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Can't seem to beat 3 MOA

This is a discussion on Can't seem to beat 3 MOA within the Accuracy forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; Good day everyone, first I'd like to apologize for the grammar. Each paragraph are improvements/tweaks I have made and they appear in chronological order. It ...


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Old April 2nd, 2017, 09:11 PM   #1
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Can't seem to beat 3 MOA

Good day everyone, first I'd like to apologize for the grammar. Each paragraph are improvements/tweaks I have made and they appear in chronological order. It has come a long way since I first got the rifle and accuracy has improved a lot since. My norinco with a 18.5'' barrel was shooting groups the size of a pie plate at 50 yards and now it shoots 3 to 4 MOA depending on ammo and sometimes a few 2 MOA groups.

First thing I did to improve the accuracy was to shim the gas bloc and the groups considerably shrunk, almost by half, and it is overall the best accuracy improvement I have done so far.

Next thing I did was to install a better op rod guide. The groups size stayed the same but behave differently. Instead of having 3 shot close togheter and 2 flyers (one on each side) I have a more even group.

Next was a USGI wood stock. I didn't notice an accuracy improvement but the POI was different, it shot lower. Months later I made sure the gas cylinder and op rod would clear the stock. I also noticed the hole in the stock for the gas did not lined up with my gas system (difference between Chinese and US model I suppose?) so I drilled a new hole and plugged the old one. I also changed the handguard for a slotted fiberglass USGI.

Not an improvement but something that might be of consideration: I have lost my original gas piston. It appears 2 year olds can be sneaky and he stole it from me when I had my back turned and was cleaning the rifle. I have a different gas piston in but it didn't seem to affect anything.

I ditched the Norinco flash hider for a Springfield one, mostly for appearances, and saw no difference in accuracy.

I have used grinding paste for the trigger group to improve it, the result was more or less good. I went from a smooth first stage with a creepy, full of sand like second stage to a rough uneven first stage but cleaner second stage.

Next thing I did was to ask a welder to unitize the gas system. The result was ugly. One of the 3 weld cracked and another one went trought the plate in front the gas block (where the shim sits, not sure of the name sorry.) and bubbled over the shim. The gas lock still get tight at 5:30 and locks at 6:00 but I wonder if this caused more harm than good?

I have peened the barrel so the flash hider and gas lock would sit tight. Saw no improvement.

Now this is a picture of the best groups I have ever have. This was with norinco surplus ammo and federal blue box 150gr. The number represent the distance center to center in inches (X2 for the second since I shot this one at 50 yards) The target on the left was with federal ammo.



Now just last year I went on a course for 6 months and could not practice shooting and my skills suffered. Before having a chance to practice again I have sent the rifle to an armorer so he could fix the overly indexed barrel and replace the crappy norinco iron sights with springfield ones. He also put two piece of foam to secure the handguard. He gave me a report and told me my chamber measures 1.638 thou. He also put a S&J hardware spring which is heavier than the norinco one. Could this affects negatively accuracy?

Knowing my headspace measurement I decided to start handloading and resize brass to 1.634 thou. I also made sure there is a gap between the handguard and the stock and the receiver.

I decided to polish the trigger group working from 1000 grit all the way up to 2000 grit and the feel is better. The first stage is smoother and the second stage brakes cleaner.

Today I noticed the handguard would move back on the receiver under recoil. I am thinking of using some glue/JB weld behind the clip in the barrel groove so the handguard stop moving. Is this a good idea?
Also my handloads did between 3 to 4.5 MOA. I used 43 gr of varget and 40 gr of IMR4895 with 7,62x51 winchester brass and 168gr SMK seated to mag lenght.

I am now wondering if 3 MOA with occasional 2 MOA is the best my rifle could do or if this is the best I could do with this rifle. I'd be happy with a solid 3 MOA to be honest but I'm the kind of guy who always want more.

I'm sorry for the long post but I think I need some advice here and I know this forum is full of knowledgable people. Thank you everyone for reading this.

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Old April 2nd, 2017, 10:51 PM   #2
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If you are shooting at 100 yards from a bench then it may be the best you can do. Have you tried shooting it with a scope? Expecting under 2 or so MOA with the irons is not easy. And it is after all a Norinco.

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Old April 3rd, 2017, 04:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WaM14gunner View Post
Expecting under 2 or so MOA with the irons is not easy. And it is after all a Norinco.
^^^^This^^^^

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Old April 3rd, 2017, 06:26 AM   #4
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Hi Ammoholic,
Lots to get to here.
First, the barrel length of 18.5" The powder isn't all burnt up until around 19.25" so there is some loss in accuracy there.

Second, I noticed no mention of your current draw pressure on the fore end. For quick check, recommend some chrome tape under receiver front 10 degree wings on each side, until you have draw pressure where you can barely squeeze the barrel down with strong grip, and let go and see if it flexes back up against ferrule bottom and barrel band lip, add grease at this point too.

Third, have you checked for clearance on the stock ferrule and gas cylinder inside to make sure it isn't rubbing. It will show a mark on both if it is hitting. Recommend a round file to clearance stock ferrule from cylinder strike.

Fourth, maybe your barrel is shot out or no good to start with. Have you gauged the throat and muzzle for wear?

Fifth, try different projectile weight for your barrels' twist, recommend 147's to155gr.

Sixth, lose the Norinco surplus ammo for sure.

Seventh, check the crown on your barrel and see if it looks good or has nicks, dings, etc.

Eighth, clean your barrel real well and use copper remover after cleaning with Hoppes, then go back to Hoppes after all copper is gone and do it again....you will be surprised what you find....then copper remover again, and repeat until barrel is actually clean to the metal.

Ninth, make sure there is a gap between the front of the stock ferrule and back of the barrel band at the front.

Tenth, if all of this is done, may be time to find another barrel.

Good luck and keep us posted on developments........rip

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Old April 3rd, 2017, 07:01 AM   #5
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tony ben video's
https://www.youtube.com/user/tonyben3
http://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts...prod12579.aspx welded gas system
http://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts...prod42489.aspx gas cyl shims
hueygunner screw and glue gas system(your cylinder and ferrule)
http://www.hueygunner.com/
http://shop.shootingsight.com/NM-M14...Hammer-Set.htm

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Old April 3rd, 2017, 07:16 AM   #6
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It's hard to get under 3 moa with a GI stock. If you do, it's pure luck and the groups will open up as the wood fibers compress.

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Old April 3rd, 2017, 07:58 AM   #7
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In 30 years of tweaking and shooting over 200 Chinese/Canuck M14 rifles, I can say that almost all of them would do 3" five shot 100 yd groups WITH FACTORY AMMO THEY LIKED. Many would shoot 2" groups, some would shoot 1.5"groups, and a very few would shoot 1" groups. These groups were shot AFTER a thorough detailed inspection, using basic, simple, well known, tightening and tweaking techniques to correct any obvious deficiencies in fit and function. Most often all original CHINESE parts were used, but with a quick and dirty trigger clean up to get a CRISP/CLEAN break, and ALWAYS using a high power scope.

When testing a rifle for MECHANICAL accuracy, you want to minimise other variables, like the variabilites caused by the shooter. I no longer rely on my old eyes and iron sights for accuracy testing. A PROPERLY MOUNTED good ckear scope is ABSOLUTELY required. I usually shoot off a bench, with a simple forend rest, but on a good day I may shoot as well from prone as I do off a bench. Holding the rifle CONSISTENTLY the same from shot to shot is a skill developed with practice and good coaching. You might want to borrow the best shooter you know to see how well he does with your rifle? No point in spending $$$ trying to build an MOA rifle, if you are the weakest link in the chain. Until you can legitimately out shoot your rifle, the best accurising $$$ is spent on PRACTICE ammo!!!

Individual M14 type rifles can show very strong individual preferences for ammo. Ammo selection is probably the most critical component of "accurizing" an M14 type rifle, and I have seen the same rifle, on the same day, shoot MOA with one load, and 4" with a different load. As a generalisation, on average, the FEDERAL 150 gr BLUE BOX .308 WIN hunting SP ammo, is usually the best of the inexpensive commercial ammo I have found. For more consistency, 168 gr HPBT MATCH ammo usually shoots the best, but which particular brand YOUR rifle likes best is determined only by shooting some of each.

PS: some of my best M14 shooting was done with the 18.5" barreled Chinese/Canuck models, either the factory versions or thise built with cut down barrels. And, in my experience, accuracy is not overly dependent on tight head space, although I have some times seen significant improvements in accuracy from fitting in a tighter GI BOLT. A very expensive fix, and in most cases not required.
These opinions are based on my personal experience.
YPMMV
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Old April 3rd, 2017, 05:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazerus2000 View Post
Individual M14 type rifles can show very strong individual preferences for ammo. ........I have seen the same rifle, on the same day, shoot MOA with one load, and 4" with a different load..........168 gr BTHP MATCH ammo usually shoots the best, but which particular brand YOUR rifle likes best is determined only by shooting some of each.....
Lazerus2000
Man THIS is the God's-honest truth!!!!!!!

Once you've ruled out every possible fitment and function issue, and determined the barrel to be sound and accurate, the ammo is THE deciding factor in whether you achieve hero-like accomplishments, or utter rubbish, in your target-shooting endeavors. My three SAI commercial rifles that have now been clearanced and accurized and upgraded, in 16.5", 18.5" and 22" barrel lengths respectively, ALL shoot like a house on fire with Hornady 168 grain match BTHP factory ammo. My Nat Match is sub-moa at 100 yards, and my Socom and Scout are just a bit over 1 MOA, but only with that load. With different 168 grain match loads from other manufacturers such as Federal and Black hills, groups run slightly larger, but still excellent, in the 1.4" to 1.75" range on average. And with 150 grain bullets, all three guns will then shoot horrifying 4" groups, with NO consistency. I thought my scope had gone south at one point! Nope, it was just the case that my National Match especially will not shoot 147-150 grain projectiles worth a donkey's spit! I can load four Hornady BTHP rounds and fire them into a nice .75" cloverleaf, and then a few minutes later I can fire four rounds of, say , Fiocchi 150 grain FMJ, and I get a bizarre 4" string of silliness, three inches high, and with no rhyme or reason as to whether they string horizontally left to right, or diagonally, or whatever.......I only run 168 grain projectiles out of any M1A if I am shooting with ANY sort of reasonable accuracy expectations....

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Old April 3rd, 2017, 06:13 PM   #9
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FYI re the original 1960s-era M14 NM program accuracy requirements:

Quote:
"...M14 NM rifles were required to group no more than 3.5 " on average at 100 yards after three ten shot groups using M118 match ammunition. The maximum group size allowed for any single round of ten shots was 5.0 ".
....so getting 3 MOA for a 5-shot group is good for an M1A, especially one with the shorter 18.5 barrel and shot with iron sights.

Quote:
For more consistency, 168 gr HPBT MATCH ammo usually shoots the best, but which particular brand YOUR rifle likes best is determined only by shooting some of each.
I agree, and suggest you spend $25 to $30 for a box of Federal Gold Metal Match 168gr ammo and use that as a control round. Most M1As, at least those with 22" barrels, will shoot very well with this ammo.

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Old April 3rd, 2017, 08:43 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone.

From your recommendation there are a couple thing I will try.

First I think there is not enough draw pressure because I can slide a piece of paper there. When I press down on the barrel the stock feels like it's free floating and it touches the gas block, the stock ferrule is even peened a little bit. This makes me believe that once the rifle is on the sand bag the stock ferrule is contacting the gas block. I'm not quite sure how I can fix this?

Second I will go to a gun store and buy lighter bullets to try them.
I have tried some remington core lokt 180gr before and I was getting 3 MOA with them.

Third I will give a try to the hornady 168gr ammo. As mentioned by Lazarus2000 the federal blue box 150gr SP have been accurate in mine (between 2 and 3 MOA)

I forgot to mention I have tried a 3-9x and 1-4x scope before and I was still getting 3 MOA. That was with two different mounts. Now the scope is on a different rifle.

About powder, shouldn't a faster burning powder reach it's all-burnt point before the bullet leaves the barrel? The fastest rifle powder I have is IMR3031.

The rifle was manufactured in 2013 and I bought it new that same year.

I forgot to mention I have knurled the op rod guide and the op rod lines up center to the gas block.

Thanks again!

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Old April 4th, 2017, 03:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random Guy View Post
FYI re the original 1960s-era M14 NM program accuracy requirements:



....so getting 3 MOA for a 5-shot group is good for an M1A, especially one with the shorter 18.5 barrel and shot with iron sights.



I agree, and suggest you spend $25 to $30 for a box of Federal Gold Metal Match 168gr ammo and use that as a control round. Most M1As, at least those with 22" barrels, will shoot very well with this ammo.
Not entirely consistent across the board. See link. One thing you have to keep in my about all that old stuff and the loose term of NM, is there have been many things learned since then, and much better powders and projectiles developed.
Range Report 2017-04-02

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ammoholic View Post
Thanks everyone.

From your recommendation there are a couple thing I will try.

First I think there is not enough draw pressure because I can slide a piece of paper there. When I press down on the barrel the stock feels like it's free floating and it touches the gas block, the stock ferrule is even peened a little bit. This makes me believe that once the rifle is on the sand bag the stock ferrule is contacting the gas block. I'm not quite sure how I can fix this?
I posted how to fix it for you Ammo under second and third listing items. You have to build up on the slanted front edge of your stock where your receiver sits. This will increase front draw pressure. For ferrule peening, use a round file or rasp and cut it back away from striking your gas cylinder.
Second I will go to a gun store and buy lighter bullets to try them.
I have tried some remington core lokt 180gr before and I was getting 3 MOA with them.

Third I will give a try to the hornady 168gr ammo. As mentioned by Lazarus2000 the federal blue box 150gr SP have been accurate in mine (between 2 and 3 MOA)

I forgot to mention I have tried a 3-9x and 1-4x scope before and I was still getting 3 MOA. That was with two different mounts. Now the scope is on a different rifle.

About powder, shouldn't a faster burning powder reach it's all-burnt point before the bullet leaves the barrel? The fastest rifle powder I have is IMR3031.
Yes, but 3031 is the slowest burning powder anyone should use in an M14 and I don't recommend it to all. IMR-4064 is the slowest burner you should use. For your rifle I suggest IMR-4895The rifle was manufactured in 2013 and I bought it new that same year.

I forgot to mention I have knurled the op rod guide and the op rod lines up center to the gas block.

Thanks again!
The alignment of the op rod tip with the gas system is not important as many think. It is more important that it rides in it's rail correctly and straight and true.....and does not strike the barrel ring and under the clip guide at the rear. If you knurled the barrel too much and forced the op rod guide on it, it may be constricting the barrel when it heats up....causing accuracy issues.

But after your latest post, I'm certain it's gas cylinder strike at the ferrule due to clearance issues and weak draw pressure. Fix those two and you will attain MOA with the right ammo if your shooting ability is there personally.....in your case, I believe it is there because nobody chases accuracy this much if they don't love precision, ......and you do.

Thanks from Ammoholic
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Old April 4th, 2017, 05:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Not entirely consistent across the board. See link. One thing you have to keep in my about all that old stuff and the loose term of NM, is there have been many things learned since then, and much better powders and projectiles developed.
Yes, that is true, but since 2007 I have found that Fed GMM 168gr ammo to really shoot well out of match-prepped M1As, so I use it as the "standard" or "control load" when I try different handloads with my most accurate M1A, which is my SAI M21 Tactical Match.

Feb 2017 testing results with my M21 (Fed GMM 168gr measured 0.65 MOA in 5-shots !?):


May 2015 testing (this is more typical of the .75 to .90 MOA I can get with Fed GMM):


...but comparing my rifle with the original poster's short barreled rifle is sort an apples vs oranges comparison (M21 Tactical Match with optional Kreiger heavy SS barrel, SAI installed M25 Radar trigger with 1.5 lb pull, and Sadlack gas piston, etc):

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...psa97c2b12.jpg

....so I'm a little reluctant to raise his expectations, but M1As with all the tweaks and carefully selected ammo can shoot almost as good as a highly quality bolt action rifle...


Last edited by Random Guy; April 4th, 2017 at 03:43 PM.
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Old April 15th, 2017, 06:54 PM   #13
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I've decided to try shimming the trigger group to improve trigger lock up in hope to increase draw pressure. I've noticed that because the stock is USGI, there's a cut where the connector would go and I havn't filled that.The front part of the receiver sinks in that hole. No ammount of shims will fix that. I am wondering if I should change stock for once that was designed for a semi auto if I really want to improve accuracy.


I've loaded some 125gr to see if the rifle likes it and more 168gr but with some BLC2 this time. Looking at my target from previous shoot IMR3031 have more consistent group than IMR4895, but the I remember the recoil impluse of 40gr of IMR4895 felt better and smoother. Other powder I have on hand, if anyone wants to make recommendation, is IMR4064, CFE223, Leverevolution and Varget.

I'm going to the range tomorrow, hopefully I will be happy with the result.

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Old April 15th, 2017, 07:33 PM   #14
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Thumbs up Roll your own !

I have NEVER had ANY store bought ammo that was as accurate in ANY of my M14 rifles over the years as my own home rolled ones.

Thru many hours at the range and much testing using different powders and weights of them I found that each rifle was different, not much but different none the less.

You will come to realize there is no "quick fix" to any of your accuracy issues. Much of whats been posted is correct IMO.

My suggestions are similar in many aspects and none of mine are opinions of others and not taken from a book or magazine.

The 168 gr. HPBT MK Sierra, LC brass trimmed and sized to specs, CCI primers and IMR 4064 or IMR 4895 for powders. This combination is my personal choice backed up by many years of rewarding match results and experience.

I wish you much luck and success in your quest for the best results shooting your rifle. Most of the fun IMO is the time at the range and in the reloading shop chasing and learning all the tricks to acheive what you are after.

It never ends !

JOKER

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Old April 15th, 2017, 08:02 PM   #15
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Pvt. Joker says it well here people...
OP, listen up and DO practice!

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