Accidental disassembly of an M1A rifle


Oleg Volk
December 31, 2002, 12:31 PM
A friend just managed to deteach the op-rod of my M1A from the bolt while charging the rifle. Same person did the same feat with M1 carbine a while back. I was told that it is common with the carbines...but what about M1A/M14 and Garands? If it is a common problem, seems like a design defect...if not, what would you advise for the person who did that?

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December 31, 2002, 12:42 PM
Not that big a deal. Just a result of loose tolerances to enhance reliability and ease take down and assembly. It shouldn't be too easy to do, you have to jigger things a little but I can do it with my Garand and M1A and of course my carbine.

December 31, 2002, 01:12 PM
Examine bolt for wear at the point where it engages the op rod.

Pull. Straight. Back.

To charge, open action before inserting magazine. Then disengage bolt lock-back and let bolt slam forward.

4v50 Gary
December 31, 2002, 01:29 PM
It happens. Don't pull the bolt from underneath with the right hand. This tends to pull it up and off the track. Use only the knife edge of the right hand since this tends to push it down and keeps it on the track.

December 31, 2002, 01:37 PM
might it also be possible to have a 'smith build up that little tab on the op rod, where it engages the track? Seems that would fix a lot of the problem.

By the way... much as I like smileys, might I suggest we ditch the animated ones? I think I'm getting woozy just typing the post, what with all the dancing diddlgy-doo over to the left.

Peter M. Eick
December 31, 2002, 04:17 PM
I would be curious to know how he operates the charging handle. I have never done this to mine, and I would like to avoid doing it in the future.

December 31, 2002, 04:43 PM
I think that I would have a good smith that specializes in this weapon to check it over for wear or being out of spec.

I used to use both the M1a and the M1 garand and m1 carbine in competition and the only time I ever had an op rod come off is when I got in a hurry one day and was trying to get it back together fast and I did not fully engage the op rod in the track. It was with my M1 carbine. I pulled back on the op rod and it did come out but it was not the fault of the gun , it was my fault for not assembling it correctly.

December 31, 2002, 04:45 PM
Oh sheesh, Oleg, go ahead and tell 'em. :D


I operate the charging handle palm down, so it's my finger that does the charging, same as I've always done a b-zillion times with the M1A, Garand, M1 Carbine, etc.

I *think* I have a tendency to pull slightly up when I pull back, which was how I magically disassembled the M1 Carbine. I've learned not to do that anymore, but I had no idea I could end up doing that to the M1A as well.

I've never done it to the M1A before, but I managed to it about three times last night. Oopsie.

December 31, 2002, 05:18 PM
If you draw the handle back palm down, you can minimize inadvertant upward pressure by pointing the rifle muzzle downward as you pull, or by using your thumb on the back of the receiver for leverage.

A "friend", huh. That's not what it looks like in the photos I've seen.:what:

December 31, 2002, 06:43 PM

Oleg thought I was going to be embarrassed if he posted who-did-it. :D I'm not THAT easily embarrassed. :p

December 31, 2002, 07:29 PM
Easy solution, quit letting Runt play with your guns.:neener:

All silliness aside, that really seems like something that just shouldn't happen.

Art Eatman
December 31, 2002, 09:04 PM
Either hook the handle with your thumb, palm down, and put a skoshi bit of down-pressure as you pull back; or, palm up, use the base of your little finger to pull back--again, a skoshi bit of down-pressure. Generally, there's more control than when using the heel of the hand...

:), Art

December 31, 2002, 09:48 PM
That should NOT happen.

December 31, 2002, 11:32 PM
Kaylee: after the reply page loads, click the stop button on your browser window.

December 31, 2002, 11:50 PM
In the whole 4 yrs in the Marine Corps, I never heard of or had it happen. Maybe very worn parts could cause that, as stated above in the other threads.

As long as it doesn't happen while firing, It should be ok. Just do a check to make sure everything is safe.

Jeff White
January 1, 2003, 12:26 AM
Gary's got the right technique. Use the knife edge of the right hand. I learned it when I was issued an M1D back in 47th ID sniper school, more years ago then I care to admit.

We single loaded a lot because they had trouble getting .30 match loaded in enbloc clips. One of the reasons they told us to use that technique, besides the fact it allowed you to close the bolt, was to keep the op rod and bolt from coming apart.


4v50 Gary
January 1, 2003, 12:31 AM
Jeff, if you've got any stories to share (or just your experience about the training), consider contacting the Chandler Brothers at

January 1, 2003, 01:00 AM
Runt- 50 pushups. 50 Hail Garands. :p

January 1, 2003, 05:51 AM
Runt, is this with my M1A? I hope not! If so, I would be seriously disappointed with the specs and tolerances of Springfield.

Have you been able to do this on other M1A's? You seem to have "the touch".

January 1, 2003, 08:36 AM
This was a common occurence with Federal Ordinance guns from awhile back. The recievers were out of spec and just about every one I ever saw in a gun shop did this. As you see, you dont see to many Fed Ord M14's anymore. I guess Darwin's theory works with crappy guns too. :)

January 1, 2003, 12:23 PM
Nope, twoblink, it was with Oleg's (but I could try it with yours later, seeing how I've got the magic touch!).

I wanted to have a truck gun, and my Mosin M44 isn't ready (needs a little work - burrs in chamber making bolt stiff), and my second choice was the M1A. I wanted yours since I fired it more recently than Oleg's, but I didn't want to be responsible if your property was stolen from my truck. And then Oleg's "kept falling apart" :D so I ended up toting my AR15.

Politically Incorrect
January 1, 2003, 01:02 PM
I can't even disassemble the op rod on my new M1A when I'm trying to disassemble it!

I'll have to take a trip to Tennessee so runt can show me how it's done.

Jeff White
January 1, 2003, 06:22 PM
Rather then hijack Oleg's thread, I posted some thoughts on my sniper school experiences here:


Jim K
January 2, 2003, 06:39 PM
Remove the stock and the op rod spring. The op rod should remain in place, with no "spring" and no tendency to come out. If it does, the rod is bent or the barrel is not "timed" properly.

The rod should come out only if pulled up and out at the dismount notch. If it can come out any other place, the rifle/rod is out of spec.

If the gun is OK, learn to pull the op rod straight back without any upward or outward pressure.


January 2, 2003, 07:44 PM
I think you should "test" twoblink's M1A as well, runt. I'm sure he'd want to know if it fell apart because it was out of spec.


January 3, 2003, 02:12 AM
Yep, definitely test mine.. I think she'll hold though; because I've racked her quite a few times and no problems.. But then again, you have the touch and I don't! :D

Runt, I notice you and any guns that start with an "M1" aren't exactly the best of friends huh??:D :neener:

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