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Posted: 12/23/2005 11:03:31 PM EDT
I am still awaiting delivery of my M1A, but since I already have 6 USGI mags for it I figured I might as well get-going on the ammo stockpile for it. I had been planning on getting a case or two of South African surplus. And I still might do that. But I was thinking of the reason that I decided to purchase this gun (new SA Standard model) and it isn't so much to plink. I want it to be a long-distance shooter (compared to my AR at least). So though I realize that I didn't go the full way and get a Super Match or something, I still think I ought to be able to get decent groups at long range with the Standard -- or at least help them by shooting better ammo.

As far as I understand it, I should probably be looking at 165, 168, or 175 grain boat tail bullets. I don't have the $$$ to go out and buy a bunch of match stuff. And I do reload for my -06 now. So I ought to be able to put together some decent loads for .308. I was all-set to buy a bunch of Winchester brass, Sierra or Speer BT's, and IMR powder today when I decided to slow-down and get some good opinions on this as I don't want to reinvent the wheel here. I don't expect full-match accuracy here, but I'd like good near-MOA type accuracy at 400+ yards. Do any of you guys have load data that's been successful in your M1A's or any links to some data? I am not just consulting my regular load manuals because I'd like loads that are good in the M1A's semi-auto gas action and aren't so hot or weak that they cause problems in it. Sorry this post is so long and thank you very much for any help you can give me here.

P.S. I did buy a box of 20-165 grain factory rounds while I was at the store so I could load my mags and check function (as much as I can without the gun for now). It's a newer (to me) Federal product called "Fusion". Anyone heard of it or used it? Seems like it'd be a good deer bullet. Dunno how it'll work in an M1A though.
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 6:02:52 AM EDT
I shoot Master Class with my M1A and I use the followinf loads

200-300yds:

39.5gr Varget, 168gr SMK, CCI200 primer, LC cases (trimmed to 2.005") OAL 2.85"
Average velocity 2400fps


600yds:

42.5gr Varget, 175gr SMK, CCI400BR primer, LC cases (trimmed to 2.005") OAL 2.85"
average velocity 2575fps
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 6:00:46 PM EDT
I use a couple of different loads. My main hunting load is a 168 barnes x bullet in a LC case with winchester primer and 42 grains of 4895.

My close range hunting load is a 175 grain RCBS cast silhouette bullet. Same components but only 30 grains of 4895. It's a great low power, mild recoil load for general use.

My top load there is a real killer on varmints around the ranch. Pretty much anything I can see will go down to it. The lead bullet is really only good for 200 yards and I wouldn't shoot a deer past 100 yards with it. It's real accurate within a hundred though.

www.dansshootingsupply.com
Link Posted: 12/24/2005 10:10:30 PM EDT
Life made easy,

Patsreloading has Hornaday 168 match HPBT for $139 per 1K

Gibrass or Pats for pulled down unfired LC cases. (if you don't plan on shooting match, pats has unfired RA61 pull downs for around $60 1k.

Primers, either Fed 210m or Rem 91/2

Powder, I use 42.2g of 4064 to 300, then 43.1g (compressed load) for 600. Your gun will differ, so plan on working up loads to see what make the rifle happy.

Best to load the LC cases at 41.5g and work up for your short loads, then start at around 42.5g and work up for your 600 load. Just remember that the LC/RA cases are military and do have reduced a volume than comercial brass, so that means less powder for your start point.

P.S. using the above componets, your looking at around $.37 a shot. Plus, you didn't say what barrel you are getting, so on the short range loads, load for the mag, then on the long range loads, Long load to just sit off the lands (read single loaded).
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:20:16 AM EDT
Excellent... thanks for the input guys. I will take a look at your loads and figure-out a good starting point for me.

BTW... It's just the new Springfield bone stock Standard model M1A in black. Nothing fancy about it at all. But I'd like to maximize its performance at range. I'm no benchrest shooter, so I'm not expecting miracles. Just want to make the best of my new gun. When I was debating which .308 to get I was drawn to the M1A for its long-range strength. If I'd have decided that I wanted a rifle more suited to plinking or CQB, then I'd have gone with a PTR91. So that's why I decided that I should probably start right away with loads that are more accurate than the surplus stuff. I'd still like to have 1 or 2K rounds of surplus just to have around, but I want to be shooting "the good stuff" through this thing from day one if possbile. Thanks again guys!
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:34:00 AM EDT
I fire Service rifle for kicks and giggles about twice a year, but was very active in military competition for 20 years. I started with an M-14 on the Berlin Brigade rifle team in 61, the LeClerc competition. I have three M-1A's and a SOCOM16. I use 4065 with my 175 grain loads but have started using Ramshot TAC for everything. I decided to use Berger 168's for all my M-14 loads, I simply cannot keep track of different loads for different yard lines and prefere the same load for everything and the Berger will do it. In the past I've bent several op rods using too heavy a bullet for the M-14s system. 175 may be completely fine but the Berger 168 is really great. I now use the 175 grain SBTHP for my 1000 meter shooting with my Savage Tactical. The bolt gun will take it all.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 8:31:39 AM EDT
Red_Label,
If it's just a plain service grade rifle, then look at stocking up on either surplus port or SA. The rifle will shoot around 2 MOA (could shoot a little better with hand loads), but until you spend some time on tuning the rifle it's self (sights, gas system, stock fit), you not going to see big payout in group sizes. The surplus ammo goes for around $.16 per shot, and you will hard press to work up loads that cheap (read I burn Port threw my hk's/fal's even though I reload for my match rifles).

You don't list your location, but if you're close, I can give you a box of Port, S/A, and load up a box of Match loads for you to try out. What your going to find is that the Match ammo isn't really going to shoot that much better in the rifle for twice the price of the surplus.

P.S. Don't load up on surplus ammo until you find out what which the rifle perfers, then favor it for the stock pile.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 8:38:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By threefeathers:
In the past I've bent several op rods using too heavy a bullet for the M-14s system.



M-14 or Garand?????

For 190 loads, I have a different piston tuned for those loads in the M-14's (read NM slot grooved and slighty undersized to blead off more gas). On the Garands, I use a Mc Cann gas plug to do the same.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 11:27:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 11:31:42 AM EDT by 223Rem]

Originally Posted By Dano523:
Life made easy,

Patsreloading has Hornaday 168 match HPBT for $139 per 1K

Gibrass or Pats for pulled down unfired LC cases. (if you don't plan on shooting match, pats has unfired RA61 pull downs for around $60 1k.

Primers, either Fed 210m or Rem 91/2

Powder, I use 42.2g of 4064 to 300, then 43.1g (compressed load) for 600. Your gun will differ, so plan on working up loads to see what make the rifle happy.

Best to load the LC cases at 41.5g and work up for your short loads, then start at around 42.5g and work up for your 600 load. Just remember that the LC/RA cases are military and do have reduced a volume than comercial brass, so that means less powder for your start point.

P.S. using the above componets, your looking at around $.37 a shot. Plus, you didn't say what barrel you are getting, so on the short range loads, load for the mag, then on the long range loads, Long load to just sit off the lands (read single loaded).



Thanks!

Never could get Varget to do well out of my M1A.

ETA: IIRC, there was mention that 175 gr. bullets and heavier are a no-no in M14 variants. I will try to find it.

Link Posted: 12/25/2005 4:16:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 9:11:33 PM EDT by Dano523]
223Rem,
You have to mod the gas system to shot 190's or greater. Standard gas system with heavier than 175 and you're going to break/bend something due to too much gas system pressure.

Link Posted: 12/26/2005 7:41:45 PM EDT
I've been cautioned against and seen the effects of 175's on the m14. Bent op-rod and just general battery to the rifle. I'd stick with 168's you might also try the sierra 155 palma's.

Willis
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 6:25:53 AM EDT
Hmmm... some more great info in there. I really appreciate all the input.

I live in MT Dano. But I will go ahead and seriously consider your input regarding using surplus. Part of the problem I have with using surplus is that is seems to come in the 150 grain loads. I'd like something a little bit heavier than that for longer range shooting. Is there any decent-priced surplus out there in the 165-168 grain range?
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 12:33:00 PM EDT
Good luck on finding loaded match ammo cheap (Fed or Black hills).
Currently it cost me $.37 a round to reload 168 match (including the brass) so take that with a grain of salt when your deciding on whether to start reloading or buy factory ammo.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 1:02:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Label:
Is there any decent-priced surplus out there in the 165-168 grain range?



Sometimes I see IMI stuff on sale @ Wideners.
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