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M1A ACCURACY ISSUES: THE GAS SYSTEM

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M1A ACCURACY ISSUES: THE GAS SYSTEM

When an M14 type rifle is optimized for accuracy the stock fit will be adjusted (possibly bedded) for consistent downward tension on the front band and the handguard will not touch the stock. This barrel tension is critical to match grade accuracy. Unlike bolt guns, M14s do not shoot well with free floated barrels.

Why? No idea. To paraphrase Dr. McCoy from the original STAR TREK TV show, “Dammit Jim, I’m just a simple country gunsmith, not an engineer.” It works. Trust me.

The front band is sandwiched between the gas cylinder and the barrel shoulder and it will move around a bit on a standard rifle creating inconsistent barrel tension. Many years ago military rifle teams developed methods of “unitizing” the gas system and front band. This means the front band is attached solidly to the gas cylinder resulting in the same barrel tension shot after shot. There are two common methods of unitizing: welding or drill & tap.

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  • medivac

    I had no problems with the M-14 when shooting for score in the Corps. 9 out of 10 at offhand 200 meter and 10 of 10 in the prone at 500 meters. the rest of the distances and positions were pretty good, too but I can’t remember those scores so well since they were a mixed meddle of sitting and kneeling at 200, and 300 meters. Damn fine weapon !! .

  • Jaime Cancio

    Years ago shooting M1A1 M14 civilian semi-auto model in 7.62mm Nato/.308 Springfield Armory 00005X: facing problems with accuracy beyond 600 yards I used a 3/4 inch wide strip of ‘old’ shoe leather to span/fill the gap when tightened down between front stock and barrel contact to minimize barrel rebound to different position after every shot. Held firm, using 32 pound weight hanging under military bipod accuracy out to 1,000 yards became impressively manageble and possible. To insure absolutely no movement within the stock I used a 3 inch long i inch wide strip of plastic covered paper between rear of upper receiver and stock held in position when receiver group screwed into position. In that configuration there was absolutely no movement of the rifle within the stock. After about 400 rounds had to replace leather and plastic paper/when ever free play show up in the stock and tightening down had no effect. However, I found the collaspible stocked HK 91 A3 a much better choice with high magnification scope, bipod and 32 pound under bipod weight making hits out to 1,200 yards (with and without scope – I had also the 1,200 yards rear sight on that rig. At every range, style of shooting was first round out the best possible calculation/estimation of reaching target; followed up by two fast follow-up shots three shots in the air before the first round hit. My best pattern came at 850 yards with three shots all within six inches (if memory serves 5.47 inches) of point of aim centered at heart level spinal cord targeting. I was using reloaded once fired polished military brass and Sierra 168 grn. .308 hollow point ammunition exclusively at that time loaded with an IMR powder I think 4350; if memory serves me right in boat-tailed configuration. Pains-taking reloading habits addressing every aspect of reloading including mass of date collection. I have also the experience of shooting the M1 Garand; still the HK91-A3 was very impressive. My manipulation of the M1A1 Civilan M14 was easy to configure and cost next to nothing and was accomplished very quickly; also I saved the old shoe so when I needed another piece of leather I could cut one out with the same thickness. The leather formed a unit below the barrel; had to play with it to make it fit and work – it worked and worked very well. No drill, no taps, and no screw, very little effort and a simple fix.

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