What bullet for a M1A?


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Tarvis
September 12, 2009, 05:09 PM
I recently purchased a SA M1A Socom16 and am curious what bullets work well. I plan on shooting targets, rabbits and possibly ground squirrels with this rifle, so a good hunting bullet along with a FMJ suggestion would be great. FWIW, I started off by loading 168 SMK's in front of 45gr of varget.

Thanks!

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Steve C
September 12, 2009, 05:24 PM
I plan on shooting targets, rabbits and possibly ground squirrels with this rifle

Kind of like hunting deer with a howitzer, really doesn't matter what bullet you use. For targets the 168gr SMK's are one of the best.

Tarvis
September 12, 2009, 05:35 PM
I guess what I'm asking is what bullet design seems to work well. It's kind of a dumb question, but hopefully someone will have some good experiences to share about loading for an M1A. I'm not necesarliy looking for a armor piercing HE tracer for shooting chipmunks, but if you know where I can get some...

NCsmitty
September 12, 2009, 05:44 PM
I would think that if you select a 165gr soft point with a profile close to the SMK, like the GameKing, your load workup should be easier.


NCsmitty

loadedround
September 12, 2009, 06:16 PM
Considering military ball ammo was loaded with 147 gr FMJ bullets in the 7.62x 51(308 Win) you can't go wrong loading the same 147 or 150 gr surplus bullets for plinking and varmints if you don't want to ruin pelts. JMHO.

myhandle87
September 12, 2009, 08:57 PM
You want to stay a bit lower on the powder with the M1A, just because of the gas system in it. I'd reccomend staying around 42 grains of powder, and using IMR 4064. If you want some good target loads, that will do just fine with the sierra 168 HPBT. For most of your uses, it'd probably be better to stay with the 147 grain BT FMJs since that's what the gun is designed for.

longdayjake
September 13, 2009, 12:27 AM
How did the 168's shoot for you? Did they cycle okay? I ask because I know for a fact that it wont shoot the 175 grain smk's at all. I think the limit is 168 grains.

Tarvis
September 13, 2009, 12:44 PM
I haven't fired the 30 rounds I loaded yet. I'll let you know how they do though. Sounds like the consensus is to shoot 150ish grain bullets.

shilo
September 13, 2009, 02:06 PM
"I know for a fact that it wont shoot the 175 grain smk's at all. I think the limit is 168 grains."

I shoot 175smk out of mine without any problems.

longdayjake
September 13, 2009, 06:04 PM
I shoot 175smk out of mine without any problems.

Is yours a 16" socom? I shoot 175 grain out of my Loaded, but the socom wont cycle the same loads. My loads are a copy of the m118LR. I seriously doubt that you have a 16" socom as I have shot them from the socoms and had 0 luck with them. Others I have spoken to say the same thing. The 150 grain bullets are about all I would use from the socom because of the loss in velocity.

Bart B.
September 13, 2009, 06:37 PM
Folks on the US Army rifle teams used LC match ammo with the 172-gr. bullet pulled and a Sierra 180 HPMK seated in it. Won a lot of matches and set a few records doing so. Those 180's drove tacks from a really good barrel.

Jacka L Ope
September 13, 2009, 09:40 PM
I ask because I know for a fact that it wont shoot the 175 grain smk's at all. I think the limit is 168 grains.

Might want to hold the bus on that one. :D

Not too long after I purchased my M1A, I emailed SA regarding various bullets and ammunition manufacturers. This is the response I received:



The following is something I send to people that request information about M1A ammunition. Let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

We recommend commercial US manufactured to SAAMI spec .308 WIN. Military surplus 7.62x51 should also be okay to use (unless it's Indian surplus...which is usually junk). Below is something I send out to individuals that ask ammunition information...

.308 WIN & 7.62 x 51 NATO are virtually the same. Both can be used in our M1As. In fact, we test fire for function with military surplus and test fire for accuracy with commercial .308.

We recommend:

Black Hills (168-175 gr.): Best for accuracy

Federal Gold Medal (168 gr.): Best for accuracy

Winchester Failsafe (good for hunting)

Federal Nozler Ballistic Tip (good for hunting)

Most other commercial ammo will be okay

Best is 168 gr. (match grade). 147 gr. to 150 gr. is good for just prinking around at the range (less expensive as well).

Molly Coated (okay, but with this type if you start using it you should stay with it). The gas system requires cleaning more often.

We DO NOT recommend:

Soft point, it may or may not feed. Lead shears off the tip and can build up in the action and cause problems

Steel Ammo is sub-standard, 'junk' Chinese. Cavim ammo is head stamped on the case.

Stay away from Corrosive ammo or any ammo that would stick to a magnet. It will wear down the lands and grooves quickly (not covered in our warranty if used).

Anything 180 gr. and above is too hard on the rifle.

Anything around 100 gr. and less will not allow the rifle to function properly (short stroke).

IF you use NATO surplus: Be careful, some of it is junk. It depends on where and how it was stored. You can get an indication by looking at it. I've heard instances where people threw away 20% or more of the surplus they bought because of its condition as well as the casings not manufactured to specs. STAY AWAY FROM INDIAN SURPLUS! It's cheap for a reason.

Also, never buy loose rounds. Only buy unopened/sealed boxes.

You can't quote the following as 100% accurate, these are ONLY recommendations I have got from other shooters:

NATO SURPLUS:

Lake City Army Ammuntion (USA): THE BEST SURPLUS AVAILABLE, very pricey, NATO cross stamp

Argentine: Good when found, stamped FM or SF

Australian ADI (Australian Defense Industries): Good, stamped AFF or MF

Portuguese: Good, stamped BF

Radway Green (British): Very Good, getting more expensive, NATO cross
stamp

German: Real good, stamped MEN and DAG, expensive

Hirtenberger: Real good, getting more expensive, stamped HP

Israel Military Industries: Hear it's real good, stamped IMI, S, SA, SB,
TA, TZ, or TZZ.

Malaysian: Good, hard to find, stamped MAL

Santa Barbra (Spain): Real Good, stamped SB/7.62x51

South Africa: Good, stamped R1M1

Royal Ordnance (Indian): AGAIN, it's cheap for a reason.

xxxx xxxx
Regional Dealer Representative
Springfield Armory
420 West Main St.
Geneseo, IL 61254
800-680-6866
xxxxx@springfield-armory.com

Some of that information may have changed since then but not likely much of it has. One way to find out is to write and ask.

Another thing to remember is that these are gas-operated firearms that have specific port pressure requirements necessary to operate the mechanism correctly. Meaning - not all powders can be used when reloading for these rifles with the expectation that acceptable pressures will be generated to operate the mechanism as designed.

Tarvis
September 13, 2009, 11:14 PM
Meaning - not all powders can be used when reloading for these rifles
What powders have you found to work well, or conversely not work well?

shilo
September 14, 2009, 12:47 AM
"Is yours a 16" socom? I shoot 175 grain out of my Loaded, but the socom wont cycle the same loads. My loads are a copy of the m118LR. I seriously doubt that you have a 16" socom as I have shot them from the socoms and had 0 luck with them. Others I have spoken to say the same thing. The 150 grain bullets are about all I would use from the socom because of the loss in velocity."

Yes out of my loaded and my buddys socom16. basically M118LR duplicates. 42.5 grains R15 and 175 smk.

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