture of SOCOM with new paint.



So not happy meter is still pegged, I blew a couple boxes of ammo on one of those bouncy targets, a bowling pin, golf ball just to ease some pain.

Thanks for reading.
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
1,246 Posts
So not happy meter is still pegged...
How are you shooting? I don't mean to sound insulting, but are you sure that the problem is not YOU?

Are you using that bipod? Use a sandbag. What are you using for a rear rest?

Are you really just shooting 2- or 3-round groups? Shoot 5-round groups, and shoot several of them.
Especially starting with a cold barrel, 3-round groups are insignificant.

Your groups tightened up quite a bit going from iron sights to the EoTech... how good is your eyesight?


And how big are those targets?

If those are .30 or 1/2" holes you're making, then it looks like you're shooting 2-3" groups at 75yds. What are you expecting?

The rifle should shoot better than 5moa, but 2-3moa is no reason to be unhappy. From what I've seen, it's the rare match rifle with handloads that can consistently shoot 1moa.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
Some thoughts.....

Dear Frustrated 45.308; I tend to possibly agree with Bimmer, at least in order to try to eliminate some of the possible sources of your accuracy issues.

Now, I'm sure you know about pre-loading your bipod, but just on case not, you want to set it up (and this is usually done from the prone position, but it can also be achieved from sitting at a bench...) and pushing the rifle down & forward with your shoulder in order to pre-load that bipod. That sort of bends it's legs backwards (towards you), and of course it wants to push back, and so you then have to gauge the approximate push-back to make it as consistent, shot to shot, as possible. Otherwise, you can also eliminate that issue entirely by removing the bipod resting your rifle's forend on some contoured sandbags.

But then, the point of impact will almost always be different than when you re-hang the bipod on it, or if you then use that bi-pod in the field. So it's obviously best to get the hang of it with a bipod.

Then again, you may well be an expert bipod user, and this is all load of donkey dust!

As well, I generally shoot 5 shot groups, though 3 shot groups can make you feel better since you've eliminated the chance of a flier or a temp-related group change. (Taken to it's extreme, I'm particularly proud of my group sizes with a one-shot string! GI1)

Melvin Forbes, the owner/builder @ UltraLight Arms Corp, who built me a spectacularly accurate hunting rifle in 250-3000 Ackley Imp., told me that he always shoots at least 10 shots if he's evaluating a rifle's potential accuracy problems, but he also does it as quickly as he can consistent with accurate shooting. So he'll shoot 10 - 15 rounds in less than 60 - 90 seconds, tops.

(BTW, as to potential accuracy, I trembled in fear about achievable accuracy as I awaited the arrival of my new SA NM. I had, since ordering it, read all the troubling posts here about how essentially inaccurate (by bolt gun standards at least...) these rifles generally are, and in particular how much trouble folks had with the SAI products.

Well, mine, with my first-ever shots, which were reloads (43gr 2520; ≈2700 fps as I recall), and starting with my very first scoped shots, all settled down into < 1" @ 80 yds! And then, after just a tiny bit of tinkering, they are now all <MoA @ 100yds. I even shot a 3-round ≈6" group as I recall, @ 400 yds, in a 10 - 20mph cross-wind "sitch"!! Not bad for an old-design battle rifle, IMHO. GI2GI2

You'll get it sorted out, and we'll all try to help you. Don't lose hope quite yet!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
581 Posts
Have you tried different ammo?
Different weight, bullet type, mfg'r, etc.

Try some 308 Federal Gold Medal Match, 168gr.
My Socom 16 reall likes that stuff...

Use sand bags front and rear so you can see what the
rifle is doing, take yourself out of the equation for the time being.

Let the barrel cool at least 5 minutes between shots.
It's brutal to sit there waiting for the barrel to cool for the next shot but
that is how people get those tight groups. Gotta cool the barrel.

At 100 yards, you could see as small as 1 MOA, 5 shot groups,
and average 1 1/2 - 2.0 MOA depending on the variables, conditions, etc...


I like your camo job, did you do that or was it done by someone?
That's my next project...

Good Luck!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
45.308,

I don't have a Socom but do have a STD M1A and I have done alot to my rifle like shimming the GC, Sadlak Oprod spring guide, Tin gas piston from Sadlak and reworked the stock by inletting it on the front end and shimming around the mag well and even with what I consider my best hanloads for this rifle I am only able to get 1.5" 2.5" avg with 40.0 of IMR 4895 and a Nosler 168 CC pill, you have to remember these are Service Rifles and yours is a CQC Rifle and if you are getting 2" groups at 100yrds that IMHO is pretty dam good
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,214 Posts
I found I had a somewhat similar problem with my Soc16 when I went from the SA plastic stock to a glas one. I always reinforce the forend on my glas stocks to stiffen it up and the Soc was kinda crappy in one so I tried another and on through all 8 and finally figured the front band was the culprit. I measured a couple of GI ones and compared it to my SA one and found the inner dimension was smaller (not much) causing the barrel to be down tensioned (only way I can describe it) and swapped it out and now can only blame myself for really crappy groups. If you've got a GI spare or leave it off and put a shim in without the handguard and try it it might be worth checking.
 

· Read Only
Joined
·
2,287 Posts
Handguard and breathing

I noticed in your pics that your handguard seems to be in contact with the stock for a third or more of its length from the muzzle end. This is generally an accuracy no no. As mentioned above the bipod is a no no too. Bipods can put variable pressure on the barrell by transmitting variations in the shooter's hold.

Don't take this the wrong way but vertical dispersion is most often a breathing issue.

Hope you find your demons.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
Only you know how good you can shoot. My SOCOM 16 needed some tweaks to get up and running. There are a few free fixes listed here on this forum. Next try the almost free stuff. Spend some time in the "accuracy" forum and ready almost anything by the old timers - the old tricks still work.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,783 Posts
A bipod is fine, if you properly load it and you're not letting it bounce around on you. Off a bench sometimes it is harder to get it quite right. You might want to try from a prone position if you can without getting wet.

The ammo you were using flies pretty close to that of the FGMM. I myself really don't think you'd see a dramatic improvement myself. I've come up with a theory of my own. If FGMM doesn't work, Hornady Amax/TAP probably will and visa verse. I had a loaded that was worse than yours. And let me tell you it didn't do very hot with FGMM. Not as well as it did with Amax.

Looks like you did better with the Eotech. That isn't surprising since the Socom iron sights suck. I guess I'd continue to use the Eotech and work on my shooting while trying some different ammo.

I know your trigger isn't anything special, so be careful that isn't throwing you off. I believe the NM spring guild is a worth while item to have in any M1a. If your rifle isn't passing the tilt tests, you better look into that. You might try different gas pistons also. It really doesn't take much and the piston can really change the groups.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,971 Posts
I don't have a Socom but do have a STD M1A and I have done alot to my rifle like shimming the GC, Sadlak Oprod spring guide, Tin gas piston from Sadlak and reworked the stock by inletting it on the front end and shimming around the mag well and even with what I consider my best hanloads for this rifle I am only able to get 1.5" 2.5" avg with 40.0 of IMR 4895 and a Nosler 168 CC pill, you have to remember these are Service Rifles and yours is a CQC Rifle and if you are getting 2" groups at 100yrds that IMHO is pretty dam good
I noticed in your pics that your handguard seems to be in contact with the stock for a third or more of its length from the muzzle end. This is generally an accuracy no no. As mentioned above the bipod is a no no too. Bipods can put variable pressure on the barrell by transmitting variations in the shooter's hold.
plus 1 on these comments.

it's funny, but with the M14 platform, the littlest things make the biggest difference and usually if you are getting bad groups, it means it is more than one thing.

i used to get sub-standard groups and i shrank my groupings by almost 2" by doing these things in this order:

the handguard: if your handguard does not slide or wiggle a little loose or is pinned tight against your stock - you have a problem. you want breathing room between your handguard and forend. another similar problem is the tightness of your front band pressure. you should be able to move your barrel side to side slightly while holding the front of your stock stationary. another minimal area to look into that relates to your barrel, is that you have a scope mount gripped to your barrel which isn't bad, but anything clamped to your barrel is not going to help accuarcy. this is minimal compared to the other things i mentioned although i have heard those mounts are not very good. make sure your mount is sound.

the gas system: the main reason semi autos are not as accurate as bolt guns is the violent action of the blow back action. i shimmed my gas system (i.e. tightened the action if you will), which will bring more consistent shots. i have never had a M1A with the proper tightness in the gas system right out of the box. i would say a MUST for every M1A. gas lock should tighten at 5:30. i know you mentioned that you already "shimmed" but i believe there is also such a thing as too tight.

ammo: find the right ammo and dont settle on just one kind. i have never fired a 16" 14 but my guess would be that you probably dont need that heavy or hot a round. see how a 150gr does.

barrel cooling: im sorry if im throwing in basic 101 stuff, but o well. wait 5mins between each shot. especially with a 16" barrel shooting heavy loads.

cheek weld: this is the most basic but we all forget and have this problem. make sure your cheek weld is consistent.

stock: your stock looks sound, being that it is synthetic, but your trigger housing should have a snug lock-up. bedding will help for sure, but you shouldnt need that for basic accuracy.

IMHO, if you did all this and get 3MOA out of a 16" rifle with no magnification, you shouldnt ask for better.

by the way....i am totally digging your paint job on that thing. nice looking rifle. dont give up on that beauty. it's not an AR so dont expect results w/o showing it some love first.

oh. and ps.....get a gun vise and dont opt for the bipod shooting. bipods are nice but are not good for sighting in shots to test MOA>
 

· Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
Not for nothing, but this rifle looks like its a mess.

First things first - that is a SAI plastic stock? If so.. sorry about your pretty paint job (which is very nice by the way) but it has to go if you want accuracy. Or keep it and save on the weight.. but just realize the trade off you're making.

But my main suspect is that handguard. Looks like its touching the receiver at the rear, and the stock along most of its length?! No good.

If your front band is good and tight, try just pulling the handguard off entirely and shooting it that way. If that helps, relieve it to make a 1/8 or so gap between the HG and all other surfaces.

If you don't want to give up your nicely painted stock (and I wouldn't blame you) you can try to stiffen the fore end some. Its been my experience that the shorter M1As need a stiffer fore end than the full size guns. Not sure why that would be, or if it is just an anomaly with the guns I've had the opportunity to shoot, but it seems like a good rule of thumb.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,720 Posts
Front band tension

My M14 would have horrible accuracy because there was no front band tension. Some stocks are better than others. You want tension between the front stock ferrule and the front band that sits right behind your gas cylinder. I ended up taking my front band and heating it up at the lip to anneal it and tapping it inward with a hammer just a little bit and my groups went from 4-6moa to 1-2moa
 

· Registered
Joined
·
221 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I did some sanding on the hand guard but probably not enough. I am suspect of the hand guard.

I really hate the trigger, long soft creep then very hard long pull, I have not put a gauge on it but will. And its narrow and thin and I may roll my finger. I know it is hard for me to press the trigger with applied pressure until bang. I shoot Jewels (not a huge fan though) and Rifle Basix (what I prefer) on bolt guns...now if i could get a RB installed in my SOCOM!

I understand its a battle rifle or suppose to be but I just cannot understand the poor accuracy. I have a 40 year old 10/22 that will out shoot it and its been abused for all those years.

What do I expect: well it I could get 3" with 5 shots at 100 right now and the accuracy would stay 3" all day long with heat in the rifle I would be happier, not I want but it would make me happier and I could live with this. But a spread of 6" at 75 yards just does not move the needle on my happy meter.

I did plan on new or different stock some day, I want a Voltr or maybe just a fiberglass.

I know the SOCOM hates Remmy ammo but I tired some of this:


And while my notes are poor from yesterday as I was very frustrated, I am quite sure this target is the HSM...cannot figure the round count 12 holes, I fairly sure I popped 10, ran the other 8 at the bouncy target and then came back for 2 more. I did not log it.


This is why I say the SOCOM and me are not compatible:

Sighting my bolt gun first day out with new rifle and scope: top left target shows walking the impact up to hit the red, bottom left target shows 5 rounds once on the center red dot and then rounds ran hard shown on the right target. The bullet holes with lines were already there as the lines indicate.


5 shots at 300 with bolt gun off bipod prone.


5 shots at 500 off bipod and prone.


5 shots at 500 off bpiod and prone with a flier.


This is not an I love me I am good I am saying I get lucky and that I am more familiar with shooting bolt guns. I think the SOCOM and I are not friends....

Thanks
 

· Registered
Joined
·
10,990 Posts
What is your experience with military firearms? Specifically gas guns?

I ask because when you describe the trigger pull your words imply to me that you aren't used to military, two stage triggers. You also are comparing a bolt action rifle to a SOCOM, that's the old apples to oranges comparison, the two aren't in the same class of capability. If you have very little experience with military gas guns in general then you have a big learning curve. With professional trigger work you can shorten the first stage a little and the second stage can become very crisp and clean but the pull will never get to be less than 4 - 4.5 pounds.

Two inch groups are very common with the right ammo (an earlier poster mentioned 168gr Federal Gold Medal Match, that's a better choice than HSM). Your hand guard is definitely a problem and my guess is that the gas cylinder is touching the stock on the inside, most likely on the right side. Then I would also bet that the stock provides no or very little pressure on the front band and the trigger probably doesn't lock up tight enough. The front band may not even contact the stock ferrule in the proper place if it even touches it at all (and it should). Those are all common issues with the SOCOM but they can all be fixed by the owner if he has a minimum of technical know-how. In addition, if your EOTech is touching the hand guard that's doesn't help accuracy and those bottom rails may be problem if they are touching the gas cylinder or the op rod guide. Anything that interferes with the natural and free movement of the barrel will effect the accuracy of the rifle.

On a good day I can get 1.25" with my SOCOM fairly consistently but then I've played with all sorts of options and I know what works. In my opinion, the problem with the SOCOM is, in order of the greatest improvement first;

  • Stock fit
  • Hand guard fit
  • Ammo

The only way to correct the ammo problem is to hand load for your particular rifle. The other issues are standard M1A issues that experienced users look for and correct as needed. If you get frustrated and have no patience then you might as well sell the rifle because when they have problems it takes time to fix them. Sometimes they come from the factory shooting like a dream ( 1 - 2 MOA at 100 yards) and sometimes they are dogs. Mine was a stinker when I got it but it shoots very well now, it has taken me a year to work out the bugs but now it is everything I had hoped it would be. It may not be worth the bother to you, it's your choice.
 
  • Like
Reactions: High Hat

· Registered
Joined
·
221 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I agree its probable in the stock and front band and me complaining about the trigger.

No I am not comparing bolt to gasser but only to say what I am familiar with and while I am no expert, I get lucky with fundamentals.

M16A1 on active, qualified expert but who can't....that is not saying much but the only experience I have, I had a jam-o-matic as my first one and one reason I do not like ARs but understand they have come a long way, shot bolt guns for 30+ years. I do not expect that type of accuracy but better than what I have with the SOCOM.

I am trying to learn the weapon. More going on than I bargained for...yep, I was expecting to shoot around 3" right out of the box, kind of what I was told from other owners and believed but just ain't so.

I have run good loads from my bolt gun loads through it and it did OK.

I am impatient and a perfectionist.... I am one of those who can work on somebodies firearm, problems arise and I can think and fix it, when it comes to my own firearm I get frustrated....just how am put together.

Thanks
 

· Registered
Joined
·
10,990 Posts
I understand, and I'm not trying to hammer on ya'. It's just that I hate to see somebody have a tough time with one of my favorite rifle platforms. Like I said, they're quirky, sometimes they come from the factory as a winner and other times, dead last. If you want an all around shooter that you don't plan on using past about 300 yards then I think the rifle is worth fixing, but if you just wanted a SOCOM for the heck of it then it might not be worth all the pain.



I agree its probable in the stock and front band and me complaining about the trigger.

No I am not comparing bolt to gasser but only to say what I am familiar with and while I am no expert, I get lucky with fundamentals.

M16A1 on active, qualified expert but who can't....that is not saying much but the only experience I have, I had a jam-o-matic as my first one and one reason I do not like ARs but understand they have come a long way, shot bolt guns for 30+ years. I do not expect that type of accuracy but better than what I have with the SOCOM.

I am trying to learn the weapon. More going on than I bargained for...yep, I was expecting to shoot around 3" right out of the box, kind of what I was told from other owners and believed but just ain't so.

I have run good loads from my bolt gun loads through it and it did OK.

I am impatient and a perfectionist.... I am one of those who can work on somebodies firearm, problems arise and I can think and fix it, when it comes to my own firearm I get frustrated....just how am put together.

Thanks
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,565 Posts
If you want a good trigger job at a reasonable price this guy is good and his turn around time is amazing. I have a couple of trigger groups done by him and I am very pleased with them. Several other people on the forum have used him and like his work.


http://www.triggerwork.net/index.html
 

· Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I wouldn't give up on it yet. IMO all shooting comes down to the fundamentals and your rifle will tell you what is going on. Of course there are going to be some ammo related issues but those can be worked out easily.

Side note: The M16A1 was faulty but ARs have indeed come a long, long way. The M14 and variants have a better out of the box success rate. Remember these are machines that have been mass produced.

Now here is where two types of shooting collide:
Combat Marksmanship vs Precision Shooting

You can't expect to have both in a 'new' platform to the shooter. Both styles begin with the fundamentals and as you advance and get better you still have to focus on your fundamentals. Each firearm will require that "crawl, walk, run" phase. Sight pictures are different between irons, a red dot, a scope, etc. You have to master the sight picture for each firearm.

In combat marksmanship you aren't concerned as much with position and breathing, pretty much comes down to grip and sight picture. For that precision or during your fundamental buildup phase you have to take it slow and wait for those shots, focus on your breathing and heart rate, staying stable with the rifle, proper sight picture, squeezing the trigger back evenly when you want to send it down range.

Something I notice with novice or low trigger time shooters is they like to break position to 'see where they hit.' This is a bad range habit to build because you aren't staying aggressive and following through.

That whole 'this is my rifle, there are many like it but this one is mine' actually means something. No two rifles are identical. Small minute manufacturing errors mean no two rifles perform exactly the same. This is where you come in. If you can't get your irons to zero at say 100m, it's always off and there isn't enough adjustment room then you have to adjust your sight picture. Some people have eyes that can't zero to a rifle but this could also mean that you don't have the same exact cheek to stock each time either.

Finally, remember to relax and have fun when you're going through your crawl stage. None of this was meant to bash or insult you. I'm simply sharing what I've learned transitioning to multiple weapon systems. Focus on the fundamentals and slowly grow your skill with the weapon.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top