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Evening guys,

At the range, a wicked breeze picked up and basically stirred up a sandstorm throughout the range. My M1A unfortunately got hit with the full brunt of it and was covered in sand/dust. The optic was easy enough to clean, and the stock/barrel was easily wiped down. But the action feels very "grindy"/rough if you know what I mean.

I need some tips on how to clean this. I read that taking a water hose to the receiver/action is one way for other guns that weren't an M1A, but I'm not too sure. Do I brush the inside down with a liberal amount of solvent on a brush? Where are the hotspots where sand can get stuck in and make the action cycle roughly? The stock is synthetic if that makes a difference.

Thanks!
 

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The first step is to lay off the grease and oil. Internet videos and pictures usually show rifles lubed up like it was a wheel bearing.

If you follow the maintenance chapter of FM 23-8, you will see that the M14 only has a couple of minute grease points. Following this will keep dirt and sand from sticking to the operating areas, allowing you to easily brush it off without making these worse.

Those little red/tan Burma Shave sold at the PX worked great.

In the field, you can flush out the action with canteen water. Just be sure to break down the rifle at the first opportunity for proper maintenance.

We used to all carry one of those OD cravat/slings from medical kits. They were great for wrapping something up in a hurry to keep it clean.
 

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Is it bedded into the stock?

If not pull it out of the stock, grab some brake cleaner, put on a pair of goggles/safety glasses and spray it clean. You'll see the crud run off. Oh, do this outside, not in the house/shed.

It dries quick. Go back when it's dry and use some type of spray oil to put a coat of rust preventative oil on it after the brake cleaner strips all the lube/crud off it.

Then wipe off the excess, inspect to see if you missed any of the dust/dirt/crud and relube as normal before putting it back together and into the stock.

I used a lot of carb/brake cleaner when I was shooting corrosive ammo. Just to make sure I got back in the cracks/crevices and got all that nasty stuff off of the metal.

Grab one of those silicone impregnated "sleeves" that Brownells and others sell. Keep it rolled up in your range bag/box. When you see something like that dust storm coming up, grab the rifle and slide it into the sleeve till the wind dies down. You can wash the sleeve when it needs it (might not be silicone impregnated anymore but it'll be clean/dry for the next use.
 

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If it was mine it would get disassembled and detail cleaned with clean, soft rags and q-tips. paying special attention to receiver tracks and all the little nooks and crannies. If mine had gotten covered with sand it would have been the end of shooting until it was thoroughly cleaned. These rifles can take a lot of abuse, but rich uncle ain't paying for them anymore. Shooting a rifle with sand in the action is like lubricating it with lapping compound.
 

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I think I would knock off the loose dust/grit with a low-pressure air hose (30 PSI max). Then it would get a bath in something to remove the remainder of the grit and contaminated lube. I would use a solvent of some type for this. Remove from the solvent, spray again with the air hose to knock off any clinging solvent, then wipe down with a clean rag. Then lube as needed to prevent rust. I'm just not a big fan of water hoses and rifles, unless needed to remove salt water.
 

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Don't use air to clean dirt, sand or debris off the rifle. That's like putting it in a blast cabinet full of abrasives.

Flush with water first. We look are rifles into hot showers more than once. Steam also brings out the carbon.
You're not going to do much sandblasting at 30 PSI air pressure.
 
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Don't use air to clean dirt, sand or debris off the rifle. That's like putting it in a blast cabinet full of abrasives.

Flush with water first. We look are rifles into hot showers more than once. Steam also brings out the carbon.
I remember carrying my M60 into the showers every time we came back from the field. Crank the hot water valve full open, step back and watch it till the water droplets seemed to just be bouncing off the tile floor, extend the bipod legs and shove it into the water spray with the feed tray open and bolt locked back. Let it sit there the the black crud stopped rolling across the floor and then turn the water off, grab the carrying handle and head back to the room. By the time I took it apart it would be dry (very hot water). Then wipe/barrel clean/inspect/lube and put it back together. Spotless. So clean the armorers would accuse me of not shooting it and I'd have to remind Hetzel he'd been there more than once during the week when I'd been shooting it.

Hot water will also strip all the lube off the metal surfaces, so it's got to be lubed/wiped down prior to putting it away to prevent rust.
 

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I too have taken firearms into the shower, M4’s, 240’s, M17’s and have run a number of personnel firearms through the sink before. Always use hot water it evaporates quicker. Hell I’ve boiled water in a tea kettle before and run that down barrels to wash out gunk and grime on a few firearms that had sat in an attic for 40 years collecting dust, debri and spider webs in the bore. Wipe down well afterwards with a clean dry rag, wipe with oil and grease up the wear points and it will be fine. While stationed at Fort Bliss it was common place to wrap our weapons up in a shamag or towel when not in use to keep the moon dust/sand off in the first place.
 

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I remember carrying my M60 into the showers every time we came back from the field. Crank the hot water valve full open, step back and watch it till the water droplets seemed to just be bouncing off the tile floor, extend the bipod legs and shove it into the water spray with the feed tray open and bolt locked back. Let it sit there the the black crud stopped rolling across the floor and then turn the water off, grab the carrying handle and head back to the room. By the time I took it apart it would be dry (very hot water). Then wipe/barrel clean/inspect/lube and put it back together. Spotless. So clean the armorers would accuse me of not shooting it and I'd have to remind Hetzel he'd been there more than once during the week when I'd been shooting it.

Hot water will also strip all the lube off the metal surfaces, so it's got to be lubed/wiped down prior to putting it away to prevent rust.
Besides taking them into the shower, we also stopped off at the mess hall, where they had a high pressure steam cleaner hose on the dock at the back of the mess hall. We had them steam clean the receiver, throat and flash suppressor. As mentioned, be sure to re-lube to stop any rust.
 

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When going to the range or other shooting event, your M14/ M1A should be clean and dry with just a drop of lube on moving parts (bolt roller, guides,, etc.l). Don't over lube your weapon. When in storage, clean it then keep it protected with your favorite CLP.
 
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