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I was at our local range this morning shooting my used (new to me) standard M1A and another shooter also had an M1A with a stainless barrel. He told me it was known as a Match Rifle. Anyway, he was shooting cast lead bullets (170 grain with gas checks) and had the gas port shut off and was cycling the rifle by hand each shot. At 100 yards he was doing pretty darn good. Much better than I was with 147 grain FMJ Winchester. My question is "Does it hurt the rifle to fire it with the gas port shut?" He shoots his rifle in offhand Silhoutte matches and loads single rounds. He says he has never had a problem with leading. He also said the cast loads were relatively low pressure and would not harm the rifle to do this. Since I know there are very informed M1A shooters here I thought I would find out for sure and why does the M1A have this feature?
 

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In his case, maybe he was worried about getting lead buildup in the gas system.

I somehow doubt that it would do much to improve accuracy. Shutting the spindle valve doesn't negate the fact that the oprod and gas system are hanging off the barrel.
 

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Actually with cast bullets best accuracy is often with the gas system turned off. I shoot them quite a bit in mine. I use a 175 grain from an RCBS mould. It works perfect all the way down to about 1600 fps and is most accurate about 2000 fps. This is with gas system on. It doesn't hurt anything to close it.
 
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