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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, I shot my SAI Standard for the first time this morning. Actually, it was the first time I've EVER fired a M1A. I was thinking about it while I was at the range too..... and its been at least five YEARS since I've fired any rifle bigger than a .22LR, even longer since I've shot anything at 100yrd or further. GI3

No wonder I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. GI1 For the longest time I've become more of a "collector" than a shooter. This WILL change. Probably gonna sell of some unloved pieces, to keep me shooting the ones I DO love.

I will say.... this rifle might have ruined me! Its just a pleasure to shoot! I was expecting heavier recoil, but it was just a joy to sling lead with.

Started out futzing with the sights at 25yrd, with the first couple shots right where the previous owner left them. Not even on the paper. GI3 Completely forgetting the procedure I read somewhere for a mechanical zero, I just ran the elevation all the way down then up a few clicks and went from there. Ended up with the front sight nearly all the way to the right by the time I left the range, but was able to eventually punch some holes in a group (if you can call it that) at 100yrds. This was more of a shakedown for a "new to me" rifle, and myself, so wasn't THAT concerned with the target. Turns out the rifle shoots..... probably much better than me. GI1

SO.... REALLY rusty shooter trying to remember what I used to know, shooting from a bench with a sling (that I could use some hands on instruction with GI1), SAI Standard, iron sights, 147gr PMC Bronze. Apparently, at the moment, Im about a 4-5 MOA shooter. Not sure what the rifle will really do yet.

I'll post a target picture, because what good is a thread without pictures right? Not gonna say Im proud of it. GI1 Two 5 shot "groups". First in the upper right... with 5th shot god knows where.
 

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Good Start!

You're on paper and you're starting to group. The improvements come with patience, time, and review.

So, the front sight was all the way to the right when you were done. Did you bring an allen wrench, loosen the nut, and move the front sight (which I've done)? Where is the rear sight with respect to its mechanical zero?

And you may want to note the number of clicks up in elevation for your ammo at that distance. If windage was set at mechanical zero, note that. Or the no. clicks right or left from mechanical zero. Make note of the wind, temperature, and lighting. When you change ammo, you will likely see a change in rear sight settings.

A slow, relaxed pull on your trigger with the rifle atop a sandbag is a great way to find what the rifle, ammo, and you can do next time at the range. Sling instruction is best with a knowledgeable partner.
 

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Well done, thanks for the range report. Your hooked now. That's what did it for me, I had a lot of rifles, HK clone, AR ect... The more I shot the m14, the less I shot the others and soon they are all gone and in thier place is another m14.

Don't miss them either.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
GI1 Its bad already, I can tell. I started to get settled but only had a short amount of time to spend at the range. I was already thinking... I should build another one of these, so it can REALLY shoot better than me! Now I just gotta decide what to sell to fund said build..... the Yugo SKS and one of the Makarovs will probably get the ax first.

Artictic dog... Yes, thats what I meant. I had my tools, and I moved the front sight to the right. I was hitting WAY to the right of the target at 25yrds when I first started. I had centered the rear sight after I saw how far off the first few shots were. Figured best to start from scratch. Once I got things about where they should be I threw a target out at 100. Ended up with a few clicks of windage adjustment on the rear sight too. Still seems to be hitting a tad to the right.... but close enough for now, Im not ruling out the shooter on that. Like I said, I really just wanted to shoot it a bit and see if any issues popped up. A ten year old "new to me" rifle...you just never know. Of course I discovered I am REALLY rusty, but the rifle seems to be just fine.

I was kinda fudging it on the sling. Its a GI style leather sling. Had to dig it out from one of my tubs of gun parts. I noticed its missing one of the keepers/loops or whatever you call them. I'll have another made for it. Too easy. There were no bags or blocks on the range I was using (that I had ALL to myself this morning GI1 ) so I was making do. Seems there was a lot of "making do" this morning.... but an hour at the range is better than an hour at work. The bags are scarce at the club, so I'll have to get some of my own.

I will take note of the sight settings. I have a bunch of ruled notebooks, one will be dedicated to the rifle.

Yep, lots to relearn it seems. Took ten shots or so to remember my trigger follow through and get my breathing right. Very little time shooting from a bench too... I almost moved the bench and tried kneeling, but its been so long since I've done that it probably would have been just as bad. Shot competitive air rifle more than decade ago, and always qualified well with my M16, just been too long I think.

You know what sucks though? Walking 100yrds to change out a target and realizing you only have one staple left in your staple gun. GI1
 

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That 4 shot group on the top right doesn't look bad at all. Oh, and you could keep your SKS as a trunk gun.
 

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Very nice, my friend! Welcome to the addiction. Take a seat, we've been expecting you.

Let's begin by stating your name and admitting that you're an M14aholic...

They say that admitting that you're an M14aholic is the first step to recovery. However, I haven't seen anyone join the group that's ever recovered.

Welcome to our support group... :)

Tony.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The Noob Chronicles

Well, another mornings peaceful quiet pierced by the report of my new (to me) M1A. GI1 Had the entire club to myself for an hour before a few other guys showed up and started making a racket blasting away at their targets willy nilly.

Still trying to get the hang of this shooting from a bench thing. Actually found something to rest the rifle on this time. My "groups", if you call them that tightened up a LITTLE, but Im still struggling. Im gonna go with "need more practice" for now, but I don't ever remember working this hard. I DID finally take the time to really zero the rifle. Cut some 1in squares out of some shoot-n-see targets I had and threw those out at 25yrds. Front sight is just a hair from flush with the right side of the base now.

Only targets I have at the moment are 100yrd Smallbore and some 25yrd repair centers. The smaller repair centers almost seemed better at 100yrds, just about as wide as the front post. I didn't shoot any worse with the 100yrd Small Bore targets though.... so who knows. I could use a suggestion or two.

Rear sight aperture was bugging me though. Just seemed like its hole is HUGE, at least compared to the standard A2 sights Im used to. The hole for the aperture isn't centered in the rear sight either. Its drilled a bit low, which was a bit distracting in my sight picture. Didn't notice it last time, but now that I have, it bugs the hell out of me. I would really like to change that rear sight out.....just not sure what to change it to yet.

As I was packing up and checking the rifle over before leaving, I noticed my gas plug had loosened up. Went to tighten it and it indexes just past the witness mark I had made when I previously removed it. I did shim the gas cylinder before reassembly. Do those shims usually work in a bit? Not sure why it would loosen up, as it was tightened to where it was before. Might have to actually get a torque wrench on it I guess.

Other than all that GI1 it was another nice morning at the range, and a few more boxes of ammo downrange.

A buddy shipped me a bunch of bullets, (6 boxes 168gr SMKs, 1bx of Lapua 168s, 1bx of Berger 168s, 1bx Nosler, and a box of Hornady) and a spare Wilson case gauge he had. Said he had some other comparator tool or something he tossed in too. We'll see what shows up in the mail. Maybe soon I will be able to put together something a little nicer than this PMC Bronze to fire down range. GI1
 

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Welcome,
These rifles are way too much fun, so many options so many tweaks to do. You will never get bored shooting them!
Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Welcome,
These rifles are way too much fun, so many options so many tweaks to do. You will never get bored shooting them!
Rodney
Not sure I'd ever get bored shooting ANYTHING, and while I enjoy tinkering with things, I will admit I am getting a bit frustrated. Certainly not ruling out the trigger actuator as being the problem, but I just feel like I should be shooting better with this thing. GI4

Was thinking about it today and I think I'll grab another rifle to take with me to the range next time. Shoot it along with the M1A. I have a BEAT VZ24, and I seem to remember it put out about a 4in group at 100yrds, with ancient surplus 8mm. If I can match the M1A's groups with that poor abused Mauser.... well, then I dunno. ICONLOL Not exactly an apples to apples comparison I know, but the only other semis I have (that aren't 5.56) are an SKS and an AR in 6.8 Dunno.... if I shoot worse with the Mauser, then I'll know it really is me that just sucks. GI1
 

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Don't get frustrated these rifles take some getting used to. I also had not been shooting for awhile when I started with my m1a. I was all over the place it took 4 or5 range sessions to get back in the groove.
 

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Focus on front sight tip and ensure the trigger breaks during your natural respiratory pause. Rest if you are taking too long to aim squeeze, etc.
 

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Hey Girth,

I read at least two comments that you were moving the front sight and how far to the right your front sight was. You realize you have windage on the rear sight as well? Hoping you can get that set up and move your front post assembly back to a more central position?
 

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Welcome to the fraternity! Enjoy your new stick. Did you shoot at Paul Bunyan or the Tacoma Sportsman?
 

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Can you describe how you prepare for each shot. Are you using 6 o'clock hold? Are you using the BRASS method?

http://longrangeshooter.com/2008/12/brass/

B - Breath
R - Relax
A - Aim
S - Slack
S - Squeeze

Get some known good ammo (Federal Gold Medal Match) and some actual bonafide SR-1 targets for (100 yards) or SR for 200 yards. However, before doing that, look up Tonyben's video on how perform a tilt test and make sure your rifle doesn't have any weird rubs that might be affecting it's accuracy.

When you get to the range, try a sled to take your hold out of it as much as possible and follow the BRASS principle. Really concentrate on your sight picture and your trigger squeeze. Once you get the hang of it, you will see how accurate your rifle is and then you can try to replicate that when in various positions using a sling.
 
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You will progress with the rifle. Just keep at it. I'm sure you've seen my recent threads on breaking new ground with my rifle and regular sub-MOA groups. Do me a favor and read the first posts of this thread and I'm sure you'll see that you aren't too far off from when I shot my first rounds ever through my LRB in 2009.

http://m14forum.com/m14/65490-pdx-range-report-08-15-2010-update.html

It's literally taken me years to get my rifle and myself to shoot the way we do today. This is meant to be an encouragement. You're doing fine. You just need trigger time, practice and confidence. A good local mentor would be a great aid, if you can find one. If you can, hook up with mercman. He's a great guy and a great shooter. I'm sure he'd make a fine coach and mentor.

Tony.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey Girth,

I read at least two comments that you were moving the front sight and how far to the right your front sight was. You realize you have windage on the rear sight as well? Hoping you can get that set up and move your front post assembly back to a more central position?
GI3 My rear sight is centered. Adjusted front sight for windage while zeroing the rifle, which Im certain is the proscribed procedure. Any further, or fine adjustment for ammunition/wind, I have the full range available on the rear sight. At least I THINK thats how its supposed to be done. GI1

Welcome to the fraternity! Enjoy your new stick. Did you shoot at Paul Bunyan or the Tacoma Sportsman?
Upper Nisqually out in Eatonville. While Im only a couple miles from either Paul Bunyan or Tacoma Sportsman, I really like the "feel" of the UNSC. Hard to complain about having an entire gun club to yourself on a Sunday morning. GI2

Can you describe how you prepare for each shot. Are you using 6 o'clock hold? Are you using the BRASS method?

http://longrangeshooter.com/2008/12/brass/

B - Breath
R - Relax
A - Aim
S - Slack
S - Squeeze

Get some known good ammo (Federal Gold Medal Match) and some actual bonafide SR-1 targets for (100 yards) or SR for 200 yards. However, before doing that, look up Tonyben's video on how perform a tilt test and make sure your rifle doesn't have any weird rubs that might be affecting it's accuracy.

When you get to the range, try a sled to take your hold out of it as much as possible and follow the BRASS principle. Really concentrate on your sight picture and your trigger squeeze. Once you get the hang of it, you will see how accurate your rifle is and then you can try to replicate that when in various positions using a sling.
I had made a rest (some scrap wood with some carpet on top) but it ended up being just a tad too tall to be comfortable. Ended up grabbing some dunnage out of the back of the truck and folding up my Carhartt jacket on it. Better than nothing. I discovered a rear bag would have been nice, but I used my fist under the butt.

I would close my eyes, take a few breaths, open them, and then adjust my position. Repeat as necessary until my natural point of aim was there, holding the top of the front sight at 6 o'clock. Take a breath or two, pause (no longer than 5sec) squeeze, enjoy the recoil, breath and then release the trigger. I'd fire a 5 shot group, walk downrange to swap targets and let the rifle cool a bit, and repeat. Maybe 2 min, between 5 shot strings.

Did both "tilt-tests", disassembled, cleaned, greased, and shimmed the gas cylinder before I even fired the rifle for the first time. GI1 It IS a ten year old used rifle, so its still an unknown quantity. Only faults I can find with it right now (other than the gas plug that worked loose) is the stock ferrule is a skosh to to one side on the front band. (not contacting the front band other than where it should at the bottom) There is no "draw pressure" when reinstalling the action, it drops right onto the stock, but Im not sure if thats unusual. Trigger guard seems to start to snug up at the correct spot, but it doesnt take any great effort to latch it. After 100rds the gas piston wouldn't pass a tilt test unless you tapped it with your finger. Had a fair amount of residue on it.

Im not discounting ammo, not exactly shooting the good stuff GI1. Almost wondering if it would like a heavier bullet. We'll see soon enough. Im NOT discounting me either, I certainly could be the problem. Its a joy to shoot, but slightly frustrating on the target end. HA!

SR-1 targets.... I will get some. :ARM34:

Still pondering changing out this rear sight. The aperture being drilled towards the bottom of the sight still bugs me. (sight picture looks wonky with more material at the top) That and Im not sure what size it is, gotta check that, but feel like I'd like a smaller aperture. Front sight is marked NM, but Im not sure what difference that makes.


Tony, I've read some of your stuff. That might be what bothers me. GI1 The wife is gonna hurt you guys if I start throwing money at a new barrel. Hell, a new barrel deserves a new receiver..... ICONLOL its a slippery slope, that I've gone down with many other pastimes. She recognizes the signs, but she tends to be supportive in anything I do. She told me I could by a Lahti 20mm I found for sale last year. I think that might have been a test though. GI3
 

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Your BRASS regimen seems sound... just remember to focus hard on the front sight, your groups will open up if you let your eye wander down to the target itself. Sleds are nice for minimizing variance between shots, but a refresher course in how to use your sling properly sure can't hurt.

It does sounds like you might have a couple problem areas which could be affecting accuracy. The lack of draw pressure, the front band issue you mentioned and the that pesky non-centered aperture hole. None of these are too expensive to fix thankfully.

If that were my rifle, here is what I would do.

1. I would start with a different stock as the fact that you have no draw pressure and your trigger group isn't difficult to latch means that your stock is probably a tad loose...and probably warped given what you said. You could simply shim it to tighten up the lockup. Check to make sure your hand guard isn't binding against the receiver or the stock as well.

2. Replace the front post with a NM post and the rear aperture with smaller hole. I don't own a standard SAI, but I've look through them and they seem gargantuan compared to my NM sights. Of course, if your eye sight is going, the larger hole can be a blessing but it doesn't sound like that is your issue.

3. A nice 4.5 - 5 pound trigger job never hurts. Several folks on this forum can do them, or you can you shop around.

4. I wouldn't get any ideas about changing out the barrel until you've tackled these other areas... but if you do opt for a new barrel, don't fall in love it it because these rifles like to be shot and shot and shot and well, they are consumables.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think the front post IS a national match post. At least its marked "NM". Not sure if there is a better way to verify.

I replaced the plastic SAI hand guard with a standard USGI fiberglass one. (I HATE plastic on my guns) I did take a little time to sand it down on the lower edges to keep it off the stock, and on the rear edge to make sure it wasn't pressed against the receiver.

Now that Im thinking about it.... I may have been focusing more on the target than the front sight, or going back and forth. I can't remember. As I said, that rear aperture just felt HUGE and I felt like that front sight had an ocean to swim around in. My eyesight is good. GI5 The FAA would insist on glasses if it wasn't.

I was thinking about buying a new stock... but some folks said the standard SAI was a solid option. Its certainly a big chunk of wood, but without bedding it, Im not sure I could center center the action/ferrule or create any draw pressure.

Not giving up (I rarely do) just a tad frustrated. I appreciate the advice.
 
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