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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

I have been browsing this forum for the last couple years and it has been a tremendous help. With that, I've come to a question which I couldn't readily find on this forum or a general search engine. I have a newer (2014) M1a NM which I purchased new. I have had issues with magazines and ftf due to light strikes. With this forum's assistance, I fixed the magazine issue. The ftf due to light strikes has been cured but not in a way in which I am satisfied. I will provide the ftf details below and would like any assistance on potential reliability upgrades.

Fail to Fire Issue: New production surplus ammo would not fire 9 of 10 rounds due to light strikes. Please note, I took it to the range 3 times with a list of variables to check off based on this forum. The cartridges properly chambered and the bolt closed completely. In addition, they were undeniably light strikes, not dimples from the free float firing pin. I took the entire bolt apart and did not find any obstructions with the firing pin chamber. I used the recommended lithium type grease to grease every moving part on the rifle as detailed in this forum. I tried several manufacturers of surplus ammo and non of them have worked. I understand their primers are slightly harder, but this rifle was meant for the military so I cannot understand why it will not fire military ammo. I do not believe the problem is with the tighter tolerances with the NM version as the cartridges did fully chamber. However, with Federal, PMC, and American Eagle ammo, I have not had a single fail to fire. I have noticed the new production surplus ammo does have the slightest indents on the primers and are not 100% completely flush with the cartridge. Once again, military ammo in a military based rifle seems as though it should fire. As it doesn't fire, I would think there has to be a simple way to upgrade a part to make it so.

The question is in 2 parts:
1. What upgrade will improve reliability? As with anything in life there has to be a balance but I would prefer a reliable rifle over accuracy. If a part is causing reliability issues for the sake of accuracy, I am willing to change it out.
2. I have 75 rounds through the rifle and will be taking it to the range weekly as I now have a local range. Will breaking the rifle in with more rounds help with the reliability issues I am having? I have read posts on here which detailed how cartridges fit better after the break in period, but I am not sure that is applicable as these already fit.


***Update***
Since starting this thread, it is apparent that my incident is isolated and may not be a quick fix to swap parts to increase reliability. Therefore I updated the topic title. I have ordered a Hammer Spring/Op Rod Spring from Tubb's but have a couple weeks as they are on back order. If anybody recommends other upgrades to parts that may provide a harder firing pin strike on the primer, I am open to trying anything. I'd like to try as many things as possible within the next few weeks while I wait on the hammer spring. After that, it's getting sent back to Springfield.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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First as every one points out SAInc has a Life time warranty ...you could spend a bunch of time shipping back and forth or the following: SAInc Newer rifles have questionable parts...just a fact, they do no install GI parts in them any more. First light strike can be Simple like spring to major HS/Bolt issue, Get rid of all the Korean springs in the weapon and buy new USA ones...GI ,wolf ,etc. Next strip the bolt and replace the FP spring, Firing Pin and extractor with GI Parts (sans spring can be wolf etc)..and buy a extra FP and Extractor. Ck wood to metal contact points...nothing rubbing.... replace op rod guide with Sadlak or GI. Lastly light lube a plate grease where needed...ref here. Me...I don't fool with SAInc sn 100,000+. OH YEA FORGOT.... replace Hammer with M1 Garand or M14 forged part not the MIM one in it now...again replace EVErY SPRING. PS PS you do know there is a difference between GI primer and commercial primer thickness and compound right...as in GI is thicker and harder to strike. I have had the FP go through some commercial primers.
 

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Let me see if I understand this correctly. Your National Match functions fine with quality commercial ammo but gets light firing pin strikes with surplus fodder?

What are the brands of ammo that are getting the light firing pin strikes?
 

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Welcome to the forum from the Pacific Northwest (PNW).

Quoting you: " I would prefer a reliable rifle over accuracy."

Now you have stepped into my camp. When I pull a trigger, I want to hear "BANG".

You have not stated your mechanical ability or Gunsmithing skills. With that, I'll make a suggestion. Package up your weapon and send it to one of the gunsmith Professionals on this forum.......... http://m14forum.com/gun-professionals/

Explain to them, beforehand, what you expect of the weapon. Personally, I would trust their work more than one of the assembly line manufacturers.

I would encourage you to do this ASAP. With all of the changes in America having to do with firearms, this should be a priority.


Hobo
 

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In regard to your question about a reliability pack for the M14, I agree you should look at replacing all of your springs with quality springs. In addition, I would replace your extractor with a USGI or a PB. As far as the light strikes go, if your rifle cycles 100% then I would look at: measuring headspace, and measure your firing pin to insure it is within spec. The M14 has a very robust hammer if it is cocking proberly it will deliver plenty of force to the back of the firing pin. If the hammer is following the bolt you can also get what appears to be a light strike.

Forgot to add: if your rifle is a Springfield contact them and send it in for repair, you paid for a warranty, I would use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Howard, thank you for the reply. Yes I spoke with Springfield and they said the rifle is not meant to shoot military ammo. Which is infuriating considered it's original purpose as a military rifle. They would only fire high quality ammo through it, which works fine so they may find something or it may be a waste of a few months for nothing. I enjoy tinkering and would rather spend a few dollars to try to locate a possible remedy myself. During the offseason I may send it back if all else fails just for them to look it over. Could you list the parts in order in which would likely create more consistency with the least modification and include your preferred manufacture? As it does work with quality ammo right now I would prefer to change out the least amount of parts necessary to get it to fire without it deciding if it feels like the ammo is good enough.

Kurt, yes you are correct. Yes, I am aware of the difference in ammo, I thought a new firing pin with just a slightly longer would fix this issue and that they may have shortened the M1a's to reduce possible slam fires. I haven't found any information that would prove this to be correct or safe, maybe some members can chime in on that upgrade? I have tried the German hirtenberger .308, Brown Bear ammo, Colt ammo, Tula ammo, and Silver Bear. I do understand that some of these are not surplus and simply not quality ammo, so I do not expect perfection, but 90+% ftf is unacceptable for a rifle which was designed for the military. I will stick to better quality ammo for normal shooting but I previously stocked up large quantities of these other ammo brands.

Thank you Hilton!
 

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I suspect I know what the issue is, and it's an easy fix.

There is an area of tight clearance between the safety bridge in the receiver, and the tip of the safety cam on the hammer (the 'nose' that sticks off the front). I have seen cases where there is a little too much metal on the underside of the tip of the nose, or on the safety bridge, and it bumps, robbing the hammer of most of its energy. Of course there is just a little side to side float of the hammer on the hammer pin, so it does not always happen, but that is just to mess with your mind and make it difficult to diagnose.

Here is a picture of a cut-away receiver, so you can see what is going on:



Take out your trigger pack, and look at the underside of the hammer safety cam, and you will probably see a small shiny spot in the parkerizing where it has been impacting. You might also see a silver spot on the top of the safety bridge in the receiver.

Put a belt sander on the corner to take some material off the hammer, and the problem will be solved. If you want to test it, get a blue sharpie and color in the area you just sanded, then cycle it a few times and see if any of the sharpie ink is rubbed off. If it is, take a little more with the belt sander.

You might also be able to solve the issue by going in with a dremel and a stone and taking some off the receiver, but unless you can see it is the receiver that is at fault (ie flash from the casting process is visible), my philosophy is to grind on the least expensive part. Plus, that way you don't void your warranty.

The answer from Springfield is bullshlt, or course the rifle can fire military ammo, they just don't want to step up and solve the problem.
 

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I agree with Shooting Sight that Springfield's answer is BS
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mb3, thank you, I think springs may be my first upgrade pending results from ShootingSight.

ShootingSight, I did notice a peice slightly burred out on the bolt which had been rubbing and was shiny. I will fire 100 rounds through it today then try the "other" ammo again. I am hoping that it will "break in" and wear my possible imperfection down. If not, I will try your method this evening. I completely agree that Springfield has decided to take an easy "out" instead of answering with a respectable helpful solution. I paid a lot of money and while it has a great warranty, I was appalled that they know and expect the rifle to malfunction unless it is used with premium factory ammo.
 

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The top surface of the safety cam will normally wear in against the corresponding slot in the back of the bolt. THe safety cam has a straight edge running left/right when it is new, but if you look at any used bolt, that top edge will round itself out with wear.

However I think that is usually not the cause of light strikes, as I think those edges hit after the hammer has made contact with the firing pin.

The underside outside corner of the safety cam against the receiver is before the firing pin.
 

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The only thing a 2014 National Match M1A has in common with a military rifle is size and weight. It was intended to allow civilians to compete in Service Rifle competitions. If your rifle does that, using match grade ammunition, I would leave it alone and not be concerned that it doesn't like crap Russian ammo that may be out of spec.

Try some US surplus ammo such as M80 or M118LR. If that works, your rifle is fine.

I do not recommend taking apart a National Match rifle too many times. Accuracy will degrade.
 

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Hello all,

... I will provide the ftf details below and would like any assistance on potential reliability upgrades.

Fail to Fire Issue: New production surplus ammo would not fire 9 of 10 rounds due to light strikes. Please note, I took it to the range 3 times with a list of variables to check off based on this forum. The cartridges properly chambered and the bolt closed completely. In addition, they were undeniably light strikes, not dimples from the free float firing pin. I took the entire bolt apart and did not find any obstructions with the firing pin chamber. I used the recommended lithium type grease to grease every moving part on the rifle as detailed in this forum. I tried several manufacturers of surplus ammo and non of them have worked. I understand their primers are slightly harder, but this rifle was meant for the military so I cannot understand why it will not fire military ammo. I do not believe the problem is with the tighter tolerances with the NM version as the cartridges did fully chamber. However, with Federal, PMC, and American Eagle ammo, I have not had a single fail to fire. I have noticed the new production surplus ammo does have the slightest indents on the primers and are not 100% completely flush with the cartridge. Once again, military ammo in a military based rifle seems as though it should fire. As it doesn't fire, I would think there has to be a simple way to upgrade a part to make it so.

The question is in 2 parts:
1. What upgrade will improve reliability? As with anything in life there has to be a balance but I would prefer a reliable rifle over accuracy. If a part is causing reliability issues for the sake of accuracy, I am willing to change it out.
2. I have 75 rounds through the rifle and will be taking it to the range weekly as I now have a local range. Will breaking the rifle in with more rounds help with the reliability issues I am having? I have read posts on here which detailed how cartridges fit better after the break in period, but I am not sure that is applicable as these already fit.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
It is good that the primers are not flush because you do not want flush primers (possible slam fire).
 

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Shane, don't ever sell Springfield short, they have the best customer service in the industry bar none.
They might have taken the easy way out on a phone call but if there's something wrong with your rifle they'll fix it. Even if your the tenth owner .
For now it sounds like Shooting Sight has the problem figured out .
 
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Make sure the bolt is in battery. If it's not rolled all the way in, the pin won't line up with the notch in the safety bridge (shown clearly in Art's (ShootingSight) photo above).

If you ease the bolt forward instead of letting it fly, it may not roll over all the way. But otherwise, it should be locking into battery everytime. So if the misfires happened all on the first round, that could be the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Kurt, I am using quality new production surplus ammo that shoots fine. In addition, I have tried cheap factory ammo which also ftf. After running the ammo through other .308's, I can confirm, the ammo is not an issue.

Ray, I want to like Springfield and will consider this an isolated incident. With that, Jacob, the rep I spoke with was rather condescending on the phone. I am not in the firearms business but in my industry, I do anything I can to help the end user. He said if it fires Federal and UMC factory rounds they will not even look inside, but send it back to me. That attitude was not appreciated, I am an engineer that has spent many hours trying to fix a clear manufacturers issue to save myself from sending it back and from making them have to take the time to fix it.

30caliber, the bolt is fully closed. I checked on every round.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
****Update****

I took it to the range yesterday and fired 100 quality rounds through the rifle to wear down any parts that may be stiff. 99 of the 100 rounds fired without an issue. This M1A NM now has roughly 175 rounds through it.

There was an Army Ranger at the range that owns an M21 and was curious about my issue. He was unable to diagnose the problem and has never come across it but said something does need fixed as it should be firing the quality military rounds.

ShootingSight, I took it apart and was unable to verify that my rifle has the issue you mentioned. I have pictures below which may help you or other members diagnose the issue.

https://goo.gl/photos/y1foDcJpUj4U42fu7

There are a few parts that have been scraped or burred significantly, I am hoping that one of these may be the issue.

I apologize this thread has got off topic. I was hoping there was an easy fix such as the firing pin that could be replaced and it would improve reliability performance. Eventually I will replace all the springs as recommended but for now I am trying to perform the least amount of modification to fix a seemingly simple problem. If necessary, I will return to Springfield but if they simply fire rounds and send it back, I will need to send it back again which would be a 2-4 month process for something that I may be able to fix myself.
 

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The back outside edge of the bolt (the 'wing' if you will), seems to have a spot that is bashed on it. Can you tell where on the receiver it was impacting? I wonder if it was preventing the bolt from going into full battery, and the safety cam indeed functioned as intended to prevent an out of battery firing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you ShootingSight for the quick response.

Yes, there is a small burr on the back of the bolt. That was there and has been there since the first time I've taken the rifle apart. I thought that it may be the culprit but it burred out after the first time I took the rifle about a year ago and has not caused the rifle any misfires on factory ammo. I checked again this weekend and had the Ranger confirm that the bolt was fully closed.

I believe the issue is that either a part is slightly out of line, the firing pin is slightly too short, or a spring needs replaced. After researching every aspect of the gun, I think there is something causing just enough of a reduction in momentum to the firing pin that it can strike soft primers without issue but looses just enough energy to cause a light strike on a hard firing pin. Or I hypothesis that Springfield machined the new firing pins slightly short to prevent slam fires. That is what I was originally expecting with this post, a simple piece or two that could create a reliable weapon, but may have been replaced in newer M1A's for safety (prevent slamfires/lawsuits) or accuracy.

I would appreciate any additional input. I can replace the springs, firing pin, hammer, etc, but after all of that I may be another hundred or two hundred in the hole for no reason.
 
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