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View Full Version : M1A Match Build Plans: Seeking Advice


benchracer
July 06, 2017, 17:49
I have an early Springfield M1A that I intend to have built up for use in Service Rifle Matches. I plan to send my rifle off to Krieger for a match barrel (medium profile) and basic accurizing services:


Bedding
Ream Flash Hider to NM Specs
Unitize Gas Cylinder (TIG weld)


The trigger group is a mix of GI and commercial parts. Is it best to have a trigger job done, or go with a complete NM trigger assy?

My rear sight is an early M1 Garand lock-bar style sight. What parts do I need to convert to a NM rear sight (and delete the lock-bar stuff)?

I also see NM gas pistons and NM Op Rod Spring guides available. Are these worthwhile upgrades?

Are there any other critical items for a match build that I am overlooking?

BTW, my rifle currently has a GI wood stock (with the selector cut) on it. I realize there are some big compromises inherent in keeping the GI stock, but there doesn't seem to be a lot in the way of options out there. From what I can tell, the options are GI wood, GI fiberglass, and McMillan. Everything I can find indicates the McMillan is, by far, the best choice for a match rifle. But, I just don't think I can live with its fat proportions. I like the feel and proportions of the GI wood stock that is on the rifle. For now, I plan to keep the original stock and have it bedded, while I look for better options.

Jarhead504
July 06, 2017, 18:46
Send your rifle to Jon Tank of Tank's Rifle Shop, Fremont Nebraska OR Fulton Armory in Maryland OR Warbird's Custom Guns ion Houston OR go to Art Banks house in CT and get any one of them to make you a nice, reliable, accurate and expensive M-14 clone. Art's house is where I'm headed after I get my next M-14 clone receivers; LRB's and when the space ship lands, a Bula Forge one.

When you are ready to shoot for competition, get a Rock River NM AR with a match grade trigger and a 1:8 twist barrel with a Wylde chamber. Then you can start winning matches. After the frustration of spending your time, energy. money and patience on building that wonderful M-14 clone, throw in the towel and get a quality AR-10 like the LMT or SIG716 or even a lowly DPMS and marvel as the above mentioned AR-10, which is a thousand times easier to scope than an M-14 clone - with the exception of the Un-obtanium Bula Forged models like Art Banks rakes in by the dozen - shoot circles around your ancient "dinosaur" rifle, as the youngstahs' call them. Even better yet, just make the general accuracy improvements to your M-14 clone WITHOUT national matchatizing it completely and then you will be able to enjoy the M-14 for what it is, a great rifle for serious homeland defense. Then go get a competition AR and if you dare to go full bore into the future, get a SCAR in 308.

You have been warned,

Jarhead
Certified Member of the M-14 Cult

benchracer
July 06, 2017, 19:22
I probably should have mentioned that I like my "dinosaur rifles" and have ZERO interest in AR pattern rifles for Service Rifle matches, though I have a full understanding of their advantages.

It is always good to know where one can find a good M1A/M14 smith, as that sort of knowledge seems to be disappearing rapidly, so thank you for that.

I had Krieger re-barrel and accurize a Garand for me awhile back and was VERY pleased with their work. They also typically have a reasonable turnaround time and I know what their work is going to cost me up front.

In part, my motivation for the match build is that my M1A literally groups like a shotgun. It has obvious bedding issues, but I suspect it would probably benefit from a re-barrel also. What are the general accuracy improvements you have in mind vs a full NM build?

tdb59
July 06, 2017, 19:43
I will also recommend Ted Brown.


http://www.tedbrownrifles.com/





............................

ArtBanks
July 07, 2017, 06:16
Please do not come to my house.
I only build rifles for my own collection.
Thanks

Semper Fi
Art

Jarhead504
July 08, 2017, 13:59
I probably should have mentioned that I like my "dinosaur rifles" and have ZERO interest in AR pattern rifles for Service Rifle matches, though I have a full understanding of their advantages.

It is always good to know where one can find a good M1A/M14 smith, as that sort of knowledge seems to be disappearing rapidly, so thank you for that.

I had Krieger re-barrel and accurize a Garand for me awhile back and was VERY pleased with their work. They also typically have a reasonable turnaround time and I know what their work is going to cost me up front.

In part, my motivation for the match build is that my M1A literally groups like a shotgun. It has obvious bedding issues, but I suspect it would probably benefit from a re-barrel also. What are the general accuracy improvements you have in mind vs a full NM build?

The problem with glass-bedding the M-14 is that is will need lots of maintenance in future to keep up the accuracy that the bedding gives you. Since you are putting a world-class, cryogenically treated, top-of-the-line barrel on it first, that is going to be your NUMBER ONE improvement investment. Getting the gas cylinder tigged to the front band is going to help. It has to be welded to each other PERFECTLY SQUARE, a feat that most schumky "welders" CANNOT DO. I like the fatter op-rod spring guides like SADLAK, Brookfield Precision and others. You should look into some quality N.M. rear and front sights.

If you want to improve the trigger, I would only POLISH the hooks and flats on the hammer, trigger and sear. Like polish them with crocus cloth or just jewelers rouge and Brasso type polishing to make them shiny and smooth, not removing any material (steel). DO NOT have anyone GRIND, FILE, ABRADE or any of that other shit on your trigger mechanisms. You will be sorry as almost every time they will ruin the system for you all the while charging you and then you will have to spend more money, time and energy replacing the ruined parts and then having to polish them as you should have done so in the first place. I polish every surface where one piece of iron slides on another. POLISH, not grind. On some of the surfaces I might stone some of the rougher machine marks but avoid taking off material past the surface hardened depth. Just polish smoooooth.

A few years back on the M-14 website, Gus Fisher stated the USMC "discovered" that one of the best improvements for the M-14 was to get the gas piston that worked the best in the particular rifle. This takes time and money as you have to get several gas cylinders and plenty of ammo to see which piston greatly enhances the accuracy.

I ain't no expert. You have to consult with Art Banks or others around here for the real facts. I'm only a Certified Member of the M-14 Cult and not an actual rifle builder. Keep us posted on what you are doing with this rifle.

Also, Brother Benchracer, you said this is an "early" M1A, with the M1 Garand bar sights. What is your serial number? I had some in the 10K range and I still have some in the 12K and 13K range bought in 1979 and 1980. Remember back then there weren't many choices for 308 semi-auto, military-styled, look-a-likes.

Jarhead

benchracer
July 08, 2017, 16:40
Also, Brother Benchracer, you said this is an "early" M1A, with the M1 Garand bar sights. What is your serial number? I had some in the 10K range and I still have some in the 12K and 13K range bought in 1979 and 1980. Remember back then there weren't many choices for 308 semi-auto, military-styled, look-a-likes.

Jarhead

My serial number is in the 0088XX range. I believe that to put the date of manufacture some time in 1978.

benchracer
July 08, 2017, 17:14
The problem with glass-bedding the M-14 is that is will need lots of maintenance in future to keep up the accuracy that the bedding gives you. Since you are putting a world-class, cryogenically treated, top-of-the-line barrel on it first, that is going to be your NUMBER ONE improvement investment. Getting the gas cylinder tigged to the front band is going to help. It has to be welded to each other PERFECTLY SQUARE, a feat that most schumky "welders" CANNOT DO. I like the fatter op-rod spring guides like SADLAK, Brookfield Precision and others. You should look into some quality N.M. rear and front sights.

If you want to improve the trigger, I would only POLISH the hooks and flats on the hammer, trigger and sear. Like polish them with crocus cloth or just jewelers rouge and Brasso type polishing to make them shiny and smooth, not removing any material (steel). DO NOT have anyone GRIND, FILE, ABRADE or any of that other shit on your trigger mechanisms. You will be sorry as almost every time they will ruin the system for you all the while charging you and then you will have to spend more money, time and energy replacing the ruined parts and then having to polish them as you should have done so in the first place. I polish every surface where one piece of iron slides on another. POLISH, not grind. On some of the surfaces I might stone some of the rougher machine marks but avoid taking off material past the surface hardened depth. Just polish smoooooth.


Jarhead


My rifle has a very loose stock fit. The trigger guard closes with no resistance at all. It currently shoots 12+" inch groups @ 100 yards, with POI that jumps several inches between shots. No matter what I do, I am going to have to address this issue somehow. Curiosity has me thinking of trying the "beer can shim" trick as a temporary measure to see how much the situation can be improved by addressing bedding. Longer term, though, from what I can tell, I have two basic options: (1) Have a new stock tightly fitted to the action. (2) Have the action bedded to the existing stock. If my understanding is correct, either option is subject to degradation over time.

The trigger on my rifle isn't too bad. Your idea of simply polishing up the contact surfaces makes sense. A complete NM trigger job, or replacement assy may not be necessary.

I think I will probably go with the Sadlak NM Spring Guide and one of their gas pistons. Going with NM front and rear sights also seems like a wise choice. I am just not sure what is required to make the switch on the rear sights. I have seen mention of fitting being required, but it is unclear to me if that only applies to converting existing sights, or if that would also apply to replacing the entire assembly.

MAINER
July 09, 2017, 10:15
Going with NM front and rear sights also seems like a wise choice. I am just not sure what is required to make the switch on the rear sights. I have seen mention of fitting being required, but it is unclear to me if that only applies to converting existing sights, or if that would also apply to replacing the entire assembly.


My old '42 Garand thinks it's a great idea to put NM sights on that M1A and would like its Lock Bar rear sight back. :biggrin:

If you don't have any plans for the old rear sights, I would be interested. I don't know what is involved to change them out, but think it should not be a big deal. If these things are worth stupid prices these days, the Garand will just have to suffer thru with as best it can with the present equipment.

I never got interested in the M1A, but have high praise for the M14's of the 60's, except that it was too heavy until it was needed. ;)

Good on you for keeping with the last of the Blue Steel and Walnut rifles. The AR is an OK rifle and definitely an accurate one, but it lacks the soul of the Garand, FAL, and M14/M1A. Maybe the next generation will grant it some.

Jarhead504
July 10, 2017, 17:53
[QUOTE=benchracer;4447872 Going with NM front and rear sights also seems like a wise choice. I am just not sure what is required to make the switch on the rear sights. I have seen mention of fitting being required, but it is unclear to me if that only applies to converting existing sights, or if that would also apply to replacing the entire assembly.[/QUOTE]

All your choices are good ideas for improving your rifle's accuracy. Be prepared to have to HAND FIT just about every part you go to replace, especially the rear sight base. Just take your time and check every angle and fit , stone or polish a few strokes, then check again. Remember to always hone on the CHEAPER of the two parts when getting them to fit first. Often times you have to hone on both, buy measure and inspect thrice; hone once.

Jarhead