This is a discussion on Accurizing an M1A: Where do you start? within the Accuracy forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I've read articles on here about the gas piston, about the trigger group, about this, about that, . . . and the more I read, ...
I will give my .02, you have a loaded rifle and thats a good start saves some work and money. I like too start at the front of the rifle and work back.
#1 your flash hidder is already reamed.
#2 you have a NM front site.
#3 Unitized gas cylinder???
#3a Clearance the front furrel(optional) if there is contact.
#3b Shim G/C. (optional)
#3c Float the handguard. (unitized G/C needed)
#4 trigger job, your rifle is a loaded and should have a good trigger from the factory.
#5 NM rearsite, your rifle is a loaded and should have a modified std rear site with a ball and detent spring giving you 1/2 min windage adj. a NM hooded(looks like a can) rear apiture will need to be fitted to give you 1/2 min elevation adj. So in a nutshell your rear site is 1/2 way finnished.
#6 A good fitting stock will serve your needs for a while when the trigger group lockup(draw preasure) starts getting soft, it should be bedded.
Thats about the cheapest way to go, and most of the work you can handle.
Dwight, like you, I set out to improve my rifle best I could and followed the threads... bunch of useful info. Here's the list of items done in the EZ chair that brought 6 inch groups down to a close 2 inches at a hundred yards on my Scout.
Increase dwell time and trap the front band:
Plenty info on the shimming of the GC out there from Gus and Art. Both of these tweaks on my rifle came together using two shims for a total of .023" and a flip of the gas lock to bring a hand tight at 5 o'clock then torque to 6 for the plug. Also, the plug hit the piston 1/2 turn from hand tight. Torqued at 5/8. My band was very loose and now it's solid. Dwell time is maxed.
Clearance the handgaurd away from the stock:
Removing the handgaurd while you wait for parts and sanding a 1/16 to 1/8" clearance off the stock was way easy to accomplish. Word from the M14 accurizing manual says to place a flat piece of rubber between the handgaurd and the barrel upon reassembly. Also was told to just use silicone on both ends.
Eliminate rubs on the gas cylinder:
File and sand the shiny spots off the stock. Mine was pretty bad on the right side of my stock. Guess it got molded and they let it dry over a log. Your "Loaded" is most likely straight and stiff.
Increase draw on the ferrul:
Look up my recent thread on shimming a stock with flashing. Actually, I do not recommend doing this BUT it worked on my loose fitting plastic stock. I am still amazed. Anyways, part of that shim was on top of the stock and when the trigger gaurd cammed in, my draw increased a lot more than what I had before.
Assure a tight stock/receiver fit:
Just mentioned above about those cheap flashing shims I used. Well, they tightened my stock to the receiver and provided definite evidence of improving my groups at the range. For what it's worth... I'm convinced some form of bedding is essential whether it's glass, steel, torque screws or shims.
** I'd say evaluate and order what parts you need and while you wait, do the easy ones first. Hope that helps!!
You have a very nice rifle to start with. I would buy lots of ammo and shoot it as much as you can. If you are like me, my M1A loaded can shoot much better than I can. After some trigger time you will know what up-grades you want to make and why. Then the fun starts. Scott
My loaded shot pretty good right out of the box as far as the accuracy thing. I still increased the clearance of the handguard from the stock. I also shimmed the gas cylinder and replace the SAI front band with a USGI (much sturdier). Groups stayed tight. I have since did a lot more adjusting and replacing of parts but didn't have to, just wanted to. Some of the items that did not increase accuracy were: Sadlak tin coated gas piston, tubbs op rod return spring, USGI Big Red Birch Stock (although I like it a lot), and a USGI Winchester trigger system. I also agree that bedding the stock would probably be the #1 improvement to accuracy.
Out of the box my scout was at best a 4-5 moa gun. I replaced the factory piston with the TiN, replaced the op rod spring guide with sadlak version, shimmed the GC, and shimmed the trigger group with small pieces of a pop can for tighter lockup. With my best handload I got 2 moa (haven't tried to repeat it), but most ran between 3-4. I put a thin cardboard shim between the receiver and the stock ahead of the bolt stop on both sides, and got a lot more tension on the front band, and much tighter lockup. I also hogged out the ferrule area considerably for GC clearance. This got me a 1.5" group. Not sure which "fix" did the most good, but I'd have to say the cheapest ones worked best: shimming the GC, shimming the TG, shimming the receiver for more tension. I'm not sure the spring guide and piston did much for me. As always, YMMV.
Don't listen to any of this, its a trap. Run away now while you can. After you start doing the things suggested here and your gun starts shooting better than you hoped for. It won't stop there, next you will start thinking about the next one you want to build your self. So run. Or stick around its a good ride! Oh yeah I just turned to page 70! Arthritis, neck and back problems.
Give that man a cigar.The loaded can still use some smoothing up and still may be 5#(mine was a little over).
A perfect example of a trigger job helping happened to a friend of mine.After getting his smithing license he worked the trigger on his Taurus .357. His range is off his front porch where he shoots his 6" barrelled pistol at our rifle targets(hes a heck of a shot)He went from pie plate to eating a hole in the center of the pie plate with his hand loads.(you should see him with a rifle)
Just smoothing up the trigger on my Garand cut my 3 shot(hunting ammo) groups from 2"+ to 1.25(outside spread)
Alright, recently I posted asking on some advice about a gunsmith- it has been well noted, but I HAD to invest in a gunsafe so a smith will have to wait a while. Had weapons stuffed in every corner of the house and it was making me uneasy. I could see Johnny-Gangbanger at the pawn shop while i was out of the house... lol
I have been reading great reviews on the Tubbs Final Finish though, and I think Im going to put some down my barrel. Ordered the kit off midway today. Most of the reviews claim some significant accuracy gain as well as a lot of reduction in fouling, which is a plus. Anyone else used Tubbs?
Looking at my bore I can see machine marks. Its actually quite noticeable, and its a new NM barrel with less than 300 rounds down the pipe. Rifle barrels should not look like this.
Another thing- shims, seems like a decent low cost way to improve accuracy, can someone please explain to me how this works in depth? Does it help? My synthetic has a bit of play and flex near the gas system, its minor, but i think i could improve this with a minor fix, even if temporary. One day I will get a birch stock.
Last thing- is it worthwhile to attempt to bed a synthetic stock?
Im sure these are common questions that have been answered before, lol.