Springfield M1A Windage Question


March 30, 2009, 03:11 AM
Hey all,

First off let me just say that this site has an immense wealth of information. It's pretty darn impressive.

I recently picked up a brand new Springfield M1A Standard from a local shop, and brought it home without really giving it the once over. I know SA is sometimes lacking on the QC side of things, but I trusted the shop owner to run through the rifle since I'm fairly inexperienced with the long gun thang. I started getting the rifle into firing shape today (cleaning out the gunk from the factory) and fiddled with the sights a bit.

The elevation knob works just as expected, but the windage knob is what has me a little perplexed. First, it barely wanted to budge at all at first. I finally got it moving, but it's still stubborn as all hell. Is that normal? I know I can probably adjust the screw in the middle of the knob and loosen up the play a little bit, but I'm worried that will affect the knob's performance. Second, for each "click" I have to rotate the windage knob a full rotation. I've used windage knobs on other firearms before, and they usually have individual clicks that require little rotation of the knob instead of requiring a full rotation for each click. When doing the full rotation, it moves the entire sight considerably in one direction before resting in the new adjusted lateral position (imagine it moving in one direction 4-5 mm before snapping back into the position set by the operation of the windage knob). Is that to be expected, or did I get a bum rear sight? Finally, it takes 3 full rotations (or clicks) to move the sight over one mark on the windage reference point scale. How does that work out mathematically? Does each reference point display 3 MOA and each windage rotation/click is 1 MOA?

Sorry if these questions are stupid. Please bear with me while I get used to the new firearm. I appreciate all the help!

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March 30, 2009, 08:23 AM
I know I can probably adjust the screw in the middle of the knob and loosen up the play a little bit, but I'm worried that will affect the knob's performance.

Turn the screw to adjust the friction.
The standard model well have 1moa windage adjustment. A NM rear sight has 1/2 moa.

March 30, 2009, 11:53 AM
If you ever accidentally totally unscrew the thing, be very gentle and delibrate about screwing the thing back together.

The threads are very, very fine. Do not cross thread them.

And, your windage tension screw is too tight.

March 30, 2009, 12:02 PM
Also just to add the obvious, do you own the M14 manual? Never rely on a shop to make sure your rifle is good to go. You should read the manual front to back 3 or 4 times and get to know your rifle. Don't be afraid to take things apart to see how they work. Most everything is pretty easy to disassemble and assemble on the M14 and there are tons of sites dedicated to assembly and disassembly of the M4 and M1 (the rear sights on the 2 rifles are the same as are many other parts and functions).

March 30, 2009, 12:24 PM
Thanks for the info guys.

Does that mean that the rest of its operation sounds normal?

March 30, 2009, 12:26 PM
I do indeed own the M14 manual, and have two more books on the way so that I can learn everything I can about the firearm.

I was just worried that the operation of the windage knob was indicative of a problem with the rear sight. I've read the military M14 manual I have a few times, and checked reference materials online, but have yet to find an answer to the questions I've posted above, minus the amount of adjustment per click of the knob.

March 30, 2009, 12:45 PM
Windage knobs are usually pretty stiff to operate (at least when sight tension is set correctly). It should be 1/4 turn per click.

March 30, 2009, 01:17 PM
Thanks for the answers everyone. Loosened the screw a little bit (took some fiddling as it kept adjusting the elevation knob every time I moved it) and the play on the windage knob is still stiff but workable now. It clicks every 1/4 turn as is to be expected and is working appropriately.

Consider the problem solved. Thanks again!

March 31, 2009, 11:03 PM
Okay. I thought I was done asking questions about this, but apparently my neophytism knows no bounds.

I adjusted the windage screw to where I thought the windage knob was more easily adjusted. The problem is this: now when I move the windage knob so the rear aperture moves to the left, it eventually becomes so loose that it no longer "clicks", but rather moves freely. When I tighten it again, it becomes increasingly difficult to move the aperture to the right, and again loosens up while moving it to the left. Am I missing something? I'm adjusting the screw in the middle of the windage knob. Is that the right one to futz with? The screw itself "clicks" after a quarter rotation, and it appears to only allow the windage knob to rotate when it has settled into a "click," but nowhere in between. Am I just going crazy? Should i just leave it be and assume it is what it is?

March 31, 2009, 11:48 PM
I'm not sure what you've done, but it doesn't sound right. Make sure the screw on the elevation knob is tight and make sure the elevation knob is fully engaged w/ the receiver. The windage knob screw will have a detent when it engages the elevation pinion. You'll then need to check the rear sight tension.

Page 38 has what you need.

It's not a lock-bar sight, is it (this would have a little bar across the windage knob)?

April 1, 2009, 12:06 AM
No bar across the windage knob.

Page 38 is talking about difficulty adjusting the elevation knob. The elevation knob functions perfectly, it's the windage knob I'm having difficulty with.

April 1, 2009, 09:36 AM
Dr. Oct -

I'm having the EXACT same issue/quandry with my new m1a scout. The manual is pitifully weak on areas of sights and sighting - it refers you to a one page insert that is moot on the actual sight adjustment controls.

My windage knob wouldn't move until I loosened the windage screw, but given that the windage screw is quite a bit different and less 'user friendly' than the screw on the elevation knob, now I'm wondering if that is really just the 'nut' of the elevation screw and if the tension adjustment for BOTH the elevation and windage knobs is via the elevation screw only?

April 1, 2009, 11:42 AM
From what I can tell so far, the elevation screw's tightness determines whether or not the elevation knob engages the mechanism by which the aperture is raised or lowered. The windage screw, on the other hand, adjusts the overall tension between both the windage knob and the elevation knob. This means that if you loosen the windage screw, both knobs are easier to turn, but still do their overall duty: adjustment of either the aperture height, or left/right seating of the overall sight.

If we're having similar problems, that probably means that the sight is acting as it should, even if it is a bit disconcerting.

April 1, 2009, 12:29 PM
I suspect you're right. So going back to our original dilemna, the suggested course of action is probably to leave the elevation screw alone and loosen the windage screw (thereby make both easier to turn)?

From my own experimentation and other's comments I think we also need to turn the windage knob further than what we might have expected to get to the next 'click', which is one full MOA?

April 1, 2009, 12:44 PM
If you look at the windage knob, each click is 1/4 turn. My only problem is that when moving the aperture left, the windage knob gets looser and looser (I assume it's because it's mounted to the screw that connects windage and elevation knobs) until there is no longer a click, and the aperture can move freely. Consequently, when the aperture is moved to the right, the windage knob becomes tighter and tighter until it is exceedingly difficult to turn. I think the issue is mostly that the windage knob needs to be sufficiently tight to produce at least some level of difficulty when adjusting it so that even when it "loosens" around that screw, it still produces the clicks and holds in place at the MOA adjustment required (if that makes any sense). I figure it will probably loosen up over time and be more reliable/easier to adjust at some indeterminate point in the future.

April 1, 2009, 01:08 PM
I just took the sight apart and it is functioning as it should. The elevation screw runs through the elevation knob, underneath the aperture (with a gear with which to engage the mechanism that raises/lowers the aperture) and into the windage knob. That same screw screws into the back of the windage screw, which is why adjusting the windage screw adjusts overall tension. The windage knob has a separate threaded section at the end of its assembly that screws into the sight, which would explain why it loosens when you move the aperture left (lefty loosey) and tightens when you move the aperture right (righty tighty). That would also explain why adjusting the windage screw at any point in the placement of aperture from left to right can re-adjust the tension with which it operates. And finally, it would explain why adjusting the elevation screw has no effect on the ability of the windage knob to stay attached to the overall sight assembly.

In short, it is just fine doing what it's doing.

April 1, 2009, 01:13 PM
The screw on the elevation knob fixes the elevation drum to the pinion. This is what you would loosen if you wanted to calibrate the drum so that your actual elevation zero lines up nicely with the number index on the drum. Otherwise, it should always be tight.

There's a washer spring in the elevation knob. This is what pulls the windage knob into it's detent on the reciver. The screw on the windage knob sets the tension for both knobs. It has a detent to prevent it from backing off as you move the sight left and right during normal operation.

The windage knob screw (really a nut) has a thingy inside and the threaded end of the elevation pinion has a flat. Between the two, you get a detent in the windage knob screw.

The windage knob is typically stiff to operation, but it shouldn't matter which direction it's going. It sounds to me like the sight is not assembled correctly--both knobs fully up against the reciever. Keep in mind that that sight cover is also pressing against the aperture, so you'll probably have to push the sight base forward as you install the windage knob and tighten its screw.

Viewed from the top, the rear edge of the sight base and the edge of the receiver that has the windage index marks should be parallel. A picture of the sight assy from the top might be helpful.

April 1, 2009, 01:20 PM
The M1 Garand rear sight is the same.


April 1, 2009, 01:29 PM
Study this page and you should get it straightened out.


I would recommend you remove the rear sight, clean it, apply a very thin coat of grease to all parts but the teeth on the aperture piece.

This is from Gus Fisher, retired Marine armorer.

"First, grease is the ONLY lubricant to use on rear sights and it must be a thick grease. Why? Because if you use oil, on every shot, there is a fine mist of oil that comes right back into your shooting glasses lenses or worse, your eyeballs. Definitely bad Ju-Ju there.

Since the M14 rear sight (NM or Standard) is the exact same sight used on Post WWII Garands, these tips are good for both rifles.

First, begin with all the rear sight parts off the receiver. Rub a VERY thin coat of grease over the area the RS base sits on the receiver. Very thin in this case means you can just barely see the glisten of the grease and to make things easier, this is the only way to grease most of the bearing surface areas.

A very thin coat goes around the insides of both holes in the receiver for the windage knob and elevation pinion. Do not put any grease on the serrations on the left side of the receiver around the pinion hole, because if you do, you may/will wind up with false clicks or the pinion may slip during firing. You DO however put a thin coat of grease around the windage knob hole on the outside of the right side of the receiver because you have a fairly substantial amount of contact between the windage knob drum and the receiver.

A very thin coat of grease goes on the underside of the rear sight cover because that is what contacts the top of the aperture "rack" (as in rack and pinion) and does contact the rear sight base.

On the aperture "rack" or slide, you put a very thin coat of grease on the long curved top section because it contacts the RS cover. You put a very thin coat of grease on both right and left sides of the aperture slide. You put NO grease on the bottom of the aperture slide where the "teeth" are because that can cause the aperture to slip down during firing.

On the RS base, you put a very thin coat on the very bottom of the base so it will slide freely when you make windage adjustments. You also put a very thin coat in the grooves for the aperture slide on the inside left and right. You put a very thin coat on the RS base machine threads and I've found it's best to do that with a Q Tip.

On the windage knob you put a very thin coat around the receiver side portion of the knob drum where it will contact the receiver. Another thin coat on the round shoulder or boss that goes inside the hole in the receiver. Another thin coat over the threads of the Windage Knob. Finally, a little dab of grease in the hole where the threaded portion of the elevation pinion goes into the windage knob.

On the elevation pinion, a very thin coat of grease on the machine screw threads that go into the windage knob. This next one is a little tricky and best to also do with a Q Tip. You put a very thin coat of grease on the shoulder or boss that rides inside the hole in the receiver. HOWEVER, be careful you don't put grease on the teeth of the pinion NOR on the side of the pinion drum that contacts the receiver on the left side. If you grease either of those areas, you may/will find the elevation pinion slips down during firing. So no grease in these last two spots.

Carefully assemble the whole RS and you are good to go."

April 1, 2009, 01:39 PM
Forgive my ignorance, but I acquired an M1A Scout Squad a couple of months ago and the M14 manual and other material that came with it (an AMU sight-in procedure) said to adjust for mechanical windage by centering the rear sight for elevation and windage in the base, then to adjust actual windage by moving the front sight. The clicks left or right would tell you how far you've adjusted for POI if you're shooting on a windy day. The clicks and reference marks you put on the knobs and base/cover should give you a good idea of where to go for quick changes or after you've changed windage and elevation.

April 1, 2009, 01:44 PM
Okay, I'll check it out again. It appears that the sight is assembled correctly, but I'll double check to make sure.

My subsequent question is this: should the windage screw click when rotating? Not the knob, but the actual screw itself.

April 1, 2009, 02:11 PM
My subsequent question is this: should the windage screw click when rotating? Not the knob, but the actual screw itself.

Yes. When assembled, the screw should click once per revolution. This detent is what hold the screw in place as you operate the windage knob.

If you're just holding a windage knob on it's own, the screw/nut should spin freely.

April 1, 2009, 02:19 PM
Thought of something else:

A couple years ago, I got a windage knob that had a bent shank and wouldn't assemble correctly. Check that and also for a bent elevation pinion.

April 1, 2009, 02:29 PM
30Cal: thanks for all your advice and help. I really appreciate it.

After pulling it apart and reassembling it, I don't see anything wrong. Furthermore, I don't see how the windage knob wouldn't loosen in one direction and tighten in the other. Regardless of how the windage nut attaches to the elevation assembly, the windage knob still screws directly into threads on the sight base. That means that when rotating the knob counter-clockwise (i.e. moving the aperture to the left), the knob will inevitably ( no matter how tight the windage nut is) move away from its mating surface on the sight base. Therefore, the little detents on the mating surface no longer meet the bumps on the windage knob, and the knob is easier to turn. When rotating the knob clockwise (moving the aperture to the right), the opposite effect is observed--the knob is more difficult to turn because the knob has moved towards the mating surface on the sight base and is therefore providing more friction between the two surfaces.

Am I wrong? I'm confusing myself, truth be told.

April 1, 2009, 02:58 PM
The windage knob screw and the windage knob itself aren't really fixed together (I know it looks like they are). When disassembled, there shouldn't be any friction really between the knob and the screw. There's a clip or something to keep them from parting ways, but they operate independent of eachother.

So when you crank the windage knob to move the sight base to one side or the other, the slot on that windage knob screw should stay put because of the detent. It should remain fully engaged with the elevation pinion across the full range of travel.

April 1, 2009, 03:06 PM
I think we have a bit of a misunderstanding. The windage knob screw is acting totally as you've described above. What i'm talking about in my previous post is the knob's threads being engaged directly with the sight base. Not the windage screw and it's engagement with the elevation assembly. I understand that they are two separate pieces. It's the knob's threads and the sight base that account for the movement I've described. Unless I have something totally forked up.

April 1, 2009, 04:01 PM
Ok, I see what you're saying.

The amount of friction acting between the threads of the base and the knob shouldn't vary. I'm pretty sure the threads are fully engaged (or mostly so) over it's full range of travel. If it does, that indicates that something isn't aligned right.

I didn't figure out what was up with my defective knob until I tried to assemble the sight outside the rifle.

Where are you located?

April 1, 2009, 05:08 PM
I assembled the knobs outside of the sight and everything fits together just fine. I understand that the friction between the threads of the sight base and the threads of the windage knob shouldn't change, but wouldn't it still move in and out of those threads as it rotates just as any threaded object would? I don't think the threads on the inside of the sight base are free floating, so I don't see how it would stay fully engaged throughout the knobs full range of motion.

April 1, 2009, 05:10 PM
Oh and I'm located in Oregon.

April 1, 2009, 05:14 PM
I don't have one in front of me.

My last thought would be to reassemble it on the rifle without the sight cover and see what you get as far as ease of motion.

Ted Brown is up there somewhere. Check www.m14tfl.com for an address under the gunsmith sticky.

April 1, 2009, 05:24 PM
It's a new Springfield correct? Just call them and tell them your problem I am sure they will help you out or send you a replacement. Use their customer service it is top notch.

April 1, 2009, 07:54 PM
30Cal: Thanks for pointing me in Ted's direction. He was very helpful and affirmed my original thought that something wasn't right with the sight assembly. He informed me that something was binding on the inside causing the threads on the windage knob to tighten when the aperture shifted right, and to loosen when the aperture shifted left. Just as you'd said, the tension should be uniform throughout the aperture's movement.

lipadj46: It is indeed a new rifle. Left a message for them. Hopefully I will hear back from them tomorrow.

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