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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past weekend I was comparing Sierra 168g smk to Hornady A-max 168g. I had them loaded with 42.5g of IMR 4895, which I thought was sufficient to cycle the action from other tests. The only thing different was that I had the sadlak recoil spring guide installed and a plastic buffer installed. I also had some Sierra 175g smk loaded with 43.1g that would not cycle right. I tested some 147g fmj loads without problems.

I was most shocked by the 168g issue at 42.5g of powder. Is there any reason to suspect my new recoil spring guide and buffer?
 

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"the only thing different"

There is every reason to believe that the parts, individually, or working together, and or their installation is your problem.

When you say won't cycle right, what exactly do you mean?

Based on the limited information that is available, I would remove the plastic buffer and see if you return to reliability. It is possible that the buffer is not allowing the bolt full reward travel. But then again, I could be wrong.

k
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The coal was just under 2.8" and the cases were trimmed to 2.005". I think I put the rounds together ok. Either they wouldn't extract/eject, or not load fully the next round(jam with cartridge at an angle with bullet tip in chamber) or bolt close up on empty chamber.

I had similar issues at 40g imr 4895 that I thought was too light of a load after being advised here.

My buffer piece seems to be in decent shape, not getting chewed up. It appears to allow the bolt to be retracted well beyond the back of the magazine.

One other curious thing while reloading the rounds back in my mag, upon pulling the bolt to the rear a single cartridge would pop out of the mag before I could release the op rod handle to load. I only observed this in a commercial 20rnd box that I kept using after the other issues occurred in my SAI 10 rnd box.
 

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Do you check headspace on your cases?

That 20 round mag has a problem with the feed lips, the follower, or the follower spring.
 
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This past weekend I was comparing Sierra 168g smk to Hornady A-max 168g. I had them loaded with 42.5g of IMR 4895, which I thought was sufficient to cycle the action from other tests.

I was most shocked by the 168g issue at 42.5g of powder. Is there any reason to suspect my new recoil spring guide and buffer?
Try a completely different batch of ammo, such as some factory stuff, and see if the problem persists. If yes, it most likely eliminates the ammo as the problem. Do as suggested, remove the buffer and change back to the old spring guide (do them one at a time) and repeat with your loads and factory loads. In order to find the problem, you need to change one thing at a time.

I'm loading a grain lighter than you (41.5) and using the same bullets (168AMAX and 168 SMK), trim to 2.010, and every case goes through a headspace gauge; I don't have any operation issues at all on a Standard.
 

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Uh oh.

I retract my previous advice. Don't disassemble anything.

The easy way to start this trouble shooting is to obtain an in-spec magazine and load it with 10 rounds of Federal GM. A CMI mag is $25. FGMM is $1/round. For $35 you can make real progress. And own a good mag when this process is complete.

If you still have problems, then you can start with sorting out the new part issues.

k
 

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Just throw away the buffer and i bet it will work fine. Twice I have seen buffers "ruin" a perfectly working firearm.
 

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Just throw away the buffer and i bet it will work fine. Twice I have seen buffers "ruin" a perfectly working firearm.
Bingo and It is doesn't need it. If it DID John Garand and Sringfield would have had it in the design. And for all you Nah Sayers I have one rifle with close to 10,000 rounds on it with out any problems AND IT HAS NEVER SEEN A BUFFER
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the all the advice. When stock i did fire some factory ammo without problems. I hadn't shot too much before trying some loads i had that worked in my SCAR. Those proved out to be too light for the M1A and I have been working up loads since.

I bought about 5 20rnd boxes before our laws changed here. 2 are SA, so I should try those in comparison to the other ones. I put a buffer in because it looked like some metal on metal contact from part of the op rod edges hitting the receiver so it seemed a good candidate for it. I will try the factory ammo before removing the buffer then sadlak rec spring guide in turn.

As for my cases, i did not check each in my Dillon guage. I would full length resize then trim to 2.005 or 2.007 and measure them every so often coming off my hand crank RCBS trimmer. My 147g fmj cannelure rounds worked ok(ejected/fed). They had 42.6 & 43g Imr4895 in that batch.

I just looked at my last test batch and 41g was working on the 168g bullets. So I'm feeling like its the buffer now. Also the commercial mag follower is more shallow between the high and low 'levels' as compared to the SA one.
 

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When ever something is working and changes are made that cause a problem going back and changing one thing at a time will locate what (the buffer) was causing the issue.

In 1974 (Gas Crises) my friends Dodge 225 slant 6 got 19 MPG! He bought everything he could find from JC Whitney to improve Gas Mileage. It every claim really worked by the % they said he would have gotten 327.2 MPH. This being said he started getting 8 MPG.
As he removed each addition one at a time and when ht=e was back to stock he got 19 MPH.
I believe you can get back to "19 MPH".
 

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Was this by chance a SAI rifle? They are notorious for chamber headspace on the small side. Rammac's suggestion on headspace is the first place to check. That is probably the most common trouble with newly handloaded ammo. Next would be to make sure each case is full length sized and then clean all lube off the casing. Scrub your chamber and keep it clean.
Junk the buffer and keep the spring guide.
 

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When ever something is working and changes are made that cause a problem going back and changing one thing at a time will locate what (the buffer) was causing the issue.

In 1974 (Gas Crises) my friends Dodge 225 slant 6 got 19 MPG! He bought everything he could find from JC Whitney to improve Gas Mileage. It every claim really worked by the % they said he would have gotten 327.2 MPH. This being said he started getting 8 MPG.
As he removed each addition one at a time and when ht=e was back to stock he got 19 MPH.
I believe you can get back to "19 MPH".
Which reminds me of don't "fix" things that are not broken. Change things ONE at a time, or else it may be one, the other, or the combination........keep a record.

I learned this with hotrods and dirtbikes.

Check your die settings and use your gauge. Do you have your dies locked down? If not buy some locks and use them when you have things right,

If this is SAI, you can call with ser # for headspace info. I got a nice lady who told me about my match rifle built by Mr Nelson, headspace and the get go.

P.S. the 70s Mopars 225s were gas pigs, get a 60s Holley 1-barrel carb and ditch the smog mods, keep the electronic ignition. I had Darts and Vailiants that got great gas mileage.

Also have a 73 C10 w/292/muncie that beats 20 MPG unloaded (4000 + ib truck). It too has a 60s 1-barrel w/manual choke, kept the 1 -wire electronic ignition ( I keep a spare behind the seat), added 2 1/2 " exhaust. Simple easy to work on. People wonder about the Hurst Competition Plus shifter? I still have points setups if SHTF, with good points!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here are some pictures of the buffer and where it contacted the magazine well 'prongs'. I think that's what prompted me to put the buffer in. Honestly though I thought there was some marring on the receiver but it was on the prongs. W/o the buffer the bottom of the op rod was hitting these prongs, but the rod and the receiver mate well and didn't have any wear. As for the feed ramp area, you can see all the copper from the bullet tips. I have each magazine inserted to see how they fit in the mag well.

The bullets either jammed halfway on an angle or wouldn't eject after firing(w/ bolt closed). So I think my cases probably are the correct size since they chambered fully. I am guilty of 'turning more than one knob at a time'. I thought the spring guide and buffer additions were fairly innocuous. My rifle is a Springfield Armory Std. I think it is a good one based on the successful functioning it has had. I did need the gas cylinder shimmed but other than that i think it wasn't broke to begin with. I'll back out the buffer and try it before going back to the std spring guide. I'll test withe FGMM as advised. It will be awhile until I can try again due to vacation.
Thanks for all the help!
 

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FWIW, anytime I go to the range I take a box of factory 145grn FMJ (Prvi or RG in my case) and run a few rounds through to check basic function before I start fooling with handloads or other hardware. If I'm using my chronograph I fire them across that to not only prove the chrono is set up and functioning, but to prove it's reading with a known baseline velocity.
 
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Those are the stock liner hooks, bend them down and you should be good too go. Dress the op-rod tube down in that area just too clean that area up.

Congrats this is the first time I've seen this myself, 99.9% of the time this area is a non-issue with stock liners.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Long story short: Headspace and resizing problem discovered.

Evolution of discovery:

I have now been able to try all of the advice given above. First I put the stock spring guide back in w/o buffer. I used a SAI 20 rnd mag and the SAI 10 I usually use. Those eliminated the round popping out of the mag which had been happening when I was getting the exctration/feed problems.

I bought some Atomic Ammo with 168g Noslers that proved to work/function properly. So I determined the problems were probably my ammo I was reloading. I didn't find any FGMM ammo to buy but the Atomic did the trick representing something I didn't assemble. I notice one of the rounds from a non functioning load was't going into battery fully. There again points to my resizing. The loads were in CBC brass of 'nato' spec. I began to think that one pass in my resize die wasn't necessarily enough(thicker brass??) as I found that a repeated resizing helped get the cases to fit into my Dillon Drop In type Headspace guage. So I had no issues with a large batch of ammo this past Friday.

But yesterday I went on further to notice there was still room to adjust my resizing die even lower thereby getting better results for my cases to fit into the drop in guage, beyond what I thought when making the batch that was finally functioning on Friday. Last night I was prepping a batch of LC cases for some 155g bullets and saw they were still a hair high in the guage so that's when I loosened the die and began lowering. I hadn't thought it could go any lower in my toolhead with respect to the base of the turret. But it worked.

Now I'm confident I can make some safe, properly functioning, ammo to make large batches with to get my sights set up out to some decent distances. Maybe later I'll decide on trying the sadlak guide again.

Thanks again for the advice!
 
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