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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys!
Finally joined the forum, after lurking for a while now.
I'm new to the M1A, just picked up a socom16 a couple of months ago.
Played the AR game for a while, but always had my heart set on an M1a.
I've been reloading for rifle and pistol for over 5yrs now, with good, safe success, then along came the M1a!! I've loaded some rounds for it with no problems, all have functioned safely and properly, but man, I have a lot of questions, hoping to get some good help here.

I've loaded 168 gr Amax's over Varget, then read that varget may or may not be
suitable for the M1A, fortunately I stayed mild with the powder charge, and my rifle appear to be just fine...
Now, I've moved on to 150 gr SST's over TAC powder, again, staying mild on the charge weight, due to lack of info (other than burn rate) of this powder in this platform....
I've been getting decent accuracy, great reliability, and no pressure signs...

I'm basically looking for answers/recommendations on a good ball powder to run
Through my progressive press, for plinking ammo...
Velocity expectations?
What's a proper zero range for this weapon?
Crimp/no crimp?
Best magazines?
Best mods for the $?
Best brass?
Is varget safe in this gun?
Brass life?
And whatever else!!
 

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Get a case guage to ensure your cases are properly sized. Some of us, ok at least me, found that my M1A must have had a tighter chamber than my previous .308 rifle chamber. Long story short, I flushed out an error in how low my sizing die was set and went on to lower it where it needed to be.

Advice here pointed me in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys!!

I had an issue in my .308 bolt gun which caused me to get a case gauge, can't believe I went so long without one!! Turns out I was setting my die to deep, and causing excessive headspace, which lead to a non catostrophic case head separation on 2x fired brass�� Bought the gauge and haven't had any issues in my 700, or M1A����
I've been searching this forum hi and low gathering info, it's an excellent resource.
Doesn't seem like too many guys run TAC powder, it seems alright by me and my purpose
 

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Welcome from Southeast Texas.

You may soon be deluged with opinions on all your questions.

A search using any of the terms you used will bring up a wealth of info.

Top right of the page next to the Military guy carrying the M14 is were to type in the search word.
 

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Hey guys!
Finally joined the forum, after lurking for a while now.
I'm new to the M1A, just picked up a socom16 a couple of months ago.
Played the AR game for a while, but always had my heart set on an M1a.
I've been reloading for rifle and pistol for over 5yrs now, with good, safe success, then along came the M1a!! I've loaded some rounds for it with no problems, all have functioned safely and properly, but man, I have a lot of questions, hoping to get some good help here.

I've loaded 168 gr Amax's over Varget, then read that varget may or may not be
suitable for the M1A, fortunately I stayed mild with the powder charge, and my rifle appear to be just fine...
Now, I've moved on to 150 gr SST's over TAC powder, again, staying mild on the charge weight, due to lack of info (other than burn rate) of this powder in this platform....
I've been getting decent accuracy, great reliability, and no pressure signs...

I'm basically looking for answers/recommendations on a good ball powder to run
Through my progressive press, for plinking ammo...
Velocity expectations?
What's a proper zero range for this weapon?
Crimp/no crimp?
Best magazines?
Best mods for the $?
Best brass?
Is varget safe in this gun?
Brass life?
And whatever else!!
Welcome and congrats on picking up an M1A! You'll be spoiled to death with how awesome the action is and never want to shoot another rifle gain (only partially kidding :p).

To answer your questions:
Can't help you with ball powders, but IMR 4064 and IMR 4895 seem to be the most popular powders for M1A/M14 gas systems. Something something something about port pressures.

Out of a 22" barrel, expect 168's in the mid 2600's and 175's in the mid 2500's, although a proper work up may result in more or less than those numbers. LC cases, CCI #34 primers, 41.5gr +/-0.3gr IMR4064 and a 175gr SMK loaded to 2.800 seems to be a popular load in most rifles. On a 16" barrel, expect a lot less velocity.

What do you plan on shooting the rifle at? I'm not sure if the SOC16's have it, but the regular M1A's have "calibrated" elevation drums for M80 ball ammo for drop. It actually works pretty dang well. To use them you need to zero the rifle at a known distance and then adjust the drums. Tony Ben has a good video on this IIRC.

No crimp here, no problems either. Proper neck tension > crimp and for accuracy crimps hurt it more than they help it.

Checkmate Industries magazines are ~$25 a pop for 20 rounders and are the best "commercial" magazine available. Also military issue (which is why "commercial" is in quotes). Other than that, SAI mags work too.

Best mods for the money.... Sadlak NM Spring Guide, USGI Fiberglass stock, and a bunch of mags and ammo. Those are probably the best mods money can buy. Some of us went full crazy and did more, but a good stock goes a long way to improving accuracy. Other than that, a USGI extractor as a spare part is a wise investment.

Best is relative... best for what? Accuracy? Life? Case Capacity? A lot of folks here use Lake City brass because these guns are hard on brass and it seems to handle the abuse. I've personally used Winchester's NATO brass, CBC Brass, Federal brass, and ZQI (MKE headstamp) brass in my M1A loaded and prefer the ZQI brass to anything else. It comes in relatively good quality ammo (ZQI M80 ball is like $10 per 20 rounds at Walmart) and the brass is silly consistent in internal volume (56.2gr +/- 0.3gr). I'm on my fourth loading of some of the brass and have stopped pushing it while I wait for an annealing machine to arrive before I go further with it. It holds up really well at the rim too given that it is NATO spec (although no cross) brass intended for machine gun loads.

Varget is safe if you keep the loads reasonable. Pressure wise, Varget and 4064 have nearly identical port pressures at a given load but different burn rates. Really Varget burns too slowly to take advantage of. The barrels are simply too short. As a result, two identical loads of Varget and 4064 will have about a 50 FPS difference in velocity with the Varget being slower. Because Varget is slower burning you'll need more to push a round at a desired velocity and that means higher port pressures. Keep the loads reasonable and you should be fine. If you are really worried about it you can always buy a Sadlak NM Grooved piston or a Schuster gas plug (adjustable or just ported).

Brass life, as I've said, I'm on my fourth loading of about 180 pieces of MKE brass with no signs of splitting cases or overly thin necks. I have several hundred more once fired brass that is ready to be trimmed and deburred. I'm awaiting an annealing machine to anneal the necks on the brass and soften it up as you can feel how hard the necks have gotten. The key to long brass life in the M1A/M14 is to bump the shoulders back as little as possible. About 0.003" is what I run and the cases don't seem to stretch much. Case heads are still solid with no deformation as a result.

What else? Go have fun and shoot the dang thing a bunch! That ZQI stuff is cheap "minute of man" ammo in a good brass case for reloading. If you see it at Walmart, buy em out! :) Out of the several hundred rounds of it I've fired I've had a grand total of ZERO failures. I can't say the same for the CBC or Winchester M80 NATO ammo. If you want to try more accurate ammo, Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr and 175gr ammo tends to shoot pretty well out of an M1A.
 

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Welcome to your new addiction! Any questions you might have most likely have been addressed. Not knocking you, but seriously use the search option. There are a lot of redundant threads. Take the time to read them. There are various nuggets of information spread throughout them that don't often get repeated.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Welcome and congrats on picking up an M1A! You'll be spoiled to death with how awesome the action is and never want to shoot another rifle gain (only partially kidding :p).

To answer your questions:
Can't help you with ball powders, but IMR 4064 and IMR 4895 seem to be the most popular powders for M1A/M14 gas systems. Something something something about port pressures.

Out of a 22" barrel, expect 168's in the mid 2600's and 175's in the mid 2500's, although a proper work up may result in more or less than those numbers. LC cases, CCI #34 primers, 41.5gr +/-0.3gr IMR4064 and a 175gr SMK loaded to 2.800 seems to be a popular load in most rifles. On a 16" barrel, expect a lot less velocity.

What do you plan on shooting the rifle at? I'm not sure if the SOC16's have it, but the regular M1A's have "calibrated" elevation drums for M80 ball ammo for drop. It actually works pretty dang well. To use them you need to zero the rifle at a known distance and then adjust the drums. Tony Ben has a good video on this IIRC.

No crimp here, no problems either. Proper neck tension > crimp and for accuracy crimps hurt it more than they help it.

Checkmate Industries magazines are ~$25 a pop for 20 rounders and are the best "commercial" magazine available. Also military issue (which is why "commercial" is in quotes). Other than that, SAI mags work too.

Best mods for the money.... Sadlak NM Spring Guide, USGI Fiberglass stock, and a bunch of mags and ammo. Those are probably the best mods money can buy. Some of us went full crazy and did more, but a good stock goes a long way to improving accuracy. Other than that, a USGI extractor as a spare part is a wise investment.

Best is relative... best for what? Accuracy? Life? Case Capacity? A lot of folks here use Lake City brass because these guns are hard on brass and it seems to handle the abuse. I've personally used Winchester's NATO brass, CBC Brass, Federal brass, and ZQI (MKE headstamp) brass in my M1A loaded and prefer the ZQI brass to anything else. It comes in relatively good quality ammo (ZQI M80 ball is like $10 per 20 rounds at Walmart) and the brass is silly consistent in internal volume (56.2gr +/- 0.3gr). I'm on my fourth loading of some of the brass and have stopped pushing it while I wait for an annealing machine to arrive before I go further with it. It holds up really well at the rim too given that it is NATO spec (although no cross) brass intended for machine gun loads.

Varget is safe if you keep the loads reasonable. Pressure wise, Varget and 4064 have nearly identical port pressures at a given load but different burn rates. Really Varget burns too slowly to take advantage of. The barrels are simply too short. As a result, two identical loads of Varget and 4064 will have about a 50 FPS difference in velocity with the Varget being slower. Because Varget is slower burning you'll need more to push a round at a desired velocity and that means higher port pressures. Keep the loads reasonable and you should be fine. If you are really worried about it you can always buy a Sadlak NM Grooved piston or a Schuster gas plug (adjustable or just ported).

Brass life, as I've said, I'm on my fourth loading of about 180 pieces of MKE brass with no signs of splitting cases or overly thin necks. I have several hundred more once fired brass that is ready to be trimmed and deburred. I'm awaiting an annealing machine to anneal the necks on the brass and soften it up as you can feel how hard the necks have gotten. The key to long brass life in the M1A/M14 is to bump the shoulders back as little as possible. About 0.003" is what I run and the cases don't seem to stretch much. Case heads are still solid with no deformation as a result.

What else? Go have fun and shoot the dang thing a bunch! That ZQI stuff is cheap "minute of man" ammo in a good brass case for reloading. If you see it at Walmart, buy em out! :) Out of the several hundred rounds of it I've fired I've had a grand total of ZERO failures. I can't say the same for the CBC or Winchester M80 NATO ammo. If you want to try more accurate ammo, Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr and 175gr ammo tends to shoot pretty well out of an M1A.
Wow, thanks for the crash course!! That sir, is a lot of info!
As far as my "best brass" question goes, I was concerned mainly with durability/case life, I'm shooting a Socom 16, so match accuracy isn't top priority.

I see a lot of guys talk about the GI extractors, where is the best place to find them? I'm also interested in upgrading to a Gi wood stock, the Tupperware that SAI supplies isn't too impressive....

Did the Sadlak spring guide make a noticeable difference?
What are your thoughts on gas cylinder shimming? Kinda seems like it's something that should be done from the factory?
 

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Wow, thanks for the crash course!! That sir, is a lot of info!
As far as my "best brass" question goes, I was concerned mainly with durability/case life, I'm shooting a Socom 16, so match accuracy isn't top priority.

I see a lot of guys talk about the GI extractors, where is the best place to find them? I'm also interested in upgrading to a Gi wood stock, the Tupperware that SAI supplies isn't too impressive....

Did the Sadlak spring guide make a noticeable difference?
What are your thoughts on gas cylinder shimming? Kinda seems like it's something that should be done from the factory?
It may not have helped accuracy, but it took an already smooth action and smoothed it out further. It certainly can't hurt as it helps ensure that the bolt cycles more consistently (less likely to bind up on the spring as it zig zags on the stock spring guide). With these platforms, consistency is key.

You can try shimming. I forgot about that, for how inexpensive it is, it can't hurt and without a unitized gas cylinder that should put some force on the barrel band and at least attempt to make them move in the same direction. My M1A is in a different chassis that free floats the barrel so I don't have mine shimmed.

You can occasionally find GI extractors in the PX here. I'm sure others have a better source on them. I personally plan on shooting my cast extractor for many thousands of rounds until it breaks! GI5
 

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Welcome to the forum, Scutchweldz.

Whisky11 covered quite a bit of information in his post. A lot of good suggestions.

You can obtain USGI parts from a multitude of online resources: TreelineM14, RAParts, and Windy City Sourcing to name a few. Other companies that produce receivers and such will have a selection, as well: LRB Arms and Fulton Armory are the first two that come to mind.

The M14 / M1A, not only the firearms but the folks who own them, are a different breed of owners, shooters, collectors, and sportsmen / sportswomen. Most all here that I've encountered are very generous with their time and knowledge. There's a passion that goes along with the ownership of these rifles, and I've only been in the “clique” for less than a year. It's not only a truly amazing platform that continues to endure, but the many here who own them are just as spectacular.

Again, welcome to our world… and, feel free to peruse the forums to your hearts content. There's more accumulated knowledge in these pages than you may realize – so have the eye-drops handy. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one not asked at all.
 

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Welcome to the forum from the mid-south. Good advice has been given..
I will offer this, for each topic you listed, do a search on this forum - most all those topics have been discussed. Reading the posts revealed by the search will give you great back ground and directions........
You will find this forum to be friendly and full of people willing to help rather than attack your questions as can be found on some other forums.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Welcome to the forum, Scutchweldz.

Whisky11 covered quite a bit of information in his post. A lot of good suggestions.

You can obtain USGI parts from a multitude of online resources: TreelineM14, RAParts, and Windy City Sourcing to name a few. Other companies that produce receivers and such will have a selection, as well: LRB Arms and Fulton Armory are the first two that come to mind.

The M14 / M1A, not only the firearms but the folks who own them, are a different breed of owners, shooters, collectors, and sportsmen / sportswomen. Most all here that I've encountered are very generous with their time and knowledge. There's a passion that goes along with the ownership of these rifles, and I've only been in the “clique” for less than a year. It's not only a truly amazing platform that continues to endure, but the many here who own them are just as spectacular.

Again, welcome to our world… and, feel free to peruse the forums to your hearts content. There's more accumulated knowledge in these pages than you may realize — so have the eye-drops handy. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one not asked at all.
Yes, the folks on here definitely seem pretty open and friendly, I've been lurking
Around these forums for a while now, and don't recall seeing much arrogance or
trolling, which is great for a newb to the M1A, like me!!haha
There is definitely something special about an M1A, I shot a friend of mine's about 20yrs ago, not "really" knowing what it was, other than a .308 M1A,
I only put a couple rounds through it, but man it left an impression on me!
Then several years later I was in a gun shop and saw the SOCOM 16, and I couldn't believe it was the same gun I shot yrs earlier, just shorter, with a more sinister look. I knew I had to have one! So, 15yrs later I made up my mind and bailed out of the AR game and picked up a SOCOM. No regrets.
Now, it's all about gathering info, and finding the resources for parts and whatnot. Looks like I'm in the right place!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Welcome from west Michigan

http://m14forum.com/attachments/accuracy/7937d1285910410-need-25m-bzo-targets-m1a-zero-target.pdf
here's a link for a 25 meter battle sight zero target.

http://m14forum.com/m14/109725-how-kick-m14-irons-grade-4-math.html
here's a link on how to use your iron sights.
Good luck with your new rifle.
Bob
Thank you very much for the links!!
What bullet weight is used with these targets?
I just printed a whole stack of'em and
I'm hoping you'll say 165/168gr!!! Haha
 

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I'm sure varget isn't too bad if its light. However if you are worried about anything like that just get one of those adjustable gas plugs for the m1a. All my M1 rifles wear one including my M1 Garand. I plan on getting a Socom soon as well. Just recently started finishing my EBR now that im done with my scout. I plan on getting a standard and socom this tax time!

Post some pics of your rifle. Would love to see it.
 
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