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So I have had this m1a scout for a month or two now and I noticed the bracket, which after a little looking around the internet I think is called the front band, that sits at the front of the stock wiggles a little.

I didn't really think anything of it when I got to gun but I was at a gunstore and looked at a couple m1a standards and noticed they didn't have any play in their front bands and thought to myself hmm, why isn't mine snug like that.

Is this a concern and should I contact Springfield about it?

Thanks for your input.
 

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Nope its normal. What you may want to do is have the front band unitized to the gas cylinder, this is one of the match conditioning mods that gets done to accurize the rifle. A shim kit may do the trick asw well. I belive Fulton Armory sells shim kits. If you decide to have the band unitized there are two methods one is the AMTU (Army) typically called the screw and glue method and the Marine corp method where the band gets welded onto the gas cylinder as opposed to scewing it on.

I prefer the Marine Corps method, both methods work greatg. I have one rifle screwed and the other four are welded. I am working on two more builds and each will be welded as well.

A brief description of each method.
AMTU: Its pretty simple, if you picture the relationship of the front band and the back end of the gas cylinder basically two holes are drilled through the front band into the gas cylinder. Screws are inserted, one thing to consider when using this method is the spindle valve which is the little screw looking gizmo on the side of the gas cylinder is rendered inop. Reason the screws go into the gas cylinder that far. This is not so bad, I have pondered reasons why one would want to shut it off and my buddy noexpert as usual woke me up to the most reasonable reason. First off the spindle valve was used by the military in order to shut the gas system off in order to launch grenades. I guess they wanted all the gas available to get that sucker downrange. Another reason you may want to shut it off but its sort of a weak reason, is to trouble shoot the rifle, ie leave the brass in the chamber instead of having to chace the ejected cartridge. The last reeason and Noexpert brought this to my attention is shut it off when cleaning the rifle so no cleaning fluids get into the gas cylinder. The gas cylinder is supposed to run dry. That reason never occured to me and its the most sound one I have heard so far. One member Ted Brown, who is a M14 armorer has a special made jig and does great work on the rifle. Another member that comes to mind is Hueygunner. Hueygunner is from upstate NY and Ted is out in Oregon so we have both costs covered.
Marine Corps: There are a couple of ways I have seen this done. The way I prefer is this. Invision the front band in your hand while holding it at the bottom. two relativley small holes are drilled at the 10 oclock and 2 oclock positions relative the the hole the barrel goes through. The band gets held in place agains the gas cylinder and the holes get filled with the weld joining the two parts together. Some people go so far as to add a couple of external welds also. One would be on the top front of the band and one on the bottom of the band. I personally dont prefer the exterior welds purely because of asthetics. In addition and I am not 100% sure but it may disqualify the rifle from service rifle matches because it may be considered an exterior modification. Someone please confirm this for us, thanks! The spindle valve is operational when this methid is used.

Now these two methids may sound easy to do based on the brief description but its nothing you want to tackle on your own. A jig is needed for the AMTU method and I am pretty sure you need to use a heat sink when welding. Nothing I care to do myself when we can keep the 14 Armorers in business. There are two people I know of that do a great job on the welding method. If you desire to have there names please feel free to PM me for there contact information. Hope this helps!
The other option is to do nothing. It is normal.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nope its normal. What you may want to do is have the front band unitized to the gas cylinder, this is one of the match conditioning mods that gets done to accurize the rifle. A shim kit may do the trick asw well. I belive Fulton Armory sells shim kits. If you decide to have the band unitized there are two methods one is the AMTU (Army) typically called the screw and glue method and the Marine corp method where the band gets welded onto the gas cylinder as opposed to scewing it on.
Thanks for the fast reply. If it's normal I'm not too worried about it. I imagine it affects accuracy somewhat but it's just a 100 yard target range gun for me right now. I was just wanting to make sure there wasn't something wrong.
 

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The front band is often "connected" to the gas cylinder through what we call "unitizing the gas cyliner". There are a couple methods to do this. Match Grade rifles have this done, but basic rifles generally do not as it was not an original specification for M14. Doing it, was discovered later, by shooters using the rifle in matches. Does it affect accuracy? YES...

What happens is that the front band rattles around and effects what we call the "harmonics" of the barrel. If the harmonics change from shot to shot, so will shot placement on the target.

Is there anything wrong with your rifle? NO

Can unitizing the gas cylinder to the front band make it better? YES
 

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If you aren't ready to go through the time and expense of unitizing the gas cylinder at least consider shimming it. Shims are the next best thing, will take that play out of the front band and it's easy to do. Here are some instructions:

http://m14tfl.com/upload/showthread.php?t=89156&highlight=shim

Maybe best of all a set of shims only costs $10-15. They're available at a number of places including M14TFL sponsor RA Parts (http://www.raparts.com/index.htm).

Enjoy the new rifle!
 

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So I have had this m1a scout for a month or two now and I noticed the bracket, which after a little looking around the internet I think is called the front band, that sits at the front of the stock wiggles a little.

I didn't really think anything of it when I got to gun but I was at a gunstore and looked at a couple m1a standards and noticed they didn't have any play in their front bands and thought to myself hmm, why isn't mine snug like that...
If it wiggles, as in "rattle around loose a bit," two things are going on. The first, as has been described above, is that the front band is not connected to the gas cylinder, and that is, indeed, normal for a rifle that hasn't been match conditioned. The second is that the lip on the bottom of the front band which fits under the front end of the stock (the metal portion, called a ferrule) is not being pushed down by the ferrule because there's no tension between the two. If there is tension, the front band can wiggle side to side but you wouldn't notice it unless you tried to make the front band move by pushing on it or the ferrule sideways. Since the M1A's at the store you were looking at were standard, their gas systems wouldn't have been unitized. That means the front bands were free to move but were held more or less in place by the tension from the stock. Unitizing the gas cylinder without adding the tension won't accomplish much.
 

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Unitizing the gas cylinder without adding the tension won't accomplish much.
If the front band is welded or screwed to the cylinder properly, tension or no tension between the band's lower lip and the stock ferrule...the band is not moving....

In fact, if it is were legal to do for Service Rifle Comp, Id grind that lip right off, because it serves no purpose any longer. Of course, the rifle would no longer be in spec and would fail any inspection for a match and the barreled action might work its way out if a bedded stock a little sooner....
 

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If the front band is welded or screwed to the cylinder properly, tension or no tension between the band's lower lip and the stock ferrule...the band is not moving....

In fact, if it is were legal to do for Service Rifle Comp, Id grind that lip right off, because it serves no purpose any longer. Of course, the rifle would no longer be in spec and would fail any inspection for a match and the barreled action might work its way out if a bedded stock a little sooner....
I disagree with you, the band still provides draw pressure for the barrel. In most instances this will yeild better accuracy.
 

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If the front band is welded or screwed to the cylinder properly, tension or no tension between the band's lower lip and the stock ferrule...the band is not moving....

In fact, if it is were legal to do for Service Rifle Comp, Id grind that lip right off, because it serves no purpose any longer. Of course, the rifle would no longer be in spec and would fail any inspection for a match and the barreled action might work its way out if a bedded stock a little sooner....
So that I can understand this, you're saying that the tension applied to the barrel by the front band lip/ferrule interface has no purpose, and thus the ideal tension is no tension at all?
 

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If it wiggles, as in "rattle around loose a bit," two things are going on. The first, as has been described above, is that the front band is not connected to the gas cylinder, and that is, indeed, normal for a rifle that hasn't been match conditioned. The second is that the lip on the bottom of the front band which fits under the front end of the stock (the metal portion, called a ferrule) is not being pushed down by the ferrule because there's no tension between the two. If there is tension, the front band can wiggle side to side but you wouldn't notice it unless you tried to make the front band move by pushing on it or the ferrule sideways. Since the M1A's at the store you were looking at were standard, their gas systems wouldn't have been unitized. That means the front bands were free to move but were held more or less in place by the tension from the stock. Unitizing the gas cylinder without adding the tension won't accomplish much.
So that I can understand this, you're saying that the tension applied to the barrel by the front band lip/ferrule interface has no purpose, and thus the ideal tension is no tension at all?
No, I think it has a purpose in keeping the front band relatively locked in place if its not unitized, and helps the barreled action stay locked into the stock while firing. But if the front band is welded (or whatever) to the cylinder the front band is not going to move. Thats my main point....

However, I do think that NOT having the lip may increase the chances of the barreled action working itself out of the stock because of the rise of the muzzle upon firing. If the lip is removed there is nothing holding the barrel in, towards the front. It is more "floated" so to speak... Obviously the band will still likely be touching the ferrule, so its not floating in the real sense.
 

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Blacktail and M1AallTheWay - You'll have to explain Draw Pressure and Tension more clearly.

Im not arguing, but what Im trying to say is this; if you sling into the prone position and torque down on the stock you are torqueing down on the barrel itself, because of that lip. This can effect accuracy and its one of the reasons a floated barrel AR does so well. That inconsistent tension is removed altogether.

If you were to remove the lip on the front band, that sling pressure being applied to the stock would not pass through to the barrel. It would "float" in a sense.

Of course, Im theorizing about the lip, but even the stiffest barrels will be affected (goodly or badly) by sling tension. If the sling tension changes so does the tension on the barrel and thats a variable that is removed when barrels are floated... Thats a main reason why floated barreled rifles shoot so well....

I do think that the upward force, the muzzle rise, without the lip may cause the more stress for the receiver in the bedding. Essentially working its way out, because the lip "holds" the barreled action in the stock to some degree...
 

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...Im not arguing, but what Im trying to say is this; if you sling into the prone position and torque down on the stock you are torqueing down on the barrel itself, because of that lip. This can effect accuracy and its one of the reasons a floated barrel AR does so well. That inconsistent tension is removed altogether.

...If the sling tension changes so does the tension on the barrel and thats a variable that is removed when barrels are floated... Thats a main reason why floated barreled rifles shoot so well....
I agree with you on that. Indeed, I've taken some heat suggesting that the same is true shooting off a bipod mounted near or at the front sling swivel since it reduces some of that tension because of the rifle's weight pressing down at the front band while the bipod is pushing up on the stock just behind the lip. In both cases, the zero will shift from when the rifle is simply being supported and shot (on an un-reinforced USGI synthetic, I put the bipod's mount point just forward of the mag well to avoid that).

I also agree with the value of a floating barrel, having floated the barrel on an AR (hooray for the Daniel Defense Omega 7 rail system) and seen the difference.

However, I don't think an M14 barrel, perhaps with the exception of a double lugged receiver and heavy barrel, can be truly floated. There is pressure being applied under the barrel by the op rod spring pushing the op rod against the piston/GC/barrel group, and it isn't pushing in exactly the same way every time it comes to rest because of the slop in the op rod's alignment. With nothing to encourage the barrel to recenter itself after each shot despite the op rod's pressure, other than the barrel's own stiffness, accuracy may suffer a bit. The matching curves of the inside of the front band lip and the outside of the ferrule will tend to help such realignment if the stock provides enough tension to pull the curves together. The assumption is that the stock will always be in the correct position for the barrel to find its way back to, and that's only possible if the receiver is fixed rigidly in the stock so their relationship doesn't change; that's where bedding comes in or at least obtaining a very tight fit without bedding.

I suspect that one of the reasons for using ultra rigid stocks like the McMillan (which feels like cement to me) is to resist the force of slinging up tight while still providing both centering tension and damping to the barrel.
 

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I shimmed my GC just yesterday, and ALL of the play in the front band is gone. Im positive just that alone is going to improve accuracy. I think what was happening is that since my lockup was at about 9 o'clock, when I torqued the cylinder plug it was puling the entire GC assembly forward, removing any tension on the band. Now that its shimmed, everythings tight.
 

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I shimmed my GC just yesterday, and ALL of the play in the front band is gone. Im positive just that alone is going to improve accuracy. I think what was happening is that since my lockup was at about 9 o'clock, when I torqued the cylinder plug it was puling the entire GC assembly forward, removing any tension on the band. Now that its shimmed, everythings tight.
Another thing you could have tried is to turn over the gas cylinder lock. The thread timing on SAI locks is not as carefully controlled as on USGI locks so where yours locked up at 9 o'clock on one side, the other side could have tightened at an entirely different point.
 
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