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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This post will probably be lengthy, so please bear with me.

Rifle, Ammo, and Target Details:
- LRB M14 receiver built by Jon Wolfe using NOS/NIW Winchester parts
- Standard Iron Sights (switched to non-magnified Aimpoint out of frustration)
- No accurizing mods with the exception of a Sadlak NM spring guide
- 100 rounds of ZQ 7.62 NATO (for warm up/sight in)
- 60 rounds of Federal .308 168GR SMK (for final sight in/Iron Man competition)
- M14 Battle Rifle 25 Meter sight in targets from M14.ca (provides a 250m zero)
- MR31 NRA Targets
- Warm weather, 80 degrees, light wind

Zeroing the iron sights at 25m went flawlessly, requiring no adjustments (using ZQ 7.62). I knew the Federal ammo would have a different point of impact, but using ZQ was the cheap way to make sure I was on target. I loaded up some Federal ammo and took aim at my first MR31 sight in target at 100m. The first round hit high and left on the white. I adjusted my sights a bit and brought the next round high left into the black.

Starting here is when things went south. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited bringing that round into the black. It was a feeling of "Few more sighters and I'm ready to shoot the official targets." Well, that feeling was crushed over the next several magazines.

A small adjustment later, and my rounds lost all consistency. By no consistency, I mean some were off target completely and some were a complete foot away from the point of aim. I wasn't giving up, though, so I went back to the 25m sight in targets and started over. I also checked the gas plug for tightness. It was hot, but I did tighten it just a tad bit by hand. I was hoping that perhaps it had caused the loss of accuracy.

After a few rounds my confidence was up and I switched back to the 100m targets. I double checked the gas plug; it was good to go. Using the Federal SMK ammo, my first shot landed in the white of the target, again. Small adjustment, my shot landed in the black. Things are looking up! Just kidding! RNGR4 Another click and the rounds started going everywhere again. I checked that doggone gas plug again, because I just KNEW it was loose, but it was still nice and snug.

Back to the 25m sight in. Life at this point was frustrating. ZQ 7.62 again, zeroed again, back to 100m. Exact same results. I rezeroed AGAIN and figured what the heck, I'm using ZQ to zero, let's see how that shoots at 100m. It didn't shoot much different than the Federal! Reversed the process and zeroed with Federal, then shot 100m with Federal. Same results.

You can imagine my absolute frustration at this point. I decided to "cheat" and turn on the Aimpoint. (which by the way, what a sweet relief after using those iron sights. Felt so nice and the dot was so much easier to aim.)

Absolute. Zero. Consistency. It didn't matter how much I adjusted my iron sights or optic. Something was just off. I don't claim to be a great or good shooter, but I eliminated as many "self" factors as possible. I started off using an ammo can as a shooting prop. The rifle laid on my hand, which laid on the can. This method produced the best results. I later tried resting the rifle forearm on an adjustable tripod. Didn't feel right and no notable accuracy changes. At my highest point of frustration, I borrowed a shooting sled from the range. Despite being supported by this sled front and rear AND the point of aim being exactly the same each shot, there was zero consistency.

I had 20 rounds of ZQ left and 22 rounds of Federal. Told myself to cut the crap, focus, breath, and shoot like my life depended on it. Well if my life depended on shooting elephants I'd be ok! But the Iron Man competition was a complete failure for me. I used up the last 20 rounds of ZQ and 2 rounds of Federal, deciding to the save my money and put my Federal ammo back in the can.

So WHAT ON EARTH happened today??? I either SUCK really bad, or something went wrong with my rifle. (So far, I'm feeling like the culprit because this rifle was amazing last range trip and at the start of this trip)

I have photographed many parts of my rifle to see if anyone can spot a problem. The front ferrule has not been opened up to NM specifications, and there is very light wear there. The op rod track and op rod seem to have excessive wear (worn down to the silver, I don't recall that happening to my SAI SOCOM 16). The most concerning thing I found was inside the flash suppressor. It was extremely hard to photograph, but I did catch some of what appears to be spiral grazes. I don't know if this is part of the rough Winchester machining work, or if bullets are grazing the suppressor on the way out.

That's what I see, what do you see? (open to all input, even if it's "You're an amateur, learn to shoot!" GI1)

Front Ferrule (notice small areas that are worn down to silver)





Receiver Rear Half



Receiver Middle



Gas Cylinder Area (small silver spot, also notice op rod finish worn, it was just refinished and nitrided)



Bolt Face (I saw nothing notable here, just ZQ primer sealant)



More Op Rod Photos







Gas Piston (was NOS Winchester piston, the sharp edges are extremely rough and look chewed up?)







The Flash Suppressor (was new in can, no NM modification)





Side of Receiver and Op Rod Channel (wear seems excessive to me, but I don't have anything to compare to)







 

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1) Tab on oprod is ugly.
2) Looks like bottom GC is rubbing in the stock/ferrule channel.
3) Looks like front of HG (or frnt band) is hitting the ferrule and the stock fore end.

Most of the front end needs be floating, with clearances about the thickness of two 3x5 cards.

HG should never touch the stock, anywhere.

The lip of the frnt band should be the only thing touching , to the ferrule, of course. Do you have any "down force" at this critical junction? The stock should be pulling down the barrel with a few lbs of force.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
1) Tab on oprod is ugly.
2) Looks like bottom GC is rubbing in the stock/ferrule channel.
3) Looks like front of HG (or frnt band) is hitting the ferrule and the stock fore end.

Most of the front end needs be floating, with clearances about the thickness of two 3x5 cards.

HG should never touch the stock, anywhere.

The lip of the frnt band should be the only thing touching , to the ferrule, of course. Do you have any "down force" at this critical junction? The stock should be pulling down the barrel with a few lbs of force.
I don't believe there is any downward force being provided. I have seen some people use bedding material to create this force, so it'd be worth a try I suppose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Before you go changing anything, check the inner screw on the windage knob. Tighten it as much as possible then back off one click.
Hmmm... this was loose, and I tightened it with my finger nail which means it could be tightened even more with a screw driver. Could this be a culprit? It wasn't loose enough where the knobs could slip.
 

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What Kurt said plus run the rear sight up a ways and see if you can push it down with moderate thumb pressure. Also see if it wiggles side to side.

But that has nothing to do with similar AimPoint results.

Looks like a USGI fiberglass stock. With the rifle in the stock but without a trigger group can you hold the butt and pull on the barrel and feel any axial endplay or is it tight fore and aft?

Looks like you run it pretty dry per the TM. One school of thought is that heavy moving parts running dry causes vibrations.

The BIG one:

The big one in my pea brain is you said you were able to turn the gas plug by hand? If so it was very loose and finger tight hot or cold is not enough.

If the rifle has been shot with the plug loose there will be carbon in the threads. If so you will not be able to torque it properly. Soak the plug in bore cleaner then clean the threads with a soft wire brush. Tighten it with a wrench.

I can tell you from bitter experience on the 600 yard line at Milan IL during a state championship that a loose gas plug will result in improved cylinder patterns on target.

p.s. It is not the problem here but many folks believe single loading for slow fire results in more consistency on target. The rifle is not feeling variable spring tension shot to shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What Kurt said plus run the rear sight up a ways and see if you can push it down with moderate thumb pressure. Also see if it wiggles side to side.

But that has nothing to do with similar AimPoint results.

Looks like a USGI fiberglass stock. With the rifle in the stock but without a trigger group can you hold the butt and pull on the barrel and feel any axial endplay or is it tight fore and aft?

Looks like you run it pretty dry per the TM. One school of thought is that heavy moving parts running dry causes vibrations.

The BIG one:

The big one in my pea brain is you said you were able to turn the gas plug by hand? If so it was very loose and finger tight hot or cold is not enough.

If the rifle has been shot with the plug loose there will be carbon in the threads. If so you will not be able to torque it properly. Soak the plug in bore cleaner then clean the threads with a soft wire brush. Tighten it with a wrench.

I can tell you from bitter experience on the 600 yard line at Milan IL during a state championship that a loose gas plug will result in improved cylinder patterns on target.

p.s. It is not the problem here but many folks believe single loading for slow fire results in more consistency on target. The rifle is not feeling variable spring tension shot to shot.
Rear Sight: I just made an attempt and realized that my rear aperture will not move at all now. RNGR3

Axial Play: Lots. It is definitely not tight at the ferrule end.

Dry: The internals were super greased. I took these photos as I disassembled and cleaned to show wear. The rifle was greased by Jon Wolfe.

Gas Plug: The threads were very dirty, so I suspect this was an issue as well.



Thanks to everyone for the replies, looks like there are more issues here than I thought. Also, in regards to the op rod: It was refinished and nitrided at Wolfe's shop. He later added more material for better alignment. I still want a NOS op rod, but this one works as is for now.
 

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Rear Sight: I just made an attempt and realized that my rear aperture will not move at all now. RNGR3
There is a fine line re: adjusting rear sight tension. Too little and the sight adjusts itself. Too much and you need a 16" pipe wrench to turn the knobs.

My money is on a loose gas plug as the primary problem.

But like a corollary to Murphy's Law says:

"Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out."
 

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What barrel? Looks like the stock and handguard need a bit of work and the whole machine could use a bit of grease. Making these animals perform is not rocket science, but it takes some effort in the right direction.

Semper Fi
Art
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Try backing off a click at a time until it moves, then see if it holds.

Also were you possibly shooting off the ammo can?
It wouldn't catch, at all. By shooting off the ammo can, do you mean the flash suppressor resting on it? Or using it as a shooting rest? I fired the rifle off of it similar to how it is sitting in the last photo, except my hand was between the can and stock.

There is a fine line re: adjusting rear sight tension. Too little and the sight adjusts itself. Too much and you need a 16" pipe wrench to turn the knobs.

My money is on a loose gas plug as the primary problem.

But like a corollary to Murphy's Law says:

"Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out."
I have a few days left of vacation... maybe I can spare some more rounds to get this machine running smooth again.

What barrel? Looks like the stock and handguard need a bit of work and the whole machine could use a bit of grease. Making these animals perform is not rocket science, but it takes some effort in the right direction.

Semper Fi
Art
Barrel is Winchester 22". JD Russel described it as "cherry" in regards to condition. I agree, the stock and handguard need a lot of work. Not sure if I'm confident enough to do it myself (at the risk of ruining the tribute work). Jon greased this machine so well that it was oozing grease down the magazine. GI1 Ok, Im exaggerating just a bit. I did wipe off most of the grease before photos so that I could see the actual surfaces.
 

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If the tension screw in the center of windage knob isn't snug, the rear sight will move with every shot. No consistency.

An M14 rifle with USGI parts should shoot USGI groups, 3-4 moa. The fiberglass stocks are nothing to write home about. Many are warped. Does your barrel ride down the center of the ferrule, or is there pressure on the barrel from one side or the other.
 

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Your stock's front ferrule needs to be opened up, the gas cylinder should not make any contact with the ferrule-Search google for M14 front ferrule National Match mods.

The stock ferrule should contact the front band lip only and the stock should slightly pull down the band lip with the action/trigger group installed, the band, where it contacts the lip should be polished with fine sand paper and the band lip should have a small amount of grease on it where it contacts the polished part of the ferrule.

With the rifle assembled, you should be able to squeeze the stock and barrel right behind the gas cylinder and it should feel springy, and the gas cylinder should not contact the sides of the ferrule, and the front band should not contact the face of the ferrule.

The trigger guard should lock up tight in the stock, it should take some force to close the trigger guard when the action is installed in the stock.

Your rear sight should be adjusted so that you can not raise or lower the aperture by pressing on it or pulling it with your fingers. The sight assembly and the elevation and windage notches need to be greased.

The flash suppressor needs to be installed so that bullets do not strike it and it needs to be secured tightly to the barrel. The front sight needs to be tight as well.
 

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Not a FAIL!

The Iron Man 20 Shot Contest is all for fun....just because your rifle may have screwed the pooch for one reason or another doesn't mean you failed.....some great folks on here giving very sound advice....detect and secure that rifle's issue and get back into the game!
 

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I don't believe there is any downward force being provided. I have seen some people use bedding material to create this force, so it'd be worth a try I suppose.
Is there a gap below the receiver heel, before you lock the trigger guard down? With the trigger guard locked down, can you push the heel back and forth easily?

The fiberglass stock may be too flexible to make it work, but you can try it..... shim the front edges of your receiver where it meets the stock. I did so on my SAI stock, because I have no draw pressure with it. Can cut up some pop cans, or even some card stock though it wont last long likely. Probably won't take much, 0.010-0.015 maybe?
 

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Have you shot this rifle before, and if so what were the results? If this was the first time, do you have John Wolfe's accuracy results...if he performed any? Are you at least getting Milspec accuracy?
 

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I was concerned the can would not be a stable platform to rest the rifle on for shooting. I think the metal construction can allow some bounce that might cause some inconsistencies from shot to shot.

I'm leaning towards the rear site though.

What I do when bench resting:
I use sand bags under the front of the stock and maybe at the rear but use my non firing hand to make minute adjustments of the butt of the stock against my shoulder by varying the pressure of my hand between the bench, stock and rearbag. I find the sandbags stay settled under the rifle pretty well and maintain a pretty solid position provided by the bench underneath. Some people make a beanbag to squeeze into different heights for under the buttstock. I plan to try that sometime.

Now the range I do that on has solid benches and enough sandbags to arrange in front of their target positions.
 
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