This is a discussion on Hornady Superformance 168 gr A-Max in M1A within the Ammunition forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I got a box of this new ammo to try out in my Squad Scout. A gunsmith friend warned me that I could possibly damage ...
I got a box of this new ammo to try out in my Squad Scout. A gunsmith friend warned me that I could possibly damage my operating rod with the Superformance because the rifle was not designed for this hotter load. I don't want to break my baby. It likes the Regular Hornady 168 gr A-Max. Anybody out there have experience with the Superformance ammo in a M1A?
Listen to your gunsmith friend. Here is the link to Hornady Superformance Information for Gas Operated Firearms; http://www.hornady.com/ammunition/su...rated-firearms
Because of the pressure curve duration is longer, it may cause high port pressure. Thus damaging the Op-rod.
Ultimately the decision is up to you. Your rifle likes the regular 168gr. A-MAX, keep shooting those. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Me, I won't shooting Superformance in my Socom 16.(I roll my own)
Last edited by geepee3; July 22nd, 2011 at 06:31 PM.
I talked with both Springfield and Hornady and got the go ahead. Springfield in particular claimed that anything between 110 grains and 180 grains is safe. Anything. That said, I sold the two boxes I picked up before hearing what they have the potential to do. Can get them for a primo price from time to time, and would love to shoot them and see, but just not worth the risk in a 25 year old M1A. Not when theres Black Hills or Hornady Custom for the same price (or less). That, and don't think for a minute that when it goes "pop" and something is broke that SA or Hornady will fix it. That was my deciding factor. Thought about shutting off the gas, just cause I already had the shells, but didn't even want to go through the effort. Best thing, just steer clear.
If we were loading for ultimate long-range hunting performance, with a suitable hunting bullet for, say, muleys or small elk or antelope out to 400 yds, or what have you, I'd say it might be worth it to go looking for the best velocity.
But we're not, are we? Nope! We're mostly looking for target accuracy and consistency, which is achieved with somewhat lesser velocities, and proper re-loading techniques and components. I'm sure this is why SAI and others are so adamant about not using even regular-recipe reloads, esp. when they mostly come from a reloading manual that stresses high velocities as the end-goal.
As far as I know, only Hornady in their newest manual offers "Service Rifle" sections for the M1 and the M1A operating systems, and both list significantly lowered-pressure loads with specific powders under those headings.
So, as a gunsmith, I'd strongly suggest that you save the Superforce stuff and otherwise "normal" bolt gun reload recipes for your strong bolt gun!
Over Christmas I got a box of 150grn Superformance ammo to fire in my Socom, I was testing some handloads and needed a benchmark load. What I really wanted was some of the Federal OTM 168grn stuff (I was testing 168grn bullets) but all they had was the SF stuff.
There was a thread on using the SF stuff in the M1a specifically, and my reply would be the same:
I bought a box of 150grn Superformance ammo when I was out in Nevada over Christmas to shoot in my Socom16.
The surplus stuff I had (RG and Belgian) averaged 2600fps, the Hornady ran 2750fps.
I don't recall over-generous recoil or anything, but I only fired 4 rounds. I don't recall what the fired cases look like, either, but I can dig around in the scrap bucket and find them.
As they say, nothing is free, and I decided to just keep the rest of it for my future Savage bolt gun...
Hornady MAY have be using something like the new RL17 powder in their Superformance™ ammo that I've mentioned this morning on another thread on the AMMUNITION sub.
This new powder is nothing like the existing RL series, i.e.: it's not "faster" than RL19, or slower than RL5; it's just different, and so far it's showed some remarkable performance by providing a much different burn rate and Pressure vs Time curve. It burns initially slower, and provides a much longer and flatter pressure curve within the barrel. It may prove to be very useful in the M1A because it does not seem to generate the usual high pressure spike that traditional slower powders produce after they burn through their initial delay coating.
So, to sum up, the Superformance™ ammo MAY (NOTE: I don't know this , but I'm betting...) be using some "magical mystery powder". They as much as say so in their new reloading manual (8th Ed), where they refer to some initial new powder blends in their Superformance™ ammos, and the final blend of controlled performance powder they settled on.
Hmmm... maybe they are actually using Alliant's RL17!
This would make such ammo safe (or at least "safer"...) to use in your M1A, since it would not spike in the pressure curve and crunkle the op rod!
geepee3's link above is an excellent one, and it discusses at length the possible problems you might encounter with Superformance™ ammo in a gas gun. From what I get out of it, perhaps the Sadlak grooved piston (used in hi-performance M1A match ammo to relieve the pressure generated within the op system somewhat with high-velocity loads using 180+ gr ammo), or a Schuster adjustable gas plug, might allow for a better reaction within the op system. Only way is to experiment a bit, but be prepared to possibly replace a damaged part or two. Note: it's not going to burst the bbl or anything like that, but it may twankle(a Tech term, but remember it; it'll be on "the test"...)[/B][/I] your gas system!
Hmmm... maybe they are actually using Alliant's RL17!
It's actually a proprietary ball powder produced only for Hornady by St. Marks Powder.
It does not produce a spike in pressure but creates a longer pressure/time curve than conventional propellants. Chamber pressures are conservatively kept under SAAMI maximum average. They are not "hot" loads the just use a highly optimized propellant or blend of various speeds of propellants. They are prefectly save to shoot in M1A type rifles. Port pressure is slightly higher due to the longer pressure curve but the M1A gas system will vent excess pressure unlike the M1 Garand.
Hornady Superformance cartidges use Hodgdon Superformance powder. Superformance powder is a joint venture between Hornady and Hodgdon.( I am reading this on page 35 of Hodgdon 2011 Annual Reloading Manual.)
According to the Hodgdon burn rate chart in the manual, Superformance powder is listed at #125 on the chart. For comparision, Winchester 748 is #101, Alliance Reloader 17 is #114, IMR 4831 is #120.
To me(and I am no expert) Hornady/Hodgdon Superformance has to slow a burn rate for the M14/M1A platform. Remember Hornady is touting the long pressure curve. On the M14/M1A this can create too high port pressure, damaging parts of the gas system.