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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This gun is new in the box. My dad purchased it 6 or 7 years ago and never fired it. Along with a few other guns he just gave it to me; he and his wife downsized everything, sold their house, bought a camper trailer, and are traveling the country until The End.

So, of course, I don't believe in safe queens. I bought a set of dies and 200 pieces of once-fired LC brass. I annealed them, sized, trimmed, chamfered, debarred, etc. I don't recall the exact trim length, but it was the length listed in my 7th edition Hornady manual.

I made five test loads with five rounds each using IMR 4064 powder, CCI Bench Rest large rifle primers, and Hornady's 150 grain BT FMJ bullet. The powder charges ranged from the bottom to the top of my charts (same book previously mentioned).

Today was range test day. I was excited. However, of the 10 rounds I *tried* to fire, only 7 went BANG. Two of them only went BANG after two or three attempts. The dent in the primers is virtually nonexistent, but the action clearly goes "CLICK" when I squeeze the trigger. I can hear and feel that big, heavy hammer falling inside the rifle.

At first I thought the primers must be the problem. CCIs are harder than other brands. However, I've loaded some .30-06 and .35 Remington rounds from the same batch with no problems whatsoever. All of them went BANG with no issues.

I'm thinking the problem is inside this brand spanking new gun. What do you guys think I should do? Please don't tell me to buy factory ammo and test it. I hate buying factory ammo, and I've been reloading for decades and all my dimensions were within the guidelines of the book.
 

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Second strike going bang sounds like the primer didn't get seated quite all the way. First strike seats the primer, second fires it, but one taking 3 strikes is odd.

Have you taken a look at the internals, possibly clean & lube them? There could have been a factory preservative that got a little stiff and is robbing hammer energy. It's pretty easy to do, just take the rear of the trigger guard and pull down, a small punch can help if you need extra leverage.

Also the deep hammer pin strike you're familiar with on fired brass is actually the result of the firing process. Essentially the brass slams further back onto the firing pin once fired making the characteristic deep indentation, so a shallow hit is pretty normal looking on a failure to fire.

Edit: I also forgot, if the bolt is slightly out of battery the camming lug on the hammer will contact the bolt and torque the bolt closed when fired, so this can also cause light strikes.
 

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It's probably an ammo problem. Try a box of factory ammo and see what happens. It should tell you a lot.

If you have no problems with the factory ammo, try 10 handloads with full length sized cases and 10 with neck sized cases only. Be sure all primers in handloads are properly seated ie: the primer should sit just below the case rim. Also, if the once fired cases are military (LC headstamp), did you remember to remove the primer crimp before reloading?

Anyway, this exercise should tell you were the problem is. It probably isn't your rifle but I could be wrong.

Good luck and let us know.

Bruce
 

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This gun is new in the box. My dad purchased it 6 or 7 years ago and never fired it. Along with a few other guns he just gave it to me; he and his wife downsized everything, sold their house, bought a camper trailer, and are traveling the country until The End.

So, of course, I don't believe in safe queens. I bought a set of dies and 200 pieces of once-fired LC brass. I annealed them, sized, trimmed, chamfered, debarred, etc. I don't recall the exact trim length, but it was the length listed in my 7th edition Hornady manual.

I made five test loads with five rounds each using IMR 4064 powder, CCI Bench Rest large rifle primers, and Hornady's 150 grain BT FMJ bullet. The powder charges ranged from the bottom to the top of my charts (same book previously mentioned).

Today was range test day. I was excited. However, of the 10 rounds I *tried* to fire, only 7 went BANG. Two of them only went BANG after two or three attempts. The dent in the primers is virtually nonexistent, but the action clearly goes "CLICK" when I squeeze the trigger. I can hear and feel that big, heavy hammer falling inside the rifle.

At first I thought the primers must be the problem. CCIs are harder than other brands. However, I've loaded some .30-06 and .35 Remington rounds from the same batch with no problems whatsoever. All of them went BANG with no issues.

I'm thinking the problem is inside this brand spanking new gun. What do you guys think I should do? Please don't tell me to buy factory ammo and test it. I hate buying factory ammo, and I've been reloading for decades and all my dimensions were within the guidelines of the book.
Have you cleaned the rifle to include taking apart the bolt? Disassembling the bolt isn't all that difficult, perhaps there's some buildup that's causing a problem?

I like LC brass. Did you full length resize?

The bad news - I've bought 2 M1As from Springfield and 4 1911 style pistols to include their not so cheap EMP. With the exception of one (a 1911 Loaded model) every one had to be corrected right from the box, most sent back to the factory. Neither M1A had a properly functioning extractor, I replaced each with a PB. If your issue isn't one of ammo or cleaning there may be a minor problem that needs to be corrected. You may want to invest in a GI firing pin as a cheap first fix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
All the primers were correctly seated. I do all my rifle reloads on a single stage (as opposed to my pistol loads, which I mass produce on a Dillon). In any event, I make a habit of running my finger over the primer.

I used full length sizing dies, so that's not the issue, either.

HOWEVER, I have not disassembled the rifle and cleaned it. I will try that before heading to the range again. I'm certainly going to do this before buying factory ammo!
 

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I think your reloads may be too long; case head to shoulder. When you slam them into the chamber for a second try the cases get "re-sized" by the chamber and eventually the bolt closes far enough to fire them:

The Garand action has a helix angle to the locking lugs. That means if the rounds are slightly long the bolt will close, but not all the way. Unless you look closely you might not notice. The firing pin has a "tail" that passes through the receiver bridge. The firing pin tail and the receiver have a camming surface that will block the firing pin from striking the primer deep enough to set off the round unless the bolt is rotated fully closed, or very close to it.

If the round is fired before the bolt is fully rotated closed you have excessive headspace and the case may burst on firing. If I am right, the "problem" you are having now is actually saving you from being hurt and damaging the rifle.

The fact that some of your rounds go off, while others show no primer indentation suggest this is not just too much grease in the firing pin channel - although it may be that too. Too much grease and preservative on the bolt, oprod and recoil spring could slow the bolt down and make it stop short of fully closing too.

Other than case length being too long, your bullets may be seated too long, although that is much less likely because long rounds won't fit in the mag. The barrel throat may be too short and will cause a similar (long round) problem, although the probability of this is extremely low.

I hope you cleaned the preservative out of the barrel and chamber before you started shooting...

I suggest you shoot a box of commercial ammo to see if that works, after cleaning and re-lubing the rifle. I am confident that commercial ammo will work fine.

Once you have the barrelled action out of the stock, retrack the bolt and let it close slowly multiple times. Watch the firing pin tail interact with the receiver bridge from below. In this state, you can try several of your reloads in the chamber to see if the bolt closes far enough for the firing pin to line up fully with its slot in the receiver bridge. As there is no hammer in this situation it should not be unsafe, but still mind where the barrel is pointing.

The beauty of the Grand design is that the cocking handle can be used as a forward assist. Push it forward hard if you are still getting miss-fires. Learn to see when the oprod needs to be pushed forward by how it looks, before dropping the hammer to a click. After 100 rounds the system should work smoother.
 

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I had similar issues with a new M1A. Took a coupe hundred rounds to smooth out. When I had a misfire hitting the forewarn assist fully seated the bolt, the bang. I had some issues with lake city factory ammo, love that ammo but my M1A seemed sensitive to ammo in the early days. 147/150 grain no issue. 160+ LC sometimes an issue. As already suggested clean and lube up. Full bolt travel is required. Might try some 147/150 ball ammo to test the functioning. If that feeds and goes bang the the gun is good.
 

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Have you cleaned the rifle to include taking apart the bolt? Disassembling the bolt isn't all that difficult, perhaps there's some buildup that's causing a problem?
This.

If it has been sitting that long the oil on the firing pin has likely dried up and hard and that is preventing it from operating properly. If you don't feel comfortable disassembling the bolt shoot a good amount of WD40 into it, let it soak for a bit, shake it out and fire it a few times. I'd bet that cures your problem.

I have seen some hard primers, but never seen one so hard it wouldn't at least dent on the first try. Same with shallow seating and short case length. If the firing pin is hitting the primer at proper velocity it WILL leave a dent.
 

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Either disassemble the bolt, or emerge it in mineral spirits for 24 hours.
Would not suggest spraying WD40 into a bolt......will dry and leave a varnish on the internals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Guys, I disassembled the gun and found the firing pin is moving freely, just like it's supposed to. I cleaned and lubricated, but there is no change to my lack of firing.

Tapping the operating rod forward to make sure the bolt is completely in battery does no good, either.

My COAL is 2.730". Is this still too long? What length do you recommend?
 

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It is unlikely that the overall length of your ammo is contributing to the problem.

Try setting your resizing die 0.002" shorter and see if that helps any.

Look at how far the bolt rotates clockwise with and without a round in the chamber. There should be no difference or the safety tail of the firing pin will contact the receiver and possibly prevent firing.
 

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I have had the exact same issue myself. I think on the rounds I had the issue with the primer was seated too deep.

Not 100% sure what casued it but I too have seen this and its been frustrating to doagnose.
 

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Cool story: good friend was having bolt/firing problems with 10/22 ...disassembled, noticed the firing pin was not moving. Closer inspection revealed that someone had used a free flowing super glue type adhesive to secure the screws for the rail attachment. Someone had flooded the bolt with adhesive through the screw holes and glued the firing pin in the bolt.

A generous application of acetone & a bolt disassembly/thorough cleaning/reassembly later and the rifle was up and running.

Another story: Young man at deer hunting camp had a nice SKS. Complained it was running rough and clunky. Upon disassembly, discovered it was still packed with Chinese shipping grease ...thoroughly packed as in every nook, cranny & crevice filled to capacity. Soaked the metal bits in kerosene, wiped 'em off & was running like a sewing machine!
 

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I think your reloads may be too long; case head to shoulder. When you slam them into the chamber for a second try the cases get "re-sized" by the chamber and eventually the bolt closes far enough to fire them:

The Garand action has a helix angle to the locking lugs. That means if the rounds are slightly long the bolt will close, but not all the way. Unless you look closely you might not notice. The firing pin has a "tail" that passes through the receiver bridge. The firing pin tail and the receiver have a camming surface that will block the firing pin from striking the primer deep enough to set off the round unless the bolt is rotated fully closed, or very close to it.

If the round is fired before the bolt is fully rotated closed you have excessive headspace and the case may burst on firing. If I am right, the "problem" you are having now is actually saving you from being hurt and damaging the rifle....

Once you have the barrelled action out of the stock, retrack the bolt and let it close slowly multiple times. Watch the firing pin tail interact with the receiver bridge from below. In this state, you can try several of your reloads in the chamber to see if the bolt closes far enough for the firing pin to line up fully with its slot in the receiver bridge. As there is no hammer in this situation it should not be unsafe, but still mind where the barrel is pointing.

The beauty of the Garand design is that the cocking handle can be used as a forward assist. Push it forward hard if you are still getting miss-fires. Learn to see when the oprod needs to be pushed forward by how it looks, before dropping the hammer to a click. After 100 rounds the system should work smoother.
^^^^ Read this over and over until you fully understand it. I wouldn't expect to see a mistimed firing pin cam on the bridge, but stranger things have happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
UPDATE:

I disassembled the gun and looked at the firing pin in relation to the channel which is machined into the receiver bridge. It was lined up with the bridge and moving correctly.

HOWEVER, when I chambered a round, the firing pin was *NOT* lined up with the channel. There is the problem.

So I completely disassembled the gun and cleaned everything again, especially the chamber. Upon reassembling it, the problem persisted.

At a COAL of 2.730", I find it hard to believe I'm still too long. But that might be the case. I used a full length sizing die on this brass, so it surely can't be oversized.

What do I do next? At least we know where the problem is.
 

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Thanks for the update Mac. First question is what happens with factory loaded ammo?

Are you using .308 or 7.62x51 ammo? Is the barrel stamped .308 Win or 7.61x51? There is a slight difference in headspace. What reloading dies are you using?


These pages give a lot of good reloading advice for the M14:
http://www.zediker.com/downloads/14_loading.pdf

http://www.exteriorballistics.com/reloadbasics/gasgunreload.cfm


As BobT suggested, M14forum.com is a good place for M14 specific info.


EDIT Just on a whim, check that the ejector can be pushed flush or slightly below the bolt face. It may have hardened cosmoline behind it that is preventing the bolt from locking up fully with a round in the chamber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The dies I used were Hornady .308 Winchester. The barrel isn't marked as to caliber, but there is a card in the box indicating it was headspaced to 1.631 "according to GI specs." It then advises me to use GI mil spec ammunition.

I'm not sure where the 1.631 is measuring from, but does that mean my COAL is still too long?
 

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The dies I used were Hornady .308 Winchester. The barrel isn't marked as to caliber, but there is a card in the box indicating it was headspaced to 1.631 "according to GI specs." It then advises me to use GI mil spec ammunition.

I'm not sure where the 1.631 is measuring from, but does that mean my COAL is still too long?
It seems the GI spec chamber is longer than .308W commercial, so it is odd that you would have what appears to be a short chamber experience. You may want to try some chamber Go and No go gauges to determine if your rifle is in spec too.

The 1.631 spec is from case head to shoulder, as the tapering shoulder is used for headspace. Based on what I just read your rifle may have a commercial chamber after all, and your rounds may be too long:

http://www.thegunzone.com/30cal.html

http://www.rangingthoughts.org/post...e-Outside-and-completely-interchangeable.aspx

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=389032

http://www.zediker.com/downloads/14_loading.pdf
 

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A few years ago there was a spin-off M14/M1A discussion forum started called teamm14.com. The old owner of M14forum.com started it. I belong to both forums but I find teamm14 to be the friendlier an more knowledgeable of the two.

Between the advice you'been given here and will get from both forums you'll be shooting in no time!
 
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