M1A Barrel length 18.5'' or 22'' standard?


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dak0ta
February 3, 2012, 03:01 AM
Hi,

What are the advantages of each? 18.5'' is handier in close quarters, stiffer barrel? Longer 22'' has more muzzle velocity. Anything else?

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gunnutery
February 3, 2012, 10:08 AM
I decided not to vote on this one. I think it totally depends on what you want to do with it. For target shooting you might as well go with the 22" but for a patrol rifle I'd like to have the 16" (unfortunately my dept. want to stick with 5.56). Either way you go, as the SA ad says, you've brought enough gun.

61chalk
February 3, 2012, 10:31 AM
Better accuracy at long range with the 22"....I like shooting out to 740 yds. An I like the looks of the 22" better.

Z-Michigan
February 3, 2012, 10:53 AM
There have been prior threads, do a search.

Springfield's 18.5" seems to be more accurate, on average, than their GI 22" or even the medium profile 22".

For .308 barrel length in general, see:
http://www.tacticaloperations.com/SWATbarrel/

Art Eatman
February 3, 2012, 11:00 AM
Yeah, usage oughta be the determinant. I happen to prefer more velocity and less noise, which is my reason for going with a 22".

henschman
February 3, 2012, 11:13 AM
The only other differences I can think of are weight (the 18.5" will weigh a pound lighter or so, all else being equal) and the fact that the MOA per click values are different on the sights... the 22" has 1 MOA clicks, and the 18.5" has larger clicks... somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.25 MOA if I remember right (and it is a little different depending on whether you use a standard front sight or a gas lock front sight).

It is definitely a hard choice, since they are both good for different roles.

dak0ta
February 3, 2012, 12:45 PM
Does the 18.5'' make a big difference in weight and maneuverability while hunting in forests yet also good enough to take decent shots at deer in openings?

Z-Michigan
February 3, 2012, 01:23 PM
A .308 with an 18.5" barrel would be effective on deer out to 600+ yards with appropriate ammo. More than twice as far as I would shoot at a deer.

I haven't taken an 18.5" through woods but I can tell you that my 22" M1A feels mighty long.

dak0ta
February 3, 2012, 03:45 PM
Regarding using .308 winchester hunting ammo in an M14, what grains and pressures does one have to stay within to prevent excessive wear and damage to the receiver and gas system? The US NATO round is 158-164 grain right? How do 170-185 grains do in the M14?

rcmodel
February 3, 2012, 04:06 PM
I happen to prefer more velocity and less noise,+1

An 18.5" .308 is an unpleasant beast that will blow your eardrums out without double hearing protection.

Something I refuse to wear while hunting.

rc

Z-Michigan
February 3, 2012, 11:26 PM
I shoot an 18" FAL regularly and don't consider it especially loud with single good hearing protection (good plugs or NRR29 muffs). I find that .308 has a dramatic difference in noise and blast going from 18" down to 16", but to me 18" is fine. YMMV.

Regarding using .308 winchester hunting ammo in an M14, what grains and pressures does one have to stay within to prevent excessive wear and damage to the receiver and gas system? The US NATO round is 158-164 grain right? How do 170-185 grains do in the M14?

The standard military load is 147-150gr FMJ at about 2800fps. Match loads are commonly 168gr BTHP bullets, and Federal has an American Eagle load tailored to the M1A/M14 with 168gr BTHP bullets. For reloading you would want to avoid heavy charges of very slow powder, and most loads over 168gr probably aren't a great choice. The M1A is not nearly as sensitive to oprod damage as the Garand, due in part to the gas-compensating valve, but it's not a bolt action either.

dak0ta
February 3, 2012, 11:37 PM
I ordered mine, it's a Norinco M14S 18.5'' Shorty for $450. Forged receiver and forged 1 piece op rod, USGI spec chrome lined medium contour barrel. 2x 20/5 round mags. These new ones apparently have better rear sights and tighter lock up of bolts than the 2009 Norincos we got. The finish is also supposed to be smoother. Comes with cleaning kit in the stock and crappy sling. Bayonet lug is useless due to piston gas plug. They say that these are worth the price just for the receiver alone. You can replace all the parts with USGI and still be under the price of a new SA. However, they work with the stock parts as well and reports are 1.5-2'' at 100 yards with stock iron sights

http://www.canadaammo.com/images/P/IMG_2125800.jpg

NoirFan
February 4, 2012, 04:24 AM
I vote for the 18.5". It feels a lot better and hits the rifle weight/balance sweet spot for me. Much easier to move with and points very naturally.

Thefabulousfink
February 4, 2012, 05:38 AM
I don't have an M1A, but I've owned FALs in standard 21" and carbine 17.25" lengh barrels. IIRCC the loss of velocity is about 100 fps at the muzzle, not a big loss. The carbine does have a nice bark to it, but I wouldn't exactly shoot either without double hearing protection. The shorter barrel is noticably easier to swing and shoulder (and carry).

My recommendation:
If you are going for exteme accuracy/distance get the full size.
If you are going to carry it around alot and shoot offhand at under 500 yrds get the 18".

Buzzard II
February 4, 2012, 05:34 PM
18.5 is way too loud. If you buy this puppy, you should have ear plugs AND cups. Once you damage/lose your hearing, it does not come back. Nothing macho about losing your hearing! Bob

dak0ta
February 4, 2012, 06:38 PM
It's not a big deal to double up on hearing protection. i have to since I wear shooting glasses as well so the ear muffs aren't a complete seal around the ear requiring ear plugs.

dak0ta
February 4, 2012, 07:26 PM
Furthermore, I'll just buy a 22'' M14 for $400 later when I want one.

Husker_Fan
February 4, 2012, 07:33 PM
I know nothing of these guns, but could a different muzzle device help with noise? I know there a about a thousand muzzle devices for the AR platform.

Z-Michigan
February 4, 2012, 07:45 PM
I am really surprised about the noise comments. I find an 18" FAL less loud or painful to shoot than many 16" AR-15 types, even with A2 flash hiders. A 16" or shorter AR with a brake is painful, but common. I've shot a 14.5" .308 with a brake and that was out and out brutal, but to my ears the 18" .308 with a flash hider is nothing especially bad. Less loud than a typical 12ga I would think. (I do always wear good hearing protection.)

dak0ta
February 4, 2012, 08:00 PM
There are lots of muzzle brake options for the M14 system. I think Smith Enterprises has a nice one.

Thefabulousfink
February 4, 2012, 10:11 PM
Unless you are recoil sensitive or live in a state that bans "flash hiders" I would recommend the Smith Vortex. They work great and won't make you rifle any louder like some muzzle brakes. I am unsure if the Smith brake will increase the noise, but you could probably call and ask.

dak0ta
February 5, 2012, 01:41 AM
Do muzzle brakes both reduce recoil and muzzle jump while also reducing muzzle flash?

FlyinBryan
February 5, 2012, 01:47 AM
some actually increase muzzle flash from the shooters perspective

Averageman
February 5, 2012, 11:10 AM
Smith Vortex.
I have one on a "Tanker" Garand and couldn't be happier.
On an M1A I prefer the Scout Squad.

bergmen
February 5, 2012, 12:05 PM
+1

An 18.5" .308 is an unpleasant beast that will blow your eardrums out without double hearing protection.

Something I refuse to wear while hunting.

rc

I agree. This is the only downside I have found to my Walnut Scout Squad, the muzzle report is pretty sharp. It is less of a problem as shooter rather than observer standing right next to shooter but it still requires foam twist-ups + e-muffs to bring the noise to comfortable levels.

In all other respects, I love it. Handy in close quarters and excellent balance, I wouldn't trade it for a 22".

I would be willing to change the muzzle brake to a quieter version if one existed (muzzle brakes add significantly to muzzle blast behind the shooting line) but not sure which one to try.

Dan

dak0ta
February 5, 2012, 12:07 PM
What's wrong with the standard USGI muzzle brake? Is it necessary part to replace?

Husker_Fan
February 5, 2012, 12:56 PM
It's probably not something that "needs" to be replaced. Muzzle devices are a compromise.

Here is an over simplified explanation: the compressed gas and burning powder exiting the muzzle of a gun releases a lot of energy. That energy can be in muzzle blast (noise), flash (light), and kinetic energy (recoil). Muzzle devices of different types do different things with that energy. Some redirect the escaping gas to reduce felt recoil or muzzle jump. Some reduce (or more accurately dissipate) the sound or flash. It's always a trade off though.

I wonder if something like the Noveske kx3 could be adapted for .308. Maybe it already has. Those really seem to direct the blast forward and away from the firing line.

Z-Michigan
February 5, 2012, 02:27 PM
The standard USGI device is a flash hider, not a brake. They are opposite in their function. Brakes always increase noise and blast some, often a huge amount. Flash hiders typically are comparable to a plain muzzle for noise and blast. Flash hiders hide flash and don't do much else. Brakes reduce recoil, and often increase flash.

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