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Old October 4, 2012, 06:37 PM   #1
hermanpj
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Please help M1A Newbie: Gas Plug will not turn

Just unboxed my M1A Loaded today. Thats the standard, w a trigger job, plus national match medium barrell, nat'l match suppressor, and nat'l match sights minus the hooded aperture on the rear.

Mine is walnut stock. Have leather sling and leather cheekpiece on order from Springfield. Mounted Leupold 4 - 12 scope on a Springfield mount (the kind that replaced the stripper clip guide).

Shot well at the range, now trying to clean.

Unable to remove the gas plug w significant force applied. Springfield said shooting it would help as the heat cycle would help liberate the threads. However, still cannot get it off. Any ideas?

thanks in advance
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Old October 4, 2012, 07:01 PM   #2
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Are you using a gas cylinder wrench? The gas plugs on the M1A can be TIGHT. You will more than likely need to man handle it to get it off. Heat it up with a heat gun first it should help. After its off throw some break free on it before you put it back on
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Old October 4, 2012, 08:51 PM   #3
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^^^^^^ Yep.

The first time I took mine off, it took two men and a boy with a 12 foot breaker bar to break it loose.

It is really on there.

Once you get it off, put some anti seize on it when you reinstall it and you are good to go.
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Old October 4, 2012, 09:08 PM   #4
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If you just bought it, and just took it to the range,

YOU DON'T NEED TO TAKE IT OUT in the first place.

Lock the bolt/operating rod to the rear. Turn the rifle upside down and back again. You should hear the gas piston go back and forth.

It that's the case leave it alone and pay attention the SA's instructions.
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Old October 4, 2012, 09:24 PM   #5
p loader
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^^ agreed.

I don't shoot my M1A that much but have probably 500 rounds through it, haven't take the gas plug out yet.

Leave it alone!
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Old October 4, 2012, 09:50 PM   #6
hermanpj
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Thanks for fast reply. I've tried a 3 foot breaker bar. I've even tried an impact wrench. Heat cycle, even while still very hot from shooting, per Springfield's instructions did nothing. I will try a heat gun, differntial heat and cooling, and perhaps giving the plug some taps with a rubber mallet. i was wondering if penetrating oil might work or does it damage parkerized finish?

Any other ideas on how to free it without applying undue torque to the barrel or otherwise risking damaging the gun>

As to following Springfield's instructions: I tried. I was on the phone with nice but vapid lady who answers the customer service line. She spoke to a technician. Wouldnt let me talk with them. Their only suggestion was shoot the gun and it will come off through the applcation of massive amount of force. Literally those were the words used.

Other question: the manual and 1963 technical manual are a little vague on how you use the cleaning rod without dis-assembling the rifle. Was it originally designed that the weapon would be cleaned by inserting the cleaning rod from the muzzle? I am using a bore snake to clean it as it would seem like inserting cleaning rod at muzzle end would affect accuracy. Any light you can shed on the design of original cleaning rod and original barrel cleaning procedure?

to those who advise leaving it alone. what do you plan to do when it stops working?
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Old October 4, 2012, 10:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
the manual and 1963 technical manual are a little vague on how you use the cleaning rod without dis-assembling the rifle. Was it originally designed that the weapon would be cleaned by inserting the cleaning rod from the muzzle?
Yeap:

Get a one piece stainless cleaning rod. Get a empty 12 gage shotgun shell.

Punch out the primer of the shell, drill the primer pocket to fit the cleaning rod.

Slide the empty shell over the flash hider. Now you got a rod guy.

NEVER used jointed cleaning rods. That screws up muzzles.
Never us coated cleaning rods, carbon gets imbedded in the coating and you effectively now have a file you're running in and out your barrel.

I don't like bore snakes for the same reason I don't like the coated cleaning rod. The bore snake also gets full of carbon and other crap I don't want in my barrel.

You'll ruin a M14/M1A a lot quicker with improper cleaning then you will by no cleaning.

Again, I'd recommend shooting your guy 5-600 rounds then worry about getting the gas plug out. I betcha it will come out easier then.

Beats twisting the gas system on the barrel.

Just basing this on my experience using the M14/M1A for over 45 years, 35 of that in heavy competiton. Which includes maintaining about two dozen M14s belonging to my AK NG Rifle Team.
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Old October 4, 2012, 11:10 PM   #8
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I remember that I had to apply so much force to get mine off the first time, I thought I was definitely going to break something. But, I was following springfield's directions, and I knew the thing had to come off. I had to tap the wrench with a hammer to get mine off.

Definitely no reason to clean it yet though, like has been said as long as your piston moves freely.

If you do take it off, you should shim the gas cylinder for sure. This is the only reason I took mine apart to begin with, and it increased accuracy about 30% on mine. The gas system is not unitized on a "loaded" and shimming it (which is a very cheap and easy DIY project) helps with accuracy on most rifles. You can look it up on YouTube for directions or go over to the m14 forum.

Be warned- these rifles are addictive. I just bought another one that was in our local paper for too cheap to pass up. It's a NM M1a and the guy had bought every accessory there was at the time I believe, one of which was a bore guide for a cleaning rod that slips into the muzzle. I had previously been following Kraigs advice about the shotgun shell. Btw, he knows what he's talking about and always offers solid advice on the m1a platform.
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Old October 5, 2012, 02:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
I had previously been following Kraigs advice about the shotgun shell. Btw, he knows what he's talking about and always offers solid advice on the m1a platform.
Indeed he does.
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Old October 5, 2012, 11:11 AM   #10
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Kraig, MisterE, everybody - thanks so much!

I hope I didnt come off disrespectful in my frustration. Yall are awesome. I will make that 12 ga. guide then go get a single piece, non coated cleaning rod!

I'm also going to look into shimming the gas piston/tube on Youtube - once the plug is easier to remove. Can the gas tube be replaced simply w a national match gas tube and piston? or do we start talking about a ton of other parts like op rod and custom gun smithing at that point?

So maybe after 5-600 rounds enough heat and cooling cycles will have occurred that the plug will loosen? I'll come back for advice then if it doesn't.

Sincerely yall, thanks.

Attached photo of my M1A Loaded.

herman m1a loaded.jpg
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Old October 5, 2012, 11:26 AM   #11
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Now that looks like a M1A is suppose to look. Except I don't use scopes much.

Here's mine, been shooting it since 1977.

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Old October 5, 2012, 11:43 AM   #12
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Why do people feel the need to completely disassemble a firearm after each use? Do you suppose they disassemble their vehicle's engine every 5000 miles, also? From reading forums, I've noticed a lot more firearms have been damaged by over zealous attempts to "clean" them than from actually shooting.
I push a couple of patches through the bore now and then but I can't remember when I've torn a gas system apart. The main reason I may do a complete tear down(other than corrosive ammo) is getting a rifle soaked while hunting. The only rifle I've seen actually rust was taken out in a snowstorm and then brought inside but not thoroughly dried before going into the case for transport home.
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Old October 5, 2012, 02:01 PM   #13
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relax

Mobuck. New gun. Im not obsessive about teardown. Just my responsibility to ensure its in working order before using it. Additionally in SA manual shipped w gun gaspiston is listed specifically as the Only item requiring disassembly for normal maintenance. So id hardly call my interest in taking the gas plug off unwarranted.

Thanks for great advice kraig. Very sweet looking rifle!
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Old October 5, 2012, 04:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Get a one piece stainless cleaning rod. Get a empty 12 gage shotgun shell.

Punch out the primer of the shell, drill the primer pocket to fit the cleaning rod.

Slide the empty shell over the flash hider. Now you got a rod guy.
And to think i bought a bore guide....
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Old October 5, 2012, 06:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
If you just bought it, and just took it to the range,

YOU DON'T NEED TO TAKE IT OUT in the first place.

Lock the bolt/operating rod to the rear. Turn the rifle upside down and back again. You should hear the gas piston go back and forth.
For a new rifle I agree with this, however,

Quote:
^^ agreed.

I don't shoot my M1A that much but have probably 500 rounds through it, haven't take the gas plug out yet.

Leave it alone!
I consider this a poor example.

I am a fastidious cleaner of my guns. There I was in my Hut at Camp Perry, cleaning my M1a after a day of hard shooting, and a shooting bud comes in with his State Association M1a. His rifle was malfunctioning and he wanted to know why. I had my gas cylinder wrench and gas cylinder lock screw tool, and it took a heck of a yank to get his gas cylinder lock crew to break. He informed me he had been told never to clean his gas system. When the cylinder was in my hand, I was very surprised to see deep rust pits. The cylinder was also full of crusty powder residue. That was why he was having malfunctions; the timing of the rifle was off due to a plugged gas cylinder. Cleaning everything out, put “Anti Seize” on the gas cylinder lock threads and he was happy.

The next day my 200 yard RF group was awful, because I had only hand tightened my gas cylinder lock screw the day before and it unscrewed. I had been interrupted just before using the wrench in my hut, forgot about tightening the thing in the excitement of fixing my Bud’s rifle. I don’t multi task worth a flip. His rifle ran fine.

You do need to take the gas cylinder out and clean it out, I don't know how long you can avoid this, because I clean out my gas cylinder after each 88 round match. But I do know, if you push it out too far, you will have problems.
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Old October 5, 2012, 07:21 PM   #16
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Slamfire, you are talking about two extreme cases,

The first had to be more then 500 rounds. The second will case the gas plug not to seat and STAY.

Like I said.

Lock the bolt/op rod back. Turn the rifle upside down and back a few times. It the gas piston slides back and forth leave it alone. It it sounds/feels slugish, clean it.
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Old October 5, 2012, 08:39 PM   #17
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Well, the combo tool tends to work pretty well on my rifles but you may need to go with a 7/16" box end wrench if you really need the torque. I also use a gas cylinder wrench as well to prevent any unnecessary torquing on the barrel. Once you do get it off, you might want to use a bit of anti-sieze grease on the threads to prevent this problem from happening again. Good luck.
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Old October 6, 2012, 08:17 AM   #18
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Great looking rifle!

That is one great looking M1A Herman!

My loaded is the stainless barrel, composite stock version. I really wanted traditional walnut/blued, but got a good deal on this one used. Then I found that NM a few weeks ago in wood/blued and I'm in hog heaven.

Btw, how does it shoot? Have you shot for groups yet? Tried out the irons? I found the M1a's irons to be the most user friendly I've e er used on a rifle.

I thought of the 2 other things I did to my "loaded" that you may also want to try : replaced the op rod spring guide with national match spring guide from Sadlak ($40). Don't know if this improved accuracy, but it just makes sense to have that spring maintain a uniform shape during operation. The other thing was to shim the sides of the receiver with card stock which Kraig suggested. This was a free improvement in stock to receiver fit and can't help but improve accuracy.
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Old October 6, 2012, 08:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
replaced the op rod spring guide with national match spring guide from Sadlak ($40). Don't know if this improved accuracy,
It does improve accuracy.
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Old October 12, 2012, 03:32 PM   #20
hermanpj
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Sorry took me a while to reply as I was on a cub scout campout and then a hunting trip.

I'm interested in the card stock idea. Kind of like a poor mans glass bedding? is there a recommended procedure for creating the template for these?

I actually read some place about sheet metal bedding in lieu of glass bedding and, having an automotive shop in my garage, i was thinking about using my sheet metal brake to make some very thin shims to tighten up fit. Since its a new gun its really pretty tight anyway, but thinking about this down the line. Has anyone made metal shims/bedding like this?

Have already found the gas tube shims at brownells, have a one piece stainless cleaning rod picked out, and a rod guide (i also saves a 12 ga hull from my dove hunting trip... as a temporary rod guide). Will look into getting the national match spring guide. Also i have a gas tube wrench picked out for when my gun gets to where it needs the gas piston cleaned.

In terms of how it shoots, has only been to range once. Focus was on inital alignment of scope. It shot bullseye at 50 yards. Moved to 100 yards, and frankly the gun just shoots better than i do. I did have some nice groups a couple times, but I'm too used to 5.56 w virtually no recoil, and my AR has a 3 pound trigger... so between my newness to the platform, the higher recoil, the slightly heavier trigger, and really being more focused on trying to get it sighted in, i didn't really shoot it that well.

On another note, i did give the stock another drink of boiled linseed oil and after wiping of the excess the richness of the walnut is really coming out. I am also strongly considering getting the SA walnut handguard ( I do not mind the Garand look).
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Old October 12, 2012, 04:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
I'm interested in the card stock idea.
Forget the sheet metal ideal, Use file folders. The bage kind.

Remove the action from the stock. You'll see the indentations on the stock where the action fit.

One on each side of the mag well, and the horse shoe shape to the rear. Cut the folder material to fit. Use two layers.

Now, where the trigger group snapes in, you'll find two places (one on each side), Cut pieces to fit this spot. Use two layers.

When you put the trigger guard back in you should really have to force it to snap it in.

Now you have it bedded, Leave it alone. It should last quite a while.

Now there should be a gap where the gas system fits the stock. You'll have to squeese the stock toward the barrel to see this. Take a q-tip or something and force grease into that space. It should now be free floated except for the grease.

You don't need to take the action out of the stock to clean and lube it. Look where the op guide rides on the chamber, grease it. Grease the rails where the bolt slides back and forth. Grease the op rod where the bolt rides. Force as much grease as you can in the roller part of the bolt.

Don't over clean the gun. More guns are ruined by over cleaning then shooting dirty.

Only clean the piston when it sluggish slidding back and forth. Use the shot shell rod guide and stainless one piece rod sparingly in cleaning the barrel.

Good shooting.
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Old October 12, 2012, 05:21 PM   #22
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great stuff - thanks!
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Old October 13, 2012, 07:38 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigwy
Now there should be a gap where the gas system fits the stock. You'll have to squeese the stock toward the barrel to see this. Take a q-tip or something and force grease into that space. It should now be free floated except for the grease.
THIS!

Along with the card stock this is one of the more important accuracy tricks for the M1A. Make sure the metal contact points are smooth and lubed. I use a dab of moly assemble lube.

If you want a good DIY project you can make a NM spring guide out of a piece of drill rod. That is how the originals were made.
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Old October 15, 2012, 04:04 PM   #24
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when you are talking about the metal contact points, do you mean the contact points of the gas system, e.g. the surface where the gas system lock contacts the gas cylinder?
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Old October 15, 2012, 04:59 PM   #25
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Use penetrating oil. I'd hold off on messing with the stock fit until you figure out how well it shoots with match ammo. You start sliding loose stuff in under the rails and now you have to get it all back in the same arrangement everytime, and it may take longer to settle in after it's been taken out of the stock.
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