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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday was a good day to go shooting, so I loaded up my new-to-me SOCOM 16 w/ three mags, my AR-15, and hit the range with a friend. All in all I enjoyed myself immensely, but there are a few issues with the SOCOM that I would like to address. The rifle was made in 8/2008 according to a quick call to S/A last week.

I did have a few failures to extract/eject, basically once per magazine. All the jams were quickly cleared, but I'm definitely new to the SOCOM, so these jams were the first time I'd ever seen them. Shooting Portuguese FNM surplus ball, it looks like the extractor slipped off the rim of the case as it was pulling it out of the chamber. The brass was out of the chamber about 1/4" and a new round was stuck in the feed ramp. Dropping the mag, locking the bolt back, and then rechambering the brass allowed the extractor to do what it does, and the brass was spit out like it was supposed to do the first time. Ejection of the spent casings was positive, with them landing in a pile around 4-5ft to the right and in front of me. The mags are either 1996-vintage CMI or a newer CMI right out of the blue bag.

The sights are going to take some serious getting used to, as the WIIIIDE front makes it very hard to shoot tight groups beyond 50-60yds. When I was consistent, however, the rifle would lay rounds in on top of each other, so there's no question it can SHOOT. I got rid of a Portuguese G3-type rifle for the SOCOM, so the trigger is an absolute treat to use compared to the 20 meter drop-safe POS that is used in the G3 rifles. A little too smooth for me, as I accidentally let off a very fast double-tap while I was trying to get used to the trigger reset.

Cleaning the rifle yielded a few questions, as well. Is the gas block supposed to slide off very easily after the front sight tower/brake is unscrewed? It just slid forward off the barrel with finger pressure. The FSB will screw on 1/4 turn past TDC before it bottoms out on the threads, is this normal? If not, will shimming it make any difference?

Overall, I'm trying to decide if there is a place for this rifle or not. What I like about this rifle is the way it shoots, the inherent accuracy of the gun if I change the sights or scope it, and the soft, gassy recoil compared to the rifle it replaces.

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First off ya' gotta' learn the terminology, it's not an AR so the parts are called different things and you can't talk about the technical aspects unless we all understand each other.

There is no gas block on an M14/M1A rifle, they have a gas cylinder, a gas piston, and a gas cylinder lock. The standard M1A hasn't got a brake, it has a flash suppressor. The SOCOM does have a brake and it also has the gas cylinder lock incorporated as part of it. I don't say this to be a know-it-all I say it so that we can all be on the same sheet when we talk about the parts and how they work.

It's normal for the brake/gas lock to turn past vertical but the ideal situation is where the lock just becomes tight when it's at 6 o'clock as you look in to the muzzle. This tightens the parts up and helps accuracy. You can purchase shims that are designed to adjust this fit.

As for the ejection issue, did you clean the chamber really well before taking out? It's not unusual to have crud down there when the rifle is new and this can create a tight fit for the cartridges which will cause extraction problems. Also check that the gas valve is vertical, it can be turned slightly one way or the other and that will reduce the force of extraction. I had a spring break and while the gas valve looked OK it would turn slightly while shooting and give me problems. Also, you may have a problem with the extractor itself. Some Springfield extractors are weak and they either don't work properly or they break. Replacements are fairly cheap and easy to find or you can get them from Springfield, their warranty work is really good.
 

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Your SOCOM looks like an early one. Make sure the lower line on the bolt starts with an F (not A or B). Otherwise, try some Federal M1A or USGI ammo before diagnosing any problems.

Yes, it can be possible to remove the gas cylinder with finger pressure, and the gas lock should go to the 9 or 10 o'clock position before being backed off to 6 o'clock for the gas plug. The original M14 was designed with a looser tolerance to allow for heat expansion during suppresive or full auto fire. Most civilian/match shooters like to shim things a bit tighter.

Swap out the front sight for something thinner or try a red dot sight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok..

The rifle is not new, just new to me. It doesn't look like it's been fired much at all in the years it's been floating around, however. I've also been around guns for all of my adult life, but the M-14 style rifles are not guns I've had a lot of experience with.

The gas cylinder pops off with finger pressure. I'm used to firearms that have pinned gas system parts, like the FAL, AR, and AK, so being able to push the cylinder off so easily is different. The lock/front sight block/muzzle brake turns 1/4 turn past alignment before it bottoms out. The gas valve is tight and vertical,and the chamber was cleaned very well before I took it out. I have read of Springfield extractors being problematic, so I have several shooting friends checking their parts boxes for a GI piece.


Edit: the lower line on the bolt is F00183. Is this good? What does it mean?
 

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F means the bolt is forged, which is good. It means your extraction problems are probably ammunition related.

If you had an A (cast) or B (billet), I would recommend letting Springfield install a forged bolt (free upgrade with extraction issues).
 

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Welcome to the forum and nice rifle!

The F on the bolt means it's forged. SAI had a recall on bolts a while ago but since yours has an "F" in the number, you're good to go.

I agree with you that the front sight is quite wide. It does take some getting used to but I am able to ring steel at 200 and 300 yards.

Put some other types of ammo down the tube before trying to figure out if there's a problem with the rifle.
 

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OP don't be to worried about your rifle quite yet like you said its new to you. I too came over to this platform from AK's and others. these are Cadilacs compared to other rifles in my opinion. I have a scoped standard and a Socom 16 like yours. keep in mind these Socoms were designed for close quarters hence the wide front sight. listen to Rammac and read some of his old posts if you haven't already,he has done alot of testing and work with his Socom. keep working with it for a while, but I do know these rifles sometimes aren't for everyone. good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
My last battle rifle was a FMP G3S, a solid gun but clunky and stiff compared to the M1A. I'm sure I'll get it figured out, but I sold my last M1A in 1999, so there are cobwebs to blow off.

I have 1000 rounds of Australian 7.62 that I'll try some of the next time I'm at the range. I have a couple hundred rounds of Portuguese ammo left, which I'll either shoot up or trade off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I gave the SOCOM another good scrubbing, especially in the chamber, to eliminate that as a potential problem area. I'll take it out next weekend and see if the problem resurfaces.

Another observation: The videos on YouTube of the SOCOM 16 show a huge muzzle flash and blast, but none of us who shot mine yesterday saw anything like the fireballs seen in the videos. A lot of unpleasant blast if you stood to the side of the muzzle(something nobody did more than once), but it was a big pussycat to shoot. The G3S I used to own had a sharp recoil pulse due to its recoil operation, not something I enjoyed shooting for long at all. Finding my brass with the 16 was easy, as the cases were in a little pile to my right. Compare this to hitting my friend with a spent case from 55ft. the last time we shot the G3 together. All of my ammo is berdan primed, so reloading them isn't the concern. Not beaning other shooters with brass was of greater concern.

Thanks!
 

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If it was me, and a couple years ago it was me, I’d send the rifle into Springfield lickety split. The extraction problems you describe will almost certainly not be resolved by cleaning and further troubleshooting. The M1A is just not that sensitive to crud. .308 is expensive and if you can avoid troubleshooting, do it. FNM is not bad for mil - surp.

I just troubleshot a similar issue on a friend’s 11” AR pattern pistol, and by replacing the bolt we resolved the issue altogether. I realize it may have just been the extractor but if I’m honest, I detest the AR since about 1986. Obviously if you’re handy as a ‘smith, or can handle minor part replacement tasks you might be able to correct the issue yourself but S/A has a lifetime warranty and they stand behind their guns. Once they are set up they run like a top.

We hear you about the sights. Although it’s a night sight up front, I had trouble with it in low light, and found the Aimpoint & subsequently a Trijicon scope to be a better solution. That said, if you practice enough with them you can get the groups down to about softball sized at 100m give or take.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I made a quick phone call to Springfield while on my lunch break today and spoke with a nice young man named Kyle. After a few minutes of describing my problem he emailed a Fed Ex shipping label and told me to send it on in, as they wanted to have a look at it. If the problem is covered by the warranty it won't cost me a thing. If not, then it will be cheaper than burning through my stash of 7.62 NATO trying to fix it.

Now I see what everyone is talking about with regard to their customer service. The tritium is dead in the front sight but since I'll probably swap it out for a thinner front blade, I'm. It going to mention it to S/A.
 

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I like illuminated dot reticles as opposed to the Tritium front. I’ve worked with the Socom in low light. You can use the irons but the post gets covered in muzzle blast residue pretty quick and dims the post quite a bit.
 

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The TRS-25 will give you true co-witness capability if you use an Ultimak rail.

This is one of the configurations I use with my SOCOM
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I got an email from Springfield this evening telling me that my rifle is on its way home. According to the invoice PDF, they replaced the extractor, reamed and polished the chamber, and test-fired the gun with my supplied magazine. I sent the rifle off on Monday, so they had it for a day and a half at the most. Holy crap, that's fast.
 
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