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Old August 30, 2011, 06:57 PM   #1
FrosSsT
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Springfield M1A Ammo Question

I have an M1A that I have yet to buy ammo for. I have read a lot of mixed reviews about using 7.62 vs .308. Some people say they are all the same and other people (along with SA) say that you should stick with the 7.62 NATO rounds "because the primers are tougher and reduce the risk of premature firing when the bolt goes forward" I heard anything from 147-180 is recommended and to stay away from soft points. My question is for all you M1A owners, what type of ammo do you guys run through your rifles?
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Old August 30, 2011, 07:48 PM   #2
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Commercial .308 is fine in them. Commercial .308 is a slightly different round than the 7.62 NATO, but the M1A should be headspaced to shoot either. The soft primer slamfire is very very very remote possibility, but if you are pointing the rifle where it should be when loading, then all is well. The warning against commercial ammo is a CYA lawyer thing, IMHO. You would probably need not only a ridiculously soft primer, but probably a high primer that stands proud of the case as well, in order to get a slamfire from normal loading. Maybe someone here has some experience with a slamfire and can give more info on that, but I shoot almost exclusively commercial .308, and have never had an issue. For best accuracy, you will probably want to stick with 168 gr HPBT, like Sierra Match Kings. Federal Gold Medal Match or Black Hills are both great target rounds for the M1A. I hunt with soft point Core Lokt bullets in my M1A, and no issues. I think the warning against soft points is mostly because they do not always feed reliably from the magazine, but I've never had an issue. Do stay away from heavy bullets. I would call 175 gr the upper limit. Heavy rounds will damage your op rod.

ETA: Do not buy any of the light magnum loadings they have out there.

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Old August 30, 2011, 07:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
I have an M1A that I have yet to buy ammo for. I have read a lot of mixed reviews about using 7.62 vs .308. Some people say they are all the same and other people (along with SA) say that you should stick with the 7.62 NATO rounds "because the primers are tougher and reduce the risk of premature firing when the bolt goes forward" I heard anything from 147-180 is recommended and to stay away from soft points. My question is for all you M1A owners, what type of ammo do you guys run through your rifles?
I would suggest paying attention to what the manufacturer recommends for their rifle.

I shoot my reloads through my match rifle. I am very careful to use powders with appropriate port pressures and bullets that do not exceed 175 grains.

Your rifle was designed to function with ammunition originally loaded with IMR 4895 and 150 grain bullets and 175 grain bullets.

Velocities for the 150 grain bullets were around 2700 fps and followed this pressure curve



That inset, with the pressure drop, that is absolutely critical to the proper operating of this rifle. Too slow of a pressure drop gives high port pressures and hard extraction.

The 175 grain loads were not hot by today’s standards. And that velocity max of2550 fps, is real. It is what I have chronographed with white box ammo in a match M1a.



Powders slower than IMR 4895 are liable to over accelerate the operating rod. Since the bolt rebounds off the receiver heel, repeated hard impacts are hard on the sidewall of the receiver.

This is a Garand receiver with a cracked sidewall, but rest assured, it happened with M14’s and M1a’s.





With bullets heavier than 175 grains it is also easy to have excessive port pressures.

Unless the ammo box says it is OK to use in a M1a, you can assume every commercial round you buy was loaded for bolt rifles. Bolt rifles don’t have port pressure issues. Many commercial rounds are “magnum” level, you don’t want that in your rifle.
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Old August 30, 2011, 08:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
The 175 grain loads ... velocity max of 2550 fps, is real. It is what I have chronographed with white box ammo in a match M1a.
Ditto here on my own 173gr M118 LC Match which I Oehler chrono'd on 12/19/10

V = 2549±08fps

It amazed me......
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Old August 30, 2011, 09:52 PM   #5
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In my mind there are 3 different groups of ammo for 7.62mm/.308 rifles...

1) Factory ammo, mostly geared toward hunting although rounds like Federal's Gold Medal Match (FGMM) are aimed toward match or target shooting;

2) Modern production factory ammo that more or less duplicates the military M80 7.62mm round, normally utilizing a FMJ bullet in the 147grn range;

3) ...and military surplus, typically duplicating the M80 7.62mm round. The difference between #3 and #2 is surplus isn't typically recently manufactured (there is currently available surplus from the '70's and '80's...) and it has other military features (like crimped primer pockets or Berdan priming.)

I have some of each of those categorys as well as my own handloads. You will need to determine what your purposes for your ammo are. You want to go chase some pop cans? Informal paper poking? Or do you want to get down to some serious target shooting? My #1 would typically be the most expensive, #3 typically the least, particularly if you buy in bulk or case quantities.

I would stay away from hunting-type ammo and, as another poster mentioned, 'Magnum' performance cartridges. I shoot soft point handloads in my M1a, I have never had a problem.

There is also a 4th category... steel-cased ammo. It's very inexpensive compared to brass-cased ammo but, IMHO, I would stay away from it in the M1a. There can be feeding issues and some claim it's hard on the ejectors (and other parts including the chamber.) Others use it and claim very good service... to each his own.
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Old August 30, 2011, 10:18 PM   #6
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Every now and then I used to get a slamfire (mostly Federal 210 match primers) in my loaded M1A. After switching to CCI #34 primers I have had no such problems.
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Old August 31, 2011, 09:46 AM   #7
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I would suggest paying attention to what the manufacturer recommends for their rifle.

I shoot my reloads through my match rifle.
SAI specifically say no reloads.
j/k

I understand what your saying.

SAI's legal disclaimer. This disclaimer has changed several times over the years. My 1982 owners manual is much different than this current one.

Quote:
The M1A is designed and built to specifications to shoot standard factory military 7.62 NATO ammunition. The specifications for standard military ammunition include harder primers to withstand the slight indentation from the firing pin when the bolt chambers a cartridge. This slight indentation is normal. The use of civilian ammunition with more sensitive primers or handloads with commercial primers and/or improperly seated primers increase the risk of primer detonation when the bolt slams forward. This unexpected "slam fire" can occur even if the trigger is not being pulled and if the safety is on. Use of military specification ammunition will help avoid this. Everyshooter should use extreme caution when loading this or any other firearm. See page 15 for instructions on proper loading to help avoid a "slam fire". Also see enclosed article on “Slam Fire” written by Wayne Faatz.

4. Use only recently made high quality, original military or factory-manufactured ammunition of 7.62 caliber. Old ammunition may deteriorate from age causing it to be dangerous. Do not use cartridges that are dirty, wet, corroded, bent or damaged.
Any .308 or 7.62 FMJ in the 150-175 gr weight range should be fine in your M1A. Surplus 7.62, particular the recent German DAG is good shooting ammo. There are several companies offering match grade .308 specifically for the M1A and .308 barreled M1's.
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Old August 31, 2011, 10:08 AM   #8
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^^
7.62 NATO and .308 are NOT the same. Potentially higher pressures with the .308, and larger headspace of the NATO chamber can be an issue.

This explains it:

"Before we go much further, we want to address the oft-posed question “are the .308 Winchester and 7.62×51 NATO one and the same.” The simple answer is no. There are differences in chamber specs and maximum pressures. The SAMMI/CIP maximum pressure for the .308 Win cartridge is 62,000 psi, while the 7.62×51 max is 50,000 psi. Also, the headspace is slightly different. The .308 Win “Go Gauge” is 1.630″ vs. 1.635″ for the 7.62×51. The .308′s “No-Go” dimension is 1.634″ vs. 1.6405″ for a 7.62×51 “No Go” gauge. That said, it is normally fine to shoot quality 7.62×51 NATO ammo in a gun chambered for the .308 Winchester (though not all NATO ammo is identical). Clint McKee of Fulton Armory notes: “[N]obody makes 7.62mm (NATO) ammo that isn’t to the .308 ‘headspace’ dimension spec. So 7.62mm ammo fits nicely into .308 chambers, as a rule.” You CAN encounter problems going the other way, however. A commercial .308 Win round can exceed the max rated pressure for the 7.62×51. So, you should avoid putting full-power .308 Win rounds into military surplus rifles that have been designed for 50,000 psi max."
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Old August 31, 2011, 04:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
^^
7.62 NATO and .308 are NOT the same. Potentially higher pressures with the .308, and larger headspace of the NATO chamber can be an issue.

This explains it:

"Before we go much further, we want to address the oft-posed question “are the .308 Winchester and 7.62×51 NATO one and the same.” The simple answer is no. There are differences in chamber specs and maximum pressures. The SAMMI/CIP maximum pressure for the .308 Win cartridge is 62,000 psi, while the 7.62×51 max is 50,000 psi. Also, the headspace is slightly different. The .308 Win “Go Gauge” is 1.630″ vs. 1.635″ for the 7.62×51. The .308′s “No-Go” dimension is 1.634″ vs. 1.6405″ for a 7.62×51 “No Go” gauge. That said, it is normally fine to shoot quality 7.62×51 NATO ammo in a gun chambered for the .308 Winchester (though not all NATO ammo is identical). Clint McKee of Fulton Armory notes: “[N]obody makes 7.62mm (NATO) ammo that isn’t to the .308 ‘headspace’ dimension spec. So 7.62mm ammo fits nicely into .308 chambers, as a rule.” You CAN encounter problems going the other way, however. A commercial .308 Win round can exceed the max rated pressure for the 7.62×51. So, you should avoid putting full-power .308 Win rounds into military surplus rifles that have been designed for 50,000 psi max."
M1As are headspaced for both rounds, tobnpr.

Jason
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Old September 1, 2011, 09:30 AM   #10
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The supposed difference between 7.62 ammo and 308 ammo is the way the two rounds are measured. The 7.62 is measured in CUP (Copper Units of Pressure) and the .308 is measured in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch)
The two measuring systems are NOT the same nor is there any reliable means of correlating them. (50,000 CUP is not equal to 50,000 PSI) When both rounds are measured using the same method, they are essentially identical. There are some dimensional differences but they are not significant. Military ammo is designed for looser chamber tolerances to assure extraction in a dirty, hot, worn weapon.
The primary difference in ammo for an M1, M1A, M14, is as a previous post'er has stated, the burning rate of the powder and the pressure curve that results from that burning rate. All of those firearms were designed for use with IMR 4895 (Improved Mililtary Rifle 4895) or a near equivalent with a 150 ~ 175 grain bullet. Variations, particularly with slower powders or heavier than 175 grain bullets may be destructive to your rifle.

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Old September 1, 2011, 09:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobnpr
^^
7.62 NATO and .308 are NOT the same. Potentially higher pressures with the .308, and larger headspace of the NATO chamber can be an issue.
The head space specs are a few thousandth different for the field gauge. SAI sets head space in their rifles to be safe for both .308 and 7.62. New rifles should have a tag attached stating the head space.

The pressures are not the issues, they are for all practical purposes the same pressure.

Here are some quotes from a article by FALPhil on the .308 vs 7.62.

Quote:
The internet firearms and shooting culture is a relatively close knit group and very computer savvy, as hobby groups go. Many of the community are members of the several dozen discussion groups that revolve around the special interests of gun owners.

Because of the nature of the internet and the inherent tendency of human beings towards believing anything that sounds reasonable, without applying critical thinking skills (probably a result of trends in government school systems – but that is another treatise), there is much misinformation available to the casual gun enthusiast about a variety of subjects concerning firearms.

One of the most pernicious of these “urban legends” is that there is a significant difference in the pressures between the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge and the 308 Winchester cartridge. The misinformation indicates that using the commercial offering in a military weapon will visit death and
destruction of biblical proportions upon the miscreant who would attempt such a thing.

The real problem is the confusion between the old and the new methods of pressure testing. The old pressure testing method used for the 7.62 NATO cartridge started out life in the 1950s and is still published today in the US Army Technical Manuals. The figures are based on the copper crusher
method in CUP, but are published as PSI. The new method is the piezoelectric strain gauge transducer method; it is the same technology used today to show an automobile’s oil pressure. The piezoelectric strain gauge transducer pressure method is a direct pressure reading based on an absolute standard, where the older copper crusher method a conversion based on a relative measure and a conversion chart. And this is why you see the difference in the pressure readings, but the older 52,000 CUP is equal to 62,000 PSI (piezoelectric transducer method).

Today, these two methods are called CUP and PSI and the readings are different, but 52,000 CUP equals 62,000 PSI and both are the same pressure, similar to the way 60 MPH equals 100 KPH.

Conclusions

The pressure difference between the two rounds is insignificant, the real problem is commercial ammunition has thinner cases that were not designed to shoot in military chambers BUT we do it all the time anyway and this why you see more case head separations on commercial cases fired in military chambers.

The M118 special long range round is loaded to 52,000 CUP (all other U.S. 7.62mm are 50,000 CUP) which would be equal to the pressure levels of commercial ammunition, this means actually there is no pressure difference between the .308 and 7.62 NATO for the M118 cartridge.

No accurate conversion between copper crusher and true pressure exists, but approximations can be made. In all the conversions outlined above, pressures are in thousands of PSI (KPSI). Expect errors of several KPSI, or about 15%, with such formulas. Many factors determine how much the indicated pressure reading from a crusher misses the true pressure, and the error varies among cartridges and even among different loads for one cartridge. The conversions might be accurate enough for many practical purposes.

So, to sum everything up, the pressure difference between the 308 Winchester and the 7.62x51mm NATO is less than 2,000 PSI which is statistically insignificant. The same pressure variation may be achieved by firing any rifle on a hot day and on a cold day or by changing brands of primers. It is safe to shoot 308 Winchester in your 7.62x51 rifles (even the Ishapores) and vice versa. Handloaders should be aware that they should reduce the amount of powder when using military 7.62 NATO cases by about 10-12% and work up to safe pressures with corresponding velocities.
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Old September 1, 2011, 10:13 AM   #12
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"...SAI specifically says no reloads..." That's a CYA thing for their MBA's. Most manufacturers say the same thing in their manuals.
"...7.62 NATO and .308 are NOT the same..." Prior to there being an Internet, the cartridges were the same. Lots of shooters used 'em interchangeably and reloaded for 7.62NATO battle rifles(M14/M1A's, G3/HK91's, FALS of all makes) with no fuss.
"...stating the head space..." Headspace is a rifle manufacturing tolerance only. It doesn't get measured. Haven't ever seen a new rifle from any maker with any tag nor anything else that states the headspace.
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Old September 1, 2011, 11:39 AM   #13
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Someone once said, "Don't use a powder faster than IMR 4895 or slower than IMR 4064" and so far I haven't found too many folks who disagree with that statement, although some folks have been getting good results with Reloader 15 (as in the current M118LR) and Varget.

But both Re15 and Varget are very similar to 4064. If you keep your powder charge sane and velocities modest (2650 with a 168gr BTHP or 2550 with 173~175 bullet) you should be just fine.

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Old September 1, 2011, 05:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Haven't ever seen a new rifle from any maker with any tag nor anything else that states the headspace.
It's funny you should mention that, lol! The M1A does come with exactly that: a little blue plastic zip tie around the trigger guard, with just such a tag.

Looks like this :




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Old September 1, 2011, 08:23 PM   #15
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M1a rounds

I have five M14s. Armscorp, LRB, and 3 Springfield's. I only use brass cartridges, and non-corrosive primers. I have shot .308 and NATO from 147 gr to 210 gr. and never had a problem. I have shot conventional hunting ammo to match military ammo. I also shoot my own reloads. The M14 is not a real finicky weapon IMO with regards to ammo. Most of the rounds I have shot are between 147-168 gr. with the 147 being cheaper stuff and the 168 gr being more expensive, but, my preference. 168 or 173gr Lake City Match is typically used to shoot matches.

Regards,
BS
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Old September 2, 2011, 07:07 AM   #16
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Headspace is a rifle manufacturing tolerance only. It doesn't get measured. Haven't ever seen a new rifle from any maker with any tag nor anything else that states the headspace.
As Jason posted the M1A comes with a head space tag. I have my two originals and a third for a bolt recall. SAI sets head space so both .308 and 7.62 meet spec.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenSalior
I have five M14s. Armscorp, LRB, and 3 Springfield's.
Welcome to the forum Sailor. How would you compare your different M14's? Does the LRB or Armscorp shot better than the SAI's? Interesting to hear you have had good luck with 200+grain bullets. The heaviest I have loaded are 178.

Last edited by madcratebuilder; September 2, 2011 at 07:13 AM.
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Old September 2, 2011, 04:46 PM   #17
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Use GI or equivalent ammo, only

In essence, the M1A is an improved Garand. The rifle was designed and built to run off GI ammo, 150gr in the mid 2700fps range, or the 173 Match in the mid 2600fps range. Loads significantly outside this are hard on the gun, and can even damage it.

Look at commercial .308 published specs. Velocities with the 150gr SP in the 28-2900fps range. Not good for your gun.

You wouldn't run 100 octane in a car made for 87, would you? Stick with what the rifle was built to eat and all will be well.
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Old September 2, 2011, 09:48 PM   #18
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i have used wolf, DAG, HP, radway green, selier&bellot, and a few others


i prefer the DAG. 200rd battle packs for around $80 if u look carefully
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Old September 3, 2011, 12:37 AM   #19
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I shoot .308 and 7.62 in mine with no problem now, i had to get a new receiver on mine because it cracked all the way thru.It was an original 60s production, so its seen more then enough rounds through it. Only other problem is that last time I took it to the range, I was shooting mil surp DAG ammo,Im trying to figure out the problem so the weapon doesnt replicate the problem. It would only shoot semi auto, I tried to fix the problem by adjusting the gas plug and spindle valve, no luck, so I shot it semi auto and as I shot it, the action became stiffer with each round and eventually seized up, easily fixed with a leather mallet to the op rod. to open the bolt. I striped the weapon to every possible part even disassembling the bolt, mechanical parts seemed fine and all in working order. I spent half the night cleaning out all the caked on carbon deposits in the hard to reach places. any suggestions?
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Old September 3, 2011, 12:35 PM   #20
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M1A.. or M14?

Pvt Long, the M1A will only shoot semi auto. There is no full auto capability.
There is no "adjustment" on the gas cylinder. The piston is described as "self regulating". The spindle valve cuts off the gas flow to the piston, so grenades could be launched (M14). It is either on, or off, there is no adjustment there, either.

Your post confused me, if you could clarify, I might be able to help.

I have no idea what DAG ammo is, could that be your problem?
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Old September 3, 2011, 02:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
I have no idea what DAG ammo is
"DAG" is surplus NATO 7.62 made in Germany. Supposed to be some really good stuff from what I hear, though I haven't had the oppurtunity to shoot any myself.
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Old September 3, 2011, 03:05 PM   #22
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I suspect that he was saying that the rifle failed to cycle and he had to manually cycle the bolt for each shot "until it seized up completely" and then he used a mallet. Sounds like severe dirty gun syndrome. He also says that he has a "replacement" receiver for the one that cracked. I wonder if there are some "fitting" issues with his original bolt assy in the replacement receiver.
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Old September 4, 2011, 09:13 PM   #23
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its an m14 system. I havnt had any problems untill recently. Just incase there was a problem when i replaced the recivier I had my local gunsmith install it and check and see if everything fit perfectly, and it was green. Even put 50 rounds of american surp thru it to see it it worked properly, no problem,worked flawlessly. The m14 came is two configuartions auto and semi auto. the m1a is the cvilian reenacarnation thats caught hold noly diffrence is when it was produced. Dirty gun syndrome it wasnt. every time i shot it even after 5 round the weapon was field stripped and cleaned. simple training from the guy I inherited it from. DAG is great i think i just got a bad batch. It eats thru everything from handloaded to wolf tula and bear. This is the main malfuntion I have had. I was thinking if I just get all new springs. For lube of the gun I use good old fashion axle grease.
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Old September 4, 2011, 09:21 PM   #24
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Quote:
its an m14 system. I havnt had any problems untill recently. Just incase there was a problem when i replaced the recivier I had my local gunsmith install it and check and see if everything fit perfectly, and it was green. Even put 50 rounds of american surp thru it to see it it worked properly, no problem,worked flawlessly. The m14 came is two configuartions auto and semi auto. the m1a is the cvilian reenacarnation thats caught hold noly diffrence is when it was produced. Dirty gun syndrome it wasnt. every time i shot it even after 5 round the weapon was field stripped and cleaned. simple training from the guy I inherited it from. DAG is great i think i just got a bad batch. It eats thru everything from handloaded to wolf tula and bear. This is the main malfuntion I have had. I was thinking if I just get all new springs. For lube of the gun I use good old fashion axle grease.
Huh?
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Old September 4, 2011, 11:57 PM   #25
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I'm totally confused. If you have a military M14, turn it in to your armorer for repair. If you have a registered civilian owned M14, as I have, you cannot get a "replacement" receiver. If the receiver breaks, tough s##t.

What do you have?????

BTW interesting information in the pic of the M118 specs. I reload a lot of 7.62 using pulldown WC846 powder. My charge is 44.5 gr behind a 147 gr FMJBT bullet. I chrono the load at 2680 fps and it's spot-on accurate in both my M14 and an Imbel FAL rifle.
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