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    • #30792
      WCM
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      I have an M1A National Match rifle,and have not worked up any majorly accurate loads as of yet.

      Just want opinions and information on special handloads with jacketed match bullets.

      I understand that some of the loads I have worked up for my bolt guns may be too hot for this rifle.

      I have been able to get one MOA for five shots ,but that is about it.

      What should I expect in the way of accuracy from my rifle?

      Thanks for your knowledge and input.

      WCM

    • #30794
      Goodsteel
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      You called?
      LOL!
      You might be suffering from an unrealistic opinion of what the M1A is designed for.
      The M1A is not a precision rifle. It’s a main battle rifle. It’s designed to engage man sized targets out to 600 yards, and it does it really…..really well.
      The M1A can be made to shoot SUB MOA for a time, but it’s not going to happen with a stock rifle (at least not very often). What needs to happen to make the rifle shoot like a tack driver is for it to be fitted with a second lug in the rear so more than just the trigger guard clasp is holding it in contact with the stock. It needs to be bedded by a smith that understands how to lay the mud in the right place, The gas block needs to be unitized. It needs to be fitted with a chamber that headspaces minimum.

      Do all this, and you might turn the 1.5MOA rifle into a 1/2MOA rifle, but it really begs the question “Why are you trying to shoot ground squirrel with a 308?”.
      Many people look at the 308 cartridge, and immediately think of the bolt action performance that it offers at 800 yards and try to apply that to the M1A, while glossing over the greatly inhanced rate of fire and capacity like that doesn’t come with a cost.
      The gas block robs the cartridge of speed, and the way the whole rifle hangs on the barrel is not conducive to supreme accuracy. When I bought mine, I was hoping for 2″ groups because that would give me what I need to engage enemies and game out to 400 yards. I was very pleased to find out that my rifle is a solid 1.4MOA out to that distance with the battle sights, and that’s enough to make me a very effective marksman with a rifle that runs like a sewing machine and keeps the bullets going.
      If I needed to shoot through a 12″ hole at 800 yards with one precisely placed shot, the M1A and the 308 is the wrong tool for the job. (I would want a precision 30-06 for that situation).
      The M1A is my very most favorite rifle (well, it’s in the top three) and is definitely the last one that I will give up if times get really hard. Is it the most accurate rifle I own? Why no, that title goes to my 18lb 300 WinMag. Accuracy means nothing if you don’t get the dam thing in play, and a heavy bolt gun is a very limited weapon. For instance, if there’s a bump in the night, will you grab your heavy sniper rifle to go check things out? That would be silly! not so with the M1A. Say you are being followed by a car load of thugs in a remote area intent on taking your life? Are you going to pull out the 18lb precision rifle with three shots in the mag and feel like you have a fighting chance? That too would be silly. Not so with the M1A (that is a true story BTW. Told to me by BruceB God rest his soal). Say you’re out hunting in an area where your shots at game are anything from 25 steps to 400 yards, there’s a lot of walking when you get there, Oh, and there’s a strong likelihood of bear encounters. LR precision rifle, or M1A? M1A for me every time.
      I could go on and on.

      I’ve been on the quest for the ultimate all-around rifle for many years, and I am confident I have found it in my trusty M1A Scout with it’s 1.4MOA cone of fire. That is MY rifle. It’s never far from hand, and I’ll NEVER let it go. It’s simply the most useful rifle I have ever pulled the trigger on. Period.

      The bullet is 168 A-Max, SST, SMK,SGK, or Nosler seated to 2.8″.
      The brass is LC
      The primers are CCI 200
      The powder is 42.5gr IMR4895

    • #30795
      JPHolla
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      Putting five shots into an inch reliably with a stock National Match would tickle a lot of people pink! On various internet forums you see a lot of people whining about the poor accuracy of their National Match Springfield because they think the price tag (and “National Match”) guarantees extreme accuracy. When you look at all the things that have to be just right in order for an m14 pattern rifle to shoot well, it’s no wonder. And if everything is just right so that you get that 1/2 MOA accuracy, it typically won’t be HUNDREDS of rounds later. Your load development will really eat into that service life of your bedding job. The gun design is a set of compromises; it was good for WHAT it was intended WHEN it was developed. At accuracy competitions today, you see fewer and fewer m14’s and M1A’s, and more and more AR’s. There’s a reason for that. But an AR will never have the feel of an m14!

    • #30797
      Goodsteel
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      JPHolla;n10677 wrote: Putting five shots into an inch reliably with a stock National Match would tickle a lot of people pink! On various internet forums you see a lot of people whining about the poor accuracy of their National Match Springfield because they think the price tag (and “National Match”) guarantees extreme accuracy. When you look at all the things that have to be just right in order for an m14 pattern rifle to shoot well, it’s no wonder. And if everything is just right so that you get that 1/2 MOA accuracy, it typically won’t be HUNDREDS of rounds later. Your load development will really eat into that service life of your bedding job. The gun design is a set of compromises; it was good for WHAT it was intended WHEN it was developed. At accuracy competitions today, you see fewer and fewer m14’s and M1A’s, and more and more AR’s. There’s a reason for that. But an AR will never have the feel of an m14!

      Nor the versatility!!!!
      Only a very unscrupulous hunter would shoot an elk with an AR 5.56, and only a dipweed would consider it viable bear protection, but the M1A doesn’t blink in these situations.

    • #30798
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      I like the old M1A. I have owned two National Match rifles and they would both shoot about MOA.

      So I guess that is fairly normal.
      I have a Sadlak mount and 3X12 power scope on my rifle for load development, though I really don’t like the look or feel of a scope on the M1A. IMR 3031 and BC-2 (W748) seem to shoot well. Norma 202, Rel 15, Varget, and N140 are some I will be working with soon.
      As far as the bedding getting messed up, I avoid taking the rifle out of the stock as much as possible.

      I am not as comfortable behind an AR 15,though I can get tighter groups sometimes.

      My heavy varmint barrel AR15 will shoot about 3/4 MOA if I do my part.

    • #30806
      Scharfschuetze
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      Just want opinions and information on special handloads with jacketed match bullets.

      Let me give you a short history of match ammo and sniper ammo used in the M14NM and the M21 Sniper Rifle and then I’ll give you some recommended loads to duplicate them. This way you’ll know what have been the optimum ammo types (short of tracer and AP) in the M14/M1A rifles.

      The original match load, the M118 White Box ammo, used a 173 grain bullet based on the old M1 ball load for the M1 Garand. When I was issued the White Box ammo while shooting for the Army, it would average about 1 & 1/2 MOA from our match tuned M14NM rifles. M118 White Box was really just the old M72 M1 Garand match load but in the 7.62X51 case and a few grains less powder.

      Later in about 1987, the White Box M118 ammo was modified to use ball powder instead of the previous 4895 stick powder and renamed Special Ball and it was issued in a plain brown box of 20 rounds. Accuracy suffered and we were lucky to get 2 MOA with most of the brown boxed “Special Ball.” I think that much of the degradation in accuracy may have been due to worn out bullet making machinery at Lake City Arsenal.

      In 1990 or so, we began getting the “new” While Box ammo, now with a nomenclature of M852 Match. It used the 168 grain Sierra Matchking bullet, or like bullet. Accuracy returned, but performance past 600 yards now suffered when compared to the heavier 173 grain White Box or Brown Box M118.

      The current match round and sniper round is the M118LR (long range) load. It uses the 175 grain SMK (or equivalent) and it is now a true 1,000 yard load like the original M118 loadings.

      The velocity of all these loads is about 2,550 fps measured at something like 50 feet from the muzzle.

      When reloading for the M1A or M14 match rifles, most shooters will use either the 168 grain SMK or now the ballistically improved 175 grain SMK bullets or their competitor’s bullets of like weight. Most M1A shooters will use GI cases and either of the 4895 powders. Start at 38 grains or so and work up. I generally used 42 grains with the 168 grain SMK over the years and found good accuracy and reliability. That’s pretty much the standard among M1A National Match shooters and it holds well to about 800 yards where it goes subsonic.

      For the 175 grain SMK, start a bit lower as you are now pushing a 7 grain heavier bullet. This really is the “go to” bullet now for sniping, National Match or long range shooting with the 7.62/308 in the M14 or M1A.

      Overall length should be right at 2.800″ for best feeding through the magazine. For 600 yards and further where one loads single rounds, I often chased the throat as the barrel wore and I exceeded that length by a good bit.

      Primers? I used the Federal LR match primer for 600 yard loads; although one rides the bolt about half way forward for these long range loads which will preclude any possibility of a slam fire. For off hand and rapid fire loads the CCI 200 is a good choice, but the Remington 9 1/2 is also good. Test ’em in your rifle and then decide which one you like. As we often used brass for two or three loads in the military, we used the 9 & 1/2 primer as it was brass colored and thus when we turned empty brass in at the ASP, the inspectors never realized that the ammo had been reloaded, which is kind of a no no in the military.

      Powders? I’ve generally loaded with Hodgdon or IMR 4895, although I have used IMR 4064 with some success. Some shooters do prefer IMR 4064 or any of the other mid burning rifle powders. It’s your choice after your own testing proves what will group the best. Don’t try and make a magnum out of your M1A. It was designed to fire M80 Ball with the 147 grain FMJ, but it handles the 175s with aplomb.

      The above loads are not “special loads” in any way, but standard loads developed by knowledgeable shooters and have stood the test of time. It’s really hard not to load good ammo as long as you use what’s listed above, use good dies and a modicum of care.

    • #30807
      WCM
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      Thanks very much for your input.
      I have plenty of H4895 and also have the 168 and 175 SMK.
      My primer of choice has been the Fed 210M.
      I also have the CCI BR.
      I believe I still have some Rem 9 1/2
      I know I have Wins as well.
      I also have Lapua and Nosler brass.

      I will work with what you have suggested.

    • #30810
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      I will add this here that if you are interested in shooting Cast in a M1a
      BruceB did all the hard work for you (over at the old place)
      I have tried some of the loads he used and just to let you Know Some of the M1a Have a 1/10 twist and some have a 1/11 twist
      so if you have a 1/10 twist you might have to deal with Larry Gibson’s —-> RPM Rule of thumb, when things go south

      Thanks BruceB for the hard Work
      Thanks Larry Gibson for being able to explain things when you say things to your self like —> Why me and what Now — why did that happen ……………………

    • #30817
      Sgt. Mike
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      “When reloading for the M1A or M14 match rifles, most shooters will use either the 168 grain SMK or now the ballistically improved 175 grain SMK bullets or their competitor’s bullets of like weight. Most M1A shooters will use GI cases and either of the 4895 powders. Start at 38 grains or so and work up. I generally used 42 grains with the 168 grain SMK over the years and found good accuracy and reliability. That’s pretty much the standard among M1A National Match shooters and it holds well to about 800 yards where it goes subsonic.

      For the 175 grain SMK, start a bit lower as you are now pushing a 7 grain heavier bullet. This really is the “go to” bullet now for sniping, National Match or long range shooting with the 7.62/308 in the M14 or M1A.

      Overall length should be right at 2.800″ for best feeding through the magazine. For 600 yards and further where one loads single rounds, I often chased the throat as the barrel wore and I exceeded that length by a good bit.”

      BINGO, WCM
      exactly my experience with the differing M14 Ive had. I do prefer the use of USGI cases as mentioned. Good enough advise that I had to echo it.

      Now what not been addressed is the M14 Series is rough on Brass expect maybe 4 loading at best. After that seek newer brass as by this time you will have stretched cases, and bent rims on a majority of your cases . This is normal and I would also advise that you just accept that it will be rough on brass. It is a fine rifle, worthy of a place in your gun safe. Play with it, lube it properly, clean it after firing and it will respond with a positive note.

      Scharfe is spot on with his advice. He is quoting what a lot of High Power shooters call the “Mexican Match” Loads for the 7.62mm
      4064 has worked, 4895 does better IMHO I generally save the 4064 for the M1 Garand

    • #30819
      Sgt. Mike
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      Another person whom has played quite a bit with cast is Larry Gibson in that rifle. Long before I ever heard of Cast Bullets Forum he would post results on the M14 Forum circula 2004 to 2007
      In all of mine I used jacketed.

    • #30827
      JPHolla
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      I was thinking AR-10, but yes you are right. An AR-10 is about as fun to shoot as using a hammer to drive nails. It does it’s job well, and any buffoon can build one that will shoot accurately from off-the-shelf parts, in a gun with the same muzzle energy. Reliability may slightly tip to the M14, though. But an M14 feels alive. It feels like it’s an extension of yourself. The way it points, the way the recoil stroke feels, the way the last round bolt hold open really gets your attention, the warm feel of the wood…

    • #30828
      Goodsteel
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      It’s like you’re in my mind……

    • #30829
      Goodsteel
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      BruceB gave me a lot of personal help in getting the M1A shooting cast, and I had a lot of fun doing that. However, it was he who told me “Tim, the M1A is a fun rifle to screw around with running cast in, but it’s not practical. Load it with 168SMK or similar and use it for the purpose intended.” He had about the same opinion of shooting the M1A for tight groups. Yeah, you can do it. but once you’re done messing around load it up with the Mexican match load and use it how it was intended.

      He was a very colorful fellow if you ever knew him. He had worked in Alaska with the oil industry and had used the M1A as effective bear protection on several occasions, and there was one story he told me about being chased by a some thugs intent on doing him serious physical harm (something to do with the union or some such). Anyway, he said it was night, and he knew who they were, but they knew who he was too and about his M1A. He said he gunned the engine and raced ahead and pulled over and left the lights on and the engine running. He grabbed his M1A and ran into the brush, hit the ground on his elbows and racked the charge handle. The other car screeched to a stop behind his car and four big hombres got out. They saw he was not in his car, they looked at each other then got back in and left. He said he was going to dispatch all of them on the spot if they took one step his direction, and with a rifle like that, it wouldn’t have been hard.
      I hope I have told this story correctly, but the original is buried in my PM’s in a forum I am no longer welcome at, so it’s all by memory.

      Bruce had great respect for the M1A as an all around rifle in an environment where you’re enemies can come in a very wide variety of sizes and numbers, and I agree with him.

    • #30831
      WCM
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      I had a great time shooting my M1A today.
      I think I will keep the scope on for a while.
      The star group of the day was 41 grs of IMR 3031 ,Fed 210M and the 168 gr SMK.
      I threw the first shot ,but the next four went into a nice little cluster.

      I will work with that load some more.

      41.5 grs of IMR 4895 also did fantastic until the barrel got hot.

    • #30835
      WCM
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      This is the target with my load of 41 grs of IMR 3031.The Avg velocity was 2509, Std Dev of 7,and an extreme spread of 23fps.

      I believe the first shot flier was me not being use to the two stage trigger.

      I tried the illustrious ten shot groups but as soon as my barrel heated up the groups opened ..

    • #30837
      JPHolla
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      That’s OK, you probably put the threat down in those first five shots anyway! I don’t really see much point in tinkering with the load anymore…unless you could come up with one that would heat the barrel less and prolong accuracy a few more shots. If it were me, I’d say it was good enough.

    • #30842
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      To me ,IMR 3031 is a majestic powder. Sometimes it will do wonders in certain cartridges. My .204 Ruger loves 3031.

    • #30843
      Goodsteel
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      Looks like about 1.5″.
      Well done! I’d say that rifle’s a keeper!
      Schweeght aint it?

    • #30845
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      I really believe the flier was me, but I will shoot that load some more, and will know soon.

    • #30846
      Goodsteel
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      Try doing three five shot groups and letting the barrel cool between them? Also, depending on how you intend to use this rifle, it might be a wise idea to find out what a twenty shot string from a full magazine will do. If your barrel walks with heat, you could memorize the dope for a hot barrel, and if you’re in a situation that calls for ripping off full twenty round mags, you could have the POA in the middle of your cone of fire from a hot barrel. Personally, the political climate in this country has me twisting my knobs to reflect sustained fire.

    • #30847
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      I assume my scope is good. It is a Bushnell Elite series 30mm 3X12 .
      I would feel more confident if it were a Leupold Mk4 ,but I can’t afford to put those scopes on too many rifles.

      The rifle also shot a nice tight four or five shot group with 41.5 grs of IMR 4895, but when the barrel got hot the group opened.

      I scrubbed the bore good,and will make some more loads with 3031 and see.

      If it will do repeated five shot groups under an inch I will be happy.

    • #30851
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      Another powder that is worth trying would be Norma 202.
      Benchmark is close to the same burn rate as IMR 3031 but operates at a higher pressure curve, so I think I will avoid using it.

    • #30852
      Scharfschuetze
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      Very nice shooting WCM and that’s also a very nicely stocked M1A. Very interesting results with the 3031. I’ve never used 3031 in the 7.62/308, but it bears consideration given your results.

      Do you plan to use your rifle competitively? If so, you’ll want a barrel that will shoot tight for up to 10 rounds in one minute, which is the time limit for sitting rapid fire at 200 yards in the National Match (NM) course of fire. Time limit at 300 yards is 70 seconds, and slow fire stages at 200 and 600 yards is one round per minute for 22 shots (2 sighters) so if NM shooting is in your future, and the M1A is a perfect choice, see about a load that will hold when the barrel is hot.

      When I was shooting for the Army, our armorers would rebarrel our match rifles when such issued reared their heads, but that is not always an option out in the civilian world given the cost of it as well as the turn around time with the gunsmith.

      Is your stock fiberglass bedded? It’s not an easy job when compared to a bolt rifle as it requires a jig or two. I have the TM around here somewhere on how to do it.

      That double stage trigger does take some getting used to, but I’ve always preferred it to a single stage trigger. My current AR15 NM rifle is upgraded with a double stage trigger that feels just like the Mauser and Springfield Military bolt rifles, the M1 Garand and the M14/M1A genre rifles.

    • #30853
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      I bought my rifle used back in the early 90’s from a State Trooper that need some money. It was $600.
      It has a National Match Douglas air gauged barrel. I don’t think he shot the rifle much because he wasn’t a Handloader.
      It was not bedded, so I called Springfield Armory and they said the Armorers that did their bedding were outside of Ft Benning.
      I knew they were about an hour away, so I located their facility and got them to do the bedding.

      My rifle will shoot under two inches ten shots rapid fire (that is if I have time enough to allow me to get steady.), but if I want MOA groups or less I have to let the barrel cool between shots.

      This is the first time I really had a good scope and mount system to test the accuracy of the loads.
      The Sadlak Mount is supposed to be one of the better mounts.

      As far as competition, I might try it for fun someday.
      I think I am too old and my eyes really aren’t good enough for open sight competition.

    • #30854
      Scharfschuetze
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      I think I am too old and my eyes really aren’t good enough for open sight competition.

      Sadly that seems to apply to many of us here. My eyes held up until just this year and my mid 60s. The new service rifle rules for the CMP and the NRA match courses alow a flat top AR15 to mount a low power scope (4.5X I believe) or a red dot unit. I just built up an AR15 to this formula and it shot well in a four day shoot in Nevada earlier this year. I also shot it with Larry in Arizona and we were getting some pretty good groups with it out at 300 yards.

      While a scope sighted AR is no M14/M1A, this option would allow you to shoot in formal competition should you like to do that. It is quite fun and a real challenge for a marksman.

    • #30872
      WCM
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      I might try that .Especially if I can get my son involved.
      I have a 1.5X4 scope on my Bushmaster.
      My sons Bushmaster seem to shoot better than mine, or maybe he is just a better shot now.

      I trained him to beat me, so maybe that day has finally arrived.

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