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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The mystique of the M14/M1A rifle draws me to understand every part of it. And what better way to better understand something other than by modifying it or trying to make it better... in this case a bit more accurate.

I decided to take a new SA Loaded Standard M1A and make it as NM ready as possible without the benefit of bedding the stock/receiver.

The SA Loaded Standard M1A comes with:
NM Flash Hider
NM Med. Contour Barrel
NM Trigger Assembly
NM Front Sight and NM unhooded Rear Sight

These are items that will be installed/modified or replacing the original:
WhamoCamo Synthetic Stock (no bedding but all other NM mods)
NM Unitized Gas Cylinder
NM Polished Gas Piston (not received yet from FA)
NM Op Rod Spring Guide
NM Hooded Rear Sight Aperture (not received yet from FA)
ARMS #18 Scope Mount
ARMS #22 Scope Rings
SA 6-20 X 56mm Mil-Dot Scope
Harris Bipod Adapter (Custom Installed)
Harris Bipod (BR-1A)
DSA Cheek Rest

Reference Sources and Material:
KuhnHausen M1 Garand/M14 Shop Manuals 1&2
Scott Duff's book - M14
Battlerifles.Com Forum
SparrowHawk.Com Forum

I have not completed this project yet, but I believe that I will be able to test the performance of this rifle against a factory SA NM rifle soon...

This endeavor would not be possible without the help and advice that I have received from members of this discussion group and BR.Com. I wanted to express my appreciation and gratitude for helping me better understand this wonderful rifle we call the M14 or M1A. The appeal is truly "mystical"... :lol:

Again, Thank You everyone, and I would like to wish all of you and your families a...

Merry Christmas and a Blessed Holidays!!! :lol:

Tom O.

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3,531 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Holy Smokes!, guys, where did you dig up that old post? Geez that was back in 2002!

I am sure I followed up with another post, but these are some of the pics I could dig up.

The SA M1A Loaded that I worked on is the one on the left with the massive SA scope (it is in a WhamoCamo Sage stock). I am not sure what I might have done with the single pictures, but the other rifle is exactly the same (SA Loaded M1A) but NOT fired or modified (that is set in a WhamoCamo Seminole design).

I wish I had more pics but after the big computer crash I had, many of the old archived pics are gone! :cry:


Tom O.

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3,531 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Aloha TEA,

That is the same rifle that I ended up shooting in the Postal Shoot last year and is now setup for the M3A that I was last working on.

The results were pretty interesting IIRC. The test rifle in a "tight" synthetic with generally all else (NM hardware wise) the same did not perform as well as the SA NM rifle. IIRC, the groups were not as consistent as the SA NM rifle but were good. The funny thing is I also recall that as a SA Loaded, it shot pretty good as is.

The next step was to have it bedded. I purchased a SA NM stock in the PX and bedded the test rifle. The groups settled down and were excellent and very comparable if not a bit tighter than the SA NM rifle. Additional to bedding the rifle/stock, I also modified the handguard for proper clearance as well and opened up the front ferrule to insure proper clearance there also.

One of the things I can note is that I did the Tubbs Final Finish procedure on the SA Loaded/NM rifle as a "break in" process but did nothing but clean and lube the SA NM rifle. I had also shot more rounds through the SA Loaded/Nm rifle than the SA NM rifle and the action smoothness reflected that.

All in all, it was a fabulous learning experience and well worth the effort and expense. This was a great project for satisfying my own curiosity at the time.


Tom O.

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3,531 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Kobra1:

I can't really remember exactly what I got without bedding but I think it would have been around 1.5" or so. I remember the groups from the SA NM being smaller and more consistent. Both rifles were using scopes and shot from a bench.

A while back, I got to thinking... "...will bedding a stock alone achieve good accuracy or was having all NM parts without bedding sufficient?" So I did use a couple of rifles to test these thoughts out. Please be aware that these are not "controlled" tests that I was doing but more trying to work out thoughts that ran abound.

Some of the end resulting thoughts were...

1. Accuracy started with a good barrel.
2. Bedding alone, while better accuracy was achieved, did not yield the best accuracy possible out of a M14 type gun.
3. NM parts alone, while achieving better accuracy, did not yield the best accuracy possible out of a M14 type gun.
4. The combination of a good barrel, good NM parts, properly installed, bedded to a solid stock with a good trigger provided the best accuracy that I could eek out of an M14 type rifle.

In this process, other things came to mind as well... I will try to put them in words.

* I found that bedding a rifle without using a unitized gas cylinder was not as productive as having a unitized gas cylinder.
* In a bedded rifle, the handguards must not come in contact with the stock and the "front end draw" made a difference.
* A NM op rod spring guide, whether did or not, made me feel like the action functioned smoother.
* There are good NM trigger jobs and "run of the mill" NM trigger jobs and they are NOT the same. You will feel the difference between the two.
* I don't know if NM reaming of the FH prevents bullet deflection but rather than take a chance, I had all of my NM rifles setup with reamed FH's in case I ever had to shoot in the rain.
* Type of bullets make a heck of a difference in accuracy of an M14 type rifle, whether factory, mil surp or handloaded.
* Tubb's Final Finish made my clean up life a whole lot easier and IMHO, worked well enough to use in other rifles including my bolt guns.

I know this is nothing new to the old timers who have lived their lives around these types of rifles... and I am sure that their thoughts may not be the same as mine. However, as I started to work with the M14 type rifle, I developed a greater appreciation and fondness for it and these were just my thoughts that come to mind.

Please let us know how you folks do and what your thoughts are! I am truly leaning along the way!


Tom O.

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3,531 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks guys! Wow, there is lots more discussion on this old thread than before.

I have been wanting to update my web site with some of the pics of the M3A build, but as usual, having some transfer problems. So this is a few pics of the M3A build.

The McMillan stock is excellent on the outside but "rough" on the inside. Bedding will be applied to some of these areas, but some "patching" will be necessary.

The inside of the McMillan forearm.

The tape is unnecessary, but it helps me with errant fingerprints and speeds clean up.

This is after the front ferrule has been enlarged.

Bedded heel of the rifle.

The bedded op rod side of the receiver

Another shot of the heel area.

A shot of the rifle waiting for the bedding to cure.

The OD color of the stock was dull and did not match the painted handguard, so I decided to make it all match. This is a picture of the finished rifle again from the bolt release side.

The color is much more vivid now.

Thanks for asking. I like posting pics when I can.


Tom O.

· Registered
3,531 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Aloha CTC:

If you're getting your rifle ready for competition, I know a bunch of members here that are much more saavy than me on getting your rifle ready... Try Warbird, TEA, Trung Si, Ted Brown to name a few.

But I will give it a shot (man, I hope the competition guys don't stomp on me...) :lol:

If you are really interested in getting your rifle to be as accurate as you can, if you read this thread carefully, it is my opinion that bedding alone is not sufficient to eek the maximum accuracy from your rifle. On a SA Loaded you would need or want to consider a unitized gas cylinder, NM op rod spring guide, maybe getting the trigger worked over even more, having your rear sights checked for tightness (maybe adding a hooded rear aperture as optional) as well as getting the rifle bedded.

Bedding is something that if you are good with your hands, mechanically inclined, and patient, should be capable of performing. Obviously, like anything else, it takes practice! And, practicing on beater stocks is one way of doing it. Also, read the Kuhnhausen and Duff books for as much detailed help as you can get from them, they are packed with excellent information and diagrams. The Art Lupino by Center X on Bedding is also worth the money.

For the average person, I would recommend having a "pro" do the bedding. Simply because of the learning curve, practice time, expense and the cost of the tools and materials.

But if you are interested and willing to spend the time and money or learn (and to make the mistakes)... I can only say that it is extremely satisfying and gives you a greater appreciation for the work that the "pro's" do when working on these rifles.

The SA wood stock for the Loaded rifles are pretty adequate for bedding your receiver to. There are better but it will do all right IMHO. There are many various wood "match" stocks available that are a bit thicker and made for this purpose.

A synthetic stock like a McMillan is an excellent choice, will not fear weather conditions and should give you a lifetime of service. But this is probably something that the "competition" folks would be better able to answer.

So, if you are interested in doing your own bedding work, get the Kuhnhausen and Duff books, read all applicable sections if not all) and I am sure we all can "hash" over what you might want to consider in proceeding in another thread.

Good Luck whichever way you go and the main thing is to have "FUN"!


Tom O.

HH: 58 registered users, huh? No wonder I didn't get much discussion on this thread back in 2002! 8O Hehehe, thanks for looking that up!
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