PDA

View Full Version : Question about M1A and ammo


nc eyedoc
April 2, 2011, 10:12 PM
My father gave me an old military M1A rifle. It is stamped 7.62 and Springfield Armory. I have little experience with rifles, but I have read conflicting information about ammo. Some people say it is ok to shoot .308 ammo. Others say that that could be a problem with a M1A and to only use old army surplus 7.62. I'd love to have a definitive answer to what is ok to use. Honestly, I've been afraid to even shoot it so far. TIA.

csmsss
April 2, 2011, 10:15 PM
An M-1A is not a military rifle. It is a strictly civilian copy of the M-14 manufactured by Springfield, frequently made with actual M-14 GI parts (occasionally even the receiver), but is not the same rifle as it cannot be made selective fire.

As far as the "difference" between .308 and 7.62 NATO, it is insignificant and you can fire either in your rifle.

nc eyedoc
April 2, 2011, 10:20 PM
That's good to know. My father got the rifle from his brother, and I just assumed it was ex-military. Thanks. Off to the range soon ;)

csmsss
April 2, 2011, 11:24 PM
Well, that's an awfully nice gift - especially if it's of older manufacture, when more of the parts were sourced from surplus GI stock.

DnPRK
April 2, 2011, 11:48 PM
M-1A, like the M-14, was designed to use medium burning rate powders. Commercial ammo that duplicates 147gr FMJ M80 ball will be safe as will 168 and 175 gr match ammo.

In the early 1980s when M-1As were new/scarce, there were many stories of broken extractors when shooting soft point hunting ammo. At that time, commercial ammo manufacturer's 308 Win market was bolt action rifles. They used slow burning powders to duplicate the velocities available in the larger capacity 30-06 cartridge case. That no longer seems to be an issue as commercial 308W ammo manufacturers modern 150 and 165 gr soft point hunting loads no longer cause extractor breakage in the M-1A. I suspect they backed off the slow powders and use medium burning rate powders now.

Ivan
April 3, 2011, 09:03 PM
Hello Folks,

For the most part, Commercial .308 standard velocity stuff with bullet weights at or under 180 grains should work here. Any "Light Magnum" or other higher than standard velocity stuff is to be avoided. The slow burning powder used in these rounds will have too much pressure when the bullet reaches the gas port and may bend or break something when cycling the action.

There are some interesting aspects to reloading for this class of rifle if you should choose to do so. A LOT of the statements by "experts" is just plain wrong. Workable powder choices are plenty and include IMR 4064, Winchester 748, and IMR 4895 in about that order. There are many more that should work, but I have had good results with these.

NATO military M80 Ball, M118 up to 173 grain (Dunno about M118LR), M852 Match should all work.

STAY AWAY from Venezuelan CAVIM ammunition. That stuff is within .308 Winchester specs, but is at the extreme high end for headspace. .308 Winchester is a strange caliber in that a maximum cartridge won't fit in a minimum spec chamber. The overlap is about 0.002 inch.

You have potentially a great rifle that can be tuned for sub MOA 10 shot groups. Enjoy!

- Ivan.

OJ
April 3, 2011, 11:35 PM
Ditto to the above - great rifle that's really fun to shoot - and mine digests everything I feed it - usually low priced Wolf or Winchester 150 gr ammo.

XS Sights has an aftermarket sight set that is a neat ghost ring set - rear aperture is twice the diameter of the stock sight and the white stripe on the front is tritium - should you ever find a need for a night sight - ;)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y25/kmastf/RIFLES/M1AXSGHOSTRINGSIGHTS.jpg

madcratebuilder
April 4, 2011, 05:44 AM
An M-1A is not a military rifle. It is a strictly civilian copy of the M-14 manufactured by Springfield, frequently made with actual M-14 GI parts (occasionally even the receiver), but is not the same rifle as it cannot be made selective fire.

As far as the "difference" between .308 and 7.62 NATO, it is insignificant and you can fire either in your rifle.

SA never used M14 receivers because of NFA laws. "Once a machine gun always a machine gun" ATF rule. SA did use usgi stocks, bolts, op-rods, gas blocks, flash hiders and all other small parts.

The vast majority of M14's in military service had the selector switch removed and operated in semi auto only, just like the M1A.

.308 is safe to fire in the M1A if it's 175 gr or less bullets. Call SA and they well send you a owners manual, your rifle has a lifetime warranty that goes with the rifle not the owner. Check SA's web sight about bolt recalls on some earlier rifles. If your rifle is one of them SA does it for free, including shipping both ways.

Vt.birdhunter
April 4, 2011, 04:49 PM
SA does mention not to use "hunting" loads designed for bolt .308's.

When I contacted SA over this they specifically mentioned not to shoot 180 grain loads from my M1A loaded. Look for 168 and 150 grain loads. Silver Bear makes the best of the cheap loads, IMO (zinc plated steel case).

Slamfire
April 5, 2011, 10:28 AM
I don't remember the last time I shot commercial ammunition in a M1a. I shoot target rounds, reload my own.

It is a gas gun and gas guns were designed around limited operating parameters.

Propellants and bullet weights are important considerations. You should shoot nothing heavier than 175s, though there was a 180 target bullet, but folks cut their charges for it. You should use powders no faster than IMR 3031 and no slower than IMR 4064. The military cartridge was developed with IMR 4895 and that is in my opinion, the "gold standard". Other powders that work fine are AA2495 and H4895. AA2520 is a ball powder that works.


You can shoot lighter bullets but issue ammunition was 150 grain stuff. Match ammunition was a 174 FMJ at 2550 fps. I have chronographed LC match and that is what I got, and that is what the box says I should get.

Pressures were not necessarily high, as long as they got the velocity they wanted, did not exceed 50,000 CUP, the ammunition was good to go.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Reloading/762NM1963AmerRiflemancropped.jpg