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Posted: 10/4/2014 1:52:20 PM EST
First, the rifle and ammo

Rifle: Norinco M14S
Ammo: 168gr. SMK over 36 and 36.5 grains of IMR4895, CCI no.34 primers, once fired full length resized Hornady 308 Win brass, COL of 2.800''.

Now, pertaining to the fired brass, I noticed a ridge that forms on the shoulder of the case that forms a ring going around the shoulder. Should I be concerned by this? Is it indicative of a chamber cut with poor or worn tools? Is it something else? Will this stress the shoulder more during resizing causing cases to be good for less firings? I now M1As/M14s are hard on brass to begin with and damage brass in 3 to 5 firings. Here's a picture. None of the cases are cracked.



I have noticed the primers seem somewhat flattened? This is weird because those are basically suggested starting loads for IMR4895 over 168gr SMKs. Pictures:



Could it indicate head space issues?

Also I'm getting wildly inconsistent groups. I thought I was pretty consistent in brass prep, powder measuring and bullet seating. Cases were trimmed within 1 thou of the 2.005 recommended in my manual, all charges were spot on on my digital scale so + or - .1 grain and I used a Redding competition bullet seating die. Here are four groups shot with 36.5gr of powder.





Is this typical of working up a load or do I just have a bad barrel? I'm no Todd Hodnett or Chris Kyle but I'm not that bad a shot either. I could get consistent .75 to 1 moa groups with my Rem 700P with commercial hunting ammo. Now I understand this is no bench rest rifle either but I figured using quality components assembled in a consistent manner would yield better results.

So what do you guys think?



Link Posted: 10/4/2014 2:20:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/4/2014 2:25:25 PM EST by RegionRat]
Okay, just my 2 cents worth of opinion on the Norinco version. I'm not a specialist on the M14, but I know these well enough to know they are not known for being of high quality.

Do you have any access to a bore scope? I would examine the chamber and throat area if it were mine. Taking a chamber casting of this rig isn't something to do if you have never done it before, but it is another option to see if the chamber reamer did the right job.

In most cases those marks my mean nothing at all. In general, these guns are harder on brass than bolt guns, so get used to the idea of watching that brass close.

On the performance, one good way to compare your reloads is to run them against known good reference ammo. For example, get some match ammo for your rig and do your best to run an objective group side-by-side under the same conditions.
This should tell you immediately if your ammo is running up to snuff or even if you should be searching for a different recipe. Your rig is well known and the general performance of a non-match grade M14 is well mapped with good ammo. Find a standard target and shoot at 100 or 200 yards to be able to share your results with the larger community. Don't expect match results from a non-match prepped gun.

http://m14forum.com/accuracy/

Link Posted: 10/4/2014 2:28:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/4/2014 2:30:36 PM EST by marko16]
I wouldn't call the primer flattened. and to add, you need to try more loads to find what your rifle likes.
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 2:32:34 PM EST
I agree with RegionRat, expecting a Norinco to shoot accurately may be a stretch.

Vince
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 2:42:39 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Vinny302:
I agree with RegionRat, expecting a Norinco to shoot accurately may be a stretch.

Vince
View Quote

This is not a pre Clinton ban rifle. They are quite capable of 1.5 to 2moa with commercial ammo. Mine is about 2.5moa. I should be able to cut that down to 1.5 and I'd be totally happy with it. I mentioned in the OP I was well aware this is by no means a bench gun.
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 3:06:16 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By marko16:
I wouldn't call the primer flattened. and to add, you need to try more loads to find what your rifle likes.
View Quote

Thank you sir
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 3:07:30 PM EST
Primers look fine and your groups are not THAT BAD considering the type of rifle you're shooting. Don't get caught up in chasing accuracy with your rifle. Good loads and good marksmanship skills will tell you what the rifle will do... don't fight it or expect more than what you're getting. IMR 4895 and the 168 SMK go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 3:13:04 PM EST
You're doing it the proper and safe way. Starting low and working up. I would continue working up as there don't appear to be any signs of over pressure. Reading primers isn't an exact science but I don't see any signs that would stop me from continuing to increase the charge. When primers truly flatten the outer radius of the primer will fill into the primer pocket and the edge will appear almost squared off.
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 3:46:03 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Effenpig:
You're doing it the proper and safe way. Starting low and working up. I would continue working up as there don't appear to be any signs of over pressure. Reading primers isn't an exact science but I don't see any signs that would stop me from continuing to increase the charge. When primers truly flatten the outer radius of the primer will fill into the primer pocket and the edge will appear almost squared off.
View Quote

Thanks.
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 3:46:24 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bowhntr6pt:
Primers look fine and your groups are not THAT BAD considering the type of rifle you're shooting. Don't get caught up in chasing accuracy with your rifle. Good loads and good marksmanship skills will tell you what the rifle will do... don't fight it or expect more than what you're getting. IMR 4895 and the 168 SMK go together like peanut butter and jelly.
View Quote

That's what I've read and that's why I chose those components
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 9:27:41 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 9:40:48 PM EST
It could be the barrel, but I believe you need to put more powder in the case. Around 40.0 should shoot better, 36 is just too little to get a consistent burn, IMO.
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 10:07:04 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By glorifiedG:
It could be the barrel, but I believe you need to put more powder in the case. Around 40.0 should shoot better, 36 is just too little to get a consistent burn, IMO.
View Quote

Thanks. I've been reading and 40gr of imr4895 seems to be the preferred loading. I'll get there.
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 11:21:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/4/2014 11:24:10 PM EST by drfroglegs]
I over think all of my reloads because accuracy is part of the fun.

1) your primers are fine.
2) if you want to see if those results mean anything, do it all again. If it's not repeatable, your chasing your tail. (Some days I just shoot terrible)
3) sort bullets by weight and cases by weight, may not help with your platform but certainly doesn't hurt.
4) make sure you have a good, stable shooting platform and trigger. If you do, #2 will work out well.
5) never just make a round with Xgr of powder and expect it to work. Do 0.5 or 1gr increments and learn something! This is the only way you will find an accuracy node that works with your specific rifle.

Welcome to the hobby, I've been addicted about my entire adult life (I'm not too old though)
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 11:56:35 PM EST
I agree with shooting match rounds as a bench mark. PSA has some 175gr Federal gold metal match on sale, but I see your in Canada. They don't show an option to ship out of the US.

I have a friend with a Springfield Match M1A1 with a Douglas heavy barrel and he was struggling with accuracy even with Federal gold metal match....
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 9:35:46 AM EST
DIGITAL SCALE caught my eye.

Repeatable ones are pricey.
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 10:45:53 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2014 10:51:04 AM EST by SteelonSteel]
the groups are on par with a battle rifle. My worked up rifle will have groups like your small one and occasionally toss one wide. A lot m14 accuracy can be just the way the gun cycled and came to rest again. Even the lack of a round in the magazine under the bolt can change a group.

Google Zediker on loading for the m14. Lots of good pointers on safety. Maybe a touch alarmist but it's good info none the less.

The marked ring on the casing neck. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a reamer issue. If your gun is extracting reliably you can ignore it. If it was really bad I'd think you can aggravate case head separation issues by adding to the bolt yank stretch. The M14 does enough on it's own in that regard.

For my m14 loading I like to use the tougher mil cases over things like Federal and Remingtion. When my M1a was giving me fits i did track my problem down to a ring scored chamber that was worse than yours. I was getting some partial case head separations with Rem and IMI Samson brass. Mine was covered under warranty.....twice, for the same issue. In the end I bought my own reamer and did it myself.

You should find a really nice load around 40-41 grains of IMR 4895. IMR4064 is another X ring pounder for me. It meters worse but shoots better. Just this cowboy's $0.02 Canadian, GST and PST not included.


ETA- Looking at your case shoulder/neck picture, are you talking about the very narrow black ring more prevalent on the right? Or are you saying that there is a colorless bump? I think the latter is what you mean. It could be a chamber cut issue if your shoulder slope is not straight BUT with that low a charge I'm thinking you aren't fully blowing the shoulder out to the chamber's shoulder. If so, and the chamber is cut right, it should go away with more powder. Also some of the carbon on the neck should go away. Carbon necks and shoulders are a good indication of a charge too weak to seal well.

Link Posted: 10/5/2014 10:52:54 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By SteelonSteel:
the groups are on par with a battle rifle. My worked up rifle will have groups like your small one and occasionally toss one wide. A lot m14 accuracy can be just the way the gun cycled and came to rest again. Even the lack of a round in the magazine under the bolt can change a group.

Google Zediker on loading for the m14. Lots of good pointers on safety. Maybe a touch alarmist but it's good info none the less.

The marked ring on the casing neck. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a reamer issue. If your gun is extracting reliably you can ignore it. If it was really bad I'd think you can aggravate case head separation issues by adding to the bolt yank stretch. The M14 does enough on it's own in that regard.

For my m14 loading I like to use the tougher mil cases over things like Federal and Remingtion. When my M1a was giving me fits i did track my problem down to a ring scored chamber that was worse than yours. I was getting some partial case head separations with Rem and IMI Samson brass. Mine was covered under warranty.....twice, for the same issue. In the end I bought my own reamer and did it myself.

You should find a really nice load around 40-41 grains of IMR 4895. IMR4064 is another X ring pounder for me. It meters worse but shoots better. Just this cowboy's $0.02 Canadian, GST and PST not included.


ETA- Looking at your case shoulder/neck picture, are you talking about the very narrow black ring more prevalent on the right? Or are you saying that there is a colorless bump? I think the latter is what you mean. It could be a chamber cut issue if your shoulder slope is not straight BUT with that low a charge I'm thinking you aren't fully blowing the shoulder out to the chamber's shoulder. If so, and the chamber is cut right, it should go away with more powder. Also some of the carbon on the neck should go away. Carbon necks and shoulders are a good indication of a charge too weak to seal well.

View Quote

I have the Zediker article bookmarked, thanks for the info
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 12:14:24 PM EST
I also had the powder ring around some of my loads when I first started reloading. From my understanding it's due to low pressure / light loads. Gas is escaping because the low pressure / light loads. For me this has disappeared once I started loading a little hotter.

Link Posted: 10/5/2014 12:48:22 PM EST
Not much more to add other then I agree that the primer looks fine and that you should be able to work up to a higher load. My M1 Garand and M1a both love the 168 SMK's over a healthy dose of IMR4895. My preferred load for the M1a is actually 42.5grains right now .
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 12:53:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2014 1:04:47 PM EST by nhsport]
The second of your four groups looks pretty nice , was it just luck or were you sloppy in the other three?

First thing I would try is for you to shoot 4 groups with known good ammo like federal match and see where you are.
In general I usually can get a handload (with some work) to shoot as well as the Fed Gold Metal but in many guns it is pretty hard to exceed it as it is pretty good stuff .

Sounds like you have started your reload with something somewhat mild (near starting published) and that is well and good practice but I have found in most calibers and guns for best results I generally see my best results as I work the load somewhat higher . Start low and expect a sweet spot as you creep somewhat higher

Is this with the irons or is the gun scoped? If you are using irons the orange targets are not as good as a regular black center on white or crème paper


Gentleman above is using 42.5 which may be fine in his gun but I would note it is at or above what Sierra recommends depending on which edition you are looking in.
The OP shows a load for a Hornaday bullet which is the same weight but not the exact bullet.
Sierra 5th edition shows the 168SMK at 38.2-41.3 with a fed primer and the 4th edition shows it at 39-42.1 with a Remington primer
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 1:40:03 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By nhsport:
The second of your four groups looks pretty nice , was it just luck or were you sloppy in the other three?

First thing I would try is for you to shoot 4 groups with known good ammo like federal match and see where you are.
In general I usually can get a handload (with some work) to shoot as well as the Fed Gold Metal but in many guns it is pretty hard to exceed it as it is pretty good stuff .

Sounds like you have started your reload with something somewhat mild (near starting published) and that is well and good practice but I have found in most calibers and guns for best results I generally see my best results as I work the load somewhat higher . Start low and expect a sweet spot as you creep somewhat higher

Is this with the irons or is the gun scoped? If you are using irons the orange targets are not as good as a regular black center on white or crème paper


Gentleman above is using 42.5 which may be fine in his gun but I would note it is at or above what Sierra recommends depending on which edition you are looking in.
The OP shows a load for a Hornaday bullet which is the same weight but not the exact bullet.
Sierra 5th edition shows the 168SMK at 38.2-41.3 with a fed primer and the 4th edition shows it at 39-42.1 with a Remington primer
View Quote



Good point on my load being a bit higher. The data I am using is based on the Hogdgon reloading manual showing 41 to 45 gr for the 168gr Sierra HPBT Match bullet.
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 3:34:37 PM EST
Maximum 168 grain SMK loads which duplicate military M852 are 40.5 grains of IMR-4895 with Lake City brass and 41.5 grains of IMR-4895 with Winchester brass. Winchester standard large rifle primers. Many competitors have used as much as 1.0 grain more than this which I do not recommend.

Buy the NRA publication, now out-of-print, "Semi-Auto Rifles - Data and Comment". It's available online at several used book stores. It has extensive load data specific to M1-A's using Sierra match bullets.
Link Posted: 10/5/2014 5:41:23 PM EST
http://www.radomski.us/njhp/cart_tech.htm

Look down towards the bottom for the M1A table. These data are from Match Prepped rigs, not rack rifles, but should help as a guide.

The next link is just good reading, but not directly applicable to an M1A. I think the old NRA publication on service rifle loads is worth looking for if you can find one.

http://www.accurateshooter.com/cartridge-guides/308win/
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