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Hi all,

First time M14 owner here (Not new to the M1 style action and controls though). I just purchased a James River Armory M14 from Classic Firearms and received it yesterday from my FFL. Needless to say, I was itching to go and shoot it. This morning I field stripped it and oiled it up some (Corrosion-X, Militec, and synthetic grease), then wiped and swabbed out the excess. Next thing was grabbing some ammo off the shelf and then taking it out to the nearest public range. Normally most people around here in Northern Arizona, myself included, just go shooting out in the National Forest, but since we're now in stage II fire restrictions it was out of the question. I get to the range, load up a magazine, rock 'er in, line up the sights, and begin firing. The first shot went off without a hitch. Then I reset the trigger, lined up the sights, and fired again. The rifle fired, but the empty case did not eject. I quickly notice there's an awful lot of smoke coming out of the receiver. A small wood block on the op-rod handle and many somewhat gentle taps of a hammer later, I can finally get the seized up action to open. I examined the case and saw that the primer was blown out and I wasn't sure where it went. The rim of the of the case was torn up pretty bad too, needless to say. Feeling defeated and somewhat concerned about my ammo selection, I bagged up the M14 and just finished the day shooting my M1 Carbine.

So, with this all said, my question is "What did I do wrong?". Was it the rifle? Did it some how fire out of battery? Was my choice in ammunition supremely poor? I want to feel more confident that the next time I take the M14 out, that I'm not doing to damage the rifle. The ammo I purchase was 147 grain Perfecta .308. There was something funny I noticed too, after I got home later in the day. It seems that after dry firing the rifle, when the hammer is down, the bolt doesn't seem to want to budge. It takes a significant amount of force to open the action again. Is this normal? Is it possible that this could be the result of some damage caused by my earlier mishap? I figure the most definitive answer at this point is to take it to my local gunsmith and find out, but I figure I'd gauge the forum and see what you guys around here think.

Thanks for taking the time to read my above diatribe. Any input is appreciated.

Attached is a picture of the two ejected pieces of brass and a still from a video showing the smoke coming out of the receiver.
 

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Perfecta is horrible ammo and not very good, sometimes they don't even go bang..... I don't think you did anything wrong but it doesn't hurt to take apart your new pride and joy give it a detailed cleaning, inspection and greasing. I would really scrutinize the bolt face making sure its flat and cleanly machined and not etched or scared from the blown primer.
 
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If it had fired out of battery, you wouldn't have needed a hammer to open the breech. RNGR2

Either that ammo is garbage or you have too much headspace.
 

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I would clean it good and check the headspace before shooting it again. Perfecta isn’t great ammo but I’ve never had an issue like that while using it.
 

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Thanks for the input so far, guys. I appreciate it. Something tells me this is all going to be a considerable learning opportunity for me. I don't have any gauges for measuring the headspace, so I'm going to have to have my gunsmith take a peek. I took a quick look at the bolt face and, not knowing anything, didn't really see anything that jumped out at me besides the fact that the word "Perfecta" is now stamped on it. I figured I'd upload a few pictures in case any of you have a keener eye for this.
 

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By simply looking at the ejector mark on the case and the spelling on the boltface, you can tell that the blown primer case was the one the made the mark.
 

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Take the rifle apart and clean it. Buy some really reputable ammo (Federal XM80, Winchester 7.62 NATO, PMC 147, PMC X-TAC 7.62 NATO, Federal Gold Medal Match) and strip the bolt so that there's no firing pin, ejector or extractor (See my disassembly videos for this). Insert an unfired factory round into a clean chamber and slide the bolt forward with your fingers. It should close fully on a factory round.

If it does not, your headspace is too tight.

If your headspace was long, you would have a different failure which is a case-head separation. You have a high pressure issue, so if the cause is headspace, it would be because your headspace is too short.

Do the same thing with your perfecta ammo. If the bolt closes on American made stuff, but not on the perfecta, then your ammo no es perfecta....

Tony.
 

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There is a parts rifle in Knoxville that was a SA receiver Garand rebarrelled to 7.62x51. He used Perfecta. He decided to keep going after two blown primers.

The bolt was slammed back finally and it would no longer go. A guy named Tommy Ellis took apart the remainder of the 20 packs. Some primers were corrosive- the barrel later developed a growth- like a fungi. Band sawing the barrel and cleaning it with Kano Labs got the growth off, but it had severely degraded the spot- pitting it.

The powder was extremely fast burning and it had large charges more appropriate to strong bolt action, about 5 cases were just barely loaded with enough powder to go offer.
 

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When there is a condition of excessive headspace, the primer will back out as the case grips the chamber wall. As the case cools and lets go of the wall, the expanding gas drives it back hard against the bolt face.

It's not written in stone, but that tends to be what happens. Excessive headspace can be caused by the ammo as well as the chamber.
 

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Must be some pretty soft brass to leave the imprint on the bolt face like that.
Ammo should be given to someone you really don't like.

Semper Fi
Art
 

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Wow, glad you are all right, sorry you have to go through this. Thanks for sharing what happened to you.

I have fired a bunch of Perfecta .308 Win. in several bolt and semi-auto rifles with no problems at all. I purchased mine about 3 years ago. I have reloaded the cases with no issue either.

I do not have much left, but after seeing this I will most likely pull what is left and see what can be salvaged. I will not use the casings for reloads.

Just curious, any chance that oil or lube got into the chamber?
 

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I think it was an overloaded round. Call Perfecta or whomever imports it etc and explain the situation they will probably want all of the ammo back.
 

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Extremely hot loads cause the primer to melt and flow, but it usually stays in place (there is no where for it to go if the head is against the bolt).

Out of battery detonations will blow out any unsupported part of the case, but there is usually damage to other parts of the firearm since the breech was not locked. The break to the case usually occurs in the weak area just ahead of the web.

Case head separations are caused by the turning of the bolt. If the case body is sticking to the chamber wall, turning the base puts a lot of stress on the area just ahead of the web. It can eventually happen with any brass in any rifle, but is most common with the selbstlader busche or Automatische Schusswaffen.

Short headspace conditions often need to be extracted manually (hammer) and can leave imprints on the bolt face, but there is usually no room for a primer to back out.
 

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There is a saying here that you do not buy ammo that is made in a country where you would not drink the water. I have no intention of going to Russia or drinking the water or buying ammo from there that is imported here. It is probably made cheaply to be unreliable.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey everybody,

Thanks for all of the feedback. It's been incredibly helpful. Gunsmith wasn't open yesterday, unfortunately for me, so I'm taking 'er there today and I'll explain the situation and ask that they check out the headspace and investigate why the bolt can be sticky.

Meanwhile, I figured now would be a good time to search for better ammo. Perfecta is clearly out at this point. I was hoping that, while I'm waiting to hear back from the gunsmith, the community might be able to give me thoughts on ammo selection.

Cost as a consideration, ammo that recently caught my eye was:
Malaysian surplus 7.62 NATO ball 147 grain,
German surplus .308 148 grain,
Lake City 7.62 NATO M80 ball 147 grain,
Aguila .308 150 grain,
Prvi Partizan 7.62 NATO M80 145 grain, and
Fiocchi .308 150 grain

For what it's worth, these are all brass and are either military surplus or new manufacture, from what I understand.

Which among these, if any, might be worth purchasing? I'd imagine my best route is to plainly not buy less expensive ammo, but if there exists an economical choice, I'd be remiss for not having it on hand.

Thoughts?
 

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Get 1 box of Federal 168 OTM, with the picture of the M1A Socom right on the box. Use to check the rifle. Once you are sure the rifle is in proper working order, the Lake City M80 is a good choice.
 
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