need help w/ M1A

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by ak1251, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. ak1251

    ak1251 Well-Known Member

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    Just got a new M1A to compete in service rifle and am looking for a load to use across the course.
     
  2. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Standard load for many a year; A Lake City Match case, with about 41.0-42.0 grains of 4895 under a 168, and go to the range. If the gun doesn't shoot this load, you've got a gun problem. Back when the M14s ruled the roost, that's the load that 98% of the shooters on the line would be using.

    There's other options, of course. Reloder 15 is the powder that current lots of M118LR ammunition is loaded with. This uses a 175 SMK, but the powder's equally at home with a 168. Ditto for Varget and 4064, they'll all work just fine.

    Couple of things to go with the proper care and feeding of an M1 or M14;

    1) full length sizing ONLY! Ignore any and all advice to the contrary, it'll get you in trouble, fast. Forget about bumping the shoulder back .001" like you would a bolt gun. Go .003" at a minimum, and probably .005-.006" at the maximum.

    2) Avoid using bullets heaver than 175 grains, or any powders that are slower burning than those in the same neighborhood of 4895, 4064, Varget or RL-15. This is what the gas systems on these guns were designed to work with, and deviating from them will do bad things to the gas system, and ultimately, the gun itself.

    3) Make sure your primers are seated properly, and well below the case head. remember that the M1/M14 family uses a floating firing pin, and will strike the primer lightly when the bolt is closed. Chamber a round sometime and then exrtact it, and you'll see the firing pin dimple on the primer. For this same reason, avoid using "soft" cupped primers. Slam fires aren't good, and will ruin your day.

    4) DO NOT get carried away with case prep. Neck turning and all that good stuff is not only a waste of time on a Service Rifle, it's potentially dangerous. Besides, the brass is goiing to last three (3) firings, maximum, and needs to be tossed after that third firing. Remember, it ain't a bolt gun, and the rules are different here.

    5) and about the M16/AR-15 . . ..
     

  3. ak1251

    ak1251 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Kevin. I will be using LC cases and the the advise is always worth repeating. As far as the m16/ar15 plateform is concerned never like it or the 5.56 cartrage either.
     
  4. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Give it time, and you will. In the meantime, expect to hear comments about shooting dinosaurs and "re-enactor rifles." Likely as not, you'll be one of the very few M1As on the line at any typical HighPower match. I love the M14s, used them for many years and got about half my points towards my Distinguished badge with them. But, I've been shooting the ARs for years now, and they really do have some serious advantages over the M14. If you want to go Distinguished, at some point you'll probably make the switch.
     
  5. ak1251

    ak1251 Well-Known Member

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    Kevin, H4895 or IMR4895?
     
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Banned

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    Former military 175gr load was RL-15 now they went to IMR-4064 at 41.7gr, mil spec cases,
    210M.....
    IMR4895 and H 4895 are good powders to go with on the 168gr many call for 41.5gr
    the best group was 40.5 of h 4895 mil spec cses win primer.....
    Another good load was RL-15 at 41.5 ......Luck to you .........Nomad
     
  7. ak1251

    ak1251 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Nomad
     
  8. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    AK,

    Correction on Nomad's last, they'e still using RL-15 in the M118LR, and will no doubt continue to do so as long has ATK has the Lake City contract. The IMR 4895 was used way back when Remignton had the contract, and they still owned DuPont, who in turn made the IMR powders.

    Bottom line here though, is they're both good and they'll both do a fine job for you. As will WC-750 (non-cannister powder used when Olin ran the place, very similar to W-W 748), Varget, or 4064. Or, a bunch of others in the same burning range. The key to loading a Garand or an M1A/M14, is to use nothing heavier than 175 grains, and nothing slower than the powders in the 4895/4064 burn range. He's absolutely right that the 40.5-42.0 grain charge of 4895 under a 168 was THE load back in the day. If you polled the entire line of shooters at any given match, I'll bet you'd find 95% of them would be using this combination. The 5% who weren't, were probably newbies who just hadn't gotten the word yet.

    Incidentally, there is no specific load/charge weight for any of this ammo where the military stuff is concerned; they're loading to a performance standard. They require 2,580 fps @ 78 ft for the M118LR, which translates to about 2,625 fps (or thereabouts), and 2,550 fps @ 78 ft for the old M852 (168 grain Match) load. As powder lots vary from one to the next, whatever charge weight was required to reach that velocity standard was the charge weight they used. Seen them vary by a grain and a half or more from one lot to the next, with both lots giving identical velocites. Call it "somewhere" around 41 grains and you'll be in the ball park.

    Sorry for the delay here, been away for the past few days.
     
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Banned

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    This may have come out some time in 01/22/09 Order # USN 1305-01-5678-6944
    Contract # N0016408DJW28.
    May want to Google for further information or questions you may have
    Using the Net Qty of 149,040 cartridges and a total powder weight of 889 lbs it looks like the M118LR cartridge uses;
    Case – Federal
    Primer – Federal 210
    Powder – IMR 4064 41.75 gr.
    Bullet – Sierra 175 gr. MK
     
  10. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    That's apparently a special run for the navy, and a small one at that. Their standard load uses their (Lake City's; they make them on site) own M43 (Match) primer, not a Federal 210, and would be in a much larger quantity. 150K is nothing more than a drop in the bucket for their production capability. Last run of 175s I certified for their M118LR production was something on the order of 17 million bullets, all of them destined for that load. I'd bet this is for the Navy's team, or some other special usage involving bolt guns, just based on the use of the FC 210 primer. That, and the fact that they're specifying a particular powder.

    Lake City does take special orders like this for small runs, and I've seen them do it frequently. Specialty stuff for the Marines, for SOCOM, SEALs, etc.. Until ATK gives up the contract to another bidder, the RL-15 will most likely remain the powder of choice.
     
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Banned

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    You are correct that ATK is still using Reloader 15 in their M118LR round..
    Federal has special contract with the Navy and other Units they have gone with
    the 4064 powder in their cases.
    Now the difference in head stamps is LC for the ATK plant and FC with the other
    contract........
    The 210M as primer, Federal case, 175 gr bullet and IMR4064 powder.....
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  12. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    That sounds more like it. Lake City is what's called a Go-Co operation; Government Owned, Contractor Operated. As I understand it, the government has production requirements that they need for their own use, and anythinf above that, the contractor is free to use the facilities to produce on their own. ATK has taken full advantage of this, as the plant isn't turning out anything NEAR what it's true production capacity is capable of. Most of the plant is in mothballs; presses greased and shrink wrapped, tooling sealed and protected, and only (perhaps) 10% or less of the capacity being utilized. Federal (also an ATK company) has had M193 55 grain Ball ammo out in their boxes but with LC headstamps for years now, and it rolls off the same line that government contract ammo comes from.

    The first time I ever took a tour there, the engineer that was conducting it kept apologizing because there really wasn't much to see, since their production volume was so low right then. They were "only" turning out 1.7 million rounds a day. That's making all the componenets (minus the powder, which they don't make there), primers, cases, bullets and full assembly. He mentioned that during the peak years of Vietnam, they were producing 7 million rounds per shift, and running three shifts a day. That's 21 million rounds a day, and that's scary. Quite a place, and really something to see.

    They're nowhere near that right now, so there's a lot of available capacity for special stuff like this.
     
  13. ak1251

    ak1251 Well-Known Member

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    OK... something is really wrong with this gun!!! I've tried severial diffent loads with it and it can't hold a group less than 8-10" at 200 yards. I've looked for anything lose in the sights and can find nothing but a little side to side in the appature.I was going to replace and fit it with aNM sight anyways. What the H*LL am overlooking?
     
  14. DZelenka

    DZelenka Well-Known Member

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    Is it a standard M1A? If so, it is a very long way from being competitive. the group sizes are a little big, but not surprising. Standard M1As are cool rifles but not terribly accurate. NM and Supermatch or better yet M1As smithed by an experienced (usually former military armorer) M1/M14 smith can be really accurate but are maintenance intensive. It is why service rifle competitors use ARs these days.

    By the way, my M1A load is an LC match case with military match primer, 42.5gr RL15 and a 175 Sierra Match King. It shoots really well. (Glenn Nelson built SuperMatch).

    Dan