M1A problem. Need help.


Harry Paget Flashman
April 23, 2007, 03:45 PM
I gave my Son-in-Law in Starkville, Mississippi an M1A last month and he experienced some problems at the range on his first outing. It doesn't have more than 100-150 rounds through it yet. He sent me the following email:

"I took the M-14 to the range on Saturday and had a blast . . .at least for a
while. I emptied one clip without a problem (That gun's gotta little thump to
it!) However, when I reloaded the clip and reinserted it the gun would no
longer fire or automatically eject the shell? I loaded the clip and pulled back
the lever to load the first shell and everything worked fine. However, when I
fired nothing happened. You could hear the hammer click, but it didn't fire. I
figured it was a typical mis-fire, so I reloaded and tried again, but the same
thing happened. Several more attempts, and nothing happened. Also, when I
pulled back the lever manually it would try to load the next shell, but it would
not eject the shell in barrel. When I pulled the shell out of the barrel
manually, there was no sign of any strikes by the firing pin.

To summarize:

1. It doesn't appear the firing pin is properly striking the cartridge, and

2. Shells are not being automatically ejected when I manually pull the lever

I really don't think I'm doing anything wrong. The first clip of ammo went
smoothly, and the ammo I'm trying to use now is from the same box.

I think I'll just let the gun sit until the next time you visit. We can take
the gun out together so you can see what I'm talking about.


PS I just had a last minute thought. I never could find the safety on this
gun. Could there be a safety that allows the hammer to fall, but prevents the
firing pin from striking?"

I sent him this response:

"See this link for the safety: http://www.surplusrifle.com/m14m1a/pdf/m14m1aoperations.pdf

It is located at the front of the trigger guard. In the forward position it's ready to fire and in the rearward position it is safe. The M1A and M1 Garand are supposed to have identical safeties. I just checked my Garand and when the safety is "on" it will not fire (doesn't let the hammer fall...no "click"....no nothing.) So your symptoms are puzzling, particularly with the ejection problem.

Try a different magazine next time at the range.

Check the ejector mechanism to see if it's broken.

Put a skinny dowel down the barrel with part of it sticking out of the barrel. Hold the rifle upright and fire it (unloaded of course) and see if the dowel moves when struck by the firing pin. I don't know if you'll be able to easily see movement but I am certain you should be able to feel it.

Check again the ammo. Despite no evidence of a strike, is the primer recessed too deep?

I am going to post the text of your email at THR and see if I can get some help. I will send you the link later."

He was shooting some Argentine surplus I'd given him with the rifle. That ammo had never given me any problems before.

Does anyone have a suggestion?


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Nomad, 2nd
April 23, 2007, 03:49 PM

When he does what you say we should know more...

April 23, 2007, 03:51 PM
So, when he yanks the op-rod manually the round is stuck and won't eject? I was about to say ammo issues, but I will have to take a look at my M1 to see how a round could fail to eject with manual operation. Sounds like something broke?

Nomad, 2nd
April 23, 2007, 03:55 PM
Yep, extractor likely... but more info is needed.

When was the M1A made? (There was a short time where they had a bad batch of bolts... I got one... it was quickly fixed...)

Harry Paget Flashman
April 23, 2007, 04:06 PM
Nomad. I bought it NIB from a gun store in August 2005. I assume it was made that year but I am not certain. It's a Springfield.

April 23, 2007, 04:07 PM
Sounds like the bolt is not closing fully. Reasons for that would include a dirty chamber or maybe a bad magazine.


ken grant
April 23, 2007, 04:36 PM
Is he riding the bolt forward? If so,may not be going into battery.
Tell him to pull the handle back and let it slam forward.

April 23, 2007, 04:43 PM
Yeah, see what the bolt looks like fully closed and unloaded. Try it again loaded. See if it fires. (at the range I guess)

Never had a problem with mine, but I grew up around them so maybe I knew to look for certain things.

Nomad, 2nd
April 23, 2007, 04:54 PM
Problems were in 04 IIRC...

Harry Paget Flashman
April 23, 2007, 05:24 PM

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