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Difficult to shoot?

This is a discussion on Difficult to shoot? within the Accuracy forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; Thanks to all for the thoughts and videos. I love shooting the firearm that’s for sure. Appreciate all the good feedback!...

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Old May 22nd, 2020, 03:57 PM   #16
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Thanks to all for the thoughts and videos. I love shooting the firearm that’s for sure. Appreciate all the good feedback!

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Old May 22nd, 2020, 05:29 PM   #17
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I turned 18 and joined the US Army without ever carrying a center fire rifle to the woods to hunt.

I had shot my father-in-laws deer rifle 2 or 3 times for a total of maybe 8 or 10 rounds at handgun distances without every really having any "schooling" or positive results (I was aiming at the head of the chickens thinking it was sighted in like a good .22 squirrel gun - nope, it wasn't and I guess I shot over their heads).

I shot an M16A1 in basic and AIT in 1975.

I got to Ft. Myer in late Jan. 1976 and was issued a TRW M14 that I didn't get my hands on for a few weeks as it had been sent down to Ft. Belvoir for maintenance above/beyond what the company level armorers could do.

It came back, I got to "pull it out" of the company armory and carry it for ceremonial practice and to field strip it, clean it, lube it and put it back together to turn back into the armory for additional ceremonial training over the next few weeks.

We went to Ft. A. P. Hill for a week of "field training" later in the spring, early summer, before it got hot, snaky and ticky.

We loaded up in the trucks and they took us to a rifle range to zero our M14s at 25 meters. 1976. Everyone else in the Army had M16A1s and had been shooting them for years. No one mentioned slings to us or how to use a sling. We did not practice dry firing or getting into position or have any early that morning training, evaluation or coaching. They explained the range safety rules, they explained where to aim (Canadian Half Bull they called those targets) and where the bullet impact should be vs. the aiming point at 25 meters.

We got ammo and I laid down in the dirt along side a bunch of other guys and shot my first 3 shot group with TRW 1490317. It took another couple three shot groups to get the POI where it was supposed to be (the top X) and we were about to wrap up zeroing when the company 1st Sgt. came by to look at the targets. He started hollering and yelling and pointing at a target and wanted to know "who shot that target" while pointing at my target. I raised my hand and told him the target was mine. He pulled me closer to the target and asked a couple questions and then told me that when I got ready to shoot for qualification he wanted me to come get him and let him know because he wanted to watch me shoot.

Maybe I was just a natural with the M14. Maybe TRW 1490317 was built just right and made to make the shooter look good.

I qualified expert (again, no one taught us how to use that sling for anything but carrying the rifle on our shoulders when it wasn't in our hands).

At a later date, when there were riots in DC and we were on alert I was called out of the platoon area and told to report to the 1st. Sgts. office. Three of us sat there waiting while he went in and out and finally someone asked why we were sitting in his office while our platoons were gearing up to be transported into DC if things got bad enough. The answer was that the three of us would be issued live ammo and be attached to our platoon leaders (with the radio operators). If the platoons were to be fired on by rioters while carrying out our assigned duties it would be up to the platoon leader to order us to fire on the rioters to protect our unarmed (except for M14s and bayonets) platoons for hostile fire.

I don't think that sunk into my brain at the time. l know I felt proud to be that well thought of by the 1st Sgt, Co. Commander, etc.

We sat there a few more hours, the conditions in DC improved (or never got worse) and we got the orders to stand down and turn in our equipment and were allowed to go back to bed.

Is the M14 hard to fire? I never thought so. Many years later I went to an Appleseed and then an RBC and really learned how to use a sling and my skills with an M14/M1A really improved.

Will an M14/M1A replace my M700 varmint special .223 for varmints? Nope. It will sure do a number on anything big enough to harm me before it can harm me - if I do my part.

An AR15/M16 is easier to shoot. I've never seen anyone get a busted lip or bloody nose from putting there face on the back of the receiver on one. I've never heard people laughing/joking about someone crying on the rifle range because they kick too hard. Can't say that about the M14.

Will an AR15 shoot smaller groups than an M1A? Yeah, some of mine shoot some pretty nice groups.

Will an AR15 shoot through building walls, cars, trucks, trees, etc. and carry through to the real target behind that "cover?"

My M1A will.

Learn to use that sling to set up a good sling supported firing position. Until you do you'll never believe what that sling can do for you in regards to helping manage recoil and for putting you back on target faster and more precisely. Once you "get it figured out" you won't be able to shoot for that big grin on your face when all you have to do it let that breath out to find the sights back on the target for the next shot.

Shoot, inhale, let your finger release the trigger to sear reset, exhale, shoot, and repeat till you're done.

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Old May 22nd, 2020, 05:53 PM   #18
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I find the usgi fiberglass stocks alittle odd but I don't think it's difficult to shoot.

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Old May 22nd, 2020, 09:10 PM   #19
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Maybe I'm the odd guy (I've heard that before) but the M14 and I were friends from the first touch. I liked that rifle even before I shouldered it the first time. It fit me like a glove. When I was 19, my eyes were just a bit better than now and I swear I couldn't miss. 48 years later, when I'm in the groove I can shoot 1.5 minutes using my Loaded M1A with NM iron sights. I'm trying to learn what I'm doing wrong with my shooting, in hopes of firing those 1.5 min groups all the time rather than just on good days.

IMHO, the M14 just requires a little respect. Give it that and you get a lot of bullets in the same place.

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Old May 23rd, 2020, 05:41 AM   #20
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"Difficult to shoot" is relative to other platforms. Most people interested in military type rifles start with the AR-15. The AR-15 is a forgiving platform. You can have flaws in your fundamentals and still get pretty good results with it. The M14 is not forgiving. It will punish those flaws and give you larger groups.

A traditional stock is harder to shoot well than a modern pistol grip stock, especially if you are accustomed to the modern pistol grip. It's easier to keep the modern stock in the correct position for consistent groups. Add the 7.62 NATO recoil to the traditional stock, and the M14 will beat you out of position during fire strings, unless you know how to compensate. It is also easier to have good, consistent trigger control with the modern stock. Overcoming these challenges with the M14 takes practice. The M14 is no worse than any other semi auto rifle with a full power cartridge and traditional stock.

I recommend dry fire as the first step to improve your performance with the M14. Pay special attention to your sight picture and whether it is moving when you break the shot. Make sure your trigger finger is not in contact with the wrist of the stock. After that, practice with live ammo to learn how to control the recoil. Work on keeping the rifle in position from shot to shot. Don't try to go too fast.

Mechanically, the M14 is less accurate than a direct impingement AR. Realistically it's a 2 to 3 MOA gun (but so are true mil-spec AR's). It's meant to be minute of man to 600 meters and be reliable in battlefield conditions. It was never designed to be a tack driver. If you find ammo it likes, you can probably get it between 1 and 1.5 MOA. It's a robust rifle with plenty of practical accuracy for its intended purpose. If you want to invest time and/or money to improve the accuracy, there are a wide range of things you can do, from the simple (relieve the handguard so it doesn't contact the stock) to the complex (bedding the action).

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Old May 23rd, 2020, 06:50 AM   #21
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They are maybe referring to the little things like recoil, when it compares to recent rifle models.

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Old May 24th, 2020, 05:43 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Killbug View Post
Back when I used to shoot a lot of high power rifle competition, we used to joke that the M1a (M14) was like a fine lady. Required a lot of attention, a little fickly at times, but the rewards of the relationship were well worth it. The AR-15, on the other hand, was more like a crack-: cheaply eager to please but left you empty. :)

Few things are more satisfying than learning how to clean the 200yd sitting rapids with the M1a. If one can master the techniques of position, sight alignment, and trigger control enough to do that, you will shoot ANY rifle expertly.

Worthy of a signature quote there

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Old May 24th, 2020, 05:59 AM   #23
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It's relatively difficult to make bench rest target rifles out of em.

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Old May 24th, 2020, 06:25 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by bigFOOTin View Post
They are maybe referring to the little things like recoil, when it compares to recent rifle models.
Gotta feeling most of the whiners are used to video games with no recoil and multiple shots allowed till the target explodes.

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Old May 24th, 2020, 06:47 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by nf1e View Post
Gotta feeling most of the whiners are used to video games with no recoil and multiple shots allowed till the target explodes.
Art, I wish this wasn't true but many young folks only exposure to shooting service rifles is video games and articles written by so-called "experts" who base their opinions on what others have stated - oftentimes out of context.

The fact of the matter is that every firearm has its advantages and disadvantages but one will never truly understand them if they don't get out and shoot them - a lot.

My personal beleif is that M14 type rifles are great "general purpose" rifles. They aren't the best at everything - that is a fact - but they perform many tasks well assuming the shooter is well trained and has practiced with the rifle.

Just my two cents worth.

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Old May 28th, 2020, 04:09 PM   #26
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I'm 59 and I have a Scout. I shoot it out to 300 yards with irons. I'm not a grouping guy, my benchmark is combat accuracy and it shines in that category. Good luck and practice, practice, practice....

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Old May 28th, 2020, 06:41 PM   #27
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I don’t think it is that difficult to shoot well. My rifle is all USGI spec except for a NM front sight and I shot the 10 round group below last Sunday while testing hand loads at 50 yards. It’s a service rifle, so I have no expectations of sub MOA groups.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 06:52 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by marpson View Post
I was looking at a thread today and several members much more experienced than me said the M1A was a difficult rifle to shoot. I have been trouble grouping. Can anyone expand on why they think it is a difficult rifle to shoot and what I need to work on? Thanks in advance

marpson, OP...

I do not think the M1A is any more difficult to shoot well than any other rifle once you learn it's quirks and anomalies!...

Last edited by JEFFJP_N_JJ; May 28th, 2020 at 06:54 PM. Reason: typo
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Old May 28th, 2020, 07:58 PM   #29
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When I got my Fulton Armory M14, I was able to shoot 3-4” groups at 100 yards. Did tons of research, and decided on several upgrades. I wanted to reduce the recoil, reduced the trigger pull, and improve the operation for cycling. The first thing I did was to install the Wolff Gunsprings M14 Upgrade Kit. Then I added the Sadlak Op Rod Spring Guide. The results were amazing. The Sadlak Op Rod Spring Guide is solid and heavy, replacing that skinny hollow on that came with my M14. Combined with the stronger Recoil Spring from Wolff, my recoil was reduced by more than 50%. The other springs in my Wolff M14 Upgrade Kit, replaced the Trigger, Hammer, Extractor and Ejector Springs. Viola - lighter, smoother and crisper trigger pull, plus overall smoother operation. My groups were cut in half, averaging around 2” at 100yds. Just mounted a Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope, using a Crazy Ivan Scope Mount. Expect to get 1” groups whenever the range reopens.

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Old May 29th, 2020, 02:28 AM   #30
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Practice and a good system, ammo, rifle , shooter = 100 yd success.

Last edited by nf1e; May 29th, 2020 at 02:43 AM.
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