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Cleaning your M1A (M14)

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mattw, Jul 6, 2006.

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  1. mattw

    mattw Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    So I haven't shot my M1A much at all since buying it about 3 or 4 years ago (only about 500 rounds) but when I have its been an outstanding weapon in every aspect.

    I figured its time to clean it again (i've cleaned it once or twice before but that was about a year ago, haven't shot but maybe 50 or 60 rounds since last cleaning to there should be no harm, right?). I always have alot of trouble getting the op rod to detatch from the bolt roller.. any reccomendations? Maybe its just stiff since it hasn't been disassembled except once?

    What are your techniques for cleaning up an M1A/M14?
  2. nucstl1

    nucstl1 Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Peoples Republik of Illinois
    I have a Loaded M1A, I have had for about 5 years and it is still tight in every aspect. I think the only way to get things to loosen up is to put 1000s of rounds through the gun. I try to clean it everytime I take it out shooting unless I put less than 100 rounds through it. If I take it out, it usually eats about 500rounds as everyone wants to give it a run. I would say you should be fine as long as it is cleaned and greased before the next shoot(given that you are not feeding it crappy ammo and storing it in a damp environment). On the Op-rod/roller issue; once the spring is removed, you should be able to slide the the rod back. There is an inlet on the side of the reciever track where the rod will pop out if you jiggle it a little when the rod is properly lined up with the inlet on the reciever.
  3. Omnivore

    Omnivore Member

    May 30, 2006
    North Idaho/Eastern Washington
    I have two Springfields. On one of them, the op-rod has a habbit of coming out of its slot if you handle it wrong (I've heard old G.I.s complain about their M-14s doing that too). On the other one I have to remove the return spring before I can get the op-rod to come out of the slot. It was like that new and it's like that now after about 1,500 rounds. Theoretically, there's no reason it couldn't come out with the spring installed - it's just more difficult to locate the tab accurately with the cutout if you're having to counter the spring tension at the same time.

    A toothbrush on the bolt face, receiver channels and lock lugs works well. Scrub the bore with a bronze brush saturated with #9 or another copper solvent, let it sit a couple minutes, then scrub it a few more strokes and finish off with wet and then a few dry patches. Using a brass cleaning rod will help avoid wear or damage to the muzzle, but get the solvent off it, 'cause the solvent attacks your brass and bronze cleaning tools. In the field I use a bore snake for a fast cleaning.

    About half the time I clean the bolt face without removing it. Once in a great while (years) I will take the bolt down to its component parts for cleaning. I've never once had a failure to function with either rifle unless using a bad magazine. The latter will result in failures no matter what..
  4. Dienekes

    Dienekes Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    I have about 2K through mine (it competes for time with the M1 and have a CAR-15 inbound now).

    The rifle has NM mods and is glass bedded, and I don't have much need to pull it down. Op rod dismount after removal of the recoil spring is still a bit snug but no problem with a little judicious wiggling (no force!).

    If the grease is getting a little thin, gritty, or whatever, I wipe out the old with a Q-tip and replenish it.

    Handiest thing I've found is a little plastic tray that holds the bolt back--so it won't slam shut when you bump the rifle--and keeps junk out of the action. Same gizmo works on the Garand.

    A muzzle guide is good--I use either a 12 ga. empty or a .223 empty, primer holes drilled to fit an M16 rod. For a good rod I use a coated Dewey with a patch wrap jag that does a great job cleaning. Nothing beats the GI .20 calilber milspec patches...Brownell's has them.

    My cleanup routine takes around fifteen minutes which includes the time to select the right music CD to play. "Band of Brothers" works well for this.
  5. 30Cal

    30Cal Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    Albany, NY
    I have a match M14. I clean it upside down with the muzzle pointed downward to keep solvent from softening the bedding areas and out of the gas system (not a bad idea on a standard rifle either). Make sure you use a muzzle guide--if you ding the delicate crown with the tip of a cleaning rod, it's not going to shoot well anymore. I clean the bolt face, bore, chamber (with a GI chamber brush), the exterior and wherever else I can reach with patches or Q-Tips. I pull the stock off every 1000rds--pretty much annually--an clean the gas system every 300-500rds. I remove and replace grease every time.

    The barrel seems to shoot just fine without cleaning out to at least 200rds. I haven't taken it longer than that though. I've shot the gas system out past 1000rds, but it was a PITA to clean at that point and it was starting to shoot poorly (a relative statement--this is a match gun).

    The oprod on mine is tight and takes quite a bit of fiddling to get it to pop out. I usually use a screwdriver to pry the hump of the oprod away from the receiver as described in Duff's M14 Owner's Guide just to spare myself extra frustration.

  6. Dave Rishar

    Dave Rishar Member

    Feb 20, 2006
    Kitsap County, WA
    My technique:

    Field strip. Leave the upper handguard. (They break easily during removal.) Scrub everything down with Ed's Red, including the bore, and let it for a bit. Blast it off with whatever brake or carb cleaner was on sale the last time that I was at the store. Lubricate. (Sparingly.) I grease the bolt roller, bolt lugs, and hammer face if I have grease available; otherwise, oil works fine. After this I go back and finish the bore.

    I strip the bolt every once in a blue moon, more to refresh my memory of how to do it than out of actual necessity. I use the GI rod handle/ combination tool to do this because I'm too cheap to purchase a better tool and when I was doing it for a living, Uncle Sam never provided one either. A certain amount of proficiency (and tolerance to pain) is required. It comes with practice. Reassembly is worse than disassembly but neither is impossible. If you've never done this before, keep an eye on that ejector. It will, in fact, eject.

    I do not tinker with the gas system. It's self cleaning, self regulating, and largely foolproof unless a fool like me tinkers with it. If the piston moves under the influence of gravity (with the op rod removed, of course) the hex nut stays on. If I believe that oil or bore cleaner got into the gas cylinder, I'll strip it down to dry it; if I have to strip it down, I'll clean the piston out of habit while I have it open. I have never seen a piston that actually needed cleaning in order to function properly. I have seen pistons worn out from overenthusiastic cleaning with wire brushes.

    I keep the rifle upside-down while cleaning. If you have bedding or a nice stock this will keep solvents away from it. It also will keep such things out of the gas system. Be sure to bottom the rear sight before setting the rifle on something upside-down. A hard knock on an elevated rear sight can (and always did, when I was on duty) shift the zero at best or strip the teeth at worst. Don't get me started on what can happen to the front sight.

    I can't help you with any tricks for dismounting the op rod; the disassembly technique for an actual M14 is somewhat different. With the M1A, if in doubt, jiggle it. This also works nicely for getting the bolt back into the receiver.
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