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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive searched the archives and haven't been able to find a good thread, so Ill start a New one...
Ive loaded for a 22" guns for years and have great loads for that, now that I have a 18" gun I want to get a head start on loading for it.

SO..... what experiences has everyone had loading for the 18"/18.5" barrels?

Obviously I will be working up any load for my rifle, but I want to see what has worked for others

Im looking to develop a 150 gr and a 168gr load and hoping to use a different powder combo than 4895... possibly 8208, Xterminator, TAC....

With the option of using an adjustable plug I may take advantage if its needed. I want to make sure the pressure at the gas port isnt going to hurt the rifle but I would like have a load to drive the bullets as fast as is reasonable for the action/barrel.

Please post whats worked for you and your experience loading for the 18/18.5" barrels
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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I'm new to the M1A and have a SA Scout Squad with an 18 in. tube. Have you had any difficulties using the "tried and true" loads used for 22 in. tubes? What exactly are you trying to achieve, other than having the versatility of using other powders? Not being critical, just trying to learn the intricacies of the 18 in. M1A platform.
 

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I just use the same load that works for my 22" rifles. You can figure a loss of about 75 fps with the shorter barrel. I don't get picky with the shorter barreled rifles. They only get used on AR-500 steel where a hit is a hit.

Semper Fi
ArtB
 

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I have "shortified" dozens and dozens of 22" barreled M14 rifles by chopping them to 18.75". This method of creating a handier, more compact, and lighter M14, is well proven but it does utitize the original sized gas port in a significantly shorter barrel.

The main thing to remember here regarding ammunition selection for ANY M14, long or short, is that chamber pressure is important, but RESIDUAL PRESSURE AT THE GAS PORT IS EVEN.MORE CRITICAL.
Proper reloading for relIability with a "shortened 14" may require using slightly slower powders,

HOWEVER,
Your ??FACTORY?? 18" barrel may come with a slightly larger gas port, which is intended to enhance reliable function. If so, you should have minimal poblems with short stroking. The use of an adjustable gas plug should allow a wider margin for dialling in hotter/heavier loads.

I NO LONGER RELOAD,
So all of my recent experience with the shortened original barrels has been with FACTORY ammo,
using a wide range of 7.62 NATO and .308 Win commercial ammunition. Almost every "shortified" M14 I have built has been reliable with almost all of these factory loads. Any short stroking that has occurred after shortenining was a symptom of some marginal gas system issue that was intensified by the shorter barrel. Loose fitting gas assemblies, or too much clearance between gas piston and cylinder were the most likely culprits. But in my experience, any short barreled M14 IN GOOD CONDITION, should be just as reliable as the 22" version, even with a wide range of ammo.

As for accuracy with the shorter M14 barrels, in my experience barrel length has proven to be almost irrelevent. I have seen SUB-MOA groups from both.

168 gr HPBT bullets seem to be the preferred accuracy choice for most 14s, but YPMMV. I have seen some great shooting with 150 gr ammo as well. I really wanted to get some lighter bullet /higher velocity loads to shoot well, but so far have not had good results. However my decades old experience with reloading 123 gr .30 RUSSIAN ( .311" diam) bullets to 2450 fps was very good.

Good luck with your experimenting
LAZ 1
 

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Thank you for sharing, however what I'm really after is personal experience loading for the 18" M14, hopefully others have found loads for 18" guns that are similar in concept to the tried and true "41.5gr of 4895 under a 168 SMK" in a 22" barrel.
The "tried and true" load you mentioned above works great in my 2012 Scout.

Went up and down from that load, but keep going back to the "tried and true".

150's at 42 gr of IMR4895, LC brass

Tried 147's at 43 gr of IMR4895, LC brass, and got 2660 fps, (only load cronographed)

Others here way more experienced with the semi auto M1A than I, so I would see what they come up with.
 
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