Any precautions in used M1As?


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harmonic
December 27, 2009, 01:56 PM
I've been leaning toward buying a Springfield Armory M1A Scout, but then stumbled on this thread which seemed to underscore an inherent weakness in the SA M1A platform:

http://perfectunion.com/vb/showthread.php?t=74785

If I were to buy used, is there anything I should look for? Cracks, serial number ranges, etc?

I'm strictly an occasional shooter. It's mostly the buying and keeping that I enjoy, so it doesn't necessarily have to be a "lost in the alaskan wilderness survival rifle" kind of thing.

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Peter M. Eick
December 27, 2009, 03:16 PM
As an M1A collector and shooter (now shooter more then collector), I was never worried about it. SA seemed to be good at repairing problems if you talked to them nice and of all of my M1A's I only had to send one back for significant work.

I would do the usual check over an look for wear, tear, breaks, scuffs and other obvious problems. I would then try to buy from a reputable person/company.

Then take it out and shoot it. Remember if you reload for it, be nice and recognize that rules that work fine for bolts don't cut it for semi-auto's and you need to be careful with your reloads. I will add, that other then at the factory, my M1A's have never seen a factory round. All reloads with no problems.

harmonic
December 27, 2009, 04:21 PM
recognize that rules that work fine for bolts don't cut it for semi-auto's

Other than full length resizing, what else is there?

Brimic
December 27, 2009, 04:52 PM
If I were to buy used, is there anything I should look for? Cracks, serial number ranges, etc?

As long as they don't look like the rifle in the photos, it should be alright.lol.


but then stumbled on this thread which seemed to underscore an inherent weakness in the SA M1A platform:

Its not an inherent weakness, its an inherent lack of knowledge that the reloader of that rifle posessed.

Other than full length resizing, what else is there?

A set of cartridge headspace guages. A small base resizing die is also reccommended. You need to keep logs of the measurements of your unfired brass vs your fired brass- If the brass 'grows' more than a few thou (which it most likely will) you need to set your resizing die to bump the shoulder back 0.001-.002" to prevent case head separations. Here's an excellent page that describes the process: http://www272.pair.com/stevewag/headspace/headspace.html

-Priming. Some say to use milspec primers (CCI 34s) or at least to avoid the soft Federal primers. I don't use the milspec primers but I don't use the Federals either (M1 garand reloading). Make sure the primers are seated below flush to prevent a slam fire which is likely to have taken apart more than a few M1s/M14s, including the one in the OP's link.

Maverick223
December 27, 2009, 07:43 PM
Its not an inherent weakness, its an inherent lack of knowledge that the reloader of that rifle posessed.Wrong, if you read the linked thread, it stated that SA did an investigation of the origins of the failure and discovered it was poor metallurgy in the replacement barrel (it was not hardened properly), which caused stress fractures and eventually the catastrophic failure.

:)

Brimic
December 27, 2009, 09:42 PM
Wrong, if you read the linked thread, it stated that SA did an investigation of the origins of the failure and discovered it was poor metallurgy in the replacement barrel (it was not hardened properly), which caused stress fractures and eventually the catastrophic failure.

Ahhh my bad. I didn't read it and assumed another slamfire.;)

Went back and reread it. I wonder if they had a bad batch of barrel steel like Tikka did a few years back?

Peter M. Eick
December 28, 2009, 11:24 AM
Question to me on what other things to worry about.

1) Slam fires. This means c-34 or hard primers, seated below the head of the case. No room for forgiveness there. Do it right or you have a problem.

2) The right powder and bullet combination. Don't try to make the rifle something it is not. Keep the powder and the bullet weights near the original specs or you risk bending an op-rod.

3) M1A's are hard on brass. 4 to 5 loadings max or they will tear the brass up pretty good and you risk a slam fire due to the brass holding the bolt open due to bent metal.

4) I could go one, but those are the high points. Read the section in the hornday manual on gas guns, or the one in accurate arms, or even seirra now has one I believe. There is a really nice write up by Zedieker (spelling?) on his web site about loading for the M1A and how to do it. And finally, get out your Kuhnhausen 30 cal service rifle book and read what he has to say about slam fires and reloads.

The key learning is the M1A is unforgiving on loads and you need to do it right or don't do it at all.

harmonic
December 28, 2009, 11:46 AM
M1A's are hard on brass. 4 to 5 loadings max or they will tear the brass up pretty good

I don't remember where I got this, but.....


If you are going to use reloads in your M14's, you better be the one reloading them. Never reload a round for the M14 more than 3 times, M14's are HARD on cases. Check all cases for erosion near the base of the case. Use a light and a paperclip. When you put the clip down the case, if it catches on the side of the case before you hit the base, throw the case away. Do a full case resize, make sure the primers are seated fully, use ball powder (either 748 or BL-C(2) ), use a 150 grain bullet, make sure you get the COAL correct, factory crimp the shells when you are done. I've always used the LOW end of the powder charge (Example when it states use 43.6 grains to 48 grains of Powder BL-C(2), I use 44 grains of powder).



And I definitely don't understand this part:

if it catches on the side of the case before you hit the base

Tim the student
December 28, 2009, 12:25 PM
Harmonic-

It is a test to see if the brass is getting thin. It aids in finding thin spots in the brass. If it is there, the brass will seperate soon.

Take a paper clip, bend out one edge so you have a little handle, and a straight part. Then, bend a 90 degree angle on the straight part about 1/8" in.

You slide that along the inside of the brass, and will (if it is there) feel a notch in the brass. The little notch is where it is getting thin.

This may be of interest to you: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=23315&highlight=paper+clip+test

Hopefully someone can chime in and explain it better than I.

Other than full length resizing, what else is there?

Well, you may have to worry about the gas port pressure. In Garands at least, if you have too much gas port pressure, you may damage the op rod, and also slam the bolt waaay to hard against the receiver, and that can eventually crack it. Not sure about specifics for M1A. There just are other factors in the equation that you should be aware of that aren't there for bolt guns.

If you look in the reloading forum you will be able to find other stuff.

Andrew Wyatt
December 28, 2009, 12:56 PM
That m-14 was a casualty of a bad barrel, not reloading troubles.

http://www.thegunzone.com/m1akb.html

Brimic
December 28, 2009, 01:46 PM
If you are going to use reloads in your M14's, you better be the one reloading them. Never reload a round for the M14 more than 3 times, M14's are HARD on cases. Check all cases for erosion near the base of the case. Use a light and a paperclip. When you put the clip down the case, if it catches on the side of the case before you hit the base, throw the case away.

If you are getting case web thinning, its due to either
A) excessive headspace.
B)Repeated incorrectly sizing of the brass. (most likely)

If you aren't using a cartridge headspace guage to set your resizing die, you aren't doing it right!

Candiru
December 28, 2009, 02:04 PM
A set of cartridge headspace guages. A small base resizing die is also reccommended. You need to keep logs of the measurements of your unfired brass vs your fired brass- If the brass 'grows' more than a few thou (which it most likely will) you need to set your resizing die to bump the shoulder back 0.001-.002" to prevent case head separations. Here's an excellent page that describes the process: http://www272.pair.com/stevewag/head...headspace.html


Based on what I've read, you'll probably want to set the shoulder back more than just one or two thousandths if reloading for an autoloader. The link you provided appears to be based around bolt-action reloading, where a fired case is a close match to the chamber. Semi-autos usually grow the brass a bit more due to starting extraction under pressure.

GunTech
December 30, 2009, 01:42 AM
I've had bad luck with R-P brass, which seems a bit on the thin side compared to W-W. Military brass needs to be sorted and has a thicker web and hence a smaller volume. Back your loads off a bit when using military brass.

Keep the firing pin clean. Gunk in the bolt could cause a slam fire. Clean a lube properly.

Here's the Zediker article: http://www.zediker.com/downloads/m14.html

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