What is your go to components for a M1a1 Nat. match .308

Discussion in 'Big Stuff--7mm, 30 Cal, .338+' started by koger, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. koger


    Apr 1, 2007
    Just traded into a M1a1 with a Springfield scope mount, and a Weaver 8-32 grand slam, 30mm tube. Gun has about 200rds thru it. Just wondering about the following.

    1. What brass brand is the best, for the money?
    2. Is small primer brass any better than large rifle brass.
    3. What is your favorite bullet, weight, and maker.
    4. What is your best powder? I was leaning towards Varget, but have had super results with Win. 748 powder, I got a killer deal on a case some 25 years ago, used to shoot a lot of .308 then, but it is all gone.
    5. What is a good scope to shoot out to 800yds, with a Mil Dot, MOA, or BDC type reticle. I need an affordable type scope, not one to break the bank. I currently have a 4.5-18 Nikon Pro staff 5 with Mil dot/hash marks that do the trick on my 6.5x284, would this work on a .308?
    6. I will probably get flamed for this one, anyone ever shoot the pulled down 147 gr bullets with some scuff marks on them. I know they don't look great, but I shot some pulled down.62 grain , .223 bullets I got for a song, and they shot good enough, sub MOA out of a Ar 15. Just had to ask.
    7. Do you coat your bullets, and if so, what with. I have Moly, Danzac, and Hexagonal Boron Nitride. I have had great luck with all 3, but am leaning towards the HBN. Do you know if any issues with the coatings and the gas system.

    The gun is shooting under MOA with some factory stuff. I cleaned the barrel good and it seems to not foul too bad.

    I am only going to be hunting and shooting at some informal benchrest/steel shoots here locally, all that is up for grabs is bragging rights. All replies appreciated!
  2. chkunz

    chkunz Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 11, 2013
    I shot the M 14 for many years, distinguished and master class and never had one that would shoot under one MOA with the best of my reloads and yours is doing better with factory reloads so just drive on with what you have, you do not need any help.
  3. Zero333

    Zero333 Silver $$ Contributor

    Dec 24, 2015
    1. I use F.C. brass I fired from factory ammo. I have 600+ pcs (from FGMM ammo) laying around and would not care to pay for brass for the M1a,, since it's gets a bit beat up and the odd piece gets lost. I probably have 3,000+ once fired 308win brass from factory ammo doing nothing. So about a lifetime's supply for semi-auto abuse.

    2. LARGE PRIMER ONLY !!! Firing pin is fat and don't want to know what it would do to a small rifle primer. I use CCI-200 & 250 for the most part but have done really well with Sellier & Bellot primers too.

    3.- 168 grainers... SMK (probably the best of the bunch), Horn. BTHP & Amax, and even Hornady 165gr interlock BTSP shoot great !

    4. H-4895 / IMR-4895 is the best. But lately I've been loading tons for the M1a on my XL650 and those powders don't meter consistently. So I switched to Win-748 and am just as happy with the accuracy.
    H-4895 I use 40.5 or 41.5 gr (in the winter).
    Win-748 I drop 42.5 gr. Fairly generic loads.
    I've shot Varget though it and the action didn't sound as smooth as with 4895 and win748.

    5. I don't like scope on mine. Most of the time I'm shooting it at a 24" g ong at 328 yards with the battle peep sight and get 95%+ hits. The 5% misses are always the first handful of shots of the day. After about the 5th shot I don't miss.
    I did try it with a scope, but the mount was not solid enough to give me confidence. Mount naturally didn't want to be parallel with the barrel so I was at the edge of the windage adjustment to get a zero.

    6. I don't coat bullet for any of my rifles.

    7. If you have them then shoot them !!!
  4. Bart B.

    Bart B.

    Jun 25, 2012
    Best accuracy and scores shot with M1A's and their military counterpart were all fired with new cases. Resizing their fired cases never brought their out of square heads back to square. Such cases opened up groups 1/2 to 3/4 MOA. New cases would shoot commercial 30 caliber match bullets 1/3 MOA at a hundred yards, 2/3 at 600 yards.

    CWO Billy Atkins coaching the ARNG Rifle Team probably conducted the best tests revealing this issue back in the 1970's.

    Same case issues with bolt guns when bolt faces are not squared up. None of the semiautomatic 30 caliber service rifles had squared up bolt faces.

    Best scores and test groups were shot with stick powders. And with bullets at least .0004" larger than barrel groove diameter.

    A favorite was rebulleted M118 match ammo with Sierra 168's for 200 to 600 yards, or a Sierra 180 HPMK's for 600 to 1000. The ~ 42 gr. charge of IMR4895 having a 3/10ths grain spread didn't matter.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  5. koger


    Apr 1, 2007
    Thanks for the replies gentlemen. The scope mount on this rifle is massive and rock solid. It already has as scope on it, set up that way, so I will keep it scoped. The sub moa ammo I was shooting was Federal gold medal, with the 175gr load. I hate to buy factory ammo, so I will load some up, thanks again guys!
  6. Downhill

    Downhill Gold $$ Contributor

    Dec 31, 2009
    I ran M852 match for a while. When match ammo was exhausted used the brass and handloaded the 155 palma bullet with Varget powder. Seemed easier on the rifle and was a hammer at the 600 yard line. All my buddies ran the 168 SMK but at the end of a match and comparing notes, I always showed slightly less windage. Cool old rifle, wish I could still see the front sight.
  7. riflewoman

    riflewoman Gold $$ Contributor

    Feb 24, 2015

    A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...

    I shot the M1A in competition for years. Shot a lot of reloads for it.

    Brass: Any brass will work. At least once. Lake city gives about 5-6 reloads. Minus one for all commercial. Light “Palma” cases (Winchester, Lapua, BR Remington) get beat up in the rifle but go about 4.

    Powder: from 3031 to 4320 (speeds) you’re fine. The BEST loads ever were with 4064. 42.2 Gr 4064 are “laser loads”.

    Bullets: 168 and 175 bullets are standard. Never tried 155s but have tried 180 and 190 grain bullets for 1000. Indifferent results. Match the load data with the bullet makers manuals in the “service rifle” section. You CAN exceed the maximums there for 1000 and other long ranges SPARINGLY, BUT NOT IN M1 rifles. 147s are for plinking only not serious work.

    Never had a scopemount worth the effort.

    No coatings on bullets. Too much hassle.

    Good thing you’re not planning on across the course... The M16 dominates. M1As don’t stand a chance.
    DirtySteve likes this.
  8. chkunz

    chkunz Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 11, 2013
    Me to the hard way, legged out against the M16s as a senior but it took very difficult wind conditions for the day to make it happen, antique rifle and antique shooter got the job done and a distinguished badge, "Lucky 1547".

    I still shot the M14 from time to time just to give the young folks something to talk about but lately the eye cataracts have put a halt on that. If I get the eye surgery done I may be back with the M14.

    All of the loads and bullets that you reference for the M14 are consistent with my experience. As Elmer Keith would say, "hell I was there!"

    Beat wishes, Clyde the elder.
    riflewoman likes this.
  9. captdan


    Jun 27, 2019
    I shot a US Springfield NM in competition for years. Get the NM sights. 168gr Sierra BTHP. Imr 4895, 42.5 gr I seem to recall ( not 100% sure). That gun still shoots well under 1 moa. In fact I shot a 196 - 16x with it, still recorded in my old record book.

Share This Page