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ssblair
April 29, 2010, 03:17 PM
I'm getting into competitive high power service rifle shooting, and I've got an M1A that's bedded, NM stock, NM sights, etc, but its got a lackluster stock barrel on it that I'm looking to upgrade this year... hopefully in time to have for going back to Camp Perry again this summer.

What are some of the considerations relating to barrel choice? I get the impression that Stainless Steel is easier to take care of (ie. it doesnt corrode or collect copper fouling quite as much) but I've read that SS doesnt last quite as long as chrome moly barrels.

For shooting across the course, 200-600 yards, I've heard that 175gr bullets are generally the way to go for 600, and 155gr for the shorter ranges, although there are those that like even lighter bullets. This is leading me towards a 1:11 twist. I've seen suggestions that 1:10 twist will stabilize up to 190gr, but havent seen anything about 1:11 twist--will it stabilize 180gr with moderate powder loads? Shooting at a 1000yd target someday has a measure of appeal to it, in a "just because its there" sort of way. :rolleyes:

As far as barrel weight, I would guess that heavier is better, but are there any drawbacks to using a heavy weight barrel rather than a medium weight beyond just weight?

Do cut rifled barrels warp less than button rifled barrels when they heat up?

Lastly, I've seen that Kreiger seems to have very good recommendations, and I've heard that they now do 5-R rifling profile, which seems to me that would reduce fouling or make the bore easier to clean. Seems like a good idea, but it looks like they don't do 5-R rifling for M1A barrels (probably because of the gas port, if I had to guess). From bits and pieces that I've read in the past, dating back to the Springfield 1903 and 03A3 rifling, I get the impression that the number of rifling grooves isnt all that important, but I like the idea of tapered lands rather than square lands--to make cleaning easier.

So now that I've shared some of my confusion... any thoughts? :D

Slamfire
April 29, 2010, 04:12 PM
I'm getting into competitive high power service rifle shooting, and I've got an M1A that's bedded, NM stock, NM sights, etc, but its got a lackluster stock barrel on it that I'm looking to upgrade this year... hopefully in time to have for going back to Camp Perry again this summer.

What are some of the considerations relating to barrel choice? I get the impression that Stainless Steel is easier to take care of (ie. it doesnt corrode or collect copper fouling quite as much) but I've read that SS doesnt last quite as long as chrome moly barrels.

The best deal I am aware of is Champion’s Choice Douglas 1:10 barrel $349 installed. Just call Homer and find out when they will be back in stock. These are Gene Barnett barrels which service rifle shooters have been using for decades.

http://www.champchoice.com/prod-DOUGLAS_M1A,_6_GROOVE,_1_10_TWIST_HEAVY_BARREL-735.aspx?

Barrel life difference between SS and Chrome moly is inconsequential and depends more on the particular lot of steel than type of steel. All barrel steels are soft.

Lee Land told me of a barrel that was so soft that after each 88 round match, the throat erosion increased by one! I don't think he had it for long.

For shooting across the course, 200-600 yards, I've heard that 175gr bullets are generally the way to go for 600, and 155gr for the shorter ranges, although there are those that like even lighter bullets. This is leading me towards a 1:11 twist. I've seen suggestions that 1:10 twist will stabilize up to 190gr, but havent seen anything about 1:11 twist--will it stabilize 180gr with moderate powder loads? Shooting at a 1000yd target someday has a measure of appeal to it, in a "just because its there" sort of way.

I have buds that shot 125’s at 300, 168’s at 300, and 175’s at 600. Though I know of old Army Reserve guys who shot 190’s at long range, if the rifle broke, the Government gave them a new NM M14 to shoot. I do not and will not shoot anything heavier than a 175 in my M1a. The 1:10 twist will shoot all of these bullet with match winning accuracy.

I highly recommend shooting at 1000 yards with a service rifle. After shooting a few scores in the 160’s, with a high in the 170’s, you may give up, like I did. At the range I shoot at, you can’t even see the bullseye at 1000 yards, you use a frame or target number board hold. It is extremely frustrating and I gave it up.
As far as barrel weight, I would guess that heavier is better, but are there any drawbacks to using a heavy weight barrel rather than a medium weight beyond just weight?
A 308 will kick you out of position. You want the heaviest barrel you can get. Get the heavy contour.


Do cut rifled barrels warp less than button rifled barrels when they heat up?

If your barrel warps, cut rifling or button rifled, you send it back for replacement. Because the barrel is defective. You cannot shoot accurately with a barrel that walks as you shoot it.

Lastly, I've seen that Kreiger seems to have very good recommendations, and I've heard that they now do 5-R rifling profile, which seems to me that would reduce fouling or make the bore easier to clean. Seems like a good idea, but it looks like they don't do 5-R rifling for M1A barrels (probably because of the gas port, if I had to guess). From bits and pieces that I've read in the past, dating back to the Springfield 1903 and 03A3 rifling, I get the impression that the number of rifling grooves isnt all that important, but I like the idea of tapered lands rather than square lands--to make cleaning easier.


I have Kreiger barrels on my match rifles. On my service rifles, I cannot see well enough, with the crude post and fixed aperture rear, to believe that a Kreiger was any better than a Douglas. Krieger barrels are awfully expensive, just put on a Douglas and shoot the difference in ammo.

The last year the USMC team shot the M14, I went by and asked the Armorer’s what barrels they were using. Virtually every barrel manufacturer was on their rifles. They were given barrels, installed them, and if they shot ten shot groups under three inches at 300 yards it went on the line. They had Hart, Shilen, Douglas, Krieger out on the line. They all worked.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/M1a%20and%20Garand%20Receiver%20Pictures/ReducedRightSiderifle1.jpg

kraigwy
April 29, 2010, 04:44 PM
I've been shooting high power for since 1977 with the same M1A. When I got it I had Jene Barnett (Barnett barrels) turn it into a super match. I was shooting for the AK NG at the time and Barnett was working the Pistol Armors Van.

Since them I"ve shoot out 3, and I'm on my 4th. You arnt gonna find any better barrels for the M1A, Brownells sells them, for both standard and heavy match. You can get them in stainless but I've havent seen the advantage of the stainless.

Ref Ammo: To 600 yards you cant beat the 168 SMKs. I started mexican matching the M118 with the Seirra after finding out the AMU was doing it. Later they came out with M-852. All you need is 41.5 grns 4895, Fed Match Primes, and the 168 SMKs, across the course, If you move to the 1000 yard Service Rifle match, then use the same load with the 175 SMKs (you dont have to reduce the powder).

http://photos.imageevent.com/kraigwy/posting/websize/M1A%20_1_.jpg

4EVERM-14
April 29, 2010, 07:43 PM
From what Slamfire and kraigwy posted I feel like a twin brother separated at birth. Almost everything they posted I have also done. Got the tee shirt too. I have had Douglas/Barnett barrels on all of my guns and have never been unsatisfied. I even tried having one barrel 'frozen' but saw no difference in performance . A lot of it comes down to the talents of the armorer. Getting an M1 or M14 to shoot can be somewhat of an art form. I have shot standard profile chrome-lined barrels that were very accurate. I like 1-10 twist. The 6 groove seems to work well with Sierras. The 4 groove seem to like the 173FMJ's. Filling the butt with lead shot helps recoil control. Clean the gas system every three hundred shots. Use a 12 gauge shotshell for a bore guide. One load [168's] for the whole course makes the ammo question easy. There's more but that's all I can think of now. Shoot, enjoy!

ssblair
May 1, 2010, 08:44 PM
Thanks for the insight guys!