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Old 03-15-2012, 19:31   #1
Zombie Steve
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Your thoughts on brass for the M14

Had a case head sep yesterday. Lake City 07 headstamp. I've loaded this brass once, and it was a mild load of IMR 4895.

This was once fired military that obviously got shot through a sloppy chamber machine gun.

It always concerned me, but I got away with using this stuff once and scrapping it. Yesterday was the first failure. It's a lot of work for shooting it one time, so I'm glad to be done with it.

So... with the batch of new bullets coming in, and switching to H4895, I need to start from scratch anyway. What's your favorite brass and source for the M14 / M1A?

I have some commercial Winchester brass, but have heard they don't hold up well with the violent action of the M14. If I can get 4 loads out of it, I'd be happy.

Suggestions?
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Old 03-15-2012, 19:56   #2
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Have you checked the headspace of the rifle? If it's at the far end it can cause separation faster. The RCBS X-Die is supposed to help with case life, but since I've never used it I can't say.
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Old 03-15-2012, 20:49   #3
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I've not checked the headspacing. SA includes the number with a new rifle, and I've always worked with that.

All said and done, I've shot this rifle quite a bit. Never had an issue with milsurp or any other reloads...
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:59   #4
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Check to make sure you are not bumping the shoulder too much when FL resizing.
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:34   #5
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Steve, I have no idea if you have seen this before or not. I ran across it recently and I'm hoping you may find it helpful . . .


Quote:
. . .
The old standby, GI surplus brass, is still some of the best available for reloading ammunition bound for Service Rifles. This is particularly true where the M1 and M14/M1A are concerned. Itís tough, properly dimensioned and correctly annealed for use in a Service Rifle. But there are still a few things to watch.


Reloaders will occasionally encounter very appealing deals on once-fired 7.62mm NATO cases. Almost without exception, these are cases that have been fired in machine guns. With their generous chambers (and frequently open-bolt operation), many of these cases are stretched or bulged so badly that they can not be reloaded safely or cost effectively. In the case of used military brass, the old adage that ďwhat seems too good to be true, isnít,Ē is good advice. Unless the brass comes with a known pedigree, such as Match brass that was fired in M14s, M24 or M40 sniper rifles, pass it by. Itís false economy to invest the extra time required to get this brass to a point where it might be usable, or risk an expensive rifle or your safety trying to save a few bucks on cases.
. . .
From here: Exterior Ballistics
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:40   #6
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Steve,

The most I've gotten out of any brass for the M1A, has been 6 loadings.
(I'm very meticulous with this rifle/brass combination.)

The very best groups have been with LC87 and Federal GMM brass. (I know. I'm the only one around here that likes Federal brass.)

Here's a photo of a couple of groups fired from a Bull's Bag, with my M1A.
The groups with W748 are a LITTLE tighter (and more 'round') than those with H-4895.

Reloading
The 'circle within a square' is 1" circle. 1" square.
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Last edited by byf43; 03-16-2012 at 12:41..
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:42   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hozer View Post
Check to make sure you are not bumping the shoulder too much when FL resizing.
It's usually the opposite with the M-14, but possible... I'll look.

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Originally Posted by Rumbler_G20 View Post
Steve, I have no idea if you have seen this before or not. I ran across it recently and I'm hoping you may find it helpful . . .




From here: Exterior Ballistics

Gee, thanks. I already know I got burned on it.

I think since I have some Winchester lying around, I'll give that a shot and see what's what.
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Old 03-16-2012, 13:03   #8
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Well if you had enlisted in the '60's you could have taken home the brass you shot in your M-14.

See, there's always an easy answer to seemingly unsurmountable problems. (Think I'll spend the next few months and count up all my brass. )


Jack
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Old 03-16-2012, 13:06   #9
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Those are some fine looking groups. Is that M1A a standard service weapon or a Match grade?

Seeing those targets makes me want to spend a little more quality time with my M1A. I have some LC brass (it's in storage, I have no idea what year it is nor do I know it's pedigree) and I have some Federal Match that is probably close to end-of-life.

I'll be very interested to see what commercial brass can do. Something I can actually buy...

Richard
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Old 03-16-2012, 13:11   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GioaJack View Post
Well if you had enlisted in the '60's you could have taken home the brass you shot in your M-14.

See, there's always an easy answer to seemingly unsurmountable problems. (Think I'll spend the next few months and count up all my brass. )


Jack
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Old 03-16-2012, 13:12   #11
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Well if you had enlisted in the '60's you could have taken home the brass you shot in your M-14.
I remember in Basic, we had to turn in 3 empty cases to get the next 3 rounds. They were absolutely paranoid about any loaded ammo getting into the barracks.

One fellow tried to mail a live round home. He got to bury the round in a 6'x6'x6' hole he had to dig with his entrenching tool. Fort Carson is mostly granite and not totally decomposed. Too bad he didn't check which direction he was supposed to point the bullet. He got it all wrong! So, he got to do it over...

Richard
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Old 03-16-2012, 13:44   #12
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Because of my duty assignment we basically had access to unlimited ammunition for our issued guns, (.38 and CAR-15) and literally shot whenever we wanted. Just had to raise the red flag at the range and let the security squadron know that we'd be shooting. About the only restriction was that there had to be at least two of us on the range, either the outdoor rifle range or the indoor pistol range.

Under the SELF-HELP PROGRAM that was common at the time keeping your brass was not an issue... especially if you were a military cop. When we needed to have a new obstacle course built for our dogs the normal requisition system got us nowhere fast. Nighttime requisition of a couple fork lifts and the muscle of the handlers who weren't on post at the time resulted in enough material to not only build a new obstacle course but to also remodel the interior of the kennel building. Couple weeks later we had to go out and requisition cans of stain to finish the projects... had to make things look pretty don't ya know.

I think the military has changed a bit over the years.


Jack
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Old 03-16-2012, 16:14   #13
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JUst got me a Hornady L&L headspace gauge myself. Time to start paying attention. BUt one seperation on a reload is nothing to worry about. It could have just been that one case. 4895 is the powder to stick with , I'm sold on that much .
And yes Jack the military has changed , they don't let the troops have as much fun anymore or get away with the crap the ole'timers used to get away with ...
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:55   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F106 Fan View Post
Those are some fine looking groups. Is that M1A a standard service weapon or a Match grade?


Richard

Match rifle.

This rifle started life as an 'early' Standard, then was accurized by Mr. Charles Maloney.

I bought this rifle from a good friend, that wanted something 'different'.

This rifle weighs in at just a couple of ounces shy of 15 lbs., rifle/scope/mount/rings. No magazine or ammo.

It's a fun rifle for shootin' groups. I sure wouldn't wanna hump this rifle on a 20 mile march!
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:38   #15
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You should keep in mind that there are some internal dimensional differences between LC and commercial brass. As I recall the military brass has lesser internal volume, and therefore loads developed with commercial brass will have higher pressures.
This will only be of real significance for loads approaching maximum pressures.
I used LC brass for years when competing with M14's and M1A's. Some was conventional military where I had to deal with the primer pocket crimp, and in later years mostly match brass. I never experienced case separations like some folks, but would have neck splits after a number of reloads. I always wondered why some people had chronic case separations and others didn't. I finally concluded it had something to do with their reloading practices but never figured out exactly why.
LC brass is good stuff if not abused in a machine gun.
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Old 03-17-2012, 13:52   #16
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So who's got a source for Lake City that's not machine gun abused? LC LR?

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Old 03-17-2012, 17:56   #17
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http://gibrass.com/brass.html Unfortunately it's mostly MG fired.
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Old 03-17-2012, 19:11   #18
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That's where I bought this stuff...
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Old 03-17-2012, 19:16   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GioaJack View Post
Well if you had enlisted in the '60's you could have taken home the brass you shot in your M-14.

See, there's always an easy answer to seemingly unsurmountable problems. (Think I'll spend the next few months and count up all my brass. )


Jack
Then you would have spent all your time changing our diapers instead of playing with your dog.
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Old 03-17-2012, 20:05   #20
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Well if you had enlisted in the '60's you could have taken home the brass you shot in your M-14.
I was drafted in '65 and discharged in '67.

It worked out ok. The VA paid my way through college and helped finance my first house. All in, not a bad deal.

Of course I might not feel that way had I been shipped to Viet Nam. Instead I had to spend my time drinking beer in Mannheim, Germany.

Richard
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