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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


My Garand CMP Special in .308. Couldn't be happier. I just purchased it recently and it's been a great rifle for me. I upgraded to NM sights, front and rear, and have gotten started shooting at local NRA service rifle matches.

This weekend, I attended a CMP course all about shooting competitions. The course focused on Garands. Slam fires were mentioned. The instructor said they were very rare. He suspected that most "slam fires" actually involved a trigger. Still I thought it odd. I had only ever heard about slam fires in relation to rusted out SKS's.

The next day, we shot our match.

Here is the ammo I used:



We started with five individual "sighter" rounds. I installed a SLED to make loading each round easier.



First shot, not bad. I got in the black. I loaded the next round into the top of the SLED. Using my index finger (note that it was NOT on the trigger), I pulled the bolt back, and let it go...

BLAM!

Glad my rifle was pointed down range. I had just experienced an honest to goodness, real-life slam fire.

A little stunned, I observed a cloud of dust appear on the backstop, far to the right of our targets. Wow.

I looked at my rifle. The SLED was in there, but seemed a little funny. I pushed down on the follower in the magazine. It was not springing back. I pushed on it some more and got it to pop up. But pushing some more, it just got stuck down in there again. A small amount of smoke was curling up out of the open receiver.

Although the thought crossed my mind to press on, but I raised my hand to signal a malfunction. The guy running the match knows Garands. He pulled me off the line with my rifle to check things out.

...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
...

We could not get the SLED to come out, even with pliers. However, dropping the trigger guard got it out. The follower was still not right. It would sometimes spring back. Mostly though it was just loose with no pressure.

We disassembled it and then reassembled it. Now the follower seemed to be behaving. I have no idea what the issue was.

I jumped back into the match as slow-fire standing started. I individually loaded each round directly into the chamber. Without the SLED, the bolt was lowered on each round, not dropped. No slam fires.

Next, was 10 shots rapid fire, sitting. Loaded the first clip with two rounds. Fired both then PING. Loaded the next clip of eight rounds. After four shots, the clip half-way ejected. Goodness. Four alibis. Sigh.

Fortunately, I got through the rest of the match without further incident. Not a very good score though.

I have a theory about the slam fire. I am curious though to see what more experienced shooters might think.
 

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After experiencing a slam fire when single loading rounds into my M1 I came up with a new way to release the bolt. Since I fire left handed, I pull back on the bolt with the side of my thumb and press down on the follower the fingers on my right hand. I let the bolt move forward about a 1/4 of the way and then release it. Never had a slam fire again. Pretty much do the same thing on all my auto loading rifles now.
 

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Some people think that the shorter case of the 308 allows the bolt to accelerate too much. The reason for the follower being 'stuck' was probably debris and sludge from the low pressure round. As for the clip ejecting prematurely, that is a worn clip latch, or possibly a worn clip. Once in a great while a spring is too strong, setting up a malf.
 

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I've heard of this happening with 308 garands in slow fire. Also this will happen if you try to shoot a 14 or ar single load without mag and let the bolt slam home from all the way back. If you pick up your slamm fired brass it will have a light strike on the primer, just enough to set it off.
My advise is to ditch the sled , they are more trouble than they are worth. Learn to single load by placing the round in the chamber and inching the bolt to about halfway and letting it go.
 

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Yea I've heard the same about Garand's in 7.62, the issue is the smaller case and the same size bolt. I've seen many 30.06 M1's and many M1's 7.62 but I haven't actually seen one slam fire when I was on the line.

I'm inclined too think that with this being a new rebuild and refinish that maybe a chunk of junk has worked into the firing pin tunnel and then blamo........ Or you just found the odd cartridge.

Anytime I have a weapon refinished I cycle it a few hundred times too burnish the new finish, this knocks down the high spots and then I give it a good flooding with some brake cleaner, you will be amazed what comes off. Then it gets a good cleaning again and a good greasing.

Common complaints about AEC(Aggressive Engineering Corp) SLEDS is there a PAIN too use. They fit either too tight and are pain too remove without tools, they can have sloppy fit or they can have sharp edges and cut your fingers and there stiff it single load. I think these are the main reasons they get a bad reputation and shooters learn too do without them. I know that's the reason I gave up on them.

Hammonje found a old Ray-Vin drawing/instructions on how too make your own SLED. I have used it many times, with a simple mod and it works like a dream easy too remove without tools, even with large fingers. 2sec and its in or out, and it doesn't cut/slash your fingers. A quick search and it should pop-up, I posted pic's on the old post with it was well.
 

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Bolt speed and thin primers.
If I'm reading correctly you say the follower was sticking down. If it wasn't providing any additional force on the round in the sled it would allow the bolt to run faster than normal and with a thin primer you got a slamfire.
Load your own. Use thick primers like the Wolf or Tula large rifle magnum. Or even the CCI34. Make sure they are fully seated below flush. Pull the rifle down completely. Inspect and lube all parts of the feed mechanism. Doing all of this will reduce the chances of a slamfire but will not totally eliminate it. You would have to learn to ride the bolt partially home and the subsequent op-rod bump to make sure it is in battery.
 

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Perhaps a bad round, with a high primer?

If trigger 2nd stage pull does not have any creep, then the pull weight might be too low - 4.5 lbs is the recommended minimum.

Check that the firing pin moves easily back-n-forth when the bolt it closed - take out trigger group and poke at the FP with your finger.
Check the FP 'bridge' by pushing on the rear of the FP with your finger as you carefully close the bolt - The bridge should prevent the FP from going fully forward until the the bolt lugs have engaged the receiver.

Did you find the fired case from the slamfire - what was it's condition? An out-of-battery slamfire would probably destroy the case.

The follower must have up and pressing against the bottom of the round - otherwise the round would have just falled into the receiver. Don't know why it was stuck down afterwards. Check the small parts that operate the follower for cracks - especially around the pin holes.

I use a SLED for prone slowfire, but not for standing.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thank you, all! I am a relatively new member to M14 Forum. I am so happy to find such a fine group of knowledgeable people willing to share their experience.

I've been busy disassembling and inspecting my Garand. It is a CMP .308 Special that I got about one year ago. It probably has about 300 rounds through it.

As far as the slam-fire. My theory is a couple different issues combined to cause the slam-fire. Here is what I found as I inspected:


1) The trigger group. It seemed fine. It is not an overly light pull. There is a definite second stage as well. Compared with my other Garand, it seems similar.




2) The firing pin. It did not seem to be stuck at all. It does not protrude when back. I disassembled the bolt. The firing pin channel was clear. I squirted break cleaner in there and nothing came out.






3) Odd bolt wear!? Inspecting the bolt, I noticed an odd divot towards the rear of the bolt. What is this!?



Does someone know what would cause that? I compared to a new bolt. There is no notch there. The wear definitely appears to be recent.

When the slam fire happened, I suspected maybe the round fired before it got to battery. There was some smoke curling up out the the receiver that I don't recall usually seeing. The range officer said "No way, an out of battery fire would have cracked the receiver."
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
4) Ammo. I don't think it was an ammo issue. I'm using the American Eagle "For M1A" match ammo. I looked at the spent brass I collected. All the primers looked flush. If I picked it up the spent brass from the slam-fire, I could not identify it. There were no readily apparent light strikes. No reports of recovered brass with a split case either.

5) The clip latch and spring. There was the tangential issue with the clip popping out after four rounds. I inspected the latch and it looked fine. The clip latch spring though seemed just slightly softer than my other Garand. I happened to have a Fulton Armory extra-strength clip latch spring. I installed that and it is definitely more stout.



A few of my clips, the ones labeled AEC, have slightly rounded notches where the clip latch goes. I think a combination of a slightly soft clip latch spring, plus a round clip notch, caused the clip ejection problem - possibly the stuck SLED too.




6) Clip latch clearance. Although the clip latch itself looks OK, I think there is a clearance issue. I noticed that when working the clip release back and forth, it seems to bind on the receiver. It still works but there is definitely metal on metal binding.



I pulled the clip latch from my other Garand and put it in. No binding. Looks like like I probably need a replacement part. Maybe this contributed to the clip issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
7) Follower binding. I'm not sure why the follower was binding up. When I disassembled the action, I did not find anything amiss. The operating rod spring did seem a little dry. I've greased it up a little better.



But, there was one other part, that might be an issue:



Could a .308 spacer possibly cause the follower to bind up? After the initial problem, when my Garand was re-assembled for the match, we left out the spacer, just in case.
 

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They say, quite often it IS the ammo. But that usually applies to unfamiliar hand loads, which it does not sound like you have.
I would ditch the sleds and just go with the old thumb/Karate chop single load method.

Twist the 2 rounds for rapid into a standard clip, there are probably guys that can show you how out there. That is, if that works with .308, I have only done it with 30-06.

As for the CMP shoot itself, where did you do it? I live in the SD area and about the only CMP M1 shoots I can regularly find are all the way up in Apple Valley. In fact, I will be there this weekend for a CMP shoot. You should check it out if you have the time, plenty of knowledgable guys there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My theory:

There was an issue that caused the follower to bind - possibly not enough grease on the op rod spring, possibly incorrect assembly, possibly a .308 spacer. This issue affected the SLED which did not seat properly. This caused the round to just sit on top of the SLED, without it being properly seated. The bolt flew forward and without the usual resistance of being in a clip (as noted by Wolley and KurtC) it went faster than usual. Also, being a .308 in a 30-06 rifle, the bolt is bigger and travels farther, accelerating longer (as noted in a few responses). This combined to cause the firing pin to hit the primer harder than normal as the bolt closed. And BLAM! a slam fire.

I believe the clip ejecting at the wrong time was a separate issue - probably a combination of slightly light spring, slightly rounded notch on the clip, and slight binding of latch or receiver.


My "take aways":

1) Slam fires do happen. I was kind of non-believer. I thought that only rusty SKS's could slam fire.

I plan to never let a bolt fly home on a round unless I've got my rifle pointed in a safe direction (duh!), somewhere it's OK to shoot. "Dangering up" a rifle, a la James Yeager...

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jykJUH_NuLk"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jykJUH_NuLk[/ame]

...seems like a really bad idea, especially for an apartment dweller.

I will be especially careful chambering a round when not using a clip or magazine. If I use a SLED in the future I will make a Ray-Vin SLED. Thank you, hammonje!!


2) Garands are awesome, but not the best proverbial SHTF rifle. I love Garands, that is how I got on to M1A's (hey! a product improved Garand!). They do have some complexity though. No doubt once they are running they are rock solid (we've got some good data on that from WWII). For never-fail-you reliability though, my pick is an M1A. Just less that can go wrong.


3) No substitute for experience. The malfunction sank my match score. I got some good first hand experience though. Getting out and using your gear is the only way to work the kinks out.


4) M14 Forum is awesome. Thank you, guys, for all the great info. This forum is the best!


Any further comments or ideas are greatly appreciated!
 

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Have you tried the sled-less or clip-less route? That's about all I see guys do at shoots I have attended. Again, though, these are with 30-06 rounds. Some guys don't even use the spacers, something now that I read over your notes, you guys eventually removed.

I have occasionally heard it put forth that a dirty chamber can help along a mis-fire as it might keep the round from moving fully into the chamber. Has anyone else hear that one?

Again, where are you shooting? I would love to attend more locally if I can.
 

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Thompson 45

I have had a .308 Garand for twenty years now and never had a clip problem.
As far as I know I have not had a problem with the spacer.
I realize that each rifle is different and things do happen. Mine may go FUBAR the next time I shoot.
Thanks for the heads up on the problem and all the responses for cause/fix.
Hope things get squared away for you.


Randy
 
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