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Thread: 7.62x51 NATO (.308 WCF) in the Springfield M1A

  1. #61
    Boolit Master
    fatelvis's Avatar
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    Is it just a coincidence that the best shooting bullet here was a 311466, and there is now a Group Buy open, for the same? Hmmmmm....... I'm in!

  2. #62
    Boolit Bub 4t5's Avatar
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    OK. I received my 311466 mold and done casted me up some boolits. I saw in another thread where you used 2.620 as the OAL. I scientifically confirmed that this will work in my rifle using my Stony Point gizmo. At the 2.620 OAL, there are 2 lube grooves exposed beyond the case mouth. I am new at this and am not sure if I supposed to lube all of the grooves or just the ones inside the case neck. It seems to me that if sand got stuck to the exposed lube, it could cause damage to the bore. Also, it sure looks to me like the gas check and possibly the first lube groove are below the case neck. Are there any issues with this?
    Last edited by 4t5; 11-30-2007 at 03:12 PM.

  3. #63
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    I have some reservations about shooting lead thru an M1A. I went thru boot camp with the M-14 and had to keep it really clean, but not as clean as my M-16. I have shoot many M1A and similar rifles since then, currently I own three M1As and a Fulton M14. One of my M1A is a ultra Match setup to shoot like the M21 that I shoot in the Army many years ago.

    Lead in the gas operating system and the infamous dirty spindle valve is my biggest concern. I normally shoot Sierra 169gr BTHP in Lapua brass, the load is really a simple one: 43.7gr of IMR 4895.

    As that my eye sight requires bifocal correction these days, I can only shoot ground hogs at about 300 yards, back when I was young, I could do 600 yards. Of course, I went off to the war with a M16.

    Jerry
    Honor is a Way of Life

    NRA Benefactor Life Member

  4. #64
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    jerry;

    Have you actually READ this entire thread?

    Did you see where my M1A ran for hundreds upon hundreds of rounds WITHOUT "lead fouling" in gas system or barrel?

    The rifle works just fine with cast bullets.
    Regards from BruceB in Nevada

    "The .30'06 is never a mistake." - Colonel Townsend Whelen

  5. #65
    Boolit Master
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    I'm in the process of loading up some of Bruce's 24.0/5744 loads, (using our GB mould), and trying them in a nice clean barrel. My M1A wears a Douglas heavy match barrel, has a trigger job with a nice 4lb. 2 stage trigger, is bedded, fitted match sights, and outstandingly accurate with 168 Sierras. Now that ARs have shown to posess an edge in Highpower, I dont use it any more to compete. Hopefully I get close to the grouping he was getting! It will be interesting (to me) to see how cast bullets shoot out of a full blown target rifle. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
    Last edited by fatelvis; 01-05-2008 at 03:23 PM.
    I shoot so that I can handload.

  6. #66
    Boolit Master
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    I seat both 311466 and 311467 to the same overall length, as they have identical nose shapes. I discovered yesterday that the length I've been using is TOO LONG to allow loaded rounds to be extracted from the chamber....they leave the boolits jammed in the throat!
    Bruce, I'm in the process of loading up some 311466s for shooting out of my M1A, and was wondering what actual OAL you were loading your rounds to. Were any of the lube grooves showing? Thanks-
    I shoot so that I can handload.

  7. #67
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    Bruce -- I've followed this thread with interest for quite some time. So, after all the great testing and evaluation, what's your preferred load? I've looked over it several times and didn't find your "conclusion." Maybe I can't see the forest for the trees.

    Also, can you post pictures or provide some details on your drill press mounted Forster case trimmer that you mention in the post? I'd like to try to rigger up something similar.

    Thanks,
    Josh

  8. #68
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    I've been quite delinquent in pursuing the M1A/cast bullet project, but the problem has been mostly due to medical troubles. However...

    The RCBS X-die is a recent addition to my tooling, and I strongly urge its use for the M1A. Check by searching for Larry Gibson's excellent and extensive test of the X-die. His findings are that brass life can be FIVE TIMES greater than conventional sizers will yield.

    My first batch of rounds loaded with the X-die has now been test-fired, but the utility of the new die lies in its subsequent loads and the increased case life. I've now got upwards of 1000 cases trimmed to uniform length and ready for extended use with the new sizing system.

    Yesterday I fired about forty rounds through the M1A, plinking rocks and clods at 200-plus yards. The load was the Loverin 311466 at 152 grains, with a charge of 25 grains of 5744 and NO filler. Primer (as usual) was the CCI #34. Functioning was 100%, and point of impact was amply consistent for my purposes....meaning that if I held-and-squeezed consistently, it was VERY rough on rocks at that range (iron sights). It was very satisfying, and I'm gonna have to make some proper large-ish targets to give the loads a better workout at longer range.

    All the load-development work is fascinating, but DANG, it was pure enjoyment to have a gorgeous day and targets of opportunity to shoot. Occasionally it's necessary to have a low-key FUN outing...I think I may just try out the M1A with cast loads on a major sage-rat safari around mid-month. I won't hit too many, I'm sure, but for the close-in ones that don't really offer much challenge to a 20X scope and .220 Swift, well....

    More experimental loads for this rifle should be appearing on this thread soon. Again, the more I shoot this rifle, the better I like it!

    This was also a test of two brand-new 20-round magazines. These were made by Checkmate Industries, who is the current supplier of M14 magazines to the US Government. These are available from www.44mag.com for a measly $25.00 each, and they are superb magazines. They're in a back-order status right now, but I back-ordered mine on February 21 and received them around March 15. They don't charge one's credit card until the product is shipped. Highly recommended!
    Regards from BruceB in Nevada

    "The .30'06 is never a mistake." - Colonel Townsend Whelen

  9. #69
    Boolit Mold
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    After years of trying to find a good shooting cast load for the M1A I recently tried SR4759. I have quite a lot of this powder and it's my propellent of choice for bolt rifles but for some reason I never tried it in the gas gun. I wish I had sooner.

    23.0 grains under Lyman's 311672 OAL 2.680 proved so good I've stopped looking for a better load. My rifle wears a GI chrome lined tube and has never been fabulously accurate but the above load easily matches the better lots of surplus ball. The pic attached was fired prone slow at 200 yards in a blustery rain.

    ETA this load runs 1980 FPS with an ES of 50 and SD around 17.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #70
    Boolit Bub
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    Very nice!, you've just made my day.

  11. #71
    Boolit Mold
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    I knew it was too good to be true. I fired this load offhand for the first time today and it was just a little too soft, failing to lock the bolt all the way back about half the time. It's never failed from the supported positions when the rifle has my mass to recoil against. I'm going to increase the charge by half a grain and hope accuracy holds.

  12. #72
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
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    If accuracy does not hold, choose another powder speed. A different lot of the same speed might hold. The standard load for the gun should hold accuracy with a minimum of 1 percent powder swing. ... felix
    felix

  13. #73
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    Deano

    If that bullet is riding the bore well, and it appears it is, then another 1/2 to 1 gr should work ok. Your GI barrel has a 12" twist so your still within the RPM threshold. What alloy and what weight are your bullets fully dressed?

    Larry Gibson

  14. #74
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    Just asking, isn't 4831 sort of on the slow side? I don't mean as far as bullet performance but will the peak pressure, occuring later up the bore, not cause damage to the rifle? I don't know for sure, just asking the question.

  15. #75
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    Deano

    If that bullet is riding the bore well, and it appears it is, then another 1/2 to 1 gr should work ok. Your GI barrel has a 12" twist so your still within the RPM threshold. What alloy and what weight are your bullets fully dressed?

    Larry Gibson
    My "alloy" is whatever I dig out of the berm at the range. I quench out of the mold but they run soft. My mold throws bullets that measure .3095 on the base and .305 in front of the first band. I fill the grooves with carnuba red and after loading dip the exposed lead in Lee's liquid alox. I'm embarrassed to admit I've not weighed one.

  16. #76
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by felix View Post
    If accuracy does not hold, choose another powder speed. A different lot of the same speed might hold. The standard load for the gun should hold accuracy with a minimum of 1 percent powder swing. ... felix

    Could you elaborate on that?

  17. #77
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
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    For example: Load 10 rounds at 50 grains measured exacly; 49.5 grains exactly, 50.5 grains exactly. Take 5 of each and shoot each into a group. Measure group size and ES of each. Get an average of the composite as if one 15 shot group. Shoot the remaining 15 rounds at random into 3 groups, 5 shots each. Do the same with these 3 groups, making into one single 15 shot group. Compare the two 15 shot groups. They should be the same. If they are not, then the derivative of pressure curve is not flat enough. ... felix
    felix

  18. #78
    Boolit Mold
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    OK, that makes sense.

    I'll increase the charge and let you know what happens.

  19. #79
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    311466 GETS THE HEAVE-HO (I Think)

    The M1A rifle shot extremely well for me this past Sunday at the Nevada Cast Bullet Shoot. I managed five hits for five rounds at a 14"x16" steel plate at 415 yards, with the issue sights, from sitting position. These were the rounds fired for official score. I also hit four-for-five on an earlier practice run. Good load, right?

    Yeah, BUT.....

    Twice now, I've deepened the seating depth of the 311466 bullet in an effort to get away from early contact with the lands. On Sunday, I had occasion to extract a loaded cartridge from the M1A, and AGAIN the bullet was left behind in the throat. Since I intensely desire an utterly free chambering of the incoming round (no contact with the leade to slow the round when entering) I'm regretfully going to set aside the 311466 for a while at least, and see if some other candidates might work better in this particular regard.

    Among other designs on hand, my prime alternatives would seem to be Lyman's 311672 and the two SAECO designs, #305 and #311. Since I love shooting this rifle so much, and it responds so nicely to ammo it likes, I see further experiments as an enjoyable excursion, rather than drudgery or anything like it.

    That Sunday load.....I STILL have difficulty believing my rifle functions with such loads, let alone while delivering accuracy sufficient to shoot "with the Big Dogs"....some very fine rifle shooters come to the Nevada Shoot each year. I was shooting the water-dropped wheelweight 311466, with Gator checks, LAR 45's BAC lube and sized .311". Primer was CCI#34 and the charge was 25.0 grains of AA5744!!! YES, 5744, no filler, perfect function and over 1900 fps. Let me tell you, it was sublime. If the front sight was anywhere near that itty-bitty plate when the hammer fell, I KNEW it was a hit. Man, talk about a feeling of confidence, 'specially with a dozen or so friends hanging over my shoulder with binocs, spotting scopes, suggestions and "suitable comments" the whole time.

    What a helpful bunch they are, yep, sure, sho' 'nuff.....
    Regards from BruceB in Nevada

    "The .30'06 is never a mistake." - Colonel Townsend Whelen

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by big boar View Post
    Just asking, isn't 4831 sort of on the slow side? I don't mean as far as bullet performance but will the peak pressure, occuring later up the bore, not cause damage to the rifle? I don't know for sure, just asking the question.


    Big Boar, pard;

    The "secret" to using the slower powders in the M1A/M1 Garand (there's really no 'secret') is simply to concentrate on the gas-port pressure and let chamber pressure find its own level. With the reduced charges we use with cast bullets, we KNOW that chamber pressures will be safe.

    Also, since cast-bullet behavior in the barrel is very different from that of jacketed bullets, we can safely use loads (specifically REDUCED loads) which might be risky with jacketed bullets.

    In the M1A I've used safe charges of powders from as fast as XMP 5744 to as slow as OLD (WW II) H4831, with many other powders between those burning rates also giving excellent accuracy and perfect function.

    BY starting low (where have we heard THAT before???) and working up just to where functioning becomes flawless, we will stay within safe pressure levels for both the action and the working parts of the rifle....thinking here particularly of the operating rods of the M1 and M1A.

    There's quite a bit of data here at this forum (CB Loads/Military Rifles) and on Cast Boolits in general. Do some searching. ask questions, and enjoy.
    Regards from BruceB in Nevada

    "The .30'06 is never a mistake." - Colonel Townsend Whelen

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check