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Difficult to shoot?

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Old May 21st, 2020, 05:49 PM   #1
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Difficult to shoot?

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

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Old May 21st, 2020, 05:56 PM   #2
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I never found the M1A "difficult rifle to shoot" unless I shot the barrel out. It's all up to the shooter, is the shooter looking for 3/4" groups at 100 yards or an 8 or 10" group at 100 yards. It's all up to the owner of the rifle marpson.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 06:14 PM   #3
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I think they meant its a difficult rifle to shoot well, as in MOA or anything like it without a good scope set up. I can occasionally shoot MOA with my iron sight rifles, but not on demand, with a scope its a different story.
Much depends on the rifle quality, barrel, trigger etc. They can be made to shoot very well with some work and diligence by the shooter.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 06:39 PM   #4
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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
We didn't say the rifle was "difficult" to shoot, we said the rifle wasn't "easy" to shoot.

The standard M1 and M14 rifles have a learning curve. Uncle Sam called it Basic Rifle Marksmanship. It was a week on the range, followed by another week called Advanced Rifle Marksmanship.

As issued (9 lbs, iron sights, 6 lb trigger pull), one needs to learn how to control and manipulate the weapon. The more you add to the rifle (heavier barrel and stock, scope, bipod, lighter trigger) the easier it tends to be.

Pour a glass of your favorite antiseptic and watch these two videos. The first basically describes what you are up against. The second one describes how to beat it.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 07:13 PM   #5
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All the above and a consistent position. All the pressures and placements need to be the same. A decent indicator is how the rifle moves in recoil. It should be consistent.

Note: You will likely have a different zero with each position.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 07:15 PM   #6
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I agree with those who stated that the M14 isn't difficult to shoot but it can be difficult to shoot well without good technique.

The M14 has a heavier recoil than the M16/M4 and that complicates rapid fire accuracy. If you don't have a good position, it will move the shooter around sufficiently that consistency will be lost. The M14's ergonomics aren't quite as good as the M16/M4. I think the M14's ergonomics are superior to the M1 but not as good as the M16. I do like the M14 trigger better than the GI M16 trigger but AR match rifles don't use GI triggers - they use 2 stage match triggers. When shooting a GI M16, it i difficult to get consistent sling tension and if you don't, you will see a POI shift. M14's don't have that problem but once competitiors began using free floating barrels on AR's that was no longer a problem. The AR match rifles have evolved significantly from the orginal M16 service rifles and, in most ways, they have eclipsed the M14 rifle in terms of accuracy.

It is also harder to keep an M14 shooting in top condition than an AR.

I have an old friend who began shooting in competition back in the early 50's. He has shot the M1, the M14 and AR's in competition. He once told me "You either shoot an AR or you get beat by one". I'm not implying that you can't shoot an M14 well. It is just more difficult to shoot it better than AR. When a point or two separates the winner from the runner up, an easier to shoot rifle can give you that point or two.

I still love the M14 - it is hard hitting and is plenty accurate for combat use.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 07:26 PM   #7
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I would replace the word "difficult" with the word "fickle".

Having spent most of my life shooting bolt actions I found the M1A to be a very challenging rifle.

I was very disappointed with my Scout right out of the box.

Came here to learn more about the rifle and how to reload for it.

Many years later and still learning.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 08:56 PM   #8
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With my Scout, getting it under 2 MOA at 100 yards seems to require a good amount of concentration and consistency, that I don't always necessarily have. Getting 5 MOA at 100 yards with an optic (I don't see all that well without one) shooting relatively quickly (settle the crosshairs and go) though, is pretty flippin' easy. With iron sights shooting as fast as I can land a sight picture, chasing a can on a sand pile, it's also quick and effective enough to put some holes in the thing, and if it isn't actually putting holes in the can, get close enough to make it dance. That my impression from limited experience anyway.

Apart from sighting devices (iron or glass) being loose, something that I noticed in a video with some WHoo Haas complaining that "It just can't be that hard" is a fear of recoil may be responsible for difficulties for some shooters, possibly inducing flinching, or maybe a better term is 'anticipating the recoil' which will screw up the performance of any rifle, but particularly a rifle that is fairly reactive to what a shooter does during the shot.

In that regard, I have noticed that if I'm flat out clamping my cheek bone down on a hard stock or riser (Possibly set too high because the term 'weld' might have been taken too literally) it can feel unpleasant (which is why I don't do that anymore). However, properly set up and fit, it shouldn't be more than a playful tease of a shove, kind of like, "Do it again bucko!" like when that hot girl wanted to show you she wasn't some easy push over, but still wanted to play.

I don't know if it applies to the OP, but if the prior reference for shooting was a .223 Rem, I can see how there might be a little acclimation period to simply relax and accept the shot. After getting used to 'full power' cartridges, mainly .308 win and 7.62x54R, .223 Remington, via either my bolt rifle or my mother in law's AR, feels like a very verbal pellet gun. If that was a prior reference, the difference could be initially distracting, whether the shooter realized it or not.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 10:38 PM   #9
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I learned to shoot the M-14 in Marine Corps Boot Camp. When we first started to
shoot our shots were somewhat scattered. After many hours (days) of getting into
positions, dry firing, etc. we became very good at hitting targets out to 500 yards.
Be realistic. The standard M-14 is not a target rifle, it's a Battle Rifle.

Last year at Camp Perry I watched the Rattle Battle Competitions. Most of the
teams had AR type rifles. While most people didn't pay a lot of attention to the
teams I did notice this. When the M-14 (M1A) team approached the firing line
people took notice and started to take pictures. I was really surprised. A person
with a M-14 in his hands and knows how to shoot it well earns a lot of respect from
people. This is something worth pursuing.....


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Old May 22nd, 2020, 02:57 AM   #10
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I've seen the same. The M14 deserves the respect that it gets.
Practice and do well.

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Old May 22nd, 2020, 03:16 AM   #11
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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.

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Old May 22nd, 2020, 04:49 AM   #12
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In both of the videos KurtC put up there, . . . I found one technique that I had to get rid of in order to get my shooting where I wanted it.

I do not lay my right hand thumb over the back of the stock like I'm trying to grip it.

I lay my thumb along the stock pointing toward the front sight.

Sounds goofy in a way, . . . but just that minor technique change took my shooting from two MOA down to darn near one MOA.

This is my rig I shoot in the picture. That target was shot at 200 yds . . . bipod . . . glove & sling.

May God bless,
Attached Images
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 05:21 AM   #13
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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
You need to work on it all. The M14 will bring out any weakness or flaw you have in shooting technique.

Breathing control, trigger control, body position, consistent cheek weld, consistent sight picture in scope or irons.
Focus, patience, consistency.
If you get loose, so do your groups.

It’s easy to shoot, difficult to shoot well.

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Last edited by Capona; May 22nd, 2020 at 05:50 AM.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 11:24 AM   #14
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It's all about skill and skill comes with practice...

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Old May 22nd, 2020, 11:46 AM   #15
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The M14 is a fantastic platform.

Once you "find your groove" with it, the weapon will shine!!!

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