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Maintaining a M1A Super Match

This is a discussion on Maintaining a M1A Super Match within the Modern M14 forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I’m the proud new owner of a former LE service Super Match. The gun was built by the SAI custom shop in February 2010. It ...


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Old March 28th, 2020, 08:27 AM   #1
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Maintaining a M1A Super Match

I’m the proud new owner of a former LE service Super Match. The gun was built by the SAI custom shop in February 2010. It has a Kreiger 1-10 barrel, McMillan M3A stock and looks like it had spent far more time in the armory than the rifle range.

Going over the rifle, I found the bore to be dirty, but in good shape otherwise. It cleaned up well and is now bright and shiny. The gas piston has some minor corrosion and some minor scuffing and measures 4972-.4973 diameter. The gas cylinder has corresponding scoring in its bore.

From what I can tell, the action has never been removed from the stock. I assume the bolt roller and oprod have never been properly greased since leaving the factory. I tried to break the action loose by giving a few sharp raps to the inside of the receiver heel with no luck. I stopped there.

I mounted a VXR Patrol 3-9x40 and put about 100rds of Federal GMM through it. The gun shoots really well. Groups seem to average about MOA - I only measured one 10-rd 100yd group and that was 1.15”. Was able to consistently hit steel IPSC targets out to 600yd.

A few questions?

How concerning is the lack of bolt roller and oprod lubrication?

How concerning is the gas system wear?

Recoil seemed a bit harsh compared to other M1As I’ve shot. Is it time for a new oprod spring?

Before and after cleaning bore pics:

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Old March 28th, 2020, 08:28 AM   #2
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Gas piston and cylinder...

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Old March 28th, 2020, 08:30 AM   #3
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Gratuitous pics..

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Old March 28th, 2020, 08:44 AM   #4
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Being a new rifle, I'd break it down to properly lube and verify everything. I've got one M1A that is needed with a Krieger barrel as well and it only gets broke down ever so often. Just have to be gentle not to screw up any of the bedding but mine has been taken apart around a dozen times since I've owned it and the accuracy has not changed. Just ensure you careful. The guys with more experience than me will chime in on it.

I'd replace the op spring while you're in there once you have it broken down. Gives you time to clean and inspect everything, on top of greasing the bolt and op rod.

Try other ammo in your rifle and find what it likes. A 1.15" 10 shot group is nothing to scoff at by far! Mine has shown a preference for 168gr Amax that I load over the Sierras, but just ever so slightly.

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Old March 28th, 2020, 08:57 AM   #5
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Whenever I get a rifle, new or used, I install two things...

1. A new piston. I prefer SEI chrome plated. Sadlak are also easy to clean. I keep a new USGI in the butt trap as well.

2. A Schuster ported and overbored gas plug (non adjustable). It lets me use full power competition ammo safely and with less recoil.

Contrary to popular belief, the inside of the bolt roller is not a grease point. The roller turns very little during cycling and is only there to keep the bolt stub from sticking to the oprod, a problem that occurred with the M1 under certain conditions.

The outside of the roller, however, is a grease point. You can get grease into the oprod cam slot without disassembly by using a syringe or small applicator.

It is nice to have a bit of grease inside the oprod guide on the barrel, but it is not mandatory. The rifle was made to fire in arctic conditions without any grease at all.

As for disassembly, unscrewing the gas lock and sliding the gas cylinder assembly forward will help, if possible. If you need to encourage it, use a brass punch with tape on the end and on the gas cylinder.

With the trigger assembly removed, support the rifle upside down in a cradle. Make sure only the stock touches the cradle. Roll up a towel and place in under the receiver to keep it from dropping out. Use a block of wood or brass punch to tap the receiver legs down and out of the stock. See the diagram below.
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Old March 28th, 2020, 09:01 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t want to get ham fisted getting the action out of the stock. Any tips for breaking is loose would be appreciated.

The cost of good .308 ammo has definitely had me reconsider getting into reloading. That may be my next investment.

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Old March 28th, 2020, 09:49 AM   #7
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On My two bedded M1A's never took them out of the stock Myself.
One is a SM, the oher is a Preban built by Our Range Guru, was on the All Guard Shooting Team back when M1A's Ruled.
He would index the stock and the Metal to see if your took it apart.
Only when the Barrels needed to be replaced, did I have them apart.
A Friend who is experienced with re-barreling M1's did it for me.
Said the SM after almost 6,000 rds, and one Firing Pin broke(I fixed)w/out taking it apart said it was still pretty tight something about a Nun's behind.
The Standard Stocked Pre-ban he said it was even tighter than the SM !!

The SM was my Gameday Rifle, My Std Match was my Practice Rifle.

They way the built them in Match configuration takes into account getting wet a little while shooting in a Match in the Rain, just Wipe and Clean and relube best you can, w/o removing from the Stock, Unless you get caught in a Camp Perry Down Pour.
Me at my Local Matches took a DNF and secured my Rifle, was not making a living shooting on a Gov't Team, have glasses anyway , could not see once water gets on them.

I would start with the known round count, and write each amount fired down,
that way you would not be guessing on the Round count, when your accuracy loosens up, so you would know it was barrel time.
When I would remove the Piston, to de carb it, Put a Chk mark by your Round count, Lube it and shoot it.

You can remove the Trigger group to clean a Lube.

Remember to tooth brush the Breech Face, Bolt Face, use several Q-Tips to remove the Old Grease on the races inside and outside, Apply new Grease, never put new grease on old grease, kind of like using old Oil.

You can use a Small Screw Driver to apply to the Roller, as someone mentioned earlier, just move the Op Rod to find the biggest Gap, then apply.
And work the Op Rod and work it in, same way with the underside of the Barrel, where the Op Rod Rides.

Until I had to re barrel, or if the Accuracy or something broke, I would not take it apart, to put aftermarket parts in it, as it might already have some.

Buy some good Ammo, and Have Fun.

And Welcome Aboard

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Out

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Old March 28th, 2020, 09:56 AM   #8
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I’ll bet your groups tighten as the rifle gets dirty again.

If it spent more time in the rack than on the range I doubt you should worry much about the lubrication. You should certainly grease it properly though.

Just be careful getting it out of the stock.

I take a different approach with mine. I keep her clean and lubed but it’s only been out of the stock once in five or six years. Clean is a relative term, it shoots better with some fouling.

Nice score, it should serve you well.

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Old March 28th, 2020, 12:43 PM   #9
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Iíll bet your groups tighten as the rifle gets dirty again.

You should certainly grease it properly though.

Just be careful getting it out of the stock.

I take a different approach with mine. I keep her clean and lubed but itís only been out of the stock once in five or six years. Clean is a relative term, it shoots better with some fouling.
I'm new, and confused. How do you grease it properly and keep it clean and lubed if you never take the action out of the stock?

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Old March 28th, 2020, 12:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I'm new, and confused. How do you grease it properly and keep it clean and lubed if you never take the action out of the stock?
You just have to be creative. The trigger assembly comes out easily, as does the piston. Most of the nooks and crannies you can get to with a long cotton swab, toothbrush and a syringe.

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Old March 28th, 2020, 01:02 PM   #11
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if your going to clean the barrel with any kind of solvent with it assembled,make sure sure you turn it with the sights upside down in a cradle of some type. the solvent might have an affect on the bedding material

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Old March 28th, 2020, 01:11 PM   #12
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Here’s the plan of action:

Ordered USGI gas piston and oprod springs from Fulton Armory

I have castle nut pliers and SEI USCG brake coming from Brownells this week

I’ll get the Schuster gas plug on order.

When I get everything, I’ll strip it down and do a thorough cleaning and lube. I can see a bunch of old grease (factory Lubriplate?) in there. Put it back to original condition with new spring, then take it to range.

I’ll shoot 10-round reference groups before and between changing out piston and brake to note any changes in grouping.

Question on the gas cylinder: should I lightly hone to remove the scuffs and restore crosshatching? I may be overthinking it, but I’m used to rebuilding engines 🙂

Pic of Oprod guide:
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Old March 28th, 2020, 01:20 PM   #13
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Just give the gas cylinder a good scrubbing with bore cleaner and a .45 cal bore brush. Dry thoroughly.

Thanks from conditionone
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Old March 28th, 2020, 01:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
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if your going to clean the barrel with any kind of solvent with it assembled,make sure sure you turn it with the sights upside down in a cradle of some type. the solvent might have an affect on the bedding material
I clean the gun in a Tipton vice with the barrel angled down about 15-20 degrees. Rag is stuffed in the mag well and gas plug/piston removed. I primarily use KG carbon remover and Isopropyl alcohol for barrel cleaning; I’ll follow up with a few strokes of KG bore polish if heavily fouled. If I use brake cleaner (perchloroethylene type) it’s a just quick the shot with straw through chamber to blast out crud. So far, I haven’t had any solvent in the bedding.

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Old March 28th, 2020, 04:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
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if your going to clean the barrel with any kind of solvent with it assembled,make sure sure you turn it with the sights upside down in a cradle of some type. the solvent might have an affect on the bedding material
I read somewhere instead of turning the rifle upside down, you could shut off the gas valve if you're worried about getting solvent into the gas system.

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