General M1A tips anyone?


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Kurosaki
February 9, 2008, 12:46 AM
Hi, I'm a new member of the forum. Been shooting since I was a kid and just inherited my father's M1A. Im pretty sure he didn't really do anything but put a ram-rod through the barrel every now and then, but the gun has not gone through a lot of ammo at all. Wen I took it out last Christmas break to shoot, it jammed over and over, wouldn't eject the round or fire the one in the chamber. So my current project since we're full of snow and cold weather is to get this gun back up and running.

My main questions for all of you service M1A shooters are:

- What are some good maintenance tips for this weapon? (frequency of deep cleaning)

-Are there areas of the gas chamber that should be left alone and others treated in special way? (pictures?)

-tools, oil or grease you recommend?

-Ammo that would be suitable for someone who doesn't have reloading equipment

-Anything else you feel I should know as a new M1A owner

I'm sure many of you have answered these questions over and over but it might be nice for other new comers to see the input in one place. Thanks a lot! (PS: just got combo tool, chamber brush and ram rods - butt stock style)

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MassMark
February 9, 2008, 01:41 AM
Welcome to the world of the M1A - Congrats on your inheritance - it will likely bring you decades of pleasure until you pass it down again... ;)

To get to your questions, I'm going to suggest you look for Scott Duff's book on the M14 and also the newer publication by Walt Kuleck of Fulton Armory. In these books you will find more info that you can imagine.

It's late, (1:20am), so I'll try and post some basics that others will fill in I'm sure.

First thing after the books, is a USGI M14 Buttstock Cleaning Kit. Forget about the cleaning rod sections, (use them for the field). In fact, if you look under the buttplate, I'd be surprised if there wasn't one in there. What you're after is the racheting chamber brush, as I believe a dirty chamber is likely part of your problem. You need to scrub that chamber out - it should be clean and dry.

You also likely need to pull and clean out the gas piston. Ultimately it will be of benefit to go to Sadlak.com and get yourself a gas wrench and some drill bits, but in the interim, use a socket wrench to remove your gas plug, being cautious not to tweak your gas tube. My guess is that your father has tools, but if not, remove the plug, drop out the piston and soak it in solvent. before I got my bits, I used a thin bore brush to scrub out the inside - even ran patches in it to clean it out. Clean out your gas tube as well, but make sure both the piston and tube are DRY when you reassemble - do not lubricate.

Use a toothbrush and some solvent to clean your receiver and bolt, but make sure your chamber and bolt face are dry. Use automotive grease to start on any metal to metal moving parts, (edge of bolt, oprod, oprod spring, oprod guide).

Make sure your barrel is clean and this should get you started on the road - my guess is the gun will run like a top.

Be sure you're using the right ammo - no .308/7.62x51 over 168gr. Try and shoot MilSurp if you can, but Winchester White Box 147/150 gr FMJ should be okie-dokie.

Recommended Tools:

Sadlak Gas wrench
Sadlak Drill Bits, (for piston cleaning)
Dewey One Piece Cleaning Rod
Brass Bore Brush
Brass Patch Tip
Brass Jag
Bolt Roller Greaser
USGI Buttstock Cleaning Kit
Militec-1 Grease (Automotive is fine)
BOOKS

Also, as much as I love THR, join: M-14 Forum (www.m-14forum.com) There is AWESOME information there....Good luck and good night! :cool:

Kurosaki
February 9, 2008, 02:47 AM
Thanks, I've taken care of everything else but the gas chamber part...Im trying to finish up some exams and other work...and then work up the nerve to take that portion apart for an inspection.

Andrewsky
February 9, 2008, 02:51 AM
Kurosaki, gas cylinder disassembly is easy.

If you want a challenge, try taking changing your extractor.

Vityaz
February 9, 2008, 04:29 AM
For a good grease, I recommend Tetra.

As far as ammo, 175gr is generally alright to use. Whatever you pick, just stock up. You can go through quite a bit pretty fast with the M1A

Like Andrewsky said, the gas system is easy to disassemble, you won't have any problems.

I also highly recommend the M14 Firing Line. Extremely knowledgeable people that can help you out with almost any problem.

Enjoy the rifle. ;)

GunTech
February 9, 2008, 10:53 AM
I stay away from heavy bullets, but 175 is considered fine. Some argue that you should be using a grooved piston for heavy bullets.

Given that the 155 Lapua Scenar has the same BC as the 175 SMK, and can be launched faster, I see know reason for the 175.

The 168 SMK is your friend. If your M1A won't shoot well with a 168 SMK over 41.5 gn 4895, it probably won't shoot well with anything.

Depending on how mych you want to play with your rifle, there are a number of tools you'll find useful. Most have already been mentioned. A bolt disassembly tool from Brownells can make life much easier. And a lug greasing tool is nice and small. Badger Ordnance makes them.

I would seriously consider replacing the recoil spring with a silcon steel one from David Tubb. You may want to chuck the spring guide as well, and replace it with one from Badger or Sadlak.

Another board to look at is Warrifles.com There's a pretty good M14/M1A area and the guys from Fulton armory check in pretty regularly.

H2O MAN
February 9, 2008, 10:59 AM
My main questions for all of you service M1A shooters are:

Learn how to Detail Strip the M14 (http://www.rifle-company.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=137) ~ and visit Different's M1A Site (http://www.imageseek.com/m1a/), BattleRifles.com (http://battlerifles.ambackforum.com/) and Rifle-Company (http://www.rifle-company.com/phpbb/)


I have plenty of M14 modernization information, pictures and links on my web pages (http://www.athenswater.com/my_weapons.htm) that you may find helpful.

Good luck!

1 old 0311
February 9, 2008, 11:38 AM
I carried a M14 in Vitenam for a year. I punched the bore, lubed the slide, and rollers and that was it. NEVER missed a beat.

Kurosaki
February 18, 2008, 12:49 AM
Attached is an image of the gun with two pistons A and B (sorry not sure what they're called exactly). Both are bone dry, no grease or oil. They don't appear to have any signs of wear. Anyone know if these need grease or oil? Part B seems to be delayed when the action is pulled back...meaning is slowly slides out when piston A is pulled left.

madcratebuilder
February 18, 2008, 08:05 AM
B is the gas piston, it needs to be clean and DRY. Plan on cleaning every 3-400 rounds. Normal tool is a drill bit.
A is the end of your op-rod, I lube mine with a very light coat of grease.
Go check out m14firinglineforum.com great source of info for your battle rifle.

30Cal
February 18, 2008, 11:37 AM
I stay away from heavy bullets, but 175 is considered fine. Some argue that you should be using a grooved piston for heavy bullets.

Nobody used the grooved piston until somebody started making them commercially 2-3 years back. The big teams didn't use them for very long at all.

Given that the 155 Lapua Scenar has the same BC as the 175 SMK, and can be launched faster, I see know reason for the 175.

The 168 SMK is your friend. If your M1A won't shoot well with a 168 SMK over 41.5 gn 4895, it probably won't shoot well with anything.

The Sierras are going to shoot well and you'll get your best results with them. The 155Lapua has a great BC, but it's a much more tempermental bullet and you need to push it really hard (22" barrel on an M1A) to take advantage of that BC. I'd argue that the 168gr is a bullet without a purpose. You don't need the recoil at short range and pretty much every match bullet at nominal velocities will beat it against the wind at 600+.


I'd recommend Duff's M14 Owner's Guide. You need a GI chamber brush. I'd recommend cleaning the gas system every 300-500rds. The rifle doesn't need to come out of the stock really unless you get it wet. There's not a lot to get dirty inside there and nothing that will stop it from running

lencac
February 18, 2008, 12:40 PM
The 168 SMK is your friend. If your M1A won't shoot well with a 168 SMK over 41.5 gn 4895, it probably won't shoot well with anything.
Listen to what this man is telling you ........ what he said is the gospel.
Give the firearm a COMPLETE inspection and cleaning and proper lubing. That may very well cure the prob.

Kurosaki
February 18, 2008, 08:11 PM
OK...little update after a little shooting this afternoon:

The rifle has improved its rate of success...but only fires, ejects the round and is ready for the next trigger pull about 10% of the time. Otherwise the rifle will chamber the bullet, fire but not eject the spent round. Every now and then after chambering a bullet by hand (which was about 80% of the time) the trigger pulled just clicked and no fire...then after ejecting the round, and getting the action to 'slam' into the case harder would set it for a more direct hit of the firing pin.

I used a few reloads, and then switched to a new box of "MATCH 7.62mm NATO, 173 grain, 2550 FPS - Lake City Army Ammuntion" They worked a little better, but wouldn't eject at times either. I have a feeling the bolt may not be moving or rotating as smooth as it should.

I'm really at a loss as to what else this gun needs...it seems that the ammo is good?...but maybe there is some other things I'm missing? Any other thoughts men? Thanks a lot for all your ideas and help so far.

kimberfan
February 18, 2008, 08:51 PM
new extractor and ejector maybe?.

Frank556
February 18, 2008, 10:03 PM
Good topic! I am looking for general tips as well:

Who sells the David Tubb silcon steel recoil spring?? and also the Sadlak NM spring guide? I noticed desertwarriorproducts.com has it for under $40.00, is that a good price?


and more good info here:
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=6&f=6&t=237380

Thanks!

Kurosaki
February 18, 2008, 10:54 PM
Yeah, I had that feeling...something is up where the bolt isnt grabbing the round correctly. I've heard/read a little bit about adjustments made to the gas chamber. I don't feel totally confident about that type of work yet...

I think I'm going to opt for the warranty route. After speaking with my father, its only had about 100-200 rounds max through it...no wonder it looked so good! Makes sense though...it was ALWAYS the gun we didn't take with us when we went shooting as a kid.

Wes Janson
February 18, 2008, 10:56 PM
M14 guys, step in and correct me with the following if I miss anything:

I'm not quite clear on what you're describing, but you don't want to be hand-chambering rounds into an M1A. Place the cartridge in the magazine, seat the mag, then pull the charging handle all the way to the rear and let go. I could be wrong, but it almost sounds like you're not letting the bolt close properly, and the reason it's not firing (thankfully!) is because it's not fully locked up.

When you lock the bolt to the rear, and point the rifle up, does the gas piston ("part B") drop down easily now?

30Cal
February 18, 2008, 10:58 PM
1. When you single load, press the round into the magazine, and pull the oprod back off the latch and then let it fly home. You're not getting consistant ignition because the bolt isn't always rolling far enough for the firing pin to clear the safety bridge. The safety bridge is saving you from blowing up the gun. Let the oprod fly--this ensures the bolt is fully closed and you won't have to rely on an interlock to save your life.

2. Make sure the gas piston is clean (including the inside of the smaller, semi-round portion). Don't use any lube inside the gas system--it'll gum up. Shoot it dry.

3. When you re-assemble it, make sure the gas cylinder lock is threaded fully down. If it doesn't stop near the 6 o'clock position, back it off as necessary to get the gas plug back in. Check with an allen wrench to see that the gas ports are aligned (you should be able to stick a small one up through the bottom of the gas cylinder and spot it inside the bore).

4. Make sure slot the spindle valve on the gas cylinder is vertical. This is used to shut the gas system off when you are launching grenades.

5. Remove the oprod spring and put the barreled receiver back in the stock. When you tilt the rifle up and down 45, the action should cycle from gravity. If it doesn't, find out where the rub is and clear it.

6. Use grease as a lubricant on all moving parts. Apply it to anyplace shiny, then wipe most of it off. Less is plenty.

Some interesting general stuff
http://www.m-14forum.com/upload/showthread.php?t=5953&
http://web.archive.org/web/20030705071825/http://www.jouster.com/lanestips/

Vityaz
February 18, 2008, 10:59 PM
Frank, I recommend ordering directly from Sadlak.

Kurosaki, your best bet is to join the M14 Firing Line and post this there. More than likely someone will know what it is.

30Cal
February 18, 2008, 11:00 PM
dupe

Vityaz
February 18, 2008, 11:06 PM
Looks like I clicked post twice...

Kurosaki
February 18, 2008, 11:15 PM
I was pulling the action back all the way and letting it fly back home...about 90% of the time it would lock properly, fire and then most of the time the gun isnt ejecting the spent round...as though the gas chamber wasn't supplying enough pressure to open it back up and eject it.

Vityaz
February 19, 2008, 02:29 AM
You may want to disassemble the gas system. From looking at your pic, the piston looks rather dirty.

crazed_ss
February 19, 2008, 05:30 AM
Should the rifle be under lifetime warranty? I would send it back to SA and have them fix it. They'll probably spruce it a bit too. I had a similar problem as you with a brand new M1A Loaded.. I sent it in and had it back in 2-3 weeks. They replaced the extractor and did something to the chamber.. It's been flawless since.

madcratebuilder
February 19, 2008, 06:06 AM
Kurosaki
I would call SAI, get a RTA# and send it back to them, they even pay the ups charge. They well repair, test fire and return it to you at no charge. Also, check your bolt #, some of the older models have a recall. My 1981 build that I just purchased, needed the bolt. SAI had it back to me in about three weeks, new forged bolt and perfect headspace for 7.62 and .308.

GunTech
February 19, 2008, 09:27 AM
Anyone else having problems with Zediker.com? I was going to sent the poster there for info on cleaning.

H2O MAN
February 19, 2008, 09:33 AM
madcratebuilder


Kurosaki
I would call SAI, get a RTA# and send it back to them, they even pay the ups charge. They well repair, test fire and return it to you at no charge. Also, check your bolt #, some of the older models have a recall.

Excellent advise!

This would also be a good time to have SAI's custom shop unitize
your gas system and tune your trigger while it's in for repair.

Kurosaki
February 19, 2008, 11:17 AM
Yeah, that sounds like the plan. Thanks for all your ideas. It was bought about 1980's 'ish so that could be a possible problem. I was surprised at the low amount of ammo thats gone through the thing, and I think SA will honor the warranty. Thanks again everyone...I'll post when I get some more answers in case anyone else wants to know how this process works with them. I already sent an email to get started on having them check it out. Thanks again everyone.

30Cal
February 19, 2008, 01:53 PM
Kurosaki
I would call SAI, get a RTA# and send it back to them, they even pay the ups charge. They well repair, test fire and return it to you at no charge. Also, check your bolt #, some of the older models have a recall. My 1981 build that I just purchased, needed the bolt. SAI had it back to me in about three weeks, new forged bolt and perfect headspace for 7.62 and .308.

Meh... Unless you can very clearly communicate what's wrong with the rifle to them, the chances of them finding the right thing and fixing it aren't all that good.

I'd go through all the actions for short recoil before I mailed it out anywhere. www.biggerhammer.net has the M14 field manual. It's very likely this is an operator level issue and not a repair issue.

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