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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Men,
I am relatively new to reloading (a little over 1 year) i have bought a new M1A Loaded Stainless for my collection and want to reload to feed it. i am familiar with the entire slam fire/fire out of battery issues. This has actually helped me understand reloading all that much better. I seem to understand why the issue happens and that is because a few things can be present:
1. Too soft a primer for the rifle
2. Primer flush or higher from the case head
3. Too little head space (cartridge not sized properly)

The questions I have are these:
I've not dealt with Go / No Go / Field head space gauges and would like some clarification on the 3.
I understand from some of my NRA contacts that the issue is WAAAYYY overblown and Springfield Armory shy's away from reloads as a liability thing, is this indeed the case?
If I control head space with the proper gauges (Wilson Head Space Gauge) and make sure the (WLR) primers are seated below the case head, should this resolve the issue for the most part?
Appreciate all you guys do and all you can offer.

Walt
 

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Don't worry about the head space gauges for your new Springfield. These are more for builders and dealing with unknowns, like military surplus who knows where it's been and who worked on it issues.
Control your sizing operation with a Case Gauge from Dillon or Wilson. The instructions are clear and just about self explanatory.
Yes to your last question. I've loaded and fired thousands of rounds in an M1A using WLR primers, and I've yet to have a slam fire.
If you are going to use a ball powder, or not push the envelope where a magnum primer would be an unknown liability, CCI 34 mil spec primers might be worth considering for extra margin against slam fire.

Welcome to the forum.
 

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I'm not sure head space has much to do with it....it's ALL about high primers. Many years ago, I was shooting across the course and a fellow shooter was having an awful time with his reloaded ammo functioning in his gun. I had an extra hundred rds loaded up that I gave to him to finish the match with....which worked just fine, so it wasn't his gun, it was his reloads. The following month, at the next match, he returned my brass which he had reloaded on his new Dillon. As I inspected the ammo, about 10 of the rounds had high primers. His automatic priming didn't give him the feedback he needed to know that all the primers were not seated properly. It looked like 10 slam fires in the making.

I quietly put that ammo away to be dis assembled and rebuilt at another time. Not inspecting your rounds and being in a hurry will get you in trouble. Check your primers to make sure they are below flush and you will be good to go.
 

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The questions I have are these:
I've not dealt with Go / No Go / Field head space gauges and would like some clarification on the 3.
I understand from some of my NRA contacts that the issue is WAAAYYY overblown and Springfield Armory shy's away from reloads as a liability thing, is this indeed the case?
If I control head space with the proper gauges (Wilson Head Space Gauge) and make sure the (WLR) primers are seated below the case head, should this resolve the issue for the most part?
Appreciate all you guys do and all you can offer.

Walt
Start with this link,

http://m14forum.com/gus-fisher/66601-little-bit-everything-do-headspace.html#post428572

Gus Fisher has provided very detailed information about head space and how it relates to the real world.

As long as the rifle is functioning properly, the cases are properly sized, and the primers are seated correctly you should have no problems.

Under normal circumstances head space isn't of much concern to the average shooter. As long as everything works correctly and is of the proper dimension you wont have a problem. But knowing about head space and verifying that your cartridges are setup properly for rifle provides a sense of security that's hard to beat. Additionally, some of us believe that there is a sweet spot for this dimension that allows for better bullet performance.

The bottom line is that head space is simply a measurement that allows you to compare how long your chamber is against how long your cartridge is.

There are two places where you measure head space; the rifle's chamber and the cartridge's case. The Go, NoGo, and Field gauges allow you find out how long the chamber is. Then there are head space tools, that allow you to measure the same dimension on the case. The case's head space dimension should never be longer than the chamber's and for the M1A you usually want a little clearance between the two.
 

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The go and no go gauges are used for assembly or chamber reaming. The bolt should fully close (finger pressure only) on a go gauge, but not close (lugs not all the way into battery) on a no go gauge.
The field gauge is for measuring wear as thousands of rounds are expended. It is longer than the no go gauge. If the bolt closes fully on a field gauge the rifle should be serviced, probably a new barrel or barrel setback to reduce head space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
WOW,
Thanks all. truly an abundance of info....i swear to ya...lookin at the M1A owners manual, it'll scare ya to death to shoot reloaded ammo??
I'll load some this weekend and try my new rifle. Again, thanks a lot guys :)

Walt
 

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As long as the rifle is functioning properly, the cases are properly sized, and the primers are seated correctly you should have no problems.
FUBAR, the above is practically all you need to know concerning safety.

I would add that verifying that you have not double-charged a round is considerably more important than obsessing over primer seat depth. Not that primer depth isn't important - it is.

I plan on never once double charging a round, to the extent that I'm painfully obsessive about preventing such a scenario.
 

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For making match ammo for the M-14???? No crimp. If you look at Lake City Match ammo you will notice no crimp. Of course, that ammo is loaded with stick powder, which lights off easily. If you substitute ball powder, you might need a crimp....but who would do that if really trying for accuracy.
 

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Got it,
So whats best here...taper crimp or roll crimp?
1- No crimp at all IF that is possible. This might be a possibility IF there is enough case neck "tension" to hold the projectile against all the feeding and chambering forces and also keep the projectile from being forced into the case during its time in the magazine. Case neck "Tension" is here defined as the number of 0.001" that the neck is UNDER the actual projectile major diameter that act to "hold" the projectile when it is pressed into the case neck. Just so the chamfering is done well this is the method that is least likely to screw up a projectile that is otherwise a good projectile to start with.
2- A roll crimp can be considered IF there is a cannalure in the projectile to crimp it into. It is important that the case length be uniform if a roll crimp is employed as non-uniform case lengths result in non-uniform roll crimps because the end of the case is turned into the crimp groove by a shoulder within the die. This is in my opinion the kind of crimp with the best "holding" ablity. Try looking into a LEE Factory Crimp die which crimps in from the side and which produces a similar type of crimp which is much less dependent on case length. If there is no cannelure on a projectile using a roll type crimp can seriously damage that projectiles grouping potential.
3- A taper crimp is literally a tapered die which pushes in slightly against the end side of the case neck and tends to just put a slight crimp in the neck which is somewhat insensitive to case overall length. It's considered to be a lot more "gentle" on non-cannelured projectiles and is the preferred method of crimping them IF a crimp needs to be done.
.......
For service rifle I would myself consider AT LEAST a 2.5-3 thousands under projectile diameter and up to about a 3 to 4 thousands under projectile diameter cartridge case neck tension with no crimp at all as a first choice in ammunition set up for match grade accuracy. I would then do a test series with ammo with already measured and known overall lengths by chambering a round then dehambering it and see if the chambering resulted in an overall length (OAL) change, then by firing one round then dechambering the chambered following round to see if the cartridge overall length had changed at all. Etc. IF the ammo is maintaining its OAL after this testing I would just load up a lot with the same exact components and go compete without any crimp at all. If the projectile OAL's ARE changing then this may not be the method of choice for your ammunition. The OAL's MUST be demonstrated to not change if no crimp is to be employed and neck tension only is to be used in a service rifle.
When loading military FMJ or other cannelured projectiles for any kind of “social” circumstance I always crimp them into the projectiles crimp groove as I do NOT want those projectiles moving NO MATTER WHAT and I feel I may as well take advantage of any extra powder burn uniformity that a firm crimp can help provide in exchange for the tendency of that same crimp to screw up the uniformity of a projectile to some degree and the resulting degradation of precision grouping that it leads to. Use no more roll crimp that is actually necessary and guard carefully against crimping so much that the projectile can become distorted.
Match grade projectile VERY OFTEN have no crimp grooves. Projectile makers literally cringe when people start talking about crimping those carefully manufactured match projectiles. BUT, SAFETY MUST COME AHEAD OF ALL ELSE and IF one has a good grouping load and relatively low neck tension what can be considered and done is to then apply a judicious and somewhat light taper crimp to that low neck tension ammo and let that mild crimp help act to keep the projectile from moving and screwing up the precision of the load and also possibly creating a safety hazard. It’s always nice to have a very uniform cartridge overall lengths but in the case of the use of a taper crimp one can be a lot less picky about slight differences in length as the taper in the taper crimp is very modest and relatively insensitive to slight changes in overall length. This type of crimp strategy has at times been employed in an attempt to have a load worked up for a bolt action also be useable and safe to also use in a semi-auto like an M-1A so one does not have to have two loads which for two rifles but instead can use one load for two rifles.
There’s a lot to think about with crimping and I hope this usage of board bandwidth goes to the point of what is being inquired into.
I feel there are a lot of members here that can share their crimp experiences with you. Please do not hesitate to post again with any questions or concerns you may still have about this issue and someone I’m sure will try to address your concerns.
 

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My suggestion if you don't have HS Gage's and or dont know the HS is to fire a few rounds and then strip the bolt down then with just the bolt and a few fired cases try to get the bolt to close using just your fingers and a light touch on the bolt if it does not lock up completely then size the case partially and try again to chamber and keep doing this until the bolt closes, this should put you very close to where the HS is then you will have to use a comparator to measure the case off the shoulder to see where it's at and you are looking for something in the range of 1.630"-1.634" and then you can adjust your sizer to .003"-.004" back from there as this will give you enough distance and keep you from overworking the brass.
 
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