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Disassembly & Cleaning of M1A

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by quietdisdain, Feb 26, 2009.

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  1. quietdisdain

    quietdisdain Member

    Feb 7, 2009

    I'm about to take my new Springfield M1A standard shooting for the first time this weekend. I was wondering if anyone had any links to a guide on how to properly disassemble the rifle, as well as which parts to clean, and how often it should be done.


  2. Match14

    Match14 Member

    Dec 2, 2006
    South/Central Indiana
    Do you still have the box and paperwork that came with the rifle? Part of that paperwork should be a reproduction of the military m14 manual.
    I just checked the Springfield website and it's no longer on there actually, so if yours didn't come with one, I recommend looking for one online.

    It will tell you how to field strip the rifle and where to lube with grease. Both I recommend doing before firing the rifle.
  3. James T Thomas

    James T Thomas Member

    Sep 15, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    a little help

    I'm hoping in this repy to have the addition from Vern Humphrey to confirm what I remember.

    Remove your magazine.
    Draw the bolt back and lock it in place with the catch; small metal tab on the left side of the reciever.
    Verify! that the chamber is empty!

    -Then place the safety catch on, and pull the trigger guard away and downward from the stock. I can't remember if it pivots from the front or rear?

    I believe at this point the stock can be removed. Perhaps.
    But remember that the recoil spring has been compressed, and so at some point you will have to release it.

    Hey Vern! How is your memory on our favorite Mil. rifle?

    "Quietdd:" If you have bought a used rifle, you may want to clean the gas piston. Do not...do not scrub it with steel wool, brass brush, etc. Use
    solvent and cloth. The finish on it is very fine.
    Clean the usual parts such as bore, chamber -get a specific made chamber brush for it if you can, bolt, under the extractor, and so forth.
    In the service, "we" used to clean them; disassembled from the stock, in a half 55 gal. drum of hot sudsy water from the mess hall!
    Followed by a light coat of oil applied with a cloth.
    It worked.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  4. nbkky71

    nbkky71 Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Davidson, NC
    You need not fully strip and M1A to give it a good cleaning quietdisdain. For a general cleaning all you need to remove is the trigger group and be sure to clean the bore, the chamber and the bolt face. You can remove the action from the stock for a detailed cleaning if you like, but it's not necessary every time.

    The gas system is pretty robust on an M1A but carbon will accumuate over time. A good guide is the "tilt test". Lck the bolt to the rear and tip the rifle muzzle down, then up: you'll hear the gas pistol slide back and forth. When the pistol is really dirty it will have trouble sliding. A good cleaning of the gas system every few hundred rounds will be fine, unless you're shooting corrosive ammo. In that case you should clean the gas system after each shooting session.

    Whenever you clean an M1A be sure to cradle the rifle so the gas system is facing up. This keeps crud from dripping into the gas system (which should not be lubed). Ideally, you want to clean from the breech to the muzzle but that's not easy to do with an M1A. Pull-through systems (like the Otis) work fine but I prefer cleaning from the muzzle using a one-piece cleaning rod and a muzzle guide. Take care not the ding the crown as accuracy may suffer.

    There are a few tools that you'll want to properly clean an M1A: USGI combo tool, gas cylinder wrench, USGI chamber brush and the gas system cleaning tools (which are essentially drill bitsused to remove carbon from the gas piston body and stem as well as the gas plug).
  5. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    I will go an entire shooting season without removing the action from the stock. Since my match rifles are bedded, I don't want to damage the tight fit between action and stock.

    I seldom take the trigger guard out. But if removed, I sure wipe it down and lube it.

    You can take the bolt out from the top, without having to remove the operating rod. I hold the bolt back, under spring tension, and get the operating rod tab in the dismount notch. Then I pull the operating rod up and out. Since the whole arrangement is under a strong spring tension, this takes practice. Once the tab is free of the track, and I have my thumb holding the bolt face stationary, I work the operating rod around the bolt roller and free the bolt from the operating rod. This all has to be done with the bolt as far back in the receiver as possible as the operating rod is very stiff.

    Once the bolt is out of the rifle, (takes fiddling) I give it a good wipe down, than wipe off with powder solvent. Then I wipe it with an oily rag.

    I always use a chamber brush to clean out the chamber. GI brushes are around $3.00.

    I use a gas cylinder wrench to hold the gas cylinder in place while I take out the gas piston. I clean the insides of the piston with Q tips, wipe everything with bore solvent, and I use wet patches inside the gas cylinder. I do have a special tool that is made of two drill bits. These bits exactly fit the inside of the larger and small gas channels in the gas piston. The bits will scrape out any caked on powder residue.

    Let me recommend you install the gas cylinder lock screw with Anti Seize Grease. To be found at all Auto Stores.

    I also recommend buying a 1/4" flat artists brush and using that to paint grease on the surfaces that need it. Works better than any other system I have found.

    You have to have a bore guide when cleaning this rifle.
  6. quietdisdain

    quietdisdain Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Do you know where I can get said tools? My local FFL definitely doesn't have them.

  7. TimRB

    TimRB Member

    Jan 27, 2004
    "Do you know where I can get said tools? My local FFL definitely doesn't have them."

    IMHO the only must-have tool on the list is the gas cylinder wrench and drill bits to clean the piston. I have a combination tool and USGI chamber brush, and have never used either. (I DO clean the chamber; I just use a different brush.)

    Anyway, Midway, Brownells, and/or Springfield will have the tools.

    A 12GA shotgun hull with its primer drilled out will make a nice cleaning rod guide that will allow you to safely run the rod in and out from the muzzle end.

  8. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    Easton, PA
    I don't have any special tools, the gas valve needs a wrench or socket.
  9. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    Happy Valley, UT
    you might ask around here: the site's down today but it's usually pretty reliable. There have been essential m1a/m14 tool kits offered at several points. Good bunch of folks and tons of info.

  10. lipadj46

    lipadj46 Member

    Nov 20, 2008
    You don't need special tools. A wrench for the gas nut (3/8" maybe if I recall correctly??) and people use a proper sized drill bits to clean the gas vent hole and the hole in the piston. There is a combo tool that has a wrench built in and a little metal rod used to pry open the trigger guard but it is not necessary. Sadlak makes tools to clean the gas vents but they are not necessary. One good "tool" to have is a spent 30.06 case with the rim ground down for changing out the extractor.
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